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  1. #21
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    The difference in those large herds vs. smaller, more intensively managed programs is that they don't know when a mare loses a pregnancy early, and then is re-bred and settles. Late term abortions are also missed, as well. Of course in a live cover situation the success rate is higher, but they also aren't going to report as many problems because they simply don't know about early pregnancy loss, mid/late-term abortion, etc.
    In general the programs represented on this board are doing their first preg-checks at 14 days and again at 30 days. They know when their mares lose the pregnancy between those two checks, and they come here to discuss it. It may seem like a higher rate of loss, but it is only because it is a known loss. Same for a mare that aborts at 5, 6, 7 months etc. Hard to miss in a mare that is stalled/kept in a small pasture/scrutinized daily. Not so hard in a herd situation with minimal supervision and predators involved.
    I'm not making a judgment on either management type. My husband is a quarter horse guy and last fall bought a very nice ranch-bred working mare. She is in foal, but the guess on the due date is a big ???. Sometime in May or later, as she had a foal last year in April and was bred back at some point, in the pasture. She ran in a herd of about 60 mares, with one stallion. She is from a very well-known ranch program and they run about 4 mare herds of this size, with each having their own stallion. I noticed at their sale last year that they did have about 10 mares who did not have foals at their sides and generally the stated reason was "lost foal". After speaking to the owner when the sale was over "lost foal" means anything from a known dystocia resulting in a dead foal, to a mare simply showing up after foaling season with no baby. So you can see that the major difference in the two types of management systems is in the reporting.
    Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
    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'm sort of in the middle here between closely managed and semi-feral due to the size of my herd and the size of my land. My mares are out on their fields but due to the type of land (high desert, no grass at all for all but about 6 weeks of the spring) they are fed twice a day so are checked twice a day. The size is small enough (mares have 20 acres more or less) that I can see any mare that is being teased by the stallion in with the herd and if the stallion is not in there and is in the bachelor field across the road I can still see if there's a mare showing or interest from one of the boys along their fenceline. I know my mares very well....can tell you that two of them have changes in personality within days of conception and I know if they are pregnant well before they skip their next heat cycle. I do make notes of when I see mares covered or if I see them in season and then they miss the next cycle...or if I see them not cycling for months and see a late fall cycle. Since my stallion is with my mares for a relatively short time period (usually goes in about tax day and is always out by the end of June, occasionally to July 4). This gives me, along with my notes, a pretty good idea of when a mare is due. We don't have a lot of early pregnancy losses due to breeding on a more natural cycle when daylight hours produce more sustaining hormones than early breeding does (when mares sometimes have to be maintained under lights to keep hormones at sustaining levels).

    Frankly I think I am much more aware of what is happening with my horses than the owner who boards and only sees their horse once or twice a week or maybe not even that during bad weather and depends on a barn owner to keep information coming. And I get a little tired of the "they don't have as much invested" (really? every mare in my herd is a daughter or granddaughter or both of world and national level horses....and FYI, there are only three stallions in history to have sired winners of the NCHA "Triple Crown"...the futurity, the derby and the superstakes...which pays MORE than the TB Triple Crown of racing....and none of those three are Paints, one had NO Paint offspring, one had a few and one is still standing and does have some...I have Paint grandget of all three and some of my foals will be Paints with two or in some cases all three of those stallions on their pedigree close up...in most cases on their three generation pedigrees...so please don't tell me that I have less invested) or "they don't care as much" just because management styles are different. People need to understand that there is a huge difference in worlds between the northeast and the midwest/southwest and Great Basin areas of this country and what you back there take for granted (vets close by, pasture available, boarding barns, even veterinary hospitals) are NOT common out here. As well as the differences between owning one mare and owning a dozen or several hundred as a business. The logistics of hauling a dozen mares at different dates of their pregnancies to a vet 75 miles away is much different from hauling one in...or having her at a breeding clinic. And doing so multiple times to check on if she's still pregnant...around here if she's not cycling she's probably pregnant...if she cycles she may have lost the foal. Given that the horse has one of the least efficient reproductive systems of domestic animals and that only about 2/3 of mares bred and pregnant will actually deliver a live foal, we recognize that there will be losses. Since for years I had 100% conception and delivery rates without mare losses and very few foal problems associated with delivery I think maybe doing it this way is working.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV



