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Thinking outside the box

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  • Thinking outside the box

    Which stallions have you used in your breeding programme that were a result of thinking outside the box? By this I mean using a lesser used stallion that has the qualities or results that make him very likely to sire something special even though very few other breeders are using him.

    The one I've used is Silvermoon. Sire of Matine, WEG silver medallist in dressage. Also sire of Succes and Dark Moon, both National GP dressage horses and an Advanced eventer from very few foals. For years he had no mares to him because he was in the wrong part of Germany, not advertised and the wrong colour.

    One I would love to use in the future is Come Back II who is nowhere near as popular a sire as his 5th on the FEI rankings for dressage horse sires should make him. He has also sired a lot of 1.60 jumpers, a true dual purpose stallion.

    A third one that is not very used and who will, I think, be looked back at as being an outstanding stallion, is Chequille Z. Jumper bred, outstanding mover and competing successfully at GP. Likely to be a competitor at next year's Olympics and sire of Conan, a just graded stallion who is turning quite a few heads.

    Who would you add to this list? They don't have to be dressage stallions.

  • #2
    Good post, SS. Unfortunate that breeding to the best match for your mare is actually "thinking outside the box". Too many MO's breed to the trendiest, heavily marketed stallions who have well pocketed owners. I don't care if the best match for my mare is living in somebody's back yard...I'd rather breed to him than to an overused stallion with offspring advertised as "winning on the line" blah blah blah. I find that many heavily used stallions are yes, well bred, but over used after a while because EVERYone and his kid has an offspring from him. If more people developed an eye for phenotype combined with pedigree and didn't follow the crowd, they might be getting higher quality results from their breeding choices.
    Breeding is a crap shoot anyways, so why think inside the box and copy what everyone else is doing? Hmmmm...if I had advertising dollars to put into campaigning my boys...would they suddenly be the next "boys on the block"?
    I have twice bred to stallions that were 1) unknown at the time and 2) basicly unknown and not used much...(that are NOW famous and competing and accomplishing success at the highest levels with the best riders) and got amazing results because they were excellent matches for my mare.
    Frankly, I don't care how many breeders are using or not using a stallion. If I want him for my mare, I'll breed to him.
    Unfortunately, you see a lot of crap at the breeders shows sometimes that do not represent a stallion well. It's because that MO bred to a popular well used stallion but her mare was not up to snuff or mismatched horribly OR (sad but true, the mare should never have been a broodmare in the first place). What else can I say? It's a free country and people don't need a license to breed horses. That's why there are so many mediocre horses needing homes in bad economical times. It's very sad. JMO....
    Dark Horse Farm


    • #3
      As long as you are making well thought out and rational choices for your breeding program I dont think it matters if you use a well marketed and commercial sire or a relative unknown.
      I have used first season sires( like Herzensdieb and Samaii), older sires that were not popular at all(like the Trakehner Tycoon, who was in the UK and getting almost no outside mares, when suddenly his daughetrs in Germany started producing super offspring and the Germans snapped him back up - I luckily have 2 Tycoon daughters). I also plan to use what might be considered very commercial choices like Weltmeyer and Der Designer. Hopefully I always have good reasons for those choices.
      www.volatis.co.uk - breeders of quality and colour


      • Original Poster

        Wow I'm shocked how few responses this thread has had. Does this mean most people do use the big name, heavily used stallions? If you do, why do you do that?

        If lots of people are using that stallion it means that there will be lots of offspring by that stallion so buyers can easily compare foal A by stallion X and foals B,C,D,E and F by stallion X. And they only buy one of them.

        IME the most heavily marketed stallions are a very different group from the very best stallions. Are there really so few people who use the little used stallions who have proved through their progeny's competition results (not on the line results) that they are superb progenitors and relatively underused and undervalued?


        • #5
          "Does this mean most people do use the big name, heavily used stallions? YES If you do, why do you do that? Because they are sheep and enjoy being one of the flock."

