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What Makes a Backyard Breeder? Vs a Legit or Reputable type of Breeder?

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  • What Makes a Backyard Breeder? Vs a Legit or Reputable type of Breeder?

    Curious what your vision is of a backyard breeder? Is it a lack of show and / or web presence? Is it the way their farm looks? I.E. Junky? Is it the number of horses they breed on small acreage...say 5-10 acres with only 1-2 babies a year?

    Or another version of this question is, what makes a breeder a legitimate business with a professional looking reputation? How big of an operation is it? How many babies on the ground and how many years?

    Can you be considered a professional breeder with only one foal or maybe two a year on a small farm if you are actively showing on the lines, a legit business and a web presence (or something to show you are actually some type of business?)?

  • #2
    I am sure there is no precise criteria but I would define it as someone whose main breeding plan includes nothing other than having the required anatomy to produce a foal.
    McDowell Racing Stables

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    • #3
      I'm curious to see where this goes... I think that the deciding factor is the quality of horses they breed, I do not think that size has anything to do with it, producing 50 decent foals vs producing 3 extreme quality foals ... The lesser high quality foals would b more desireable in my eyes. I think that facility takes a part in it, but the facility should be clean (to a reasonable level because obviously it is a barn right? Lol... I would need expect it to be immaculate), safe, and capable of meeting the needs of mares and foals. Obviously to become reputable you have to have a web/show presence, and this takes time to build.
      First and foremost about the horse.
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      • #4
        As someone who is not a breeder, just an observer trying to learn more about the horse world....

        Seeing as how there are several examples, including one very long and current thread, of people with *lots* of horses, plenty of acreage, a web presence, and who have been around for many years and yet still behave like back yard breeders, I don't think there's any one factor that determines it.

        However, when you observe someone's stunning lack of objectivity about their horses or their business practices, that's a pretty good clue.

        http://limaohio.craigslist.org/grd/3431841917.html

        And I'm sure the more experienced folks on this forum can point to any number of reputable breeders who only breed 2 or so horses a year.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
          I am sure there is no precise criteria but I would define it as someone whose main breeding plan includes nothing other than having the required anatomy to produce a foal.
          Pretty much this.

          I don't consider someone with one spectacular horse they wish to breed to the best pairing a backyard breeder. However, I have a rescue mare with a great mind - who is crippled due to an injury not her own fault and has therefore never been ridden. When I took her in I knew she would be only a pet and maybe able to do some emotional therapy type work. The people who said "at least you can breed her" - those were ALL the folks who I would consider backyard breeders if they were to breed a horse. Mare with properly working organs does not mean it needs to be bred!
          Originally posted by Silverbridge
          If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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          • #6
            I would suggest that a backyard breeder is one who has no focus for their breeding, and the willingness to breed any mare to any stallion. Chooses stallions for no other reason then they like them. Puts no effort into learning what is needed for a particular sport, and no effort into learning what good breeding practices get you there. Generally accepts the local show ring as the height of sport, and is content if their foals ever show up there.

            Essentially their knowledge and effort never reach farther then their own back yard.

            The # of mares bred, or size of the barn are not criterea for distinguishing a backyard breeder from a professional. I can think of a number of "breeders" who are much larger then I am, but don't go any further then breeding their OTTB's that they recieved for free and then breeding them to their neighbors stallion because he will let him cover their mares. Their size doesn't define them, but their actions do.

            Tim
            Sparling Rock Holsteiners
            www.sparlingrock.com

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            • #7
              Originally posted by altermetoday View Post
              Curious what your vision is of a backyard breeder? Is it a lack of show and / or web presence? Is it the way their farm looks? I.E. Junky? Is it the number of horses they breed on small acreage...say 5-10 acres with only 1-2 babies a year?

              Or another version of this question is, what makes a breeder a legitimate business with a professional looking reputation? How big of an operation is it? How many babies on the ground and how many years?

