Breeding a successful racehorse is enormously rewarding, but requires a great deal of planning and takes a lot of time, effort, energy and money! Preparation and patience are key to breeding successful racehorses.


Thoroughbred breeders in Alberta are represented by the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Alberta Division (CTHS Alberta). There are about 200 CTHS members, and in 2014 there were 258 foals registered in Alberta. Breeding Thoroughbreds is big business and in 2015 the direct economic impact of breeding and raising Thoroughbreds was $19,479,913 (Serecon Report on The Economic Impacts of Horse Breeding, Raising and Racing in Alberta).

The CTHS office is in Calgary, and there are nine Board of Directors who guide the breeding industry. Directors sit on the CTHS National board and the Horse Racing Alberta board to provide input from breeders at the national and provincial level.

The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (C.T.H.S) was incorporated in 1906 under the Federal Live Stock Pedigree Act (presently called the Animal Pedigree Act – 1988) as a national breed organization to assist breeders of Thoroughbred horses in Canada. The National Office determines the requirements for Canadian-bred status of foals, maintains the Breeder Membership Roster for Canada, compiles statistics and represents Canadian Thoroughbred breeders nationally and internationally.

The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Alberta Division mandate is to promote the purchase of Alberta Thoroughbreds, keep records, organize sales, disseminate information, compile statistics and assist members with foal registration.

The Process

Breeding racehorses is a blend of nature and nurture, science and art. Thoroughbreds are purebreds, and unlike many other breeds cannot be registered unless conceived by live cover. Artificial insemination and embryo transfer technologies cannot be used with Thoroughbreds. Although it is possible to ship mares to other provinces and states to be bred, it is more practical (and less costly and risky) to stay within a local area.

