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> Breeder Program History Do's & Don'ts
Georgia
post Aug 14 2005, 12:38 AM
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Hello all,

LMG brought up an interesting topic: LMG said:

"I would like to see a breeder program post ,something about a breeder's history, what worked and what didn't, why they changed, if they did , and why they persisted in their program. It would be of interest, I think to many who are just beginning, those who haven't started and those who are on the cusp of whether to breed a horse, or take the much easier route, buy the horse of their dreams".


LMG, I am most interested in your horses with the SE Gulastra lines and all the horses you have bred over the last 40 years.
I hope you don't mind me starting this and hoping you will share your wealth of information with us. I'm hoping others
that have several decades of breeding behind them can contribute to this thread for the sake of future breeders.

Georgia
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Guest_LMGGuest_*
post Aug 14 2005, 07:53 AM
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When I suggested this topic, it was not intended to be as personal history, but an opportunity for breeders to talk about how they came to be breeders and of all endeavors which they could have undertaken, why they chose one which is based primarily on hope, a tremendous gamble on a very risky venture and a willingness to keep on trying in spite of terrible losses, both in animals, finances and even sometimes in marriages.

It is very easy to be a nasty critic of others' efforts in this advocation, God help those for whom it is a vocation, but unless one has watched the most valuable mare, for whom one has spent years in trying to breed or buy, die while foaling or within days of foaling, a young mare or stallion disembowel themselves in a freak accident, or discover that the one's entire herd has a genetic disorder or a deadly enviornmental exposure and the two alternatives are quit now or quit later, then think carefully before you criticize and consider whether your statements are mere self-promotion.

I would hope those, who have been breeders for many years, and who come across this thread, would pause for a bit, think of why they became breeders of Arabians. Was it an intentional decision or an accident? Was it stallion based or did you start with a mare? Did you have mentors, or was it the old, I kept trying until I quit failing or stopped when I ran out of money. Did you stay with your first plan, or did you change it and why? Were you a self-described expert when you started and twenty, or thirty or forty years later, acknowledge that you still have a lot to learn.

For those of you, who have the incredible courage to let others have a glimpse of your personal history, I applaud you and there are many out in cyperspace who will join me. smile.gif

Lorriee M. Golanty
Golanty's Hamidbar Arabians
Paso Robles, CA
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Sharabia
post Aug 14 2005, 05:57 PM
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LMG, your post brought tears to my eyes, even though I am a "young" breeder I can relate to it - especially this statement:

"It is very easy to be a nasty critic of others' efforts in this advocation, God help those for whom it is a vocation, but unless one has watched the most valuable mare, for whom one has spent years in trying to breed or buy, die while foaling or within days of foaling, a young mare or stallion disembowel themselves in a freak accident, or discover that the one's entire herd has a genetic disorder or a deadly enviornmental exposure and the two alternatives are quit now or quit later, then think carefully before you criticize and consider whether your statements are mere self-promotion."

I have had the misfortune of experiencing some of what you stated in the above statement... You are so right. I am looking forward to reading more posts like yours, as it will also serve as a reminder to those of us who have not been in this business as long as some of you. I think sharing such stories will be encouraging and inspirational...

Sincerely,
Sheila Bautz
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Georgia
post Aug 14 2005, 06:02 PM
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Thanks LMG,
That will be wonderful great, do we have any breeders out there willing to share? I have a hard time hearing the tragic
side of any venture, as it is gut wrenching and makes my heart bleed. We know they happen and We have all had tragic things happen, as it is a part of living with loving breathing creatures that we do. But, we do learn so much from the hard side of life. Does anyone have anything that may save someone else from such heartache??

I would like to hear what worked out really well in your breeding program.

Georgia
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jsimicek
post Aug 15 2005, 03:08 AM
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Over the past 20+ years I have seen things that have worked and not worked for breeders. I have seen breeders come and go.

