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

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  • #21
    I would certainly do it,but the cost is quite prohibitive, at least for my pocketbook.
    A friend of mine, a veterinarian used to sell embryos out of top jumper mares and the cost for the embryo IIRC, was a minimum of $10,000.

    The embryo.
    All your other costs on top of that.
    I don't know if there was a LFG. I doubt it.
    A Fine Romance. April 1991 - June 2016. Loved forever.

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    • #22
      Originally posted by JER View Post
      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.
      whew... for a second there I though you'd gone crazy on us
      By the way, 2.2% stallions at the 4* level and not many stallions have produced multiple 4* horses which I think says more about event horses being "castoffs" from other sport breeding than the stallions.

      According to the stats compiled by Wits End, mares make up 12.5% of *** and **** horses.
      Our stats are only for CCI**** horses, but you are correct about the numbers. To put an actual number on it there are 100 mares that have run a CCI**** in the last 6 years, there are 726 geldings, 19 stallions. (I'm missing the gender on 4 horses)

      Interestingly, mares have a 50% higher win rate (wins/entry) than geldings. Go Mares!

      We agree with JER about breeding mares that have produced 4* eventers although that in itself is quite a task. Out of 677 mares in our database only 16 have produced 2 4* horses, one has produced 3. Stallions can have 100's of progeny while mares only get a chance to have a fraction of that number yet, with mitochondrial DNA, they have more effect on the foal. If we had the funds, we'd definitely do ET on proven mares.
      Last edited by Wits End Eventing; Mar. 7, 2013, 07:21 AM. Reason: Missed King's Mistress who has three 4* babies
      www.witsendeventing.com
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      • #23
        Wildlifer, let me clarify--I'm not averse to breeding (have done so before and am getting ready to possibly do it again) because I do have the space and the resources and a mare that has finally earned a spot in the gene pool. But large-scale breeding? No, not for me. If I breed one, my intention is for it to be my own horse. Which is why a superlative pedigree top and bottom is not necessary. I don't NEED a Rolex horse. (not that breeding from and to one is any guarantee!) Because there are many nice stallions, it's easy to take advantage of that. But if I breed, I want the whole package--foaling my own, raising the baby, etc. I don't have any desire to buy somebody else's foal, no matter how nicely bred, really.
        Click here before you buy.

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        • #24
          IMO - Breeders and young horse trainers are gamblers. You have to be in order to take the financial, physical and emotional risks for 1-7 years just to get an "average" horse to the "national" level, much less to the international levels.

          I am a little sour on this subject as it hasn't changed much over the past 40 odd years. My old TB mare, bred for eventing, was foaled 34 years ago. The breeder had internationally known bloodlines, a daughter who put a great start on the babies and very.few.buyers. Many went to other farms or trainers to purchase the "perfect horse" often at a higher price, rather than purchase a horse bred and started under the watchful eye of their own trainer. No logic there. Also I heard and saw similar actions with other breeding farms.

          There is something in the human mental makeup that causes them to reject that which is known and move toward the new or unknown. Hence the old saying: familiarity breeds contempt."We" need to review our own attitude toward US breeders as opposed to non-US breeders.
          "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
          Courtesy my cousin Tim

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          • #25
            Fooler
            The corollary to that is " an expert is a person 50 miles away". Same with people horse shopping. I once had someone from my home town drive 2 hours to purchase a youngster that they wouldn't come see while it was at my place the week before . No further training, nothing. Horse had just moved north 2 hours = more valuable ( and payed more too). Same deal
            http://www.cngsporthorses.com

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            • #26
              Originally posted by elizabeth Callahan View Post
              Fooler
              The corollary to that is " an expert is a person 50 miles away". Same with people horse shopping. I once had someone from my home town drive 2 hours to purchase a youngster that they wouldn't come see while it was at my place the week before . No further training, nothing. Horse had just moved north 2 hours = more valuable ( and payed more too). Same deal
              We really need a head2desk icon. . .
              "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
              Courtesy my cousin Tim

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              • #27
                The scale of the problem: http://gestuet-lewitz.de/eng/the-lew...e-lewitz-stud/ Paul Schockemöhle breeds 650 foals each year! One man, one European breed. Europe also has a history of centralized breeding going back to the seventeenth/eighteenth century.
                "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

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                • #28
                  DW, I was not saying I was averse to breeding either, sorry if that was a misunderstanding. I just meant that I PERSONALLY didn't have the interest, nor in raising the baby. I've had a very nice weanling offered to me for free -- I would consider it a fun side-project, but I do not have the money to pay for a horse while it is growing up. I totally get breeding one for yourself, it's just a little hard for me to do with my geldings, LOL! And I agree - I don't have any interest in raising someone else's baby. I own horses to ride them. No extra financial black holes needed, haha.

