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Velvet
Mar. 7, 2011, 12:21 PM
Did anyone else read Scott's column on Totilas as a breeding stallion and representative of good breeding results?

http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/totilas-provides-inspiration-breeders

I hadn't caught it until today (it's from 2/28) and didn't see it out here.

Really well written and true. No matter what else you might say or feel about Toto.

Go Fish
Mar. 7, 2011, 01:22 PM
Great article...

I'm not a dressage person (okay, I'm a dressage groom for a friend), but even I can appreciate the phenom that is Totilas. I doubt I'll ever see a horse like him again in my lifetime.

siegi b.
Mar. 7, 2011, 05:20 PM
While I agree with some of the article, i. e. breeding for a sound mind, I'm not so sure I agree with everything else.......

A lot of what Scott admires in Totilas is training, training and more training, something a breeder cannot control easily unless blessed with unlimited funds.

Totilas as a youngster was not nearly as impressive as he is now, and that is why I attribute the positive developments to his training. The other factor is mileage.... Go to any of the bigger horse shows in Europe and you will find noise, umbrellas (large and small), lots of people that express their likes and dislikes of performances quite audibly, vendors, etc. etc. Most horses that grow up showing in that environment develop a blase attitude about it because it's just part of their lives.

Going back to training... look at Voice, another stallion that is now ridden by Edward Gal. Before Edward got the ride, Voice was not exactly the kind of horse that made you go "WOW" .... but look at him now! Edward is a very gifted trainer and rider who can make a lot of horses look very good and, more importantly, can bring out the best in already talented ones.

In summary, I think not only do we breeders need to look for ways to always improve our stock, but I also think that trainers/riders should strive to get better all the time.

Just my opinion.....

Velvet
Mar. 8, 2011, 01:49 PM
I agree Siegi, training is what makes a horse shine, but breeding did have a big part in creating a very rideable horse!

ASB Stars
Mar. 8, 2011, 04:17 PM
I have always had huge respect for Scott- and this just enhances it. He is telling it how it is- and he has some damn fine studs at his place. Bravo, Scott, for giving people a reality check on all levels.

D_BaldStockings
Mar. 8, 2011, 08:20 PM
I'm with Seigi on this.
Training.

Granted, you must have something wonderful to train, but if the trainer focused on the wrong things at any time in the long process; this could have been a hard mouth, iron neck, horse with mediocre transitions, tension hampering his expression and making his gaits irregular, and a sour shut down mind.

I don't agree that you 'breed for' a soft mouth and generous, calm mind, nor harmony with his rider's subtle cues, other than at a very basic level. Those are development foundation blocks that training can build into a wondrous cathedral or demolish to rubble.

Scott has some good points, I think:
"Successful breeding is not based on a formula, nor is it limited to a specific gene pool or popular trend. I love it when an individual like Totilas proves this."

"His mechanics are well connected, and his naturally quick hind legs make the work easy for him. That effortless quality of performance becomes inherent to our breeding goals."

If I am being completely honest, Totilas is not my ideal type of horse and I wouldn't be striving to reproduce his image through breeding.

Shooting Star Farm
Mar. 8, 2011, 08:50 PM
If I am being completely honest, Totilas is not my ideal type of horse and I wouldn't be striving to reproduce his image through breeding.


OK. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not exactly unbiased in this discussion, since I spent the mula and took the risk to breed to Totilas immediately. However, given the accomplishments of the horse as a dressage athlete, how would you describe your ideal dressage horse?

siegi b.
Mar. 9, 2011, 09:16 AM
Maybe my post was not clear enough....

I didn't say that training was the only thing important in the making of a dressage star - at least I didn't mean to.:) It's a combination of good breeding and then good training that makes a star in my opinion. Scott Hassler attributed a few too many things to good breeding only, and that's what prompted my post.

And I agree with Shooting Star Farm - if Totilas isn't what you're looking for in a dressage horse, what is? :eek:

Velvet
Mar. 9, 2011, 09:38 AM
D_Bald,

Yes, we do breed for temperament. This is the one thing I find so wonderful about this horse. Yes, you can ruin a horse by taking advantage of a generous nature, but the top breeders do try to breed for that personality type. One that is easier for a pro to train and one that it easier for ammies (the biggest share of the horse market).

