What makes a good breeder and what makes a backyard breeder? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 07-30-2014, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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What makes a good breeder and what makes a backyard breeder?

This question came to my mind for two reasons:

1) I will probably go through a breeder to get my first horse, and I want to make sure I'm not supporting someone unethical.
2) I may (and I emphasize may) one day buy a mare with the intent to breed.

I come from the dog fancy, and know generally what to look for and what to avoid when it comes to dogs. However, the horse is a very different animal, and so is the fancy. I'm sure there are similarities, as a lot of what is considered ethical is plain old common sense. However, there are also undoubtedly differences.

There is a lot of gray area when it comes to what is ethical, but what, in your opinion, makes a person a good breeder, and what makes them a bad breeder.

ETA: Forgot to add, please be kind :)

Last edited by BKLD; 07-30-2014 at 04:26 PM.
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-30-2014, 04:32 PM
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They aren't as different as you might think.

A good breeder in the horse world, just like in the dog world, breeds with a purpose (other than making money). They choose their stock carefully, with consideration given to conformation flaws and temperament. If a horse doesn't conform to the ideal of what they are trying for in their breeding program, it is gelded if it is a colt and sold on, or just simply sold on if it's a filly. A good breeder WILL geld before selling a colt if it is not breeding quality, or will put a gelding clause in the purchase agreement.

A backyard breeder breeds because their horse has genitals to do so and they pay no mind to flaws, conformation or otherwise. They breed because they think they can make a fast buck or because they want a foal because it's cute then realize it's more work than they are prepared for. They don't necessarily care what happens to the foal after they sell it.

If I were to consider purchasing a foal from a breeder, I would educate myself as thoroughly as possible on conformation, bloodlines, and genetics. What are flaws that you can deal with? What are flaws that are deal-breakers? What are genetic issues common to the breed and the bloodlines (for example, HYPP in QHs)?
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-30-2014, 05:05 PM
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^^^^
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-30-2014, 05:21 PM
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A few things I look for:

-they breed for a purpose, and that purpose includes a great temperament, long term soundness, good conformation and functionality in the target discipline. Last on that list should be looks/color

-they use their horses, and know what they are talking about. Its pretty hard for someone to sell something they know nothing about(trust me, I'm in sales), So if you go to talk to a breeder who claims to produce the countries best cutters but they've never chased a cow in their life and have no proof, other than a pedigree, that the horse is capable, run the other way.

-They care about the horses. A good breeder should ask you lots of questions about your needs, wants and goals to help match you with the best horse possible. The horses will also be in good condition. I'm not talking necessarily about pampered show ponies, but they should be in decent condition with proper fencing and housing and reasonably clean. There should not be sick horses, filthy pens or stalls or horses kept in inadequate pens. Overall the animals should be happy and well cared for.

Ideally you should be able to see some horses that they've raised to adulthood and most will volunteer stories of the successes and various horses they've produced.
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-30-2014, 05:59 PM
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Couldn't say it any better than Drafty and Bluespark.

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/
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-30-2014, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you .
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-02-2014, 01:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSpark View Post
A few things I look for:

-they breed for a purpose, and that purpose includes a great temperament, long term soundness, good conformation and functionality in the target discipline. Last on that list should be looks/color

-they use their horses, and know what they are talking about. Its pretty hard for someone to sell something they know nothing about(trust me, I'm in sales), So if you go to talk to a breeder who claims to produce the countries best cutters but they've never chased a cow in their life and have no proof, other than a pedigree, that the horse is capable, run the other way.

-They care about the horses. A good breeder should ask you lots of questions about your needs, wants and goals to help match you with the best horse possible. The horses will also be in good condition. I'm not talking necessarily about pampered show ponies, but they should be in decent condition with proper fencing and housing and reasonably clean. There should not be sick horses, filthy pens or stalls or horses kept in inadequate pens. Overall the animals should be happy and well cared for.

Ideally you should be able to see some horses that they've raised to adulthood and most will volunteer stories of the successes and various horses they've produced.
Except in most cases the buyer never listens to breeder and insist they can handle the reasons you're telling them it's not a good match. I ended up buying two horses back because of the very things I told them they wouldn't like about the horse. And it wasn't because they weren't good horses just ones that would take advantage if you wanted them to be your pampered pet instead of a horse.
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post #8 of 15 Old 08-02-2014, 02:24 PM
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In addition to what the above posters said; it is very important the horses bred have a purpose and a market where they have value. This means in addition to being good in breed type, conformation, temperament, athletic ability and trainability, they are filling a need in the horse market. If you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a trail horse for sale, breeding for trail horses isn't a good marketing plan. There needs to be something about your horses that make them valuable, should you intend or need to sell them.
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-03-2014, 01:49 PM
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Good information.

Never equate the size of the breeding operation with professional VS backyard breeder. Someone who breeds their "pet" mare once every few years might be doing a better job than someone who pumps out 100 foals a year. That "pet" might just be a retired national top 5 mare that doesn't look like much in her everyday clothes. You see this everyday in the draft horse world. I have less respect for someone who produces 80-100 foals a year where less than 5 will make it to worlds than someone who breeds one foal that is only suited for recreational riding.
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post #10 of 15 Old 08-03-2014, 03:31 PM
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I would consider myself a backyard breeder. I have 2 mares and have only bred 1 mare in my life. The resulting foal will have a forever home with us because of the emotional attachment I have to her and her dam. I made sure to pick a stallion that complimented my mare and did all my genetic disease testing before breeding. I followed my vets advice to a T, had repeated ultrasounds done and took very good care of my mare.

I was prepared for the foaling. Had the vet out within 24 hours of her birth and had antibody testing done as well as general wellness exams on mare and foal.

Both my mares have very good conformation. Perfect? No...no horse is. But any future breedings will be thoroughly planned out to produce QUALITY foals. My AQHA mare cannot run barrels forever. She has arthritis in her hock at 7 years old from an injury. But when she is done running, she will be bred to earn her keep. (And give me another barrel horse) I do plan to sell some foals from her. She has excellent bloodlines and crossing with the correct stallion can bring big money with a foal.

Moral of my story. You do not have to buy from a huge breeder to get a quality horse. Do your research, get references and learn about conformation. I have a good reputation in my area for competing and the care of my horses. And that is what you want to buy from. Someone that takes care of their animals, whether it's 1 mare or 100.

My horses come first. Genetic disease testing is a must and producing a quality foal is a priority.

After all, If your not going to do it right, don't do it at all.
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