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  1. #1
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    Default Any thoughts on the phrase "She breeds better than herself"??

    I will have to admit, my philosophical mind (or at least that's what I call it, ) makes me really ponder this phrase. On the one hand I've heard breeders say time and time again "breed the best to the best" and then, almost as a slight contradiction, I've heard "She breeds better than herself" with reference to broodmare capabilities. When I first heard the latter, I thought "oh yeah, sure she does". Now, after having steadily watched my own ponies AS WELL AS others' ponies and offspring and paying close attention to foals born etc. (and yet I am still a novice, preferring to believe that there IS always more to learn!!!) I am thinking: you know. . I might have to agree with the latter, that some mares do breed better than themselves! (not that the former doesn't also stand) but. . .. what do you more "seasoned" breeders think?
    Willow Run Connemaras
    Home of: "Willow Boy" (*Chiltern Colm ex *Sillbridge Miranda by Thunderbolt)
    ~Irish Connemara Ponies for Sport and Pleasure~
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  2. #2
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    I call it "outproducing herself."

    I had one. I bred her because she had more heart than any horse I'd ever had, even tho she was not a traditional sporthorse type. I also knew I would keep her offspring for myself.

    My suspicions were confirmed when the inspector, looking at her and her foal at side, said to the audience, "See vat a really good stallion can do."

    Well, yea, it was a nice stallion, but the mare had SOMETHING to do with it.

    I bred her twice and kept both foals - one is nine and schooling third level and has won USDF All Breed Awards at each level; the other just turned 4. They are both better horses than their mom, but also have her huge heart. Never discount "heart" when you are breeding horses. It can sometimes take you much further than 'talent' ever can.



  3. #3
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    If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes (in the case of several different mares AND stallions) I wouldn't believe it myself.

    I purchased a mare that does such a thing. She is the dam of my riding mare (whom I purchased first).

    I bought her solely because of her foals.

    Here's the kicker. The mare in question has had an EXTREMELY rough life. Obviously environmental factors had a lot to do with the reasons why this "ok" mare consistently outproduces herself. I do believe she was stunted as a young horse due to the fact that every single foal out of her has exceeded her height by a minimum of 1 hand. At some point she has also had some serious injuries to her neck. These injuries affected the way she carries herself and doesn't do her any favors in the area of conformation. Ironically, most of her foals (and even grand-foals) are known for their beautiful necks!
    www.SilverSpringFarm.net
    Breeder of rare, high quality Silver Dapple Paints and Quarter Horses.



  4. #4
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    I think that the "best" mares don't necessarily always produce the "best" foals.

    For instance..... I have two mares by the same stallion. Bred to my stallion, they've had three foals and four foals. Mare 1 is a very accomplished show mare, she's stunning, she's a brilliant mover -- people always are asking about her and smitten with her. Then there's Mare 2 -- by the same stallion, minimal show record, not as fancy, not as big of a mover -- but I think she is the better producer. Mare 1's foals are really fantstic, but I really like Mare 2's foals better. The foals share 3/4 of the same pedigree, but I think Mare 2's foals are more correct, and definitely bigger movers. You'd never guess something like this just standing them up next to each other!

    My theory is that those "best" mares are not always your "best" producers.....
    Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
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  5. #5
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    I say "outproduced herself" as well.

    And yes, I had one of those (I use Saddlebred mares). I also used to say that she "throws more to the stallion". Both her babies look/move more like their sires, and I would also venture that their temperaments are more like their sires as well. Her filly, by a grandson of Uniform, is a pistol, but bold and athletic. Her colt, by Balta'Czar, is a laidback, submissive puppy dog who is more timid and quiet.

    Interestingly, I went out and bought another ASB mare who I think is a vast improvement over my last one - better gaits, more height, more substance+bone, bigger feet, better topline... but who knows, maybe her foals won't turn out as nice as my other mare's..?! This is partly why I bought a breeding to Balta'Czar again, I will use it on this new mare in 2010 and see how that cross compares to my 2008 colt, who turned out REALLY nice.

