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What Makes a Breeder "Reputable" to You?

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  • What Makes a Breeder "Reputable" to You?

    Just wondering what "qualifications" a breeder should have for you to return to them.

    In the short time we have been breeding we have dealt with breeding problems for sure, that being said however, it just makes those problems that much more workable when you have someone who is willing to work with you rather than against you.

    This is not an ad in any way at all but I think when credit is earned, credit is also due. We can not say enough about Blazing Colours Farm how they have literally bent over backwards for us throughout the last couple of years.

    Until we started dealing with April, we had no idea of how "different" the breeding game was played.

    I am sure that breeders out there would be interested in hearing just how mare owners view their way of doing business and what it takes to get repeat business for them and then on the other hand, what it would take for you to definately not deal with the same breeder again.

    Sooner or later we will be standing stallions of our own, something we have never done to outside mares and any opinions on this matter would be greatly appreciated so that we don't make the same mistakes that some breeders have done with us.

    www.flyingcoloursfarms.com
    www.pennylanefarms.com
    Penny Lane Farms

    Breeders of coloured and dilute Thoroughbreds and Warmblood crosses

    http://www.pennylanefarms.com

  • #2
    I've thought about this myself and have some pretty firm opinions.

    1.) Their actions as well as their words. IMO, it is clear with a reputable breeder from everything they say and do that they are looking to the future: how they communicate with you, how they describe their services, how they develop and preserve their stallions reputations, what becoems of their foals, etc. Windswept Farm is one of the best examples of this that I've encountered. Sugarbrook is another.

    2.) Longevity coupled with wide influence. I've always suspected that 80% of the horse or pony breeding business in the "English" disciplines occurs within narrow networks based primarily on location. No matter what their apparent reputation, I just can't hold in high regard breeders who don't "reach out." This may sound pretty bad, but to me, that smacks of a narrow-mindedness (and maybe a certain degree of privilege) that often ends up being singularly unhelpful in the long run. A discussion I had with Betty Fox of Glenmore Ponies of FL--having to do with selling ponies mostly outside of her local area, like to California--reinforced this in my mind: "reputable" means your reach extends, and maybe even focuses, beyond your locale.

    3.) Acknowledging imperfections. When every mare and every stallion you've ever had always represents valuable contributions to the gene pool, I cross you off my list. I want to hear the good AND the bad. I want to ask specific questions and get specific answers, and I want to hear the experience, thoughfulness and judgment behind those answers. If there is no bad, no details, no time to think about and respond to questions, I'm not sure there can be trust...and I want to trust the person I'm working with. "Reputable" to me means trustworthy--and how can someone truly be trustworthy if you are unable to assess their judgment? I will never forget sitting at the kitchen table of Sandy O'Brien (Brookside Welsh), soaking up so much knowledge and advice and insight.

    I aspire to be, someday, like some of these breeders. It's not an easy thing to do, though. I think it takes a lot of time and a lot of perseverence because breeders have such very, very long horizons. But that's all the more reason to think long and hard about what a term like "reputable" really means to you, IMO.
    Sportponies Unlimited
    Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

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    • #3
      I think one of the most important things is to have a good contract which "spells" out what the mare owner should expect of you. Ie. what are your collection days, how do you collect if multiple mares need semen at the same time, etc. Make sure that your contract is not vague because that is when misunderstandings happen. Go out of your way to on occasions "outdo" your contract -- as per the thread where the SO offered a free breeding to the lady who lost her colt to cancer.

      Also, daily collection is nice. Shows me the SO has great customer service and are trying accomodate the mare owner. I try and avoid stallions that only collect on certain days of the week. Because experience has shown me that my mares make it their mission to need semen on the days the stallion owner does not collect. My costs have always been more significant with these stallions.
      Richard, Approved Black KWPN Stallion
      Website
      and Facebook page
      Oh Kaptain Underpants SFS, Approved BRp pony stallion
      Website and Facebook page

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      • #4
        It's an interesting question.
        I agree with Pwyn. Reputable means 'trustworthy' - honesty combined with as Pwyn listed, thoughtfulness, experience and judgement.

