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Michael Pollards breeding program vision.

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  • #41
    DownYonder, to have your last paragraph fulfilled would be a huge, huge step in the right direction and a big linchpin in giving U.S. breeders a firmer foundation for recognition.

    I had my own small version of the "start the horse with a good, unknown rider and then get the horse into the hands of a well-known national level rider". I started my own eventing horse, an APHA gelding named Impressive Teddy, and took him successfully through novice and training levels and then asked John Williams if he would compete him for me as I'd met John and Ellen at the Virginia Horse Trials and found I liked them very much. Like most eventers, they did all of the work themselves pretty much on a shoestring but had a super young string of up and coming eventers. Carrick, John's WEG and Olympic horse later, was at preliminary level at that time. John took my Teddy out and began to like him and campaigned him for me, at not much more than cost and at $750 month board/training, for the next few years, taking him up to intermediate level. Teddy was twice USCTA (USEA) horse of the year for APHA, and sadly colicked and passed away in 1999. The point is that he became well-known and very well thought of, holding his own with the top tier on the East Coast. Even Kim Severson made inquiries about buying him.


    I've become resigned to keeping my youngsters until starting under saddle and have a very, very good young horse trainer who can also begin competing mine in any of the three over-fences disciplines while keeping them on the market.

    Diane Halpin/Laurel Leaf Hanoverians
    Last edited by dianehalpin; Mar. 7, 2013, 09:36 AM. Reason: additional information


    • #42
      What Marydell said. In SPADES!! People that don't breed offer their opinions without truly understanding what the problems are.

      I'll try and put it in an easier to understand format. It's like expecting someone that manufactures a product to also be responsible for loading it up in their own personal trucks, driving it to all the stores in the country that are going to sell it and then being the person that stands in the store and sells it, as well. Oversimplification, but hopefully an analogy that works. To do the "product" justification, it needs to be put into appropriate hands all along the way - people that specialize in each area. But, as things sit now, the breeder is expected to produce it, grow it, start it, show it up to a level that will get it noticed, assume all the financial risk from birth to 4, 5, or 6 years of age, and then the are criticized for selling it for more than they have invested in it!

      Breeders watch and make decisions on what to produce based on research (hopefully) and trying to make the best choices. That's their specialty. We all HOPE to get what we produce to the person that specializes in the next step, e.g., someone that can raise them and get them started under saddle. I think you'll find that MOST breeders would prefer to have the young stock sold by the time the next foal crop is due. But, we just don't have the young horse starters and promoters here. We don't have the "specialists" that are available in Europe.

      And FWIW, we've been doing this long enough (over 30 years now) that we recognize where the issues are. Most of our youngsters are gone by the time they are a year old. We manage to make it work, know what does and doesn't work and have a program that "does" work. But, having walked the walk, we KNOW where the issues are. It's about distribution of the costs involved, as well as distribution of the risk. As it sits now, most of the risk is expected to be absorbed by the breeder and financially, most struggle with that.

      Blume Farm is correct, networking is key.
      Equine-Reproduction.com Now offering one on one customized training!
      Leg-Up Equestrian Assistance Program, Inc. A 501(c)(3) non-profit charity


      • #43
        Originally posted by Marydell View Post
        I debated very long about posting in this thread. I have done so in the past to similar threads only to be critisized or ignored or have the intent misconstrued. But here goes

        To greyarabpony "If finding riders is the problem, then fix the problem"
        A great deal easier to say than to do. If you have a suggestion, then make one, don't just take a superior attitude without offering a realistic solution.
        Aren't you sweet. Me, have the superior attitude? Are you serious? LOL

        If you can't come up with a good business model, then don't expect good results.

        Originally posted by Marydell View Post
        Again greyarabpony "Those young prospects that are selling in Europe have first degree relatives who have competed at the highest levels or produced horses that are competing at the highest levels. Or at the very least have first degree relatives that produced offspring that sold for a lot of money. Those young prospects are professionally produced and are capable of showing their potential under saddle. "

        You are only partialy right with this comment. Particularly the point about "Professionaly produced". In the USA, we do not have a structure to "professionaly produce" young horses. It is what we lack and we as breeders lament over and over again. It is part of our culture to not want to conform but to be independant with our business models.
        How am I wrong about young horses in Europe being much more professionally presented than they are here? No wait, I'm not.

