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  1. #1
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    Question Pollard's COTH article: breed to top eventing mares, would you buy a foal from one?

    Mike Pollard's CoTH article suggested an embryo transfer program using some of the USEA's top mares. Personally, I would love to get a foal from Jane Sleeper's UN, Jennifer Wooten's Good Witch, Bruce Davidson's Jam. I do ETs and it's not cheap so I wanted to ask, who would buy such a foal IF such program was established?

    So many posts in this forum about OTTBs/OTTBs pedigrees, I'm thinking the majority of posters would rather get a free/bargain horse and take pride in developing a second career.

    In your opinion, would foals from such an ET program only be of interest to top riders with syndicate money or wealthy owner/sponsors?



  2. #2
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    Yes. I have no need for a horse with premium DNA, as I have zero upper-level aspirations. I have a good time with whatever horse I happen to have, and wouldn't particularly go looking for one with **** parents unless I was thinking of buying one for someone else. And I'm not really in a position to do that right now. Maybe when I'm too old to bounce around on my own collection of horses of unknown or unfashionable breeding.
    Click here before you buy.


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  3. #3
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    I would buy an ET foal from a top eventing mare.

    However, because eventing performance in mares is often lacking, I'd be more likely to buy a foal from a mare who's known to produce top eventers. What they produce and the consistency of what they produce is more important than the mare's performance record.

    I agree with Michael that ETs/breeding from top mares should be incentivized. This is a good way to improve the quality of the eventing gene pool in the US.


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JER View Post
    I would buy an ET foal from a top eventing mare.

    However, because eventing performance in mares is often lacking, I'd be more likely to buy a foal from a mare who's known to produce top eventers. What they produce and the consistency of what they produce is more important than the mare's performance record.

    I agree with Michael that ETs/breeding from top mares should be incentivized. This is a good way to improve the quality of the eventing gene pool in the US.
    Love this! ^^^^

    And for the record, if I was in a position I would buy one of the foals from Teddy O'Connors dam in a heartbeat. As I am 5'2" they would be perfect for me. There are three I would love to own but I just can't swing it at this time.
    Connaught, Kevlar & Mine the Melody are all lovely! Although, looking at the sales page, some have hit 16h!
    Last edited by ctab; Mar. 6, 2013 at 04:26 PM. Reason: added
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JER View Post
    I would buy an ET foal from a top eventing mare.

    However, because eventing performance in mares is often lacking, I'd be more likely to buy a foal from a mare who's known to produce top eventers. What they produce and the consistency of what they produce is more important than the mare's performance record.

    I agree with Michael that ETs/breeding from top mares should be incentivized. This is a good way to improve the quality of the eventing gene pool in the US.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mareslave View Post
    In your opinion, would foals from such an ET program only be of interest to top riders with syndicate money or wealthy owner/sponsors?
    I'm breeding some of my own horses. No way no how is there a lot of interest in the US in paying enough to make business sense to do this. Now will there be a market for that offspring as a 4-5 year old....yes, if it turns out to be fancy. But the vast majority of the US based UL riders have no interest or facility to house and raise a youngster. They do not want to even look at them until they are 3 and prefer no younger than 4.

    ETA: Should it be encouraged? Of course but I'm not seeing the USEA or USEF having the funds to do anything to really make a difference.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JER View Post
    I would buy an ET foal from a top eventing mare.

    However, because eventing performance in mares is often lacking, I'd be more likely to buy a foal from a mare who's known to produce top eventers. What they produce and the consistency of what they produce is more important than the mare's performance record.

    I agree with Michael that ETs/breeding from top mares should be incentivized. This is a good way to improve the quality of the eventing gene pool in the US.
    This is huge.
    I would not buy an embryo from a top eventing mare.
    But I would use a mare who has produced MULTIPLE exceptional foals. The mare's show record is moot.

    Which I did. ; ) And I bred her to a stallion who has produced exceptional foals.
    And the resulting foal is exceptional^2.

    Often our exceptional animals are freaks. There is no way to know if they will produce exceptional quality. It's not always passed down. We need several babies out of different mares, and those babies need to find their way into the yard of young horse trainers...to really know.

