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What would you tell the next generation of horsemen?

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  • What would you tell the next generation of horsemen?

    I will be presenting a seminar next week to a group of young up & coming Hunter/Jumper riders. I will not have much time to spend on the subject, but I do plan to introduce some concepts regarding breeding, raising & starting young horses. Ideally, I would like to impress upon these kids that MUCH time & money has gone into to producing and rearing the horse before they ever meet it.

    Some topics of discussion I have thought of are:
    • Differences between "breeds" & "registries"
    • Key stallions that have heavily influenced the jumping horse we know today, both WB & TB... there are so many it seems, but I'd like to narrow it down to a handful of truly influential sires.
    • Importance of the mare in breeding?
    • Costs - semen to 3 or 4 years old, I think there are good threads on this already out there.
    • Linebreeding... of which I know nothing


    Any other concepts I'm blatantly missing? We often bemoan the disconnect between showing & breeding and I want to impress upon these kids that they actually go hand in hand. What crucial points should I aim to get across in 20 minutes?

    Any excellent web sites out there that serve as a good jumping off point for someone that is just getting interested in breeding?

    Thank you in advance!
    EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

  • #2
    I wouldn't get into any of those details frankly. It seems too technical for an introduction.

    Basically, I would explain the basis, how Warmbloods and sport horses in general are made (with a quick explanation of what is a breed vs. a registry, but remain very general).

    I would explain what it is to breed as the breeder. The highs and the lows; the risks, the thrills. The expense, yes, but very generally. To illustrate how the vast majority of three year-olds are sold for far below market value. I'd illustrate some of the differences between a "real" breeder and one who just left a stud loose with the mares.

    Twenty minutes is not at lot, I'd give them a glimpse into the magic; and encourage them to search further if they are interested. It's just too hard to fit that many things into a 20-minute presentation without drowning their brains in information. Some of them might find all that stuff harder to grasp... Make sure to have some time set aside for questions.
    www.EquusMagnificus.ca
    Breeding & Sales
    Facebook | YouTube

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    • #3
      I would stress that breeders think and plan based on generations, and that quality horses are much less a fluke or 1+ 1 = 2, as people assume!
      GreenGate Stables
      http://ggstables.webs.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd get some audience interaction participation with some starter questions like "how much do you think the average stud fee is?" and maybe follow it up by shocking them also with the stud fee for, say, Hickstead or Totilas to give them a wide range.

        Then maybe move on to "how much do you think it costs to breed and raise a foal?" They'll probably be surprised (but hopefully more understanding about the cost of their next horse!) to learn how expensive it is to get from semen to saddle.

        Emphasize that breeding is mostly science and art, with a dash of luck. But the science and art are crucial. Good breeders aren't breeding randomly, they know their horses and their breed backwards and forwards. Emphasize also that "random mare" x "random stallion" is not a breeding plan, and breeding isn't a quick get-rich scheme either.

        Mention the joy and pride of producing nice horses and playing a role in the forward progress of your breed and/or sport. (But then remind them this comes from responsible breeding -- full circle back to the previous point.)

        If they're interested in breeding -- find a mentor. Learn all you can, study successful programs, learn to appreciate pedigrees.

        And maybe throw in a reminder that there's a responsibility in being a breeder. We currently have too many unwanted and low quality horses. Don't breed something there's no market for, don't breed just because babies are cute, and (my biggest pet peeve) don't breed just to give your mare "a job".

        -Gigha
        River Oaks Farm - home of the Elite Book Friesian Sporthorse Grand Prix dressage stallion Lexington - sire of four consecutive FSA National Inspection Champions. Endorsing the FSA.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by RiverOaksFarm View Post
          I'd get some audience interaction participation with some starter questions like "how much do you think the average stud fee is?" and maybe follow it up by shocking them also with the stud fee for, say, Hickstead or Totilas to give them a wide range.