He is a great representative of a stallion that could have made a great gelding (personality wise) for an ammie if his talent hadn't been enough to get him to the top and keep him as a stud prospect.

ASB Stars
Mar. 9, 2011, 09:54 AM
And I agree with Shooting Star Farm - if Totilas isn't what you're looking for in a dressage horse, what is? :eek:

I think that is the entire point, in all of the debates about Totilas. He is the game changer, and if you are attempting to breed, buy or exhibit International quality horses, and are not breeding/buying/owning horses who can exhibit the quality of his mind, his gaits, his balance, and overall performance- the ship just sailed- and YOU are not ON it

And for those folks who are invested in any way- ownership, breeding programs, training, etc. in those other programs, well, they are just a tetch unhappy, just now. :lol:

MysticOakRanch
Mar. 9, 2011, 10:36 AM
We need to breed a few Ed Gals...

I love Toto - but wonder if he'd have been the super star he is if he'd ended up with a different rider? It is a bit of the chicken or the egg question...

netg
Mar. 9, 2011, 10:45 AM
And I agree with Shooting Star Farm - if Totilas isn't what you're looking for in a dressage horse, what is? :eek:

As someone who does NOT own a breeding program - I look for a horse who would be appropriate for me. I'd prefer a leaner type of horse, one who is going to most likely have more tendency toward lengthenings as the strength rather than collection.

A horse who is SO GREAT at everything he does? Yeah, obviously that's incredible, never seen before, and you can't knock it. But the overall build Totilas has is the type on which I do poorly - so if I end up doing a custom breeding through a breeding facility, I won't be breeding for a horse like Totilas. For the temperament, and hoping for the same ability to both collect and extend? Sure. But I'm certainly not EG, and know Totilas would have been worth barely anything had I been the one riding him... so therefore why would I *want* a horse just like him? To me, it's not an insult toward Totilas - it's an acknowledgement of my humanity and (lack of) skills.


That said, the article is from a breeding perspective, and I tend to think that means breeder, not ammy doing a one-time breeding... and while Totilas may not be the answer for all breeding programs, certainly he possesses most of what you want in your breeding program!

merrygoround
Mar. 9, 2011, 01:26 PM
[Quote-DBaldStockings]I don't agree that you 'breed for' a soft mouth and generous, calm mind, nor harmony with his rider's subtle cues, other than at a very basic level. Those are development foundation blocks that training can build into a wondrous cathedral or demolish to rubble.[End quote]

At any level, those are things that need to be bred for. If your mare is a brilliant, great moving, unrideable bitch, the last thing you want to do is breed her. I've been around long enough to know that these traits are heritable. The same with serious conformation flaws, they will come back to bite you in the sorry end.;)

D_BaldStockings
Mar. 9, 2011, 02:27 PM
TYPE, not conformation, TYPE. He is a well-conformed horse, just not my TYPE preference.

http://www.superiorequinesires.com/stallions/totilas.shtml

There is a confo shot at the bottom. I prefer a rangier, less compact build.

I was raised on Morgans, TBs, and Saddlebreds. Moorlands Totilas reminds me of the more thickset of those types, which is not my preference.

A dog person could like Dobermann Pinscher type vs. Rottweiler type and neither is a badly conformed dog, just personal preference.


Breeding for conformation, health, longevity, and temperament are vitally important. Type is the frosting on that particular cake.
If you are a breeder, that is ALL you can do. What one makes of quality 'basic ingredients' depends on one's skillset, finances, and some good luck.

D_BaldStockings
Mar. 9, 2011, 02:41 PM
[Quote-DBaldStockings]I don't agree that you 'breed for' a soft mouth and generous, calm mind, nor harmony with his rider's subtle cues, other than at a very basic level. Those are development foundation blocks that training can build into a wondrous cathedral or demolish to rubble.[End quote]

At any level, those are things that need to be bred for. If your mare is a brilliant, great moving, unrideable bitch, the last thing you want to do is breed her. I've been around long enough to know that these traits are heritable. The same with serious conformation flaws, they will come back to bite you in the sorry end.;)

Breeding from stock that demonstrates the qualities after training is NOT the same as breeding for 'a soft mouth'.

