Surrogate Mares

I have made several posts in the past regarding my young warmblood filly whom was diagnosed with a bone lesion on her C6/7 vertebrae. We have done extensive diagnostics and treatment in hopes of making her a sound, rideable, competitive show horse one day. She will be turning 4 in April.

I’m trying to prepare for the worst at it has been gut-wrenching playing the waiting game. This was my first horse I’ve ever purchased (after coming off of MANY leases) and she is my world. We are due to start training back in April after her fourth birthday, and in the case we cannot keep her sound, I am looking for options. One of those, being an ET surrogate.

I’m not too familiar with the process as I’ve never been interested in breeding, and I don’t believe my mare is worthy of conceiving her own (decent breeding and movement, but no performance record). I unfortunately cannot afford to keep her as a pet and have an additional competition horse, as sad as that is, as she is only four. I would be willing to vet her and have a breeding soundness exam done to rule out any potential issues. That being said, would she qualify as an ET surrogate, being only 4 and maiden? Would breeders be interested in using her for a breeding lease? I’m interested in what COTH has to say regarding this topic as I am quite uneducated in the world of horse breeding!

Feel free to tell me if this is also a terrible idea and what (if any) my other options would be. Thanks in advance.

Being a maiden mare would likely make her less attractive to private breeders. The other issue is the timing. You state she is “your world.” There are quite a few large Repro centers that lease out their mares. Sadly, though it is not unusual for them to be disposed of at livestock auctions if the mares have breeding/foaling problems or if there is insufficient demand. I know that is not what you would want for your mare. Wishing you the best of luck in returning her to a level of comfort where she might be suitable for at least light riding

1 Like

Carrying a foal is not easy, and is more difficult for a mare with certain conformation faults or medical issues. I am perplexed by the “she is my world” comment, followed by “I unfortunately cannot afford to keep her as a pet because I have another competition horse”.

I don’t think that the surrogate route is a good option for your mare. MHO. Most people want a surrogate that has been there done that, has proven to be easy to cycle and catch and is known to be a good mother.

I’m sure someone here will have an opinion on the wisdom of a lease. If the mare was “my world” I wouldn’t do it. @turf_sport explains why.

Good luck. Perhaps she’ll be sound again and you won’t have to make the tough decisions.


That’s a misquote.

OP. I get that. If she is unsound and cannot have a second career/placement it is a very tough position to be in if she could live 25 more years as a pasture ornament but doing so would preclude having a competition partner. There are areas of the country where pasture board can be very economical but the further she is from home, the more risk is involved. It also doesn’t stop $$ vet bills and other expenses that inevitably arise.

Free leasing her as a companion could be a viable option although quality companion homes are challenging to find and she would likely cycle through many over her lifespan. It is atypical for someone to have the desire to absorb the expense of a companion for 20 years. They typically come and go as people acquire additonal horses, transition to boarding, etc.

Personally, I do not think euthanasia is an unkind option for any horse in any situation. They have no concept of the future. I hope she is able to stay sound in work. Even if a true performance career is not feasible, there is always a market for an easy going trail type with great ground manners.