Foaling season has begun, and soon the paddocks will be dotted with foals, each holding the aspirations and expectations of its breeder–a literal field of dreams. Preparation for this moment began more than the 11 months ago the mating took place, and the movement of the season toward spring means that breeders are making arrangements to take their mares to the breeding shed for next year’s foal crop.

One of the first steps in this often arduous journey is to find the suitable stallion for the mare, taking into consideration conformation, pedigree, and the stud fee. After studying the available stallions and finding the right mate for the mare, the time has arrived to negotiate a breeding contract. With the escalating cost of stud fees, especially to secure the services of a top stallion whose popularity will help increase the probability of success either in the sales ring or in the chosen performance discipline, an option for some breeders is to consider a foal sharing arrangement.

Foal sharing, by definition, is an agreement under which a mare owner puts up the use of a mare while the stallion owner puts up the use of a season. Together, the two partners own the resulting foal with no currency having changed hands for a stud fee or lease of the mare. The practice has been a fairly common one in the horse industry.

There are several types of foal sharing agreements and, of course, variations of those types. The most usual foal sharing agreement stipulates that the owner of the mare and the owner of the stallion season will share ownership of the offspring. Usually, the foal is sold at some future time, with the two owners splitting the profit.