The Horse

NOV 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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18 November 2018 The Horse | "Many people don't realize the invest- ment it takes to get a mare pregnant, de- liver a foal, and raise the young horse to performance age," he says. "The reality is that you can buy a really, really nice horse that is already trained for less than that." When new clients ask Ryan Ferris, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACT, owner of Summit Equine, in Newberg, Oregon, about re- production services, he asks them about their intended use for the ensuing foal. "Most of my clients have bred a horse before and understand the responsibility of owning a horse," he says. "If they are a novice, I ask them if they are going to raise the foal for their own show career or riding enjoyment, or if they are planning on selling it." If the client plans to sell the foal, he en- courages them to research the going price for horses with similar futures. Searching sales ads for horses in the same competi- tive discipline with comparable lineages can offer a reasonable estimate for what that foal could bring. "I want the client to have a positive ex- perience with breeding, and this is a part of the planning process," he says. Although it's often less expensive to buy than to breed, the industry needs breed- ers to produce quality foals for buyers. So established breeders must consider each foal's future, too. "We never breed more horses than we are willing to support for their entire life- time, if need be," says Tricia Veley, who owns First Flight Farm, a 40-acre facility in Boerne, Texas, where she specializes in breeding quality dressage and hunter/ jumper prospects. She typically breeds 10 to 12 mares a year and also provides foal- ing services for other breeders' mares. "We don't fire-sale or bargain-price our horses; that's when horses become unwanted," she says. "They are all fairly priced, and we'll hold onto them and invest in their training until we find the right buyer." Other small-scale breeders are raising foals for their own performance program because breeding a mare and raising her foal offers an opportunity to replicate a prized competitive partner's traits. And it allows riders to be involved in every step of a young horse's development and training. That's why Amberleigh Moore, of Keiz- er, Oregon, has been breeding a handful of mares for her barrel racing program for the past 20 years. "When you've created, raised, and trained a foal, you know what you're getting, and you're not inheriting some- one else's problems," says the two-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier, who has won more than $750,000 with her current mount CP Dark Moon, aka "Paige." Moore and Veley are just two examples of small-scale breeders doing things right. In this article they and their veterinarians will share the secrets to successful small breeding programs. Matchmaking Breeding two horses was once based largely on geographical convenience. Frozen semen, cooled semen, and now embryo transfers have made top-notch bloodlines more accessible to breeders besides those in the Thoroughbred racing industry (who must breed via live cover). With such ease of access to semen, matchmaking is based as much on bal- ancing a horse's strengths and weaknesses as it is picking bloodlines. When Moore selects a stallion, she looks for one that complements her mare. "I have one mare that is smaller, so for her I've picked a stud that has a little bit more bone structure and muscle," she says. When Veley plans breedings for an upcoming season, she looks at the offspring from the previous seasons and determines whether she wants to improve on any of their attributes. In some cases she'll repeat the same cross. "I stay away from flash-in-the-pan trendy younger stallions," she says. "When I use younger stallions I'll look at what their sires and dams have done. It's always important to remember that even SMALL-SCALE SUCCESS Amberleigh Moore breeds a handful of mares, including CP Dark Moon, shown here, for her personal barrel racing program. KENT SOULE We never breed more horses than we are willing to support for their entire lifetime." TRICIA VELEY

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