Stallion reproducing himself- When does a mare improve the stallion OR can taht breeding do so? - ONLY breeders please

Someone on another post noted that " Birdstone (the Brelomomnt winner) reproduced " himself… plain, small,…". Essentially I got from these comments that his “outcome,” is not what the commercial or competitive desired. . When if ever can the mare “improve,” what the stallion brings to the table? Recognizing that genetics, chance, possibility, probability, and LUCK all play a role in what one may get in the end at the end of those 11 months!. Clueless here but would liketo hear the thoughts from that DO know something on this topic!

The mare and the stallion each contribute 50 per cent of the DNA. Stallions can sire thousands of foals in a lifetime while a mare can at most produce say ten. So there are more offspring to view for prolific stallions and more attention paid because the breeding is a business.

Some stallions are prepotent meaning their offspring tend to resemble them in key aspects. That could be because they are genetically more homozygous. In color, like a perlino will always sire dilutes and a homozygous pinto will always produce some amount of color.

I think people tend to always want to breed to a stallion that will “improve” the mare. So by definition wanting a stallion better than the mare for whatever purpose or goal. Obviously if the reverse happens then the mare improves the stallion. Your gorgeous Arabian mare is pasture bred by an ungelded fugly grade yearling. Foal will look prettier than the father for sure.


See, I do not completely agree with you here.

I really have found over a very long time at breeding (since 1979) that that mitochondrial dna is a trump card, most of the time. I bred some TBs, some ASBs, and some crosses. I saw it happen over and over again, and I learned to select my own mares accordingly.

I absolutely believe that there are some stallions who throw particular traits consistently. However, I will go with the mare’s strengths, and add what I would like to add with a stud.

Two examples- I had a gorgeous dappled grey TB mare from a family known for their floaty movement. She ALWAYS produced it. So, it was just a question of dialing in some other nice things from a stud.

I had an amazing ASB mare who also always produced her movement- AND her slightly volatile personality. I tried to be sure not to double up anything in her breeding that brought the temper to the table, and went for elegance. She produced the stallion who still holds the record for an ASB sport horse score. He was still brilliant, but a bit less challenging, even as a stud.

And conformation wise, I never try to correct a mare with a stud- I want to start with a correct mare.

Just my .02



OP, most TB race stallions have to bring a certain amount of pedigree, looks and race record to the table. The breeder looks at the conformation of his first foals, and then at how they look and move as yearlings. After the first crop gets to the track the owner can begin to see which mares are producing his stallion’s best runners and try to build on his success by breeding him to mares from similar lines. (See “True Nicks”.)

This process continues with each crop until the breeder has a good idea which mares work best with him, or concludes, along with mare owners, that he not getting the sort of racehorses they want and he fails at stud.

In TB race breeding, the mare’s tail female line is as important as it is in the breeding of other performance horses. The difference in my experience is that some racing breeders will breed an unraced mare or one that wasn’t successful on the track if she comes from an exceptional female family. There are some good racehorses that have unraced dams or dams that didn’t take to the track.

That was not the case with the breeders of sport horses that I worked for, who insisted that their mares be very capable of doing the job as well as having the pedigree before they were used for breeding. They were “old school” TB and Arab breeders respectively.

1 Like

Many thanks… that is what I meant. I’ll often hear on the gossip line (not sure if it is true or not} that “Justify has an offset knee… I had to make sure my mare had gorgeous legs…” I recall from animal genetics taken at KSU 10 years ago that you can’t correct a structural flaw, but you are looking to improve production or performance. Is that right???

Family in Germany does dressage and show jumping… that is their mentality y with thier mares. They want performance , looks and motherhood with their mares! Ever notice that the Germans often have a lot of super talented mares on the jumping teams or just competing ion the shows?

1 Like

Many thanks, most appreciated. With that mentality one would only be breeding an animal of quality. I don’t mean a “world beater,” or super show horse ," but a well conformed, mentally sane" horse that one would be proud to own or be around… and really enjoy.

Living in KS I saw alot of accidental or backyard breedingsbecause many did not geld between yearling and two years old. Generally it was not the best outcome.

Because mares can only have one foal per year maximum stallions are held to a much higher standard than mares tend to be, therefore you are hoping the mare will produce a foal that equates or exceeds the higher standard that the stallion possess. Ideally that higher standard comes not only from their performance but also from their physical traits. When a stallion out performs what he appears to be able to do ala Birdstone they give him a shot to see if he is capable of siring foals who will also be able to out perform what they appear to be able to do physically by giving them some very nice mares to see they can improve him physically.

1 Like

Breeding should never be done to correct anything - you can’t take a club-footed horse, breed to a perfect-footed horse, and reliably get anything but closer to one or the other, and that may well be that clubbier foot.

Most people want to improve the mare, because they’re the ones going out looking for the breeding. BUT, some stallion owners do become very selective about mares they accept if they know their stallion has a few shortcomings and needs a VERY correct mare to not make the stallion look bad.

There are some stallions who outproduce themselves on a very regular basis. But they are already stallion quality in and of themselves, they just get improved on. That’s making some assumptions, sure, as the dud down the road who doesn’t deserve fuzzies, could be bred to a whole lot of nice mares and produce a reasonable amount of foals nicer than himself (but rarely as nice as the nice mare).

Other stallions reproduce themselves, nearly to a T, with few exceptions.

And likewise, some mares reproduce themselves, with few exceptions.

The mtDNA is very important, and many breeding circles ignore it. It is why many who clone mares want the donor to be of the same family line as the original - it matters, sometimes a lot. Good TB breeders, good WB breeders (especially in certain registries like Holsteiner), a few QH breeders I’ve seen, and probably some other breeds, pay critical attention to female lines. Others place allllll the emphasis on the stallion.

A lot of this depends on what you mean by “improve”. Some people value a shorter back vs longer, for a given discipline, but unless you start with TOO short, or TOO long, it’s all subjective. I would never breed the too short/long horse because you could easily end up with a foal who is too short/long, even if may be less “too”. That’s trying to correct a major enough fault. Don’t do that.

But if the mare has a shorter-than-desired back, and the stallion has a longer-than-desired back, but still within the realm of correct, the foal can have a more subjectively improved back. But who did what? Did the mare shorten the stallion’s back, or did the stallion lengthen the mare’s?

Some things we know are very heritable - movement and jumping form to name 2. It seems that jumping form is easier to “ruin” with breeding, as there really is truth to some horses being “jump killers”. But an ok but not A+ jumping form stallion could be improved by an A+ jumping form mare from a line of A+ jumping form horses. That said, I’d never breed “down” in that area if I was looking to produce an A+ Hunter

It depends on how far off the mark the flaw is. Minor flaws can be corrected, or improved, but you might also get the same minor flaw. It depends on whose genetics win. But if, say, the offset knee is on a scale of 1-5, and you start with 5, you’re not going to get a 1, it will be somewhere in the middle, likely closer to one parent or the other.