This has been going around facebook among my breeder friends and I love it so much I really wanted to bring more attention to it and post it here. Do you know your horse’s breeder? If it isn’t registered, odds are you probably don’t. But if it is, you can find that information and track down the breeder. It might take some time and effort, but it’s worthwhile to try. Here’s why.
Written by: Brandy Brown
Stop and think for a minute about the beloved show horse you gush about regularly on social media. Do you know off the top of your head who bred that horse you love so much? If someone asked you at your next show, could you tell them where to go to find another horse bred like yours? Many cannot. But if you can, do you make an effort to help promote the breeder who brought your beloved horse into this world? If no, why not? Would crediting that breeder take away from your success? Would it take away from your trainers worth? I would contend no. But would it help to elevate a quality breeder and help others to find them when they are looking for a horse? Yes, hugely.
Even if you can’t name them off the top of your head, I can almost guarantee you that somewhere, there is a breeder who still cares about your horse. A breeder who spent hours planning for the perfect breeding cross. A breeder who crossed their fingers in anticipation that the mare would take and be in foal first try. A breeder who watched in anticipation as that mare grew round and heavy in foal, hoping for the perfect foal. A breeder who gave up many nights of good sleep to watch that mare closely to ensure a safe and healthy birth. A breeder who sat beside that mare while she labored to bring your horse into this world and maybe even gave it the extra pull. A breeder who helped to dry off that little miracle and watched in never diminishing awe as they took their first breaths and first steps. A breeder who taught your horse all the basics and instilled a trust in humans from the beginning. A breeder who loved this horse and cared for them from the first breath. A breeder who likely found it hard to say goodbye when the day inevitably came, no matter how good of a home the horse was going to. A breeder who probably still thinks about your horse from time to time and would love to know how they are doing. A breeder who watches from afar while those babies they raised go on to do great things and cheer them on with every success, even if they are no longer within that horses inner circle. A breeder who repeats the cycle each spring and keeps striving to breed the best possible horses, even when they know that they may not get any credit when those horses are out winning someday. Without that breeder, you would not have your horse. Stop and think about that for a second.
There is no horse industry without quality horse breeders. No matter what scale they operate- 2 mares or 20 mares- they are all valuable to the industry and deserve respect and recognition for their efforts. Breeding horses is not for the faint of heart. It is a tireless and often thankless endeavor. It can be as heartbreaking as it is exciting. Some years you bring healthy, beautiful foals into the world and their mothers get to raise them. Other years you may lose a foal or a mare or both and that is something no breeder can get past without a heavy heart. The average horse owner may not think or know of all that goes into breeding a horse while they are enjoying their equine partner. So I am here to shed a little light on the life of a good horse breeder. Most breeders love every horse they raise, do everything in their power to give them the best start possible and do their due diligence to get them into a good situation. I have been raised in this industry and can’t count the number of foals I have seen enter this world on our farm. So many have gone on to do great things and many times I am able to follow that progress and keep in touch with the new owners. That is best case scenario- to be able to stay engaged with a horse you loved from the first breath and know they have gone on to be someone’s beloved partner. Alternatively, many of the horses we’ve bred disappear and we are unable to keep in touch. This is the saddest part because you just don’t know. You hope the horse has a great life but you can’t be sure.
So here is my request: take a moment and figure out who bred your beloved horse. Often, breeders are fairly easy to find thanks to social media. If you can find them, reach and let them know that horse is loved and thank them for their part in the journey. I can guarantee getting a note like that will make almost any horse breeders day and it only costs you a bit of time and effort. I think it would be great for folks to also take it a step further- when your horse is out winning, make a point to give some credit to that breeder on social media or to the people who ask about your horse or admire them. If a breeder is breeding great horses, make sure people know! If people out there are looking for a horse like yours, help them learn where they can find another one just like it.
To all the breeders out there, big or small, I see you and I commend you. To all the horse owners, I set forth a challenge: when you post about your horse #tagthebreeder
The breeding industry is a tough one. It’s expensive, it’s time consuming, and it’s fraught with heartbreak. Many breeders, especially smaller ones, struggle just to break even every year. Many years, they don’t. But they keep doing it out of love for the horse and passion for what they’re doing. If you know your horse’s breeder, try to find them. Friend them on facebook. Drop them a message. Tag them in your show posts. If you don’t know them, but know other good breeders that deserve recognition, sing their praises on occasion too. Share one of their photos now and then. Point people their way if you seen an ISO ad. A small and simple thing to you could mean a lot to them. We have so many quality breeders in this country that people just don’t know about because it isn’t talked about enough.
While technically I am Presto’s breeder on paper since I chose the sire and the dam, it was Willow Tree Warmbloods that really did all the work required to get him (and keep him) on this earth. Transporting the mare back and forth for breeding, keeping her in great condition, making sure she was taken care of properly day in and day out, foaling her out, and taking care of Presto for the first almost year of his life. None of that was an easy task AT ALL, especially given his rocky start to life. Breeders are heroes.
