Ya know how sometimes you just get on a roll and one idea spins off into another idea and then another idea? That’s kind of what’s happening here. This blog spawned more interest in the breeding stuff, which spawned some other opportunities, which spawned the Patreon, which then spawned my latest idea – Breed.Ride.Compete.
If y’all are here reading this blog at all, you know all about my nerdiness when it comes to the breeding stuff. You probably already know my history with breeding, you know the work that I do for breeders and for EN (my last EN piece, in case you missed it), you know about my plethora of spreadsheets, and the data that I’ve provided for live streams. I won’t go over that all again.
It will also probably not come as a surprise to any of you that I get asked breeding related questions A LOT. Like a lot a lot. It made me think that there might be a need for some kind of (very reasonably priced) service to help provide some information and guidance to people who are interested in breeding and/or pedigrees, but have not dedicated their entire adult life to researching it and don’t really know where to look or who to ask. I get several messages every week about it just from people who know me personally (almost exclusively amateur riders or first time breeders) so I do think there’s a lot more interest in the topic than we might think. I was already going to create all the branding for a business to put all of my live stream information under (see above logo) so that it has a more professional appearance and I got to thinking – maybe there are other services this little “business” could offer as well?
A few things immediately sprang to mind, given all the questions I get from friends as well as pain points I see with breeders.
1) As mentioned above – continuing to offer pedigree data services for live streams (I give a lot of information, like the breeder name, country bred, what the sire and the dam did, any successful related horses, the blood %, etc… assuming it’s possible to find it within any of my 14ish sources). At this point I give this data away, because just getting people to take it and use it is still an uphill battle. Someday it would be nice to be able to charge for it because it’s hours and hours and hours of work, but… ya know. I’m not that delusional.
2) “Research Packages” – a few page pdf document full of information about your horse and it’s family – pics and videos of ancestors, information about what they did and produced, what they were known for, other related horses from those lines and where they are now, etc. I have subscriptions to several databases already that I can use to research and pull data from that the average person doesn’t have access to or knowledge of, plus my spreadsheets, plus I know the vast majority of lines pretty well by now in my own head, given my general decades-long obsession. I’d only be able to offer this for TB’s and Warmbloods, since they’re my knowledge base. But basically like… you send me the pedigree, I send you a book report about it. There would be a fee for this, but nothing crazy.
3) Offering phone or email consultations for first time/hobby breeders, to talk about things they should consider, what bases they should cover, how to prepare, discuss their mare and how to analyze her strengths/weaknesses, talk about things to look at when choosing a stallion, etc. I don’t want to make the decisions for you, I want to arm you with the knowledge you need in order to feel good about making a decision for yourself. This service only occurred to me because I did this as a Zoom call last week with someone who “knows” me from Instagram. Thinking back on who I was when I took my first foray into breeding, I would have felt a lot better if I’d had someone experienced to talk to, bounce ideas off of, etc. Particularly someone who was NOT a stallion owner, NOT trying to influence me to buy semen or a foal from them, etc. There would also be a fee for this, but again nothing crazy.
4) Data entry services, like entering people’s mares and foals (fully and accurately, for crying out loud, which is RARE given how much fixing and entering I have to currently do of even the top level horses) into all of the main pedigree databases. Not only would horses get entered correctly, people wouldn’t have to create accounts or buy subscriptions or learn how to use these sites (some of which are buggy when it comes to data entry, to say the least). Having all of that data easily accessible in these big databases helps us all in the long run, since we can’t learn about what we don’t know. This would be a cheap service geared more towards pro breeders that either don’t have the time/energy to enter all this stuff, or are not computer savvy enough to do so.
So my question is – do you think any of these things would interest the “average” horse owner? Are there other things relating to breeding that you think would be helpful to offer? To be very clear – I’m definitely not doing this to try to make money (HAHAHA that would be hilarious) I’m doing it because I think breeding is important, and I think that breeding knowledge especially is a very big gap in our overall horsemanship knowledge in the US. This is a hill I am prepared and willing to die on. We don’t know our horses the way Europeans do, and a lot of it is because it’s just not as engrained in our culture, not talked about as much, and the data isn’t as easy to find or track. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to Europe but this is one piece of it I don’t think we look at hard enough. They know their horses and where they come from so much better than we do.
I know that anything I do to try to change our overall mindset about breeding is really just a drop in the bucket, but I’m passionate about the cause and if I can help influence even just a handful of people… it’s worth the effort to me. As long as, of course, I’m not just giving my time away for free to the point where it’s detrimental to everything else I’m trying to do.
At this point I’m months away from any of this coming to fruition. I want a website in place first and I have a lot happening in the next few months that won’t grant me much time to work on this project or get a website up and running. But I do want to keep thinking on it though and letting it stew in my head, and part of that is throwing the idea out there and seeing what the response is like… would appreciate any feedback y’all have!