              Can you be considered a professional breeder with only one foal or maybe two a year on a small farm if you are actively showing on the lines, a legit business and a web presence (or something to show you are actually some type of business?)?
              What prompts the question?
              "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin

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              • #8
                Some factors that comes to my mind:

                1. Keeping the mares and the foals in poor living conditions (i.e. mediocre hay, no grain, dangerous fencing, unmucked boxstalls... no turnouts)

                2. Violent methods of education, negligence in breeding practices (salubrity, follow ups, etc.)

                3. Misrepresentation of the horses you breed or of the stallion you stand at stud. (ex.: marketing your unregistered stallion as an Hanoverian when only his great-grandma is of obscur hanoverian lines... or marketing your stallion as Oldenburg when he is reg. CW and not even approved GOV... but his mom is an Oldenburg so hey. Must be an Oldenburg no?? or selling your babies as Dutch or Oldenburgs when they are registered Canadian Wb... Geee. If you want to breed oldenburgs, register them as oldenburgs. And if you register them as CW, then why are you shy of marketing them as CW ??... sorry, my personnal pet peeve)

                4. Breed mares or stallions that you know have potentially genetical defects. Yes yes... might not always be genetically transmitted, but hey. Why take the chance.

                These kind of breeders do not deserve to be called breeders. Not even BYB. lol.

                I would have added a 5. Not registering the foals. But I would rather see someone taking good care of his horses, breeding nice animals and truthfully represents them, even if in the end, the babies are not registered, than someone registering the foals while meeting one or many of the 4 factors I've mentionned above. And they exist.
                Last edited by Spike; Dec. 19, 2012, 10:53 AM.
                Les Écuries d'Automne, Québec, Canada
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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by ahf View Post
                  What prompts the question?
                  I'm just kind of wondering as someone I know has been breeding for many, many years. They have one viewpoint of themselves as a breeder and I'm kind of scratching my head.

                  They do register what they can and go to the keurings, but other than that, they don't show the babies, their place is a dump quite frankly, they have no web presence at all and have barely been able to sell anything because about 50% of their foals have either died because of accidents/issues or injuries... They don't show anymore or maybe once in a blue moon...and their training program for the youngsters is very inconsistent. They do some ground work, but its in fits and starts so its not like their is good consistent basics.. they will work something for a week or so before they have a buyer come out and say its been in work for awhile... in their eyes, they are truly a quality breeder... (and yes, they have had some nice horses).

                  I'm just wondering what a true quality breeding program consists of...that and I'm turning my farm into a business soon and am truly a backyard farm myself, but my business is completely different as far as what the farm income will be from.

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                  • #10
                    I think being barn blind. To be unable to objectively criticize the animal in front of you.

                    I agree that there are all sorts of other things that make one a bad breeder, but this one thing to me is the key

                    (which is why I don't think Jill Burnell is a back yard breeder - but a bad breeder? oh yes indeedy)
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                    • #11
                      I'm just wondering what a true quality breeding program consists of
                      I have no general answer.

                      I am not a rich person. My barn is not fancy. But my horses are well taken care of. The stalls are clean, the paddocks are safe, the babies are handled, the mares are fat. The hooves are trimmed, I have a marketing program, I don't show that much basically because my babies usually sells before they are weaned, and because in my area, there not much breeders shows. This is for the day-to-day part of being a good breeder. It cost nothing to keep things clean, and to spend time with the babies. Horses don't see the difference between 2k front boxstalls and the home made ones. But they see the difference between a clean stall, attention and good food, and a pile of sh*t, abandon and molded hay.

                      Then, a good breeding program depends on what you want to breed, and for what market. A good breeding program is the one who works out and on wich other breeders take example of because your foals are gorgeous, and they turn out to be good citizen, performing great in their discipline. The best mare you can afford, bred to the best stallions you can afford. But you have to listen, learn, and be able to take a step back, once in a while, to assess where you are, and if you are in the right direction. That means sometime to leave your heart in the wardrobe. And to be able to accept critisism. (did I spelled it right? I don't think).

                      It's a constant work-in-progress to be a good breeder, with a good breeding program. Never ending quest. I consider myself a very very young breeder (2013 will be my 7th foal crop), and not being from a horse breeding family, not having the financial means to travel the world to meet the greatest breeders, nor to buy myself a top class broodmare band with a clap of hands, made me walk in the dark for couple of years before I found what I really want as a breeder, for my "breeding program". I have to built it slowly and had to take a turn that will take another couple of years to complete, and educate myself in all the ways I can. Will I have what others consider a good breeding program one day? I hope so. But I can say that I am commited over my head working for it, and I think every breeder should be commited entirely.
                      Les Écuries d'Automne, Québec, Canada
                      Visit EdA's Facebook page!

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                      • #12
                        One more thought: all it takes is one economic downturn or personal catastrophe and someone who *was* a reputable and legitimate breeder can suddenly find themselves in a predicament that would make them *look* like a backyard breeder. I wonder if that's what's happened to the farm you reference?