  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by coloredcowhorse View Post

    Frankly I think I am much more aware of what is happening with my horses than the owner who boards and only sees their horse once or twice a week or maybe not even that during bad weather and depends on a barn owner to keep information coming.
    I would hope so, but we were discussing breeding programs, not an absentee owner / rider.
    Roseknoll Sporthorses
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  4. #24
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    Flame suit on.........I would say that carefully picking a stallion with the genotype and phenotype to match/enhance a well bred mare....aiming for a specific product....even if it requires trailering the mare somewhere or buying frozen...is the responsible way to breed horses. Throwing a bunch of mares out with one stallion will get you a lot of babies but I can't believe they will be of the quality one would achieve if more caring was put into match. I would 100% prefer to own a superstar mare who is a little difficult to reproduce than an ordinary mare who can throw ordinary foals every year.



  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by opel View Post
    I would 100% prefer to own a superstar mare who is a little difficult to reproduce than an ordinary mare who can throw ordinary foals every year.
    Yes, but in doing so, you are transmitting fertility issues down the road... One could extrapolate that those extraordinary genes will be lost down the road if they can't be reproduced. Fertility should be included in your choice. An extraordinary mare that can not be bred easily is the female equivalent of an extraordinary gelding!

    We should not take desperate measures to breed those mares. We have to think in generations.

    True grand mares have to WHOLE package, no compromises to be made.
    www.EquusMagnificus.ca
    Breeding & Sales - Currently: Eventing & Derby prospects
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by opel View Post
    Flame suit on.........I would say that carefully picking a stallion with the genotype and phenotype to match/enhance a well bred mare....aiming for a specific product....even if it requires trailering the mare somewhere or buying frozen...is the responsible way to breed horses. Throwing a bunch of mares out with one stallion will get you a lot of babies but I can't believe they will be of the quality one would achieve if more caring was put into match. I would 100% prefer to own a superstar mare who is a little difficult to reproduce than an ordinary mare who can throw ordinary foals every year.
    Well, here's my take on that. You can have one awesome mare that you have difficulty getting/maintaining a pregnancy and may have foaling problems with or mothering problems with and breed her to one awesome stallion and still get crap....or lose the foal. You then have nothing but an empty mare that has proven she's not fertile or can't maintain a pregnancy or can't/won't mother the foal.

    Or you can have several awesome mares or a whole herd of awesome mares selected for genotype and for phenotype AND for fertility, ease of foaling and mothering ability AND put them with a stallion selected to match them and have many chances of getting something other than crap....and a better chance that there will be foals, that mares will settle and carry and mother their offspring. You then have foals for sale with excellent pedigrees, strong legs and lungs from being raised by good mothers on open ground and the strong possibility they can pass along their qualities.

    What you seem to be missing here is the understanding that the mares in many of these herds ARE outstanding mares..not just a bunch of random mares gathered without any selection criteria. And that the stallion put with them is also selected for particular characteristics and isn't just some piece of junk with a set of balls. Many people out here DO have extraordinary mares...in herds. There seems to be an attitude here that ONLY by having one special mare can you be a responsible breeder. While I'm not at the level of some of these breeders I can say that some of them have herds with values in the millions of dollars. And keep in mind that if your one awesome mare loses a pregnancy ....you are SOL...no foal. If a herd of 100 awesome mares lose a couple of foals the owner still has the strong possibility of several awesome foals...and the prices they get suggests that they ARE getting some great babies. The performance of those foals suggests that sire and dam were quality animals and produced quality offspring.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV



  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by EquusMagnificus View Post
    Yes, but in doing so, you are transmitting fertility issues down the road... One could extrapolate that those extraordinary genes will be lost down the road if they can't be reproduced. Fertility should be included in your choice. An extraordinary mare that can not be bred easily is the female equivalent of an extraordinary gelding!

    We should not take desperate measures to breed those mares. We have to think in generations.

