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breeder’s point of view


The Mature Broodmare By Charlene Strickland


the foundation of your herd—the perfect introduction to the satisfaction and success of breeding your own sport horses. Experienced breeders recommend the mature mare. Judy Yancey of Ocala, Florida, advises, “To lower the risks, for people who are starting a new breeding program, you should start with seasoned, tried and true, tested mares.” One benefit is that you can usually invest at a lower price. The established breeder is ready to replace the teenage mare with one or more fillies. The price can be comparable to or even less than that of a foal of the same quality. The downside is that an aged mare’s breeding years are limited. Yet an older, fertile mare can produce into her 20s—and pass on that fertility to her daughters. Debbie Malcolmson of Carnival Hill Farm in Wilton, New Hampshire, has imported two 12-year-old KWPN mares from the Netherlands. Her first was the Elite mare Lidin, whose dam Cilia, a 1984 Prestatie mare, foaled her 20th offspring in 2007. “I was pretty confident that I was getting something special,” says Debbie. “Cilia had six offspring competing at the highest level in sport. Lidin has had 12 foals now. I imported her in foal and have bred her back every year since.” How does age make a difference? Breeders share their


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experiences—both as buyers and sellers—about the benefits of getting your first foal that could actually be your teenager’s fifth or sixth foal.


YOUR GOALS At Horses Unlimited farm in Albuquerque, New Mexico, owner Anne Sparks advises, “If you are going to spend money on a good mare, identify your criteria. What is your goal with the horse? Are you buying her so you can produce rideable horses for you? Are you buying


82 January/February 2011


lder. Wiser. Motherly. When you choose a mature broodmare who’s in her teens with a record of foals, you gain a proven producer. Such a mare can be


her so you can produce a stallion? If you’re going to try to produce a stallion, that’s where pedigree and conformation all come into play.” She adds that a stallion candidate must have an attractive head, and the dam should be able to produce that face. Debbie from Carnival Hill advises researching a


Wikita, the Hanoverian mare owned now by Maribeth Riesing.


mare’s inspection scores. “Scores will give you access to conformation and movement scores—you must know your mare’s strengths and weaknesses to make good breeding choices. Inspection scores help in this regard as the judges are far more critical than you will be.” Whether you shop domestically, or look for a European import, you’ll find that established breeders often sell their best producers. Anne helps new breeders by selling older mares. In 2009, she sold the


in-foal 1996 American Hanoverian Society (AHS) Elite Mare Wikita (Wolkenstein II-Avus) to Maribeth Riesing, a first time breeder. Maribeth now has a top quality colt Pikka Pepper from her.


SELECTION BY PEDIGREE “It’s important to research all the ancestors, and not just look at the horse in front of you,” says Debbie. “You’re breeding all the horses in her bloodline. You can’t just pick and choose for one particular trait and ignore everything else.” Anne started with proven producers, by importing


teenage Hanoverians from Germany. She picked the 1988 mare SPS Arena (Abajo xx-Wandersmann xx) for her breeding. “I wanted an Abajo mare,” she says, partly because that Thoroughbred was damsire to her stallion Pik L. She also chose an older dressage mare, Dekolette (Dynamo-Maikater I), who’d shown at FEI levels in Germany. “Every one of her babies showed great movement. She passed on a more expressive foreleg and ground-covering gaits.” The mare’s first U.S. foal, Dream’s Desire by Dream of Glory, was the first Elite


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