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2nd Quarter 2024


TABLE OF CONTENTS

MEMBER PROFILE: Lance Clouse

AROUND THE WATER TROUGH

ART OF THE BRABANT

HEALTH & WELLNESS SECTION




MEMBER PROFILE: Lance Clouse



 





Our 2nd Quarter 2024 Members Meeting will be held April 15th at 8:00 p.m. EST. MJ Aylesworth of Spotted Ponie Therapies will be joining to provide equine emergency tips and tricks. Don't miss it!





 


HORSE ILLUSTRATED FEATURES THE EUROPEAN BRABANT

The April edition of Horse Illustrated recently hit the shelves and the European Brabant Registry of America scored a breed profile feature! On the cover is LowCountry Acres Floyd (REG# BS0009), owned by Brian & Kara Smith V0069 of Oklahoma. Little Floyd is chewing on the ear of his dam, Acorn Ridge Leah (REG# BS0005), owned by LowCountry Acres V0003 in South Carolina.


On the directory page and within the four-page "Breed Portrait" spread as a full-page image of imported blue roan stallion, Chris Uit Den Blommendaal (REG# EB0001), owned by All the King's Horses V0001 in Pennsylvania. Also within the article is Dea Martin of Big Wish Farm in Texas atop her mare, Bee. And on the very last page is filly Silver Meadow Havanera (REG# BS0007) owned by Dr. Hernando and Lisa Plata V0006 of Kentucky.


In total, the European Brabant "Breed Portrait" covers a whopping seven pages of this famous and widely distributed equestrian magazine. With over 200,000 readers nationwide from all disciplines of the equine world, getting this publication was a real feather in our caps!


Be sure to get your copies of the April 2024 edition of Horse Illustrated and get enough to share it with friends!





 

PRAYERS & SUPPORT FOR DR. HERNANDO PLATA

EBRA's dear friend, Founding Member, and Director Class III, Dr. Hernando Plata, DVM, has been an integral part of the European Brabant community and establishing this Registry. As a leading Theriogenololgist, he has advised and supported many of us when we've had troubles with sick foals, difficult mares and managing stallions. He's always lent us a hand, no matter the time of day. Now is the chance for us to return that kindness in his family's time of need. After receiving a challenging cancer diagnosis, Hernando is no longer able work and support his family by means of his private, single-vet practitioner business. We are asking for you to keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers during this challenging time. If you are able, please consider donating to his GoFundMe campaign to alleviate some of his financial stress, so that he may focus on healing.

 

BRABANT BULLETIN PODCAST

Did you know the EBRA has a podcast? Tune in to the Brabant Bulletin Podcast to hear draft horse centric content, Member's profiles and so much more. Simply search for the Brabant Bulletin in your preferred podcast app or click HERE. Don't miss out - SUBSCRIBE NOW!


EBRA WELCOMES JOE WORLEY AS PODCAST HOST

In an effort to raise the profile of the European Brabant draft horse and to promote the Registry, the Board of Directors voted to allocate advertising funds (capped $30 per month) toward the Brabant Bulletin Podcast in order to hire professional voice actor, Joe Worley. Joe is a disabled combat veteran who served as a Navy corpsman alongside Marines in the Battle of Fallujah, where his wounded. After recovering from his injuries, Joe began a career in commercial voiceover work. His talents typically earn him $350 per hour, but he has graciously offered to provide his services to the the EBRA at just $1 per minute. You can hear a sample of Joe's talents by tuning into the European Brabant breed history below.


HistoryPart1

HistoryPart2

The EBRA thanks Joe for his generosity and hopes to increase Joe's compensation by bringing on advertisers. Do you want to support the EBRA and Joe at the same time? You can! There are two ways you can help:


  • Become a podcast donor: For just $5 per episode, your support will go toward the research, development and production of podcast content and earn you a shout-out on your sponsored episode. You can donate any increment you like, be it $5, $25, $50, or $100.

  • Advertise your business or farm: EBRA will work with you to create a custom commercial spot, using Joe's talents of course, for your business or farm. Your ad will live on in perpetuity with the podcast episode(s) in which it's featured.

    • 30 Second Ad: $60 will include the ad development, voiceover recording and placement in one episode. Additional episode placements can be purchased for $5 per episode.

