How to Breed Horses

By Contributing Writer

This is not for the faint of heart -- it is an article on the process of hand-breeding two horses.

Breeding Horses -- A dangerous but rewarding business

Breeding two horses requires a great deal of thought and planning. You do not simply breed just because you can -- you must have a purpose and plan for the offspring produced. The glut of horses on the market in this day and age should give you pause when you consider breeding horses. But if your mind is made up, you have done your homework, and paired a good match, it is time to get down to breeding.

Pasture breeding is by far the safest and best way to breed horses. What this terms means is that you turn the stallion in with the mare who has been determined to be in season. The paddock or pasture needs to be strongly fenced and it is best if it does not border with other horses, or have other horses in it besides the two animals who are to be mated. If the mare has a foal at side, the foal should be at least one to two weeks old so it can safely stay out of the way of its dam. Turn the mare out first, and then turn the stallion out. Nature will take its course, and although both animals may end up with a few bumps and bruises, in the end there is likely to be very little in the way of danger and a very good chance of conception. It is best to leave the mare and stallion together for her entire estrus cycle.

Should you decide to hand-breed your horses -- it is best that you get professional help. There is nothing more dangerous than a sex-driven stallion, except perhaps a mare who is not in standing heat, or who is worried about her foal while the stallion is trying to breed her. Make sure you find someone who has done this for a living, and call in a vet if you can find no one else to help you. Once you have done it with help a few times, you are more capable of doing it on your own, but be aware of your position at all times.

Make sure the mare is in standing heat. This means that she will lean her rear into the stallion, no matter how he screams or paws at her. Tie her snugly to a very stout post - leaving about one foot of lead rope for slack. Ideally you should have her held rather than being tied to a post, but the person holding her must be very familiar with horses and quick on their feet.

Once the mare is secured, halter the stallion and place the stud chain either over his nose or under his chin. Attach this to the 20-foot longe line. The handler and the stallion MUST be familiar with each other and have respect for one another. Lead the stallion out towards the mare. Be prepared for a great deal of noise and striking and kicking by the stallion.

The stallion handler needs to stand well back while the stallion approaches and mounts the mare. Allow him to mount several times if he needs to, do not rush him or the mare. Nature knows what it is doing. The trick is to keep the humans from getting in the way and keeping the rope out of the way. Once the stallion has finished, let him slide off in his own time.

Lead the stallion immediately back to his stall/pen and then walk the mare for ten to fifteen minutes. She will want to squat and push the stallion's semen out, so walking her will help keep her from this action.

Artificial insemination is another method of breeding horses, but should be handled solely by a professional breeding expert or a veterinarian.