what is a foundation mare

Q.I keep hearing about the term “foundation mare” and I seem to have one, but I have no idea what it means. Could you please educate me? Thank you!

—Rebecca Jacoby, via e-mail

A.The term “foundation mare” has many meanings to various people.

One way it is is used is to describe the original group of horses that started a breed. Some registries even recognize these horses with the term “Foundation” on their registration papers.

Another way people use the term—and currently used most commonly—is to describe horses with ancestry tracing back to the original horses that started a breed. The goal is to continue breeding the lineage of horses that originally created a breed. For example, in Quarter Horses, some of the original foundation bloodlines would be Driftwood, Clabber, Joe Hancock, Leo, Lucky Blanton, Three Bars, Poco Bueno, Old Sorrel, and King, to mention a few. Many of the mares considered to be foundation-bred would have many of these stallions listed in their pedigrees.

Finally, the term foundation could be used to describe mares that established an individual’s or breeding farm’s program. This mare was the foundation that their future generations of horses originate from.