Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Allison Price
People have kept track of the bloodlines of their horses for thousands of years. To meet their needs, humans bred the strongest, most beautiful and fastest horses. People often kept better records of the lineages of their horses than they did their own.
Many people today know the pedigree of their horse. People often receive registration papers when they buy horses. These papers give a glimpse into the horse’s history.
Many terms are used to describe a horse’s pedigree and breeding. These terms will help you understand the family dynamics in the horse world.
What are sire and dam?
When discussing a horse’s pedigree, sire and dam are two of the most commonly used terms. Sire and dam are the horse’s parents. A horse’s parents are the same as your parents: a sire and dam.
Sire is the term used to refer to the father of a horse. A sire is also known as a stud. A stud is a uncastrated male horse also known as a sire that is being used to breed.
A sire will usually charge a stud fee. This is the cost of breeding your mare to him.
A dam is the mother of horse. Broodmares is another term that you’ll hear about dams. Broodmares are female horses that are used for breeding.
A horse can be described as a sire if it is ‘by’ another horse. A dam can refer to a horse as ‘out of’ or “from”. These terms cannot be used interchangeably between sires and dams and should only be used when discussing a horse’s breeding.
Charts are often used to record horse’s pedigrees. The sire’s and dam’s lines will appear at the top of a horse’s pedigree. Many horses’ pedigrees can go back many generations. Some even back hundreds of years.
Grandsire and Granddam
A grandsire is the sire’s father and a dam’s mom is the granddam. A granddam and sire can both be called a grandsire. This is the same way you would refer your grandparents.
The dam’s dam sire and broodmare sire are specifically used to describe him. The distaff is the line that a dam’s side uses to refer to all members of the dam’s family.
People will often spend more time researching sires than dams. This is because many people breed their mares to stallions from other people, who possess the traits they desire in their horse.
Get and Progeny
All the horses’ offspring are called progeny. One sire who is successful can have many progeny over his lifetime.
If she is fertile and bred frequently, a mare can have only one foal per year. A mare might have twins in certain circumstances, but this is very rare.
Another term for a sire’s offspring is “get”. Many people research the stud’s get to determine what characteristics were passed down to them by their sire and how successful they are.
Horses may have many half-siblings, but they are unlikely to have any full siblings.
Today’s science and technology allow sires to produce progeny around the globe. Horse breeding, particularly in racehorses is a complex area that requires a lot of research to ensure the best progeny. Many times, sire and dam of a horse don’t actually meet.
The Dynamics of a Pedigree
Understanding a horse’s past is important through the use of pedigrees. It is crucial to understand the meaning of terms like sire, dam and grandsire when reading a horse’s pedigree. These key terms will allow you to gain a better understanding about horse breeding.
Purebred horses require pedigrees to be included in horse breed registry. Knowing your horse’s family tree can help you identify the breed and even reveal any potential traits. Knowing your horse’s sire and dam can be fascinating. It will also help you understand your horse better.