    I understand what Pollard was saying...but the fairy tale theory, per say, is flawed.
    But I do agree that those mare's embryos need to be purchased and bred to find out what kind of babies result. Lighting that fuse is expensive.
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  8. #8
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    I think it's a great IDEA, however, for most people it would have to be incentified (is that a word?) in order to make it economically feasible. and I'm not sure how that would work. A typical ET will run 5k (if you're lucky), not including the cost of the stud fee. As a breeder, I would be looking for at least a 15k sales price for the foal. Not sure how many eventers would shell out that kind of money for any foal.

    I may be breeding a Windfall/Han/TB mare to breed to Cyriz this spring and am thinking about offering the foal in-utero for 8500. It will be interesting to see what kind of response I get.

    I do wish that more eventers with the means to buy overseas would look at home, but at least where I am, most don't even consider horses locally. Instead they spend 50k+ in Europe for Novice/Training with UL potential.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyriz's mom View Post

    I do wish that more eventers with the means to buy overseas would look at home, but at least where I am, most don't even consider horses locally. Instead they spend 50k+ in Europe for Novice/Training with UL potential.
    Sadly, I think part of the problem is that we are just a tiny little island when compared to Europe.
    The numbers are soooo much higher there. It's easier and a better use of time to fly over, look at thirty horses in a weekend and come home with two or three. ~Rather than state skip in the US.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
    I'm breeding some of my own horses. No way no how is there a lot of interest in the US in paying enough to make business sense to do this. Now will there be a market for that offspring as a 4-5 year old....yes, if it turns out to be fancy. But the vast majority of the US based UL riders have no interest or facility to house and raise a youngster. They do not want to even look at them until they are 3 and prefer no younger than 4.

    ETA: Should it be encouraged? Of course but I'm not seeing the USEA or USEF having the funds to do anything to really make a difference.

    As usual...succinct and to the point. Nuff said.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JER View Post

    However, because eventing performance in mares is often lacking, I'd be more likely to buy a foal from a mare who's known to produce top eventers. What they produce and the consistency of what they produce is more important than the mare's performance record.
    JER - Are you saying that there aren't many mares at the top of the sport (for whatever reason), or that mares can't perform as well at the top of the sport?



  12. #12
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    There is a significant amount of risk and expense in both breeding and in the raising of the foal....getting it to survive and thrive to a riding age when you can determine if it will likely become something.

    Probably the nicest foal of mine....a yearling, is currently in New Bolton after his latest attempt at killing himself. This is a youngster that I have zero doubt will sell as a 3-4 year to a very BNR. He has the blood lines and is the type that they want...and for once--is not a chestnut filly That is not unusual with athletic babies....

    But most folks do not want to carry the burden and own these buggers at this age....and I personally get that. It isn't for everyone. You have to wait YEARS before you can really do much with them. Economically it makes sense to save your money and buy them at riding age.

    Not sure this is something I see changing in the US.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wits End Eventing View Post
    JER - Are you saying that there aren't many mares at the top of the sport (for whatever reason), or that mares can't perform as well at the top of the sport?
    The first thing -- there just aren't that many mares with top-level eventing records.

    Of course, there aren't many stallions at those levels either. And again, a performance record in the sport is less important than whether the stallion produces good eventers.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JER View Post
    The first thing -- there just aren't that many mares with top-level eventing records.
    There are plenty of mares with top level eventing records. Mares far out number Stallions in the standings:

    http://www.wbfsh.com/files/Horses_ra...ting_final.pdf

    The USA has plenty of mares with top-level eventing records, some of whom I'd drool over daily if standing in my barn.

    Can't improve the US horses by breeding the FEI geldings. Few can afford to clone their geldings for preserving bloodlines. (There's a cute article in horse & hound called "eventers with balls" which discusses the stallion issue.)


    Let's just focus on the dams especially in light of Pollard's article:

    Do we have any resources that we could tap into to rank eventing dams? or is it everyone has to search to track down the dam when the 15 yr old foal makes it to 4**** level? I'm thinking it's the latter, tho I'd love to be wrong. Please post the link to any dam ranking resource.

    Personally, if I had a chance to get a foal from Lil Brit (Headly Brittania) I'd for it - all risks being equal. My point runs along the lines of: If we build it, will they come? That is, if we somehow get funding/resources to do some ETs with some top mares in the sport, will anyone want them?

    I know some jumper breeders who seek out dams with performance records and have founded their entire breeding paradigm on performance mares. Whenever I'm contacted by a potential buyer for a jumping foal, I'm always asked about the dam's record. The eventer forum has posts weekly asking "rate my ottb's pedigree" so the pedigree must matter to eventers.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mareslave View Post
    There are plenty of mares with top level eventing records.
    According to the stats compiled by Wits End, mares make up 12.5% of *** and **** horses.