And depending on why a mare is an unridable b---- I would be very likely to breed from her if the rest of her family was good natured and I knew there was mishandling involved. She would be a better choice than a faultily conformed horse that could not do the work long term.

I do agree that temperament is an important heritable trait, but it is difficult to judge 'baseline at birth' if you only see the 8year old mature animal after so much interaction with the environment.
Certainly Zebras and Mongolian wild horses are NOT temperamentally as easy to train as even resistant horses.

You can cut the tails off 100 generations of mice -the tails will still be just as long on the 101st generation.

If you select for shortest tails at birth for 100 generations, then the 101st will be measurably shorter -on average, anyway.

ASB Stars
Mar. 10, 2011, 10:09 AM
I happen to love Toto's type- but I prefer shorter backed, longer legged horses, with a mile of neck. In Toto's case, form an function unite for a brilliant outcome.

I find, that the longer backed horses are just tougher to keep together, and produce a strong, yet elastic, back. The short backed guys- at least mine- can be tighter in the back, which is it's own issue, but my wheelhouse is working with that issue, so for me, I look for that particular body type.

Donella
Mar. 10, 2011, 10:19 AM
In any top horse everything has to come together perfectly. Gal was the perfect rider for this horse. But there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that his inner qualities were in place when he was born. That is what makes Toto so special, he is the PERFECT blend of inner tranquility and electricity/athleticism. Those two traits are ideal but they are very hard to breed into the same horse.

A trainer friend once said to me "we train talent" and that is what I believe in. Top horses are born and then it is up to us to manage them so that they live up to their inborn potential.

Dressage_Diva333
Mar. 10, 2011, 12:39 PM
Enjoyed reading the article!

I am an avid Toto fan. Like others have mentioned, it's hard to knock a horse who has done what he has done. He exactly the "type" of horse I like best. He does his job, and does it VERY well. I agree that Edward Gal does bring out the finest in the horse, and had Totilas been with some other rider, he most likely would not have become what he has become.

I also agree that his temperament is another wonderful feature. YES, there is training to it, lots of training and exposure, but he DOES have a very good temperament. That is obvious. Sure he's been to lots of shows, heard the crowds clapping and cheering, etc... But so have the other Grand Prix horses. I could come up with 10 horses, easy, off the top of my head who have competed at the top levels, who have had tons of training, and obviously don't have such agreeable temperaments as Totilas does. Gribaldi, for example, looked to be quite a bit more difficult than his son, even under the same trainer.

I agree with the poster that said we need more Edward Gals! Can we send one to my neck of the woods? :D A horse is only as good as his rider. There are lots of good horses out there, it's the top riders and trainers that I think we are lacking.

Donella
Mar. 10, 2011, 12:59 PM
Gribaldi, for example, looked to be quite a bit more difficult than his son, even under the same trainer.

Gal has said Gribaldi was a more difficult type. The Vissers did great because they knew their mare and they knew the damline good enough to make that match (or they just lucked out, but I am guessing it was an educated decision).

MysticOakRanch
Mar. 10, 2011, 05:52 PM
I happen to love Toto's type- but I prefer shorter backed, longer legged horses, with a mile of neck. In Toto's case, form an function unite for a brilliant outcome.



First disclaimer, I've never seen Toto up close and personal - but a friend has, and says he is actually more a cobby type build, shorter legs in relation to his size, and of course, shorter in the body. Not the modern, long legged, lighter bodied horse that so many are breeding for today. And I'll admit, it is part of what I love about him (besides his obvious joy of showing off his ability):lol:

It is interesting that he was turned down for approval earlier in life - probably because he's not the "modern type" that the registries aim for now. The modern type is longer (rectangular), lighter, longer legs, etc - Toto is really not a modern type Warmblood.

And also interesting - he doesn't have the longer, more rectangular body, so you would think the lateral work might be harder on him - yet his half passes flow so beautifully!

