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  1. #1
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    Apr. 11, 2011
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    Default Breeding and $$$ / foaling deaths

    These are two different questions.

    1 - Does anyone ever make money with a breeding business besides Zangersheide and that kind?

    2 - From reading this forum it seems as if there are quite a few problems that can arise with foaling and mares and foals afterward. I know its not all that common but why does it seem as if there are more problems with breeding the sporthorses than with my friends who have grade mares they breed who foal in fields with no problems I've ever been told of.
    Is it just a coincidence or does something about breeding the sporthorse make pregnancy and foaling a more difficult thing? Or is it we just seem to have more time and emotion invested in the sporthorse mares and foals?



  2. #2
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    Oct. 2, 2007
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    Mirabel, QC
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    1- Not really.

    2- I'll get flamed for this, but perhaps it is because sporthorse breeders place less emphasis on fertility, ease of breeding and foaling as selection criterias in their breeding stock? As well, you hear the most of the horror stories, but the VAST majority of breeding things go well.
    www.EquusMagnificus.ca
    Breeding & Sales - Currently: Eventing & Derby prospects
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2003
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    MO
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    Default

    I think you hear of problems here by the nature of it being an internet forum. This is primarily a forum of sporthorse breeders, and when bad things happen people tend to share them. I can assure you that horse of all types/breeds have the same problems, you just might not hear about them. There are plenty of people in our practice with "grade mares" that foal unattended and yes, they do have problems. They just aren't on this particular forum posting about them. There is also some truth in the fact that when breeding horses , unlike cows, selection for fertility falls at the bottom of the list.
    Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
    --Winston Churchill
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hills...h/112931293227
    www.HillsideHRanch.com



  4. #4
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    Jun. 11, 2004
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    Still here ~ not yet there
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hillside H Ranch View Post
    I think you hear of problems here by the nature of it being an internet forum. This is primarily a forum of sporthorse breeders, and when bad things happen people tend to share them. I can assure you that horse of all types/breeds have the same problems, you just might not hear about them. There are plenty of people in our practice with "grade mares" that foal unattended and yes, they do have problems. They just aren't on this particular forum posting about them. There is also some truth in the fact that when breeding horses , unlike cows, selection for fertility falls at the bottom of the list.
    I think you pretty much summed it up, but I think it IS vital to stress the last part of your post.

    Look at all we go through to get a foal from a certain mare. Unfortunately performance and fertility have nothing to do with one another.

    Many programs DO cull the mares that have issues and can't produce year after year. They are probably the smart guys.

    But if you have Brentina or Zenyetta or Poetin in your barn, you are going to break the bank trying to replicate those genes....and who would blame you?



  5. #5
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    Apr. 30, 2009
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    Canada
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    Default

    It has not been my experience that sport horse breeders have more foal fatalities than grade horses or other. Often foals just die and no one knows why for many cases. On this board, you seldom hear that and often the problem is diagnosed and treated, many times successfully. I know of QH people that lose foals every year. It is owner/knowledge dependent but I do not think there is a statistical difference between the horse types, for the most part. As far as fertility, many mares just do not “catch” and if they are not riding horses and they need to be bred (like PMU) then they get shipped. There is no need for a forum that discusses this.



  6. #6
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    Jun. 23, 2004
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    Loudoun County, VA
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    I would venture a guess that some breeders miss things that other, more attentive breeders identify as an issue. It is not that those in the latter group have more problems, they just recognize them when they come up (or have a lower tolerance for faults).
    Roseknoll Sporthorses
    www.roseknoll.net



  7. #7
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    Aug. 15, 2010
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    1,607

    Default

    Also remember, you don't hear quite so much about all the successful foalings - maybe someone should do a poll of how many successful breedings and births occur on this BB every year.

    I do also think there is more "motivation" to get expensive mares pregnant (not just in the Sport horse world - ask an Andalusian/PRE breeder, a Friesian breeder, a high-end Arabian breeder, etc. I think the story will be the same), so there is less focus on reproductive "quality" and more emphasis on riding/showing quality, but that is just part of the story. And more careful monitoring because of the value of mare and foal, and more willingness to pay a vet to help when things go wrong...



  8. #8
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    Oct. 21, 2009
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    South Central: Zone 7
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    Default

    I think it just seems like sporthorse breeders have more problems because they are much more vocal about it. I know of many backyard breeders that have problems but don't worry about it much since they have a lot less invested in their program (financially, emotionally, etc). Not all are like that, but many.

    At one barn I worked at there was a HUGE problem with "breeder apathy". The owner had a stallion (Tennessee walker) and several grade broodmares. They pasture bred and pasture foaled everything (nothing necessarily wrong with that) but when problems came up they would not do anything! For example, a foal was found dead in the pasture. They had no idea if it was still born or died after birth. They never had the vet out and even worse, did not remove the body from the pasture for almost 5 or 6 days. Needless to say that we moved after that incident. Amazingly, these people acted like it never happened and went about happily in their business.