          Then maybe move on to "how much do you think it costs to breed and raise a foal?" They'll probably be surprised (but hopefully more understanding about the cost of their next horse!) to learn how expensive it is to get from semen to saddle.

          Emphasize that breeding is mostly science and art, with a dash of luck. But the science and art are crucial. Good breeders aren't breeding randomly, they know their horses and their breed backwards and forwards. Emphasize also that "random mare" x "random stallion" is not a breeding plan, and breeding isn't a quick get-rich scheme either.

          Mention the joy and pride of producing nice horses and playing a role in the forward progress of your breed and/or sport. (But then remind them this comes from responsible breeding -- full circle back to the previous point.)

          If they're interested in breeding -- find a mentor. Learn all you can, study successful programs, learn to appreciate pedigrees.

          And maybe throw in a reminder that there's a responsibility in being a breeder. We currently have too many unwanted and low quality horses. Don't breed something there's no market for, don't breed just because babies are cute, and (my biggest pet peeve) don't breed just to give your mare "a job".

          -Gigha
          "Emphasize that breeding is mostly science and art, with a dash of luck. But the science and art are crucial. Good breeders aren't breeding randomly, they know their horses and their breed backwards and forwards."

          Really like this wording, thank you River Oaks, that is exactly the kind of insight I was looking for.

          I realize I won't be able to cover all the mentioned topics, I'm just not sure which topics should be given priority and which priority topics I haven't thought of.

          The seminar is 45 minutes so I do have more time, but I have a few other things to cover as I'm trying to walk them down the life of the horse. My desire is to impress upon them that much more goes into horses than just showing them at the prime of their career....

          I should note, this isn't just a local or even a regional seminar. I was hoping for a little more input from the breeders, I know it seems daunting to compress the art of breeding into 20ish minutes but that's why I'd like to confirm I'm hitting the right (albeit brief) points. We've gotta start somewhere with this next generation, even if it's just piquing their curiosity with a way too short seminar
          EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Here's a specific thought/question that perhaps will be easier to capture and respond to...

            The HJ world is littered with warmbloods that seem to have no rhyme or reason. Do the different registries have different phenotypical goals? Do I understand correctly that they are all aiming for the top of the sport (jumping in this particular case)? And if so, do they have paths that are different from one another? And do the registries define these paths in a mission statement or something?

            Perhaps, the Holstein registry is breeding for top of sport while pursuing this and this phenotype, while the Hanoverian registry is breeding for top of sport while pursuing that and that phenotype....?

            Or is it still largely just about location and geography?

            Just a thought while running through some research
            EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by dags View Post
              Here's a specific thought/question that perhaps will be easier to capture and respond to...

              The HJ world is littered with warmbloods that seem to have no rhyme or reason. Do the different registries have different phenotypical goals? Do I understand correctly that they are all aiming for the top of the sport (jumping in this particular case)? And if so, do they have paths that are different from one another? And do the registries define these paths in a mission statement or something?

              Perhaps, the Holstein registry is breeding for top of sport while pursuing this and this phenotype, while the Hanoverian registry is breeding for top of sport while pursuing that and that phenotype....?

              Or is it still largely just about location and geography?

              Just a thought while running through some research
              I think I love you.
              GreenGate Stables
              http://ggstables.webs.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dags View Post
                Here's a specific thought/question that perhaps will be easier to capture and respond to...

                The HJ world is littered with warmbloods that seem to have no rhyme or reason. Do the different registries have different phenotypical goals? Do I understand correctly that they are all aiming for the top of the sport (jumping in this particular case)? And if so, do they have paths that are different from one another? And do the registries define these paths in a mission statement or something?

                Perhaps, the Holstein registry is breeding for top of sport while pursuing this and this phenotype, while the Hanoverian registry is breeding for top of sport while pursuing that and that phenotype....?

                Or is it still largely just about location and geography?