    • 60 Second Ad: $120 will include the ad development, voiceover recording and placement in one episode. Additional episode placements can be purchased for $10 per episode.


The Brabant Bulletin Podcast is just 1 of 13 equestrian-based podcasts amongst the current 4.3 million podcasts available, and we are 1 of just 2 draft horse related equine shows. With 80 million people tuning into podcasts in the USA, there’s a great opportunity for us to help you reach your target audience. Our audience has grown 250% on podcast apps in the last 30 days alone and we gain more listeners by the minute. Plus, our podcast is published on our EBRA YouTube channel where our 1.8 million viewers have tuned into a combined 34,000 hours of EBRA produced content.



To become a podcast donor or to advertise simply click on the button above or email info@europeanbrabant.com to get started today.


 

A Note From The Registrar

2023 was an exciting year for the EBRA, as we reached 150 registered horses!  We added 50 horses to the books over the year, including 22 foals born in 2023.  We had 53 members supporting our mission of preserving and promoting the European Brabant draft horse.  Not yet renewed for 2024?  Sign up HERE

 

Beyond the numbers, we had Breed Ambassadors traveling the country to spread the word, hosted the first EBRA Virtual Show, and expanded our reach to offer services to international Brabant owners who don't have a registry in their home country.  We look forward to seeing more growth in our herd book, programming, and member initiatives throughout 2024.  Be sure to join us for the adventure!


Board of Director Nominations! It's time to start thinking about elections for the EBRA Board of Directors this fall and nominations are now open. Board candidates must be a current EBRA Stakeholder Member owning at least one EBRA registered, purebred European Brabant horse or QM approved European Brabant Stock Mare. They should have a passion for the breed and desire to spread awareness and a positive message about the European Brabant. Board members attend quarterly meetings, help to chair EBRA committees, and provide insight and feedback on proposed policy updates.  If you, or someone you know, qualifies and would like to run for a Board of Directors position you can contact Rebecca Courtney at registrar@europeanbrabant.com for full details and a Nomination Form.


Be sure to check out the new "Talking Registry" segment on the Brabant Bulletin Podcast where I talk about all things EBRA with host, Stacy Pearsall.



 

2024 VIRTUAL HORSE SHOW SURVEY RESULTS

We asked, you responded!

We recently surveyed EBRA Members about what classes they would like to see offered for the 2024 Virtual Horse Show. Based on the survey results above, the Halter Class and Trail Class were the highest scoring disciplines. Coordination and planning for the 2024 Virtual Horse Show Series is now underway. If you would like to join the Show Committee, please email info@europeanbrabant.com.


 

EBRA IS ON YOUTUBE

The EBRA's YouTube Channel is growing like wildfire! Above, you can see that we've hit 11.5 million impressions, 1.8 million video views, and grew our subscribers by a whopping 123% in the last year alone. People want to see our horses and we want to help you get them seen too! If you have videos on your phone or computer, share them with us. They can be anything from the mundane happy-snap-type videos to the informative and educational.


 


REEVALUATING THE EVALUATION SYSTEM

For the last several weeks, Evaluation Committee Chair, Olga Pushkareva, has been reevaluating the EBRA's Breed Standard Evaluation system. Proposed plans to overhaul and improve the process were submitted to the Board of Directors, who voted to enact the changes. These changes will not only improve evaluation result times, but minimize expense for horse owners.


Here's what you need to know about the new and improved Breed Standard Evaluations:

  • "Breed Up" and Qualified Mare Breed Standard Evaluation application fees have been lowered from $100 to $25 for EBRA Members.

  • Evaluators will now be comprised of Stakeholder Members who are formally trained in European Brabant breed standards, conformation, soundness and movement.

    • NOTE: An evaluator must recuse themselves from the evaluation process if they have owned, or are the breeder of, or have a stake in the horse applicant.

  • An applicant has ninety (90) days to contest the Evaluation Committee’s ruling. If the applicant formally contests the ruling, they have an option for a re-evaluation of the initial submission by a third-party expert evaluator at the Owner’s expense.

    • NOTE: A third-party expert evaluator is an individual with extensive, widely recognized experience with the European Brabant breed, such as one of the breed contest judges from Belgium and The Netherlands. 


