That hot topic, breeding grades, and what IS a grade - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 76 Old 02-25-2013, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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That hot topic, breeding grades, and what IS a grade

Me first.

I own grade horses, no strike that I own one grade horse right now, but have owned many, and have had some great ones.

Now Mr G, a proper grade, came to me with no idea of his real age, parentage, apart from a guess that there was an appy and some sort of draft in his back ground. Never bothered me in the least, he was the kindest nicest horse to own.

Ben, now yes he is a grade, but he came from a breeder who keeps records, I know he is TB/Perch x Saddlebred, and I know he is part of a program where Walter has focused on breeding horses with great movement. That has been his goal in life, and for anyone who hasn't seen it, here is Ben moving

He has produced some nice horses, but still grades.

Now we come to the interesting ones.

Angel, I deliberately bred, I wanted to produce a foal that had the grace and elegance of the Arab, with a little more bone and substance from the Haffy. I am pleased with what I have, and she is more than likely my last foal that I will 'design' is she a grade? Well she has registered half Arab, because of Ace.

Willow also is cross bred, Saddlebred x Arab, so has half Arab papers.

These guys are lucky that they are half Arab, it gives them papers, but if I had chosen a Haffy x Morgan then no papers there I believe.


So I actually have no issue with grade horses, and have said so many times before, but bred for a purpose grades, I totally get trying to combine the best of the best from two different breeds to try and get a better sports horse, be it racer, jumper, endurance, whatever purpose, but you are trying to improve.

I also have admitted up there to breeding Ace just to get me a keeper foal, but this is where it gets interesting, first crosses, both parents registered to their own breed, with researchable history and knowledge of where they come from gives you reasonable odds of getting what you want.

If I then decided to breed Angel, who knows which side of her she would pass on to the resultant foal, breeding her back to am Arab may shorten the odds again, but out crossing the gamble becomes bigger. I AM NOT even thinking in my wildest dreams about having her bred at anytime because of that very reason.

Willow, who has become MY horse in a way that is different to any other horse I have owned, once again, the odds are longer at getting what you are planning because of what she is.


  • You can't ride papers
  • A good horse is a good horse papered or not.
  • Breeding crossbred mutts is a crapshoot
  • Breeding pedigree horses is more like roulette, better odds of winning more often.
  • Horses with no papers have only their own personality and talent to rely on.
  • Breeding is a gamble each and every time, and you need to try and stack the odds in your favor.
  • Breeding should really be left those who are passionate about research into bloodlines, and have a 'feel' for what will work.
  • People like me, who do not have that passion, should not be in the breeding game, which is why I quit.
  • There are too many horses and not enough owners these days and each and every foal that is conceived and arrives safely adds to the total.
  • Color is the worst reason for breeding ever!
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post #2 of 76 Old 02-25-2013, 07:16 PM
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Nice post.

I myself have 2 registered mares. My mom owns 2 unregistered "Grade" geldings. The one gelding, Nutmeg is an extremely nice, athletic horse. Best feet my farrier has ever seen, phenomenal mindset, body that holds up to anything, great bone and a super willing partner that enjoys doing EVERYTHING.

My 2 registered girls, one APHA and one AQHA, are quirky and PITA's. The QH is bred up the wha-zoo with racing horses. Im talking some of the best lines out there...And she can be such a brat. She has limited training (through no fault of her own) and shes injured, requires shoes, and is horrible for shots/the vet. The Paint is better, but has had issues in the past. Time off from work and age have calmed the girl down, but man can she be a brat!

To be, a "Grade" horse in MY book is any horse that CANnot or IS not registered in a REPUTABLE BREED registry. The color registries dont count in my book. Just because both parents are registered but the foal never was...doesnt mean anything to me. People lie. I want PROOF of a registered horse. DNA verified if need-be.

The thing is, i love a nicely bred horse. I paid big bucks for my "unrideable" mare ( fault of her own) But when i want to ride a horse that'll go through anything, has a CAN DO attitude, and isnt going to put up a fight and throw a bitch fit...I ride one of the "Grade Geldings"

My mom constantly teases me that her $800 horse is superior to my money pits with the great pedigrees. And the truth is...He is superior in every way that TRULY counts. Except in speed. He's not fast enough for me.