                  If I were a breeder, my perspective would probably be different. But the OP's questions seemed fairly open-ended: would YOU buy said foal. So for me, non-breeder, AA rider, no, I would have no incentive.

                  ETA -- Wow, crazy shoppers out there! When I am shopping, closer is better: less diesel to burn!!
                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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                  • #29
                    Another who agrees with Deltawave here. I breed for myself, in the main, but have sold some of my well-started youngsters when they haven't been the right match for me. The reality is that I'm not ever going to even ride Prelim again, but I want to breed the best foal I can. We all do!

                    While I understand the "breed the best to the best" mindset, I think that we are a bit narrow in our definition when it comes to mares. If we were to restrict breeding stock to those horses that have been successful at the 4* level the gene pool would be small, and if one applied an average rate of attrition to the resulting offspring, not that many would even be available to become 4* horses.

                    However, we could reasonably expand the mare base if we looked at mares that have been successful at lower levels. A good evaluation system would have to be established: while I haven't the skill to identify all the pieces of such a system, there are people who have done it well. It might include evaluation of pedigree and conformation, and recognition of athletic ability even if only expressed at the lower levels because we've all seen horses that are maxed out at the lower levels, and other horses whose riders are maxed out at the lower levels but could do much better. And there is intrinsic value to a horse that has successfully changed careers (OTTBs) as that indicates a level of trainability.

                    Just my two cents.
                    They don't call me frugal for nothing.
                    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

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                    • #30
                      If we were to restrict breeding stock to those horses that have been successful at the 4* level the gene pool would be small
                      And after one generation the gene pool would be NONEXISTENT, or horribly inbred.

                      There are things that factor in for the one- or two-horse owner that just aren't "front and center" when one is contemplating "breed the best to the best". One of these is trainability, another is quality of hooves, general sturdiness and durability, another is general temperament and tolerance for long breaks in training, etc. Most of "us" smurfs don't ride 7 days a week on a string of horses; we take breaks, put horses on the back burner, and don't compete year-round. We need a different stamp of horse than someone who is looking for yet another potential WEG or Rolex horse to add to a string.

                      I would rather have a horse with great big spectacular feet and huge bone, even if it couldn't do 570 mpm if its tail was on fire. (Hi, Bonnie) Give me a horse that can handle being ridden 3 times a week without becoming a rogue or constantly needing to be reminded what it's doing with its body. Give me one that can live outside in Lake Michigan winter weather and not dissolve. Give me one that is forgiving and will jump around even WITHOUT a tactful or expert ride.

                      Find me one that is also capable of going **** and yeah . . . I'd line up with everyone else to buy it (if it were in my budget). But if you are trying to sell me a FOAL or YEARLING with these qualities, I'll say you're fantasizing, because NONE of that (other than maybe conformation, bone, and foot quality) is evident in a baby with certainty.

                      So why would I breed a horse? Because I like to have a baby now and then, I love my "line" of horses and think it would be fun to keep it going, and because I have the space and can afford it even if baby is a disappointment. I'm completely better off buying made horses, and I do and I have, but I do enjoy breeding occasionally as well. But a designer foal is just not what I want or need.
                      Click here before you buy.

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                      • #31
                        Agreed, DW!
                        They don't call me frugal for nothing.
                        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

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                        • #32
                          I also think what is odd about the article is that WE HAVE been breeding many of the top mares for years. Not always with ET....but I can think of several UL mares who were bred. They didn't often reproduce themselves. But there are some breeders out there producing nice horses, it is just very hard to do it for profit. If eventers start paying more for prospects maybe that will change (but is that really what we want on our sport?).