 

VOTE PASSES TO CHANGE STAKEHOLDER QUALIFICATIONS

A recent Stakeholder Member vote was passed to change the qualifications for Stakeholder (voting) Members. Check out the new guidance below.

  • OLD POLICY: Member must own at least one (purebred) registered European Brabant Studbook horse, and be a resident of North, Central or South America, to qualify for the Stakeholder designation. Whether Single or Farm Level Members, Stakeholders are permitted one vote at all EBRA general meetings per Membership and they are eligible to run for Board of Directors and Committee positions. 

  • NEW POLICY:  Member must own at least one (purebred) registered European Brabant Studbook horse or registered European Brabant Stock Studbook approved Qualified Mare (QM), and be a resident of North, Central or South America, to qualify for the Stakeholder designation. Whether Single or Farm Level Members, Stakeholders are permitted one vote at all EBRA general meetings per Membership and they are eligible to run for Board of Directors and Committee positions. 



 

FRESHLY BAKED IDEAS

EBRA Member Melissa Mol-Pelton is "rolling out" a freshly baked, and truly genius, idea. She has coordinated with a wood working artisan to create a custom EBRA rolling pin, which she hopes to have ready for you all to order later this summer! According to Melissa, the design still isn't quiet right but they will continue to "tweak the recipe" until it's perfect. More to come!


 

WELCOME THE EBRA'S NEWEST ADVISORS

Please join us in welcoming the EBRA’s newest Advisory Board additions: Abi Rowlands from the UK, Hani Gasser from Canada, Maura Freshour from Minnesota, Melissa Beagle from New Mexico, and Melissa Mol-Pelton from Connecticut.


Hani Gasser

Hani, an Agriculture College graduate and trained saddle smith, started his career working border collies, logging with horses and milking sheep in Ireland and Wales. Upon meeting his wife and fellow dog trainer, Tessa, they married and moved to the Swiss Alps, where they continued working dogs and learned to make cow's cheese. After adding three children to their family, Hani and Tessa moved their family from Switzerland  to British Columbia, Canada, where they started farming beef cattle and dairy sheep. After much success producing sheep dairy products over the years, Hani and his family moved once more onto a 535 acres farm where they became a certified organic cattle and sheep operation. In 2019, they imported there Ardennes draft horses and began their purebred Ardennes breeding program. In addition to working the farm and breeding, their Ardennes horses are being trained to participate in logging agility courses. Hani's knowledge of logging, importing, training, and breeding of Ardennes draft horses provides a unique perspective to the European Brabant Registry of America's Advisory Committee.

Melissa Mol-Pelton

Melissa is a graduate of the Yale University School of Medicine and is an orthopedic physician assistant with over 20 years of experience. She presently resides on a farm Connecticut with her husband, Geert, and two European Brabant mares, Adagio and Acadia. Her exceptional ability to collaborate with teams, communicate effectively with others and reach people on a personal level are assets she brings to the European Brabant Registry of America's Advisory Committee. Her family has a historic connection to the breed, which makes Melissa's love and advocacy for them all-the-more special. 

Melissa Beagle

New Mexico business woman, Melissa Beagle, attended Middle Tennessee State University before transferring and graduating from West Texas A&M University with a bachelors in Agriculture Education. Together with her family, Melissa owns and operates WASA Outfitters, which guides people on fair chase hunts throughout New Mexico and surrounding states. Many of the backcountry hunts require horse and mule power to carry hunters in and game out. This led to Melissa establishing a breeding program that now includes European Brabant draft horses. Her full drafts, draft crosses, and mules are level-headed, honest, hard working ranch hands when they're not trekking the backcountry during hunts. Melissa sits on the Advisory Committee and provides insights on the special needs of backcountry horsemen and draft cross breeders. 

Maura Freshour

Maura holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota with a dual concentration in clinical practice and families and children. She is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker, who is passionate about working with children, families, and adults through various challenges and developmental stages. When not at her Minnesota-based practice, she can be found astride one of her many European Brabants in the hunter jumper arena across the midwest. Maura is an active European Brabant Registry of America Ambassador where she shows and shares her horses at regional events. She currently sits on the Advisory Committee and supports her father, Tim Gunter's, purebred European Brabant breeding program at Jack Creek Farms in Georgia.

