Monday, June 29, 2009


Why is it that people look down on crossbreds? They're often looked down on, particularly in the show world, like some worthless mutt, without taking the individual horse and its abilities into consideration. For every fugly grade horse someone can dig up, I can also dig you up a hideous registered fugly - bred with just as little thought as that grade horse. Personally, I think more emphasis should be placed on the horse itself - on what it can do. How do you think all the breeds we have today came about?

On the other hand, this isn't to say though that crossbreds should not be carefully thought out and planned; they should be just as carefully thought out as any purebred, perhaps even moreso, because some crosses just do not yield successful results. Also, this is not to advocate for the breeding of every Heinz 57 - by any stretch of the imagination. I strongly believe that you need to do your research when breeding. This includes knowing your horse's background (having a pedigree) - health genetics, conformation faults, etc, as well as examining current crosses on the market, so that you can determine the best cross for your horse. In a world with so many surplus horses (and now, a dismal economy), we owe it to our horses to breed carefully. Breed the best to the best and make sure there's a niche in the market for the type of cross you're breeding (unless you're breeding for your own uses and anticipate on keeping said foal for life).

So, let's take a quick look at just a few of the successful crosses out there (some of my personal favs):

Belgian x QH - These guys can make great cow/ranch horses with nice bone, without being huge horses. I knew one mare that stood only 14.2hh and could cut as well as any cutting-bred QH.

Clydesdale x Thoroughbred - this usually makes for a good sporthorse cross when you cross the athleticism of the TB with the substance and cool-as-a-cucumber brain of the Draft.

Friesian x Thoroughbred - another great sporthorse cross often particularly suited to dressage. Again the focus is on combining the best traits of both breeds - the athleticism of the TB and the brain and movement of the Friesian.

Holsteiner x Westphalen - of course you've got your warmblood x warmblood crosses as we refine and adjust our warmbloods to create better sporthorses to better suit our specific and current needs.

Morgan x Arabian
- these guys make great crosses by toning down the energy of the Arabian, combining the good brain of both breeds, and adding substance to an Arabian/adding more athleticism and a lighter build to a Morgan.

QH x Arabian - another fantastic cross whereby the build of the QH is refined and energy is perhaps even added to the equation, while still maintaining the QH brain and keeping the horse cowy (when bred to cowy QH's).

Warmblood x Thoroughbred - another very popular sporthorse cross, though I hear a rumour Standardbred x Warmblood crosses (when done carefully) can make even better crosses that are perhaps less likely to break down. With this cross you lighten the Warmblood build and perhaps create a quicker, cattier horse with the quieter mind of a WB.

Percheron x Thoroughbred - these guys can be excellent movers and are bred with the intention of creating athletic sporthorses. Sort of a North American emulation of European Warmblood breeding, in its infant stages.

As with any breeding - crosses between breeds need to be done with much deliberation and research.

Last note, here's a site I found with a variety of successful crosses - Benbar Farm. They have a lot of QH/TB/draft crosses that I wouldn't have thought of - they look fantastic! And those studs...*drool* (lol).


Anonymous said...

I've seen a lot of bad draft crosses. It seems like there is a really big horse on very tiny feet or a huge head on a tiny body. I agree there are some nice ones out there, but there are a heck of a lot of really really bad ones that give the whole crossbreeding idea a bad name.

Equus said...

I agree. Draft crosses I think can be particularly difficult and require a lot of research (into what works, parentage, etc), but so does any breeding - or should!

dl said...

ahhh genetic diversity. Give nature the chance to combine very diverse types and you can get some pretty weird offspring. That said you can end up with the best of both worlds, which I have seen many times.

Unknown said...

I have a draft cross, he is out of a Belgian/Arab/ dam out of a Paint stud. He is fantastic! Beautifully put together and very calm and good minded but still has a little fire. He is confident and will try anything as long as I let him think about it.