                Just a thought while running through some research
                I don't think it's a good idea to use such strong words (i. e. "littered with warmbloods that seem to have no rhyme of reason").... Especially when it becomes very apparent that the OP doesn't know much about the goals of the different warmblood registries.
                In my opinion, most European warmblood registries have very defined breeding goals that address both, dressage and jumping. Lumping that together with what the American hunter trainers do when they import European warmbloods, and how they market them is not a logical thing to do. European warmbloods as youngsters (and while still in Europe) are typically trained to be athletes and that includes dressage and jumping at low levels. This gives American hunter dealers a great opportunity to purchase young horses that, in Europe, wouldn't have much of a future because they're not particularly talented in either dressage or jumping, but have a very forgiving temperament. So the American hunter dealer imports these horses for next to nothing and then puts a huge price tag on them when marketing them in the US. This has nothing to do with breeding goals or values, but merely puts money in certain people's pockets. And to make matter worse, the American hunter public buys it hook, line, and sinker, and doesn't flinch when these "average horses" are offered at high prices.

                A good warmblood jumper will command a corresponding price, whether it's in Europe or in the US, and the same holds true for a good dressage horse. This business model gets totally messed up when you start talking about European warmblood HUNTERS, as explained above.

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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hopefully the future breeders could figure out a way to stop/control backyard breeders and unwanted horses.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Something else that might be interesting to touch on, especially with a H/J audience is the importance of knowing your horse's breeding!

                    That a successful horse at top level sport is almost never an accident, so knowing and passing on your horse's bloodlines when selling...and by proxy, asking about bloodlines when buy can greatly enhance your chances of getting something that is purpose bred and suited for your sport.

                    Maybe you could start out by pointing out some of the Olympic horses, and their breeding...like that Cruising sired both Flexible and Mr. Medicott (just off the top of my head).

                    Just something to show how the breeding of successful horses is not random, but something they should consider when looking at horses...
                    TPR!
                    Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc
                    www.goodhorse.org

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Glad you are doing this.

                      I'd add a bit of history for your H/J riders who may not remember what the TB-era was like, or who know how much TB blood has been infused into the modern WB. That might help because there are many reasons to stop the discrimination against TBs right about now.

                      Also, if you are feeling nationalistic, do you want to point out the obstacles that North American breeders find so hard to overcome in comparison with European ones? I don't think you should let anyone think that Americans just suck at creating specialist, purpose -bred horses.

                      The breed/registry difference will be a useful one. Yes, too, European registries have phenotypic goals, but those change over time. IMO, the difference that they have going for them is incredible tracking of performance in addition to phenotype.

                      I can help you out with the line-breeding discussion. I understand the genetics well and can put that into qualitative terms that may help your audience.

                      And in answer to your title question: The first thing I'd impress on the next generation is that creating a purpose-bred kind of horse-- a breed that reliably looks this way or performs that way is an enormous project. If we were talking about one breeder modifying his (very large) herd, it could take him the majority of his adult life. If we are discussing a breed at large, it takes extraordinary leadership, a consistent vision and many breeders willing to cooperate.


                      They can start by asking about the breeding of the horses they like. If I were in charge, I'd also ask people to pay much more attention to the mares-- their breeding if they are the females of a line-bred (but usually male-headed) family, their performance record and mind.

                      And another thing! (Rant starts here): We should bloody well test and breed for long-term soundness.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Quit jumping the legs off your horses. I cannot believe how normal it is now to school competition height 4-5 days a week. Save competition height for lessons and show day.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thank you everyone, excited to see all the new points raised.

                          Originally posted by siegi b. View Post
                          I don't think it's a good idea to use such strong words (i. e. "littered with warmbloods that seem to have no rhyme of reason").... Especially when it becomes very apparent that the OP doesn't know much about the goals of the different warmblood registries.
                          Correct, I don't have much of an education re: the different registries and their goals, that's why I am here asking

                          Originally posted by siegi b. View Post
                          In my opinion, most European warmblood registries have very defined breeding goals that address both, dressage and jumping. Lumping that together with what the American hunter trainers do when they import European warmbloods, and how they market them is not a logical thing to do.
                          But that's kind of what I'm after, that's the point I'm trying to raise... I think. Regardless of what the euro registries are doing, to these kids it's just a sea of warmbloods out there. I am trying to show them that this is an incorrect view of their equine partners, that someone (on some continent) put a lot of thought into creating that horse. They have to understand that before I could even broach the subjectivity of what a horse is worth.

