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I was going to post this as a reply on another thread but it was too far off topic and I want to know what people think. So instead of possibly taking over that thread I thought I'd start a new one.

I always see poeple on these breeding threads saying people shouldn't be breeding horses that don't have near perfect conformation, great bloodlines, have proven themselves in some disapline, etc. That's all fine and good and I understand where you're coming from. BUT if those were the only horses available out there I'm willing to bet a lot of us wouldn't have horses. After all, horses like that are going to cost a lot more than the one's with a few comformational flaws and unremarkable bloodlines. Most of us probably can't afford horses like that.

Maybe I'm wrong. I don't know much about comformation and bloodlines and how that affects the price of a horse but it seems logical that the types of horses everyone wants to see breed would be more expensive. So I'd like to hear what people think on the subject. If I'm totally wrong I'd like to hear that too!
 

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Conformation is how a horse is built. Meaning, say you have a horse that isn't built so well, and doesn't last too long. Would you want to carry on those lines, or would you rather breed for a horse that's going to last you a long time and not develop arthritis early on, due to conformation? A lot of the conformation faults at the joints(cow hocked, sickle hocked, over at the knee, back at the knee, etc) make it harder for the horse to colect and use themselves properly. Also, breeding a mare with poor conformation will make a pregnancy more stressful on the joints.

A horse having proven bloodlines will affect the price greatly. You get more money for a well bred horse and also a better chance at the horse being successful itself. Nothing is guranteed in the breeding business, but it always makes the chances better.

At this point in the horse market you can get a very well bred horse with good conformation for a very low price. Do a google search and look at the prices of the AQHA World Sale last year. The prices are ridiculously low, and some of those horses are the best of the best.

And another thing I said before, breeding is NOT just to make more horses. It should be taken as an attempt to better the breed, one horse at a time. Why do you think only the best of the best get approved at keurings for warmbloods and such? They only want the best of the best carrying on the legacy. I used to think like you, until I woke up and realized that just because a horse is cute or pretty does not mean it is a breeding quality animal.

I don't fully beleive that a horse needs to necessarily prove itself, but that horse better have **** good conformation to be a breeding animal.
 

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Yea I agree with Kassie. I understand what Amba is trying to say but there are a lot of horses out that shouldn't be breeding. Even if you only bred really nice horses there would still be a market for middle class because not everyone is going to be a world champion. If that makes sence. Kassie said it very well.
 

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In many countries outside the US, you have to have a license to breed a horse and each breeding must be approved. While it may seem like this will just create some kind of elitist, unaffordable horse population, it actually improves the overall quality of horses available and there are still plenty affordable horses to go around. Most importantly though, these countries do not have the problems we do with unwanted horses which end up being abused, neglected, and shipped to slaughter.

Kassie made excellent points. I have an amazing TB with fantastic bloodlines and training and I got him for about $100. Someone couldn't afford to pay his feed bill anymore and donated him to my school where I adopted him. He's not the exception either, lots of people I know have gotten similar horses for very low prices (not all adopted like mine, but you get the idea.)
 

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You can breed two fine individuals and end up with a not so great horse so the entry level horses would still be there. If you breed horses with major flaws then you risk making horses that are so bad as to be useless. If the price of horses were to suddenly double I doubt it would keep most people from owning a horse, after all, buying them is the cheap part.
 

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In many countries outside the US, you have to have a license to breed a horse and each breeding must be approved. While it may seem like this will just create some kind of elitist, unaffordable horse population, it actually improves the overall quality of horses available and there are still plenty affordable horses to go around. Most importantly though, these countries do not have the problems we do with unwanted horses which end up being abused, neglected, and shipped to slaughter.
QUOTE]

I live in sweden and mostley breeds needs to get aprofed by a jury that make sure they look good within the limits and don't have any problems with bonestructure etc. Some like the Welsh ponies nowdays "only" need a vet. to look at them, saying there's nothing wrong with the horse of what they can see/hear. And if they don't pass they won't be allowed to reproduce them selves.

Still we got TONS of horses going to the slaughter house, or going to a child in a family there the parents don't know anything about horses.