By the way, i know both the sire and dam of the Grades. One of the boys is a purebred Curly...but his breeder never registered him. I know their exact bloodlines.
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post #3 of 76 Old 02-25-2013, 07:41 PM
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The only type of grade breeding I would ever probably get behind is a good sport horse breeder who knows what they are doing to really refine all aspects. At one point in time most breeds were grades that were bred into one form of uniformity. Eventually it became a breed. I like to think of warmbloods when it comes to this. Light and heavy together to give power and agility together. Other than trying to refine sport horses (be it any sport).

No, as said before its too much of a crap shoot. Sure every once in a while you get a great mover, well proportioned horse. But how many horses out there failed to become that and end up lame or unathletic....etc.

Owning a grade horse I think is great. You already know what they are going to be like conformation wise and their talents. Breeding it too much of a gamble to ever be worth it. No one has ever really been able to guess what breed Jake is. When people ask I just shrug and say 'who knows?'. He is hot tempered, brave, honest, loyal, stocky, athletic past what anyone would think, he has high action gaits, he has a head that is too big for his body, and he is pinto. I'm guessing he was created as a random hope for color. I always joke that if I had the money to clone him, I would in a heart beat. I always wonder what he would have been like if he had been properly trained from the get go. At the same time I would still geld the clone. I would never have any intentions to breed a horse like Jake. He is great, but doesn't have that much to add that another stud couldn't add tenfold.

((PS: That horse Ben, I could steal. Love how he moves and his build!))
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post #4 of 76 Old 02-26-2013, 12:08 AM
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Grades are great horses, but I would never breed them.

Too many unwanted horses in this world. Giving them a name (registry) won't stop them from starving to death in the wrong hands.

I have an appendix. She was bred so the owner could have a big, tall, athletic, big boned TB type horse with a level qh mind. The owner got a short, stocky, athletic qh type horse with a mind like a bag full of forcefully baptized cats.

Both parents were papered, so is she. But she could easily turn into a grade horse if she was sold without papers. She has nothing to offer an offspring. I would never breed her.

I like to think that the idea of breeding is to continue, promote and positively build on an established breed. Not everyone thinks that way.

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post #5 of 76 Old 02-26-2013, 07:08 AM
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registered is about what you will probably get if you breed. Once the horse is standing on the ground it stands on its own merrits good or bad. Its the irresponsible part of getting them here to begin with thats wrongs. Seems most backyard breeders only mention color, course that seems to be the only thing most shoppers look for so i guess we cant blame them. But everyone always seems to think a grade cross will merge the best of both worlds, and never stops to consider you are just as likely to get the bad of both breeds.
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post #6 of 76 Old 02-26-2013, 07:28 AM
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A grade, to me, is a horse with an unknown or indistinguishable breed. In my area, most people call a horse of unknown lineage a quarter horse, since they come in so many types, and grade seems to make people think of some cruddy little horse. Not saying that is opinion at all. My best horse was a grade, and my gentlest horse now is a grade.

I also have no problem with people breeding grades. We can all admit that there is plenty of poorly built, dingbat horses whose only selling point is papers. I would rather somebody breed honest, working grades than a bunch of, say, halter bred horses you can't even ride.

As long as you are breeding with an ounce of sense and a plan, go for it.
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post #7 of 76 Old 02-26-2013, 07:46 AM
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I think grades can be great horses. In fact I own 3 now (or 4 - some consider mustangs grades too). 1 - we know the breed, just not all the bloodline info and no papers due to unfortunately circumstances so it makes her a grade, 2 - we know he is a draft cross of somesort but that is it - anything else is purely a guess, and 3 - Haven't a clue what he is and guesses are wide and varied.

They are all great horses in their way, but I would never breed any of them.

I think with the current economy and horse market that any breeding - purebred or cross or grade - really needs to be well thought out and with an end purpose in mind. Breeding just for color is not acceptable. Breeding just because it can be bred is not acceptable. But if someone has a set reason for breeding two horses with a goal and its well planned out and the two horses in question would both be considered to have good conformations and temperments by most knowledgeable horse people - then I really don't think there is much say either way.