                          Originally posted by siegi b. View Post
                          European warmbloods as youngsters (and while still in Europe) are typically trained to be athletes and that includes dressage and jumping at low levels. This gives American hunter dealers a great opportunity to purchase young horses that, in Europe, wouldn't have much of a future because they're not particularly talented in either dressage or jumping, but have a very forgiving temperament. So the American hunter dealer imports these horses for next to nothing and then puts a huge price tag on them when marketing them in the US. This has nothing to do with breeding goals or values, but merely puts money in certain people's pockets. And to make matter worse, the American hunter public buys it hook, line, and sinker, and doesn't flinch when these "average horses" are offered at high prices.

                          A good warmblood jumper will command a corresponding price, whether it's in Europe or in the US, and the same holds true for a good dressage horse. This business model gets totally messed up when you start talking about European warmblood HUNTERS, as explained above.

                          Just my opinion....
                          Kind of a different direction than I planned on going. To many of these young riders, the 3'6" Junior Hunters and Medals are the top of their sport, and there is legitimate value in that. As far as I know, there are no Euro WB Hunters, right? Yet, not all Euro WBs can be at the top of their sport (stadium & dressage?), correct? So it would seem to me that the American Hunter market is a great outlet for these horses.

                          What I was wondering was if, for example, X registry uses more blood, so you are more likely to find X registered horses in the Jumper ring. Or, a kid is really quite tiny or slim, do certain registries focus on a more refined type that is probably going to be better suited for them? Or, a kid really has goals in the Equitation ring, do any of the registries specifically emphasize uphill build or smooth gaits or something? Not suggesting they are breeding with Equitation goals in mind, but are they breeding for specific traits that could predict which ring (Jumper, Hunter, Eq) the "culls" (for lack of a better word) will end up in? If you are a rider with a very specific body type that looks best on an animal with a longer back (or something) would you be more likely to find this type in one registry versus another?

                          No one in the States shops for show horses by registry. I guess what I'm asking is, should they? At least as a very basic jumping off point in their search? Or when purchasing an untested youngster with specific goals in mind, is it helpful to focus on one registry over the other based on those goals?

                          Thank you for taking the time to respond!
                          EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by echodecker View Post
                            Something else that might be interesting to touch on, especially with a H/J audience is the importance of knowing your horse's breeding!

                            That a successful horse at top level sport is almost never an accident, so knowing and passing on your horse's bloodlines when selling...and by proxy, asking about bloodlines when buy can greatly enhance your chances of getting something that is purpose bred and suited for your sport.

                            Maybe you could start out by pointing out some of the Olympic horses, and their breeding...like that Cruising sired both Flexible and Mr. Medicott (just off the top of my head).

                            Just something to show how the breeding of successful horses is not random, but something they should consider when looking at horses...
                            Yes

                            So, to play off where I was going above with siegi's post...

                            Maybe it's not the registries but the sires people should look to if using breeding to guide a horse search? That brings me back to one of my original questions, which stallions have notable/remarkable influence on today's stadium jumping sports? Which were the modernizers or the improvers? Is Cor de la Bryere really that important? Or is he just that prolific? I've learned from doing more than a bit of stallion research that it's heard to discern the truth from the fluff.
                            EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by BumbleBee View Post
                              Quit jumping the legs off your horses. I cannot believe how normal it is now to school competition height 4-5 days a week. Save competition height for lessons and show day.
                              This will be covered
                              EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                Glad you are doing this.

                                I'd add a bit of history for your H/J riders who may not remember what the TB-era was like, or who know how much TB blood has been infused into the modern WB. That might help because there are many reasons to stop the discrimination against TBs right about now.

