Saturday, February 26, 2011
For all the wrong reasons
In Kentucky, you'll find the majority of the mare owners on the road this month trolling the back roads up and down to have their stock live covered by the stallions. For non thoroughbred owners it means getting to know your FedEx delivery guy a lot better (and hopefully tipping him generously when he hauls three Equitainers up your drive).
With a small break, I've become involved in following a contest series that's taking place on Facebook with winning breedings to some of the best stallions in the nation.
The contest is in two portions, the first being a popularity driven and the second and currently ongoing- essay portion. The essays are open to the public, and are quick reads between rounds. The entire concept is great, and has huge publicity for stallion owners.
I've begun reading through the submissions. The essays range from hard core pedigree addicts to mare owners praying on a dream and a genetic gamble. But somewhere in between I look at the mares and I go why would you cross or even reproduce or why would you post that photo of that mare looking that way in a public forum?
The things that people see and then hear what they expect out of the cross is even more concerning. Everything from an advanced eventer out of a short stirrup pony to a children's mount out of a half wild, unrideable mare.
What's worse is that some of the worst entries are from experienced breeders.
I really begin to wonder about the state of American breeding when this is occurring and where some people are getting their information from.
I know several good breeders in stone's throw distance from me that have done excellent jobs of consistently producing top quality horses that are very well loved, and equally talented for their chosen discipline. They are knowledgable and calculated when it comes to pairings. They do their homework, and as a recent acquaintance said: they load the dice. If they have to keep the offspring until it matures and goes under saddle, they have their teams in place to consistently produce good young horses.
When I look at contests such as the one going on above, I really begin to wonder whether breeding in America has become a personal romantic notion, or a mechanic's mathematical equation with the expectation of superior results. I wonder if they are prepared to accept the consequences of their actions and have the long-term ability to keep something if it doesn't turn out to be exactly what they want, or support it in a way so it is successful?
Personally, I enjoy the ulcer-inducing, wallet draining, wait-and-see game even almost two years after Sincere was born. It's so far been a great adventure, learning experience and for the most part, enjoyable time. I've had excellent help along the way.
But when that sperm met that egg, I was just as unknowable, and romantically induced as some of the mare owners that are participating. It's funny what time and a little perspective does to you.