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  1. #1
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    Default Purpose Bred versus Good Conformation For The Job Intended?

    Am riding two four year olds right now.

    The first one is a TB/QHx. Built like a hunter, travels and thinks like a hunter. Less than 15 rides u/s and he is popping over xrails with nice form. Quiet, soft, relaxed. Tap him with the whip and you get more stride but not necessarily more impulsion per say.

    The second is a TB. Built like a dressage horse, incredible motor, coupling, short back long legs fantastic neck set and throat latch. Quiet soft and relaxed but naturally swingier thru the back and more up from the beginning. Tap this one with the whip and he engages his hind end and offers more push into the bridle.

    So I have been thinking about how neither of these horses were bred for the job their conformation lends itself to and how easy their work is for them regardless. Theoretically if I wanted a natural born hunter I would be looking at certain WB bloodlines like Escapade, Redwine, Popeye K. For a dressage horse, the list is bigger but you get the idea. And yet... Here they are.

    What do you think about horses being purpose bred? I am not trying to get into a X versus WB argument, I just think this is interesting. These two horses reconvince me that it's all about how a horse is built, how they move and what comes natural to them, not their papers. Thoughts?
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
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    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  2. #2
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    These two horses reconvince me that it's all about how a horse is built, how they move and what comes natural to them, not their papers. Thoughts
    I totally agree, however, if you are looking for an FEI prospect the chances you will find one without "papers" are different right?
    "The stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than others, but by being better than she used to be."
    David Brooks



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogey2 View Post
    I totally agree, however, if you are looking for an FEI prospect the chances you will find one without "papers" are different right?
    I dunno. At least if we are talking about the domestic market, we only put about 2400 WB foals on the ground a year. Lots of them are duds. I don't know what the statistics are for even just QH and TB's but I know there are more of them bred every year than that. My guess is that if half those WB's are legitimate natural born hunters and dressage horses, then there are lots more natural born hunters and dressage horses born to other breeds then people realize (just going by averages) and therefore lots more of them out there than people realize.

    I think that maybe when people go shopping out of the purpose bred market they settle too easy? This is at least my trying to sort out why I have had so many non-purpose bred dressage and hunter horses that excelled at their jobs. I am a stickler about buying the conformation that will make the job easy for the horse... I don't care if i only have 1500 to spend I won't take a horse with a poor neck set, or a weak rear end...

    Mapleshade routinely buys OTTBS from a single photograph, basing the entire purchase on conformation and what she knows about bloodlines/temperament and she consistently scores. Not always but her statistics are pretty good.

    I just can't believe that we keep getting lucky, over and over again. Not that I don't feel lucky, mind you LOL I do. But there have just got to be more of them out there than people suspect If we routinely don't have a hard time finding nice minded horses with good conformation for the job intended.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
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    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  4. #4
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    Sorry I can't figure out how to scroll down when I edit on my iPad... To clarify, I am talking about the lionshare of,the market, horses for ammys who want to jump three foot, get a piece of the hack or stay under PSG in dressage.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
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    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  5. #5
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    My Dutch mare - showing third, schooling PSG - was performance bred - jumper not dressage.

    While she can jump (and enjoys it) I saw her dressage ability when I purchased her at 3 months.

    I believe a good dressage horse must have an engine to not only push but carry - just like a good jumping horse. There are famous horses bred for 1 discipline and excelling in another - like Ferro who was bred and shown as a jumper before migrating into dressage.
    Sandy in Fla.



  6. #6
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    A timely and interesting discussion.

    Timely for most of y'all because of the economy's reverse, but timely and interesting to me because I'm a historian presently assigned to figure out early 20th century approaches to animal breeding in the US.

    In all of this, "purpose bred" and pedigree were supposed to go with the conformation for the job. For many people now, I think the pedigree is used to make up for what they don't know about conformation (and temperament).

    Most of us don't have the time and money it takes to study the huge range of animals built with slight differences that will make as superb at choosing conformation and mind. Ask Eqtrainer and Mapleshade what it took for them to where they are, and I think you'll see some serious investment of time, energy, brain cells and money (either theirs or someone else's).

    And the point about numbers is quite relevant. The theory behind the purpose-bred WB vs. TB or any others was that the *same* and *distinct* job requirements systematically organized a common breeding goal for the whole group for a very long time. At the tippy top, I suppose you will find more "great ones" at their job within the breed. But breeding is still an inexact science. So the breeds churning out many are more likely to produce more "pretty good" horses than the others.

