Wondering what you more experienced breeders look for in a broodmare, or broodmare prospect.
Your must haves, and must not haves. How do you weigh phenotype vs. genotype/pedigree? How important is disposition in your criteria, and how do you evaluate it in regards to a mare who has never been under saddle?
Any tips or words of advice from those of you with hand-picked broodmare bands?
A good damline. That is #1 for me.
If I were to buy another broodmare, I would only buy Elite or SPS mares, unless I knew the mare and knew she was an exceptional producer...Ie came from a super damline but wasnt SPS ect.
Three correct gaits. They do not need to be flashy, but they do need to be correct.
As for temperament, what would be ideal would be sensitive but quiet, a mare that can think. Of course, this is a pretty hard combo to find. I will not tolerate mean or so hot that the brain cells stop working.
it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
Temperament is #1 for me. I will sacrifice in other areas for the right mind. The dam has so much more than just genetic influence on the foal.
Damline. Sire's damline. Luckily in the breeds I breed, damlines are easier to trace and follow. (Arab, Trakehner)
And I have to be happy with her, 100%. So if the foal comes out with every one of her faults, I will still be happy.
I don't mind a mare who hasn't had a career u/s--IF SHE IS WORTH REPRODUCING. Some just have it all, pedigree, temperament, conformation & movement, and I don't need the show ring to tell me that. Others have it all and just didn't have the *opportunity.* I'd like to delude myself that I'm at the point in this I can pick a good mare on my own. While I certainly value judge's opinions, they are just that, and *I* have opinions too!
Temperment is first for me.....I have moved along a couple of premium mares for lack of good personality.
The others I have had were all chosen for different reasons. One has a gold plated pedigree but no sport record, one is a close relative of that mare WITH an excellent show record, two for their show records alone, one because her pedigree is mediocre, her confo is mediocre and all of her foals (she had 2 before I got her and 2 for me so far) are pretty much mini me's of the stallion. The 4th foal (one she had this year) is the only one I can see anything of her in the foal......and that one started jumping fences here well before weaning so already showing talent in that direction.
I'll throw in something different. There are so many nice mares out there, especially now with the market so bad. So, on top of the things that everyone is mentioning, I will add: ability to get along with other horses/mares in a herd. I have a very nice mare. Premium mare at her inspection. Great to work with, breed, etc. But I can't turn her out with other horses. She is just nasty. I did not trust her with other foals, so she and her reserve champion colt (!) lived in a pasture by themselves. The colt is fine now in a pasture with other weanlings. But this was something I didn't consider when looking at this mare. It is something I will always consider for future broodmares. How easy are they to handle and how well do they get along with others!
The first three are must haves. The last two are always considered, and weaknesses in pedigree will eliminate a mare, but I won't select a mare even with a strong pedigree if the phenotype of #1-3 are lacking.
3. Conformation/Size (Including strong hooves)
5. Show record
Using the top list, resulted in my purchase of the below Bit Of Class daughter (Yearling and at age 4 o/f):
The Inverted Y
Anglo Arabian Sporthorses
2005 and 2007 USEF Breeder of the Year. www.allanglos.net
Knowing the pedigree and what the mare line has reliably produced can help you answer many of the other questions. Such as temperament, movement, breeding soundness, etc. etc. etc.
It all goes back to keeping records and then making them available to breeders to allow them to make intelligent breeding decisions.
I agree. The only additional thing I like above and beyond the list that Siegi wrote is a performance history. Most of our mares are older and retired from the show ring in dressage, all at or above 4th level.
I have to agree with Virginia bred.
Not that I think any one area is more important than the others. It's just that I search for them in that order. I want a great pedigree, then she has to be a top mover. She must be correct in conformation such as strong loin, good neck, straight legs but I don't worry if she's maybe slightly longer than I might want for example. Temperment is extremely important but I won't even get that far in the evaluation if the other three criteria are not met first.
I just brought in 3 new mares. Honestly, first was price. They are smaller mares(under 16 hands) and they are very good movers...competitive with warmbloods. They balance my other two mares who are at and over 17 hands...also good movement. I am in Irish Draughts for temperament so for me it is a given for every horse. I am bringing in three well known stallions as their sires. I would have over time used all three of these stallions except two had already died. They come indirectly from a very respected breeder in Great Britain. Two have an well achieved dam line and the third is weaker in the dam line. They can all be bred to the majority of stallions that interest me though a third of the Irish Draught stallions are bred pretty closely bred to use. I can use them on a couple of very exciting but very big stallions who throw tall and who I wouldn't dare breed my original two mares to for fear of getting 18 hand horses. The three are very correct conformationally though one is a bit short in the neck and plain (a very good jumper and exciting athlete). In my herd of mares I do have a mare with a crooked foot but she was a varus foal and a septic foal so did not get enough weight and exercise soon enough to flatten the foot. From her I have learned that imperfect limbs can have other causes and not be expected to be heritable though I would research the family if that were the case. NOW I just have to have the courage to breed them in this economy. PatO
it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
Azevan, good point! For me that falls under the temperament category. ALL of my horses interact with special students in one way or another--even if it's just being polite when someone brings another horse in, or having manners at feeding time.
I too brought in a mare who upset the whole apple cart for awhile. Once bred, she settled immediately into a different rank in the herd. But I am not sure I would have kept her if that hadn't happened!
Mine also have to be able to survive 24/7 turnout with minimal fuss. I'll admit, sheepsihly, the Trak mare was a bit of a PITA having to be blanketed. Not that she was a problem--but *I* WORRIED all the time about was she warm enough? Too hot? etc. I wasn't always in a position to change layers during the day... etc. etc. She would have been a far easier keeper in someone's barn where she was in at least at night... She herself would've preferred a maximum of 6 hrs turnout in all but the best weather. I think the poor old girl thought she was exiled to Sibera. She was a retired A-circuit show horse, and really, had no idea how to be a horse when she arrived.
I would make SURE now that any mare who came would be suitable for my management in my climate.