    True grand mares have to WHOLE package, no compromises to be made.
    I am not advocating breeding subfertile mares. My point is that you cannot compare the perceived fertility of a mare that runs with a stallion with one that is bred by AI and thus at the mercy of her vet, etc in getting the job done. In other words, a herd mare very well may not take on the first try, or, as Hillside pointed out, may abort early and then get rebred - but these "fails" will in most cases go undetected. By contrast, I know exactly how many times my mares are bred and the results, as well as the reasons, in most instances, behind any lack of success. That said, no one in my barn in any year gets more than 2 attempts at breeding and I would not keep any subfertile mare in my program. Mine are easy to breed, good moms, and are from dams that have produced many foals. I don't have the time, energy, or funds to tolerate any less in my program.
    Roseknoll Sporthorses
    www.roseknoll.net



  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
    I am not advocating breeding subfertile mares. My point is that you cannot compare the perceived fertility of a mare that runs with a stallion with one that is bred by AI and thus at the mercy of her vet, etc in getting the job done. In other words, a herd mare very well may not take on the first try, or, as Hillside pointed out, may abort early and then get rebred - but these "fails" will in most cases go undetected. By contrast, I know exactly how many times my mares are bred and the results, as well as the reasons, in most instances, behind any lack of success. That said, no one in my barn in any year gets more than 2 attempts at breeding and I would not keep any subfertile mare in my program. Mine are easy to breed, good moms, and are from dams that have produced many foals. I don't have the time, energy, or funds to tolerate any less in my program.
    I agree. I wasn't replying to your comments directly though!
    www.EquusMagnificus.ca
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  9. #29
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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.
    I'm referring to my neighbors here (and I hope not to the people you are talking about) but you forgot to include how the mares die "out in the field without ever having a vet see them". My neighbors just drag the mare and the dead protrudng foal out to the road and call the rendering plant.



  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
    Finally, I cannot think of a single stallion that I would want bred to 40 of my mares year after year.
    Well, I'm sure the 40-111 people who annually (year after year) bred their mares to Storm Cat, for example (stud fee varied between $200,000 and $500,000) would disagree.

    And now his semen is being frozen and offered to the QH world for the bargain basement price of "only" $10K.

    It seems there is just such a big disconnect between the posters here who basically breed as a hobby and micro manage every aspect of the breeding procedure and many of the big breeders/ranchers out west who actually make a living off of breeding. This is their livelihood, pure and simple...

    And so it works better for them to manage their herds in way suggested by ColoredCH and Rouge Empire.

    In most of the latter cases, raising horses is an adjunct to their main business, which is cattle. And they are VERY clear what sort of horse they are raising -- solid, sound, good-minded "ranch" type horses. This does mean their stock is "junk" -- far from it!

    All of their stock (and many are on their 5th-6th generation by now) is carefully chosen to be able to do this sort of job. Mares are used on the ranch to test their ability and temperament before going into the broodmare band. If they prove to be subfertile or lack other breeding/mothering abilities, they are culled. Typical in these situations are bands of 10-60 mares with one stallion. The stallion is ALSO chosen for solid, proven bloodlines and good mind and often used for ranch work during the non-breeding seasons.

    Many times the mares ARE preg-checked at the end of the season, as are the rancher's cattle. My vet often has to schedule a whole day to go out and preg check 100's of cows for some of these ranchers. Non-pregnant cows are sent to slaughter.

    Given the vast tracts of land used by these ranchers, most of the horses do just fine on their own, although they ARE given supplemental hay if the weather is harsh. They foal as Nature intended and, aside from some minimal handing for health care, they are left alone till being started at age 2-3. They are used on the ranch by the staff then sold at one of the many "ranch horse" sales which are held out here each year. Most of the offerings are geldings (which is what the market prefers)

    Western Horsemen magazine routinely reports the results of the bigger sales and most of these horses are purchased by rodeo cowboys as roping horses or by ranch cowboys as working horses or by the recreational trail-type rider, because they know this horse is broke, broke, BROKE. Sale prices can range from as low as $2500 - $25,000.

    Because of this style of management, rigorous culling, and the increased popularity of trail riding and "ranch type" events, these breeders DO make money (which was the original subject of this thread).

    Surprisingly, their foal loss % per year is quite small...which tells me that the MOST important piece of the puzzle is not micro management or high-tech breeding practices....it is starting out with fertile, healthy stock.

    Just because it's not the way East Coast WB breeders do it, doesn't mean a) the other styles are abusive or not detail oriented and b) doesn't mean it doesn't work just fine....



