Don't want to hijack the thread about breeding a mare with questionable temperament issues, but it raised a question I've been thinking about. Mare A is a great mare - very good pedigree, performance record in sport, good conformation, great temperament, etc. Mare A produced only one foal her entire life - Mare B. Mare B is not as good quality as Mare A due to some conformational flaws (flaws not exhibited by Mare A). Since Mare A only produced the one foal, it's hard to say if it was a result of the sire/that specific cross, or if Mare A would consistently under-produce compared to herself. Would you breed Mare B?
My "Mare A" was 100% straight and correct, both of limb and movement. In fact her 2 highest scores at her mare inspection were for her front legs and her correctness of gaits.
Her first foal, "Mare B", is extremely crooked in front, and rope walks.
I would NEVER have bred Mare B. As much as i adored her, and hoped she would replace her mother as my broodie after a performance career, it wasn't gonna happen (she's now sold, FYI).
In my case though, i was able to breed Mare A to a different stallion and sure enough, foal came out with lovely, correct front legs.
Could Mare B's legs have been the result of bad positioning in utero? Very possibly. But i still wouldn't take the chance of breeding her. I'm a stickler for legs and feet, and there's just too many lovely, correct mares out there to breed a badly crooked one.
Now, that said, you simply said your Mare B had "conformational issues" - there are lots of conformation issues that i don't consider deal-breakers by themselves: long backs, short necks, straighter shoulders, etc... most mares aren't perfect in the conformation department. But bad/crooked legs is an automatic deal-breaker for me.
Unfortunately breeding Mare A again is not an option ... I got her at age 11 and she'd never had a foal before. She was a performance horse most of her life - had her one foal at age 17 (and that took 3-4 years of trying to get one pregnancy). We did try again for two more years to breed her, but she has some repro issues (age-related) and we could never even get an embryo for ET. She's now almost 25 and has earned her retirement many times over!
Mare B's issues are her hind-end conformation ... she has a long slightly roached back and weak stifle. Also she's a heavier, older-style mare although that doesn't really bother me in the grand scheme of things. I'm really torn on this one because normally I'm a firm believer that I wouldn't breed a mare if I wouldn't be happy with a carbon copy of her ... but Mare A was/is pretty special, so part of me wants to try breeding Mare B once with a stallion known to pass on good hind end conformation (I posted about that last week) before I write her off as a broodmare. I have several months to stew on it...
it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
If I were willing to keep the foal for life, regardless...
Given the additional information, I *might* breed the daughter.
Back in the day, we tended to give a Good (but not 'perfect' ) Mare ONE chance.
I truly feel like this is harder to do in the light of the current economy and overabundance of unwanted horses...
I knew an absolutely fabulous QH mare that had evented through a decently high level, done dressage through fourth, could tack up western and play quite respectably at reining or cutting or whatever you wanted to try, AND put in a very respectable hunter round in an open rated show... She also
had The Best Temperament on the planet.
She was also pidgeon toed wikkidly.
But EVERYTHING else was *so* ideal. When *I* met her, she was 12, and I could not believe she had never been bred. I would take a clone of this mare, toeing in and all. But her owner--a LONG TIME breeder was very conscientious and felt the mare should not be bred due to the conformation issue.
But the rest of the package... just To Die For.
I asked her, if you got an EXACT CLONE of this mare, including the toes, would that be OK?
And it definitely was. No doubt about it. In fact, there were waiting lists for this mare's foals, before they were even concieved. She went on to have I think four, and none of them inherited her legs. Had the first inherited--she never would have been bred again, but that foal would STILL have been spoken for and most likely as talented as the dam.
I DO think it makes a difference if you're talking breeding for a performance offspring, vs. breeding for potential broodstock. Would I spend a couple $K on a stud fee hoping for another broodmare or stallion prospect? Probably not.
Would I spend a reasonable amount on a stallion with a great hind end and a good history of improving hind ends? Probably.
One more anecdote, related to the breeding stock that isn't 100% perfect. my Best broodie grew a funny hoof. When her feet were long, she sort of toed out. She was straight from knee to fetlock, from fetlock to pastern, but just grew really weird on that one hoof. I *think* these days it might be 'high/low syndrome, but I'm not 100% sure of that. Of eight foals, ONE inherited that. With shoes or careful, frequent barefoot trims, you didn't even notice. That ONE was a daughter. I bred her to a stallion with the best feet/legs on the planet, and a history of throwing those... of three foals ONE had The Hoof from grandma. Affects performance naught. That one was also the only pinto, most likely homozygous. I never did test him, because it just would break my heart to have such a wonderful moving, INCREDIBLE temperament, homozygous gelding.
Is Mare B as good of a performance horse as Mare A?
I'm in a somewhat similar situation.... only with sibilings. I'm going to breed the sibling once and see what I get. I have no doubt I will get a useful foal...but whether I can improve on the dam or get as nice as her siblings is the question. Her conformational flaw is slightly downhill...and a bit straight behind.
** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **
If you can find other offspring by Mare B's sire, and hopefully see pics of their dams to look at either conformation or bloodlines, you may find that stallion just doesn't cross well with that conformation or certain bloodlines.
That might mean Mare B could be bred but with a very different type of stallion.
Do you have confo pics of Mare A's parents and grandparents? You're looking to see if there are issues that were passed recessively to Mare A and ended up being homozygous in Mare B so you can see them.
I guess my whole point is there is probably more to look at than just Mare A and B in trying to determine why B wasn't as good as A.
______________________________ The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET