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Noble because I have Capitol in the background.” Judy shares advice from


the seller’s view point: “I will offer mares as they get to be 13-14-15, still in good breeding shape. They’re priced very reasonably—they’ve already paid me back. If people can get one foal, it’s worth it. These are good breeding Warmblood horses that will produce into their early 20s.” “I really recommend these


teenage mares who have had foal after foal after foal for people who don’t have a $30,000 budget,” Judy continues. “I think the price should be commensurate with the mare being able to pay back with the sale of two foals. I have two mares that I just sold, ages 11 and 12, with lots of foals left. They will well pay for themselves with 1.5 foals, assuming the foals sell for $15,000 to $20,000.”


took only every other year. I was honest with the buyer—it turned out she only wanted a foal every other year anyways.”


Anne Sparks’ Hanoverian Dekolette with two different foals.


AT HOME Debbie advises to keep the mare in very good condition. “All breeding mares, but especially older mares, must be kept in a constant high plane of nutrition. Multiparous mares sustain tremendous drains on their reserves of body fat, vitamins, and minerals— general body condition over time can deteriorate leading to troubles with conception, a successful pregnancy, and ultimately being able to produce a healthy foal. Each foal takes from the mare, and it is imperative that their reserves be replenished and kept at constant levels.”


At your barn, you can observe and learn about a


ASKING THE QUESTIONS When you’re evaluating an older mare, look for reliable production, every year, or every other year. Realize that the farm may not have immediate access to detailed veterinary records. “When they’re producing a foal every year, that’s the proof,” says Judy. “Basically check to see if the mare’s pregnant or not, and see how many foals in the number of her breeding years.” Debbie notes, “You should be fairly well assured


the mare is breeding sound, and you have to trust the people you’re buying the horse from.” She bought both her imported mares through VDL Stud. She adds, “Find out as much as you can, and don’t buy from anyone you can’t trust.” Anne recommends a list of questions a buyer asks when looking for example at a 16-year-old mare, dam of six foals: What is her breeding record? Why are you selling her? Does she take every year? Does she take on the first breeding every time? How many foals can be expected to get out of this mare? Anne also suggests when buying an in-foal mare,


“You should always ask if you can get a breeding back if anything doesn’t go right. You’re only going to get that from a farm who owns the stallion.” When referring to one particular mare, Anne says, “I sold her because she


84 January/February 2011


particular mare’s mothering skills. Maribeth Riesing describes how Wikita handled her fifth foal. “The mare is a pro. I was reading a book on what to expect. Wikita wasn’t just by the book; she wrote the book! She waxed up the day before. She went into labor at 7:30 p.m., and she dropped him at 11:30 p.m. I just stayed out of the way.” Maribeth was next amazed to watch what wasn’t in the


book—the mare Wikita’s coaching of the foal. “What I didn’t expect was that she had him moving for two days. The first day she had him walking. The second day I put them in the big field, and she was trotting him in big circles. She’s strict and very disciplined with him. She tells him what to do, and she punishes him if he doesn’t do it.


* * * In conclusion, the selling and buying of the older


broodmare is a win-win. The owner finds a good home for the mare, and the buyer starts with a proven producer. “Buying an older proven mare is a great way to jumpstart your future program,” says Debbie. “I am keeping the best daughters of these older mares, because you know you’re starting with something really good. If you don’t have the good mares, your breeding program won’t really amount to anything. Anybody can pick a fabulous trendy stallion, but you need the good mare.”


Photo of Lidin by Carole MacDonald. All other photos by Charlene Strickland.


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