Future Breeding Farm Advice Needed...Please help! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 11-07-2011, 07:32 AM Thread Starter
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Future Breeding Farm Advice Needed...Please help!

Hello Everyone, I'm new here and just joined. While I have ridden horses for almost my entire life, I have never owned one...although that will change when my hubby and I can afford to purchase our dream farm.

I grew up loving Paints but riding mainly Appaloosas. Appy's and I seem to have the same mindset...I've never ridden one I didn't get along with...the welsh pony I rode on the other hand...evil! Anyway...

When we can afford it, I want to have a small breeding farm. I plan to show in halter and have my children compete in either western or english events. I grew up riding English, my husband western. Our kids can pick which they prefer. I'm addicted to dilute colors, champagnes, and the "pearl" gene...I'd like to breed Appaloosa's and Paints.

Now, from all you experienced people...how should I best go about this. I was planning to purchase 3 paint mares and 3 appaloosa mares to start. I'm not sure if I want to purchase a stallion of each breed to start or simply take my mares somewhere to be bred or use IVF...and perhaps keep a colt if he turns out nice...

I'm trying to do all my research now so when the time comes, my hubby and I can jump on this. So...keeping in mind my passion for dilutes, champagnes, and pearls, the two breeds Paints and Appaloosas, can anyone tell me some great places to A) purchase horses from B) any and all advice about starting up a breeding farm C) any other advice since you all have the experience and I don't...oh and D) some stallions to keep in mind...

I am aware of and do adore Straws Mighty Magnum and would love to own a colt from him. I love Sheldak Ranch horses but they don't tend to have the dilutes I'm looking for. I've been searching for Imaginary Gold but have been having problems locating him. Ok, time for me to stop rambling and for you all to start! Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 32 Old 11-07-2011, 08:31 AM
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If you have never owned a horse jumping into breeding is not a good idea. Small breeding farms do not fund themselves, and often people who own them also train and board horses while working a part time job. Around here I could easily buy a paint that is registered for only $500. An Appy would be around $800. Those prices don't exactly turn a profit. You probably don't want to hear this, but it is realistic.
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post #3 of 32 Old 11-07-2011, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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I know. I'd be showing the horses and or be a teacher before any breeding took place. I just want advice for the future.
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post #4 of 32 Old 11-07-2011, 09:20 AM
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Too many great horses going to slaughter houses in mexico, It just really isnt worth it. Look around for young horses to train. Or older horses that dont need training. With the abundance of great animals out there it makes no sense to breed and raise your own. My Gf bought a beautiful 3 you TWH green broke with a grey mottled body blackish brown boots tail and mane for $500 in perfect health. I only paid that for my current 9yo gelding. He was trained I just had to teach him what I wanted. I love him to death. I just cant see spending the money on vet, studs, feeding a pregnant mare for however long, to get a baby that will be years away from doing anything. That may or may not have medical problems and be suitable for what you want. So much more cost effective to buy a young green horse that is sound and finnish them.
My neighbor bought a truckload sale for 1200, 15 horses on a truck, He does pirelli ground work, and basic saddle then sells them, all but 2 of them were decent horses, The other two are healthy but very spooky, Probably never been handled.
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post #5 of 32 Old 11-07-2011, 09:26 AM
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Color should be the last thing looked at in breeding.

You need to narrow down what exactly you are wanting to do. (discipline, APHA or ApHC, etc.)

IMO do not get and stand a stallion. There are enough out there that you can AI as needed and not have the headache of having a stallion on the property. Stallions are NOT for novice owners.
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post #6 of 32 Old 11-07-2011, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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I'm pretty much in agreement about the stallion. I've been thinking yes on one and then I pretty much always end up back at no.

I know there are a ton of rescue horses out there...yadda yadda yadda. I have a ton of friends in the horse industry and I always make them aware when I see local rescue opportunities. I also help rescue cats and find them new homes.

This plan is at least 5-10 years down the road. I've asked for advice on starting up a farm. Instead of telling me not to, please give advice on what I've asked. I know everyone has opinions but I do not want opinions...I want facts that I can use in the future.

