Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Sorry these blogs were a bit delayed - I was busier than I anticipated last week prior to leaving for work, and did not have the internet access I was supposed to have on my computer once at work to post these blogs this past week!!

I found the following reader letter, from Horse & Rider (Sept 09, p14), interesting:

June's Mail Call asked what readers thingk about those who are taking in unregistered horses and planning to breed them. The obvious answer is that these grade animals should not be bred, and that doing so will only add to the unwanted-horse burden.
But if these owners shouldn't be breeding, where do you draw the line? No one should be breeding? Only pedigreed horses should be bred? Only winning show horses should be bred? The problem isn't so much one of breeding, but rather one of imposing judgement: If we judge others, then they have the right to judge us for something they think we shouldn't do. Already have three children? You shouldn't have any more. Watching TV? You should be volunteering at the homeless shelter instead. Buying a new farm truck? You should be buying a smaller, more efficient vehicle. You should/you shouldn't.
There's always someone with an opinion on how we should live our lives. Certainly there's a line where we need to interferere, such as in cases causing pain or permanent harm. But this is America, and Americans do have the right to breed their horses, whether others think they should or not.

I am the first to say that breeding should always be done responsibly: breed the best to the best with the goal of producing a foal exceeding its parents in quality. However, this reader, I feel, is right – who are we to judge? It is not so black and white…

Some arguments both for and against to consider:
With registered/pedigreed horses, you can be aware of any genetic/health problems that could arise in bred foals and thus make an educated and fully-informed decision. You also know the bloodlines and genetics that might enable you to breed for a specific goal - for a foal best suited to a specific discipline or purpose for which you are breeding.

Knowing a horse's genetic past can aid you in creating a foal with the correct conformation to ensure it a successful career and life (hopefully one outside of feedlots and slaughter houses).

In my opinion, I think a registered horse has a better chance than a grade horse at staying in a good home and out of a slaughter house. That is just my opinion.

Who are we to judge who breeds what? Some of the best horses have come from unknown or unremarkable pasts, and grade horses can be bred to create horses with just as much talent and ability as a registered/pedigreed horse.

How many of us have seen conformation-train-wrecks - of both grade and registered? Or high-quality animals that were grade?

Maybe the problem does not lie within grade/registered, but within individuals breeding or not breeding with adequate conformation and general knowledge? In that case, perhaps the answer is education, rather than criticism. One part of me wants to have some type of program, like in European countries, that regulates breeding - to ensure only the best are bred and thus that every horse has a standing chance. On the other hand, the larger half of me wrestles with over-regulation and control. For one, I am sure a good many horses are "missed" simply because they did not pass the correct tests and were not given the appropriate opportunity. Furthermore, there are likely others who pass the appropriate testing but do not positively impact - or who even negatively contribute to - the gene pool. The judges at tests are only human, after all.

Food for thought!

1 comment:

Blue Roan Pony said...

I was just thinking about this as I read your post... maybe we should get a liscence to be allowed to breed horses. You go to write an exam based on the basics of breeding: how to choose the right dam/sire,the abc of comformation etc. If you pass (the pass rate could be something like 70% to make sure that no one pass by chance) you get your breeding liscence.