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Spin off -- Bringing foals to inspections? Yes or no?

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  • Spin off -- Bringing foals to inspections? Yes or no?

    This is in no way meant to be inconsiderate of Siegi's tragic loss of her spectacular filly, Hollywood. But I wanted to initiate a discussion about the pros and cons of bringing foals to inspections/keurings. Basically, the question I'm posing is, "Is it worth it"? Because I've seen conversations on COTH that indicate that foals who score high as weanlings don't necessarily grow up to be high scoring at their studbook inspections. I "get" that a high scoring foal brings prestige onto the breeder and the foal itself -- and indicates that it is of the best quality. This obviously is an advantage for those breeders who tend to sell their youngsters as weanlings. But for those who sell their youngsters as started greenies or even later, is it worth the risk of injury (or worse) to haul babies long distance to keurings? Siegi suffered the worst of losses, but I know someone who had a very valuable foal get injured in the trailer on the way to the keuring that negatively affected the foal's value permanently. That person no longer brings foals to inspections, and chooses to only bring 3-year-olds to their studbook inspection.

    Do the positives outweigh the negatives of hauling foals to inspections/keurings?

    Discuss?
    www.sauconycreeksporthorses.com
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  • #2
    It's short and simple for me; foals can (and do) suffer tragic injuries in their home pastures. Some registries require inspection for registration, so there isn't really an option in those cases...
    I've honestly had more foals hurt themselves out in the pasture than I've had while traveling with them anywhere.
    Already excited about our 2016 foals! Expecting babies by Indoctro, Diamant de Semilly, Zirocco Blue and Calido!
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    • #3
      Be very careful...

      I hadn't planned on bringing this up on the COTH forums, but this thread just begs me to. We traveled this year with my mare and then 3 month old filly to an inspection that was held in our state and had a rather bad experience. It was not necessarily a reflection of that registry, but rather the site host, who took it upon herself to have our horses BATHED the night before the inspection. (We had dropped them off & got them settled at her facility and left to go to our hotel). This was totally without authorization and I found out about it the next day. Thank GOD the baby was fine; she had been bathed exactly once in her life before (and that was dicey!). It still blows my mind that this happened. I wrote a letter to the registry office and they approached the site host about it, but evidently her story "differed" from mine so the registry would not involve themselves further. (I have the barn manager on video talking about it, so I'm not sure how the story could "differ", but, whatever.)
      I will be extremely hesitant to haul another baby to an out of town inspection; and if I do I will certainly choose another site - meaning an even longer trip- or another registry all together. And everything, right down to how many ounces of hay my horses eat, will be in writing.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by springer View Post
        rather the site host, who took it upon herself to have our horses BATHED the night before the inspection. (We had dropped them off & got them settled at her facility and left to go to our hotel). This was totally without authorization and I found out about it the next day.
        WOW. Who would ever think that was remotely acceptable??? Even if no babies were involved, that is overstepping every boundary that there ever was.

        My mouth dropped open when I read that.

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        • #5
          It is a gamble, and usually an expensive one in so many ways. There has been a report of a horse or foal injured in transit at more than one keuring I've attended over the years, and just this past keuring someone's foal fell in the trailer before they ever got to the inspection. I am always ambivalent, and don't always take mine due to the travel distance. Foal inspection is not mandatory with the KWPN_NA. If your foal shows well, it is usually worth it for the pro videos and photos. The opposite is also true. And it's hard to tell in advance lots of times if the foal will show well when the time comes. I usually sign up and decide later. I do care very much what the stabling arrangements will be, and so far have been fortunate that the keurings were held at great facilities where mares with foals were given stabling priority and the keuring hosts have always been very considerate. My location lends itself to the keurings being on the smaller side in terms of total attendance, and that ends up being a positive for the horses. There is a West Coast breeder that serves in an official capacity with our registry and often as part of the jury keurings, but she told me herself that she will not bring foals to an inspection. I would absolutely blow a gasket if anyone handled either my mare or foal at an inspection without my permission and/or direct supervision except in the case of an emergency. I have one mare that is very protective, and when I take her, I do post a sign on the stall that no one is to enter the stall without my knowledge and permission.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hillside H Ranch View Post
            It's short and simple for me; foals can (and do) suffer tragic injuries in their home pastures. Some registries require inspection for registration, so there isn't really an option in those cases...
            I've honestly had more foals hurt themselves out in the pasture than I've had while traveling with them anywhere.
            Exactly. It really depends. I wouldn't be absolutely comfortable doing it over a long distance unless the mare had a rocksolid temperament and experience with shipping.

