• horse;
  • reproductive efficiency;
  • mare;
  • profitability;
  • Thoroughbred;
  • production records


Reason for performing study: There have been no studies reporting the impact of reproductive efficiency and mare financial value on economic returns.

Objective: To explore the economic consequences of differences in reproductive efficiency over time in the Thoroughbred mare.

Methods: Complete production records for 1176 mares were obtained. Production history and drift in foaling date were calculated. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify factors influencing the probability of producing a registered foal in 2005. The ‘net present value’ and ‘internal rate of return’ were calculated for economic scenarios involving different initial mare financial values, levels of reproductive efficiency, and durations of investment.

Results: Among mares that did not produce a foal every year (63%), the mean time before failing to produce a registered foal was 3.4 years. The majority of mares drifted later in their foaling dates in subsequent foaling seasons. Increasing mare age, foaling after 1st April, needing to be mated multiple times during the season, and producing a lower number of foals in continuous sequence during previous years decreased the probability of producing a registered foal. Over a 7 year investment period, live foals must be produced in all but one year to yield a positive financial return. Profitability was highest among mares of greatest financial value.

Conclusions: Mares are long-term investments due to the extended period before there is a return on the investment. Improving our understanding of mare, stallion and management factors that affect the likelihood of producing a live foal are critical to ensuring a positive financial return. Additional work is needed to test the robustness of the study's conclusions when the cost and revenue assumptions are varied.

Potential relevance: This information can assist in assessing mare profitability and developing management strategies to maximise profitability.