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Characteristics of Stallions at Stud
When breeding from a mare, most people will use the services of an established stud farm that has one or more registered breeding stallions. People tend to be specialists in a particular breed because they are enthusiasts for that breed. However, it is not unknown for a stud farm to have several different breeds of stallion, since the owners and staff may well be experts in keeping stallions, and, therefore, able to apply their expertise to more than one breed. Mares are usually taken to stud and may stay there for some time to ensure that they are in foal before they return home. Less frequently, stallions run out with their mares in the paddocks, which is more usually the case with pony breeds rather than large horses. Increasingly, artificial insemination (AI) is used, particularly with sports horses, so the mare does not need to travel or stay at stud but can be inseminated at home, meaning less risk for both mare and stallion.
Stallions at Stud: How to Choose the Right One for Your Mare
The motivation for breeding is not always the same. For instance, the owner of a mare that is an exceptionally good example of an endangered or at-risk breed may decide that breeding is required for the good of the breed. Others may breed because they want a horse of a known quality that they can bring on and train themselves. What matters is that there should always be a reason and that the person planning to breed should know they have the money, time and resources to care for the foal when it arrives and until it is old enough to train, if necessary. Choosing the right stallion depends very much on the reason for breeding, and takes time and research, particularly in the case of endangered breeds where there may be already too much inbreeding.
Stallions at Stud in Equestrianism
Many of the world’s best-known breeding stallions are also performance horses and leading names in the sport, such as the dressage star, Totilas. Historically, documentation has tended to focus on a small number of the male lines of various breeds, so that many people will have heard of the contribution of the Godolphin Barb, the Byerley Turk and the Darley Arabian to the Thoroughbred. Obviously, there is far more to the creation of a breed than just a handful of well-known stallions, but it is the ones that are known to be successful that tend to remain the most popular today. Stallions that produce a line with outstanding offspring are particularly valued. Depending on the traditions of each nation, stallions will either be privately owned or the property of a state stud. Some successful racehorses will belong to a consortium of owners. The general rule is to choose a stallion whose conformation or temperament complements, and if possible, improves upon that of the mare. This is why registration programmes are so important, as they are a record of the tests that the stallion has undergone before becoming a registered sire for the breed. On the whole, mare owners choose stallions of the same breed, as they like and wish to support that breed. However, cross-breeding can produce horses that show the benefits of both breeds, such as Cleveland Bay cross Thoroughbred for creating hunters.