Three year old fillies, breeding and Mare Performance Test??
So, what do all you breeders out there usually do with your three year old fillies? Do you have a standard proceedure?
I have a coming three year old Hanoverian filly that I am looking at as hopefully my next FEI prospect (if she is as good to ride as I hope!) but would love to have a foal from her before she gets too much into work. I would also like to do the Hanoverian MPT with her, but am not sure if it is best to do this at four or at three, with about six months under saddle by September of her three year old year?
So, is it smarter to get her going, do MPT at three, ride as a four year old a few months into pregnacy and get her up and going as a late five year old or would breeding at three and doing MPT at three while 4 months pregnant be a better bet?
I think performance is my priority with her, but I think she's pretty fab, so would like to have at least one foal from her if it doesn't disrupt her future as a competition horse too much.
I completely make this kind of decision based on the individual mare. In a perfect world I would want the mare to get over with the MPT first and then breed but the last time I opted for breeding first and then had her undergo MPT in the fall when she was 5 months in foal. It has worked well but you certainly do face an increased stress level.
If your main focus is on sport to begin with I think I would breed her early in her 3yo year and then switch to riding mode to finish the MPT before she has her foal. She will certainly get back to the swing of riding once the foal is weaned, she can use the pregnancy as a break from riding and mature in time. Plus you will see what the foal is like before she is a year older so if it is spectacular you might want to change your mind about riding her altogether and no harm will be done because she already has her MPT in the sack.
If your ultimate goal is riding, I would breed her as a 3-year-old and take the MPT later, maybe even after weaning. I'm saying this because you said your ultimate goal is riding. So, I'd get the foal "out of the way," so to speak first. You won't lose that much training time with her because you can only push a youngster so hard. I've done this, and ridden them as long as possible in their pregnancy, usually about 9 months. (Sometimes have to quit cantering sooner, depends upon the mare.) Then get them going again after weaning.
They don't forget what they learned prior to their "mommy track" period and I think having the foal adds a bit of maturity to their minds. Good luck!
I will definitely do the next differently than my first that just got EMC in Oct 08. I was thinking that the undersaddle portion of Mare Performance Test was aimed at 3 and 4 year olds. However, I see that the scoring was really tough so get the best trainer and rider possible since scores are permanent. I would wait on that part until horse is going well 1st level. My mare did fine and was about 3.5 months pregnant but think another six months would have gotten scores more representative of the mare's ability. Plus, I was not able to send mare up to rider for the two months that would have made the pair even more awesome. I had done the conformation portion the year before and if not in a hurry, I recommend as it made inspection day not as hectic.
So now I am in the same dilemma. My coming 3 mare, Fortunate Future by Fabuleux, needs her plan toward successful completion of her MPT. I think I am leaning toward getting her under saddle soon for just easy riding and trails, you know the fun part that too many people skip. She is tall and beautiful but still such a cute little kid in the mind. Then perhaps breed late so that at Oct inspection she will not be huge and just do the conformation portion this year. She is gorgeous with breathtaking movement so that should not be so stressful. THEN after weaning, get serious aiming at the undersaddle portion of MPT and go for that when she is 5 or 6. However, I am hoping she gives me a filly and then sell this one after weaning as she is shaping up to be an awesome world class athlete and I want to see her go make her mark in the world.
I am definately starting to think that breeding as a three year old is a good idea, however, yes, I am a bit worried that she may not be ready for MPT as a three year old, even with 5 months or so under saddle. I was just under the impression that they must do their MPT by the time they are 4??? If this is not the case, then definately I would wait on MPT.
They do not have to do the MPT by four, at least not for the AHS. Mo Swanson has a mare by Armin out of Absinthe (my mare's same dam) who did the MPT at, I think, 11, after having several foals. Deservedly, that very nice mare got awesome scores and was deemed Elite.
You can always have her inspected, thereby making her foals registerable, and do the MPT later, when you feel she's absolutely ready.
I was just under the impression that they must do their MPT by the time they are 4??? If this is not the case, then definately I would wait on MPT.
Donella, it may be different for the Verband, but Hansika is correct, that you can do the MPT later with the AHS. And Mo's Alectra was super as an 11 year old in her MPT, she had not been ridden since she was started as a 3 year old and then had 5 foals in a row.
Donella, I think if you breed her as a 3 year old and start her, if she isn't ready for the MPT, you can not take her in the fall and take her in after her foal is weaned the next year. That being said, Mo Swanson often takes 3 yo (who are pregnant) in the MPT and her trainer does a super job. Last year a mare who was only under saddle for 90-120 d scored an overall 8 on her MPT (mare by Loerke -Renaissance). I personally did the MPT as a 4 year old, mainly because I was training and riding my own mares and I am in no way a professional (but I did get both of them through with passing scores and 1 was a TB mare).
Last edited by Edgewood; Jan. 26, 2009 at 09:40 AM.
