Motherly Influence

I has only been in more recent decades that horse breeders recognize what a great influence the mare has on creating a superior foal. Greater even, than the stallion, some would argue. Obviously, the foal receives 50 percent of it’s genetic information from both the stallion and the mare, but more emphasis and attention, traditionally, has been credited to the stallion choice in regard to the foal’s inherited traits. Because stallions typically produce far more offspring for consideration than individual mares, there is a greater percentage of evidence to ascribe to a stallion in a given lifetime. Conformation, athletic ability, disposition, and lineage are all strongly evaluated when breeding horses; many of these traits have been more heavily attributed to the stallion’s accomplishments and physique. It is the mare, however, who spends far more time influencing the behaviors, disposition, and social experiences of the foal in addition to the genetic contributions. This extended contact impacts the success and attitude her offspring. This fact, specifically, relates to horses bred, born, and raised wild. It is the mare that teaches the foal, through longterm, constant contact, what successful horse behavior looks like. Quality stallions contribute good genes and quality mares contribute good genes and raise quality foals.

wild horse photography portrait of a mare and her foal
This mother and filly paused to consider my presence which gave me an opportunity to take a casual portrait.
wild horse photography of a mare and filly showing social dominance
A young filly takes a dominance cue from her mother toward another mare.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.