Sport Horse Breeding: The Stallion

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Hey dude, he's the stallion.


This is Chapter 2 of 4 concerning Sport Horse Breeding.
Click here for Sport Horse Breeding Chapter 1 – The Mare.

There are certainly more than a handful of quality stallions waiting for your phone call, but truth be told, most stallions are average, below average, or downright unworthy of passing on genes of any kind.

Some stallions are outstanding athletes; dressage and jumpers that stand out from all the rest. I am not going to name names, but most outstanding stallions, are imported. Sure, there are a few nice “homebred” stallions as well, but by and large, worthy stallion semen is only found in Europe (sorry).

Most stallions are average, below average, or downright unworthy of passing on genes of any kind.

Knowing there are some outstanding stallions to choose, regardless of discipline, my problem with sport-horse stallion breeding is the management of such stallions’ throws.

Without keeping great track of offspring, stallion owners already have their hands full. Owning a stallion is not a moneymaker, and sure, stallion owners need to make money off their investment. Stallions are hard to train, handle, and compete, but stallion owners are also faced with promotion, stallion approvals, breeding campaigns, and all the while – semen collection, and breeding demands. A performing stallion’s life (both in the ring and out of the ring) is tough on the stallion and tough on the stallion owner.

With that being said, maybe it’s just too hard to be picky and choosy about the which mares a stallion owners allows his “investment’s” semen to go out to. Keep in mind, however, knowledgeable stallion hunters always run into the problem of “proof”. I like to see what the stallion throws. What kind of performance horses has this stallion produced? If all I can see are some below average horses out of mares that should not have been bred to in the first place, how can I really tell how nice the stallion’s offspring are.

Some great stallions really “stamp” themselves on their offspring, and most, if not all offspring enjoy some grand quality. But all in all, most stallion owners have nothing to show in the proof “ring”.

If all I can see are some below average horses out of mares that should not have been bred to in the first place, how can I really tell how nice the stallion’s offspring are.

Then there is stallion marketing. Why are most stallion videos so horrible? I cannot see the point in sending out some of the videos I have seen. I mean, don’t get me wrong, if you are lucky enough to have a stallion that is known for producing outstanding jumpers, you don’t need a video. But, if you’re offering a stallion based on his amazing qualities, let’s have some of those qualities on the video. I appreciate conformation shots, but if I’m looking for a jumper, let’s see some jumping. If I’m looking for a dressage horse, let’s see some under saddle action. Not in a dark indoor that is so dusty you can barely tell what color the horse is; go outside (hint, wait for a nice day to film) or go somewhere else. Oh, and cut the atrocious “stallion-y” music set at an ear breaking level (money doesn’t buy taste, right?).

And Websites! Come on stallion owners, why not put the video online?! Online videos would save you money because at least 50% of the people calling are just window shopping, and of those, most have high speed internet. Then there’s a question of your website altogether…oh what’s that? You don’t have a website? Your stallion’s webpage hasn’t been updated since 2005? Is this an Olympic horse that needs no introduction? No? Okay then – next!

But most importantly for the stallion owner, if you have a nice stallion, why not find even nice mares and offer discount breeding? Please, stop breeding nice stallions to ANYTHING.

Additionally, lets not forget the thousands of stallions that should have been gelded as weanlings or yearlings. Why do people think that loving their mare + well know stallion semen = a colt deserving to be a stallion? You know what happens then? The stud fee on that new “warmblood” colt is going to be $800, inexperienced horse people are not going to know any better and breed to that stallion, producing even more pointless horses. Now, I’m not saying that every stallion with a $2000+ stud fee is an exceptional horse, and lets face it, not every exceptional stallion will always mix with every type of mare. But, if you do have a young horse and you think he is a dream horse please, please get a second opinion before skipping that gelding appointment.

Please, stop breeding nice stallions to ANYTHING.

Remember, even quality breeding farms geld most of their colts. Your colt better be phenomenal in every sense to whisk off gelding.

Listen, I realize there is a lot of work involved in owning a stallion. There are a few stallions in this country that, although well known and popular, are not even the best stallions for temperament and soundness reasons.

If you do have a nice mare, a mare that is worthy of breeding, make sure you do your homework in finding the right match for your mare. Do some research on bloodlines, get references of people who own offspring of the stallions, and see if you can find information on soundness and temperament from someone other than the stallion owner/manager. Obviously, it would be great to meet the stallion in person, and though it may be impossible at times, if you can meet him, you should. Horse breeding isn’t something to take lightly, and it costs a lot of money to breed, raise, and train a horse. Make sure the investment you are making is going to be everything it can.

And one last note, please, stallion owners, get rid of your cheesy magazine designs; you don’t have to fit EVERY picture on one page. One nice picture should be enough. If you’re lucky enough to have one of those exceptional, great stallions, show them off properly by displaying offspring (not in hand).

Great stallions need good mares, and the not-so-great stallions should be gelded.

**photo taken from Ween’s “The Stallion, Part 2″**