Abi Rowlands

Abi is a Software Analyst from Wales, UK. She holds a degree in Genetics & Biochemistry which she utilizes in her passion for the European Brabant. She is very knowledgeable in the area of horse genetics, has taken lessons in working draft horses, and is currently learning all she can regarding horse communication to better herself and her horsemanship. She currently sits on the European Brabant Registry of America’s Advisory Committee, and hopes to help expand the registry’s reach outside of North America.


 



PAINTINGS & PHOTOGRAPHY OF TON VAN DER WEERDEN

Watch this incredible interview with renown artist, equestrian, and EBRA Advisor, Ton van der Weerden, of the Netherlands. He is a passionate painter and photographer who specializes in equine art, particularly the European Brabant who he says, "Is an inexhaustible source of inspiration to continue photographing and painting." Ton is the co-author of Het Trekpaard and his horse art is sold around the globe. 



 

WEARABLE ART

Hats off to EBRA Member, Stacy Pearsall, for her artful creations. Most artists use paper or canvas, but Stacy hand draws her designs onto felt fedora, cowboy, and aussie hats by using a fine pointed burn tool. Some are then chosen to be hand-painted after the burning process. All of them receive a custom, handmade hatband and are weather sealed. Above, you can see a one-of-a-kind commissioned piece made from "Logging with Horses" owner, and EBRA Member, Dehan Courtney. Featured on the large-brimmed brown fedora is a pair of European Brabants pulling a log through the woods. Metallic paint highlights the tiniest of details which glimmer and shine in the sun - truly a piece of wearable art. The hat is finished with hand-spun yard made of alpaca, sheen and horse hair from a European Brabant.



 



STALLION SELECTION



It’s that time once again Brabanters; it’s breeding season. The days are getting longer, horses are shedding, and mares are coming into estrus. Perhaps you’ve already started casually scrolling through Facebook or Stallionsnow.com for your mare’s next match. Or maybe you’ve already swiped-right on a few. But before you settle on a stud, here are a few things to think about. 


First of all, take a long, hard, honest look at your mare. Ask yourself what you like about her, and then think about what you don’t — be critical. If you’re too biased and love-blind to see your horse’s faults, you can always ask a fellow Brabanter to assess her for you. 


Here are a few things assess her for:

  • Temperament

  • Confirmation

  • Trainability

  • Work Ethic

  • Soundness

  • Health


Once you narrowed down her shortcomings, you can start shopping for a stallion who will offset those. And listen, the stallion may have a fault here or there too. No animal is 100% perfect. The goal is to find a match that hopefully balances out through the offspring. 



Now, let’s talk about pedigree. The European Brabant breed is tiny and if you’re going for a high percentage or purebred offspring, your options are limited. With that said, it’s important to look for the inbreeding coefficient - that’s the number of common ancestors the two horses share in their bloodlines. Naturally, you want to avoid incestuous breedings, which means you shouldn’t breed your mare to her brother, sire or grandsire and so on. Geneticists suggest trying to keep the inbreeding below 5%, and to consider sacrificing a bit of “type” for the sake of preserving genomic health within our breed.


If your mare is registered with the European Brabant Registry of America, you can quickly check the inbreeding coefficient using the Grassroots system. Simply visit europeanbrabant.com and under the Registry tab you will see “online registry.” Click that tab and it will take you to Grassroots, where you can log in and use the “Test a Mating” feature. This allows you to pick a stallion within our Registry and see if they’re related and if so, how closely.  


If the Brabant stallion you’re considering isn’t registered with the EBRA, don’t despair. You can always hand-jam your mare’s pedigree and the stallion’s pedigree into an inbreeding calculator online. The University of Montreal has one for horses online that you can use. Click HERE.


So, speaking of stallion registration. The European Brabant is special, beautiful, colorful and people are naturally crazy about them. We are too right? But this craze has sparked some unscrupulous stallion owners to make false claims about their horse’s heritage. Some folks with grade stallions who have a draft-type body and roan coloring are passed off as being “Brabants” but there’s no documentation to prove that claim. Listen, I’m not saying there isn’t a chance that somewhere in the breeding is a Brabant, but how do you really know?


Therefore, we want you to be cautious about horses who are not registered and verified. I’m going to go a step further and say that even if the stallion is registered with the Belgian Draft Horse Corporation of America or the American Brabant Association may not be a fully purebred European Brabant. 