How come..? The mares never have to be seen by a vet. Someone that want "a cute little foal<3" but have no idea what they're doing go to the closest stallion no matter breed~ and get a foal, not caring how it will look or what it will be good for. When they sell it they don't even get the cash back for breeding it and the horse will just go from owner to owner (well some are lucky ofc) and finaly to slaughterhouse because they don't become what the owner want.

It's the same problem no matter what ;(
 

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I live in sweden and mostley breeds needs to get aprofed by a jury that make sure they look good within the limits and don't have any problems with bonestructure etc.

Still we got TONS of horses going to the slaughter house, or going to a child in a family there the parents don't know anything about horses.

It's the same problem no matter what ;([/QUOTE]


you're right, it is a problem no matter what, but your numbers are a fraction of what ours are (especially in the small animal world). One of my professors (at vet school) recently moved here from sweden where she was born and raised and practiced most of her life. She was blown away by how severe our over population problems are.

Germany is one country where the system works fairly well. I had to explain to two visiting German vet students (who study in Austria) why we have all this horse slaughter legislation. The system isn't perfect anywhere but it is pretty bad here. Still not as bad as some of the things I have seen in developing countries like Morocco.
 

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There are actually numerous factors in why people often reply with "you shouldn't be breeding him/her".

The biggest one right now is economy - you only have to look out your backdoor to see how the economy is affecting people. If ever there was a time to REALLY not be breeding horses, it is now. The only people really dealing in horses right now are the professional breeders who make their livelihood from breeding, training and showing and continue to do so to generate a sort of income, which is what the same people who are buying these animals are doing. The average horse person has bigger things to worry about now then buying new horses, so the market for these subpar and mediocre horses is practically non-existant. This factor may subside a bit as the economy improves and a market for cheap family horses increases.

Another big factor is that typically to me, the average backyard owner who is so blinded by their love for their own mare that they don't objectively see her faults is not experienced enough to be breeding anyway. These are the people that want to haul Bessie down to the local stud and get a foal for $200. They think it's that easy and never bother thinking of vet visits, vaccinations, proper nutrition or what the bill will be in emergencies. They are risking the life of their horse and their foal and for WHAT? For a badly conformed monster that maaaay have his dam's sweet temperment? He also may inherit the desire to bit your nose off everytime you look at him from his stud! These people don't stop and think about the consequences of their actions. And more often then not, if you can ONLY afford a $200 stud fee, you have no business even owning another horse because chances are you'll be forced to starve them or sell them anyway when things go wrong.

It's not that I'm against breeding mediocre horses - it really IS your perogative. I have just virtually yet to see someone come on the forum and say "This is my mare, I know she has a few faults, but this is the reason why I want to breed her and why I feel I NEED to breed her, and price isn't an issue here, so could you let me know which of these studs you feel best compliments her?"

I am a lot less against someone breeding with a very specific plan or goal in mind. No, we can't all be breeding champions, and some of us may not be interested in picking up the cheap PMU foal. But more often then not, when you examine all the actual costs involved with a proper breeding, you can almost guarantee you will be paying more money to obtain that foal then you would be to buy a weanling of same or greater quality anyway. It doesn't matter if your mare is a trail horse or a champion, the costs of breeding are always the "samish", so why waste your hard earned money on something like sentiment when you could be spending it on an already visible foal that has what you're looking for?

My aunt has always said she will NEVER breed because it's such a crapshoot. You can have two of the finest parents and they still produce a fugly monster because of a flaw his great grand daddy had. She said for what it will cost her, she'd much rather spend her money on a horse she can already SEE has winning points. And she has an excellent point!

Basically it all boils down to not breeding for emotional reasons - which is essentially exactly what the backyard breeder does. They are not breeding an animal for profit, they are breeding it because they "want a baby from their mare". Which is just a really super lousy reason with all the fine quality horses already for sale, bred by the professionals who know what they're doing.
 

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Although indeed some of the horses we have wouldn't be here by (What is the right word?) 'regular' breeding.. Not sure how to explain myself here, flemish you see :)

But indeed there can be a lot of problems coming up medically.
And it's always nice to know where your horse specificly came from :)
 

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I like a horse with some substance to it, you know, large bones and feet, and it seems like the purebreds are actually getting AWAY from that. In otherwords, I guess, good conformation must be subjective!

