Standards for Breeding

I have been privy to a fair number of conversations about breeding for quality.  Comments of “there are too many stallions”, “too bad it’s so expensive to sterilize mares” and the like.  Now, in a breed as diverse as ours the definition of the term “quality” will vary greatly from person to person.  But it’s a goal that should be encouraged in the breed at all times, but perhaps particularly in these economic times.

There are a number of examples where other breeds, and even canine registrations, have instituted standards toward this goal.  I had a friend of mine outline the process that Freisians must go through in order to be bred and it was quite extensive and involved a rating system.   I believe there’s something similar in place with warmbloods.  I wonder sometimes how something like this would be received in the Morgan world.  Or, rather, I don’t wonder.  I’m pretty sure it would not be received well.  But I wonder if the breed could see benefit by some sort of standard being put in place.

What do you know about breeding standards in other breeds?  Do you think something similar would be of benefit for Morgans?

7 Responses to Standards for Breeding

  1. empressive says:

    This may be rather “uniformed” or more accurately stupid, but isn’t that what our breed standard for? I know people do not follow it, but it’s there I guess. Either way. I thought I would share. A friend outlined some “priorities” for breeding. I personally think that this is a very good list…

    Should I breed my mare?

    If you can answer yes to these questions, then yes. Go for it because you know the risks and you are ready.

    Does my mare represent a good example of the breed?
    Is she free of major conformation and temperament flaws?
    Do you know whether or not she has any genetic flaws that she could pass on?
    Do I have the knowledge to choose a stallion who will compliment her?
    Will the resulting foal be bettering the breed?
    Do I want to have my mare pregnant and out of work?
    Do I have the facilities to have a foal born safely?
    Do I have the financial means to pay for:
    Stud Fees AND mare care
    Feed and Supplements for my mare AND foal
    The many standard veterinary bills during the pregnancy
    Unexpected emergency vet bills
    The costs of raising that foal to ride-able age (feed, vet, farrier)
    The costs of training for the foal
    Do I have 3-4 years to wait for the foal to be born and grow to trainable/ride-able age?
    Am I prepared to risk my mares death?
    In the event that she dies or rejects the foal, do I have the knowledge and means to care for the orphaned foal?
    Am I prepared to risk losing the foal?
    Am I prepared to risk losing them both?
    Am I experienced in handling and training a young foal?
    Do I have a plan for the foal if I can no longer care for it properly?
    Do I have an intended purpose for the resulting foal?
    After all this, am I willing to risk that the foal doesn’t live up to my expectations?

    My point is this: Look at the list above, they are the realistic responsibilities of breeding. If you said no to some of them, then you are better off saving the money, possible heartache, or whatever it is that turned you off from breeding and buy the horse that you want. I am not being mean or rude, just showing plainly things that need to be considered when lives are being created.

  2. Vintage_Rider says:

    An excellent list indeed. I went through a similar process and declined to breed my very fine mare out of the sheer fear of losing her,… plus a couple of others… a dear friend of mine, involved in breeding for so many years, put it bluntly …. ” people breed because there is a womb”… and she wasn’t being complimentary!

    There are many, many, fine horses/foals available out there from many responsible breeders, and if you read through the list, you should be able to find exactly what you want without all the heartache, expense, and time.

  3. RaeOfLight says:

    The problem is though, that people don’t ask themselves those questions. Or they ask, and then disregard their “no’s”. With these other breeds then, rather than leaving this decision up to the owner, it’s made by a third party expert. But maybe the reason it makes sense for them to do this is because those breeds are more specialized. Therefore, specific conformational traits are necessary to perform the required job.

  4. rodmanstables says:

    Amen to the list!!! Love it. We need it to be written in stone on some permanent structure somewhere. lol. I swear, if I overhear one more horse owner say that they’re going to breed a mare just because they can, I’m going to scream! lol sorry, I feel strongly about this issue obviously. And I know people are going to say “well that just doesn’t happen with the upper-level high class horses and horse people,” but down here, where I live, on earth, people sure do it all the time and it gets to me. I just love it (not) when someone decides they’re going to breed a mare that has no resume of accomplishments whatsoever, no proof of trainability, “eh” conformation, and a bad attitude on top of it all. And of course, if they breed her to some big stud…surely the foal will get all his good stuff and none of her characteristics….lol. I think that we should have some sort of standard system for selection that you guys are suggesting. Sorry again, I just had to say something because I do think of this issue often. :)

  5. Jennifer says:

    Most warmbloods are Registry’s not breeds, therefore, they have strict guidelines and ratings for individual’s accepted into the registry. The begin rating the horses as sucklings to determine breeding stock and then continue the ratings to determine the quality’s of the dam and sire lines. Conformation and trainability are HUGE determininants of these ratings. Also, remember that the warmbloods are not judged subjectively, but rather objectively. They are ridden in disciplines that either have very specific criteria: Dressage, Show Jumping, and Eventing. It is much more detrimental to have a horse with a crooked leg land wrong after a jump at Rolex or Badminton, assuming the leg held up through the training.

    Conformation is different than breed standard. I’ve seen plenty of breeding Morgans at the top of the placings with incorrect conformation. They could ‘wave a leg’ and ‘hook the throat latch’ so are considered excellent breeding individuals.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I should have said criteria not guidelines. Registry’s have criteria; Breeds have guidelines.

  7. Flmorgan says:

    Great list. You have to ask yourself what you are breeding for? we have different disaplines and if you are breeding for a reining horse you wouldn’t breed to a english pleasure champion. It is done all the time and then your foal is a whatever we can make it. Bloodlines in the Morgan speak volumes. If you don’t like a mare then I wouldn’t breed her. Many unsound mares are bred for all the wrong reasons. {mind and body}

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