10 thoughts on “#TagTheBreeder”
Amen. Good breeders matter SO much, and there have been many times when Connor’s breeder was ready to throw in the towel. Not to mention it took her four generations and 20 years before she really started producing exactly the type of pony she wanted to be known for. Breeding is largely thankless, whatever we can do to support and publicize their work, we need to.
I’m so lucky because Coco’s breeder lives just down the road from me and we are in touch frequently. They were unbelievably supportive when I attempted to breed Coco and it ended in disaster and they support and cheer for us when we do well. My parents bred Jaguar and Simon is a blue blooded racehorse (side note, he was born in KY but his breeder was a Texan who passed away when Simon was a year or so old). I’m lucky to really know where ALL my horses came from!
Sterling is the only kind of wild card. The woman I bought him from foaled him, but she didn’t breed the mare. She bought the mare in foal with the intention to breed to mare to a paint stallion (mare was a TB) and it was pretty obvious when we went to look at Sterling (he was a yearling at the time) that she HATED him.
I intend to only buy OTTBs and domestically bred warmblood foals (and I guess a Chincoteague pony foal here and there, haha) in the future.
Man, I so badly wish I could track back to Frankie’s beginnings and thank them for giving him a good start. He may have been an oopsie, but he’s clearly been loved by people his whole life.
Encouraging and supporting conscientious breeders also interrupts the whole over-breeding horse slaughter cycle. The vast majority of slaughter horses are ‘discards’ from commercial breeding farms. Quarter Horse breeders are the worst offenders, but no breed is immune.
It is expensive to raise healthy horses and acclimate them to the demands of living with people. When the horse market is flooded with ‘registered’ but poorly bred, mishandled and unfit animals selling for slaughter prices ethical breeders have a much harder time staying solvent. Check out the reality behind horse slaughter here:
I have zero info on Eros and Shiny. I MIGHT have figured out who Eros’ breeder is and his bloodlines, but it’s a guess at best. I’m not certain as his name was changed and I’m not totally positive what it was before. And I got no info at all on Shiny. It’s a real bummer.
Pammon I actually bought from the breeder which is pretty amazing considering he’s older. I don’t have direct contact info for him, but he’s good friends with the lady who represented Pammon and she and I are Facebook friends. She shares photos and updates for me.
I’m lucky in that I know both of my horses’ breeders. I bought Cinder because I knew both her parents and loved their personalities. I still message with her breeder from time to time. I am FB friends with Peebs’ breeder, but unfortunately she is the definition of a backyard breeder. Thankfully he’s the only one she’s bred, and he’s perfect in my mind so it worked out, but I hope she never breeds again. She doesn’t remember anything of Peebs’ mom’s breeding and can’t remember who his dad is. How do you forget the sire of the only horse you’ve bred? I just can’t.
This is great! I’m friends with Amber’s breeders on FB and Insta for that very reason! They see everything I post about her, and I like that they can see how she’s doing. I visited their small operation when I was taking the course that assigned her to me, and they’re wonderful people that I still chat with occasionally. We don’t know Whisper’s breeder, but we do keep in touch with the guy who sold her to us, who in turn gives updates to Whisper’s previous owner who occasionally inquires how she’s doing. I love being able to update them on their babies that they bred and raised. I know for me I didn’t even breed some of the babies I raised, but I still occasionally stalk them to see how they’re doing lol.
I will do this. Years ago I tracked down the breeder’s name and location. But I had the incorrect assumption that they would likely not welcome such intrusion. Obviously I was very wrong! Will get in touch! Thanks for this message.
I’m in a unique situation. My horse was bred to be a ranch horse. She has 70+ half siblings (most from her sire, a few from her dam), and 2 or 3 full siblings. Her breeder, the Rushcreek Land and Livestock company as they’re officially known, did it the old school way: the stud was turned out with whatever mares were selected to be bred that year, on 80 acres. Whomever got pregnant did, and they gave birth the natural way: out on those 80+ acres. Honestly, I’m more in doubt about my horse’s birthday than anything else, because I don’t know how often they checked for new foals (“Hmm, that one’s new since the 8th, it’s now the 11th, sure, we’ll say she was born on the 9th”).
She was sold from the ranch to a friend of mine, who is also a breeder (but never bred my horse). My friend also bought my horse’s dam, so she’s still having foals! I’m definitely in contact with my friend still, and she was even the judge at the last competition last fall, where my horse officially became a National Champion: so that was really cool!
There’s a Rushcreek Arabians Facebook group, where many of us who have Rushcreek horses gather to show them off and chat about their accomplishments. I also, by chance, came across the wife of the former ranch manager (on a different Facebook page!), and she was really interested in what I do with my Rushcreek. That’s probably the closest to an individual “breeder” as my horse has, that ranch manager. Sadly, they closed down their breeding operation a few years ago; it was truly a loss to the modern Arabian in the west. They produced some really quality horses that absolutely EXCEL at trail and endurance riding, and do pretty well in arena classes too!
Same for OTTBs! Most breeders or connections want to know their horses ended up in good places. I’m lucky to know Bast’s breeder (she follows along on FB and is usually one of the first to like his photos), but I’m sad Pig’s connections have proved harder to track down. Pig definitely had an amazing start in life, and I’d love to thank whoever was a part of that.