        Another thing that makes a breeder reputable in my mind is knowing that they have honour and personal integrity, and the desire to 'do the right thing'.

        Breeding horses is not about the money, at least to me. It is a commitment to these spectacular creatures, and to try to do the best for them, always -that's the real 'bottom line'.
        You do for love, not for money, and always try to treat others as you would wish to be treated.
        A Fine Romance. April 1991 - June 2016. Loved forever.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think I can add to this some...I've had some good and bad experiences and I also am a breeder.

          A reputable breeder must be trustworthy and credible in what they sell to someone and stand behind what they breed and sell.

          A reputable breeder breeds carefully with a goal in mind...they just don't cross X to Y, breed everything on the farm with a uterus, and then sell the culls at the meat market. I realize this is a sport horse forum and that is not common here but it is in the rest of the horse world.

          A reputable breeder has return customers who send him/her more customers. Little advertising is needed.

          A reputable breeder will refuse to sell an unsuitable horse to someone who they know is not capable of managing it.

          A reputable breeder handles their youngstock, provides good care, and prepares them for a life as a useful people friendly horse. I've had some show up I've bought that were not even halter broken and were wild as March hares. Not a great idea these days...most people want a user friendly youngster.

          A reputable breeder is one that is genuinely trying to improve the breed...not just produce something that sells.

          Comment


          • #6
            I think it's so important, especially for a new breeder like myself, to have someone who very kindly puts up with all the stupid questions. I had a lot of learning to do and a lot of questions. I split them up between my vet and the SO so I wouldn't drive either one nuts.

            The SO held my hand through the whole process. She was very accommodating when it came to collecting (weekend) and she met me part of the way to hand over the semen, to save me some of the drive. She had been very quick to respond to phone calls and emails. Even though I was breeding a QH to her stallion she invited me out to see some of her horses so I could get an idea of what to expect from the cross. We discussed my expectations, things I wanted to improve and whether it was a strong point of her stallion. She also even suggested a few other stallions that I may want to look at before deciding. THAT amazed me. All in all a very pleasant experience.

            Originally posted by Penny Lane View Post
            This is not an ad in any way at all but I think when credit is earned, credit is also due.
            Absolutely agree. So thank you to Donna from True Colours Farm. If I ever breed anything again, you'll be the first I call. I couldn't ask for a more professional or considerate business transaction.

            To all the upcoming stallion owners - best of luck in your future endeavours!
            Whoever said that money cannot buy happiness didn't know where to buy a horse.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Fred
              Another thing that makes a breeder reputable in my mind is knowing that they have honour and personal integrity, and the desire to 'do the right thing'.

              Trustworthy and fair are two huge descriptions to me. The animals they breed have to reach an expected standard of quality every year. A deep knowledge of where they have come from and where they are going with their program. So many breeders stay stagnant and don't look to the future.


              A breeder doesn't need to stand a stallion. Many breeders don't, but often discussions about breeders tend to focus around a stallion or stallions. Never forget the mare and her huge importance in the equation!
              Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist

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              • #8
                Honest communication, honest communication and more honest communication.

                The SO must be comfortable telling you the honest truth about the pros and cons of using their stallion with your mare and what that expected breeding might result...does the stallion pass on A B and C or does the mare make a difference? They are encouraging and offer assistance in selecting stallions they feel will offset your mare better than the one you had chosen if they don't feel the chosen stallion will work well for your horse. This is integrity to me....willing to risk a MO walking away rather than say anything necessary to get the breeding.

