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Age Before Breeding

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Your gorgeous mare may have the temperament, conformation, bloodlines and talent to warrant breeding, but her age is an important consideration too. While it’s not uncommon to find mares bred during their 20s, fertility and foaling rates decline after 14 to 16 years of age. Pregnancy losses during late gestation increase in older mares and failures during early pregnancy are even more common.

Source: “Reduced Reproductive Efficiency in the Aged Mare: Role of Early Embryonic Loss,” B.A. Ball, University of California, Davis.

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Reader Comments

Danielle    New Underwood, SD

11/16/2011 2:37:14 PM

My mare, GZ Phaedra, is 22 yrs old and is due to have a foal in Jan '12. When I purchased Cricket in Feb '11 she was severely underweight and supposedly bred. After she had put on some much needed weight we had our vet look at her and we were told that if she had been pregnant then she had lost it due to poor nutrition and to give her a year off. Now we are looking forward to our first foal out of this old lady and can't wait! She is in good health and growing as large as a barn every day :)

Nichole    Chambersburg, PA

2/23/2008 2:43:36 PM

Good article. My aunt has a Quarter Horse mare in her late teens still being bred. She is the perfect, model broodmare, but I have still worried about her these last few years. With the last three foals, my aunt as given her a year off in between each foal, and the mare is still doing well. Thank you for the info.

Bonnie    Toledo, ON

2/12/2008 7:50:26 AM

Thanks!! Even through many of my little books I have not been able to find the best age to discountinue breeding my little mini mares!
I would not want to do anything to cause harm to my babies(mares)

Rommina    Tucson, AZ

11/24/2007 8:09:45 PM

i know a mare that had a foal at the age of 27 years old, the owners neverintended to breed her to a stallion.she is still alive and beign wel taken care of.

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