Small mare, large stallion

I have a small pasture sound mare that I’ve had several people inquire about breeding to WB stallions for “fun sized” off spring. Mare is a medium and I’m hoping to get something that’s 14 - 15 hands at most. However, all the stallions are larger.

I saw a breeder who was breeding to one of the stallions that I was considering, with their mares being about the same size as mine. However, a friend advised me that you can’t breed a small mare to a larger stallion without putting the mare’s life at risk.

Any truth to this? If I am looking to get a larger foal out of the package how much larger can I go with the stallion?

There isn’t really truth to that. The size of the foal in utero will be determined/limited by the size of the mare.

That said, you might consider choosing a “smaller” stallion (16h range) rather than a giant.


Maybe it was the Exception to the Rule, but a friend lost both foal & (16h)mare when baby was too big for the birth canal.
This was back in the late 80s, so maybe something has changed?

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I have successfully bred 13 and 14 hand mares to a 15-hand stallion more than a few times. The mares were both maidens when I started, and I continued to repeat the cross on the smaller mare. My stallion tended to throw offspring that ended up taller than their dams but I think one key to my lack of injury/damage/difficulty foaling not only involved breeding AI but I bred type to type. The mares I did cross with him were built like brick sh!t houses with a post/leg on each corner very similar to the stallion’s build. I owned one 14 hand mare that I chose not to put to him because her build was much slighter/narrower through the shoulders and hips. I was concerned especially after foaling a few of his offspring out that if she tried to foal out any foal that conformationally took more after the sire in build of the shoulders/hips that the risk of causing this mare dystocia was too high. She too was a maiden and I elected NOT to breed her to him. He was the most ‘refined’ of my stallions that I had owned; so, the decision was to sell her (she was my son’s mount and was perfect for that job until he outgrew her) and not keep her as a broodmare prospect for my program.


No, tragedies happen in breeding, as they do in childbirth.

People definitely still do lose mares and foals for a variety of reasons, all devastating.


Anyone who has bred more than a few mares knows it absolutely can be true. I had a mare who continuously threw foals that were too big for her to deliver without absolute heroics on the part of many people regardless of the size of the stallion and therefore was retired from the breeding shed. Anyone who thinks they can count on literally anything when it comes to breeding horses is kidding themselves.


I do completely agree with that. Breeding will be devastating at one point or another, the best people can do is make the best/wisest choices they can based on all available data, and again, understand that breeding will bring heartache at some point in some form


This is the best pic I have on my phone.


I had a 15.1 hand draft type mare that we bred to a 17.1 hand TB. She had a large filly that she delivered easily. My BO ( at the time) was an experienced breeder and the mare had foaled several times before.

The filly eventually topped out at 16.3 and I bred her 3 times but the studs I used were smaller. The 3 resulting foals all ended up her size or a bit larger.

If your mare is smaller but is similar in body build I would feel fine if the stud was taller.

I personally would be uneasy if my mare was small framed, petite and built like an Arab ( for example) and you crossed with a big bodied stallion.

If you want something like a warmblood why not breed to a sport pony? Either a German Riding Pony or a Connemara. Depending on whether you want a dressage horse or a jumper?


I once visited a farm that bred Gypsy Vanners. They started using Embryo transfer with Molly mules as surrogates, because the Gypsy Vanners had a difficult time with foaling. The Molly mules were very large so they would have an easier time foaling (in theory). Mules are sterile because of the chromosome number, but perfectly capable of being surrogates with an embryo transfer.

@4horses This is baffling to me. There is a local farm with Gypsies that lost a mare and foal as well. However, these are from Cob horses, which should be hardy animals. Why is this an issue? What are breeders doing to address it? Surely they can select against dystocia, like we do with our cattle? I would be appalled if someone tried to sell me a horse that would need a surrogate to carry it’s offspring. Is this an issue with Cobs in the UK, or did they sell us their culls?

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That is lovely looking mare. I hope you find a suitable stallion. She has a lovely head as well. Perhaps the suggestion of seeking a pony stallion with a similar build is a good one. Her head is very refined. Perhaps a stallion that also has a refined head would prevent little horse/big head syndrome, lol.


I’ve seen her in person and I just want to squishy hug her little head!!!

This just blew my mind :scream_cat:, thanks for sharing. My experience with mules is limited to when my gelding gets overwhelmed/upset and he makes what I call his “mule face”.