  1. Choosing a stallion – “Breed the best to the best and hope for the best” is a phrase commonly heard in the racing world. Statistically, good racehorses make the best breeding stock, but in racing injuries or circumstances can force a horse into a retirement before proven on the track. Pedigree, conformation and different breeding theories come into play to choose the right stallion for a mare.
    1. Pedigree – a diagram of a family tree. Pedigree charts are used to track ancestry with the sire information on the top and dam information on the bottom.
    2. Conformation – a breeder with a small mare might choose to breed to a large, bigger boned stallion in hopes of producing a foal with more balance.
    3. Inbreeding – when the same ancestor appears two or more times within the first four generations of a pedigree. For example, if the same ancestor appears in the third generation and again in the fourth, the horse is referred to as being “inbred 3×4.” The significance of inbreeding is that the ancestor to whom the particular horse is inbred will have greater influence, thus emphasizing certain characteristics. Most believe it is radical for a horse to be inbred closer than 3×3.
    4. Outcross –  Outcross breeding is the opposite of inbreeding in that there is no repeat presence within four or more generations. An outcross is believed to offer greater variety and avoid concentration of good and bad characteristics.
    5. Nicking – The theory that certain bloodlines have an affinity for one another. Nicking takes compatibility of stallions from one male line with mares from other sire lines to provide a hypothetical pedigree which will predict the future success of the foal. This system assigns a grade from A++ to F based on the degree of affinity between the sire and broodmare sire.
    6. Dosage – A Dosage index is a mathematical figure used to quantify a horse’s ability to handle various distances based on the appearance of influential sires in the bloodline. The dosage can quantify the amount of speed versus stamina in a horse’s pedigree. The Dosage Index (DI) and related Center of Distribution (CD) largely represent the ratio of speed and stamina. The CD is a number between -2 and +2 which indicates the distance a horse could potentially be successful over.
  2. Breeding basics
    • The best time for mating is determined by several factors, including the length of daylight, the daily temperature, the mare’s general nutrition, etc. As increasing daylight stimulates the receptor centers in the brain to trigger reproductive hormones, these hormones begin the pattern of regular periods of estrous, also known as heat. The estrous cycle is the time period from one ovulation to the next. The average cycle is 22 days and this can vary by a few days especially at the beginning or ending of breeding season. Estrus usually lasts for six to eight days, when the pituitary gland releases a follicle-stimulating hormone that causes egg follicles within the ovary to grow and produce increasing amounts of estrogen, which prepares the reproductive tract for mating and fertilization. When the egg follicle approaches maturity, a second hormone is released that causes the follicle to ovulate, usually about 24 hours before the end of estrus. Mares are carefully monitored using ultrasound technology and “teasing” to determine when ovulation is most likely to occur, and the mating should occur as close to the end of the heat cycle as possible. A pregnancy can be diagnosed using ultrasound about 14 days after ovulation.
    • Gestation is the period between conception and birth. A normal pregnancy in horses lasts approximately 11 months or 340 days. Mare nutrition is fundamental during gestation and lactation as they need more fuel, especially when producing milk. It’s hard work for a mare to maintain her own body condition and produce milk for the young foal!
  3. Foaling basics
    • Signs that a mare is within hours of going into labor include: distended udder, swelling of the vulva, waxing of the teats, teat secretions, and milk leaking.
    • Foaling process is divided into three phases. During the Preparatory Phase there is contraction of the uterus and dilation of the cervix. Mares may become restless, refuse to eat, walk in circles, look back toward their flank, and switch their tails. The Labor Phase is very fast and intense. Once contractions begin, delivery of the foal should occur in 20-30 minutes. The third and final phase is Passage of the Afterbirth, when the mare stands, licks the foal, and begins to bond with the foal. The placenta will be expelled during this phase. As soon as the foal gains it’s feet it will attempt to nurse.
  4. Foal health
    • It is vital for a foal to receive colostrum from the mare as soon as possible after birth. Colostrum contains high levels of antibodies and foals must drink the colostrum to gain the antibodies. Failure of the passive transfer of maternal antibodies puts the foal at significant risk of infectious diseases. IgG (Immuno gamma globulin) levels are measured in the blood of neonatal foals. If IGG levels are low, a they may be tubed with more colostrum or receive plasma.
    • Foals nurse frequently during the first few weeks of life, and stay close to their mothers. As they grow older they are introduced to hay, grain and grass and gain independence. The weaning process takes place at about six months of age.

The Jockey Club Registration Process

Breeders should familiarize themselves with The American Stud Book Principal Rules and Requirements as set out by The Jockey Club before breeding a mare. Canadian Thoroughbreds are registered through The Jockey Club and registry and the CTHS.

Step 1: Report of Mares Bred. All stallion owners/lessees must report mares bred to each stallion they stand. The RMB lists the name of each thoroughbred mare bred by the stallion during the year and her last cover date. These reports MUST be received by August 1 of each year. Stallion owners/lessees will then receive three service certificates for each mare reported on an RMB. The first copy is retained by the stallion owner for their records. The second and third copies are signed and mailed to the owner of the mare reported on the RMB. The Service Certificate signed by the stallion owner/lessee must accompany the Registration Application.

Step 2: Live Foal/No Foal Report. Within 30 days of the birth of a foal, the owner, breeder or authorized agent must complete a Live Foal/No Foal Report. The LF/NF indicates the exact date of foaling, the sex of the foal and the state or Canadian province where the foal was born. It is at this stage of the registration process, that the breeder of the foal and correct address for receiving correspondence and the Certificate of Foal Registration must be supplied. In the event the breeding did not result in pregnancy or the pregnancy was lost during gestation, a No Foal Report should be completed and submitted to The Jockey Club as soon as possible.