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post #8 of 76 Old 02-26-2013, 08:04 AM
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I also have 2 grades-one was purposely bred by a reputable sporthorse breeder who was actually very successful at it -the other we think is a PMU-or unknown lineage. I would never consider breeding either of them. I totally agree with breeding known (registered traceable lineage) quantities to get a nice cross, like ASH's, and "american warmbloods", but I have little to no patience for some of the folks on here who breed because of terminal stupidity. By that I mean "Little Suzie wants another pwetty poneh just like the one she has that is so sweet"......or who don't know enough to seperate male horses from female horses...then act surprised when the female (I am using those terms because some of them do!) is looking fat.

Guess what I am saying is I can't fix stupid as much as I want to.......and there seems to be more than enough in the backyard breeders.

I love my grades-I also love SOME registered horses. However, I have just as little patience for folks who breed registered horses who are N/H, or at high risk for LWOS as I do the backyard breeders. The way they breed some of the halter horses today is, IMO just as irresponsible, even though they are "registered".

INTELLIGENT breeding is the key, no matter what you are putting together, with an eye to what the lineage of both parents is and what your chances are of getting the best of both.
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post #9 of 76 Old 02-26-2013, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Copperhead View Post
Grades are great horses, but I would never breed them.

Too many unwanted horses in this world. Giving them a name (registry) won't stop them from starving to death in the wrong hands.

I have an appendix. She was bred so the owner could have a big, tall, athletic, big boned TB type horse with a level qh mind. The owner got a short, stocky, athletic qh type horse with a mind like a bag full of forcefully baptized cats.

Both parents were papered, so is she. But she could easily turn into a grade horse if she was sold without papers. She has nothing to offer an offspring. I would never breed her.

I like to think that the idea of breeding is to continue, promote and positively build on an established breed. Not everyone thinks that way.
This is pretty much how I feel about it as far as it goes with my part of the horse world. Are there good grade horses out there, darn right there is but I still wouldn't be breeding them. For me it's a matter of knowing what's behind a horse, it's a lot less of a crap shoot if you have a base to judge upon. I'm also in an area of the market that grades aren't worth a dime, can't show breed shows with a cross or pick out a performance horse without knowing what is behind them. I wouldn't want a halter bred to make into a working cowhorse nor would one want a cutting bred to make into a hunter under horse.

That being said, I haven't bred outside mares in years even though I have a stud that has a successful show record and produces fantastic offspring. I've bred 2 for myself that are keepers and that's going to be it for me for awhile. The next likely breeding here will be my filly years down the road once she has proven herself and has some earnings under her belt. After the old man is gone (hopefully not for a long time, he is my heart horse) I don't intend to stand another stud, I love my old fart but having studs is a hassle.

I don't have issue with grades being bred in some cases and areas of the horse world as long as it is still done with a lot of research and thought. I've ridden quite a few over the years for others, as a teen I rode a few jumpers for a coach of mine that didn't have papers. In that situation papers didn't matter but like I said, not my world so it isn't appropriate for my situation. My problem with grades being bred is Joe Blow down the road that picked up a pretty colored mutt at the auction that was unfortunate enough to still have its balls and breeds every other mare they pick up cheap.

Copperhead, the line about the baptized cats is probably the funniest statement I have read in ages and certainly fits a few I've met over the years! I'm going to file that one away for future use
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post #10 of 76 Old 02-26-2013, 10:15 AM
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To me, a grade horse is any horse without papers, including purebreds whose papers were "lost" or who were never registered in the first place. I have five horses, three registered and two grade. I would never breed ANY of them. My RMH mare is a highly desirable color, chocolate dapple with flaxen mane/tail, and is well bred, BUT she is not a good gaiting mare. My MFT is a nice mare, just not breeding quality. Got a QH mare that has been the most awesome horse we've ever had BUT you would NEVER guess she was a QH, but she's registered. I don't have anything against grade horses, I've had a bunch. But when you breed grades you generally don't know what you're going to're not just crossing two individuals, you need to consider their parents & grandparents. With grades you usually don't have any info on previous generations. And people who breed purebreds and don't bother to register the foals? Shame on you! You are doing those babies a disservice. Heck, I guess I'm trying to say I wouldn't breed grade horses or most registered horses.
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