NATURAL BREEDING by Robyn Butson Sweet Honesty Arabians Copyright 2006
As a horse breeder on a small scale and on my own, I have always adopted the natural way of Running Stallion and Mare together.
After all, even our breeding season is man-made. Mares can actually cycle through Winter too. A Stallion may become frustrated and unsure as he is segregated from his mares, sometimes with other stallions in close proximity. He may then be reprimanded and made to perform exactly as we wish.
The Mare and Stallion do know when they are ready to breed – the stallion content running with his Mares, as too are the mares. The Stallion communicates with his mares, reading their body language and knowing when to make his advances. The Mare will seek out the Stallion herself when she is ready to mate, if truly in season she will stand and accept him. Nature then takes its course with the Mare either conceiving or returning to cycle, whereas in controlled breeding, mares are subjected to much testing, teasing and general interference.
I started breeding early 1981 with a 5 year old. Stallion and two broodmares. On a small scale with limited facilities and finances I ran my Stallion in the paddock with the mares. I was lucky to have such a beautifully natured Stallion and Mares to begin with. For the next twenty years I bred over 100 foals, always running Stallion, Mares and foals together. Of course I still cared very much for them all, feeding, rugging, worming etc. but apart from observing and caring, Nature itself controlled their breeding.
After the loss of my Stallion at the age of 25 years together with elderly mares, I bought back one of his daughters to continue his lines. Several years later the mare’s second foal was a stunning Arabian bred colt. While I didn’t intend keeping him at first, his superb conformation, unique bloodlines and impeccable quiet temperament convinced me to retain him as a breeding stallion. I then purchased two Pure Arab Mares for him.
I didn’t want to upset his quiet laid back nature and upon weaning, he was placed out in a big paddock with mares and geldings. While worried about his well being, I am pleased to say he coped very well, even managing to get a few old mares in foal. He never acted frisky, cheeky or aggressive. Then came Spring and time to run him with his own mares, letting Nature take its course. He soon learnt the herd dynamics, gaining more confidence at this point.
He has five mares in foal at the time of writing, several of which were maidens and he is rising 3 year old and ready to stand at public stud. Running with his mares and a mini gelding, he remains friendly and quiet; indeed he and his little herd are all very content. I look forward to the future with him and hopefully his placidity will continue and carry on through his foals to come.
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