After experiencing this natural wonder for a number of years, and having received a lot of advice from various experienced breeders, it might be time to share something about it yourself. Many matings and births further, where our choice was to form a group with a pre-selected number of quality mares older than 3 years, who are suitable to complete a pregnancy and a birth, and who contribute to the maintenance of this special and unique horse breed, with healthy and proportionately well-built offspring.
The inbreeding coefficient initially plays a leading role here. So every possible match must be researched in advance with the aim of avoiding any form of inbreeding, or aiming for the lowest possible percentage of inbreeding.
It goes without saying that inbreeding weakens an animal breed and can cause negative health problems of any kind, internally and externally. The checking of the inbreeding coefficient is done by the European Falabella Studbook on request before mating.
Inbreeding literally means the mating of individuals that are more closely related than the average relationship in a population. When a stallion and a mare are related, the foal from that combination is inbred. The degree of inbreeding is reflected in the inbreeding coefficient . To calculate the inbreeding coefficient, pedigree data are required up to at least the 6th generation.
The European Falabella Studbook is also it only studbook in the world , which also has all the DNAs of the registered horses.
The inbreeding percentage has been shown for several years on the registration certificate of every 100% pure Falabella, and is indicated with a percentage after the decimal point.
0.25 ….. 25% incest
0.125… 12.5% close inbreeding
0.05 … 5% moderate inbreeding
< 0.05……. < 5% low inbreeding
An inbreeding coefficient of < 0.05 low inbreeding is generally considered acceptable.
Stallion of a Falabella mare is already visible from the 1st year. Because we have Falabella stallions at our location, this is almost always immediately and clearly visible. The group of mares makes daily trips along the stallion paddocks, and the interest of both parties is unmistakable at those times.
The young mares flirt, and flem through the gate to the stallion, discovering the effect they have on the male sex. Within the European Falabella Studbook, mares may only be fertilized from their 3rd year of life. They are then sufficiently grown to be able to carry a pregnancy to term. However, my experience shows that most 3-year-olds do not become pregnant yet, whereby I indicate that they are not in a herd relationship (with stallions) with us. Young goats and kids separated!
To be able to calculate the date of birth, I choose to cover “out of hand”. The stallion is only brought to the mare when the stallion is there. The stallion of a Falabella mare consists of a cycle of 21 days. As the temperature rises in spring March/April/May towards summer, this cycle will be visible every 21 days. In autumn the cycle will be less frequent, and even disappear in winter. However, this differs per mare, some mares keep their cycle all year round.
The stallion's sperm remains alive for 48 hours, and the strongest sperm will make its way to the egg in the mare's fallopian tube. When fertilization has taken place, the fetus will nestle in the uterus within 10 days. When mating is done “out of hand”, I start with the mating on the 16th day, and repeat it on the 18th and 20th day. If the mare is receptive, she will also allow this and present herself to the stallion. If the timing is wrong, she will stall the stallion and want to get away from it.
When living in a herd, including a stallion, the stallion knows how to pick his moment flawlessly.
If this natural form is chosen, the mating date is out of the picture, matings usually take place at times when the supervisor is not in the picture, monitoring a herd is an art even for the experienced breeder.
Why do we want to monitor the breeding date so much? To be able to approach the date of birth and to be present at the birth. Every birth of a Falabella foal involves risks, some mares time after time without any problems, but always prepare to anticipate when a birth does not go smoothly. The Falabella breed is not known for its problem-free deliveries. Small mares are inherently risky, the conformation and the birth canal are small, the genetic material of both parents in future foal size is unpredictable.
There are polite stallions, there are inexperienced stallions, there are willing mares, and there are playful mares, the moment of covering is always exciting and not entirely risk-free for both the mare and the stallion.
As you get to know your own horses better, you will also get to know their behavior in this area. It is the breeder who decides when to bring the mare and stallion together and to ensure that the breeding process is as friendly as possible for both animals.
Pregnancy can be determined in 2 ways, the slow route or the fast route. What I choose is the slow route. The mare no longer shows any heat, and that is the clearest signal for me. Because I can't contain my curiosity, I still go to the equine clinic for an ultrasound after 5 months. This takes place on the outside of the abdominal wall and is completely harmless, just like the ultrasound of a human fetus.
The fast route is a scan that can be performed on the 17th day after the breeding date. A scan (tube) camera is inserted rectally to look for the fetus in the uterus. Most Falabella breeders refrain from this, it is stressful and stressful for the mare, it is narrow and small, so you run the risk of damage. An experienced (small) horse vet with small hands is the most appropriate person for this, but there are not many of these around.
Yet I also receive messages from breeders who, despite a negative scan, were pleasantly surprised with the birth of a foal. Similarly, that an early miscarriage has occurred, unnoticed or noticed. Nature cannot always be forced, patience and dedication is a desirable quality for breeding Falabella foals.
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