The Legal Aspect of Breeding

Breeding season can be an exciting time for the owner of a horse, but it is important to remember that even if you breed for your personal enjoyment, you should still treat it like a business arrangement. This means having a clear and concise contract that sets out all the agreed terms and outlines the rights, responsibilities and representations of each party so that if things don’t go to plan, you are prepared.  All methods of breeding come with their own legal challenges and your contract should reflect this.

Whether breeding by live cover, artificial insemination or even doing an embryo transfer you should consider, amongst other things, whether:

  • there is a live foal guarantee and if so:
    • what constitutes a live foal and circumstances when the guarantee would not apply
    • what happens if the stallion is no longer available for breeding when you want to rely on that guarantee
    • if there a time limit in which the guarantee applies
    • if there is a requirement for the mare to have a pre-breeding examination
  • there has been any representations in respect to the medical/genetic history of the stallion, including test results for genetically linked disorders or diseases such as PSSM and WFFS
  • there are any guarantees given regarding the motility of the semen
  • the parties have provided any warranties that their horse has had any pre-breeding tests
  • you have any recourse due to any jurisdiction differences between you and the stallion owner (e.g. if using a stallion from another country)
  • for frozen semen there are any restrictions on permitted pregnancies allowed with the doses purchases
  • any unused doses can be transferred to another person


Once you are comfortable with the agreed terms it is recommended that you ensure that you enter into an agreement that reflects the intentions of the parties.  Most studs have their own agreements ready for use.  As with any legal document, before signing it it is important to read it, understand it, and make sure that any representations that have been made are reflected in the agreement.

You should also think about if you need any other agreements, for example if you are doing an embryo transfer, the terms of any lease or purchase of a recipient mare. If you are doing live cover, does your agreement already cover the agistment for the mare or any special needs.

You may also wish to consult your accountant or tax advisor to discuss any tax implications, including GST and if you are breeding horses as part of a primary production business.

A carefully drafted contract that incapsulates all the agreed terms and promises can save you time, money and heartache if any dispute or issues arise.

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