For instance, prior to the BDHCA closing their registry to imports they recognized Brabants into their studbook. These horses were crossed with American Belgians or crossed with other recently-imported progeny. To know a stallion's percentage of Brabant in this instance, you have to do some pedigree tracing. The same goes for the American Brabant. 


The American Brabant is a new  American draft horse breed that is different from say our Tier 1 Registered purebred European Brabants - and their brethren living in Belgium and the Netherlands. American Brabant, Book 1, stallions may only have as little as 25% European Brabant bloodlines, so you have to do your homework. 

The ABA’s emphasis is on developing a pre-WWI workhorse phenotype, rather than breed preservation like us at the EBRA. It’s also important to know that the ABA’s Book 1 registered horses are derived from a variety of crossbreeds to include Percheron, Suffolk Punch, American Belgian and German Rhenish. We are not here to dissuade you from breeding to an American Brabant stallion, but if your goal is to have a high-percentage offspring, you will have to be aware of the American Brabant stallion’s verifiable European Brabant heritage. 


One other thing to note here is that the ABA considers the German Rhenish Coldblood breed to be 100%. While the German Rhenish is a Brabant heritage breed, the EBRA does not automatically recognize these horses as 100% without additional pedigree verification. If you’re considering a BDHCA or ABA stallion as your next sire and you want help calculating their European Brabant heritage, we can help you! Simply email Rebecca at registrar@europeanbrabant.com. No matter what, request a copy of the stallion’s registration form, so you can submit that to the EBRA when applying for your offspring’s EBRA registration


Now let’s turn our attention to offspring. As you narrow down your list of potential sires, be sure to ask yourself what they will be used for. Are you aiming to breed a horse for a particular discipline? If you’re going to keep the offspring for riding or driving, consider the stud’s athleticism, nature, and work-ability. Are you hoping for a shorter horse? Consider your mare’s size and that of the stallions. Perhaps you’re trying to “breed-up” your European Brabant to a higher percentage. If that’s the case, then you need to look for a stallion whose heritage is greater than 93.75%, or 15/16 verifiable European Brabant heritage. 



If you’re breeding for a certain discipline, then it’s important to see what the stallion’s capabilities are. Confirmation photos of a stallion are nice, but they don’t provide a full picture of his physicality. When possible, go see the stallion in person. Watch him in action. See what his temperament is like in-hand, under saddle or in harness. If you can’t go see him, ask the stallion owner for videos of him moving and/or working. Talk to other people who have seen him in person and ask for their thoughts, both positive and negative. Speak to people who have bred to him before and see what kind of offspring he produces. 


It’s okay to ask the stallion owner lots of questions. Ask about his health, soundness, temperament, work history and the like. You should also ask about genetic testing. For example, does he have a DNA profile on hand and has he been tested for JEB and PSSM1? All EBRA, BDHCA and ABA registered stallions should have a negative JEB test, and most have a PSSM1 test result on file. But unregistered stallions may not. If the answer is no, ask the stallion owner if they will provide you with some pulled mane hair for testing that you can send it to a lab for analysis or if they are willing to do the testing themselves ahead of breed contract agreements. 


For one, a stallion’s genetics directly impact their offspring. JEB and PSSM1 can be passed onto their foals. If the resulting offspring of your mare and stallion pairing is a colt, who is positive for JEB, it’s highly likely they will be disqualified as a future breeding stallion within the EBRA, BDHCA and ABA. Each registry has a set genetic health standard requirement, but studs with JEB are universally disqualified. 


Given the prevalence of PSSM1 in all draft horse breeds, the EBRA does not disqualify carriers from the breeding pool. If you aren’t familiar with PSSM1, you can always read our comprehensive blog. Click HERE to read, “Understanding PSSM in Brabants.” 


Most draft horses with PSSM1 are asymptomatic and with proper diet and exercise, they live long, happy lives. According to research, this gene is believed to have developed several hundred years ago, and Dr. Beth Valentine suggests the trait was sought after by farmers and selectively bred in draft horses. Where PSSM1 may factor into your stallion choice is when you’re crossing a light horse with a draft horse who is a PSSM1 carrier. These draft-cross offspring who inherit PSSM1 have the potential, not a guarantee mind you but the potential, to develop PSSM1 related symptoms due to their light horse heritage. However, if you're covering a draft mare with a draft stallion, don’t get too hung up on PSSM1. In the end, whether breeding for a full draft or half draft, PSSM1 can be managed - again, check out our blog and watch our PSSM clinic by Dr. Beth Valentine.