  11. #31
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    Kyzteke - so you used to be a cattle rancher that bred horses on the side in one of your past lives?

    I suggest you go to one of those farms and ask them the prices of their youngsters..... Last time I checked I wasn't willing to let my "carefully managed" WB foals go for $500.00/head and regardless of how many of those I sold to trail riders, I still wouldn't have made any money.
    Siegi Belz
    www.stalleuropa.com
    2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
    Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.



  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by siegi b. View Post
    Kyzteke - so you used to be a cattle rancher that bred horses on the side in one of your past lives?

    I suggest you go to one of those farms and ask them the prices of their youngsters..... Last time I checked I wasn't willing to let my "carefully managed" WB foals go for $500.00/head and regardless of how many of those I sold to trail riders, I still wouldn't have made any money.
    Not at all -- but I happen to live in an area where rodeo & ranch events are king, so I know plenty of ranchers like I just described. NONE of these guys let their horses go for $500 a piece, which shows your complete ignorance of this part of the equine market. IF they did that THEY would not be making any money either, so why would they continue to do it?

    That is simply a stupid comment.

    Here's an example: my farrier, who is heavy into rodeo (so much that his son has a full-scholarship to OK state as a saddle bronc rider) has a number of buddies who have paid over $20K for their roping, heading or heeling horses. And these are AMMIES! The pros routinely pay well over $40-60K for a descent finished roping or dogging horse.

    When we get into cutting & reining stock, the prices go up even higher, yet many of the programs are still run just as I described.

    In addition, being western raised, I still follow this market by reading Western Horsemen, which always has sections on the top ranches, the results of the sales, top performers from their breeding program, etc. Just like you follow the foal & Elite auctions in Europe. So I am very aware of this market, how it works and how various ranches manage their programs. Obviously far better informed than you.

    This is the type of bias that drives me nuts on this board -- why is it so hard for you elitests to believe that other breeds in other disciplines bring big $$?
    Like Grated Coconut (bucking stallion) for $300,000 or the stud fee for top rodeo broncs going for $10K.

    Why do you persist in thinking that just 'cause it's not a WB it won't bring a fair price or make the owner a profit?

    Or that your method of raising & managing your stock is the only possible way to do it right? Geeze, many of these ranches have been successfully raising and selling horses when your father was just a twinkle in HIS daddy's eye....

    PS they are not called "Farms" out here...they are "Ranches."

    The point of this thread was "do people make $$ raising horses & foal death." The response, YES, many programs DO make $$ and they do it without the micro managing most of the members of this board seem to this is so vital.



  13. #33
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    This is fabulous - I am so pleased to learn that breeding top horses is so simple that I need only buy a big tract of land out west and toss a bunch of mares out on the range with a stallion and let nature do all of the work! Cool!

    Regarding the numbers bred to Storm Cat - FYI some WB stallions are bred to many hundreds of mares per year, and yes, many are bred to unsuitable ones. But my point was that it seems unrealistic to think that 40 mares owned by the same owner would all be suited to one stallion. How does that even happen? Were these all acquired for the purpose of breeding to the stallion? Was the stallion purchased to compliment all 40 mares and just happens to be the optimal - or even a good choice - for all of them? That is not analogous to having 40 mare owners coincidentally opt for the same stallion to compliment each of their mares.

    Just because someone has a smaller program does not mean he or she is in the business of wasting money. My goal is to do the minimum possible to get the maximum results. I may have a different idea of minimum than some other people, but my program works for me.

    Finally, some people are taking my comments out of context. My point is that you have to compare apples to apples. A lack of information or reporting does not equate to better results.
    Roseknoll Sporthorses
    www.roseknoll.net



  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
    This is fabulous - I am so pleased to learn that breeding top horses is so simple that I need only buy a big tract of land out west and toss a bunch of mares out on the range with a stallion and let nature do all of the work! Cool!
    Again -- a comment that was either meant to just be flip, or actually shows you have no idea what you are talking about.

    Of course that's not all you need. Do you REALLY think that ranchers are retards because they don't do it like you? I mean, seriously?

    If you really care to be educated (which I doubt, but I'll give it a try): most of these ranches have many, many generations of knowledge on bloodlines, the pluses & minuses of particular stock and have gathered (or bred) their animals for decades.