                          What most responsible breeders do is breed family lines. Hello---anyone checked out what Bruce or Denny tend to produce. I have a small operation...but in it, I do have a half sister to a 4* horse (who is nicer than the 4* horse in a lot of ways) and another TB mare who competed through Prelim (I stopped with her to breed her) and has siblings who are going further. So family lines that I know well and know what they produce. Sires are chosen to fit the mares with an eye toward eventing....but it is still a gamble...and the market is the market. Eventers rarely look at them young. If I breed for eventing, I will most likely have to carry the risk longer before seeing return....and why so few breeders are doing this. You do it more for the love of it...but that still isn't going to get me to fork out 10K to do ET for a foal that I will be lucky to sell for 12K....assuming I get it on the ground healthy. Now...breeding for dressage, show hunters or even jumpers...or for an ammy market...those foals seem to sell more easily as foals. Breeding for yourself...that is a different story. I also might do ET on a mare that I do not want to risk in foaling....or if I have a mare who is a proven producer and do not want to risk her. But even then...it is not easy to do.
                          Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Mar. 7, 2013, 04:00 PM.
                          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                          • #33
                            I was thinking about this last night.

                            Bally Cor certainly never reproduced herself, although her daughter Bally Thorn was the dam of the 4* horse, Bally Mar. Bally Mar has not outproduced herself to date. Her son, Ballys Cracker, isn't even recorded at the USEF for this year. Nirvana produced one UL horse out of perhaps two foals, which is an excellent strike rate.

                            Does anyone know if Patrona had any foals?

                            Perhaps the Holstein model of many generations of mares at the same farm with ruthless culling is the only way to get consistent quality. IIRC, Marius's dam not only produced him but also an International level GP jumper.

                            Certainly there are some superstar producer mares. High Dolly and Welton Gazelle come to mind right off the bat. But they are the ones who are freaks.

                            Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                            I also think what is odd about the article is that WE HAVE been breeding many of the top mares for years. Not always with ET....but I can think of several UL mares who were bred. They didn't often reproduce themselves. But there are some breeders out there producing nice horses, it is just very hard to do it for profit. If eventers start paying more for prospects maybe that will change (but is that really what we want on our sport?).

                            What most responsible breeders do is breed family lines. Hello---anyone checked out what Bruce or Denny tend to produce. I have a small operation...but in it, I do have a half sister to a 4* horse (who is nicer than the 4* horse in a lot of ways) and another TB mare who competed through Prelim (I stopped with her to breed her) and has siblings who are going further. So family lines that I know well and know what they produce. Sires are chosen to fit the mares with an eye toward eventing....but it is still a gamble...and the market is the market. Eventers rarely look at them young. If I breed for eventing, I will most likely have to carry the risk longer before seeing return....and why so few breeders are doing this. You do it more for the love of it...but that still isn't going to get me to fork out 10K to do ET for a foal that I will be lucky to sell for 12K....assuming I get it on the ground healthy. Now...breeding for dressage, show hunters or even jumpers...or for an ammy market...those foals seem to sell more easily as foals. Breeding for yourself...that is a different story. I also might do ET on a mare that I do not want to risk in foaling....or if I have a mare who is a proven producer and do not want to risk her. But even then...it is not easy to do.
                            "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                            Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                              I was thinking about this last night.

                              Bally Cor certainly never reproduced herself, although her daughter Bally Thorn was the dam of the 4* horse, Bally Mar. Bally Mar has not outproduced herself to date. Her son, Ballys Cracker, isn't even recorded at the USEF for this year. Nirvana produced one UL horse out of perhaps two foals, which is an excellent strike rate.

                              Does anyone know if Patrona had any foals?

                              Perhaps the Holstein model of many generations of mares at the same farm with ruthless culling is the only way to get consistent quality. IIRC, Marius's dam not only produced him but also an International level GP jumper.

                              Certainly there are some superstar producer mares. High Dolly and Welton Gazelle come to mind right off the bat. But they are the ones who are freaks.
                              Just throwing her out here for discussion, but another mare to keep an eye on (though unfortunately not based stateside - not that High Dolly and Welton Gazelle are either) is Juswith Genoa - Winsome Adante's dam. Her owner seems to have made quite an investment with her... getting 9 foals on the ground, many of which are ETs, some full siblings. I find it particularly interesting to see the variety produced. While quite a few are still young and not really going under saddle, the mare's second foal is quite a looker going around the ** level with Jeanette Brakewell.
                              You know you're a horse person when your mother, who has no grandchildren, gets cards addressed to Grandma, signed by the horses, cats, and dogs.

