The total number of mares covered by stallions in England and Ireland this year fell by 3% to 6,734.
Figures released by Weatherbys show the number of mares registered at stud dropped 5% to 8,298.
Weatherbys operations director Paul Greeves said that while he was not entirely surprised at the figures, it may not threaten what appears to be a stabilising foal crop. “There’s an appreciable drop in the number of mares registered at stud,” said Greeves. “But lying behind that is the number of new mares coming in, which was similar to last year.
“We will 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.
“Overall, I think we have stabilised. 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.”