            Same goes with showing foals, I wouldn't do it unless I know my mare is an absolute saint and will help instead of hinder. (Which is my mare to a T(B)! )

            But all in all, foals and horses are always looking for ways to kill themselves, so you have to decide which risks you can live with should it all go wrong. I have had a mare that was being treated extremely well for a massive infection in her chronic lympangitic leg; she went from happy to go for a walk one night, to so much in pain I had to put her down the next morning.

            That's horses for you; that's life for you. Those darn creatures tend to die and get injured.
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            • #7
              I prefer not to take my foals to inspections if possible. There are just so many ways for them to hurt themselves at home, I prefer not to add the additional risk of trailering, not to mention the added time and cost. When I've registered foals GOV, they require attendance at an inspection, so it's been unavoidable. I prefer the CWHBA or KWPN system which does not require inspection. Hey, both parents have been inspected and approved, so why do they need to see the foal? It's not like they ever REJECT a foal. I don't see why the forms couldn't be filled out and DNA collected by a licensed vet. The last two years I've registered my foals Hanoverian Verband and gone the route of outreach branding, which was very convenient.
              www.saraalberni.com

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              • #8
                I completely agree that horses are suicidal and at all times are searching for ways to injure themselves. That said, hauling for hours, stabling, and everything that goes with inspections definitely adds means and motive to the ever-present horsie wish to die or sustain a serious injury. This is the first year I haven't taken all my foals to an inspection. I was very lucky and the GOV inspection was hosted by a friend very near me, so that was easy. The AHS inspection was three hours away, and after pondering all the difficulty of getting there, I decided not to go. AHS allows registration by mail, and although I miss the opportunity to have pictures of my braided foal, I don't miss the stress and worrying that a long haul, especially in the heat we have been having, entails.
                Mystic Owl Sporthorses
                www.mysticowlsporthorses.com

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                • #9
                  Depends on the mare and foal. A mature and experienced broodmare with a relaxed and older foal is far less risk hauling to an inspection than a maiden mare with a very young foal. If there is heightened risk, they stay home. We only breed a couple per year and each one is treasured. Better safe than sorry I think.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by springer View Post
                    I hadn't planned on bringing this up on the COTH forums, but this thread just begs me to. We traveled this year with my mare and then 3 month old filly to an inspection that was held in our state and had a rather bad experience. It was not necessarily a reflection of that registry, but rather the site host, who took it upon herself to have our horses BATHED the night before the inspection. (We had dropped them off & got them settled at her facility and left to go to our hotel). This was totally without authorization and I found out about it the next day. Thank GOD the baby was fine; she had been bathed exactly once in her life before (and that was dicey!). It still blows my mind that this happened.
                    Off topic but what was her reason for bathing horses that she had nothing to do with??

                    Back on topic, glad TBs don't have to go to inspections per say. Unless you are selling as foals (with or with out mare). Though most TB foals do have to travel home with mare from where ever they were born /mare bred. So still can be a long trip.