Another genetic test you may be interested in is color. If you’re breeding for a certain color, say blue roan, solid bay, or black, knowing your mare’s color factors is the step - that includes a base coat color test and roan zygosity test if they’re roan. The EBRA offers a spectrum of color tests through UC Davis, so be sure to check those out. In order to definitively calculate the probability of color outcomes of offspring, you’ll need the stallion’s color test results too. 


If one, or neither, are color tested, let me give you a little cheat-sheet while you wait for test results. According to Animal Genetics Lab, a bay roan and blue roan pairing will result in a bay roan foal 52.73% of the time, and there’s just a 17.58% chance the foal will be solid bay or blue roan. These outcomes are based on unknown red-factors, agouti extensions and roan genes. Now where genetic testing helps narrow down the outcomes is knowing for certain the horse’s basecoat colors and roan factors. We have a great write up on color genetics on the blog if you want to dive in more! I know, I keep harping on our blog, but it’s full of great information so I can’t help it. 


Now here’s where I take a moment to say color is great, but the EBRA suggests that you don’t sacrifice confirmation and pedigree for color. There are some incredible stallions out there with unique bloodlines, who may not be the color you desire. Please don’t overlook them for the sake of color. 


Okay, let’s talk about fertility. Your mare’s reproductive abilities are going to be the biggest factor in whether you can get her bred and settled. That said, the stallion can influence your odds too. Assuming your mare is healthy and ready for breeding, let’s focus on the stallion’s fertility. Find out as much as you can about a sire’s previous fertility record and pregnancy rates. One sure fire way to determine a stallion’s virility is to ask what percentage of mares covered per season have actually settled in foal. 

If the stallion is a youngster with a short breeding history, you can always ask the stallion owner if his semen has ever been analyzed for concentration, motility, progressive motility and morphology.


The gold standard for freshly collected sperm motility for breeding stallions is 65% and 50% of those sperm should be progressively motile. However, each stallion may vary slightly, so don’t dismiss a stallion whose numbers fall below industry standards. There may have been one reason or another why his numbers weren’t stellar on the day of testing such as stress, diet, over-teasing, etc. There are examples of European Brabant stallions with motility rates that fall below the industry average, who still have a 100% pregnancy track record. The analysis just lets you know that he’s got something mare owners can work with if you know I mean! 


Cooled and frozen semen numbers are different and the follow on article below will share the ins and outs cooled and frozen semen, so be sure to read that.


At any rate, you should familiarize yourself with breeding terminology if you aren’t already well-versed in the topic. That way you can fully understand what the stallion owner is talking about, what questions you need to ask and what the breeding contract is saying. 


So now that I’ve mentioned contracts, let’s dive into breeding agreements. You should always have something in writing with the stallion owner. Agreements help both parties understand what’s being offered and what’s not. It leaves no room for interpretation and alleviates potential conflict down the road, should something go sideways. 

A good stallion agreement should, at a minimum, include the following information:


  • The parties of the contract, i.e. the owners of the mare and stallion. This section should include the address and phone number for each party.

  • The breeding stallion should be clearly identified with any information available, including a registration name and number.

  • The location of the stallion should also be identified.

  • There should be a guarantee of a breeding certificate, which verifies your mare was bred and when. 

  • If the breeding contract is designed for one particular mare, the mare’s information should also be identified to include their registered name and registration number.

  • If the stallion is covering multiple mares, those mares should be listed along with their registration information if applicable.

  • All fees should be included within the contract, including mare care, vet fees, and farrier fees. These are typically the responsibility of the mare owner.

  • When a broodmare is stabled at the stallion owner’s facility, disputes sometimes arise when management arranges for the mare to receive professional services such as veterinary or farrier attention. Mare owners can request a contract that stipulates advance notice and an opportunity for the mare owner to consent to such services (except, possibly, in emergency situations when the mare owner can’t be reached). Or, if the mare owner does not approve certain procedures, such as invasive testing, he or she can insist that the contract specify that no permission is granted for specified services. By comparison, stallion managers handling visiting mares often prefer language within the breeding contract giving broad authorization to arrange for routine or emergency professional services at their discretion, such as inoculation, reproductive examinations, hoof trimming or others.

