Breeding for the North American Eventer

My two fillies.  Holsteiner x TB.

My two fillies. Holsteiner x TB.

Currently on Facebook, in the group, “Event Horse Breeding”, there is a discussion on a post, where someone in IRELAND is no longer breeding.  He has stopped because he can’t sell the babies.  And his baby looks the part, probably will be the part, but people don’t want to buy babies.  Not eventing babies.  In Ireland.  WOW.

One person came on to this discussion, and said something about most of the group being TB lovers.  While I know we all love OTTB’s, I think we all realize that if we are to be successful internationally, we need to start breeding for an UL horse, not one necessarily all TB, and made a comment to that effect.

Another response came on and took up for the TB.  And the value of that horse in modern day eventing.  I went to write a reply, and thought to myself, wait, it would be a great topic this morning for my blog.

I do breed for eventers.  I have 3 mares.  This year, I bred 2 for eventing, and one for a jumper.  Because I need to make some money.  I won’t sell the babies till they are going. I probably won’t sell the jumper till it is going as well.  I have the acreage to just let them hang out here, get a proper start, and go from there.  I am lucky.  I have a daughter, later, who can back them, start them, show them.  I live in an area, that when they are ready, I can get them out competing without having to travel and spend all that extra doing so.

Bertha....a 100% OTTB.  Who is built like a brick house, with huge, healthy feet.  I am lucky to have such a fine mare.

Bertha….a 100% OTTB. Who is built like a brick house, with huge, healthy feet. I am lucky to have such a fine mare.

I am rare.  I am very rare.  That is a whole lot of “I have’s”.  That most breeders aren’t as lucky to have.  Most need to sell the horses as babies, so they can make a living.  Many don’t have a ton of room to keep them till they are older.  Few have a trainer that isn’t going to cost an arm and leg to get the horse going.  Many live in an area of the U.S. where there are little to no events.  We wont’ even touch on the cost of bringing them up, and getting them to a show.  My business plan is all about 5 years from now.  When we can start selling our homebreds.  When I can sell them for enough, to at least break even. I been drinking the fairy juice this morning, fyi.

So I can pick and chose, and I can breed exactly what I want.  And what I want is not a full TB.  Anyone who knows my daughter, KNOWS, she rocks at retraining the OTTB’s.  And she is quick about it.  And I can tell you, it is nothing like starting an ISH filly, or an Oldenburgh gelding.  As quick as she can turn the OTTB into an eventer, is a long time compared to getting on an Oldenburgh, and it sitting correctly almost immediately.  Or jumping an Irish filly, and never feeling anything but a horse that GOES to the jump.

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Paddy, at Jim Wofford clinic, about 8 months off the track. He was going BN at the time this was taken. This was 2 years ago. This year, we may be able to move up to intermediate.

Sounds like I am anti TB doesn’t it?  OH NO.  Almost all of my mares are TB.  All had a racing career.  Because the TB blood is the most important of all.  And if I were wealthy, and I had even more room,  and we had more help, it would be a TB  she would ride at Rolex one day, and maybe she will, with Paddy.  But to find Paddy, we had to go thru 10 TB’s.  Most were retrained, and then sold to great amateur homes, a couple were given to homes where they could excell at dressage.  Yes, one was an amazing dressage horse.  So don’t let anyone tell you that they can’t move.  This one could move.  He just wasn’t going to jump. Missy has a TB now, Paddy, who has it all.  Movement, looks, brains, bold, jumps anything, endurance.  I WOULD LOVE to breed to his sire.  I would love to get hold of his dam.  The dam isn’t for sale, for any price.  TO breed to his sire, Malibu Moon, is nearly 6 figures.  AND that is why when you go to breed a purpose bred event horse, we talk what warmbloods cross well with what TB lines.  Because as much as I would love a second Paddy, that kind of funds to breed one event horse is not going to happen.

Maggie, an Oldenberg x TB.  She is in foal this year to a dutch horse, for a jumper.  So I can actually make some money from a yearling.

Maggie, an Oldenberg x TB. She is in foal this year to a dutch horse, for a jumper. So I can actually make some money from a yearling.

So yes, if you are a serious eventer, there are horses that are going to take you around Rolex, and win, that are TB’s.  But to get that, you need a few things.  YEARS.  A lot of patience while you go thru all the horses it may take to find one.  And let me say this, for the nay-sayers.  NOT every horse is going to go to Rolex, and a LOT of the time, you won’t know till you have a few years in on that horse.  Though of course, that can also be true for homebreds.

So instead, as a breeder, with a purpose, I chose what I cross my TB’s with.  And most have Holsteiner, ISH, and Oldenburg in them.  Because I do want something that is going to have a lot of resell value.  I want something that I can say, okay, this horse has weak feet…IE most of the TB’s, and I need to look for something that passes on stronger feet.  I can look for a more uphill frame.  I can look for something with some loft.

Paddy, his first recognized event.  He had already been eliminated for jumping out of the dressage arena.  So yes, TB's can jump, and can move... I wonder if Malibu Moon's connections wanna part with some cheap semen.

Paddy, his first recognized event. He had already been eliminated for jumping out of the dressage arena. So yes, TB’s can jump, and can move… I wonder if Malibu Moon’s connections wanna part with some cheap semen.

What saddens me the most is this.  The event of old saved many a TB from a kill truck.  The sport was almost entirely made up of TB’s.  When the FEI, in their wisdom, got rid of the long format, they signed the death certificate of many many OTTBs.  instead of the other countries coming here, or searching out the good TB’s, they got busy and started breeding.  YEARS ago.

Not to delve deeply, but perhaps the TB owners/breeders/trainers need to recognize that the market isn’t as strong as it once was for the TB.  Maybe they should get behind a few, and help out the riders trying to get TB’s up the levels.  Maybe….

Taylor.  Taylor is 68% TB.  She is out of a TB x Dutch.  crossed with a high TB percentage Holsteiner.  I received rave remarks about her at the FEH seminar in Ocala last February.  Including some from Jaqueline Mars.

Taylor. Taylor is 68% TB. She is out of a TB x Dutch. crossed with a high TB percentage Holsteiner. I received rave remarks about her at the FEH seminar in Ocala last February. Including some from Jaqueline Mars.

Then there is the training, of any of these horses.  It isn’t an easy life.  No matter how glorious it may sound, or how much fun your recreational horse is.  Maintaining a herd, and doing right by a horse, is a time consuming, tough job.  It isn’t one you can put away when you are ill.  It isn’t one you can call in sick to.  It has more downs then ups.  There is nothing worse then waiting 11 months, and watching a foal be born with contracted tendons, and other non-life substaining issues.  Often the bank accounts sit with nearly anything in them, or you chose if the horse needs a new this or that, over getting yourself a new pair of tennis shoes.  We all face these issues.  I think my next blog will be the actual cost to get a horse from embryo to something most of you would buy.

Meanwhile, I am aiming for a TB, with 15% of something else.  For it takes just a bit of something else, to make the TB really rock.  And I think that is where we need to go today.  Have a glorious Sunday.  Amen.

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