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                              • #35
                                Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                                I was thinking about this last night.

                                Bally Cor certainly never reproduced herself, although her daughter Bally Thorn was the dam of the 4* horse, Bally Mar. Bally Mar has not outproduced herself to date. Her son, Ballys Cracker, isn't even recorded at the USEF for this year. Nirvana produced one UL horse out of perhaps two foals, which is an excellent strike rate.

                                Does anyone know if Patrona had any foals?

                                Perhaps the Holstein model of many generations of mares at the same farm with ruthless culling is the only way to get consistent quality. IIRC, Marius's dam not only produced him but also an International level GP jumper.

                                Certainly there are some superstar producer mares. High Dolly and Welton Gazelle come to mind right off the bat. But they are the ones who are freaks.
                                My old instructor managed to acquire Bally Cor's aunt for breeding. As I understand she produced- a gelding that excelled at LF Advance and was long listed for the 1988 team, a mare that competed through Intermediate, twins of which the male survived. He was used for stud and produced, with multiple mares, at least 3 horses that reached Intermediate/Prelim. Many others that were competitive through Training with true AA riders.

                                ET is great for some mare lines, such as the Cormac line. She had very few offspring, all were quality, from the Cormac mares as they had difficulty conceiving and maintaining the pregnancies. Plus the Cormac mares appeared to be more prone to multiple embryos than the other brood mares on the farm.
                                "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                                Courtesy my cousin Tim

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                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                                  Certainly there are some superstar producer mares. High Dolly and Welton Gazelle come to mind right off the bat. But they are the ones who are freaks.
                                  And those are the mares worth doing ET on and not risking in foaling. But it takes 8-9 YEARS from when you decide to breed a mare until that off springs hits that 4* level. And often, by the time the first youngster is a 4* horse, the mare is getting too old to breed.

                                  So I do think you have to be thinking generationally.....that said....there are very few breeders wanting to do this for a lifetime. I know that I don't. I can totally see myself stopping breeding...especially given the money pit that it can be as well as heart ache. I already lost one foal...and if I lost one of my mares...I could see me being done. I've already decided not to breed on of my very good mares any more even though she has produced well because of the risks of losing her. Not worth it for me.


                                  And of course all of this is leaving out of the equation...the rider. Honestly, having a horse with the right trainer through its life is a bigger indicator to me of whether they will make it to the 4* level. All the breeding in the world doesn't produce that super star unless they are trained and ridden well...and many of the top riders can take a less that super star horse...and make it look and perform like a super star.
                                  ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                                    Certainly there are some superstar producer mares. High Dolly and Welton Gazelle come to mind right off the bat. But they are the ones who are freaks.
                                    Don't forget Friday Fox, who did all the YR stuff in the UK then went on to top-10 placing at Badminton. She has two full-sister daughters (by Matinee), Friday Morning and Friday Feeling, who evented to *** and now combine breeding duties with straight dressage.

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                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by elizabeth Callahan View Post
                                      Fooler
                                      The corollary to that is " an expert is a person 50 miles away". Same with people horse shopping. I once had someone from my home town drive 2 hours to purchase a youngster that they wouldn't come see while it was at my place the week before . No further training, nothing. Horse had just moved north 2 hours = more valuable ( and payed more too). Same deal
                                      Wow, you can tell we live in the same area...and I thought it was just me.

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                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Eventingjunkie View Post
                                        Wow, you can tell we live in the same area...and I thought it was just me.
                                        Just pondering what the facts were in EC's case. If this was a home-bred, perhaps the buyer didn't "trust" a breeder for an honest evaluation of the horse. Barn blind owner and all. Some people just don't like dealing directly with a breeder.

                                        If said horse were sent to a sale barn, or better yet a trainer on consignment, buyer might feel that some weeding had already taken place and that a third party might (but very likely wouldn't) be more objective about said horse. Especially if it is a barn with a very good reputation and its sold horses have gone on to careers. A huge amount is going to depend on the expertise of the buyer. (Of course, trainer commissions and finders fees might also enter into the equation if buyer is using a trainer/expert in the horse search. )
                                        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                        Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                                        • #40
                                          I actually think the buyer's agent made more commission when the horse went north( and not to a sales barn or trainer- just further up into horse country), and that is why. Sales price went up , so did commission...
                                          Still, makes you wonder...
                                          http://www.cngsporthorses.com

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