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Looking for advice on successful hunter pony breeding

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  • Looking for advice on successful hunter pony breeding

    Hello Everyone,
    I posted a question about Welsh hunter breeding on the "Sport Horse Breeding" Forum. It was suggested that I cross over to get some answers here too. (I think it's a good idea to have just a breeding forum -- someone suggested that). Our farm switched from 30+ plus years in Morgans to Welsh ponies and on the East Coast it is definitely more of a hunter market. What have some of the successful farms who breed ponies done? I do see some of the same names on the USEF pony hunter lists, but it is difficult to do research because the names on the ponies change quite often from the original name. Any advice? I'd like to spend my money creating good ponies.

  • #2
    IMO, the very best thing you can do right now is develop relationships with Hunter trainers in your area-you need a buyer for each Pony, that is where most come from. Hunter trainers. Go do some meet and greet with those within a day's drive. introduce yourself, ask about their programs. Let them know you are there

    Just reading on here, the big hurdle many breeders face is hooking up with somebody who will buy what they produce. You hear about this or that selling for $xx,xxx but you need to actually know people who would spend that or deal with those who do as agents.

    Go to your shows, Open with Pony classes and the Welsh. Learn the divisions. Join your local and regional USHJA affilate and keep track of the shows....and, honestly, for a very reasonable amount, you can sponsor a year end perpetual award for that affiliate-the Wannabe Farms Pony High Point award. Cost you 250 or so for a vase or ice bucket and a keepsake for the winner. And everybody in your region knows you breed Ponies-usually even get that award name in COTH in the yearly show issue with the winner listed.

    Basically, it's marketing. And developing perception in the market that you breed show Ponies. Make them think of you, nobody is going to seek you out otherwise.

    Oh, don't forget Hunters are very specific in skill set and Hunter buyers are notorious for looking at performance first, breeding second-or not at all. Get yourself a name stud and your little broodies should have successful show miles on them. There are too many casually bred horses out there for sale across the board. Pick wisely and put proven performance first. With a mind a child can manage.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Very good advice. I had thought of going to some events in the area and you have suggested that, so I guess I'm on the right track in that respect. We have been advertising in several publications, but I had not thought of the trophy. I remember a friend telling us that the hunter world wants to know if your ponies can perform and are not at all hung up on what the pony did in the breed classes. I am at a disadvantage that I grew up showing Saddle Seat and Western with our Morgans and Saddlebreds, and did not have my "foot" in the hunter ring, so this advice is certainly beneficial. Thanks! Just curious, who are your favorite stallions out there now for pony hunters?

      Comment


      • #4
        In addition to F8's excellent points, remember that hunter ponies are divided by height into smalls, mediums and larges. Everyone wants a "top of the line" pony, meaning one that is just barely under the max height for the division in question, without being in danger of "going over."

        A 14.2 hand large pony with a 12' stride is desirable. A 14.2 1/2 hand pony is useless from a showing standpoint no matter how talented it might be. That extra half inch puts it over the height limit (and despite all you hear about being able to get super larges to measure, it can be very tough to do and people WILL protest a pony later if it starts winning.)

        This can be a tricky area to navigate since ponies cannot get a permanent card until they are 6... before that, they get measured annually for temporary cards.
        **********
        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
        -PaulaEdwina

        Comment


        • #5
          The...what is it...Cymreag Blue Rain? I cannot spell gaelic. But all those names out there with "Blue" are his as well as others who just throw that name in the show name so some think they do.

          Other well know show prefixes like the Rosmels and so forth are also found pretty often in show Ponies but it does not guarantee saleability. You need to make some connections that can get you a little Pony jock to show them around a few courses and get that show mileage-that is what sells, not papers.

          I were you? I would look into successful crosses as well. There are a bunch of various WB crosses showing up in those classes. Offhand, no idea what they are with but they seem to have the jump, step and tractability to get those tri colors. Worth investigating. Maybe get a little more child friendly.

          I assume you are a member of that Virginia Pony Breeders Association since it looks like you are in that region? Again, contacts and networking.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Yes, the VPBA is very active in our area. I have seen some of the WB crosses and I noticed they were showing up in the USEF pony hunter list. I haven't dealt with many WBs, though, so I wasn't sure what kind of temperament they had.
            I have a girl who has been schooling some of the ponies we have -- she does a nice job.
            I have been curious as to where the breeders are who have been producing some of the top hunter ponies -- where are the ponies before their "green years"?

            Comment


            • #7
              Go to the USEF site. You can look up leading sires, breeders, etc.
              www.Somermistfarm.com
              Quality Hunter Ponies

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DenMar View Post
                Yes, the VPBA is very active in our area. I have seen some of the WB crosses and I noticed they were showing up in the USEF pony hunter list. I haven't dealt with many WBs, though, so I wasn't sure what kind of temperament they had.
                I have a girl who has been schooling some of the ponies we have -- she does a nice job.
                I have been curious as to where the breeders are who have been producing some of the top hunter ponies -- where are the ponies before their "green years"?
                WBs have dominated the hunter rings (not nec. the pony rings; I am referring to the junior and amateur divisions) for quite a few years now.

