15 Sep The ‘Ins and Outs’ of Breeding Horses
Brittany and Caris Reside - Leeara Park
Breeding horses is often a challenging and occasionally daunting task, so in this blog post we wanted to run you through the ins and outs of breeding horses at Leeara Park.
Planning a breeding program requires a great deal of thought, commitment and patience, but you also need resilience for the unexpected! We’ll talk about the reasons behind our breeding program and the importance of meeting your mare’s nutritional demands, in particular during the last trimester of gestation.
Currently at Leeara Park, our broodmare band consists of three black thoroughbred mares. In the last few years we have diversified into specifically breeding Galloways and Hacks for the Show Horse Arena. As breeders, we initially look for top quality mares with renowned bloodlines, who individually display greater strengths than weaknesses, and are the type and structure that we are looking for in a mare.
We find that the greatest asset as a breeder is to understand that no horse is perfect, and being able to identify these weaknesses, gives you the basis of choosing a stallion suitable to compliment their needs. We are exceptionally critical of each of our mares as ultimately we are looking to improve the offspring out of each of them and find the perfect stallion to match.
Introducing our Broodmare band
LP Superstition (Pop Singa) – ‘Dior’
16hh, 9yo Thoroughbred
Dior is the head of our Broodmare band and has been a part of Leeara Park since a 3 year old. Dior was shown successfully in hand by ourselves and won countless led classes.
She is the epitome of a thoroughbred mare being extremely sensible, with a beautiful face, long length of rein, clean gullet, soft and correct mover and strong hind quarter. Dior is an exceptionally balanced mare, being just as strong in front as she is behind – something she has passed on to each and every one of her foals.
Being picky, we aim to choose stallions that will further build on Dior’s movement. Dior has produced three exceptional foals for LP, two being fillies, full siblings by Riding Pony super sire ‘Royalwood Boy Soprano’ (LP Elizabeth Arden and LP Miss Dior) plus our 2019 Embryo Transfer colt foal by the outstanding Warmblood stallion ‘Quarterhit’ (LP Quintessence). All three foals are an improvement on Dior herself, and are exceptional in type and quality. We are very proud of them. LP Elizabeth Arden and LP Quintessence have been retained by ourselves, while LP Miss Dior now resides in New South Wales in a top show home.
Dior is being prepared to be bred again this season for a 2021 foal.
LP Starstruck (La Porscha) – ‘Porscha’
16.2hh, 6yo Thoroughbred
Porscha finished racing only a couple of years ago and commenced basic training under saddle throughout 2018/2019. She is a stunning mare, very kind and beautifully put together.
In keeping with our breeding program, we aim to improve Porscha by breeding her to a stallion who will add more scope to her movement and strengthen her hindquarter. She is an exceptionally pretty mare with a beautiful face, large poppy eyes, long length of rein and with great legs and feet. Porscha was retired to stud to breed some taller foals in our breeding program and then may recommence her saddle career, as she is still only a young mare.
Porscha is being prepared to be bred this season for a 2021 foal.
SN Alluring (Supreme joy) – ‘Whitney’
15.2hh, 9yo Thoroughbred leased to us by Sara Naylor
This mare was shown successfully in hand and under saddle with Sara and we thank her for this opportunity to lease such a beautiful girl. Whitney is a stunning mare with expansive movement and is the perfect height to produce purpose bred show galloways. Whitney is expecting a foal in mid-December, so we will look at her breeding and matching a stallion in detail.
Choosing your match...where to start...
To start off, it was important for us to get to know Whitney and critically assess her strengths and areas that we wanted to improve. We discussed the type of foal that we were aiming for as a result of breeding Whitney and then set out to assess our stallion options. Ideally, we wanted to choose an exceptional stallion who would compliment Whitney, to produce the ultimate show Galloway.
We weighed up various stallions’ strengths and improvement areas against Whitney’s and decided on the stunning, highly successful young sire ‘Royal Anarchy of Hannaley’ aka Harry – owned by Jess Hannan of Hannaley Riding Ponies, who resides in Queensland.
Here is a table the shows part of our decision making process, to compare the strengths and weakness of the breeding pair, and outline what we hope our foal will be!
Whitney was bred via chilled semen and artificially inseminated. There are various pros and cons to using chilled semen, as timing is imperative to have the best chance of a positive pregnancy. This depends heavily on your breeding vet to make the right call on when the semen will be required, and organisation of the Vets and stallion owner to collect and ship to WA in time. Whitney was confirmed in foal at 14 days, much to our excitement. She then had her heartbeat check at 21 days, and her final check at 45 days – all showing a normal, healthy baby. EXCITING TIMES!
Now to nutrition - the right start is vital!
To support our broodmares on a nutritional level, they are produced on Thompson and Redwood Claytons Pellets throughout two thirds of their gestation which is a highly digestible fibre pellet and is gentle on their stomachs.
It ensures their nutritional requirements are met, maintaining a good level of protein whilst keeping sugar and starch levels down.
Our mares are turned out together into a five acre grass paddock and are fed twice daily with hard feeds including chaff, Claytons Pellets and Flaked Barley, plus are rugged in the cold, wet winter months.
LATE GESTATION & Lactation
Heading into the last trimester, our mares are transitioned onto Thompson and Redwood Grower Weaner pellets to further fulfil their nutritional needs. Due to the rapid growth and development of the foal towards the latter part of the pregnancy, the nutritional needs of the mare increases dramatically and therefore it is imperative to ensure their nutrient levels are continued to be met.
The Grower and Weaner pellets are formulated to fill the requirements of mares during these critical stages to support milk production, energy levels and sound bone development, all ensuring your foal is getting the right start.
Whitney will be transitioned onto T&R Grower Weaner pellets during the coming months to ensure she is well prepared for the impending arrival of her foal in December.
When she becomes nearer to her due date, she will be moved into a smaller grass paddock for ease of monitoring. Once foaled down, Whitney and her foal will remain on T&R Grower and Weaner pellets to ensure healthy growth and development continues.
Even though breeding can be a monumental task, we have always found it very rewarding. Creating a life that you have carefully planned out, raising this foal / young stock and eventually preparing them for competitions, has always been a passion of ours.
To date we at Leeara Park have bred 30 foals, all of which we are very proud of. We very much encourage you to have a go at breeding your next superstar, given you dedicate time to the planning stage and can support the mare and impending foal throughout their journey.