          SS, another reason MO's return to majorly marketed stallions is that they are registry groupies reliant on and willing to pay for the opinions of others...beCAUSE they don't know what they have. They wouldn't know where to look elsewhere. Not all stallion owners kowtow to the status quo of the registries. It is extremely expensive for a SO to keep the groupies happy. How many times do you see MO's on here posting about a new stallion "is he with X registry....aka my registry".They won't breed to a stallion they even LIKE if he's not available in their registry of patriotism. The cost to SO's for stallion inspections, keeping current on stallion licensing etc..is astronomical if they are to attract a majority of MO's using multiple registries. Registry, showing, breeding, maintenance costs, marketing....it's more like paying to be in a popularity contest than to encourage sound breeding decisions. And then there are the line classes which prove nothing but are excellent training resources for young horses. They get to travel somewhere off the property and have a sleepover with new friends. It's fun. But it doesn't prove anything...really...and it does make $$ for the registries. I mean, what the heck, years ago, I saw an Irish Draught stallion go premium at one of the registry stallion inspections here and the judges turfed Capone I. Years later, the premium stallion is now gelded and Capone I turned into the phenomenal comeback story of the century. I'm saying that this is why MO's breed to "popular" as in premium rated stallions by registry judges who see the horse one day and decide THAT day he is premium or junk or nonworthy of licensing. Anyone with an eye for horseflesh could see that Capone was something special back then. I think the other stallion was bigger and blacker than Capone...hahahaa...that must be it.

          Something most MO's don't know...is that they CAN get registration papers for their foals if they breed to an unlicensed stallion that is registered in their registry...just costs a few more bucks. At least in the one that I deal with...but, of course, most would rather breed to the approved stallions.

          How many people do I know that have had colts they proudly proclaim on their web sites were considered to be a "stallion prospect" by some judge at a line class or mare inspection with foal at side. These colts never or rather rarely develop into the at the time respected predictions of registry judges. Far as I know, they've all been gelded and were a difficult sell.

          Owners of top performing stallions do not NEED to market their horses and many would probably prefer to just compete and maybe freeze semen for now. These horses are too busy winning events to go to stallion inspections or having their faces plastered all over the latest breeders magazine....at great cost.

          You take a horse like Capitaan who is the last living Holsteiner son of Capitano. He was owned for years by people who only bred him to their own mares. I would have loved to breed to him. He is advertised at stud by Hilcat Farm, but I wonder how many breedings he gets...because he or his offspring were never strongly marketed. Perhaps his offspring were all showing with AM riders but could have gone further with a pro. It's all about marketing. You just never know enough about nicks, pedigrees, phenotypes and most of all, it takes a lot of luck even breeding the best possible matches.

          And that's why breeding is so exiciting!
          Dark Horse Farm


          • #6
            One advantage of using the heavily used sire is that there's more offspring and you can tell what kind of mare he crosses best with. An unknown stallion may be a better cross with a mare but how would you know that if there's not that many foals on the ground to get a feel for what he produces and out of what type?
            Fresh, Frozen & ISO Warmblood Breedings FB Group


            • #7
              Originally posted by back in the saddle View Post
              One advantage of using the heavily used sire is that there's more offspring and you can tell what kind of mare he crosses best with. An unknown stallion may be a better cross with a mare but how would you know that if there's not that many foals on the ground to get a feel for what he produces and out of what type?
              Well, that is something a breeder should know by having bred her mare a number of times to perhaps different types of stallions. Even let's say a stallion appears to cross nicely with TB's better than WB's....who is to say that the phenotype of your WB mare would not cross well with him. It's not just a matter of comparing what the stallion has crossed with. It's knowing your own mare(s) as well...or enjoying the thrill of taking a chance, a gut feeling that you see in the two of them reproducing after considering all other factors. Everyone has to start somewhere.
              Dark Horse Farm


              • #8
                Originally posted by dbaygirl View Post
                Well, that is something a breeder should know by having bred her mare a number of times to perhaps different types of stallions. Even let's say a stallion appears to cross nicely with TB's better than WB's....who is to say that the phenotype of your WB mare would not cross well with him. It's not just a matter of comparing what the stallion has crossed with. It's knowing your own mare(s) as well...or enjoying the thrill of taking a chance, a gut feeling that you see in the two of them reproducing after considering all other factors. Everyone has to start somewhere.
                True. What if you're breeding a maiden mare?
                Fresh, Frozen & ISO Warmblood Breedings FB Group


                • #9
                  If the new and exciting stallion has the bloodlines to back his claims and if those bloodlines happen to go well with one of my broodmares that has produced well then yes, I will breed to him. Nothing magic about it.....
                  Siegi Belz
                  2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
                  Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.


                  • #10
                    I guess you could say I think outside the box every time I use my TB steeplechase bred mare to breed a showjumper! Not just a stalllion thing and I'm not just producing to produce.

