Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Higgins, TX. YeeHaw!!
Continued, too long for 1 post.
Fifth question: What are your mare’s conformational flaws? Are you selecting a stallion who is strong in those areas? Is your mare free of serious conformational defects that interfere with soundness and use? A long back can easily be shortened by the right stallion. Pigeon toes or an upright shoulder, not so much. And the long-backed mare is not so bad if your goal is to produce a pleasure horse in any of the stock breed associations – but she shouldn’t be considered if your goal is dressage. If you can’t look critically at your mare because you love her too much, take her to a show (or a few shows) for halter class and ask the judge for their comments.
Sixth question: Genetic defects. Know which ones your mare may carry and do the appropriate testing if it’s not already done. Make sure you breed to a tested stallion. It is never okay to roll the dice and possibly produce a HYPP positive foal, a HERDA foal, a lethal white or anything else that can be tested for and prevented. Not to mention that you do not want your first breeding experience to result in a foal that dies within days!
Seventh question: What do you really want? Do you want a foal out of your fantastic performance mare, and not care what sex or color you get? Awesome, because you can only predict so much. Sure, you can breed to a cremello (if you can find one that doesn’t suck, good luck on that – I can maybe think of three decent ones off hand) and get a certain color but that’s about it for predictability. If it’s important to you to have a buckskin filly…buy one.
Eighth question: Can you afford all the associated vet work? Ultrasounds are a must – you have to know if your mare is carrying twins or some other problem exists. Can you deal with it (emotionally AND financially) if the result of all of this is a dead or permanently damaged mare and/or a dead foal and/or a foal that is never going to be rideable? All of these things can and do happen. It is heartbreaking to see someone lose a mare they loved just because they were trying to reproduce her. If she is super, super special to you, you might want to consider doing an embryo transfer to take the risk of foaling out of the equation. Let some older broodmare who has had several successful, complication-free deliveries do the “work.” And consider all the possibilities and have a plan in mind if things go bad – what will you do with a foal that is born with a disability or is injured before he reaches riding age?
Ninth question: If the object is resale and the baby does not sell as a baby, are you prepared for that? (a) Do you have safe and separate facilities for a weanling? Hot tape won’t hold a weanling who is screaming for mom, and barbed wire would be downright dangerous. (b) Do you have the knowledge to train appropriately during all stages of life, or the financial resources to pay for training? (c) What about feeding and nutrition? What do you know about how to feed a foal? It’s not like feeding an adult horse. You can trash their legs permanently if you don’t know what you’re doing. (d) Can you afford another horse if he never sells?
Final question: Are foals like the one you contemplate consistently selling for at least $2000 – $2500 as weanlings? If you can find one out there for $500…don’t do it. Please, don’t do it. We have so many of those. We cannot find homes for them. They are $500. Then they are $300. Then they are at the auction. Everybody who goes to the auction is so **** tired of seeing your weanlings, yearlings, two year olds and unbroke adults selling for $175 to the kill buyer. And I know nobody planned for that outcome but it happens left and right. You are not immune from life’s bad luck. You could lose your job. You could get divorced. You could get cancer. You could get hit by a drunk driver and never be able to work again.
Bottom line, it is flat out irresponsible to produce foals that are not reasonably high in value. The only real protection a horse has in this world is a high value. Please, please, please don’t create foals that don’t even have that much of a safety net in life.
Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/