Oddly enough I would never recommend that someone do what I am doing unless there were some logic to it or it really was to fulfill a dream... though I would still argue that that dream be fulfilled as responsibly as possible. The QH market is FILLED with backyard breeders who all have a "beloved" horse they want to breed. A lot of those backyard bred horses end up will little future. I dont think my dream should come at the expense of being a responsible horseman. And if I have my way, it wont. I have a dream that I want to make happen and that is to breed and raise a QH of quality from birth and to start it (with help) myself. I want to help create a productive member of equine society. I think I can. Or at least I know I'll do well enough that my mistakes will be the fixable kind. If I weren't me and I said that I wanted to do this I'd probably tell me that I needed to wait until I had more experience and that it doesnt make logical financial sense and so on... but I am me and I get to tell that person to be quiet. This is a bucket list item and I want it done while I'm still young enough that I'll have the nuts to get on that first ride. I am responsible enough that if I really thought I'd f-it up beyond repair I wouldnt be doing it. I'm also passionate enough about AQHA genetics to have an educated opinion on what I am breeding for and to and what kind of QH can be bred without adding to an over saturated market.
The question was asked, "Why this foal?" Because it should have the best bet of being what I want. What I want is Abby, without the ghosts... I've dealt with ghosts of owners past in all my horses and it just goes with the territory but that is specifically why I want to raise my horse from the ground up... I want to know that any mistakes that were made were mine alone not some asshat in a cowboy hat. I also want to know that I've done my best to produce the best horse I can for the job. If I only get one kick at the can to make this dream a reality I want to do it on a foal born to a mare I love and respect.
To be frank, and forgive me for sounding snobby but there seems to be a bit of a bias out there towards anyone breeding and producing QHs. It is much the same as dog breeders. Just because there is an overabundance of really poorly bred Golden Retriever puppies coming out of less than respectable breeders does that mean that the responsible breeders who are genuinely out to produce working, healthy dogs for responsible owners should quit breeding? I had an argument with a lady who felt just that way. She ran an equine rescue of sorts and felt obliged to give me shit of breeding my mare when there was already so many unwanted horses in the world. We didnt see eye to eye on the issue because she failed to recognize any horse as having a greater quality or value then any other. They are all God's creatures after all. If only the world worked like that. Rarely do horses who have been selectively bred for a certain sport and for within a specific market find themselves in a rescue. Take that starvation case out in Monroe Washington last year. How quickly do think it would have been to find homes for a lot of 30 starving "ranch" horses? Usually months. Usually those horses would end up at a feed lot or quickly deplete the resources of a local rescue. But the majority of those horses had homes within days. Why? Because they were valuable. Despite their condition, the papers attached to those horse gave them a home. My further argument to that anti-breeder was that responsible breeders fine tune their breeding program to meet market trends (including cutting back in a recession) unlike BYB (backyard breeders) and the big ranches still mass producing antiquated stock. I asked her, in those fifteen years what percentage would she guess were registered stock out of earning and performing sires and dams. I asked her how many times she had in an foal out of an own daughter of Gallo Del Cielo in her rescue. We agreed to disagree.
Why this foal? Simple. I'd love nothing more than to have that horse I raise to be a young, clean slate replica of Abby. And I'd love it if we could improve her just a little but crossing her on JJ and borrowing from him the things Abby is short on. Add JJ's blood in the mix and we'll hope that he'll give that foal quicker feet, some snap, speed and his gorgeous movement. Abby has the breeding that I love (you cant ride papers but I am passionate about AQHA genetics and having proven genetics just gets my rocks off.) but most of all she is everything I love in a horse. She has a mind of gold, she is all try, she is strong, sound, and really want to please. She is a rockstar. JJ was also shown until his late teens as a SOUND horse (not common for a reiner) and has proven that he has the body to do the job and do it VERY well... he is a highly accomplished reining horse ridden by some of the best names in the biz. I love his breeding... it is that classic, time tested and true magic cross of Hollywood Jac x on Topsail Whiz. This future foal should have every chance of being straight, sound, mentally solid and talented. She is a quality mare and he is a quality stud, their foal should be every bit as qualitative. It should be able to rope, rein, cut a cow and ride the high country. With JJ's movement their baby might even look sweet in an english saddle! I believe in nature and nurture (not nature vs. nurture) and that a foal learns a lot from his dam and in that way Abby is also ideal. I plan on having Abby and riding her, hauling her and having her around while that foal is growing up. It will have a great role model.
I want a foal born to be mentally and physically sound and I want to grow a foal to have a mentally sound mind and body.
The foal will not come home until November of 2011. Yes, I do have to consider the cost of keeping that foal for another year and half after he is weaned but my hope (my BIG hope) is that by next year I'll have my own place (by hook or by crook). It is still FAR FAR FAR cheaper to go out and buy a horse ready to ride but having my own place will make this dream not quite so expensive. If I don't have my own place by then... well, I might just consider not buying him at all. But I'll deal with that when the times comes. I have about a year from when that horse comes home until I can start playing with him. Once I am able to start using and enjoying him (not just riding... I'll pony him around and start getting him mentally broke) I'll stop counting his keep in to his ultimate "cost". Why?
I equate horses to having a boat. If I bought a boat for $10,000 and used it for a year then sold it for $9000 I would consider the cost of having that boat to be $9000. I would not add up all my moorage fees, my gas, tune ups, trailer etc. But if that boat sat idle because it's engine was out of repair and I needed to drop $2000 in to it in order to get it running I would consider the cost of that boat to be $10,000 plus the $2000 for the motor plus my moorage while it was sitting idle. If a horse is being used and enjoyed I dont look at the cost of his keep as part of his expense. I see it as the cost of my enjoyment. If that horse is sitting unused because it is unsound or too young to be used I count the cost because that is money out of my pocket that I am not getting any use of. The same goes with the lessons, training, shoes, etc....that is just the cost of pony time.
In the next post I wiill explain why I am so keen on Marcy having that foal in it's first six months and why I dont consider that time to be too great of a compromise in the "raise it myself" part of my ultimate dream.