                    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by stolensilver View Post
                      Which stallions have you used in your breeding programme that were a result of thinking outside the box?
                      The Akhal-Teke Super Star. He was, by far, the most impressive stallion I looked at that year. His video showed great movement (he's a dressage horse) but also a forward, bold jump and a fantastic gallop. In other words, exactly what you want in an eventer.

                      The resulting foal, now 6, is the nicest of the three I have from my TB mare. And that is saying a lot because the mare's eldest, who will be 9 this year, is successfully eventing at Advanced. The Super Star mare is a superior athlete (like her sisters) but has a far superior intelligence and work ethic.

                      The big surprise is that she's topped out at about 14.1hh. I somehow got a lovely large pony out of a 16+hh mare and a 15.2hh stallion.


                      • Original Poster

                        Sacha I know how much time you put into researching and meeting the stallions you choose so I'm not surprised you have made such good choices and those stallions have gone on to be recognised as sires of outstanding stock. I wouldn't call any of your choices mainstream though. They are all slightly outside the box, probably because you know what the stallions mare lines produce as well as what the stallions sire produces from having seen them in person rather than just in photos.

                        Dbaygirl, the registry thing is something I personally don't understand. Being so restricted as to the stallions I could use would make me frustrated! The two registries I have chosen for my mares have both been selected because they allow mare owners to use stallions who are graded into different WBFSH studbooks and will still give the foal full papers. My newest mare is KWPN and I will get her graded with them so her dam can fulfil her Keur requirements. But after that I will reregister her with the AES so I have a larger and less restrictive choice of stallions and don't have to rely on Dutch stud owners choosing whether or not they are going to send me the semen I've booked and paid for. They aren't all unreliable but enough of them are for me to want to move away from using them. The AES is roaring up the FEI rankings as a studbook so it is a sensible move from marketing POV too.

                        Something I see a lot on this board, no idea if it is representative of most US breeders or not, is the preference for using foreign stallions often sight unseen in preference to American stallions, many of whom are of equal or even higher quality than the foreign ones. Why? It puzzles me.

                        JER your Akhal Teke daughter sounds amazing. I hope she can "do a Theodore O'Connor" and become an outstanding eventer in spite of her size.


                        • #13
                          Not that I consider myself a real breeder- I've only bred one mare in my life... but one reason I would tend to breed to more of a well marketed stallion is because there is usually more info available on such a stallion with which to make a decision. More offspring, more video, professional SOs... I have inquired about underused stallions many times and never even received responses to my emails/calls.
                          I know that there are many mares who shouldn't be bred at all. But with my maiden mare for example... I would rather stack the odds in my favor. The stallion I chose IS somewhat unproven, but the SO spent alot of time talking to me and went out of her way to make info available to me. Try to find a lesser known stallion owner who does that. I've seen out of date websites, no (or poor quality) videos; that sort of thing. I have looked at lots of stallions, & put many hours of thought and research into this decision.


                          • #14
                            Maybe part of the problem is that it is hard work to find the under used and under promoted stallions. I mean if they dont get advertised, if the shows you attended dont print the breeding info on the competitors, if they dont attend the stallion parades, how do you know they are out there?
                            I know I use some stallions based purely on personal experience of their offspring, that has convinced me that stallion produces what i like. But how many people get chance to do what i do - to attend stallion licensings, presenattions, foal shows, competitons where the breeding of each horse is freely available, and to work in a yard with 100s of horses.
                            So for most mare owners they will rely on what is easily presented to them. Doesnt mean they are not still trying to make the best choice, but they are basing it on the info they can get their hands on.

                            dbaygirl - I find it strange that you seem to assume if you use a graded stallion in the registry of your chocie, that you are being a sheep. I want to grade one of my trakehner girls Hanoverian, so I restricted my stallion search to hanoverian approved and papered sires for her. is that limiting me, no not really, there are hundreds and hundreds of stallions that fit that criteria, more than enough to look at in details. And my end decision for her - probably one of the most well marketed stallion stations in Europe - Schockemohles - and a very commercially bred horse - de Niro x Weltmeyer. But I choose him because he will/should absolutely suit her in terms of type, movement and I have a very good idea what he does produce and should produce. The fact people will have heard of him as he will be well promoted, thats just a bonus
                            www.volatis.co.uk - breeders of quality and colour


                            • Original Poster

                              The thing is I don't think every mare owner is using all the information available to them. There are stallions in the FEI sire rankings that get very little interest. Why? There are stallions who have been at the top of their age group based on performance for years and are now competing at the highest level or who have competed at World and Olympic level and whose offspring have done the same who get very little interest. Why? Is it because we are heavily influenced by advertising and these stallions aren't advertised very much?

