12/09/2013 11:11AM

Slight decline of mares bred in England and Ireland

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The number of mares in the Great Britain and Ireland covered by registered stallions, as well as those countries’ broodmare populations, fell slightly in 2013, according to the Weatherbys Return of Mares.

The Return of Mares data also showed that the rate of decline in both categories slowed compared to the changes between 2011 and 2012. The figures were originally reported in Racing Post.

A total of 6,732 mares were covered in Great Britain and Ireland during the most recently concluded breeding season, down 2.7 percent from 2012. In the previous Return of Mares, that figure fell 5.9 percent.
The overall U.K. broodmare population was tallied at 8,298, a 4.6 percent decline from 8,699. Last year, the rate of decline was 5.2 percent.

Paul Greeves, Weatherbys’ operations director, also noted that the number of new mares coming into the region remained steady from last year.

"I think that's instructive, but we'll keep a careful eye on the number of new mares that are registered next year, which will include animals bought at the sales through the autumn and young stock who are being retired to stud,” Greeves said.

“Overall I think we have stabilized,” he added. “The foal numbers were comparable to last year, and I think that reflects the residual mare population is of a higher quality – not just their racecourse ability and progeny success, but also their health, fertility and ability to produce foals. All of those things will be at a higher level than five years ago, so you'd expect there to be a higher number of foals out of a lesser number of mares – and that's what we have got."