Breeding Contracts: Read the Fine Print

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Spring — a time for new beginnings and unrealized potential — might be the most enjoyable season of the year for a mare owner. The sight of a healthy foal romping with its dam in the field can easily push aside memories of the endless hours of hard work that got you to that point, at least until it is time to start again.


An essential, but sometimes overlooked, part of the breeding process is the contract used to finalize the mating of your mare with a selected stallion. After putting in a substantial amount of time and effort picking a stallion, then getting an initial commitment from the stallion manager, it is tempting simply to give the breeding contract a cursory reading, sign it, and drop the document in the mail.


Haste often truly makes waste in situations like these, however, and time spent familiarizing yourself with the terms of the contract before you sign will be well spent. The intent of this article is to present to you as a mare owner an overview of some, but certainly not all, of the important provisions and concepts you might encounter in a breeding contract. However, this article should not be a substitute for review of the breeding contract by an attorney (preferably one with expertise in equine matters)

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Milt Toby was an author and attorney who wrote about horses and legal issues affecting the equine industry for more than 40 years. Former Chair of the Kentucky Bar Association’s Equine Law Section, Toby wrote 10 nonfiction books, including national award winners Dancer’s Image and Noor. You can read more about him at TheHorse.com/1122392.

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