        Originally posted by Marydell View Post
        If we all waited for those "first degree" relatives to be competitive at high levels, then breeders are stuck holding onto all of the offspring from the current "fashionable" stallion. Because how long will it take to get some of their kids up to FEI levels? 7-8 years. So how many offspring will sit in fields waiting for their oldest siblings to get there? hundreds. Think about that in terms of the cost of holding onto those offspring: the cost of the care, and training of each one until they become marketable.
        Did I say that a stallion needed to have offspring at FEI first? No I did not. And a first degree relative can be a parent. So no need to wait.

        Originally posted by Marydell View Post
        A good deal of those high selling prospects disapear after the sale for high prices and are never seen again. Just because a horse sells for top $ does not gaurantee top performance.
        Well, duh. Thanks for needlessly pointing that out. But I'm sure a breeder would be more than happy to take money for their young stock, am I right?

        Originally posted by Marydell View Post
        Here is another thing I do not think you understand greyarabpony, at least from what I take from your posts. When a breeder has a mare that produces very nice offspring, then that mare has to stay in production each and every year. Otherwise as a mare ages, they become more problematic to get in foal and that equals more $$$$ put into just getting that mare pregnant and the resulting foal costing the breeder a great deal more to produce. So the selling price is higher. If one was to follow some of the folks on this threads advice and wait to re breed the mare until her offspring sells, then there is no way to budget or plan.

        I had a plan that would have addressed some of these issues, both those in the article and some of the ones brought up here. I put it in writing and sent it to several of the committee members about 8 yrs ago. It was never even discussed. Nor did I ever get a response. I also wanted to support some up and coming YR. I went to several top connected people and offered aplan to them. Not one took me up on it.

        FWIW- in the past three years I have been approached by several people who have represented our country on various International Teams. The conversation usually goes like this:
        "I really like your stallion and what I have seen of his offspring. Do you have any 4 or 5 yr olds going under saddle? Would you sponsor me on such a horse?"
        My response" I usually have them sold by 3 or 4. I do have a couple of super 2 yr olds. Would you be interested? I would be willing to sell them to you at my cost and keep them free of charge until they are 3 because you are so and so."
        What is said back to me: "Oh no. I do not start young horses and I do not know anyone who does it right. I can't buy any horses even with terms as I do not have any money of my own. I really am looking for you to send the horse to me and I will give you a good deal on the training, but you have to pay all expenses."
        Me--"Sorry, I can't afford to do that. Good luck in your search"

        That is the reality many breeders face.........

        Flame suit on
        Honestly, I could care a less about your money woes. Horses are very rarely money makers.

        It's up to you to convince people your stock is worth top dollar. You. If you can't do it, tough bananas. Don't you realize that all horse owners face the same problems you face? -- getting good farriers, getting someone decent to start their horses, finding a decent trainer? Am I supposed to feel extra sorry for you because you're a breeder? because I don't.

        What some of you don't seem to understand is that talking down to and alienating customers, all the while making excuses, is not a good business strategy.


        • #44
          Originally posted by showjumpers66 View Post
          He is pretty saying what many of us having been saying for years although I disagree with a few points. I totally disagree with his comment that Americans were buying pick of the litter from Europe. What helped put us so far behind was that Americans were getting the culls from Europe and typically overpaying to boot. Even now, it continues to be a problem.

          Also, a North American registry is never going to work if high standards are not upheld. Too many times registries are started as a way to work around high standards and to include stallions and mares who are not eligible due to lack of pedigree, quality, performance, etc. There are several North American studbooks that include many stallions who would not be eligible for breeding based on European standards. While this may not seem a concern, but lowering the standards not only lowers the quality of horses we are producing as well making it difficult to sell to other countries were it is important to follow a standard of quality control.
          All of the above and especially the part in bold is why people are still look first to Europe.

          I also remember getting flamed for saying the same thing (as the part in bold) a few years ago.


          • #45
            Originally posted by pinecone View Post

            DR RUTH WILBURN


            Rollingwoods Farm,Welsh Ponies AKA the Section B pony

            Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
            I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


            • #46
              Grayarabpony, there is a really good time to shut up and listen. Marydell had been a top USDF/USEF breeder of the year for quite a few years. She is one of our most successful producers of dressage horses with more than a few show hunters also in the top ranks.