In many ways, Toto is a contradiction - I'm really, really curious to see what his offspring are like - can he reproduce himself? If so, I am guessing his fees will go up:eek: We could look back and say "remember when his semen was such a bargain:lol:...

D_BaldStockings
Mar. 10, 2011, 07:42 PM
His dam's sire Glendale was known for a good, kind temperament.
Moorlands Totilas is a 'straight outcross' of a dressage bred stallion on a jumper bred mare.
One can see his greatgrandsire Akteur in Totilas.

It will be interesting to see his offspring grow up.


I wonder how many are using jumper bred mares to breed to their favorite dressage stallion to get their next dressage star?

There are many roads to Rome!

MysticOakRanch
Mar. 10, 2011, 08:49 PM
I wonder how many are using jumper bred mares to breed to their favorite dressage stallion to get their next dressage star?



Actually, I think it is really common to do this - I've been doing it for years, and know several Warmblood breeders (including some big names) who do it. I'm pretty sure many of the dressage breeders on the Breeders Forum would confirm it is not an unusual path to Rome:winkgrin:

ASB Stars
Mar. 10, 2011, 09:54 PM
I dunno. I breed to top five gaited lines looking for my next great dressage horse. Of course, the fact that they can jump like stags...well, I digress...

I find Toto's proportions to be more, what we call in ASBs "punched up" than simply "cob". He does carry a great length of leg, but he sure does not have that rectangular thingee going on. If you look at any shots of him moving, it is easy to compare leg length, to body length, and length of neck.

He's just flat brilliant. I am sure I would swoon in his presence!

Shooting Star Farm
Mar. 10, 2011, 10:00 PM
In response to Totilas's conformation: Whether it's under saddle, in a video, or in his conformation pictures, he looks completely different than when you're standing next to him. A month ago, I stood at his wither while he was on the cross-ties under the heat lamps at PS's.(haven't cleaned under my the fingernails of my right hand since...kidding--had to get through customs) He is not "cobby". He is quite leggy, as a matter of fact. He has a good length of neck, but he is a little short coupled. I don't know what it is about him undersaddle, but everything seems to bend and compress-he looks shorter than he really is. As far as I've read and heard, he was never presented to the KWPN for stallion approval, not that the KWPN would have taken him at that time--who knows. His mareline is old-fashioned and probably wouldn't have been interesting enough.

ASB Stars
Mar. 10, 2011, 10:07 PM
I've always found that horses with *perfect proportions* look much smaller at a distance, and working, than they do when you are standing up next to them...just sayin'...:lol:

Dressage_Diva333
Mar. 10, 2011, 10:17 PM
In response to Totilas's conformation: Whether it's under saddle, in a video, or in his conformation pictures, he looks completely different than when you're standing next to him. A month ago, I stood at his wither while he was on the cross-ties under the heat lamps at PS's.(haven't cleaned under my the fingernails of my right hand since...kidding--had to get through customs) He is not "cobby". He is quite leggy, as a matter of fact. He has a good length of neck, but he is a little short coupled. I don't know what it is about him undersaddle, but everything seems to bend and compress-he looks shorter than he really s.

I agree with this fully. I have stood next to him under saddle, and he is far from "cobby".

Wayside
Mar. 10, 2011, 10:29 PM
I don't agree that you 'breed for' a soft mouth and generous, calm mind, nor harmony with his rider's subtle cues, other than at a very basic level.

I disagree with this. As I'm starting the daughter of my dressage mare, I'm finding that a lot of her chacteristics that I originally attributed to the mother's training and/or life experiences are expressed very strongly in her daughter as well. Both of them are incredibly soft, sensitive, and focused. While it is, of course, possible to build on these inclinations in either a positive or negative way, I can honestly say that they *are* predisposed to having soft mouths and harmony with a rider's subtle cues.

Other greenies have been thicker-skinned, but have had a calm generous nature right from the start.

While it is true that you may have more environmental influence over some of these things than conformation, the heritability is there, and it is important.

