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Friday, April 30, 2010

Bringing Up Baby 1 - Facing The Truth

I looked at my sweet girl Kitt's paperwork today.  I had to fax it to the breeding station. She is the descendant of four AQHA grand champions.  I never looked at it.  I didn't know.  The stallion is the descendant of seven AQHA champions. I picked him because I knew the owners and he had a great disposition.  Who knew he was this good. What do I do with this?  All of a sudden I've got a million dollar baby. I'm at a loss. 

My grandfather was a dairy farmer. He told my mother, who told me how to selectively breed for mares. I can't have a little boy. I'd have to leave him a stallion and there's no place to put him. I'm going to have to talk to the vet tomorrow about breeding a girl. Please guys help me here. I've raised cats and dogs but never horses. And I've never had a million dollar baby. And here's my dilemma.  I know what happens to horses who go to spoiled thirteen year olds.  How they are passed around until they are old and end up in the feed lots. I want this little girl to end up a brood mare for someone who will appreciate her until she's retired. I'm going to hand raise her and show her.  Hopefully, you'll instruct me in how to do that.

Please, please help me.


  1. Maia, You may or may not want to hear this but I'm going to say it any way. It's just my opinion of course...
    There are lots of really good broodmares and sires out there,horses that are worth millions of dollars, and their babies are going for pennies on the dollar. The breeders are people that spend their lives studying and breeding just the right 'nic'. Unfortunately there also lots and lots of people that are breeding their not so good horses, and have glutted the horse market more than ever. So a non breeder (like yourself) and her very nice mare should only breed if YOU want to have and keep a baby from your good mare- NOT for sale on the open market. Unless your mare( not her sire or grand sire, or dam or grand dam) has a sterling show record, she should not be bred. The horse world is in a huge slump,there is no market for more babies. There is no way you can guarantee that baby won't end up neglected or worse. Even the market for highly trained show horses is down, and the signs for recovery are a long way down the trail.
    I've owned horse for all of my life,and have midwifed and helped birth a dozen or so.I have only bred one of my own. I wanted a baby out of my good mare, for myself and no other. It was a disaster, I lost the baby during birthing, and almost lost my mare. It was expensive and traumatizing.
    I have also been nursemaid for foals whose mothers refused them, and I bottle raised them. It takes a lot of money and scads of time.

    And if the pregnancy goes well, and the birthing goes well, there are other factors I'd like for you to consider.

    You now have to socialize this baby with other horses. Are you prepared to house and feed two or more? Do you have pasture with enough turnout? Are you capable of, and have the knowledge to halter train, ground train,and even start a young horse? Do you have the money to have someone to do it for you? Most people do not want to buy a weanling, so you are going to have to do all of this until your foal is a yearling, and then you still might not be able to sell the foal. So you keep it until it is two,or so... see where this is going?
    If your need to have a foal is strong, I would suggest trying to find someone with a youngster for you to help out first. Learn the ins and outs, the pitfalls and all.
    It is not something to be taken lightly, and if you undertake the path I hope you have someone to mentor you through it.

    Sorry if this is long winded, but I feel more strongly about this than any other horse keeping topic-including the wild horses here in the west.

    Good luck.

  2. Ah, I don't mind. I keep Kitt at a Warmblood breeding barn, so the breeding and training are taken care of. I decided to breed her, because I can't ride her. She's retired and I wanted a replacement. Not that she's that old. She got sick and it left her lame. She's well now, but not ridable.See that's why I never looked at her papers or the stallions papers. Just wanted a baby with as good a disposition as she has. Then I did and was blown away. I always intend to keep this baby until I saw the papers and talked to the breeding station owner and I thought well if this little horse has a lot of talent and there's no way to know until it's older and I've shown it a few times, maybe she, hopefully could go to someone who could make the most out of it. If it's a sweet natured talentless lug, she will always have a home with me.

  3. OK, me, I'm a breeder. I see all of this through the eyes of someone who's looking down the road at the outcome for the breed.

    Sure, I have to deal with the current market but it takes a long time for a horse to mature and the market will be coming around by then. The fact many are not breeding now will only make the market stronger out the other side.

    If you have a solid plan for a foal (besides a quick buck)and you can deal with the financial responsibilites of breeding and raising the foal, there are lots of valid reasons why to do so. I could write a book on that subject but I'll refrain.

    As for the peidgree of this foal, just because it says you're going to get a great baby doesn't mean you have to part with it. If what you want is a replacement for your mare, why should it's pedigree change that.

    If you're worried that maybe you're somehow cheating the breed by not putting this horse out into the breeding community you can still do that even AND keep your horse. With the technology of today if you get a mare you could sell embryos and still keep the mare and you know what the options are for a colt. It is possible to have your cake and eat it too.