For one thing, overproduction and failure to age appropriately train young stock is one thing that is not productive to an up and coming breeder. Failure to recognize that success as a breeder comes with three basic stages and leaving out any one of them is a ticket to doom. It is easy to breed the horses, heck, they do it themselves if you leave them alone. This is not the main part of developing a program. Research into bloodlines and knowing what is going to cross with what is one part that will make or break a program. The hardest part and the one that is critical is the marketing. Knowing how to produce and sell the stock is what it is all about. I have heard people tell others that if they need to consult with more experienced breeders they have no business breeding, but I personally think that we can learn so much from each other and no one person knows everything. You will see the most successful breeders going to shows and other activities, researching, and visiting among themselves to learn more and to further their own knowledge. Learning does not stop, and it is how we grow.

Outstanding mares, the best one can afford, are the basis of a successful program. Breeding one good mare to one outstanding stallion is better than breeding many mares.

The versatile horse of the past has taken with it our shows and our family market. This has left us with a much smaller demand for our horses among the public. Many families look for horses within other breeds and in order to bring back our market, we are going to have to bring back the family horse, the versatile horse. Today's market for show horses consists of a specialty horse and this has lead to today's depressed sales and smaller shows. This has impacted the market and the breeders more than probably anything else.
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Timbuk2
post Aug 15 2005, 05:27 AM
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QUOTE (jsimicek @ Aug 15 2005, 04:08 AM)
Over the past 20+  years I have seen things that have worked and not worked for breeders.  I have seen breeders come and go.

For one thing,  overproduction and failure to age appropriately train young stock is one thing that is not productive to an up and coming breeder.  Failure to recognize that success as a breeder comes with three basic stages and leaving out any one of them is a ticket to doom.  It is easy to breed the horses,  heck,  they do it themselves if you leave them alone.  This is not the main part of developing a program.  Research into bloodlines and knowing what is going to cross with what is one part that will make or break a program.  The hardest part and the one that is critical is the marketing.  Knowing how to produce and sell the stock is what it is all about.  I have heard people tell others that if they need to consult with more experienced breeders they have no business breeding,  but I personally think that we can learn so much from each other and no one person knows everything.  You will see the most successful breeders going to shows and other activities,  researching,  and visiting among themselves to learn more and to further their own knowledge.  Learning does not stop, and it is how we grow. 

Outstanding mares,  the best one can afford,  are the basis of a successful program.  Breeding one good mare to one outstanding stallion is better than breeding many mares. 

The versatile horse of the past has taken with it our shows and our family market.  This has left us with a much smaller demand for our horses among the public.  Many families look for horses within other breeds and in order to bring back our market,  we are going to have to bring back the family horse,  the versatile horse.  Today's market  for show horses consists of a specialty horse and this has lead to today's depressed sales and smaller shows.  This has impacted the market and the breeders more than probably anything else.

jsimicek

Have to agree, far better to wait and purchase the best female one can afford, I have been looking now for a quality female to restart by breeding program, I am prepared to wait until I find exactly what I want that is within my price range, unfortunately I am quickly learning that the best are very rarely for sale, unless you are a billionaire wink.gif, which I am not unfortunately sad.gif

I like the idea of learning from one & other. Over recent months I have seen much evidence though that many breeders both old and new have very closed minds, and will not look beyond their own back yard, they will not venture beyond their own comfort zone, this is why we have so many sheep, look at the fads and fashions that go round the world, too many people following suit with out any research or forethought.

I suppose this has been going on since time memorial and it will not ever change, however the few that choose to think out side the square will succeed.

Cheers
Tim biggrin.gif
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ema
post Aug 15 2005, 12:16 PM
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QUOTE
Over recent months I have seen much evidence though that many breeders both old and new have very closed minds, and will not look beyond their own back yard, they will not venture beyond their own comfort zone


To work and struggle and take the losses, one has to be very determined... I see posts where younger folk say they want to be a breeder, but at the first real problem they say the dream has died... or they bounce from fad to fad, never settling down to what they really want (if they even really know what they want) .... How is one supposed to help in those cases?

Breeders I know are cautious about coming out and saying much, specially on the internet, where most anything that is said is turned and twisted until the meaning is lost in debate (polite for arguement over who knows what...lol).

