Choosing the right stallion can be difficult and finding the right veterinarian is one of the most important aspects. Look for someone who specializes in breeding or has been breeding horses for many years. A skilled veterinarian will help make the process go smoother.

Consider everything you like about your mare; attitude, confirmation, performance skill as well as what you don’t like about her. Be critical and ask others. If your mare has been trained by a professional, ask the trainer for their opinion. Trainers get to ride a variety of horses and can give valuable feedback. When looking for a stallion you want to compliment your mare’s strengths and not double up on her weaknesses.

Are you breeding for a specific discipline, or a specific size? Are you planning on keeping the foal for your personal use or planning to sell it after it is weaned? Often, stallions who are more well know will bring better money than those less know in their industry.

When you have your thoughts on a stallion, talk to as many people about the stallion as possible. Ask about what they like about the stallion and what they would change if they could. Look at their offspring’s performance record. Have they been mostly ridden by a professional trainer or amateur riders? If you can, visit the stallion in person, do it. Pictures can be deceiving. This will also give you time to see what the stallion’s temperament is when you are around them.

Do research on your mare’s bloodlines. Look at what crosses have worked with her bloodlines and what have not. If you show competitively, this will be evident in show records. Remember, both mare and stallion bring their genetics to the table. If your mare is longer in the back and you don’t like that, than look for a stallion who is shorter in the back and can potential change that for you. Breeding to a stallion with the same confirmation as your mare, will only double your chances of reproducing the same confirmation.

Remember to ask plenty of questions. If this is your first-time breeding, schedule a breeding soundness exam with your veterinarian. This will help you understand where your mare is at reproductively before paying for a stud fee and finding out your mare is not suitable to be bred. Ask your veterinarian what the cost of breeding will be. Are there any hidden costs? Understand how much you are willing to spend on the process.

Ask if breeding with cooled shipped semen is less expensive than breeding with frozen semen, and what to consider in conception rates between the two. Veterinarians who specialized in breeding might know the stallion you are considering and have firsthand knowledge of his semen quality when it is shipped overnight via Fed-Ex or transported commercial airline cargo for same day insemination.

Lastly, make sure you fully understand the terms of the breeding contract. What type of semen are you purchasing, cooled shipped or frozen? What is the stallion’s availability for the breeding season? Does he have a show schedule? Is the stallion a carrier of diseases such as equine viral arteritis (EVA), hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia (HERDA) or hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). Does the contract have a live foal guarantee, standing and nursing? If your mare does not get pregnant during the initial breeding year can you try again the following year and what are the additional costs to you? To avoid misunderstandings on the issue, mare owners should look for how the contract defines re-breed rights. Can you substitute an alternate mare if the one you originally chose is not a good candidate for some reason?