                    P.
                    A Wandering Albertan - NEW Africa travel blog!

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                    • #11
                      I have taken all of my foals that were able to be registered to their inspections. One foal was pretty young and very spooky to handle as a tiny baby, but her dam was 24 and a BTDT mare. I handled that baby as much as I could her first month even with me being 8 months preggo! Because the inspection was 2 hours away and I was too close to foaling myself I had two very good friends take them to the inspection. Foal ended up being premium with GOV, so well worth it. I have hauled as far away as 4 hours in 96 deg heat and had absolutely no issues with foal or mare. I actually love going to inspections and seeing all the pretty babies. In fact I got to see Qredit as a foal at JY's farm. I love the Quarterback babies I have seen. I agree it helps to have a mare with a laid back temperament, but I have had no issue even when the mare was not the most relaxed. Heck her foal had the best time at the inspections turning the trot triangle into an in and out as she ran around jumping things.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Will also add that it is very educational to see what other breeders are producing, and to hear the inspector's comments. If a breeder never gets off the farm to see other mares and foals, how does she know how her foals stack up? How does she develop her eye and increase her breeding knowledge? We have people every year who comment on how much they learned at the inspection from seeing the other foals and getting the inspectors' evaluation.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I am a member of the KWPN-NA, an organization that does not have mandatory foal inspections. Yet, I have taken foals to those events for many years and will most likely continue to do so.

                          The reasons for doing so are many-fold but center around education, networking, and friendship. Where else can you see what stallion X produces with mare y, especially since you've seen what the mare produced with stallions a, b, and c in previous years? Where else can you get 20 different breeders in one place to exchange ideas about any horse-related subject you can think of? And where else do you continue to educate your eye by listening to the comments provided by the judging team, and not just on the foals but also on the yearlings, 2- and 3-year olds that are presented for the different classes?

                          Having been a breeder for many years, I have a pretty good idea of whether my foals will be judged 1st or 2nd premium before I attend the keuring. Winning champion foal over 20 others is the icing on the cake and admittedly looks good on a website or Facebook, but certainly is not the reason I put my horses on a trailer. You don't "get more money" for a foal that is keuring site champion and/or finishes in the Top Five in the country. Ask me how I know....

                          Horses are among the most fragile animals I have ever known and seem to be on a continuous mission to hurt themselves as youngsters. What happened to my filly Hollywood S. E. definitely falls under that category, especially considering that she only spent 5 hours in that stall and during which time both she and her dam were braided and spit-shined. Stuff happens and you just can't beat yourself up over what would have/could have been.

                          Just my opinion....
                          Siegi Belz
                          www.stalleuropa.com
                          2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
                          Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.

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                          • #14
                            I usually breed 4 or 5 foals a year, and make an effort to bring 2 to inspection (the trailering I use can accommodate 2 mares and foals - and the inspection site is 2 1/2 hours away).
                            I do this in part because I enjoy the opportunity to see what the other breeders are producing, and to have the opportunity to see what a particular sire throws from different mares.
                            We have outreach branding, so I end up having 2 or 3 branded at home.
                            Yes, it would be cheaper and safer and easier to have all branded at home, but I feel I owe it to our breeding club members to show what I am producing - - the more foals that come, the richer the experience for all. If everyone decides to stay home .... it doesn't offer a venue for learning, socialization, support and sharing. In a big country like Canada we must work to stay in touch and to learn from one another.
                            Sunny Days Hanoverians
                            http://www.sunnydayshanoverians.com

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hippolyta View Post
                              WOW. Who would ever think that was remotely acceptable??? Even if no babies were involved, that is overstepping every boundary that there ever was.

                              My mouth dropped open when I read that.
                              Yeah, so did mine when I found out about it. Glad to know some of the registries don't req. inspections... I'll have to keep that in mind for my next foal.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I always take all my foals to inspection...and since I use the pony version of GOV (Weser-Ems)...there is really no choice. Although I do find it nerve racking, it is ussualy more than a 30 minute trailer ride...which is obviously a luxery of living in a very horse populated area. I agree with what others have said about the value of inspections. In fact, this year I ended up hosting it so it would stay local to me.

                                What I don't understand is why these inspections would be hosted places that don't have safe stabling. Maybe the registries need to be more involved in making sure it is hosted in a safe facilty?
                                Whispered Wish Weser-Ems: Breeding quality German Riding Ponies!
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                                • #17
                                  We reluctantly yet expectantly take our foals to inspections!