I don't think the minds of the breeders are closed. I think they are waiting for those who might catch a spark of what it might take to be a breeder, and will have the perserverence to continue on...

But, to me, a breeder is not someone who just produces babies, whether they have been in this for 1 year or 100 years...

The painful decisions, the problems, the knowing you just lost the best mare you ever would own to an unknown cause... the expense, the criticisms (fair and unfair) are sometimes very hard to take... and that does not even take into account the learning curve, very steep, that is required...

Julia
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southwindarabian
post Aug 15 2005, 01:25 PM
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I guess you could call us new. We have been involved with arabians for over 20 yrs but only breeding and showing for about 10. Heartaches, geesh, yes, losing a stallion at The Event after 2 colic surguries, gorgeous filly permantely disfigured in a freak trailer accident-same time, losing a stallion to ulcers, losing a foal to a once again freak accident inhaling sand in the round pen, having anexceptional show and broodmare foal founder. However The rewards are beyond that. I live to see the new foals every spring. I actually enjoy getting up every 2 hours around the clock to watch the mares. Picking out what stallion will go with what mare and sitting on pins and needles the entire time,lol.
I will say we have been lucky in most breeding choices, While all have not been exactly what we wanted they have all, bar none been very athletic. We do this not for the money but simply because we have to. I don't know what I would do without seeing the critters everymorning.
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HLM
post Aug 15 2005, 01:35 PM
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Good morning everybody

What you all are saying is very correct. Breeding is an art and trial and error its ingredience. Nobody was born with their today's knowledge an wisdom is gained through experiences.

The way I see it, a breeder should firstly and mainly be a horsemen/woman, a rider, driver etc to learn how to evaluate a horse for whatever disziplin they wish to breed for.
Indeed the most important part of any breeding program is "the mare". One can not get more careful in making a sound selection. Indeed good mares are often not for sale or are expensive. But then one only gets what one pays for, considering knowledge. There is a difference between a Volkswagon and a Rolls Royce. One does not go to Tifferny to buy $ 10.00 costum jewellery. So, one has to learn where the best horses are in this world and then go look at them.

Dedication, persistance and often putting blinkers on is part of it. To establish a uniform herd is very difficult, so one must follow what one likes to have and see. A horse which can be riden or driven is far more valuable than one who only looks pretty but is not build to do a darn thing. Breeding only for this might not last.

We were fortunate to start off with excellent imports and never looked back. Never changed our program either, added to it with matching outcrosses, watched the production carefully and never overused our stallions.

Important also is to stand more than one stallion, because not all mares match with every stallion. One then needs to think of the daughters and how to breed them. We usually ended up standing between 6 and 12 stallions, so it was not that difficult to continue uniformity in every aspect.

Most important is to not breed from a stallion of a photo or video. One must see him in the flesh, see him under saddle or driving.
Stallion owners should also see the mares their stallions breed, to ascertain if there is a match. If this were not important, renowned breeders worldwide would not always have a number of stallions standing for their own herd. When a breeder accepts outside mares for breeding, has not seen them before, many times would recommend which one of their stallions to use, employing the thinking what they would do if they would own the mare.

If one only has a few mares, than possible outbreeding is the best thing to do.However, one must ascertain what the stallion produced, the good and the bad and try to not intensify faults, but try to outbreed them.

One must also pay respect to any type, even if such is not their preference. A good horse is a good horse and credit must be given.
Fsil doing this, such hroses might always defet yours.

Close inbreeding can be a disaster. Names mean only something if the horses are doing something, other than just looking pretty.

It is wise to travel around, see many farms/horses, take an expert along to be taught more. Open shows also help a great deal, closed shows for only a particular label might not be always the answer.
Look at the horse you buy and ask yourself, can it stand up in open competition in whatever dizipline. Look at your master breeders worldwide and see how they got there and stay there. Remember your horse does not go into the ring with a sign around its neck saying" Judge pin me first, I am an SE and carry this or that prefix".

