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Mare Power: Mum’s the word when it comes to breeding

This article first appeared in a previous issue of Equestrian Life. To see what's in our latest issue, please click here.

Maree Tomkinson and Diamantina - Photo credit Roger Fitzhardinge

Maree Tomkinson and Diamantina.

© Roger Fitzhardinge

 By Equestrian Life

HORSE BREEDERS THE world over all have the same objective – to breed a better horse. And while the names of the stallions are often the initial drawcard when choosing bloodlines, the experts know that it is the names of the mares who have produced winners that are in bold print in the Thoroughbred auction catalogues.

Animal husbandry is an ancient skill that has evolved into a high-tech science, leading to the stronger, faster and more durable bloodlines characteristic of the modern horse. However, it’s through looking back down those generations that today’s breeders can identify the traits they want for the future. 


Saddleworld small July 2016


In Australia, the skills are as advanced as anywhere, if not at the forefront of developing lines to enhance particular traits and strengths for different disciplines. David Finch, of Finch Farms, Queensland, recognises that breeders must put as much emphasis on the mare as they would on the stallion. Always a forward thinker, David believes the direction of Australian sport horse breeding must focus on the ongoing improvement of our mare lines.

Craig and Prue Barrett, of Sandhills, NSW, say Australia is fortunate to have such an established Thoroughbred industry, because Thoroughbreds have great lung capacity. They also value the mare highly, saying that if you have a good mare and she produces a foal not to you liking, change the stallion, not the mare!

Cheryl O’Brien, of Remi Stud, Queensland, agrees, going so far as to say mares contribute at least 60 per cent towards the foal. She points out that most breeders in Australia started with a “wonderful Thoroughbred mare” bred to a Warmblood stallion, contributing to development of top-line performance horses.

All these top breeders have great faith in the industry in Australia and say the performance genetics here are developing very positively.

This article first appeared in a previous edition of Equestrian Life. To see what is in the current issue, click here.


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