Bethe Mounce
Mar. 11, 2011, 12:04 AM
Breeding for temperament, in my experience, is first because without it, the gaits are worthless....horse must be able to grow up to withstand the pressure that will come. Have seen so many lovely and correctly connected young horses that succomb to the pressures as they go up the levels. One in particular I know...he was stunning, truly the epitomy of an up and coming FEI international level quality horse, but at 3rd level, he said no and he continued to say no. He was sold to a jumper rider and well....the jumper thing is where he has shined. I so loved this horse and he had such a wonderful owner/rider/trainer and well...it just wasn't meant to be. Breeding is a crap shoot no matter which way you spin it. You hope you have bred the right mare to the right stallion, but just because one breeds the best to the best doesn't guarantee the best will be born, it certainly lessens the odds of a not so great baby, but no one knows for sure. The only thing that could be guaranteed, if the mare owner so desired, is the sex of the baby. That can be pre-selected.

DownYonder
Mar. 11, 2011, 07:13 AM
I don't agree that you 'breed for' a soft mouth and generous, calm mind, nor harmony with his rider's subtle cues, other than at a very basic level.

I think there are many, many breeders in Europe and NA who would strenuously disagree with this comment.

They absolutely DO breed for rideability (which includes a good mouth), as well as for temperament and character. It is one reason why stallion rideability scores from their performance tests and Y/H tests are scrutinized so closely, and why breeders talk to riders of the stallion and his offspring to learn about how the horse feels under saddle. Rideability is a HUGE part of the equation for dressage breeders!

Isabeau Z Solace
Mar. 11, 2011, 08:25 AM
I read both Scott's article and the article interviewing Toto's breeders. What strikes me most is that though the horse has been purchased by a big breeder, he was produced by a small one. Also produced in a program that keeps them until they are 6 years old before selling.

His producers know their stock much more intimately than someone who owns thousands of horses possibly could. His producers knew many of his ancestors much more intimately, and this knowledge allows them an efficiency that could never be achieved in a factory farm operation.

It would be most interesting to see his original producers breed back to him, and then compare those offspring to others that are raised and trained around the world.

I think a big part of Toto's success may be attributable to the system he was raised in, and then the rider who "finished" him.

(or atleast brought his training to the highest levels. Others may argue there is more work to be done with his training, but even they have to admit that EG has done a farily acceptable job:D....)

Donella
Mar. 11, 2011, 08:37 AM
I think there are many, many breeders in Europe and NA who would strenuously disagree with this comment.


Agreed. Those things most certainly are genetic (as well as having environmental influences). There are certain bloodlines known to produce "bad mouths", very poor rideability, super hot horses ect ect ect. Stallions are graded not only on rideability (because they know there is a strong genetic component) but also on other interior qualities.

There are lots of top breeding stallions today who produce top horses that I would never want to breed to because I strongly value that "inner calm" aspect and I know I likely won't get it breeding to them.

Kaluna
Mar. 13, 2011, 09:11 PM
Maybe my post was not clear enough....

I didn't say that training was the only thing important in the making of a dressage star - at least I didn't mean to.:) It's a combination of good breeding and then good training that makes a star in my opinion. Scott Hassler attributed a few too many things to good breeding only, and that's what prompted my post.

And I agree with Shooting Star Farm - if Totilas isn't what you're looking for in a dressage horse, what is? :eek:

When it comes to breeding, a quality sire who can pass on his best traits. Time will tell with T.

Kaluna
Mar. 13, 2011, 09:21 PM
Gribaldi, for example, looked to be quite a bit more difficult than his son, even under the same trainer.

Gal has said Gribaldi was a more difficult type. The Vissers did great because they knew their mare and they knew the damline good enough to make that match (or they just lucked out, but I am guessing it was an educated decision).

Yea, I've known many Gribaldi's who were not particularly easy. The mare owners who know their mares and what they might cross with are worth their weight in gold. Luck plays a large role. Look at Contango and Ravel. Major jumper bloodlines that produced dressage superstars in these individuals.

mbm
Mar. 14, 2011, 12:25 AM
First disclaimer, I've never seen Toto up close and personal - but a friend has, and says he is actually more a cobby type build, shorter legs in relation to his size, and of course, shorter in the body. Not the modern, long legged, lighter bodied horse that so many are breeding for today. And I'll admit, it is part of what I love about him (besides his obvious joy of showing off his ability):lol:

It is interesting that he was turned down for approval earlier in life - probably because he's not the "modern type" that the registries aim for now. The modern type is longer (rectangular), lighter, longer legs, etc - Toto is really not a modern type Warmblood.