                              I don't understand why someone would use a first season sire who lives in another country that they have never seen, in preference to a proven sire that they could go and see and assess his youngstock and their competition records in person. Maybe someone who has done this can say why. It isn't that I think it is wrong or anything like that, I just don't understand the logic.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by stolensilver View Post
                                Wow I'm shocked how few responses this thread has had. Does this mean most people do use the big name, heavily used stallions? If you do, why do you do that?
                                My guess on this one is that pretty much every time a thread like this comes up, and folks who do "think outside the box" give thoughtful suggestions, there is an onslaught of others who spend the rest of the thread persecuting those who gave suggestions, why they don't know what they are doing, how it's stupid, and so forth. Like I have said before, people probably though Ben Franklin was an idiot for being out flying a kite in a thunderstorm...

                                That being said, I think folks who are trying to sell foals use the popular stallions. Buyers normally don't know as much about breeding/bloodlines as the breeders do, so they know when they hear the name of a "hot moment" stallion and tend to gravitate towards that. People that really want to produce the best possible horse will be the type to use outside the box types, trying to reproduce specific qualities they are looking for in match with their mare. They may have to keep the offspring until it's 3+ though, so it can then be ready to prove itself by performance rather than just paper. And by "outside the box", I am really speaking of stallions with offspring available to see, but that for some reason really never took off in popularity or perhaps are competing in a different discipline.
                                Signature Sporthorses


                                • #17
                                  Personally, I like to find out all about the stallions sire and dam sire and what their progeny are doing as well as what/if anything the stallion has done to date. For example, I booked my mare to the KWPN Stallion Padinus in 2007; this was because I really liked his sire and dam sire (and him of course!) After booking him and doing more research (I was just starting to research bloodlines seriously at that time) I was pleasantly surprised by his offsprings’ success in the jumper ring and his reliability. The unfortunate thing was he was relatively young when he died in a freak accident, now his babies are farther and fewer between and are very sought after. I did and still do feel that he will complement my mare very well, and will have the conformation in May when she foals.

                                  Now that I have researched a great deal (and still do almost daily) bloodlines, offspring, performance records etc...I make sure the stallions I am picking for my mare are the ones that are going to complement and improve them. Age is not so important to me sometimes as like I said above, I research the whole family tree and base my decision from there. If this means not using a "popular" stallion then so be it, I have been tempted to use one many times, but keep stopping myself as I want to keep on the direction of my breeding goals rather then trying to make a quick buck. Not that these stallions are not super nice, just not what I am looking for in my program.

                                  I am more then willing to keep my foals until I get them going undersaddle as well until their athletic ability is able to be showcased to a different market.
                                  Elegant Expressions Farm

                                  Visit us on Facebook too !!


                                  • #18
                                    I'm just a small breeder, but so far things are going well. I have really nice Dutch baby who's sire was recommended to me from this forum. I knew my mare well and wanted the very best cross for her and i'm extremely pleased with the outcome. i was open to big name stallions as well as young, newer boys. Popularity was not a factor. Disposition, confirmation, size and movement all mattered with Disposition being #1 along with confirmation.

                                    I have also bred appendix quarter horses and use the same rules of thumb. Both of my first 2 breeding produced very correct babies with great minds and movement.

                                    Lots of people, regardless of breed, are swayed by popularity and i admit, it's fun to look at the ads and videos and hear the pitch . But in the end, i think it's a gamble and a personal decision.


                                    • #19
                                      I bred to an unproven son instead of the proven sire because his type matched my mare better and I really like what the dam side brought to the equation. Now that the foal is older I find he looks more like his sire, which looks like his dam side.
                                      It is easier to do things like this when you are keeping the foal for yourself and you do not need a UL result. I tried to breed for a really good horse but didn't need the best horse. The mare came from a sire that had offspring short listed for both the Canadian dressage and jumping teams and the stallion I bred to has lines that can be both.


                                      • #20
                                        I don't think most breeders use the "big name" stallions "because they are sheep", I think it is easier to SELL a young horse by a "big name", and let's face it, breeders have to breed what sells. Just as consumers will pay more for name brand merchandise at Macy's, they will also pay more for name brand horses - it is why the marketing industry is such big $$$ in the U.S.

                                        As for "outside the box", I definately fit in that category