                It's a sweeping generalization but one of the main reasons is that they are generally considered to have easier temperaments than TBs, and therefore are more junior/amateur friendly. Most have also been bred to jump, to produce that beautiful, slow off the ground but spectacular bascule in the air that is so prized in the hunter ring. (There are frequent debates about how this all started, how TBs are the true hunters, etc which honestly bores me to tears but you can do a search and read about that all day long if you care to.)

                You might want to check out some of the big pony breeder's sites to see what they are producing these days. Grand Central http://hunterponies.com/thumbnail_sold.htm had a great program before their recent dispersal sale and there are several posters here on COTH who have links to their websites in their sig lines. VirginiaBred comes to mind (Otterridgefarm.com, I think) but there are others as well.

                Keep in mind that the market has been pretty soft for the last few years... so tread carefully until you know very clearly what you are shooting for and what the market wants and will pay for.
                **********
                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                -PaulaEdwina

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Hi Somermist, I have tried looking at some of the USEF list; I'll try the breeder's section. Thanks for the reply PM-- I will get back to you on that!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DenMar View Post
                    Thanks! Just curious, who are your favorite stallions out there now for pony hunters?
                    Thereare some very nice stallions here: http://venturestable.com/home. They also offer good breeder incentives.

                    Also check out Hunters Peak in Pennsylvania, they have a very nice smaller warmblood stallion - Grande Soveriegn, as well the welsh stallion Loafers Lodge Spring Ahead. I will have foals from each of them next year.

                    Popeye at Hilltop farm is also amazing. He is marketed more as a dressage pony, but has also thrown nice hunter type, and great temperments. The 2009 Popeye filly that I bred will be at Devon next week.
                    Last edited by kealea31; May. 18, 2010, 10:26 PM.
                    Holland Brook Sporthorses
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                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      You are right about the market, which is one reason why I'm asking for advice! Being new to the hunter scene, I am afraid of purchasing the wrong foundation mare and then what? You have something you have to feed and take care of but it doesn't help your program. So I am trying to take some time to find the "right one". I am interested in the WB influence, I didn't realize until very recently that it was gaining momentum.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DenMar View Post
                        You are right about the market, which is one reason why I'm asking for advice! Being new to the hunter scene, I am afraid of purchasing the wrong foundation mare and then what? You have something you have to feed and take care of but it doesn't help your program. So I am trying to take some time to find the "right one". I am interested in the WB influence, I didn't realize until very recently that it was gaining momentum.
                        You are wise to be cautious, especially since hunters are such a departure from the types you have worked with in the past. The kind of movement that would be prized in a Morgan or Saddlebred is pretty much the opposite of what a hunter pony needs to have, obviously. So it's a whole new world.

                        I'd encourage you to spend a bunch of time hanging out at your area's bigger hunter shows. See for yourself what is pinning, how the kids ride, what seems to be successful and then definitely follow Findeight's advice and cultivate some relationships with trainers who have big pony programs.
                        **********
                        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                        -PaulaEdwina

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You are getting into ponies at a tough time. Breeders are selling green ponies for half of what they went for a few years ago.

                          I'm not really sure what you are asking for here, but here is my 2 cents.

                          If you are going to breed ponies for the hunter market, they have to be amazing movers. Everyone wants the hack winner, even though there are 4 jumping classes. Don't breed ponies that don't move well or you will have to sit on them until they are winning at horse shows on your dime.

                          You need to use stallions and mares with very good blodlines for producing hunter ponies. It's very had to sell ponies with unproven bloodlines as prospects. People buy what they know.

                          Temperment is everything when you are breeding for children, so they need to be quiet and very rideable. Again this is a case of using bloodlines known for their rideability.

                          Your ponies need to be able to do everything they will need to do as show ponies: clip, including ears, load easily, ride in trailers quietly, wear blankets, stay in stalls happily and go to shows and behave. Breeders should teach them all these things when they are babies. It's a whole lot easier to do this stuff with a 200lb baby than a 750 lb 5 year old pony. If they don't do those things, what trainer wants to take the time to teach them all that on top of teaching them to be good riding ponies? For a little more money there are always ponies who do everthing listed and they are worth every penny more.

                          Here are some websites for very good pony breeders. I'm sure some of them would be willing to chat with you about what you are getting into.