You will also find that older experienced breeders will discuss with you in all fairness the good and bad of their horses but also of others. this is not bashing or slandering, it is educating to have the eyes learn to see.

It is also unwie to sell a foal/very young hrose to a newcommer who has never been on top of a horse. that spells disaster.
Rather tell them to use the money and take riding lessons first.
And to sell a top mare into hands, which never held a rein, is not good either. unless they have a trainer.

A horse buy is not a dress buy. you are buying many years of responsibilities to give your horse quality care. Only loving them is not enough.

Have a nice day
Hansi biggrin.gif
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post Aug 15 2005, 02:13 PM
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Thank you all who have replied, but I think we would like to know a little about you, and what you've done.

In my twenties, my mentor's were the breeder of *Raffles bred horses, Jimmy Wrench, the owners of Sotep; the Clark's, McCalleys in Washington State, the breeders of Alice Payne's programs, and an elderly English ex-pat, Sam Whitney. From them, I learned what they had tried and, to their mind, did not work, so what may have appeared closed mindedness was actually, a result of their work, and breedings they had done, which they felt did not work.

Although my horses were *Raffles x Blunt/Crabbet x a touch of Davenport and some of the Egyptian imports, *Roda and *Zarife, a bit of *Fadl, the truth was that a closely bred *Raffles line did not work as well with a closely bred Egytian lines as one would have thought. Years, later, after I changed the direction in which I was going, I read that Ms. Bazy Tankersley had tried that cross and she also felt it wasn't what she thought it would be.

I traveled, over several years, across the United States, seeking out breeders with reputations in following a Skowronek program, the Lodwicks, Garth Buchanan in Iowa, Bazy Tankersley, Alice Payne and small breeders of these horse: a famer with a mare and a Garaff foal in Idaho, a lady judge in Canada living outside (and I do mean outside) of Calgary, Canada to see the absolutely exquisite Ramos, I looked, and I looked and then I went to England and looked some more. It was not the show ring (although I showed my horses and loved to do so until I got tired of going around in a circle), it was the people who had bred these horses and their experiences, the hours of conversation with them, the minuets in which they would finally drop a pearl of experience that they had withheld, because I was just another person who came to see the horses.

One day, while in Monterey, California, I had been showing my stallion, in every class, except Mare and Foal, and was on the way back to the barns, when a girl walked by me with a tall gelding, who looked like no other Arabian I had seen in California. Chasing after her, I stopped her and asked if the horse was of a breeding which was very popular in California at the time. "No she said, it came from a breeder in the State of Illinois." Did she know the name of the breeder, yes, she thought it was the Babson Farm.

Sometimes, it is true, all that nonsense in songs, and books and movies, you think you are in love, and then you, unexpectedly ,meet the real heart's desire.

Breeding horses, and it is a bit of insanity, since unlike the Blunts and some of the early American breeders, horses are no longer an essential and utilitarian part of our lives, but those who, in spite of all common sense, continue to do so for years and years, seem to be born with a touch of this insanity, and we would like more of those who are inmates in this institution tell us about their original symptoms and the treatment.

LMG

LMG
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post Aug 15 2005, 02:19 PM
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I was posting when Hansi's and Southwind's posts had already been cyperspacing. Thank you so much, that's what we wanted.

LMG
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Ralph
post Aug 15 2005, 02:38 PM
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QUOTE
when a girl walked by me with a tall gelding, who looked like no other Arabian I had seen in California. Chasing after her, I stopped her and asked if the horse was of a breeding which was very popular in California at the time. "No she said, it came from a breeder in the State of Illinois." Did she know the name of the breeder, yes, she thought it was the Babson Farm.


