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In-Utero Contract Help!

I am considering purchasing a foal in-utero. The mare is already pregnant and due middle of April. I had nothing to do with the planning of the breeding (custom foal). I mearly stumbled upon the ad for sale and it has seriously peaked my interest. I have never purchased a foal in-utero so I have been doing a lot of research and reviewing other breeders contracts for references. My question is this: Am I allowed to request changes to the contract? The item I would like changed is the time after which I own the foal. The breeder is currently stating that after the first 12 hours (or morning vet check), ownership of the foal would be transferred to me and the remainder of the payment would be due. Is that enough time to determine a healthy foal? Color and gender are not a concern to me, just the health of the foal. The other contracts I have seen state a minimum of 24 hours to determine health of the foal. Am I being naïve about this? This foal would be a considerable amount of money for me so I am trying to put myself in the best sitaituation possible. I would also want to purchase insurance on the foal and most companies will not insure a foal under 48 hours. Given that reason, is it unreasonable that I ask for 48 hours to determine foal health? Thank you in advance

It is your money and everything is negotiable.

It is your money and everything is negotiable.[/QUOTE]


Bring it up with the breeder and see what they say. At the very least, they will provide a rationale for why the contract is written that way. At that point, it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable with.

In the TB breeding world of Live Foal Stands and Nurses contracts the norm is 48 hours. For the insurance reason you have given.

But I have lost a foal or 2 in the week that followed and was not held to the letter of the contract. And I am talking big money in relation to the Sport horse world of stud fees.

I would not accept 12 hours or 24. I would tell them it is payable when the foal is insurable/bound. The insurance company will/should require a Vet check at that time.

Any contract is negotiable so don’t be shy to ask about changes.

When we used to do “in-uteros” our contract always stated that the purchaser had 48 hours for their vet to do a full health check and if all was satisfactory to the purchaser, full payment was due within 24 hours of that time. Basically, a healthy foal was 100% guaranteed or the contract was voided. Many breeders do this.

There are, however, many other things that can go wrong after the 48 hour period and this is just the risk of buying/raising a foal. Growth and developmental disorders generally show up sometime during the first 16-18 months or so and then there is the risk of accident. Of course, insuring the foal is very important.

Thank you all for your replies. Have you ever included handling techniques in your contracts? Since the foal in question is half way across the country from me, I am unable to visit regularly. I have seen the results of improperly handled/imprinted foals and do not want that to happen.

You can include whatever you want in a contract but your definition of “proper handling” and “hands on handling” may differ widely from mine and from the owner of the dam so it is completely open to interpretation

I had a mare foal out at my place that a client in the US had purchased in foal. The mare and foal left at 3-4 months. When she told me the place they went to said they had never had such a well behaved foal that stood for grooming, fly spraying, halter and fly mask on and off, leading correctly and quietly, picked up all feet when asked, etc - I was proud to hear that. Its just how I do all of the things with any foal whether its mine or not. It makes life easy for that foal for the rest of its life if its used to having its face and ears touched and rubbed and it understands and respects basic commands

Perhaps a discussion over the phone with them before the in utero is purchased would be a good idea? To understand what their foal handling protocols are?

Good luck!

I sell several foals in utero and has always had the 48 hour role. That’s the age when you can have the foal insured itself here in Sweden - simple as that in my opinion.

My impression is you aren’t comfortable with such an arrangement.

Everything in horses involves some level of uncertainty. You say at first that you are concerned only about the health of the foal, but immediately after you start wondering:

Thank you all for your replies. Have you ever included handling techniques in your contracts? Since the foal in question is half way across the country from me, I am unable to visit regularly. I have seen the results of improperly handled/imprinted foals and do not want that to happen.

Should your thoughts continue along these lines, you might be better off just looking at foals you can see, assess, and decide about based on first hand impressions rather than hopes (even well founded ones).

Should you decide to continue to pursue the in utero option, be guided by customary insurance requirements and include these in a contract.

Another option I left out if the seller is unwilling to give 48 hr terms and you really want the foal. Live Foal coverage can be had. Not cheap but not terribly expensive depending on the mare’s produce record. The closer to foaling the lower the premium.

As to;

“included handling techniques in your contracts?”

No disrespect intended but I would laugh if someone asked me this and or dictated how to go about raising/handling a foal. In a contract and or boarding situation.

But if they paid me extremely well I may be inclined to take the little bugger to bed with me if asked.

IMO if someone boards a horse with me or with any professional they are paying for our expertise. They should check out the operation and take a look around at their horses. If not to their idea of how things should be handled find another place or do it themselves.

I know a lot about raising and training horses. Get complimented by my service providers on how nice our horses are of all ages are to work with. Get complimented by the trainers I send our horses to.

When I send a horse to someone I don’t micro manage it. The may call me and ask my opinion on certain things. But other than that I pay them to figure things out and take care of the business of raising and or training. One less I have to stress over and or think about.

I put little to no stock in the theory of “imprinting”. When we were foaling and raising lots I separated 20 into 2 groups. 10 that I went by the “imprinting book” and 10 they way I have always done it. After 2 foal crops of doing this I found it made no difference.

In fact I have found less is better with just about all foals to yearlings. I don’t turn them out in the back 40 and come back the following year. But I don’t interact as a regiment. I found they tend to get resentful at being bother with all the time.

I don’t really start “ground schooling” until the late spring early summer of their yearling year. If you know what you are doing and treat each one as an individual they come around very quickly and become solid citizens in no time. Most of the time.

We only work with TBs. Other breeds maybe different.

To each their own on this.

I sell a lot of in utero foals. Most of my clients do have their foals insured and they have not had a problem getting insurance at the 24 hour mark (as long as an IgG has been done). As far as the handling goes, that would not be something I would allow to be dictated by a contract; there are far too many variables in regards to those types of issues than a contract can cover. If you aren’t completely comfortable with the terms of buying in utero, then it probably is best to buy something already on the ground, although no matter what age you purchase at, you’ll have to deal with the horse having been handled by someone else, in a way that you might not agree with.