>>>>> Just say no to breeding (in the USA) at any age. Unless you're breeding some rare, about to be extinct breed, you can stop now, we have plenty, lol. Start back up in a year or 10, when there's a real demand again...
I sort of disagree with the above.
The reason that some breeds/types are rare is because there is LESS demand for them-- they fill a narrow, specific niche. Breeders of rare breeds/types who can maintain preservation herds for their own pleasure, or to maintain genetic diversity among the small pool of breeders working with a rare breed, should do so-- but only on a limited basis, as these rare specialty horses often do not easily find homes outside in "general" horsedom. (and most preservation breeders know this and breed accordingly-- its when the rarer specialty types become the latest "fad" and "upstart" new breeders jump in to try to get famous and rich breeding them that it gets disastrous-- look at dog breeding trends as an example.)
On the other hand, there ARE types and disciplines where there is no "rarity" of breed, yet there IS still real demand-- often greater demand than the current supply. IMO breeding should NOT cease in these instances, because good experienced responsible homes exist for these types of horses with people who would not easily find what they are looking for at a friday night sale or from a low dollar irresponsible BYB or rescue.
AND, even if you COULD find what you are after at a BYB-type sale, isn't buying from these venues in a way encouraging continued irresponsible low-end production? Wouldn't it be better in the long run to buy from established, responsible breeders to encourage responsible breeding, rather than "saving" a horse from a sale-- just to have its breeder produce more of the same the next year to again take to the sale? (after all, they were able to unload all the 2009 babies... people must love 'em.....why not make more!?! Business is sure to pick up!)
I would encourage people looking for an equine partner to think long and hard about taking a chance on buying a horse who has an unknown pedigree, unknown training, unknown ownership record, and an unknown history of prior care-- and encourage them to check out reputable breeders/owners who can provide vet, farrier, and care records and a horse that matches its breed association papers.
I am not saying that gems cannot be found among the disadvantaged and unknown-- I know they can, and I know some people are willing to take the risk and some will end up with a great horse--- just saying that if we want fewer disadvantaged and undocumented horses coming from irresponsible homes, avoiding and/or discouraging responsible breeders who keep good records and high breeding and care standards is not a solution.
It is my observation that when, for whatever reason, responsible breeders producing nice mid-range horses pack up and quit, all too often the void is filled by irresponsible BYB type breeders who are not "getting the memo" about reducing breeding.... (and who are more likely to randomly breed any ol' unproven 2 year old colt to whatever mare comes his direction just because he is kolerful and speshul and has his equipment because he is purty and they want the stud fees-- to get back to the original topic of this thread