While dilute colors are my favorite, I would never breed a horse just because it was pretty...same with anything else that is able to be bred. I would do it to improve the breed. I'm not looking to make selling horses a career...it would be a hobby. I didn't want to give a laundry list of all my future plans but I want to have a large garden, etc. etc. Horses simply make life more enjoyable and if I can improve a breed or two and introduce new colors on top of a quality horse into that breed, then I think my life would be pretty sweet.
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post #7 of 32 Old 11-07-2011, 10:52 AM
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Well, from one who has done what you want to do to you........DON'T do it! It's way more work and $$$$$$$$$ than you can imagine.

Now for the nuts and bolts to make it work because you'll probably decide to do it anyhow if you're as much of a horse nut as I am.

First buy at least 50 acres so you have lots of pasture, build a boarding business or another horse related business to support the breeding business and so you can be sure of maintaining true business, not hobby status for the IRS. That is CRUCIAL. Once you have a $5 or $6 thousand dollar/month income to cover those costs and have some profit, then you can start breeding. I never intended to have my own stallion but now I have 3. I bought 2 and bred one. I started out though by buying breedings to horses that I really checked out well and since I'm not into the paints or appy's I have no recommendations for you.

I agree with everyone who says color is the last consideration when breeding. You need to be passionate about what you're doing because you most likely won't make a dime at it. If the horse market it is anything like what it is now, I wouldn't even think of breeding, I'd just buy what I wanted.

Once you have good horses, regardless of color, then if you stumble across just the right perlino or cremello, go for it, you can make all the color you want. I have good mares that are chestnut, bay and some have pinto markings. I just found and bought a lovely cremello QH that is Skipper W bred and N/N. I bought him for his conformation, pedigree and N/N status and the fact that he's a cremello is icing on the cake. I'd have bought his weanling brother just as quick and he was a palomino. Once this young yearling stallion grows up (gotta feed him for 2-3 years before I breed him) IF he remains a nice easy going fellow and gets to keep his jewels, he'll learn a job first and then be brought to the mares.

There's a lot of work, time, effort and $$$$$$ involved in doing it right when breeding. Buying the horses and the farm is just a start. I started when there was a decent market for selling horses and have watched it dwindle. I now breed only a couple foals, mostly every other year, and if I don't sell something, I don't breed again. Make the rule that for evry one you breed, you HAVE to sell one, to keep from getting in over your head.

Only breed what you personally love. For instance, I am not enthralled with appies, so would not breed to one. In my mind, I have a future mapped out for every foal bred from birth to death in case it doesn't sell. I breed as if every foal was bred to be my personal horse and might never leave the farm. That way, if I don't sell a particular foal, it's ok because I only bred a mare that I love to a stallion I love who could fix her faults and vice versa, and if I'm stuck with that foal, I'll always be happy to see it. I don't breed for all the 'stallions du jour' or other fads that come along. I have a vision of where I'd like to be and how I want to improve on every horse I've bred, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years and 10 years from today.

Learn all you can about all the genetic diseases your particular breed is known for. What shortcomings are well known in that breed that you can try to avoid or breed out? What does your ideal horse look like in your head? See if you can find a breeder, whose horses you admire, who will mentor you and apprentice yourself to that breeder for a while. Soak up all the knowlege they can and will give you. Then start thinking about breeding your own.

ETA - I just read the post you just put up before this one. If you want to breed strictly as a hobby and not as a business then forget everything I said before. Buy 2 or 3 of the VERY best mares you can find, breed them to the very best stallion you can find and that they are mutually able to improve and then breed your foals. I'd still stick with the 1 bred, 1 sold rule though, it's kept me out of trouble when others are sinking fast. Breed what you like, the BEST to the BEST and you'll be satisfied. It's way too expensive and too much work to buy crap mares and breed to crap stallions because they're cheap. That does nothing for the breed and you can sell crap foals only for crap money, not worth it and that's one of the big reasons we are overloaded.

And for those who will tell you to go rescue a horse from a slaughter sale or at a local rescue, don't bother. The kind of horses YOU want and the kind of horses you want to sell are not there. Buy the BEST and breed to the BEST or don't breed at all, is my motto.