For instance, there are a lot of fine boned Quarter Horses out there, that must have tons of talent and good breeding, but they just don't look like they would hold up as trail horses. They have all this "bulk" and tiny feet and bones.

I guess what I am saying is, sometimes the mutts have that good old hybrid vigor that the purebreds do not.

I wish good conformation wasn't subjective, but it must be. Otherwise, the purebreds would be getting stronger and hardier instead of finer boned, small footed, and weaker. (I don't mean to pick on QH's, they are just the easiest example since I am in QH country). I wish people would breed for function and not what they think is "pretty."

Also, another thought I have, is that everyone seems to blame the "backyard breeder" for unwanted horses. And that may be true(?), but SOMEDAY I would love to breed a mare and have a foal. Kind of a bucket-list thing before I die. Why would someone knock me for doing that when there are so-called breeders pumping out dozens of horses a year? Dozens of horses for racing, dozens of ranch horses, dozens of PMU horses, etc. Why should only certain people be able to breed and take it so lightly?

If I ever bred a mare, I would NOT take it lightly. If you take away breeding rights from the "little guy" then only the big breeders can produce foals. That doesn't seem fair.

So I dunno, I just wish people would take the welfare of the horses they are breeding into account. Only breed horses that are sturdy and will hopefully remain sound for most of their lives, instead of breeding just for looks or performance as a 2-3 year old, not taking into account the horse will hopefully live 30 years.

And try not to breed the fuglies, definitely, if you can help it! But I guess I see the big breeders as much of a problem as the small ones. And sometimes the "mutts" are better built and will still be going strong when the purebreds come down with navicular and such.
 

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First if you are going to breed. You need to look at it as a business. Take out emotion and every other reason people tend to breed. If you can not make a profit on what you breed then stop. Do not do it. Prices are still very strong for good well bred prospects. I am not even talking started or proven horses I am talking prospects which is what you need to look at when breeding. If you do not want a prospect then do not breed. If you do not have a market for that prospect then do not breed. If you market if only for started or trained horses then think about buying.

I breed for a simple reason. I can breed for a lot less then what it cost me to buy that prospect. If I want to sell I know there is a good market for that prospect and I will come out way ahead. I have taken out the emotion and put in the business into my breeding program. If I do not think I can make a profit even if I am breeding for myself I will not do it.

That leads me to the other problem. Those people who say I am breeding b/c I want part of my mare or I want a foal and it will be a for ever horse. I call B/S on that. On average horses live will into their 20 and I know several right now that are 30 or over and I have one of them. So chances are the vast majority of people are not going to keep that foal for the rest of its life. So you need to make that foal/horse marketable. As it ages that runs more into training then anything but you still have to put in the work.
 

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trailhorserider - I definately agree. I would never classify a "mutt" as irresponsible backyard breeding. The same rules apply whether it's purebred or partbred - make sure there is a market for what you're breeding!

If you're not out to breed prospects, at least ensure that as a well broke horse, there will be a need for that animal. For example, I bred Zierra's dam to a Hanoverian stud. Through a crazy mixup, I ended up not owning the foal (long story). As a foal, there probably wasn't any market for her, but now as a 5 year old with Dressage training under her belt, the owner just sold her for $5,500 with modest training on her. She probably didn't make any money, but at least when the time came to sell her, there was a market for her (she sold within a month of being listed at a trainer's barn).

I plan on breeding Zierra to a Thoroughbred stud. Why? Because I want a half-Arab with a Arab traits but more substance and sport to it. There are no Anglo-Arabs for sale here, or even half-Arabs from Warmblood type bloodlines. I would breed because I am unable to obtain what I want from purchasing. I would likely not make money off the resulting foal, but I have 100% confidence that if the day come, the resulting offspring would not be without a home - there would be a demand for the resulting offspring in my area. Moreso, actually, then if I were to breed her to a purebred Arabian stud. My intention would be to have the foal forever, BUT, if for whatever reason, that was unfeasible, I would breed knowing that the foal would have a market if unforseen circumstances demanded a sale. I would never breed an animal without first thinking "Ok, if something happens, would it sell?"
 