    You make it sound like they go to New Holland and buy a tractor trailer load of horses at random, then turn 'em out with any horse with a pair of balls! Geeze....

    They know each mare and what she throws, her good qualities, her weaker qualites, her bloodlines (gasp!) JUST LIKE YOU DO!!! See, guys with cowboy hats have brains too!

    Mares are put into bands with an appropriate stallion whose conformation, pedigree and physical/mental characteristics will best match those mares JUST LIKE YOU DO! (Isn't that just TOO amazing!)

    The next year the foal(s) are evaluated and if it's a good match, it's repeated. If not, it is not....surely you do that too, right?

    So where is the difference?

    In management mostly. It is more cost effective when you run that many horses (big ranches normally run between 30 -160 broodmares) to pasture-breed, vaccinate and (maybe) preg check. That's it. Any mare that needs micro-managing is culled. And after generations of this sort of management you tend to end up with mares who do not NEED micro managing.

    The horses are started by cowboys who are on staff anyway, and used to do regular ranching chores, which is what they are bred to do anyway. Then while still young, they are sold to a VERY large market who wants these sort of horses (a far larger market than dressage, I might add).

    It's a very efficent and workable system....which is why these guys will still be in business long after 90% of the breeders on this board have gone under.



  15. #35
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    To compare raising quarterhorses and warmbloods is like comparing apples to oranges. I am aware of the big prices that some quarterhorses bring, and don't discount their value. But they are quite different when it comes to their nutritional needs. The modern warmblood would be closer to a thoroughbred in its metabolism - they need more than being put out on a range with maybe an extra bale or two of hay to flourish. By the same standard, a quarterhorse would be obese if fed a typical warmblood's diet. One must consider what each type of horse was bred for. It only makes sense that the Quarterhorse would be a lower maintenance animal, built for short durations of speed to catch cattle and hardiness to survive the elements on cattle drives.

    And yes, the same breeder may have bred his mares to Storm Cat year after year for a princely sum, but you can be sure the reasoning behind the re-breeding was not just because the mare was fertile.
    Martha Haley - NeverSayNever Farm
    2009 KWN-NA Breeder of the Year/Silver Level Breeder
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  16. #36
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    Kyzteke, you need to calm down. No need to be so inflammatory.

    It should be obvious, for example, that you cannot compare the perceived fertility rate of a mare that runs in a herd with one bred only by AI for the reasons I and others tried to explain repeatedly based on differences in the availability and reporting of data. That is all I was saying.

    And despite your vitriolic response, I am curious about how these ranches are run because among other things I would love to have one myself.
    Roseknoll Sporthorses
    www.roseknoll.net



  17. #37
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    And Kyzteke.... before you take everybody's post that doesn't agree with what you're preaching totally out of context and get rude..... (oh, I guess that has already happened.. ) ......

    We all know that the top reining, dogging, whatever horses bring good prices, just like the top warmblood sporthorses do. What I was talking about was the cattle rancher (that you had mentioned) whose main business is cows and who happens to have a band of mares as well. You can go to a place like that and come home with 10 youngsters without paying more than 5K all day long! If you want me to I can probably give you a referral to one of those places...

    So get off your low horse, will ya?
    Siegi Belz
    www.stalleuropa.com
    2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
    Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.



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    Quote Originally Posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
    Kyzteke, you need to calm down. No need to be so inflammatory.
    I will gladly be calm down and be less inflammatory if you will be less flip and condescending.

    Deal?



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    Quote Originally Posted by siegi b. View Post

    We all know that the top reining, dogging, whatever horses bring good prices, just like the top warmblood sporthorses do. What I was talking about was the cattle rancher (that you had mentioned) whose main business is cows and who happens to have a band of mares as well. You can go to a place like that and come home with 10 youngsters without paying more than 5K all day long! If you want me to I can probably give you a referral to one of those places...
    Then you aren't going to very good ranches...

    And aren't I allowed to ride the horses you guys are always on?



  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyzteke View Post
    I will gladly be calm down and be less inflammatory if you will be less flip and condescending.

    Deal?
    I am not being flip or condescending. Sarcastic at times, perhaps.
    Roseknoll Sporthorses
    www.roseknoll.net



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