Stallion selection

Most breeders are getting closer to selection stallion(s) for the upcoming season these days.

There is no right stallion selection method that is guaranteeing success. In fact some breeders have even had plenty of success despite the lack of any clearly defined method. In a Swedish breeders group on Facebook my partner posted a rather lengthy article that outlined some of the key points that should be considered. With permission I have rewritten that article slightly and also added a few things myself.

The first thing to consider is the broodmare. Different breeders (and different consultants) judge differently and weigh each point differently (the list is sorted alphabetically):

1 - Body type (size)
Is the broodmare of a more refined type or a bigger more coarse or bigger body type? If the latter is the case, is it desirable to find a stallion that will give the foal more refinement?

2 - Conformation
Do a realistic and critical evaluation of the broodmare. Some conformation issues are not necessary performance critical and some flaws may not even affect stallion selection but it is important to be realistic: regardless of how much you love your broodmare, be honest to yourself about any flaws!

3 - Gait
What kind of gait does the broodmare have? Is it problematic for her performance or not? In many cases this will not affect stallion selection.

4 - Speed/strength
Is the broodmare very speedy but lacks strength (a typical "miler") or the opposite?

5 - Talent
Was the broodmare herself a talent and early developed (natural talent) or not?

6 - Temperament
Does the broodmare have such terrible temper that it will affect stallion selection? Or is she so laid back that tougher stallion is desirable?

A very few breeders seem to skip this section altogether and go to directly to the point on "Pedigree pattern" in the "stallion selection" section below. While I firmly believe that the genetics is very important it is not the only aspect of stallion selection and ignoring it can be a very costly mistake.

I did not put it as a separate point but a few broodmares have fertility issues that restricts possible stallions.

When looking for a stallion the following points should be considered (in alphabetical order):

1 - Fees
Like it or not but the stallion fees must fit the breeder's wallet

2 - Generation interval
What is the resulting generation interval?

3 - Other
Were there any other aspects identified in the section "broodmare evaluation"

4 - Pedigree pattern
Is the resulting pedigree patterns a pattern that has worked before, or that is expected to be a good pattern?

5 - Saleability
If the foal is to be sold the commercial appeal of the stallion must be considered.

6 - Stallion conformation and gait
Will the stallion enhance the broodmare's best featuress and possibly corrected her flaws and weaknesses?

7 - Stallion statistics and performance
How has the stallion done at stud so far? How did he perform as a racehorse? Are existing stallion statistics representative?

8 - Talent
Can the foal be expected to be early developed (natural talent) or a foal that can be expected to need time to develop?

9 - Type
What is the combination of types? Can the foal be expected to need a lot of time to grow into its body?

Some of these points have already been written about in articles on this site and I have also written almost 20 articles on pedigree patterns that I will publish over the coming months, while articles on conformation and other aspects of breeding is also in the works. The purpose is to provide information and facts for breeders so they can take out of these articles what they feel is useful.

Breeding is not a mathematical equation and comes with no guarantees but there are several things a breeder can do to improve the chances of success. Making use of all available information should help breeders to improve the percentages of success.

Are you unsure about your stallion selection for your broodmare(s) this year? If you are looking for some professional input we are happy to list known individuals and organizations providing this service (listing does not constitute an endorsement)

Sophia Pedigrees for breeders in France, Scandinavia and North America. We can be e-mailed at

ASVT (The Swedish Standardbred Breeders' Association) for breeders in Sweden. They can be contacted at

Henrikki Halme (Classic Equine, Finland) for breeders in Finland. He can be contacted here at

Bas Schwarz (SW Racing & Productions) for breeders in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium. He can be contacted at

Marloes Harkema is the manager of Sophia Pedigrees and a pedigree researcher/analyst. She can be contacted at