    I think it would take more poverty for more time, but the American market might figure out that they have many more well-priced non-WBs to choose from if they "come back" to TBs and the Appendix QH. IMO, the Appendix horse was the American answer to the WB before the WB invasion. Those have been modified by western HUS people, but I'd like to think some of the older bloodlines could be resurrected.
    The armchair saddler
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  7. #7
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    You have to start with a horse that's purpose bred if you've any serious ambition.

    But then I didn't understand any of the story or examples at all.

    Is this about breed types (including pure bred and cross breds) not conforming to typical standard or purpose or is it about breeding for purpose and type.

    Should be one in the same of course but I'm confused!

    If the latter though then it makes no difference whether it's a cross breed or a pure-bred if you're breeding a horse for dressage you want the same qualities. Likewise if you're breeding a horse to event, you may well want something else.

    You may not of course because there does seem to be a modern trend (or fashion) to go for a warmblood that will excel in say dressage or showjumping. Personally speaking though when it comes to the likes of ridden horse trials I prefer to pick a horse purpose bred for the discipline you could die in!

    I'm a little old fashioned about selecting a horse well bred for purpose and type though. I can't understand people who do any different. I just don't get those who want to make things hard work for themselves and the horse.



  8. #8
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    Well, you can have purpose bred horses that come out with goosrumps and calf knees, and you can have non purpose bred horses pop out as the next Totilas in the making. That's really why I dont understand breeding to a nice stallion and expecting your next world cup winner to drop.

    Biomechanics and physics don't lie.
    that said the olympics were won on soldier horses that looked like ugly tall polo ponies when standing around

    my point being: Neither will reach their full potential without a positive, correct first start.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  9. #9
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    To me, the very *definition* of "Purpose Bred" is taking a stallion and a mare that are built for the job you would like the foal to do, and breeding them.

    I have a "Purpose Bred" (as in MY definition--both parents suited to dressage) 15/16ths Arab, who happened to be good enough conformationally & movement wise to achieve RPSI Book I.

    I had an NSH mare (1/2 ASB, 1/2 Arab) who was to be my FEI prospect because of her conformation and mind. I didn't have a CLUE as to her bloodlines when she took my breath away and gave me goosebumps. Her kids--including two out of round, uphill (BAROQUE) APHA stallions have all competed with distinction against all other breeds, including WBs.

    So, is the 5/8 Arab, 1/4 APHA, 1/8 ASB F3 of these two 'purpose bred' in that they are some Euro breed that's been DOING dressage for 100 years? No. But do they seem to be born trained? With lovely movement and better minds for the work? Absolutely.

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding the question though...
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
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  10. #10
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    I don't really know what the question here is, but my take on it is this. You can "purpose breed" all you want and basically it is a crap shoot. Are your chances better, well, maybe. If you are going this route, then look at what the dam and sire HAVE PRODUCED not theoretcially what they MIGHT produce if you get my drift. Do they have offspring that are actually out there doing the job you want to do, and doing it well. And do they have a LARGE PERCENTAGE doing it. Even then absolutely no guarnatees!

    As far as the non-purpose bred horse being capable, well OF COURSE they are! There are many that frankly do have the ability to do upper levels in a variety of disciplines, but will never see that because they are hidden in someones backyard stable somewhere.

    So what really is your question? Are you asking can non-purpose breds attain the upper levels? Yes, if the right person comes along at the right time and sees the ability and is willing to put the time and effort into said horse to get there. But many people WON'T do that especially if they are looking at resale, because the marketplace doesn't WANT that non-purposebred horse/"off" breed so why put that time into it, unless youa re keeping it for yourself.

    Or are you asking is the purposebred horse going to always make it to the top, which the answer is absolutely not! MAny will never have the talent, in spite of the breeding behind it. Even a talented youngster faces a variety of things that may prevent that talent from making it. Their brain can handle the workload, their body can't handle the workload, the owners pocketbook can't handle the workload!



  11. #11
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    Not really any questions, just curious about how other people see this. I think right now horses are, for the most part, categorized by breed and intended purpose. Not that valid assumptions aren't often made based on that information. I just started thinking about how I, and many of my successful friends, shop outside the box but routinely find/ produce horses who excel in the sport they are trained for. Yet we often read about people looking for six months for a horse, with a good budget and no success... Or people who post picss of horses so unsuited to what they want to do that it makes my eyes bleed but they say this is the best horse they could find for the money...