                                Also, if you are feeling nationalistic, do you want to point out the obstacles that North American breeders find so hard to overcome in comparison with European ones? I don't think you should let anyone think that Americans just suck at creating specialist, purpose -bred horses.

                                The breed/registry difference will be a useful one. Yes, too, European registries have phenotypic goals, but those change over time. IMO, the difference that they have going for them is incredible tracking of performance in addition to phenotype.

                                I can help you out with the line-breeding discussion. I understand the genetics well and can put that into qualitative terms that may help your audience.

                                And in answer to your title question: The first thing I'd impress on the next generation is that creating a purpose-bred kind of horse-- a breed that reliably looks this way or performs that way is an enormous project. If we were talking about one breeder modifying his (very large) herd, it could take him the majority of his adult life. If we are discussing a breed at large, it takes extraordinary leadership, a consistent vision and many breeders willing to cooperate.


                                They can start by asking about the breeding of the horses they like. If I were in charge, I'd also ask people to pay much more attention to the mares-- their breeding if they are the females of a line-bred (but usually male-headed) family, their performance record and mind.

                                And another thing! (Rant starts here): We should bloody well test and breed for long-term soundness.
                                All good points. Line-breeding I will probably drop as people have started filling in the blanks with the words I was trying to find to describe the overall importance of breeding in a 20 minute nutshell. I don't really want to get all NA vs. Euro because they both care deeply about what they are producing and that's the point I'm trying to get across to these kids who will probably meet the horse circa age 8 and never see it again after age 12.

                                If I go the route of "These are some notable sires to look for" I would LOVE to mention some of the more important Thoroughbreds.

                                I had thought of just asking each kid about their horse - the "breed" it is, if they know any of the parentage, and go from there... this discussion is really helping me formulate what the possible path from there may be, thank you all.
                                EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  In my opinion, since you are dealing with an audience that likely will have a tough time grasping the registry vs. breed concept and the different nuances of each registry, talking about sires might be the way to go.

                                  Especially since many popular sires are approved with multiple registries. The only European warmblood registry that is actually a breed is the Trakehners, which have only Trak, some TB and a small amount of Arabs approved. The other registries can and do approve Trakehner and TB stallions, but the reverse is not true. So many horses that are thought of as a certain "breed" are actually a different breed by blood, ie Gribaldi (sire of Totilas) is a Trakehner, but approved Dutch (among other things), so Totilas is known as a Dutch horse.

                                  Caveat: I'm not familiar enough with Irish horses to know if what I said above is true or not, sorry if I'm wrong!

                                  So back to the OP, I think this whole idea might be confusing to them if you go deeper than a basic superficial treatment of the concept...so it might be easier to focus on sire. Cor De La Bryere is a good one, I'm sure there are others, Cruising, Quidam de Revel, Baloubet? I'm not a jumper so I'm just throwing out some names...Darco, Judgement?

                                  I think the idea to ask them what they know about their horses breeding is a good idea, but also have a half dozen or so stallions researched ahead of time in case they don't have much to say...not trying to offend, but I would be shocked if a group of H/J kids knew much about their horses breeding...

                                  Something else to talk to them about is the Inspection and Approval process, not only for stallions but mares as well. That prior to even being allowed to be bred, they must be evaluated and scored, and then the stallions (and sometimes the mares) are performance tested both in jumping and dressage (and xc), that by looking at the results for these tests and inspections, they can see where they might find a horse or a line with specific jumping or movement traits they are looking for. And now, with YouTube and many other streaming options, they can look at video of stallions and their offspring to see what they pass on...

                                  Hope that was helpful
                                  TPR!
                                  Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc
                                  www.goodhorse.org

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Talk with them about how much it costs to breed a high quality foal, including vet expenses for common emergencies. Then, ask them to calculate how many hours they would have to work at $8 per hour to pay for these expenses. Breeding is not something that should be done casually or without extensive thought.

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