My trainer has presented many three year olds that were 4-6 months pregnant at the time of their MPTs with success. It really comes down to the expertise of the trainer and the horse's innate abilities. That said, I have a 3 year old filly that will be inspected and do her MPT this year, but I will wait to breed her until she is four. Each horse and each situation is different.
Well, I think I can chime in here. Since my business plan consists of breeding only the best moving, most rideable mares and getting top foals to sell from these mares, it is in my best business interest to performance test my three year old mares. That being said, sometimes my three year olds didn't have their best day under saddle the day of the MPT, since they were so green- sometimes only 60-90 days under saddle. Since my personal goal is to test the gaits and rideability of these young mares before or while breeding them, and not to be the national champion of the AHS with the highest score, I have always tested my mares as three year olds. The bonus is that we HAVE had a few national champions, and many were at least in the top 10 for the AHS's Walter Hartwig Award. All told, I have tested around 40 mares, and all except maybe 2 were green broke three year olds. (The one by Armin was one. She was slated to go to the fall MPT in her 3 y.o. year, but she looked like a pumpkin with legs by the date of the test and I was worried about the free jumping for her. Then she got pregnant every year until she was 11, looking like a pumpkin every time. I did the MPT in the one year she didn't catch. That taught her to not get pregnant!). Of those 40, we have produced two winners of the Walter Hartwig award, and 32 have been awarded EM or EMC. I bought one mare that already had the title of EM. A few mares that didn't get a high enough MPT score are in my broodmare band and are some of my best producers. I was not swayed by a bad day in the MPT or by a low scoring judging panel. If I thought they were good mares, it was good enough for me. If you really want to impress the world with very high scores, and if you are not in a hurry to have a foal from your mare, then it is sure in your best interest to wait years to do the MPT. There is no bonus given to the young mares and they are, in fact often in the same ring with very well trained older mares. Often the judges tend to forget to evaluate based on the age of the horses that are shown in front of them, in my opinion. I understand that they can only score what they see, but this mixture of ages above 4 years old in the MPT would never happen in Germany. It is, after all, designed to be a young horse test, so for sure an older horse with show experience will certainly shine in some of the catagories.
Large Oldenburg and Hanoverian breeding farm
Standing Shakespeare RSF, Fhitzgerald, Sir James and the homebred stallion Dheputy.
And sometimes you let the filly tell you what's right. Not an inspection calendar.
Last year I put a 3yo into training in late May. The trainer was told up front, don't push this filly, let her progress at her own pace. (Some horses you can push, and some you feel you shouldn't - and this filly I didn't want to push - there was an intensity about her strong desire to please I didn't want to take advantage of.) WHen inspection time came around 7 weeks later - she did her studbook grading - not her MPT. I let it be the trainers call, but I wholeheartedly agreed with it. IF I still own her, she can do that this year at four.
I did both with another 3yo last year - because it suited her mental and physical development.
I had another 3yo that did neither. She needed another year.
My only SOP for a mommy track mare is to MAKE SURE I do her studbook grading before the year she foals. The MPT is up to the individual filly.
"No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin
A few mares that didn't get a high enough MPT score are in my broodmare band and are some of my best producers. I was not swayed by a bad day in the MPT or by a low scoring judging panel. If I thought they were good mares, it was good enough for me.
This paragraph should be stitched on a pillow. The mare's value is in her production - not her scores.
"No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin
The German Hanos (where Cdn mares are studbook registered) do it differently. The MPT is supposed to be a guide to "rideability" for a broodmare - not a materiale class. Therefore, the design is to test the mare young, and gather more data on her breeding potential. So, while a mare is permitted do her MPT at any age, it only has bearing on her Elite status if done by the time she is 5 yo.
So you don't have horses that have competed at first level and beyond competing vs 3 yos in Canada. Generally, where there are sufficient mares, we test the 3 yos together, and the 4 and 5 yos together - makes comparison easier.
To get Elite status in Canada, a mare must get a "1A" prize in a Mare Show when she is 3 or 4 years old. "1A" prizes earned at 2 yrs old, or 5 or6 years old, do not count.
Then she must do her MPT at no later than 5 years of age, and get sufficient qualifying scores.
AHS has no time limit on inspection grading or MPT, so that mares who may be MSB in Canada or Germany, can upgrade to Elite if they are moved to the USA. Just a little different.
Certainly some 3 yos may be physically immature or lacking in the necessary stamina for doing the MPT. They are all different. It is hard, though, to do the MPT when the mare has a nursing foal ... You must do what is most manageable, within the constraints of the registry.
I have decided to breed her this year. She is a fairly mature mare, physically. My plan is to breed in June or so and start her in March. If she is ready for the MPT come September, I will do it then. If not, I will do it as a five year old. I guess it just makes more sense to me because it's not like I can work her very hard as a three year old anyways!
I want to MPT all my mares, but as Kathleen informed us, it really doesn't have to be done prior to five unless the mare is a 1a mare as a three or four year old ( I am hoping she takes after her dam, but who knows!).