I first started riding at age 2 and had several uncles who raised and trained horses using natural horsemanship that taught me a great many things. Unfortunately many of those uncles passed on when I was quite young and from there I had to experience horses through other people, some of which should never have owned a horse in the first place, so I have experience working with damaged and abused animals and correcting the resulting behavior. Always working with a horse instead of against it. Anyway life took me along a different road for many years and I havent worked with horses in 11 years now. Within the next couple weeks I will start work at a horse rescue facility in my area. I'm a bit rusty and unsure of myself at this point, but my aunt, who is getting me the job, has complete confidence in my abilities. Thankfully if I've forgotten anything I will pick it up fast as I am a quick learner and they are willing to train me.
This same aunt has been maintaining a line of horses that has been in our family for several generations, on a small scale, never having more than half a dozen at any one time. The line is maintained via a careful combination of out crossing and line breeding so that the blood doesnt get too thick or thin. The family rule is that once you have one of these horses your not allowed to sell or give away the horse or any of its progeny under any circumstances, unless its a gelding. A couple years ago when I was living on the other side of the country my aunt wound up in the hospital with a sever back injury for several months and had another woman taking care of the horses. She didnt do a very good job and our two boys got loose and were confiscated by animal rescue. My aunt was not informed of this until a few months afterwards when she got out of the hospital and we havent been able to locate them since to see if their allright or if we can get them back. So our herd has gone down to one retired mare and a filly out of that mare that is almost 3 years old. I'd like to get some imput/feedback on them being that within the next couple years the filly will be bred and if the resulting foal is another filly that filly will be coming to live with me. If its a colt my aunt is keeping it as a stud and purchasing/borrowing a new mare or two and the next filly born will go to me. This current filly and her resulting offspring are the last of the line and mean a great deal to us. I don't know much about breeding and genetics at this point other than the basics of care and labor. In the end whatever is left of the line will come to me or my cousin, once my aunt passes, and maintaining it will fall on us. As it is I'll soon be caring for them anyway as my aunt's injury still prevents her from working with them and I will be training the filly to ride sometime after her 3rd birthday. My aunt wont trust anyone else with her horses.
Heres what I know about our line so far...
*They're derived from the original Cherokee stock.
*They have a high turnout of leopards.
*If bred to anything but homozygous black the resulting offspring typically turn out blind. I'm not sure why that is, but that's what my aunt says.
*When outbred to another line they have always used either paint or appaloosa stallions who are homozygous black that are of a type similar to our line that are from good healthy reliable stock.
*The typical gestation period for this line is 1 year +18 days.
*The mares generally give birth without incident and there hasnt been an incident in several generations.
*They are highly people oriented, intelligent, easy to handle, very sound, rarely if ever spook and the stallions in the line are typically very gentle.
*They are very hardy and adaptable and there hasnt been an illness in the line for a very long time.
*They have high stamina and make great trail, endurance & working horses.
The current filly is out of the last stallion in the line and he was retired and gelded after she was born. The mothers of the last stallion and the mare were half sisters, so even if we did have another stallion in the line its time to out cross anyway. I want to learn more about breeding before I get a filly so that I can properly maintain them. I would really like to be able to restore the line to a point where we wont end up in this situation again and am not yet sure what the best route to take is. Any thoughts, suggestions, comments?