with all due respect its not about loving horses enough. I don't even know what you mean by that statement. If you love the species enough? If you love your horse enough? Breeding at most levels is about loving horse and about 800 different things. I say most breeders love their horse because most horses are being raised for a companion/partner job. You might love cows but at the end of the day you breed cows knowing that you will send them to slaughter.
There is a lot that goes into deciding or not deciding to breed. I have met people who are breeding their mares, from the most back yardiest breeder to professional breeding facilities. All of them share one thing, they think the foal they will produce will be a winner. They think their mare and stallion combination is going to produce something good, even if all evidence points to the contrary. Look over the threads, see how many people are psyched to have a mare in foal. Now try telling even one of those people that it was a bad idea. Good breeding and breeders are doing it for the love of their horse, but there are other reasons too.
Education is important; however, you can't force people to be educated. How many breeders out there ask their veterinarian if they think their mare should be bred? I use veterinarian because your average equine vet sees more horses in a week than some trainers and sees most horses at their worst. Most people don't ask any one at all.
Education is great; however, what most are talking about is a wide spread and sweeping regulation on breeding. Look at how much fuss slaughter kicks up in the USA. Now image saying you can't breed your horse because its not good enough. You say someone's horse is not good enough and a lot of people interpret that as "your not good enough". That's why I say its an interesting discussion but in the end, its a discussion that is happening in a very, very small section of society as a whole. If we got all horse owners together in a room. The people discussing ethical breeding would be a tiny group standing by the blaring speakers. Now put all people in the world in a hotel. Equine people are taking up maybe two rooms a hotel compared to the rest of society, ethical breeding discussion is occurring in a corner of a room in a hotel.
Yet, education made a difference for me. When I was looking for a horse, I wanted a mare so that I could breed her in the future. I even kept a conversation going with a breeder I admire about which of her horses would be worth putting the money into as a good foundation mare or stallion. She never told me not to breed, but rather took the time to prepare me to be a breeder with one of her horses. She taught me many things - and in the end, I doubt she realized the most important thing she taught me: that I have no business breeding on my own. Thing is, all the work, effort, and pride she put into her facility just wasn't for me and I did not feel that I wanted to take the time and effort to create a quality breeding program. And without that same work, effort, and pride in a breeding program, I don't believe I will ever be able to justify at all breeding even one horse on my own.
I've mainly stayed out of the "regulation" conversation - that's just one aspect. Politics and regulations are just that - and, for better or worse, I personally think the government doesn't have any business in making my personal decisions for me. But again, that is for a different discussion. I believe in education, the power of ideas, and teaching responsibility for one's actions.
If we can educate ourselves and others about the realities of breeding, maybe I can help just one other horse owner take off the rose-colored glasses and realize they can avoid bringing another foal into the world for an uncertain life and at the same time give a good home a wonderful horse that needs one.