                                  We always dread the added stress and vulnerability; however, our foals to date have all been easy to handle and our mares old pros. Furthermore, distances have never been a problem and we go to venues where we know both the premises as well as the hosts.

                                  Expectantly because it is always exciting to come home with a First Premium and in some cases an eventual Top Five. In our registry of preference, KWPN, these all can accumulate for medal breeder awards, an added incentive. We are always happy to tout awards on our website. Further, this year we had the added pleasure of having one of our foal owners come all the way from Colorado to watch the keuring. This was a wonderful educational event for them and an opportunity to connect with them for us and the foal in question.

                                  Plus we relish the social aspects of the inspections! At the KWPN keurings we try to organize a dinner the evening of the keuring at a well-known Brazilian steakhouse where we all indulge in a meat fest. We read with envy about Vicky's AHHA inspection with the catered luncheon and recall fondly the farewell luncheon the Judy Yancey hosted after her last OLD GOV inspection. Distances even here in central Florida are such that opportunities to socialize with fellow breeders are treasured to foster exchanges of information, experiences and fellowship!
                                  Sakura Hill Farm
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                                  • #18
                                    Well, in my location I routinely travel to inspections anywhere from 2-12 hours away. Often those trips have to take place in the worst part of summer, but with common sense precautions the risks can be mitigated. Knock on wood, I've never had a problem traveling to, or attending, an inspection. I expect my horses to be able to travel, as presumably at some point in their careers they will have to spend quite a bit of time on the road. I don't think there is a better time for a horse to learn to travel and stable in strange places than when they are youngsters that have the comfort of traveling with mom.
                                    I attend inspections for all the reasons previously listed; education, asessment of my program and stock, socialization with other breeders and the ability to get excellent quality photos and videos for promotional purposes. You can make traveling and stabling as safe as humanly possible and accidents will happen. It sucks, but such is the nature of horses; we can't just keep them in bubble-wrap, never to set foot off the farm!
                                    Already excited about our 2016 foals! Expecting babies by Indoctro, Diamant de Semilly, Zirocco Blue and Calido!
                                    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hills...h/112931293227

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                                    • #19
                                      We had one about a 15 minute (or less) drive from us one year, and the filly fell loading onto the trailer and some how managed to get her legs tangled between the ramp and trailer. She needed stitches in two legs. The vet patched her up and said "are you still going?" I questioned it and based on his okay we loaded her up and took her.

                                      I like the exposure, and getting them out with their moms, as well as the atmosphere and frankly I love to get the pros take. That said, I have limitations on driving. This year the closest KWPN inspection to me was 8 hours away, which was just not worth it (for me). I PRAY next year they have one in KS or MO, because I'll have two, and I do enjoy it. And I love the pictures of them all spiffied up

                                      Anyway, as Hillside said, stuff can happen anywhere. It's a personal choice, but I will opt to go, if it's within a reasonable (to me) driving distance.
                                      Celtic Pride Farm
                                      www.celticpridefarm.com
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                                      • #20
                                        I enjoy taking my mares and foals to inspections for more than just the foal score - I appreciate seeing different sires represented or various bloodlines, and I enjoy meeting other local breeders and networking. I also go to other breed inspections to watch if I'm able.

                                        However, I have one registry I will no longer use, just because I've never had a good experience at their inspections - and I've presented at least five of my own there and handled for quite a few others. At this site, there are no stalls and you have to be there early in the day but the foals always go last, plus it is always 95-100 degrees. I've never had foals show well there - they are always hot, tired and dull. The mares get cranky and hot too. This site also never presents the bloodlines of the mare and it is not a very good educational opportunity.

                                        So yes, I think inspections are usually worth it. But, I've been getting pickier and about where I will take the foals to. I'm less concerned about a foal hurting itself than just making sure everyone (the mare and foal, me, and my husband or helper) has a decent experience.
                                        www.newstandardsporthorses.com

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