  • Most breeding contracts contain a “live foal” guarantee. Any such guarantees should be included and clarified in the contract. Some shipped cooled semen come with such guarantees, but some don’t. Most frozen semen breedings do not. That’s why this item is important to have on the contract. 

  • The contract should include the type of breeding, whether live cover or artificial insemination using cooled or frozen semen.

  • It should also include the time of breeding and an expiration date. Basically this item states that this breeding contract is good for this year’s breeding season only. If the case of frozen semen, the stallion owner may outline that the semen is for covering one mare with no expiration - that sort of thing.

  • A contract should identify a mare owner’s right to rebreed. Allowance and circumstances concerning selling a breeding to a third party should be addressed. This is important for those who are purchasing frozen semen. Let’s say the contract was for covering of a particular mare, and the mare passes away unexpectedly, the mare owner would have the right to transfer that breeding to another mare, or to sell their dose to another mare owner. 

  • The breeding contract can specify whether or not and when the mare owner is entitled to receive a partial or full refund. For example, the mare owner might only have one mare to breed. If something happens to the mare before the breeding takes place, a refund would be far more important than an option to breed with a substitute mare. Conversely, if the mare owner is interested in the genetic match between the mare and a specific stallion, should that stallion die or become infertile before the breeding can take place, a refund would be far more important than the stallion owner’s right to select a substitute stallion to fulfill the contract. Mare owners who seek to fulfill re-breeding rights under the breeding contract are sometimes surprised to learn that they are expected to pay additional booking fees. To avoid misunderstandings on the issue, mare owners should look for how the contract defines re-breeding rights.


Other important aspects of a good breeding contract include liability waivers, lien/security interest, equine activity liability act, and jurisdiction/venue. It’s important to keep in mind that equine law varies from state to state. Often in live cover breeding situations, the jurisdiction will fall under the state in which the stallion is standing at stud.


If some of that legalease went right over your head, let me take a moment to explain a few of these terminologies. 


Lien security interest is a provision that will give the stallion or farm owner a lien and security interest in the mare and resulting foal for any unpaid breeding fees, mare care, veterinarian or farrier bills. This protects the stallion owner or farm owner if the mare owner doesn't pay. 


An Equine Activity Liability Act line item may be included because the breeding contract also serves as a boarding agreement in live cover situations where you drop your mare at the stallion owner’s farm for breeding. 


Finally a jurisdiction venue clause is a provision stating that local jurisdiction and venue are required if a lawsuit is brought after a dispute. Similarly, the stallion owner should provide that his or her home state's law applies to any disputes.


Be aware mare owners! You should only enter into contracts with someone who has authority over the stallion. Never accept a contract signed by an employee or agent unless you have first confirmed that the party presenting the contract and signing it has authority to do so. If the stallion is managed by someone other than its owner, the contract should specify that the manager has authority to transact business on behalf of the owner and, of course, execute contracts. And unless a farm name is a true legal entity (such as a corporation or limited liability company), it should not be named as a party to contract.


The contract can include a clause stating that the party signing the contract on behalf of an entity (such as a partnership, corporation or LLC) is duly authorized to do so and to bind the entity to the terms of the contract. This issue has actually come up in litigation over the years.


The stallion’s availability during the breeding months is critical: Some stallions maintain showing schedules while advertised to the public for breeding. For breedings requiring timely access to the stallion – breeding with fresh semen via live cover or artificial insemination, or cooled shipped semen (as opposed to frozen semen that can be stored for shipment) – the contract should specify a range of months in which the stallion is available.


Remember, as I said before, The health of the stallion is vitally important, as it can directly affect the health of the mare, her offspring and even the mare owner’s farm. The breeding contract should certify that the stallion is in good health and whether or not, for example, he is a carrier of diseases such as equine viral arteritis (EVA) and sexually transmitted diseases like equine metritis. Mare owners might want assurances within the breeding contract that the stallion has been tested for any or all of these and that they require health certificates on other mares who are coming in for breeding. 

It’s a lot to mull over, but I hope this episode has helped you some.


If you still have burning questions, we’re here to help. Simply email us at info@europeanbrabant.com and we’ll do our best to guide you.