    Good breeders (regardless of whether they are breeding wb, qh, or tb), will always show more concern and be more proactive about solving problems in their programs. I don't think they have more problems, they simply bring them to attention whereas the bad ones don't even acknowledge those problems.



  9. #9
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    Jul. 5, 2002
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    FL
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    Today's loss of a lovely colt made me add up my foals over the past 15 years of breeding. I have produced 43 foals and have lost two foals and one mare. I doubt that that is an unusual loss rate. I don't believe that sporthorse breeders have higher loss rates than breeders of other types of horses.

    I agree that it is the nature of the forum that makes it seem like there are an inordinate number of losses.



  10. #10
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    Jul. 17, 2002
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    Redlands, CA
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    In 20 years, and 40-some foals, I lost one foal at one week of age. I've had two dystocias, one foal survived.

    I've had one mare deliver twins, both dead. And other pregnancies that terminated somewhere along the line, sometimes with a fetus, other times too early.

    None of this happened in the early years, mind you.



  11. #11
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    Apr. 11, 2011
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    Default

    Thanks. I kinda figured the reason I hear more about sporthorses is because of everything you guys said.

    hntrjmprpro45 - That sounds alot like my experiences. The horses just sort of breed themselves out in the field and give birth out in the field without ever having a vet see them during the entire time. And I guess the owners I know just don't really mention any problems because they don't have all that much invested in the whole thing.

    And I know there are people who breed their grade horses and do care alot. It's possible that finances also have alot to do with the hands off method.

    And I sort of was including all the Friesen, Arabian, Lusitano etc breeders in Sporthorse. I know people who breed arabians and they are as hands on and managing the pregnancy as anyone.



  12. #12

    Default

    After talking to my vet, just about every breed has problems at some point that isn't breed related. Foal deaths aren't limited to big fancy well bred warmbloods.



  13. #13
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    Jan. 21, 2003
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    Charles Town, WV
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    I know its not all that common but why does it seem as if there are more problems with breeding the sporthorses than with my friends who have grade mares they breed who foal in fields with no problems I've ever been told of.
    I think another reason is that many of us breed anywhere from 2 to25 or more (in rare cases) mares a year - every year - and your friends may breed one mare ever, or one mare 2 or 3 times. I'm expecting 4 foals this year and breeding 3 mares for next year. Overall, as Mary Lou said, with those kinds of numbers, the percentages are still pretty low, but devastating all the same.
    Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
    Now apparently completely invisible!



  14. #14
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    Nov. 15, 1999
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    Middleburg VA and Southampton NY
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    Default

    I think breeders of any scale either could make money or wind up in the red--sometimes it's luck, sometimes it's skill sometimes it's both, and sometimes it's despite a lack of either.

    An operation like the Z would sure stand to gain in good times, but it's a huge enterprise, with a lot of overhead. They have special events, however, and those are likely moneymakers, which will lift the other parts of the business that aren't dependably robust at all times. So to consider the Z as only a breeding enterprise is not so accurate.

    As to the second question, I think no conclusions could be drawn based on an unscientific glance at all the topics here--when things go wrong, maybe needing to share and gain access to information that can help solve the problem is considered pretty important, and when things are going right, there isn't any pressing need to crow about it.



  15. #15
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    Sep. 15, 2008
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    Michigan
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    Default

    With breeding horses you are bound to have fatalities in foals and mares. I think you hear a lot of this b/c for one this is a large forum, with God knows how many mares between us all. And for 2, people with breeding issues come her specifically to look for some advice.

    Someone I know breeds grade and stock horses, usually anywhere from 5-10 a year. She never has had any foaling issues. Never vaccinates with yearly vaccines or pnuemaborts, never deworms, mares are not the fattest. Never has the vet out, doesn't give tetanus to foals and such. And here I am, following the rules by the book, picking nice mares and stallions, and having nothing but bad luck.

    I know a few farms that have awesome breeding programs, top of the line mares and breeds to stallions with $1500+ stud fees. Sometimes they sell foals or they keep them to break out and sell as riding horses. They seem to make money doing it but I think they had some $$$ to start with.



  16. #16
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    Oct. 27, 2010
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    Nevada
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarmTired View Post
    That sounds alot like my experiences. The horses just sort of breed themselves out in the field and give birth out in the field without ever having a vet see them during the entire time. And I guess the owners I know just don't really mention any problems because they don't have all that much invested in the whole thing.
    Or perhaps because their horses live a more "normal" horse life there is less stress and they simply don't have as many problems. I have a lot invested in my horses but they live in a herd, are pasture bred, generally are foaled out either in large pens near the house or out in the field and I think part of the reason for few problems are....1) selection of mares to begin with that have familial histories of easy conception, pregnancies and foaling and 2) more "normal" horse lifestyle... mares are well fed but not obese and are active throughout their pregnancy in a herd setting.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV



  17. #17
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    Jul. 11, 2009
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    New England
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarmTired View Post
    Thanks. I kinda figured the reason I hear more about sporthorses is because of everything you guys said.

    hntrjmprpro45 - That sounds alot like my experiences. The horses just sort of breed themselves out in the field and give birth out in the field without ever having a vet see them during the entire time. And I guess the owners I know just don't really mention any problems because they don't have all that much invested in the whole thing.