              • #47
                Originally posted by dianehalpin View Post
                Grayarabpony, there is a really good time to shut up and listen. Marydell had been a top USDF/USEF breeder of the year for quite a few years. She is one of our most successful producers of dressage horses with more than a few show hunters also in the top ranks.
                This is true, but from personal experience I found her to be nearly impossible to buy a horse from. A few years ago she had 4 horses I was seriously interested in, all around 3 years old. I could not get a single picture or video of any of them except their weanling pictures from the horribly outdated website. I figured maybe she just didn't "like" me because of who she thought I was via the internet (which in itself is ridiculous when you have someone wanting to write a check for horses you claim you want to sell...I mean she doesn't really know me in real life. How many people have you met in real life that you actually liked that you thought were horrible on the internet, or vice versa?). Running a business and not selling to people you think you don't "like" is a horrific business model, how does one sell anything??

                Anyway, all that said, about a year later I exchanged PMs with two other people that were looking for the same thing I was and had the exact same experience with Marydell. They were basically ignored and expected to fly out to North Carolina to see horses based just on what? I guess her reputation on the internet?

                I don't mean to just single out Marydell, even though she is one of the most vocal about how hard it is to sell horses... I had the same experience with others. It was the story of my attempt to shop out of California actually. Too hard for you to get a video but I guess it's easy for me to get on a plane and fly to the East Coast?

                And this whole "I can't get decent pictures or video" gets SO OLD when you are down at Wellington competing your horses.
                On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                • #48
                  Originally posted by dianehalpin View Post
                  top USDF/USEF breeder of the year for quite a few years.
                  Curious, again not trying to single one person out, but do breeders then think that this means they don't have to work with buyers or advertise, and that buyers should just fly off to see their horses or buy sight unseen? Because I could see someone thinking that, and fair enough if that's your business model, but then don't complain when not enough people are buying your horses. Most average people cannot afford to do that, nor do they want to.
                  On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                  • #49
                    Originally posted by showjumpers66 View Post
                    He is pretty saying what many of us having been saying for years although I disagree with a few points. I totally disagree with his comment that Americans were buying pick of the litter from Europe. What helped put us so far behind was that Americans were getting the culls from Europe and typically overpaying to boot. Even now, it continues to be a problem.

                    The so called European 'culls' are what populates the upper level US hunter ranks. So while the horses may be true culls in that they did not make it to FEI jumping levels they can be purchased realtively cheaply in Europe and resold here for large profits.
                    They are ready to show at 3'6" and above unlike the american product.

                    A cull to one person becomes a highly marketable horse to a pro hunter trainer.
                    Fan of Sea Accounts


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by Equilibrium View Post
                      Alluding to an American bred horse that spent at least a year going through the European system is a bit ironic don't you think?

                      And that's where the system is broken. It's not a question of the caliber of horse bred because there are some very good breeders in the USA. But you can't be of average means or working horse class and get your horses done. It's not just about young horse starters as that's relatively cheap compared to getting a show record. Not a 2ft show record and a 30k price tag. People come to Europe because they can get 4yo's jumping 1.10m, slightly over 3.6 and 5 years olds doing 1.20 which is 3.9. Among those 4&5 yo's are some horses that are pretty much at their ability. You can get those horses under 20k all day long here. Even after import under or at 30k. So do any of you have a young capable of 3.6 horse for under 30k?

                      And it's in now way the fault of the breeders or riders or trainers. The cost of competing is frightful. With all your fees a 3 day show is what near the 1k mark for registered shows? Here's my costs. Reg of horse and rider with SJI per year, like €275 a year so I can get the bulletin too. After that it's my diesel, €75 at the worst. That gets me to and from the major shows that run nearly daily around the country. My entry fee €25 roughly per class. Rider fee if applicable, roughly €30. And when my mare was showing, I was the groom. So my rider fee canceled. If I groomed the other horses I got my transport free too and that was always shared. Full training normally about €130 per week. I'll never do that again but cheap enough as I don't have millions in the bank. And guess what, I'm not the only one. So you can really make it work without having a trust fund.

                      That is a huge difference. Most riders here are of average means. They work at producing horses. Breeders can breed, raise, train, and get horses produced for much less money than in the States. And therefore prices are different when a horse is for sale. I took one from birth to 12 shows. Successful up to 1.10m. If I had sold her for €15k I actually would have had a small profit or broke even. I seriously doubt any breeder could say the same back home. I didn't scrimp. I didn't not feed her, didn't go 12 weeks between shoeing, she has all her vaccs, worming, foal things, and on and on. That is a huge difference.

