Eolith- she breeds Quarterhorses, since that is the main breed of Texas. The purpose of breeding them is for good-quality show horses, but any of the foals that don't seem to be that 'sort', (non ideal conformation, finicky behavior, etc) are trained in other disiplines and sold as either ranch or lesson horse prospects.
Juna- are you saying that it would be easier to just breed the mare while she is with foal? To me it sounds as if that could easily wear a mare's body out. The way that this lady has planned it, the mare is pregnate for 11 months, has a foal with her for 5 months, complete break for 2 months, does it once more, then has a complete break for a year. That way she can stay as functionable as possible. I would think that spacing out like that would give less of a chance of sway backs, also? I'm not certain, but it sounds possible.
As for the foals being born at different times of the year, I ask you to think this way. Thoroughbreds are inseminated in the very, very early parts of the year when it is generally still extremely cold, and are expected to foal in Jan/February of each year for the most part. Is that not unnatural? I'm not saying to agree with the idea of waiting until the foal is 7 months old, I'm just saying that time of year doesn't really matter all that much. Not to mention that this farm is located in Texas- a state that rarely ever gets snow, and generally stays above 40 degrees F in the winter. If anything, we have to worry about foaling in summer because its so danged hot! xD
As for the 'no grey lines' lets think about the fact that she basically just told me the, as Eolith said- basic framework. I was only there for about an hour! It sounded to me as if she was perfectly willing to allow a foal to stay with it's mother if it absolutely needed to. Thats why she made the weaningling-yearling rule. If a foal is not ready to be sold, it will not be sold. She allows time for stunting, health problems, and just basic neediness. As far as BEFORE 5 months, I have no idea, because I have never known of a foal that absolutely HAD to be weaned before that age. Why would you need to do that? I'm curiouse, now xD I'm sure that if the foal was at risk though, that the mare could be moved early. Those numbers, like with any stable, were a standard- not a requirement.
Can you really judge more individually than setting extra time for any mare or foal that is not ready? As mentioned, any mare that had a hard pregnancy, seems unhealthy for breeding, or otherwise, will be given another year off, which if you think of it from a financial point of view- is a VERY generous thing. She did say that she'll sell any mare that doesn't take to mothering or who has red bags/deformed foals/etc more than once, she'll sell them no matter what their age is to be ridden- so I'm not really sure what else she could do without turning it into a rescue farm xD
I guess what I really liked was that she has all of the mares ridden still =] so many broodmares are euthenized after their baby days are over because they haven't ever been ridden/havent been ridden in a long time, or just sit in their stalls year after year because all they're good for nothing but being broodmares. The ranch that I work at just bought one of the lady's 16 year olds for a lesson mount (which is how I met this lady) and she's an amazing animal. Confident in the arena, (perfect for out beginners) surefooted, gentle, and amazing with leg yielding, which I totally didnt expect. When we bought her, I was all ready for an untrailed 16 year old who didn't even know what 'outside' meant!
Everyone in your life is meant to
be in your journey, but not all of
them are meant to stay till the end.