Step 3: Registration Application. Approximately 3 to 4 months after the date of foaling reported on a LF/NF, a pre-printed Registration Application and genetic typing kit will be mailed to the address reported on the LF/NF. A sample of the foal’s mane or tail is collected and mailed directly to the laboratory. The Registration Application must be carefully and fully completed to avoid any delays in issuing the Certificate of Foal Registration. Four color photographs of the foal are required to clearly indicate any and all distinguishing markings. These photographs are taken from each side, the front and back views. Horses which do not have any white markings (“no white markings horse”) should also include a close-up photograph of the head to clearly indicate all markings and cowlicks (hair whorls).

Step 4: Naming. Many Thoroughbreds are registered without names. This gives a new owner purchasing a registered but unnamed Thoroughbred the opportunity to select the name. If a valid attempt is made to name a registered but unnamed foal up to February 1 of its two-year-old year, there is no charge to name the horse. If the naming attempt is made after February 1 of its two-year-old year, a naming fee will be charged.

Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Registration Process

Step 1: Membership. Membership dues must be paid to the CTHS National office by individuals, partnerships and/or companies who are owners of a Thoroughbred for the purpose of breeding.

Step 2: Canadian Bred Declaration Form – To be eligible for the Alberta Breed Improvement Program, foals must be Canadian registered and be declared as “Foaled in Alberta”.

Step 3: Microchip Reporting Form. As of 2017, all foals must be microchipped. The microchip will accompany the DNA kit and Registration application from the Jockey Club. CTHS Alberta has developed the Alberta Thoroughbred Micro-chipping Project which allows the microchip to be placed in the nasal area, rather than the nuchal ligament in the neck.

Breed Improvement Program

Horse Racing Alberta’s Breed Improvement Program mandate is to “Facilitate the growth of the breeding industry and the quality of racehorses bred in Alberta.”

2017 Alberta Breed Improvement Program – Thoroughbred

HRA’s Action Plan for 2017-2019 includes:

  • breeding support programs for provincially bred and owned horses, including purse supplements for Alberta bred horses
  • focus on the breeding sector with bonus support for breeders and owners
  • direct resources to programs that encourage ownership of Alberta sired or foaled horses
  • support Alberta Fall Classic, which is a day of stakes races that showcase Alberta breds
  • support yearling sale stakes to support purchase of yearlings at auctions
  • support successful Alberta stallions with performance based stallion bonuses

Breed Improvement bonuses are paid based on total purse monies earned by Alberta breds in races at all race tracks in Alberta.

2016 Alberta Breeders’ Fall Classic Winners

The Alberta Breeders’ Fall Classic is a celebration of Alberta Thoroughbred racing, and the seven Stakes races provide a showcase of the best horses the province has to offer.

The Alberta Oaks: Onestaratatime, bred by Highfield SF Ltd., owned by Curtis & Darrell Landry, Red Diamond Stable and Highfield Stock Farm

The Red Diamond Express: Xtreme Denigray, bred by Calmar Stables & Ranch, owned by Ted Graling

The Fall Classic Distaff: Blameitontheknight, bred by Don Gibb, owned by M & P Equipment Inc., Met Set Consulting Ltd., and Dale Saunders

The Beaufort: Northernlocomotive, bred by Dawson Guhle, owned by Mickey Demers, Gary Mailloux and Viking Stables

The Sturgeon River: Saveitforarainyday, bred by Stone Ranches, owned by Riley Rycroft, Dale Stark and Lewis Mailer

The Alberta Breeders’ Handicap: For Cash, bred by Lyle & Phyllis Farkash, owned by Southview Ag Ltd.

The Alberta Premier’s Futurity: Norm’s Big Bucks, bred by Highfield SF Ltd., owned by Riversedge Racing Stables Ltd.