Thank you LMG for this beautiful anecdote...you really made my day. smile.gif
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southwindarabian
post Aug 15 2005, 02:51 PM
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I agree with Hansi 100 %. We stand several stallions, and they are ridden at home for pleasure-might I add 3 of them are ridden by my 7 & 10 yr old daughters.
Who are we... Well I grew up on the east coast, started training professionaly at 14yrs old, never had a chance to be an amature. I started out with Dressage and open jumping, moved on to the track-wanted to see why all the TB's that came in where so screwy(don't get me wrong I love TB"s).I have also shown Walkers, worked with about every breed I could get my hands on-2nd to Arabians I love Andalusions. Woked on an Arabian farm-will not mention names-decided I would never work with them again until........jump forward several yrs, I had just sold my Open jumper, was looking around for another horse, freind called me up and said hey Summer I know where there is a horse and you need to look at him. I said details please. She said well.......we thinkhe is part Arab and he may be a stallion. Hum. I said what do you mean he may be a stallion is he out in a feild and plus I don't want an Arabian. She said no- in a stall but not nice. Great. so off I go to look at this maybe an arabian and maybe a stallion. I get there-after dodging feet and teeth for 45 minutes I get him haltered and out of the stall. Here is this 3yr old, weighing in at 550lbs rack of bones with a very not nice attitude. The owner showed up-I could'nt leave the horse like this so now I am the not so proud owner of an insane 3yr old stallion and yep he is a reg. arabian.
That said. His name is Monterray Bay I have had him for close to 19yrs now. My best friend. Nobody told me you couldn't barrel race, polebend basically playday on an arabian so I did. Nobody told me Arabians are not dressage horses so well he is 3rd level. Nobody told me you couldn't use a 14.3HH stallion to pony horses on the race track and push start young QH and TB's out of the gate so he did that too. Long story short He is my best friend, will never leave me. He taught both my daughter how to ride, as a matter of fact you could say he taught them to ride before they were born as I rode him up until the day I went to the hospital. Now I don't breed domestic's we have SE's and relateds. Honestly you couldn't switch me to another breed period. That goes for my husband as well.....He was a cutting and reining trainer. I was that crazy lady at the end of the road that boards stallions and oh yeah she has Ayrabs. He loves the minds on the arabians you ask they give.
So there is my history oh and why egyptians? Because I want the total package, pretty,temperment and athletic!
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Georgia
post Aug 16 2005, 01:22 AM
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Hi all,

I had an old horseman that once told me..."little lady" the day you think you know it all, no matter how many years you are around this wonderful creature called a horse, is the day you need to get out of breeding or off your horse and hang it up". He was almost 90 then and said, you never stop learning and if you have you need to look a little deeper. He also told me about some of the things he had learned from me.. FROM ME huh.gif a young whipper snapper of maybe 19 years old that had spent the last 3 years working on any farm that would let me ride their horses in return. That's how it started for me and I learned that if I was open to learn from younger horseman and older horseman alike it would never stop. Can you imagine the feeling of having a 90 year old cowboy tell you something he had learned from you? It was the most incredible gift and one I try and pass on. He always said you always have to remember that you were at that point in your life once.. you once knew nothing about what you were doing and started on this journey. What a journey having horses in your life is, I'm sure you will all agree there is no end to this journey. He also taught me that no one person can experiance all there is and why we all need each other.

I was never a breeder I would call had a program, all I can say is a bred a few horses of the blood that was the most precious to me. I didn't have the money and resources to go there, but I did get the best mare I could find for the amount of money I had and I did buy the best stallion I could afford. Although I wouldn't trade my years with "Moses" for anything (now 27 and we have been together 26 of those years). If I had been smarter (and it was possible to go back in time), I would have bought one good mare of his same breeding. It was so hard in the 80's to stand a stallion and even harder today, I would think. I can say our success was that anyone that came and looked at Moses bred to him; I just wish I could have done him justice. But, that was then and now is now and anyone reading this may change their course and may go down a better path than I did. Maybe better isn't a good word.. let's just say a different path.