                Anytime a stallion owner evades a question from me, a legitimate, solid question, I have to wonder why and it remains a point of unease in my mind. We've had excellent experiences with Iron Spring Farm, Hilltop Farm and Marydell Farm in the past and they have all be extremely honest and communicate very frequently during the breeding process and frequently about their stallions and offspring. Marydell Farm has been overly patient with us for two years and are still as open and above board as they were from our first contact.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Honesty, of course -- as well as integrity and a true passion for doing it right and doing it well -- going the extra mile as needed. However, as wonderful as "honesty" is -- it's important to know enough about every facet of breeding and the horses and registry you represent so that when you are honest, it's also knowledgable. No one (except maybe Kathy and Jos) can know everything about breeding -- but if you are going to breed and stand a stallion or buy and breed mares -- take the time to educate yourself about conformation, mechanics, bloodlines and the particular traits that seem to crop up with regularity. I think having goals and breeding for the future of a gene pool is important. So, if someone asks about something and you can't offer an educated answer, be honest and say so and try to find out so you'll know next time. It's a continuing process, for sure, so breeders must work at staying up to date if they are serious about producing good horses.
                  PennyG

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Without having read the replies, I'll add my own.

                    1) I know i'll catch flack for this, but behavior on this board is a big one. Meaning, if you cannot maintain a calm demeanor in this environment (if you participate), you're off my list.
                    A subset of 1, 1A we'll call it--if you recommend your stallion and only your stallion on any "stallion suggestions" thread, off the list. Bonus points for those breeders on COTH who routinely read threads, look at pictures, pedigrees, desires of breeders and suggest....appropriate, (not only their own!) stallions.

                    2) You breed for more than just color. Meaning you subject your stallion (and mares if applicable) to outside judging, particularly if it is an obscure color.

                    3) Your stallion is either an accomplished and retired sport horse competitor, or is currently competing.

                    4) You have a clear, concise website that has conformation and performance pictures, as well as video.

                    5)You are communicative

                    6) You breed responsibly

                    7)Open and responsible about disclosing issues that would make you feel particular crosses would not be a good match.

                    But mostly 1 and 1A.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      [QUOTE]
                      Originally posted by pwynnnorman View Post
                      I've thought about this myself and have some pretty firm opinions.

                      3.) Acknowledging imperfections.

                      long ago...in an elderly breeders front yard, under his oak trees he said to me

                      "Honey,ya know we thought we had something breeding to <x>...
                      Lord what a mess that turned out to be" ...and his happy little old 89yo cackling mans laugh...

                      I knew I was in the company of some one who could make a joke on himself...which I have discovered for certain horse breeders must have to survive long at all....

                      and then he said "ya know,the first mare I ever had was a Red Squirrel mare my grand dad bred" (circa 1890's saddlebred breeding) and he talked up every stallion he'd had for it's good or bad, the whole way to where we were in 1998...and he was even then talking about his current stallion and where he thought his get would go...he died that same year

                      I miss him up to this day....reputable would only have been the first of many kind words for him...

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Top quality care given to every animal they own. This is expensive, I know, if you are on a budget like most of us....don't breed.

                        Breed only top quality, mentally and physically sound (not counting injuries, I am talking structurally sound) animals.

                        Don't let personal relationships dictate what animal gets bred to what animal....both mare and stallion owners need to do this.

                        If there are standards and requirements for the breed you are involved with...abide by them.

                        Honestly represent your animals. Objectivity is difficult because of emotional attachments, but good breeders learn how.

                        Do not produce more animals than a reasonable look at the market would indicate a demand for.

                        Use some common sense when selling. Don't sell a horse into a situation that you just know is going to be a disaster because of the price tag.

                        Treat your customers fairly, help out with your knowledge as much as possible (without letting yourself be used).

                        I think these are things that make or break a reputation for a breeder and buyers are aware.
                        Nina's Story
                        Epona Comm on FB

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Lots of good responses here, and I agree with most of them.
                          Something I meant to say, but didn't express myself clearly, and others have said too, is that a reputable breeder isn't breeding for the short term, but is breeding with a goal, a vsion. For the specific individuals they are breeding- sane, sound, beautiful athletes, who will hopefully be well-loved and well-looked after for their time on this earth, but also looking towards and breeding for the future as well.

