While total conception rates are no less with pasture breeding, most mare owners require specific breeding dates so that expected foaling dates can be accurately calculated. Some breed registries, most notably The Jockey Club, require natural cover. In addition to requirements imposed by registries, some managers prefer natural service because of lower investments in labor and equipment. Conversely, natural matings can be more dangerous because of the differences in mares’ acceptance to a stallion and the stallion’s conduct around them. Additionally, natural matings can also spread infectious diseases that move from horse to horse by physical contact.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Pasture Breeding
- Low maintenance.
- Can teach problem stallion manners.
- Risk of injury to mare or stallion.
- Difficult to add mares to group – stallion may not accept.
- Unknown breeding dates.
Kathy Anderson, Extension Horse Specialist, University of Nebraska