    And I know there are people who breed their grade horses and do care alot. It's possible that finances also have alot to do with the hands off method.

    And I sort of was including all the Friesen, Arabian, Lusitano etc breeders in Sporthorse. I know people who breed arabians and they are as hands on and managing the pregnancy as anyone.
    Some of the most successful breeding operaton I've ever seen have been big stock horse breeding farms in the South and Midwest. The horses live outdoors year round, a stallions runs with the herds (preselected pre determained herd make up). Because the horses run on 100 and up acred they never come into contract with other horses, they also never leave the farm. In these cases vaccinating is not an issue, infact many vets in those areas don't even recommend bothering to do it. The cases of those iscolated herds coming down an a contagious disease are extremely rare and in some cases unheard of.

    The point is "semi-feral" herd managment works and the rate in problems is no hirer and no lower than those at neuroticly managed breeding farms. Infact because if a mare fails to concieve and carry to term more than once she is BOOTED from the program the rate of success is VERY high. Babies are weaned and run out in groups and either sold off or left to grow up until they are breaking age. By the way these farms I've seen (and worked at) running semi feral herds have a LOT of money invested, a VERY high rate of success and turn out superior quality horses. The rate of death of mares and stallions running in a herd together? Nearly null. The rate of death in foaling? Virtually zero. Rate of death or illness as result of disease? none. Just because it's a differnet managment style does not make it any less successful.



  18. #18
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    Jun. 23, 2004
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    Loudoun County, VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by RougeEmpire View Post

    The point is "semi-feral" herd managment works and the rate in problems is no hirer and no lower than those at neuroticly managed breeding farms. Infact because if a mare fails to concieve and carry to term more than once she is BOOTED from the program the rate of success is VERY high.
    You are comparing apples and oranges. Failure to conceive after being live covered who-knows-how-many times versus a failure to conceive using AI with frozen when the vet misses the timing, for example, are not comparable scenarios.
    And in any event, I don't know any WB breeder that will throw thousands of dollars down the drain by attempting to breed a mare that repeatedly fails to conceive due to subfertility - except under the rarest of circumstances.

    With respect to whether the "rate of problems" differs - the perceived rate of problems must differ between the semi-feral approach and the closely managed approach for the simple reason that the former is not monitored carefully so people are less likely to notice when things are amiss.
    Roseknoll Sporthorses
    www.roseknoll.net



  19. #19
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    Jul. 11, 2009
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    New England
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    Quote Originally Posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
    You are comparing apples and oranges. Failure to conceive after being live covered who-knows-how-many times versus a failure to conceive using AI with frozen when the vet misses the timing, for example, are not comparable scenarios.
    And in any event, I don't know any WB breeder that will throw thousands of dollars down the drain by attempting to breed a mare that repeatedly fails to conceive due to subfertility - except under the rarest of circumstances.

    With respect to whether the "rate of problems" differs - the perceived rate of problems must differ between the semi-feral approach and the closely managed approach for the simple reason that the former is not monitored carefully so people are less likely to notice when things are amiss.
    I hate to break it to you but those farm owers knew EXACTLY how many mares they have and EXACTLY how many foals they are expecting. Fourty mares out with one stallion should equal fourty foals, pretty simple math. Im talking about REGISTRED stock horses. Those breeders KNOW who has produced what foals and how many years she has produced. So YES they DO "notice when things are amiss". Those owners know when a mare has a broken leg (extremely rare) because she doesn't move with the rest of the herd. They KNOW when a stallion isn't covering mares, he doesn't move with the herd, they KNOW when there is an issue because they KNOW their horses. Horses are MOVED through seasonal pastures, trust me they know if their is an issue. Because they are established and iscolted herd problems are extremely rare and the rate is conception and live foaling is VERY high. So your arguement that they are essentially "unaware" is total BS. Trust me the herds are monitored, but they are LEFT ALONE unless their is a major problem.

    Ive worked on these big opperations, I know FIRST HAND that they are fully aware of the status of their herds. The difference is they LEAVE THEM ALONE and the rate of success is very high.

    I have also seen MANY much smaller breeders dump THOUSANDS of dollars into rebreeding the same mare year after year in hopes of getting just one foal. Im sorry but if a mare is that hard to reproduce, she's not worth breeding.



  20. #20
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    Jun. 23, 2004
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    Rouge E, from your response, it is clear you have no idea what I am talking about. Live cover will almost always have a higher conception rate - and live cover done as you describe is worlds apart from AI. If you know breeders that dump money on subfertile mares, well that is just dumb.

    And I would certainly hope that at the very least someone would notice if a horse had a broken leg - my point was that it is likely that more subtle issues do go missed unless your friends are psychic as well.

    Finally, I cannot think of a single stallion that I would want bred to 40 of my mares year after year.
    Roseknoll Sporthorses
    www.roseknoll.net



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