                      I have to completely agree with Terri here. US rated shows are outrageously expensive. 1K/week/horse is not going to support an up and coming horse or rider unless the US is insistent that only the wealthy compete. I showed extensively with cheap horses on a shoestring budget until about 4 years ago in all levels through the AO jumpers. I competed and groomed numerous times to try to keep the costs in check.

                      I quit because I couldn't afford it anymore. I don't typically ride with a trainer and don't have the money for grooms, so warming up is almost impossible. The shows charge fee after fee and are extremely stingy on awarding it back. I was talking to my farrier who competes in Amateur roping and he almost always breaks even or makes money because they actually award prize money in every class out to 12th place.

                      The only way these young horses are going to be shown is if it is affordable for the average person. The first thing the USEF should do is get rid of the mileage rule to encourage competition between shows which should cause show costs to drop like a rock. As well, competitors will have more choices and closer to home choices so the travel expenses can be minimized. I do want to get back into showing, but it is going to be mostly unrated and breed shows because I can't justify the costs of a hunter/jumper rated show.
                      Last edited by Sporthorse Shop; Mar. 7, 2013, 11:32 AM. Reason: Fixing sentences


                      • #51
                        To Tamara

                        I can't PM you back as you have too many messages, but yes work away!

                        Sporthorse, yup lots of options over here. And I fit that in galloping horses too. I should also mention I never incur horse starting costs as that's what I do.

                        And with the warming up, I can't tell you how many other people I and others have helped set up fences in for riders in warm up. It's what you do.

                        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.


                        • #52
                          fixed now sorry about that
                          Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                          I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


                          • #53
                            I was speaking of breeding stock (mares/stallions) rather than sport horse prospects.

                            Originally posted by PINE TREE FARM SC View Post
                            The so called European 'culls' are what populates the upper level US hunter ranks. So while the horses may be true culls in that they did not make it to FEI jumping levels they can be purchased realtively cheaply in Europe and resold here for large profits.
                            They are ready to show at 3'6" and above unlike the american product.

                            A cull to one person becomes a highly marketable horse to a pro hunter trainer.


                            • #54
                              I have hesitated about re-sharing this experience that I am sure I must have written about previously.....but it is a good illustration of the huge gap between UL rider or one with UL aspirations and the needs of the breeder.

                              We have a mare that is very talented in many spheres and is well-bred with a 1/2 sibling competing internationally in show jumping (Wang Chung m2s). At the time we had this experience, she had produced one excellent A/O hunter-oriented colt and was pregnant with what turned out to be an Olympic Canturo-sired filly that went on to be crowned Champion Yearling at the Young Horse Show Finals in Wellington this January (not for sale). At the time, the mare had competed at 1.10 successfully before taking time out to have her two foals. This past year she was competing at 1.20- 1.25 with plans in the works to do min-prix at A shows with our trainer. However, I became ill so all plans were placed on hold.Right now she is essentially keeping Monica's jumping skills honed and will be presented to KWPN for approval and an IBOP. after which she will re-join our mareband where she has produced so well for us.

                              The young eventer proposed to take over the mare and train her for UL competition. We would pay all costs of competition and maintenance (insurance, farrier, vet, transportation, etc.) The ownership would be 50/50% at the outset and over time as the mare went up the levels, our 50% would gradually dwindle, leaving us with 0% ownership of an international eventing mare that we had handed over and whose competition career we were funding essentially. The young event rider was valuing her time and talent at 50% ownership at the outset and 100% once the mare had achieved international status.

                              My math skills are not the greatest, but I blanched at this arrangement. With time, I began to see that the young eventer might consider this to be a plausible arrangement.

                              Be that as it may, without assigning any blame for the unattractiveness to us and the unworkability of such an arrangement. let this serve as an illustration of the huge gap between the means and wishes of many of the UL'ers and the breeders.

                              This may be a mindset more apparent in the eventing world- I do not know. I can say that we enjoyed an outstanding 50%-50% competition and training partnership with a young show jumper regarding another mare who is now competing successfully at the GP level in Wellington with her new owner.
                              Sakura Hill Farm
                              Now on Facebook

                              Young and developing horses for A-circuit jumper and hunter rings.


