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breeder’s point of view (cont.)

breed mares in the count of 500 and more per season: they are promoted by professionals that easily make you believe that only these stallions’ offspring will turn out to be the super stars in competition. The fact that hardly any of these foals live up the hope that breeders place in them is soon forgotten when that shiny DVD is popped into your player. My advice: breeders beware!! None of the mentioned above will solve your mare’s problems. A word on “temperament.” Frequently I hear breeders

looking for “good temperament” in a stallion. That usually confuses me. First of all, if your mare doesn’t have the temperament you’re comfortable with, don’t breed her. Do not expect a stallion to fix that problem. Secondly, I have yet to meet a stallion who consistently passes on “bad temperament.” What is temperament? For the amateur, it might be the very laid back, calm, and sweet horse. For a competitive rider, it might be the hotter (but sensible) version with tons of spirit (which is essential in performance) but also with the “will” to go places. Probably this is a horse others would refer to as “bad tempered.” See where the cat bites its tail? Some Warmblood breeds do an outstanding job of

tracking mare families: Holstein’s Stamm Numbers for example are a great way to quickly see which stallions and performance horses come from a particular line. This is published information and available both in print and online. Or take the Thoroughbred and Trakehner breeds. They honor the importance of their female lines by giving foals a name that starts with the first letter of the dam, not the sire, and each pedigree paper carries a family designation. And why is that special? In many cases these families can be traced back for many generations and even centuries. Certain traits are very common in certain lines and knowing which mare line is the background of a broodmare will help to define her genetic potential, even though she may never have had a foal. The bottom line is that a thorough background check of

a mare line (and that absolutely stands true for any stallion too) is a must when researching breeding options. Clearly, when looking into recruiting a new mare into our breeding program, my first question is usually which mare line the horse comes from. Since we all have different tastes, a great versatility of lines is available today. And the international markets make things a lot easier as well: lines that are active in North America but have been diluted in Europe can be exported, while lines that are not yet present in North America can be imported. Many breeders in North America have gone through the hassle and joy of bringing new lines

64 November/December 2009

to America, which is vital for any breed. Over the years that has lead to a very high quality

standard in Warmbloods produced in North America today. At the same time, breeders in Europe start to realize that some of their best assets were sold in the 1980’s and need to “return home” which demonstrates that the flow of bloodlines and genetics is improving worldwide and will hopefully one day reach a level of equality. In conclusion, the quality of the mare that you select

as the starting point of your breeding program has to be very good in order to produce very good foals: foals that are marketable and rideable with a future in the very competitive sport horse world. Mares that don’t meet these standards should not be bred. This might sound harsh, but in the long run, it’s clearly the better choice for many animals. The equine market is flooded with foals, many with questionable quality to begin with, yet increasingly more foals are “produced” each year. And inspection scores, as noted in the beginning, do not necessarily reflect “quality” since it’s one way to determine the value of a broodmare. A mare’s performance record might make her much more valuable than an inspection committee’s conformational concerns when entering that mare into the studbook. Ultimately, you can’t ride on papers, model mare designations or premium titles. However, if the first three or four maternal ancestors of your mare have a track record of producing great sport horses, then you have an outstanding basis to work with. WT

About Maren Engelhardt: The 5th generation of an East Prussian family dedicated to the Trakehner horse, Maren Engelhardt has been involved in breeding and showing Trakehner sport horses for her entire life, primarily in eventing and dressage. With a PhD in Neurogenetics, she is a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA Medical School today and an active member of both the German Trakehner Verband and the American Trakehner Association, where she holds the position of Chair of the Education Committee. She regularly contributes to international equestrian publications such as Der Trakehner (Germany), The American Trakehner (USA), Horse International (The Netherlands, Official FEI publication), the online news service of the World Breeding Federation of Sport horses (WBFSH) and others. Sought after as a clinician as well, she has been invited as a teacher and speaker at various equestrian events, seminars and clinics. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77
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