Many of us, who have a beloved horse or two, feel the need to produce more just like him or her. Certainly this is completely understandable. We know that sometimes our animals, whether they be dogs, cats or horses, are with us for a comparitively short time upon this Earth. We know that at any time, we could possibly lose them. We feel the need to have offspring of theirs, to carry on in case we lose them. For the Mare owner, it's usually a pretty easy task to find a Stallion and put our Mare to him, if his owners are willing. For someone owning a lone Stallion, it's not quite so easy. However some might find a Mare owner, willing to take a free stud service for the Stallion owner to take the first foal and another free stud service for the Mare owner to keep the offspring. This can also most usually be accomplished.
However, let's look at some important facts to consider. Unless you have done a tremendous amount of serious homework, on the background (pedigree) of the horses concerned, the foals of any given union, can be quite - maybe "very", unlike the horse you hope to replace. I'm not just speaking of colour here, but in looks and temperament also. Producing offspring using a horse who is accommodatingly close by, just to breed to him, is almost never the right choice. Remember that the resulting foal, will only be half, genetically speaking, of the horse you are trying to replace.
Consider also, that even if you do breed and get a nice foal, it quite well might not be the sex you had hoped. What then? You will have to train him/her, feed it, advertise it and most of all, make absolutely sure it finds a forever home where it will be cherished and treated properly. Let me tell you "that" is no easy task - especially if your foal is of ho-hum breeding. Many - I should say millions, end up on somebody's table for dinner! Do you want to be part of that?
What if you do get a lovely foal and decide to keep it, but find you cannot afford to take care of another horse. Your older horse whom you thought you'd replace if something happened, might well live on for another 20 or more years. Remember, many horses these days live well into their 40's!!!! Many years ago, when my own daughter was little, I was offered a superbly trained, truly wonderful, Tobiano Cob mare. She would have been an ideal horse for all of us but I turned her down because she was, at the time 30 years old - even though she showed no sign of her advanced age. The lady who offered her to us, had had her dam, so I knew the age to be correct. The people who did purchase her, kept her until she died at almost 45 years old! A good lesson for me! Some horses can live into very old age and we must all be prepared for that. Also a good horse is a good horse - regardless of age and one must never overlook really good oldies!
But let's look at what really responsible breeding is all about. Probably 99% or all horses and/or dogs alive today, are "not" breeding quality. Certainly they might be lovely pets and well trained, but they should not be used to bring into the world, the next generation of their breed.
Recently, I came across a website of a Gypsy Horse breeder, who also breeds many different types of mixed-breed dogs. Believe me, there is no reason on God's Good Earth, to be producing mixed breed dogs on purpose! I can also guarantee that this breeder is not doing all the necessary genetic testing on her stock before breeding, to even know what dreadful genetic problems they carry. Most breeders such as this, give these dogs cutsey names such as GoldenPoos, Cockapoos etc. and dupe a gullible public into thinking they are real breeds. They are NOT! I have nothing against mixed breed dogs, but have a great deal of disgust against those who breed them on purpose as a cash crop! This particular breeder also states that mixed breeds have something called "hybrid vigour" and are supposedly "healthier" than purebreds, which is a known myth and sadly something new purchasers often believe. Poorly bred mixed breeds have just as many genetic and other problems, as poorly bred purebreds! Since she breeds dogs so irresponsibly, I can only imagine that she puts the same amount of research and knowledge into the Gypsy Horses and mixed breed Gypsy Horses she breeds. I was pretty disgusted after looking through the site.
Sorry, I wandered away from the subject slightly, but it's something which upsets me greatly.
Another myth, is that all animal females "want" to be Mothers. Fact is, that many actually try to kill or savage their offspring and don't make good Mothers at all.
Unless you happen to own a Stallion of superb quality and conformation, according to the Standard of his breed, are willing to make sure you can handle him properly and safely during a breeding and have very secure facilites for visiting Mares - then geld him! You had also better make sure your insurance is well up to date should something untoward happen to a Mare while in your care, should you decide to offer live cover.
Before deciding to breed, you should make yourself completely aquainted with the Standard of your breed and see how she/he measures up. Is he indeed such a good example of the breed that he/she will add much to it if bred? Be honest and note the various faults of your horses. Are their faults very minor or major ones which shouldn't be continued into further generations? Almost all animals have some faults, so it is up to you to make sure the Stallion you choose for your mare, is absolutely correct, where she is not. What about disposition and temperament? Are both horses you decide upon, likely to produce offspring with no temperament issues? Sadly, with the current popularity trend of our Gypsy Horses, there have been loads of upstart breeders - especially in the UK, hoping to cash in on a quick US market.
Many of the horses are not even purebred of long known Gypsy Horse ancestry. Thousands now, not finding homes in the UK, by the next foaling season, are being shipped off to the meat market! This is a fact!!!!! I now have several very knowledgeable Gypsy Horse enthusiasts, keeping me up to date with the dreadful conditions the breed is facing now in the UK. The breed is now one of the highest in those taken to Rescue, horses found starving, tethered along roadsides to fend for themselves, left out in pasture with no pasture left and often no water. It is a horrifying problem. Stallions left pastured their entire lives, with horrible medical problems and give little or no real care. When they can no longer produce or can barely walk because of major foot and leg problems, they are sometimes offered for sale to a gullible US buyer or shipped off to the meat factory!! Yet, prices - even for the poorest of quality found, remain high because of the "hope" of the breeder that someone will come along from the US and buy them up. Just remember, that long-time breeders of Gypsy Horses in England, who's families have been breeding for generations, won't be tethering their horses by the sides of roads or leaving them to die in fields, if they don't sell. Their prize herds are often hidden away where they cannot be viewed by the public. Their horses find willing buyers to other Gypsy families in the UK. They don't even need the US market, since they've been doing very well for 100 and more years, selling to and buying from, each other.
Sadly, many poor quality horses are indeed finding their way to the US. where no doubt, they will be bred, to produce even more poor quality animals for a growing market. These often imported by all-breed dealers, who saw a few people in the US, advertising Gypsy Horses for some ridiculous amounts of money, and thought they'd be able to cash in too. Many are finding out that it's just not easy to make money in the breed. Most of us have Gypsy Horses because we like them and never got into the breed with the hopes of making some fortune.
If you purchase from an importer, make absolutely sure they have a long history with the breed and that they purchase from well known, long-time, Gypsy Horse breeders and families. Make sure they actually visit the breeders in the UK in person and personally choose on sight, the horses they bring to the US.
Strangely enough, several have asked about breeding to my daughter's new colt. Some seem shocked when she tells them that if he doesn't turn out to be Stallion quality - he'll be gelded! It seems that many give no thought as to whether or not a particular animal really deserves to produce the next generation of his breed, or even how he might mature.
Remember, there are only two kinds of breeders - the responsible and the IRresponsible. It is I suppose, up to our individual conscience and how much we "really" love the breed, as to which we aspire to become.

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