You have the ideal broodmare, you have your eye on a couple of stallions that will complement her, and you have all the facilities set up at home to accommodate a proud mother and her youngster's first wobbly explorations.
However, it has to be remembered that these are not the only aspects that need to be considered when planning a mare's pregnancy.
The horse studs, the yards where the stallions reside, have to be of sufficient quality as well.
This is vital whether your mare will be remaining there for the duration of her pregnancy or is simply visiting for a few hours or a couple of days.
When it comes to the horse stud you leave your mare at, never accept second best.
Do make sure you visit each stud and stallion in person, if at all possible.
This not only gives you a better idea of the stud's level of service and expertise, but also allows you to see the stallion in the flesh.
Up close, he might not be all that you imagined from the glossy magazine photos.
Always trust your first impressions of a place, as those instincts are very often accurate.
Make the most of the time you have visiting each horse stud as you will usually only have a relatively short time to ask questions, form your opinions and decide which of the horse studs is best for you and your broodmare.
Before you even look at the horse studs, make sure you know exactly how much you will be paying as there is where a lot of novice breeders get caught out.
The stud fee only covers the stallion serving your mare- ask the horse studs to tell you exactly what other costs would be involved, preferably on paper.
How much are livery charges? Will there be a groom's fee? Do they offer a No Foal No Fee or a No Foal Free Return option? If you can't see evidence of the following points when you arrive at a stud, it might be worth looking elsewhere.
Every respectable horse stud should be able to offer: Knowledgeable, helpful staff, good quality grazing and well maintained pastureland.
Safe fencing (preferably post and rail- although check that the wood is in acceptable condition, no splintering, protruding nails or warped, weak looking spots).
Have a look at the stallions and other horses on the property.
Are they in good weight and overall condition? Do they seem happy and alert? Or are they listless with dull coats? The horse studs should have a specific place to examine mares - somewhere safe that the vet can use to carry out pregnancy tests etc.
They should be able to provide evidence of an experienced visiting specialist stud vet.
Good stud hygiene and cleanliness should be evident.
Last but certainly not least- they should provide customer service that is polite, helpful and consistent.
Most well known, established horse studs will have good facilities available and will conduct themselves in a reliable, professional manner.
This level of service is what they have built their reputations upon.
Consequently, they understand the importance of keeping their tools up to date and having experienced staff on hand.
These horse studs usually demand slightly higher livery and stud fees, due to the amount of money they invest into their facilities.
While it might take a little longer to save up, it can mean greater peace of mind in the long run, as you know your mare will be well cared for.
That's not to say that a lesser-known horse stud can't come up trumps.
You simply might have to do a little more of your own homework as a younger yard won't have had time to build up a widespread positive reputation just yet.
If you put the work in, you will track down a suitable horse stud in no time, and be confident that you and your mare will receive the best service possible.