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nhrareiner, I actually agree with what you are saying. You are breeding with a purpose and goal, and that is the right reason to do it. :D

Still, if I want to breed for one foal, once in my life, I'm not going to feel guilty about it. And I have several horses that I have "retired" and kept until they have died, even though they were no longer ride-able. I think that's just being a responsible horse owner. If I die before the horse does, I guess that is out of my control. :-(

Also, it's almost an apples vs. oranges type of thing. Trail horses are a whole different market than performance horses. I know trail horses are at the low-end of the market, and as such, what makes a really good trail horse is the training, they can be of almost any breed or bloodline as long as they have a good disposition.

At the performance horse level, I know you really need to start with good breeding to be competitive.
 

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MacabreMikolaj- I agree with you 100%. You can only do what you can do, sometimes life gives you unforseen obstacles, but you can do everything you can to make sure the animal you bring into the world is desireable and has the training to set it up for success.


By the way, wouldn't it be great if people put this much thought into bringing kids into the world? :lol:
 

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Also, it's almost an apples vs. oranges type of thing. Trail horses are a whole different market than performance horses. I know trail horses are at the low-end of the market, and as such, what makes a really good trail horse is the training, they can be of almost any breed or bloodline as long as they have a good disposition.

At the performance horse level, I know you really need to start with good breeding to be competitive.

Now for me. I do not think that a well bred well trained performance horse like the ones I have can not be used as trail horses. (disclaimer: Trail horse is a horse used as a recreational mount for fun on trails not competition trail riding). ALL my show horses trail ride. They do it and do it well. All the show horses at my trainers barn trail ride. It is part of their training. SO for me at least they are the same thing. Now I can understand about not wanting to pay the money for a top performance horse to do a week end trail ride with. However those horses do very well on the trail.
 

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I think there should always be a very specific purpose behind why a person breeds and not just that they want a baby horse. The horses selected for breeding should have attributes that will enhance it's breed or if mixing breeds it's done with a design in mind to create a horse that has certain abilities or qualities to serve a specific purpose.

For instance I LOVE TB/Draft crosses or TB/Wamblood/Draft crosses for substance and athleticism. This is like my dream horse and I am sure many would disagree because they have something else that is their ideal.

When I was showing dogs (I never bred my dogs) but I know that many only bred to enhance the breed. And even with that intent there is never any guarantee and allot of risk!
 

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some great posts on here! While I think that breeding should be highly regulated (for humans too, ha! kidding, don't derail on that one) I do NOT think it should be limited to purebreds. I think there are some lovely crosses out there and pure breeding has many limitations and problems too. I just think that it needs to be controlled so that we aren't making horses that someone bred on a whim because they just wanted a cute little baby, or because whoops they had an accident, or they thought they'd make money. I think every animal that is brought into the world (domestic anyway) needs to be assured a home where they will have medical attention, feed, shelter, and it wouldn't hurt to have love either ;P.
 

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I find this thread fascinating. I have no interest in breeding horses, and it's not something I ever plan to get into. I have a mare getting ready to foal but she was bred when I got her - and after this she wont be bred again. But this discussion is in some ways relevant to ones I have seen before in the dog world and I am wondering how many correlations there are.

For example - I breed working blood old fashioned Collies. Some of the conformation restrictions, or even just "show fads" placed on the breed are counterproductive to working ability of the dogs. I also avoid breeding stock registered with closed registries because I believe working with a genepool that reduces itself year after year is a bad idea overall.

I know little about registries, genetics, and "rules" in terms of breeding horses, but trailhorserider's comments hit a similar chord. I used to show when I was younger, but these days I just trail ride for pleasure, and my horses are all crossbreeds.

Do you have the same issues with popular sire effects and certain showy looks causing problems with the workability of horses? I gather in breeding horses, there is as much appreciation and marketability for working bloodlines as there is for show bloodlines, at least among some breeds, so I guess that probably keeps things on a pretty even keel?
 
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