Last edited by Dreamcatcher Arabians; 11-07-2011 at 10:58 AM.
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post #8 of 32 Old 11-07-2011, 11:00 AM
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Looks to me like you are wanting to be a responsible and reputable breeder. I commend you for that. It's nice to see someone who wants to do something to improve the breed, not to just throw two horses together because they have working reproductive tracts. I know absolutely nothing about breeding horses, I am a dog breeder. What I would do if I were you, I would find excellent examples of the breed from larger, well known farms and well known bloodlines. Form a friendship with the breeder you purchase your mares from. They will be invaluable to you and help you along the way with breeding choices and assist you if you have any trouble. I would start small with just a few well-bred mares. No stallion until you are for sure ready to handle him, just AI until then.

Like I said, I breed and show dogs, so this may be totally off kilter for breeding horses, but this is my advice. :) I'd much rather see someone trying to get a GOOD start at being a breeder instead of someone just breeding whatever they can get their hands on. It's always good to ask questions. Nearly everyone on this forum is against people breeding horses so I wouldn't come on here asking their opinions on stuff like this. They will give you a million reasons why you shouldn't breed, but you're going to do what you want to do, regardless of what someone on the internet says. So, find a reputable breeder and work with them.
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post #9 of 32 Old 11-07-2011, 11:05 AM
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Let me say that the horse business is very labor intensive and requires a lot of sacrifice to keep it going. If you plan on putting your children through college with the money you get for your horses, give that up right now. It takes a long time to gain buyer confidence which means lots of money up front for some time. In fact, plan on making some hard choices as far as your household budget goes. Feed, veterinary care, hoof care, dental, tack, training, registration fees, advertising, fuel, hauling vehicles/trailers, show fees, stud service, on and on. If you've already decided that the money is there to invest in the business, then here's my go to list of things to figure out before you get started:

1. Financing - initial investment. Don't just buy any mare to put in your band that fits your budget. Just because it has a womb, doesn't mean that it should be bred. Research, research, research, and be prepared to spend, spend, spend. I suggest going really slow to make sure this is really what you want to do. Folks can tell you how much work it is, but until you live it day in and day out, you can't feel it in full.

2. Time/expenses to get your starting stock trained. If you can do this yourself, you save big money.

3. Overall goal - what kind of horses do you envision putting on the market? (trail, jumping, ranch, cutting, reining, dressage, etc) What skill sets are your horses geared towards? This will determine which market you are in. Study your market and consider that color can be important in some breeds/markets, but skill and proper conformation to do the job is essential and should not be put secondary to color. Basing your business on a color will get you into trouble in the long run, so keep that in mind. It's a buyers market so you can add that in for your "flare" to stand out, but please don't make color what your plan revolves around.

4. Ongoing budget allowances to keep the welfare and care of your stock as top priority. $$$

5. Secondary services. If you can provide a service for fellow horse owners, then this will help you in the customer confidence category, will do some advertising for your barn, and will give you some extra money to put towards your program.

6. Keep tabs on the horse market continuously! That includes sale trends, sport interest, and equine laws. That means spending some serious time to monitor the horse industry as a whole and specifically in your specialty.

7. Form a good relationship with a local vet hospital for emergencies and a vet who will travel to your barn. Get an excellent farrier you can trust and line up your equine dentist beforehand. Have a backup plan in case your preferred people are not available when you need them.

8. Setup and maintain a horse health schedule with your professionals. If you can administer the vaccinations yourself, this will save you some money.

9. Know your market price and learn how to evaluate prospects. You won't get a winner every time. Be prepared to find good homes for those babies that aren't show quality and fairly adjust the price. Just because the breeding should have produced a high dollar horse, that doesn't mean it will. In some cases, you will lose money on a sale. That's just the truth. Keep track of your success percentage. Don't keep breeding if you aren't getting good results. It's not fair to the horses and the market is already flooded with the unwanted.

10. Learn how to properly evaluate potential breeding pairs for success. Conformation, skills, temperament, trainability, market value (not just current value, but the up and coming trend. Go with time tested horses, not fads which will be old news in a few years), breed popularity, client list ready to buy, etc.

11. Register for a freeze brand in your state to identify your horses or invest in micro-chipping. It can save a life.

12. Be realistic. Don't become attached to an idea regarding your business that needs to change.

Okay, well I could go on, but maybe this will give you an idea. Running a breeding operation is a lot of work and a ton of responsibility. It's not something to jump into, that's for sure.
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post #10 of 32 Old 11-07-2011, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! I've been dreaming about owning a horse farm since I was a little girl. I know it'll take quite a while to have the money to do this...I am not against working hard to make my dreams come true.
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