And also interesting - he doesn't have the longer, more rectangular body, so you would think the lateral work might be harder on him - yet his half passes flow so beautifully!

In many ways, Toto is a contradiction - I'm really, really curious to see what his offspring are like - can he reproduce himself? If so, I am guessing his fees will go up:eek: We could look back and say "remember when his semen was such a bargain:lol:...



this is what i find so fascinating about all of this.... he is NOT what is considered modern type. he looks like a more old school horse or.... a pony.... i happen to like his type.

i cant wait to see what happens now... will everyone drop the long legged giraffes that are being produced for a more cobby horse ?

siegi b.
Mar. 14, 2011, 09:06 AM
mbm - go back a litle bit further and read the "eye witness" account of Shooting Star Farm who stood next to Totilas...... :) Then tell me if you still want to believe in hearsay.

MysticOakRanch
Mar. 14, 2011, 10:24 AM
When I say "more cobby", I'm not talking heavy, Welsh Cob style, but shorter in the body, a bit bulkier then what we're seeing as the "modern" type - he really isn't a modern type with the longer, leaner body. I didn't say he was a cob - but really, he isn't the modern type we're seeing so much of now. Seigi - my "heresay" comes from a pretty knowledgeable source. As I stated right up front, I haven't seen him in person, but I trust the person who did see him in Holland, and said she'd breed him to something lighter and longer, whereas I think he's just about perfect. I do believe when you stand next to him and realize his height, it gives a different perspective, but truly, do you believe he is a modern type? I think he may change what people are looking for a bit - if his offspring perform anything like he does.

Donella
Mar. 14, 2011, 10:29 AM
Honestly, the horse doesn't look "old style" in any way to me. He looks like Gribaldi and most of the other Gribaldi offspring to me with perhaps a less vertical neck attachment and a bit more of a square body type.

ASB Stars
Mar. 14, 2011, 10:34 AM
Well, let's see...he isn't *old style*, because he is way too breedy to look like the stumpullers of old.

Yet, it has been opined that he is not *modern*.

IMHO, he is VERY modern, when compared to the very heavy, much coarser horses that were in vogue several decades ago.

So, he is either modern, or an anomaly. Which is it? :lol:

I think he is pretty damn modern, myself.

Pam246
Mar. 14, 2011, 10:36 AM
The modern type IS short-backed. Totilas doesn't have short legs either. He looks nothing like a pony or old school type. :confused:

"Well-proportioned" would be the best way to describe him.

Breeders absolutely do and should breed for rideability. ime it's very heritable.

canyonoak
Mar. 14, 2011, 11:13 AM
<< Gal has said Gribaldi was a more difficult type. The Vissers did great because they knew their mare and they knew the damline good enough to make that match (or they just lucked out, but I am guessing it was an educated decision)>>

For sure, the breeders were NOT the Vissers.

The breeders of Totilas are Jan and Anna Schuil, who won Breeder of the Year award twice from KWPN.

mbm
Mar. 14, 2011, 12:33 PM
mbm - go back a litle bit further and read the "eye witness" account of Shooting Star Farm who stood next to Totilas...... :) Then tell me if you still want to believe in hearsay.

not sure what you think i said, but he looks noting like the modern WB - he looks more cobby - in fact he looks like abig version of a grp.

maybe he is just fat, and underneath it is a long legged, svelte modern type horse.... lol!

i still think it will be very interesting to see how breeders change their goals...

siegi b.
Mar. 14, 2011, 04:16 PM
Any horse that has been trained to GP and has been performing at that level for over a year will and should have a good amount of muscling that will change its original appearance. Add to that the fact that Totilas is a mature stallion and you can add to the overall picture. All this is actually quite different from the pony look (big body on short legs), but then to each his/her own.