Another thing I learned is listen to your horses. The first time I took my first horse a half-Arab gelding that I used as a lesson horse at the farm I worked on, swimming in the large farm pond.. let them make the big decisions on where to go. biggrin.gif I wanted to go this way and he didn't.. he finally did as I asked and we ended up in a mud bog, if anyone has been in one it's like quick sand. My horse went under not coming up for what seemed like an eternity, I kept swimming and not touching my feet down, as I knew I would go under as well. I had no idea where he was at this point, so I swam like crazy to get out of the area. All of a sudden he popped up and swam for shore. I finally made it; this horse waited until I got there and shook with mud flying everywhere, there was still so much on him and just coated me. You can only imagine how we looked getting back to the barn. laugh.gif He had a look that said, maybe next time you will listen to me. I have ever since. I also had a mare that had a cutting champion sire (my first mare) of Raffles/Czubuthan breeding. I bred her to a Babson stallion, the resulting baby wasn't exactly what I had wanted, but a nice well conformed horse. I sold this horse and he was the most amazing trail horse (stallion) there ever was. He probably got more breedings than most halter stallions. tongue.gif I watched as he ran up and down strip mined land never taking a miss step and looked ever so beautiful doing so. His owner was in heaven on this horse. I never sold a horse without their papers, as I always wanted them to have the best possible chance not to get to the feed lots. Maybe they were gelded before they left, but always papered. This horse taught me another man's junk is another man’s treasure; it is all in what you want or what you want to do. I have learned they are all treasures they just need the right home. (We use this phrase all the time, as we auction hunt for treasures in another man's junk). Meaning no disrespect, but only a moral to this story. I didn't breed his dam; to my stallion Moses as she wasn't good enough for him....it would have to wait until I could get a mare worthy of him. 3 years later, no other mare and many more hours of studying bloodlines, so I thought maybe breed her to my Morafic bred stallion (I did) and out came the most beautiful thing I have ever seen with 30 legs if there ever was such a thing. So, I learned it wasn't my mare; it was that I had not made the best choice for her in the beginning. I had a young lady who owned a Polish bred mare that wasn't anything I really wanted to breed, but she loved Moses and wanted the Gulastra and Morafic for her endurance horses. She had an ugly head and a croup only as long as my hand. But, she was a proven endurance horse. I agreed to breed her.. (like I was having my door broken down by mare owners.. wink.gif This mare proved my stallions ability to improve on a mare, the foal had a beautiful head and the croup was greatly improved, overall smoothness, great movement and legs. The resulting filly went on to become a very pretty, very good endurance horse.. she was so good, her owner pulled her off and started breeding her the next year. I saw several of my stallion’s grandkids that were absolutely stunning, every bit a horse I would have given my right arm for and hopefully they went on to do great things. And this gal did a great job on picking stallions for his daughter. Also, proving breeding away from problems works. Back to my cutting horse sired mare: a grown up colt that was turned out with a bunch of geldings that started attacking him... I saw this mare jump the fence, dive in to a bunch of TB geldings, cut this colt from the group of geldings and held him in the corner until I could get there to get him out. What incredible minds our Arabians have, and boy did I mess up not sending her to a cutting trainer as a young horse. She was a natural. After reading this ... I messed up a lot. cool.gif and getting depressed. wink.gif
Also, never be afraid to tell an Elder horseman or veterinarian your thoughts, no matter how little experience you may think you have in comparison. I saved my mares life, something was terribly wrong with her delivery.. she wasn't due for another 3 weeks, but she was huge. I was doing dishes and something just told me to go to the barn.. I did and found blood everywhere. I got the phone, got her up and I checked her to see what was happening. The vet arrived a half hour later and determined it was a breech.. I asked would you check again, those are her front feet I think the baby is upside down? The vet gave me a glare, but did check again and announced I was correct, that the baby was upside down, the head turned back and was probably killed the first contraction my mare had broke the foals neck. Then my vets focus changed in getting this foal turned and out (I won't go into detail, but I thought I'd never bred again). In my saying something, I saved my mares life or at least saved her more pain in trying to do the wrong things.