    When the pro handler came to see my 2008 colt in person, he took one look at my mare (who was in VERY poor shape, underweight and with no muscling whatsoever) and said "wow, she really is just an oven, isn't she??".. Hrmm.. a not-so-subtle way of saying she outproduced herself?? Yes, she did. That said, my colt's incredibly elegant long-ish neck, which drew rave reviews from the handler, can definitely be credited to his mama.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by erinwillow View Post
    I will have to admit, my philosophical mind (or at least that's what I call it, ) makes me really ponder this phrase. On the one hand I've heard breeders say time and time again "breed the best to the best" and then, almost as a slight contradiction, I've heard "She breeds better than herself" with reference to broodmare capabilities. When I first heard the latter, I thought "oh yeah, sure she does". Now, after having steadily watched my own ponies AS WELL AS others' ponies and offspring and paying close attention to foals born etc. (and yet I am still a novice, preferring to believe that there IS always more to learn!!!) I am thinking: you know. . I might have to agree with the latter, that some mares do breed better than themselves! (not that the former doesn't also stand) but. . .. what do you more "seasoned" breeders think?
    I have one of those. She has a mediocre pedigree and some minor confo flaws. She is an OK mover but not stellar though all her foals have been talented jumpers. 3 of 4 look like mini me of the stallion (so that is better than herself). The 4th one you can see a lot more of momma in the filly but still with a better set on neck and shorter/stronger topline. So yes....all her foals are better than herself. The 4 foals are by 3 different stallions. Her 4 foals: one is a yearling, 2 are eventing and one is doing dressage (placed top 10 at DAD). The yearling is the bugger of the lot....she has been jumping pasture fences since pre weaning.

    On the other end of the spectrum I have had 2 mares that were premium/reserve champion at their inspections and their foals have on the whole not been as good as the dam. Those mares have "underproduced" themselves and were sold.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideagoldenpony View Post
    I think that the "best" mares don't necessarily always produce the "best" foals.
    Just like some of the best stallions never seem to produce quite as good as themselves.

    I had a mare who died this year during foaling who often outproduced herself. Although she was a very nice mare her babies are just awesome!
    Chris Misita
    www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
    To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
    Victor Hugo



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyndi
    I call it "outproducing herself."

    Most breeders do. Never heard the other description before.
    Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist



  9. #9
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    It is about the mechanics of genetics. I think of a large puzzle with many different pieces that makes up a whole picture. Then imagine a whole other complete set of pieces that go with that puzzle that just sit in the box. It becomes a random picking of pieces from box/picture that goes into each egg, that provides 50% of the pieces that will be avalible for the next picture(foal).
    I think that sometimes there are fairly minor flaws (that seem to be big) that when re-combined with a stallion, are usually fixed. So that is how I see an animal producing better than itself. There are also environmental factors as people have mentioned. I am also sure that some very nice mares also throw beautiful babies. I guess it all makes it nearly impossible to predict the outcome, so that is why the breeding worth of a stallion or mare is determined by their offspring, rather then entirely on their own appearance/performance.



  10. #10
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    Ive got one too... I think there was a lot of neglect as a foal that effected some things..and she really is not all that bad.. but her foals are pretty much copies of their sires.. I wouldnt let her go for anything. I think one thing to remember is we should always breed to improve and 'hopefully' think in a generational sense so even people who say "only breed a mare you want a carbon copy of" may not be being appropriately critical.. you can always find a fault. PLus, I think some breeders are better than others at making really good matches even with mares that may not be deemed worthy by others.



  11. #11
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    There is a corollary to the "outproduced herself" statement to which I have the same reaction: I'm not sure I buy it but I think I've seen it! That is, a mare (or stallion) who stamps offspring with a particular trait.

    How can that be? How can a mare "put her head on her foals"? Or her neck, or her length of back (be it good or bad)? It sure seems to happen though. I have a mare who not only outproduces herself, she endows her foals with her lovely head and her behemoth hindquarters (baby got back!).
    Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf

    Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?



  12. #12
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    I say "outproduces herself' also. I have such a mare also...my white mare Sierra. She is only average herself but her foals are all way nicer than herself...spectacular even. Her bloodlines are a nice outcross on both my stallions and to 4 different stallions now in her lifetime, she has produced all top notch foals. I'm not sure why or how she does it.



  13. #13
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    Aka "Wow, take a look at that, who would've thought?!"



  14. #14
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    what about the term "genetically neutral"? Is there such thing? if so is that a factor for such mares?



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wehrlegirl View Post
    what about the term "genetically neutral"? Is there such thing? if so is that a factor for such mares?
    If the mare caries a lot of ressesive traits, then the stallion's look will be more prominent. This is a huge generalization, as most traits are shared, and not alway dom, ressesive. We also tend to jugde things on outside apperance, as opposed to what is goin on inside the package.



