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STALLIONS

Many stallion owners have also been adversely affected by the economy. Some breeders, especially those who breed to sell, have taken a ‘wait and see’ attitude and have cut back on breeding. Others, who may have bred for themselves, have opted to buy foals already on the ground instead. This combination of factors has made the market for stud fees more competitive than ever. Maryanna Haymon, who stands the Grand Prix

Hanoverian stallion Don Principe, says she sold only one- third as many breedings in 2009 as she did in 2008, in spite of having one of the top competitive dressage stallions in the U.S. at the moment. Jean, Josephine, and Alicia Padro (who represent a total of nine stallions between them) have all reduced their stud fees. I feel fortunate to stand one of the only approved Friesian Sporthorse stallions in the U.S., and still I’ve reduced my own stud fees as well. As stallion owners, we all realize how tough the market is now. Alicia feels reducing stud fees is a necessity right now to “help support the American breeder” and to make sure there continues to be quality American- bred foals available. Jean agrees that it’s crucial to keep the industry going, adding that sometimes you “have to go where the market goes…” Wendy, who stands the American

Warmblood stallion Beste Gold (by Belucci), also notes that the market in general is “saturated with stallions.” Carrie Simmons, owner of the AWS 2008 Stallion of the Year G Walkabout, recently gelded him stating that “the Warmblood stallion market is just so competitive—it’s hard to stand a stallion right now, unless you want to virtually give your stud fees away.” And Wendy cautions that if stallion owners reduce their stud fees too much, it devalues the foals, so this can leave stallion owners feeling like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the flip side, there does seem to be optimism among some stallion owners that 2010 will be a better year than 2009. Rose Sullivan of SE Farm, owner of the stallion Claire de Lune (by Contendor), reports that so far this year she has sold more breedings than she did last year. She’s hoping that it’s a good sign that our economy has turned the corner. She admits that it’s been a big investment in the stallion’s training, competitions, PR, advertising and marketing, but she feels it is paying off. While it’s a tough time for many stallion owners, this

can be a great opportunity for mare owners, particularly mare owners who may be considering breeding that one special foal for themselves. Unlike the breeders who breed foals to sell, mare owners who are breeding for themselves are not affected by the market, and in the meantime can take advantage of many great offers on stud fees. As Wendy says, if a mare owner is thinking of breeding a foal for themselves, “now is the time to do it!”

CREATIVE MARKETING

As breeders are taking a closer look at their bottom lines, some are also expanding their options to include free networking alternatives, such as Facebook and internet bulletin boards. I first set up a Facebook page for my own farm in

November of 2009. It was free and simple, took less than ten minutes, and I was excited to have over 100 ‘fans’ in just the first few weeks. Although my Facebook page will never replace my website, it is a free and convenient way to supplement it. Many other breeders have been

SE Farm’s stallion Claire de Lune and Robyn

Fisher. Photo by Amy McCool

attracted to Facebook as well. Alicia Padro of Barrington Hill stands the Elite Hanoverian stallion Escapade (by Escudo I) and his full brother Escapade II. She says she first joined Facebook about six months ago, and admits the prospect of networking was one of the main attractions. Josephine and Wendy are also both

actively networking on Facebook. All three of these stallion owners currently have fan pages for their stallions and/ or their farms. Josephine, who stands the Holsteiner stallion Contester II (by Contender), only joined Facebook in February, but comments it is a great idea and a great way to network with breeders. Alicia feels that one of the biggest benefits of Facebook, in addition to being free, is that “Facebook is interactive, unlike a website.” She says it’s a great place for people with offspring of her stallion to keep in touch and share updated photos so others can learn about him and his offspring. Stallion owners also seem to be more active on the

internet forums. While some of the most prominent

internet forums like The Chronicle of the Horse’s Sport

Horse Breeding Forum have strict no-advertising policies, there still seems to be an increase in participation on the part of stallion owners who are taking the time to follow discussions and recommend their stallions when

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