    One thing that always jumps out at me is when someone comments about a horse who "tracks up" (like, WOW!) and I am thinking... Don't all your horses track up naturally? I have never owned a horse who didn't. Part of my out loud thinking here I guess is about standards of conformation and how important they are *overall*. That maybe the criteria people are using while shopping is undereducated or misdirected. I don't think it's hard to find a nice horse.. But we hear constantly how hard it is. If you are looking for a true FEI prospect, jumper or dressage, then YES it is harder. But otherwise... I'm just not seeing it.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
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    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  12. #12
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    Well so many people are looking for horses that haven't a CLUE of how conformation and performance are related! Even trainers, it surprises me how so uneducated people can be! But some people have a "knack" for finding horses like that, I like to think I am one of them! Mostly I don't CARE about bloodlines and breeds (witha few exceptions) and I have had horses in my barn that were great horses with totally unknown breeding. And, in terms of conformation there are things that just don't bother me, that are considered "incorrect". But what I LIKE to see is a relatively short coupled horse with a well set hind leg. I DON'T like level toplines or long loin/back connections. I have seen my fair share of horses that are considered "downhil" that were great movers and excelled, but not going to seek that conformation out for the job!



  13. #13
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    This post is a bit confusing, as to its clear aim, but it's a subject near and dear to my heart, so I'll throw my opinion into the mix.

    I think you stand a better chance of finding the right conformation, movement, and temperment for a specific discipline (at the upper levels) from within the purpose bred group. So of course, that's where most people do their looking. However, there are many non-purpose bred horses that do fit the criterion to a tee; thus, the horse shopper should keep an open mind. That the non-purpose bred is often a good deal less expensive should be a good incentive.

    This goes for the performance horse as well as breeding stock -- genetic diversity is important, and many of our breeds are now racked with issues related to inbreeding...so it behooves the breeder to think about opening up the bloodline gene pool to outside blood from time to time. This involves some risk, but everything is risky.

    As for the "average" horse -- I think in the search for those one should be the most open minded of all. The 3' foot, Novice, below PSG horse can come in a wide range of type, and it really behooves the person looking for one to take personality and owner fit much more into the equation...as these are not horses whose jobs entail high performance; they are much more the schoolmaster and companion horse. A lot of very unlikely seeming horses turn out to be very good at this job, and should not be overlooked.

    And the factors of upbringing and training are not to be dismissed -- I've seen plenty of perfectly wonderful, talented young horses that should've, would've, could've but for a better set of circumstances as well as some unlikely horses who were lucky enough to have had a very good start in life thus being more than anyone guessed at the beginning.

    Just my personal two cents here, of course. Your young horses sound lovely; I'd take a look if I was looking.



  14. #14
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    The words "purpose bred" imply to me that you are actually knowing what you're doing and have a strategy that's based on a strong foundation of knowledge and research.

    It's not just picking a mare and stallion that look good enough! It's not just picking 2 specimens of opposite gender from the same breed. It's not merely having a mare (of unknown breeding but high ability) and finding a stallion that's similar. It's not just having a horse that bucked the trend but had a fantastic rider to really bring it on.

    That way is all just a lottery or a modicum of luck!

    It's about understanding what the parents look like. What they've achieved in their own right. What they repeatedly produce. What lines to hone in on and repeat producing the best.

    Purpose breeding isn't about accident and chance it's about honing in on exceptional types and repeating that for optimising performance.

    As he's been mentioned, consider Moorlands Totilas. You can hardly consider his breeding was a crap shoot! It seems to be that his lines are pretty much rock solid breeding for purpose and type in my opinion and a pedigree chock a block full of elite and ster mares and great producing stallions.

    From the pedigree alone, without every seeing the horse I'd be thinking "dressage". In truth though we have seen the horse and he's got "dressage" stamped all the way through his pedigree, to his conformation and confIrmed by his actual performance record.
    Last edited by Thomas_1; May. 16, 2010 at 04:15 AM.



  15. #15
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    I may be a bit slow this morning as usual and haven't read all replies but I don't quite get the question.

    The point of being purpose bred is that it is MORE likely that the horsewill have the right conformation, aptitude, temperament, etc etc. than a horse that is bred for some other discipline.

    Obviously it's never a guarantee though that a particular purpose bred horse will be better suited for the sport than some other horse.

    So what am I missing since I have not had my coffee yet and have been up since 5:30 am..



