Recently I have been building some broodmare bands for a couple of clients. I thought since it was fresh on my mind, I would share a couple of the finer points to picking a good broodmare. One is have a lot of money and patience. Second is give it to me and trust me. Just kidding.
Seriously, first you need to see what event you are wanting to breed for and stick to it. Now days the show pen has become very competitive in specific disciplines. Certain breeds definitely perform better on average in certain disciplines than others. That being said there are also some that cross over well into several events.
For the sake of argument the event we will use is reining since it is the discipline I train for. When looking for a broodmare for reining, I ideally want a mare that has bloodlines that will also cross well for cutting and working cowhorse. This is where we have gotten most of our reiners. It also diversifies my selling ability. For example; I would like to find a mare that is an own daughter of Smart Chic Olena. Why you ask? Because he is a producer of world champions in all three events (reining, working cowhorse and cutting). If my first foal out of her works more like a cutter or cowhorse, then I know where I need to promote and breed her from that point on. Now you take an own daughter of Hollywood Dun It and her foal turns out more like a cutter. Good luck on selling it to a cutter. The reason for this is the numbers just do not work in favor of the cutter to purchase this horse. He is going to have a hard time getting a perspective buyer to even come out and look at a cutting horse out of Hollywood Dun It, unless the price is right, and by that I mean low.
Now we have established the type of breeding and the event, next is how much is this going to cost me. There are smart ways to do this and sadly they all cost money. But, the first and, I feel the most important, is how much bang for your buck are you going to get. I work on quality not quantity. Lets say that you want to spend, oh lets get crazy and say you have an extra $40,000 laying around that is burning a whole in your pocket. Just joking again, sort of. Lets just start out with $10,000. I just made a whole bunch of husbands with horse crazy wives out there shake a little. Now, most with $10,000 are thinking that I will go out and by three, maybe four mares with decent bloodlines at a decent price and get started. Bad move. Four mares equals four breeding fees, four vet bills, four vaccinations, and four mediocre babies to raise each year. Guess what, you eventually have four to get started under saddle while you continue with paying for the four breedings on the mares. This spreads your money way to thin and gets nothing accomplished. Not to mention this gets you no where because your money is spread so thin that you have no money left to promote your babies. You do not have enough money left over to put any of the offspring in the hands of a good trainer that can explore their potential. This is where the phrase horse poor comes from.
Instead take that $10,000 and purchase a mare that has good bloodlines and is proven in the show pen. Now instead of spending $2,000 on four $500 breeding fees, you can spend $2,000 on breeding to a stallion of good quality. This stallion has proven offspring on the ground and has a performance record that gives you something to brag about. Also take into consideration that you have just saved money on not having an additional three more vet bills. Now you have a baby that is from a proven mare and out of a proven father, and the chances of selling that baby and it actually getting to the show pen is much greater. Plus you have increased your profit margin. You will make more money with quality. Let me give you and idea of how I price a long yearling; I double the breeding fee and go up or down from there depending on the quality of the mare that she is out of. If the mare has good bloodlines, the price goes up. If she is a performer in the show pen and successful in the show pen, the price goes up. If she has other babies on the ground that are performers, the price again goes up. Why? Because I am not going to gamble my money on your mares offspring just because it is a pretty buckskin and goes back to War Leo some five generations back.
Think of it like a business. If I purchase this mare for $10,000 and put $4,000 into the baby between breeding and a little training, then I can sell it as a honest to goodness prospect at $7,000. It will take me a little over six years to pay her off and have the next two that are on the ground making a better profit.
Another plus to purchasing a mare that has value to her, is there are a lot of stallion owners out there that want to get some babies on the ground that will have a chance at hitting the show pen. You have what the stallion owners want, a proven mare and you can use that to get a break on the breeding fee. Which also improves your profit margin.
Truthfully, I could go on and on about the importance of a broodmare to a successful breeding program. The broodmare in my opinion is the most important element to building a strong business. I have given you a few key points to consider when starting. However, really do your homework. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.