I got out of breeding and showing Arabians and went on to train Standardbred race horses (my husband’s family choice of horses), my heart is still with our wonderful Arabian horses. I have always owned an Arabian, since I bought my first half Arab at 19. I have 3 left today, last year I lost one aged mare, letting a Ramses Es Shams daughter go to her grave without one foal, Moses my 27 year old Ibn Morafic son and his 15 year old daughter and a Pure Polish mare that is my trail horse and a new pasture buddy to my 15 year old.
I have tears in my eyes thinking about what our Arabian breed could have been, what it still could be.. with all the hopes a mother has for their child and all the same passion. There are so many of us out there too, I am finding. I don't believe all the hog wash about there is no market....The market is there; someone needs to tap it by getting what we need. Fair and fun shows; focus on geldings and kids and horses that can do something for a living.

I'm hoping they throw in an egg and spoon class soon!! Now, that's entertainment.

Much appreciation in reading all your heart felt thoughts in this thread.

Georgia
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post Aug 16 2005, 11:02 AM
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This is a great thread with wonderful and instructive stories. I've been riding horses for 37 years. Never could afford a finished horse, so I bought green horses, first a pony, then a Tennessee Walker /Quarter Horse cross mare. When she died I was boarding them at an Arab breeding farm and working as a groom and stall mucker for my board. The farm had a handsome 3-year-old gray stallion, still almost black, with a tossing head, a flashing eye, and a trot that was out of this world. I had never worked with a stallion before, but figured it was time to learn. He was a tough horse to train and after getting badly injured I sought out a trainer who opened my eyes to the world of Dressage and European styles of training--much better than the "Cowboy" methods I had seen, and more refined than the home-style resistance-free method I had tried to use myself, going on little more than instinct and faith in the horse.

We got the horse trained, and he was a great riding horse and also became my best friend (after the pony passed at age 29), but tragedy struck in 1993 when he broke his front left pastern in a freak accident. I pleaded (and when that failed to work, coerced, bullied, and finally threatened) the local clinic to fix my horse, with the result that he survived, and one year later I was riding him again.

When I bought him in 1988, I knew little about Arab horses, but the breeders, Jack and Elizabeth Fippen, undertook my education. They introduced me to Al Khamsa and other preservation efforts. Pam Small, from Maine with a background in Standardbred racing, worked there, too, and was also totally converted by the Fippens' people-loving, beautiful, athletic Arab horses. Jack was writing a book in the '90s about Heirloom horses and asked me to help. He died in 1997 and his book was finally published last year. One of his oft-repeated sayings has stayed with me: "A small breeding program does not equate to a poor breeding program." (Heirloom Egyptian Arabian Horses, 1840-2000, p.325)

Ten years after buying my horse, I finally had the money and luck to get a good mare for him. They were not closely related in the first five generations but went back to very similar rootstock. With a friend (Pam Small) living in another state, we embarked on a program based on my research with Heirloom and Heirloom-related horses. We have had some difficulties overcoming the great distance between our horses (right now two are in Maine, three are in Illinois, and we have a half-interest in a stallion in Texas). One stallion died before he could sire any Al Khamsa get, and a mare that was given to us—15 hands, bright chestnut, Park style gaits, and loads of presence—died in a freak accident, injuring my business partner. In the past seven years we've produced two colts, both stallion prospects. I just put the elder under saddle (having been unable to find or afford professional training to my liking) and he's going to be at least as good as his sire, my old stallion. The younger colt just went to his first show and acquitted himself well in Sport horse In Hand classes, and his trainer (in Maine) thinks he has national-level potential in Western disciplines. This year I spent a bunch of money trying unsuccessfully to breed my mare to the Texas stallion. So I am advancing her riding skills and we'll try again next year.

I read a lot, and continue to research bloodlines, attend seminars, talk to long-time breeders as often as possible, participate in organized (and not so organized) preservation efforts, and look at other people's horses. Pam and I figure we won't be able to breed a lot of horses because of spatial and financial constraints, but we hope to continue the bloodlines we've chosen to preserve a few more generations embodied by personable, versatile, typey athletes that will be ambassadors for the Desert Arabian horse.

Cordially,
Debra Schrishuhn (and Pam Small)
Alara Arabians Cooperative
Urbana, IL & Veazie, ME
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