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by EqTrainer View Post
    Not really any questions, just curious about how other people see this. I think right now horses are, for the most part, categorized by breed and intended purpose. Not that valid assumptions aren't often made based on that information. I just started thinking about how I, and many of my successful friends, shop outside the box but routinely find/ produce horses who excel in the sport they are trained for. Yet we often read about people looking for six months for a horse, with a good budget and no success... Or people who post picss of horses so unsuited to what they want to do that it makes my eyes bleed but they say this is the best horse they could find for the money...

    One thing that always jumps out at me is when someone comments about a horse who "tracks up" (like, WOW!) and I am thinking... Don't all your horses track up naturally? I have never owned a horse who didn't. Part of my out loud thinking here I guess is about standards of conformation and how important they are *overall*. That maybe the criteria people are using while shopping is undereducated or misdirected. I don't think it's hard to find a nice horse.. But we hear constantly how hard it is. If you are looking for a true FEI prospect, jumper or dressage, then YES it is harder. But otherwise... I'm just not seeing it.
    Now I'm more confused.

    I'm now thinking that this posting is nothing at all to do with breeding for purpose and type.

    It's about whether someone would recognise the conformation required to exceed at a specific job if the horse ran over them on a bright and sunny day.

    Answer to that is ... in the main NO but it doesn't really matter too much as the majority market is made up with people who are just looking for a pretty nice horse they can have some fun with.

    Hence the preponderance of such as a lot of perfectly nice OTTBs who are able to do exactly what their new owners want and need to do when they "convert" them to say dressage.

    Get to upper end competition and the equestrian market where it's genuine performance horses and you'll pretty much find that breeding for purpose and type is the norm.

    Hence the lack of shetlands winning the Grand National or Hackneys in the National Dressage teams or quarterhorses in fei Horse Driving Trials or Percheron crosses in affiliated showjumping
    Last edited by Thomas_1; May. 16, 2010 at 04:18 AM.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by egontoast View Post
    I may be a bit slow this morning as usual and haven't read all replies but I don't quite get the question.

    The point of being purpose bred is that it is MORE likely that the horsewill have the right conformation, aptitude, temperament, etc etc. than a horse that is bred for some other discipline.

    Obviously it's never a guarantee though that a particular purpose bred horse will be better suited for the sport than some other horse.

    So what am I missing since I have not had my coffee yet and have been up since 5:30 am..
    Don't worry. I've been up for 7 hours and had coffee breakfast and lunch and I don't get it either!



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas_1 View Post

    Hence the lack of shetlands winning the Grand National or Hackneys in the National Dressage teams or quarterhorses in fei Horse Driving Trials or Percheron crosses in affiliated showjumping
    Yes and SOMETIMES (but rarely) the "off breeds" can excell TO A DEGREE in a sport that they are not purposebred for, but rarely, very rarely make it to the "upper levels". Does that mean you discount, for example, draft crosses for low level dressage, even tho their conformation does NOT lend itself to dressage? Well I personally would, but many people like a draft cross (this is just an example mind you, NOT bashing any particular breed etc!) for low level dressage as their temperament may suit someone that needs a larger horse. However, they are very likely not going to have the suspension and the ability to lengthen needed to get much past first or maybe second level. Yes there ARE exceptions, but this is a case where conformation does not lend itself to doing a particular job, and unfortunately, sometimes when a rider pushes the edge of this envelope they end up with unsoundness.



  19. #19
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    I'm a little old fashioned about selecting a horse well bred for purpose and type though. I can't understand people who do any different. I just don't get those who want to make things hard work for themselves and the horse.
    __________________


    excellent Thomas. I tried to do dressage with my built for hunters horse... It was a waste of my time and his!
    "The stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than others, but by being better than she used to be."
    David Brooks



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by shawneeAcres View Post
    Does that mean you discount, for example, draft crosses for low level dressage, even tho their conformation does NOT lend itself to dressage?
    Erm No. But your question displays a naive lack of knowledge in itself.

    What draft breed were you thinking of... bearing in mind there's a heck of a range of horses covered with that description....

    What are you crossing this "draft breed" with? Bearing in mind there's even more to consider?

    And with those 2 indeterminate breeds what conformation were you anticipating?

    Personally speaking though I'd think that any pony or horse no matter what breed or cross breed it was would be a great contender for anything low level.

    But I'm actually getting even more confused now!

    Roll on supper!



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