    In an average year at Badminton, you'll see 60+ geldings and 6 or 7 mares.

    This does not meet my definition of 'plenty'.



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  16. #16
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    I'm with deltawave (as per usual, LOL) -- no, I would not. I have neither the time, the luxury, or the space to keep a baby for 3-4 years until I can really put it to work. In addition, just getting a live foal is risk itself (look at Rachel Alexandra for a high profile example) -- getting the thing to not kill or maim itself before it is old enough to train is a whole 'nother ball of wax. At that point, it's so expensive, I can go out and bring home a trailer-ful of adult horses, sort through them, sell the ones I don't want and keep one for the same price.

    Also, as an adult amateur, I have no aspirations on FEI (I'll never give them a penny anyways!) and even were I to get the urge to go I or A, I would still shop for an adult horse whose trainability, desire to do the sport, bravery, etc, were there to see. It doesn't have to be an OTTB (although I'm madly in love with mine) and it doesn't have to be free, but there are so many great horses out there that ARE in the four figure price range and I have the ability to develop a horse, I have no desire to spend all that money and time I could otherwise spend riding and training.



  17. #17
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    There are plenty of people doing the pinhooking with the race horses - purchasing the yearlings and reselling as long yearlings or two year olds ready for training. I think event buyers would want to see them as 3-4 year olds, but the same principle might work if someone could buy these superior foals, let them grow up for a few years and turn around and sell as lightly started youngsters.

    The question is whether US buyers would pay reasonable prices to make it worthwhile. US buyers would have to be willing to pay enough to make it a worthwhile endeavor for someone to take all the risk of owning and starting these foals for 3-4 years. If it was my business plan, I'd certainly want to start out with top foals. It's such a gamble, but you might as well start with the best possible genetic materials.

    That said, ET takes a fair amount of scheduling and planning. If I had a top mare that was still in competition, I don't think I'd want to deal with the constant ultrasounding to manage heat cycles, semen shipments and hauling somewhere for flushing.... Yes, it's less of an impact than having a mare carry a pregnancy, but it's still a pain. If the mare was retired though, that would be a whole other story. I'd probably rather do a few ETs off a top (retired) mare than breed her for a single foal, assuming I could sell those foals.
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  18. #18
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    Well, here's one mare who was a good event horse who had ET foals. Ms. Mars bought Shannon for KOC. The mare has had at least two ET foals in Ireland by Cruising. Both came to America for evaluation and training. One ended up as a foxhunter somewhere on the east coast and the other is Harbour Pilot. So one of the ETs became a very good event horse like his dam and one didn't seem to have panned out.

    I was told this by people who should know.

    I understand that Jane Sleeper has been doing ETs with UN as L. Fredericks with H. Brittania. But you still have the (minimum) 6 or 7 year wait to see if the foals are going to be any good.

    No matter how you slice and dice it, the gamble is still going to be there.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by vineyridge View Post
    The mare has had at least two ET foals in Ireland by Cruising. Both came to America for evaluation and training. One ended up as a foxhunter somewhere on the east coast and the other is Harbour Pilot. So one of the ETs became a very good event horse like his dam and one didn't seem to have panned out.
    50% isn't a bad strike rate. Consider that heritability of genetic traits is 25%.

    FWIW, Cruising would not be my stallion of choice for consistent breeding. His offspring are all over the map in terms of ability and looks, and you really need a mare that's a consistent producer of quality. I'm not sure you'd know that from two foals.



  20. #20
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    I completely understand the idea that the successful "freaks" may not reproduce themselves; you see it often in the racing world, that the very best horses don't always live up to their record in the breeding shed, while some unraced or no-name claimer mare produces a graded stakes winner. However, in the long run, the better performing mares *do* contribute positively to the gene pool. Getting offspring from them will (slowly) build a better mare base, rather than relying simply on unproven-performance (OTTB) mares.

    But, as everyone has said, ET is expensive. I don't think it's something I would pay for without some help/incentives. But, I am breeding my own upper level mare, deciding to end her career a bit short at age 14 so that I can keep her genes going; it's a gamble, though, no guarantees she'll make one as good as herself. But you've gotta start somewhere!
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