  16. #16
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    This is such a cool topic Thanks all for chiming in. The phrase "breeds better than herself" was one that a fellow Connie breeder used and by all means does not have to represent the "norm", I rather like the phrase "outproduces herself" in honesty :-) At any rate, I too have to admit that I have seen this happen. . Mare A is FABulous, nice mover and sweet and Mare B may be this that or the other (name your fault) and then lo and behold the two of them have foals and. . .guess what?? I am in love with Mare B's babies!!! I think, as someone mentioned, that is DOES have to do with the genetic "puzzle" that each pony/horse brings. . .hmmmm so I guess I bring myself to the next question: Is there a difference between performance and breeding equine. . or???? Apologies if this opens up an entire can of "chicken or egg" worms. . but I just find it truly fascinating. . .
    Willow Run Connemaras
    Home of: "Willow Boy" (*Chiltern Colm ex *Sillbridge Miranda by Thunderbolt)
    ~Irish Connemara Ponies for Sport and Pleasure~
    www.willowrunconnemaras.com



  17. #17
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    I think though that it is important to know the depth of pedigree in a mediocre mare before breeding or you may end up producing a "throwback" in a 2nd or 3rd generation. If the mare is somewhat inferior in phenotype but her pedigree says that she should be superior in genotype then it is safe to test breed the mare and be pleased if she outproduces herself.

    On the other hand, if her ancestors themselves are mediocre at best, then breeding a mare to superior stallion and producing an F1 foal that is superior might not be that surprising. The problem is that F1 foal could then, in turn, produce inferior offspring when F1 is crossed up on genetics that would allow some of the faulty traits come through (even if that mate is considered adequate to superior).

    I think it is important to consider the pedigree to see that the strength is there.

    Now surely there have been individuals that have surprisingly given us GENERATIONS of nice descendents despite a mediocre phenotype and a lacking pedigree, but I would think that might be rare indeed. I would love to hear examples though.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Ladybug Hill; Jun. 29, 2009 at 10:13 PM. Reason: trying to add clarity
    Chris
    Ladybug Hill--Hunters and Ponies
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  18. #18
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    I think you nailed it Ladybug.

    I own an outproducer. She consistently takes the best of her, and the best of the sire, and through some sort of alchemy, throws really wonderful offspring - all nicer than she herself. She is not genetically neutral - not a blank slate. I always see a lot of her in her youngsters. She does however, produce what I would expect of her pedigree///with one exception - she always gives more jump than hoped, and a very particular, very careful hindend technique over a fence. Regardless of sire. Ummm....I'm not complaining.

    But as much as an outproducer as she is - she is not who I immediately think of when I contemplate the term. I have another mare in mind.

    THis mare is out of an exceedingly rich motherline. She is also an F1 cross. When I first saw her as a young mare, I was incredibly disappointed. She got all the wrong parts. She was....SO much less than the sum of her parents. Yet, over the years, I've had the fortunate experience of watching her foals. And watch her foals become riding horses, and watch her daughters go to the breeding shed. This mare became an actual warmblood blue hen. She is now spending her later years doing embryo transfers for a very savvy and far-sighted warmblood breeder. Watching this mare reproduce was a big part of my education. She MORE than lived up to her pedigree. - and she's taught me to be very careful when dismissing a less-than-stellar main studbook mare out of hand. I now place far more emphasis on knowing the damline
    "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by erinwillow View Post
    On the one hand I've heard breeders say time and time again "breed the best to the best" and then, almost as a slight contradiction, I've heard "She breeds better than herself" with reference to broodmare capabilities.
    I do not think these statements are necessarily inconsistent at all. The whole point, in my view, of breeding the best to the best is to improve with each successive generation - the goal *is* to produce a foal that shows the best qualities of each parent and thus is better than either one alone. In selecting mares, I will not use one unless I would be happy with a carbon copy of her - that is the minimum I want out of the breeding. If the pairing produces a quality below that of the mare, I won't touch that stallion again. If the mare were underproduce again, I would not reuse her either (unless I am pretty sure the problem does not lie with the mare). Fortunately, I have not encountered that problem. It helps that I know the dams of my mares very well, and in one case, also the granddam, and have seen that they are all consistently strong producers.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladybug Hill View Post
    I think though that it is important to know the depth of pedigree in a mediocre mare before breeding or you may end up producing a "throwback" in a 2nd or 3rd generation. If the mare is somewhat inferior in phenotype but her pedigree says that she should be superior in genotype then it is safe to test breed the mare and be pleased if she outproduces herself.

    On the other hand, if her ancestors themselves are mediocre at best, then breeding a mare to superior stallion and producing an F1 foal that is superior might not be that surprising. The problem is that F1 foal could then, in turn, produce inferior offspring when F1 is crossed up on genetics that would allow some of the faulty traits come through (even if that mate is considered adequate to superior).

    I think it is important to consider the pedigree to see that the strength is there.

    Now surely there have been individuals that have surprisingly given us GENERATIONS of nice descendents despite a mediocre phenotype and a lacking pedigree, but I would think that might be rare indeed. I would love to hear examples though.

    Thoughts?
    To clarify, by F1 are you referring to TB in the pedigree? This is where I get lost because of my mare of superior racing lines can produce outstanding sporthorses when crossed on superior warmblood stallion..does this mean the next generation would not be as predictable? Because this is what I aim for in breeding her..



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