                          www.maplesidefarm.com Carol is deceased, but her breeding program produced amazing crossbred hunter ponies. Her stallion Mapleside Mr. Magic is one of the best moving ponies I've ever seen and they have a lot of warmblood in them
                          www.bracewoodfarm.com
                          www.hobbiehorsefarm.com
                          www.hiddenspringsfarminc.com
                          www.loaferslodge.com
                          www.woodlandsponies.com
                          www.rollingwoodsfarm.com
                          www.empirespower.com new breeder, but producing amazing hunter ponies with a lot of warmblood influence.

                          I don't know the rest of these breeders sites off the top of my head, but you can google them. These are some of the top prefixes

                          Rosmel's
                          Northwind
                          Millpond
                          Lanes End
                          Hillcrest
                          Highlands
                          Helicon
                          Gayfields
                          Clovermeade
                          Champlain
                          Brpwnlands
                          Cedar Springs
                          Wellen

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by llsc View Post
                            You are getting into ponies at a tough time. Breeders are selling green ponies for half of what they went for a few years ago.

                            I'm not really sure what you are asking for here, but here is my 2 cents.

                            If you are going to breed ponies for the hunter market, they have to be amazing movers. Everyone wants the hack winner, even though there are 4 jumping classes. Don't breed ponies that don't move well or you will have to sit on them until they are winning at horse shows on your dime.

                            You need to use stallions and mares with very good blodlines for producing hunter ponies. It's very had to sell ponies with unproven bloodlines as prospects. People buy what they know.

                            Temperment is everything when you are breeding for children, so they need to be quiet and very rideable. Again this is a case of using bloodlines known for their rideability.

                            Your ponies need to be able to do everything they will need to do as show ponies: clip, including ears, load easily, ride in trailers quietly, wear blankets, stay in stalls happily and go to shows and behave. Breeders should teach them all these things when they are babies. It's a whole lot easier to do this stuff with a 200lb baby than a 750 lb 5 year old pony. If they don't do those things, what trainer wants to take the time to teach them all that on top of teaching them to be good riding ponies? For a little more money there are always ponies who do everthing listed and they are worth every penny more.

                            Here are some websites for very good pony breeders. I'm sure some of them would be willing to chat with you about what you are getting into.


                            www.maplesidefarm.com Carol is deceased, but her breeding program produced amazing crossbred hunter ponies. Her stallion Mapleside Mr. Magic is one of the best moving ponies I've ever seen and they have a lot of warmblood in them
                            www.bracewoodfarm.com
                            www.hobbiehorsefarm.com
                            www.hiddenspringsfarminc.com
                            www.loaferslodge.com
                            www.woodlandsponies.com
                            www.rollingwoodsfarm.com
                            www.empirespower.com new breeder, but producing amazing hunter ponies with a lot of warmblood influence.

                            I don't know the rest of these breeders sites off the top of my head, but you can google them. These are some of the top prefixes

                            Rosmel's
                            Northwind
                            Millpond
                            Lanes End
                            Hillcrest
                            Highlands
                            Helicon
                            Gayfields
                            Clovermeade
                            Champlain
                            Brpwnlands
                            Cedar Springs
                            Wellen
                            Land's End (the pony prefix) not Lane's End (the Farish's stable)

                            Carry on

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Oops. I should proof read...Land's End would be correct.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Everyone has given you great advice. As mentioned above, be sure that you are breeding to stallions that are geared towards the hunter circuit and actually have offspring out there doing the job and doing it well.

                                I very much agree that you want to aim for ponies that are great movers, pretty, balanced, well conformed and atheltic. I am a young hunter trainer and buy green ponies on the side. Those qualities I listed above are exactly what I want in a youngster, especially if it is not of the age to be started under saddle. I want a head turner.

                                When I really got into ponies about ten years ago I found the best pony breeder I could in my area. I have now purchased 7 ponies by her stallions and she has become a mentor to me. I have been able to help her connect with the hunter world and she has taught me more than I could ever know about the Welsh shows.

                                I am on the West Coast so the hunter pony stallions out here are not as well known as those on the East Coast. The East Coast is many generations ahead of us as far as breeding goes, but we are working hard to catch up! I am a BIG fan of the Telynau stallions, especially *Telynau Royal Charter. I have pics and video of some of his babies on my website.

                                Good luck! -Lara

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Very good suggestions. I realize we got into the pony breeding at just about the worst time ever -- this is why I don't gamble LOL. In my research I have seen many of the farms and breeders you mentioned. We had our first foal last year and I have been working with him right along -- you're right -- it is much better to work with them when they are young and easier to hang on to. I asked about the stallions because it is nice to know which ones throw a good disposition -- I'm all about that (life's too short for the really bad ones) and also the desirable movement for hunters. I know there are many people out there who have actual experience with breeding to certain stallions and it is great to hear various opinions.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    LovesHorses -- that is the kind of situation I think is perfect for the breeder and trainer. What a great setup. I am also a fan of Royal Charter -- when I find the right medium mare, I plan on trying a breeding out to him.

                                    Comment

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