2020 Alberta Stallion Listing

Name YOB Sire Dam Fee Standing At City Phone Contact
BALMONT 2001 Stravinsky Alderbaran Light 3000 Jug Handle Ranch Nanton (403) 601-0432 Danny Byrne
BENCH THE JUDGE 2007 Benchmark Call A Judge 1500 Charest Farm Lac La Biche (403) 934-8539 Liberty Willard
BIG LIGHTNING 2010 Bernardini Wild Lightning 2000 Beau Valley Stable Didsbury (403) 586-7223 Mike Hoffman
BOADINI 2007 Langfuhr Show Special 1000 Empire Equestrian Ardrossan (780) 719-0400 Lori Neyka
CAPE CANAVERAL 1996 Mr. Prospector Seaside Attraction 2750 Highfield SF Ltd. Okotoks (403) 660-6859 Jennifer Buck
CAR TALK (IRE) 2011 Bernardini Mini Chat 1500 Empire Equestrian Ardrossan (780) 719-0400 Lori Neyka
CHARMING ASSASSIN 2005 Van Nistelrooy I’m Relaunchalbe private Roy McClintock Caroline (403) 845-0811 Roy McClintock
CHEROKEE COUNTRY 2004 Yonaguska Jetazelle 1500 Sierra Ranch Co. Breton (780) 514-6043 Randy Chubak
COLTIMUS PRIME 2011 Milwaukee Brew Certainly Special 2500 Beau Valley Stable Didsbury (403) 586-7223 Mike Hoffman
COUNTY RUCKUS 2007 Highland Ruckus Clever County 1000 Cooke Farm Kitscoty (780) 870-2927 Mike Cooke
DECLASSIFY 2010 Orientate Mir Cat 2000 Stone Ranches Ltd. Madden (403) 946-5703 Tina Stone
EL CHURRUCA 2005 Monsieur Cat Devil’s Cocktail private Jordan Bloodstock Rimbey (403) 783-1489 Gerald Jordan
FIRESPIKE 2012 Flower Alley Fairy Valley 1800 Schweer Farm Rimbey (780) 835-0277 Keri Schweer
FLAMING WEST 1994 Gone West Flaming Torch (IRE) private Double Knott Ranch Rochester (780) 698-2179 Sheila Knott
GAYEGO 2005 Gilded Time Devils Lake 2000 Bar None Ranches Ltd. Dewinton (587) 893-4633 Shaun Rathy
GOTTCHA GOLD 2003 Coronado’s Quest Gottcha Last 2500 Beau Valley Stable Didsbury (403) 586-7223 Mike Hoffman
HAUS OF DEHERE 1996 Dehere Hausman 1000 Empire Equestrian Ardrossan (780) 719-0400 Lori Neyka
HEAVENLY CHORUS 2005 Unbridled Song Heavenly Cat private Free Spirit Farm Airdrie (403) 585-4901 Amanda Bennett
ILIAD 2014 Ghostzapper Little Swoon 3500 Delaney Veterinary Services Sherwood Park (780) 878-1095 Chris Duggan
IT’S NO JOKE 2002 Distorted Humor It’s Personal 2500 Esquirol Farms Ryley (780) 603-7681 Pierre Esquirol
JIGGS COZ 2004 Cozzene Young Brodie 2500 Calmar Stables & Ranch Calmar (780) 974-0839 Marco Castro
LOST CANYON (GB) 2001 Seeking the Gold Well Chosen 750 Viking Stables Innisfree (780) 910-1161 Joan Petrowski
MANK 2009 Pulpit Stirring 1200 Diamond S Performance Horses Edson (780) 712-9874 Brian Schiebelbein
MARINE LANDING 2012 Smart Strike Keep The Peace 2500 Mervin Lansing Daysland (780) 374-2352 Mervin Lansing
MAX FOREVER 2000 Montbrook Jiffener 1500 Stone Ranches Ltd. Madden (403) 946-5703 Tina Stone
MIDNITE POPPA 2010 Unbridled’s Song Island Sand private Bailey Farm Camrose (780) 678-7003 Deborah Bailey
MR O’PRADO 2013 Paddy O’Prado Summer Theater private Winsome Acres Red Deer County (403) 350-1133 David Lovlie
NO HESITATION 2007 Siberian Summer Fancee Bargain 2500 Delaney Veterinary Services Sherwood Park (780) 518-1725 Cassie Blattler
OMEGA CODE 2000 Elusive Quality Tin Oaks 2000 Beau Valley Stable Didsbury (403) 586-7223 Mike Hoffman
ON BOARD AGAIN 2003 Awesome Again Flight Delight 1500 Wood River Ranches Ponoka (403) 783-0728 Wally Pugh
OTHELLO’S FUTURE 2006 Othello Clever Wattle private Rattai Farm Vulcan (403) 607-4866 Jim Rattai
POOR IGGY 2002 Peaks and Valleys Cool Chase 750 Viking Stables Innisfree (780) 910-1161 Joan Petrowski
READY INTAGLIO 2013 Indygo Shiner Mama Maxine private Martens Farm Edmonton (780) 265-4466 Robbin Martens
ROJANO TIME 2004 Rosetti Tejano’s Time 1000 Blue Creek Ranch Huxley (403) 589-0465 Lorn Nysted
SATURDAYNITELITES 2012 Any Given Saturday Instrumentale (FR) 1000 Olds College Olds (403) 464-1007 Perry Pellerin
SCHRAMSBERG 2006 Storm Cat Serena’s Song 1000 Green Rock Equestrian Lethbridge (403) 393-2363 Alison Clapton
SINGING SAINT 2004 El Prado (IRE) Relaxing Rhythm 3000 Beau Valley Stable Didsbury (403) 586-7223 Mike Hoffman
SPEEDMEISTER 2014 Bodemeister Blossomed 1500 Empire Equestrian Ardrossan (780) 719-0400 Lori Neyka
STORM MILITARY (ARG) 2002 Bernstein Shy Mandona (ARG) private Galatiuk Farm Bashaw (780) 372-4075 John Galatiuk
TEEMAN 2004 In Excess (IRE) Dance Play 1000 Blue Creek Ranch Huxley (403) 589-0465 Lorn Nysted
TOUR DE FORCE 2013 Tiznow Dream Supreme 2500 WorkWize Stables Acme (587) 998-0466 Maggie Northcott
TRUE SENSE 2009 Street Cry (IRE) Bedazzle 1500 Dunvegan Stud Fairview (780) 835-4890 Ray Nikiforuk