                          Thought provoking thread Pennylane.
                          A Fine Romance. April 1991 - June 2016. Loved forever.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Like Fred, I have thought of other ideas. The main thing is finding a breeder whose reputation of self and product you can hold in high esteem.
                            Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have had the pleasure of dealing with and talking to many breeders. I have to say everything aside... Honesty, Integrity, and Trust are the 3 most important things for me. In most cases, I trust my gut instinct, and it's been on point more often than not.

                              Next comes the actual product if you will. If I like a particular horse, I generally send an email, followed by a phone call. It's important to put all your cards on the table. If the horse is too far for a road trip ( 3 + hours ) I ask alot of questions, want pictures and a video from every angle showing every gait. If they can't... I move on.

                              I always say... "Is it correct, a good mover, and nice enough to stand on the line". Most tell the truth, and those who don't, beat around the bush with... "It depends on what you consider a good mover, or your particular taste may be different from mine.". I spell it out "no knee or hock action, or an upright way of going". Any breeder doing this knows what they've got, and if they don't... well try gardening.

                              I have been very fortunate in my purchases aside from some growing pains and learning curves. They say you only learn from your mistakes, and I believe that. I also learn something new every day. Each year more and more nice horses are produced here.
                              ~ Bill Rube ~
                              http://www.bydesignfarm.com
                              Check us out on Facebook

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                              • #16
                                Wow, Silver Balls, you hit the nail on the head, that was all that needed to be said! I totally agree with you!
                                Gwendolyn
                                http://www.gestuet-falkenhorst.com
                                Exceptional colored German WBs, TBs and Arabians

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by pwynnnorman View Post
                                  Acknowledging imperfections. When every mare and every stallion you've ever had always represents valuable contributions to the gene pool, I cross you off my list. I want to hear the good AND the bad. I want to ask specific questions and get specific answers, and I want to hear the experience, thoughfulness and judgment behind those answers. If there is no bad, no details, no time to think about and respond to questions, I'm not sure there can be trust...and I want to trust the person I'm working with. "Reputable" to me means trustworthy--and how can someone truly be trustworthy if you are unable to assess their judgment? I will never forget sitting at the kitchen table of Sandy O'Brien (Brookside Welsh), soaking up so much knowledge and advice and insight.

                                  Well said pwynn. This is a huge one for me as well.
                                  Liz
                                  Ainninn House Stud
                                  Irish Draughts and Connemaras
                                  Co. Westmeath, Ireland

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I agree with pwynnnorman about not every stallion being good for every mare and I am always trying to explain mare owners which one of the stallions would fit the mare or sometimes I even send them to another stallion, better no foal than one that does not look good. But I understood this is about breeders and not stallion owners?
                                    Gwendolyn
                                    http://www.gestuet-falkenhorst.com
                                    Exceptional colored German WBs, TBs and Arabians

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      What

                                      1) is not barn blind - sees the good and bad in the animals they own

                                      2) approaches breeding like a scientist, rationally, with a method, studies

                                      3) makes allies of other breeders and creates a network of breeding associates

                                      4) has studied their breed and knows what a good "mare line" really is

                                      5) is not a breed snob

                                      6) does best to find truly good homes for the sales animals

                                      7) acknowledges genetic disorders, inheritable traits, surgeries, discloses them honestly

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by FairWeather View Post
                                        Without having read the replies, I'll add my own.

                                        1) I know i'll catch flack for this, but behavior on this board is a big one. Meaning, if you cannot maintain a calm demeanor in this environment (if you participate), you're off my list.
                                        A subset of 1, 1A we'll call it--if you recommend your stallion and only your stallion on any "stallion suggestions" thread, off the list. Bonus points for those breeders on COTH who routinely read threads, look at pictures, pedigrees, desires of breeders and suggest....appropriate, (not only their own!) stallions.
                                        Amen sister. There are breeders with very very nice stallions, but if this is where they choose to sneak in free advertising at every given opportunity (against the rules, good match or not), they are absolutely off my list.

                                        And the ones that spew vitrile and anger about other breeders and other registries? Forget it!
                                        Holly
                                        www.ironhorsefrm.com
                                        Oldenburg foals and young prospects
                                        LIKE us on Facebook!

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