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by Sporthorse Shop View Post
                                The first thing the USEF should do is get rid of the mileage rule to encourage competition between shows which should cause show costs to drop like a rock. As well, competitors will have more choices and closer to home choices so the travel expenses can be minimized.
                                I just want to point out that Pollard's article is about breeding EVENTERS, and Eventing is already exempt from the mileage rule.

                                chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                                • #56
                                  I believe there is also the issue of the competency of our Young Riders and individuals purporting to be Young Horse Trainers. I've had Bereiters come to our farm from Germany and Sweden. When an individual has this credential you can rely on the fact that their experience, talent and abilities are at a certain level.
                                  That is absolutely NOT TRUE in this country. I'm not sure what the College/University Equine programs in the country focus on but individuals from these programs who we have interviewed are just not on par with European Bereiters. Additinally US individuals have a rather LARGE ego and make it very clear they won't do anything but ride and feed. i.e. no barn chores.
                                  Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                                  "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"


                                  • #57
                                    ise@ssi, that my be true for the young hunter and jumper students; however, I grew up with kids who all rode well and took care of their own horses, broke their own horses, and showed their own and others' horses. My daughters grew up in Pony Club, competing dressage and eventing, where everyone did everything for themselves. All of the kids rode green or problem horses and all had good instruction/clinics. In fact, they all learned to ride well, stick well, and be effective on a lot of different equine personalities. As did I and all of my own group, though we've aged out a little from bringing the young horses along from start to finish.

                                    Also, if you think all Bereiters are stamped out of the same cookie cutter, you are very wrong, in my opinion. It's like the PC A Rating and individuals vary in talent, motive, work ethic, etc. although they have at least one good "degree".


                                    • #58
                                      As long as anybody (and I do mean ANYBODY) can put up a shingle and call themselves a "horse trainer" without any certification process we will always have a "training" issue in the US.

                                      I imported my first two warmbloods in 1984 and over the years have more than paid my dues in order to find young horse trainers that were somewhat qualified to do the job or at least willing to put in the work in exchange for their fees. I have a problem when a 26-year old, fairly talented rider tells me that she doesn't want to start young horses because she's almost at FEI level (true story), and I got tired of sending my talented youngsters clear across the country to get started, trained and shown by an old friend of mine who has all kinds of medals and accomplishments and (for some reason) doesn't charge nearly as much as some of the much younger trainers in my area.

                                      There are two areas where we will always lag behind Europe as far as breeding horses for the FEI sports are concerned and that prevent us from having cohesive programs that will grow over time -

                                      1. We do not breed in generations - when I quit breeding it will be the end of Stall Europa because there is no family member anxious to take over the business.

                                      2. We have no formalized education for horse trainers and with that have no reliable source for getting our youngsters started and trained.

                                      Ok, I'll be quiet now...
                                      Last edited by siegi b.; Mar. 7, 2013, 05:04 PM.
                                      Siegi Belz
                                      2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
                                      Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.


                                      • #59
                                        Well said, Seigi!
                                        Martha Haley - NeverSayNever Farm
                                        2009 KWN-NA Breeder of the Year/Silver Level Breeder


                                        • #60
                                          Originally posted by Marydell View Post
                                          I have tried many forms of making contact with riders, from AAs to JRs to pros. Problem is, everyone wants top dollar to do the job. Of course there are people who will contact you to ask for an oppertunity, but once you take a good hard look at their credentials, their facility, or ask for references, or see how far away they are, the situation does not stand up to scrutiny most of the time.
                                          I don't get this at all. If a breeder is consistently having trouble finding riders/trainers for their horses, I think it's worth noting that the common denominator there is the breeder.

                                          What's wrong with people wanting to be paid for their work? If you don't like the price, go elsewhere. Due diligence -- looking into whether the rider/trainer can actually do what they claim to do -- is the breeder's responsibility. Again, if you don't think their program is legit, go elsewhere.

                                          It's not difficult to find the right series of riders/trainers for your horses. (It probably is difficult if you're not willing to pay for their services.) It's simple networking. You contact a rider if you think they're appropriate, you talk about the horse and fees, you make a decision. Then you check in on the process, and if you like what you see, the horse stays. If the horse needs something different, you find something else.

                                          But this is how you prove your horses' worth and ability. This is how you get a reputation for having good youngstock. This is how a breeder gets the feedback to refine and adjust their breeding program to produce horses better suited for their discipline.