Horse boarding, breeding stables, stallion farms and rehab facilities

Stallion Farms

Bar None Ranches Ltd. Dewinton (403) 651 – 2486
Battle River Stud Camrose (778) 847-3480
Calmar Stables & Ranch Calmar (780) 974-0839
Charest Farm Lac La Biche (403) 934-8539
Double Knott Ranch Rochester (780) 698 – 2179
Double R Stables Medicine Hat (403) 529- 1860
Dunvegan Farm Fairview (780) 835-4890
Empire Equestrian Ardrossan (780) 719-0400
Equine Encounter Olds (403) 556-1608
Esquirol Farms Ryley (780) 603-7681
Free Spirit Farm Airdrie (403) 585 – 4901
Galatiuk Farm Lethbridge (780) 372- 4075
Highfield SF Ltd. Okotoks (403) 652-1185
Holm-Bred Farm Redwater (780) 982-9600
JC Performance Horses Lethbridge (780) 712 – 9874
Jug Handle Ranch Nanton (403) 601-0432
Lorn Nysted Huxley (403) 589-0465
Mervin Lansing Daysland (780) 374-2352
Nikiforuk Farm Fairview (780) 835-4890
Peaceful Valley Farms Didsbury (403) 586-7223
Roy McClintock Caroline (403) 845-0811
Sierra Ranch Co. Breton (780) 514-6043
Stone Ranches Ltd. Madden (403) 946-5703
Tucker Farm Enchant (403) 362-1836
Viking Stables Innisfree (780) 910-1161
Wade Eno Okotoks (403) 318-5844
Wood River Ranches Ponoka (780) 783 – 0728