                        Some of the biggest and most infamous Arab rescues in recent years have been of people with a formerly good reputation, excellent horses, and all the marketing bling - who, for whatever reason, have fallen on hard times. I wouldn't call them back yard breeders but on the surface they would look like it. So I guess the lesson to take from all that is 1) have a healthy emergency fund 2) keep an eye on the economy at large 3) don't get sucked in by the current hype about whatever breed or discipline you're involved in and 4) know your market.

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                        • #13
                          honestly? popularity...... or lack thereof.

                          there can be someone who "only" breeds one mare a year who may or may not have a fancy place and who will be looked down on as a "backyard breeder" - but then those who may not be what folks think and are very popular are considered "legit" breeders...

                          so i guess the answer is "it depends" but in the end the answer is in what they produce - if it is crap - it doesn't matter how fancy a farm they have they are not legit. on the other hand if they produce nice animals - again it doesn't matter how fancy (or not) their farm is - they would be considered "legit"

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                          • #14
                            It isn't numbers but rather quality and vision. Someone can breed 1 mare a year or 20 mares a year, but what makes them a breeder versus a backyard breeder is the quality of their broodmares, the care of their horses, the breeding decisions they make, the follow through with their young horses, and ultimately, the end result.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by altermetoday View Post

                              Can you be considered a professional breeder with only one foal or maybe two a year on a small farm if you are actively showing on the lines, a legit business and a web presence (or something to show you are actually some type of business?)?
                              I remember reading that Totilas' breeders only have a foal every year, or even less often. So, yes.

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                              • #16
                                I probably qualify. I have a mare with no papers, crippled, baby was actually born in a backyard. lol But she gave me this:

                                http://i1247.photobucket.com/albums/...unningbaby.jpg

                                http://i1247.photobucket.com/albums/...11/babypic.jpg

                                He's a little downhill, but these were taken over a year ago (he was a yearling), he's evening up. Oh, I also bred for color. Well, temperment first. But color a close second!

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                                • #17
                                  I think "backyard" is in the eye of the beholder. It probably means something different to a lot of people. Since most consider it a deragatory term I think, I'm careful how I use it, if at all. I know quite a few tiny breeders who produce exceptional foals... on their own (under 20 acre) farm... technically their back yard.
                                  We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
                                  www.dleestudio.com

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                                  • #18
                                    This isn't the first time the whole "what is a backyard breeder" conversation has appeared here. Unless you are trying to define a tax status, I don't understand why the label is important. You are either a good horseman, or you aren't. You are either ethical, or you aren't. I probably know more people with an inflated sense of their abilities than I know that don't. It doesn't make me scratch my head... that's just life.

                                    I have 15 acres, and two (now retired) broodmares. I made some good decisions when breeding, and I made some mistakes. Who ever got everything right? I don't particularly care whether someone labels me a backyard breeder or not. The only legacy that has been important to me is being considered clear-eyed and ethical.
                                    "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by DLee View Post
                                      I think "backyard" is in the eye of the beholder. It probably means something different to a lot of people.
                                      I think this sums it up pretty well. Everyone has their own idea of what makes a back-yard breeder v. a serious breeder and those ideas can be poles apart. For instance, I don't think having a web presence is an absolute must have for the serious breeder. Beneficial? You bet, but doesn't spell non serious breeder to me. The same with serious showing. There are many ways to get one's foals out there and it just depends on each individual's goals and program as to what will work best.

                                      For me, a quality breeder is one who is willing to learn, from other breeders they respect and from continuing education, from the willingness to ask questions, and learn from their mistakes. I respect the breeders who are dedicated to understanding the bloodlines they are interested in, have a clear focus of where they want their program to go, and are dedicated to trying to produce foals that are better than the previous generation.

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                                      • #20
                                        To me, a legit breeder is emotionally invested as well in their young stock...it is their reputation on the line. I know many breeders that are concerned about the baby's career, and what happens to the baby once it grows up. They may not have the financial means to take the horse back, but they would be involved with the re-homing process if the horse ever fell on hard times once was grown (example- at auction or rescue). A backyard breeder has no concern for the baby once they sell (or give it away). Their name is not attached to the horse or their reputation. I am sure their are other qualifications, but this is a big one for me.
                                        Certified Spiritual Medium/ Animal Communicator
                                        www.heatherevebristol.com
                                        www.meliorastables.net

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