Saturday, May 2, 2009


My Stacy mare is about ready to foal and I have to decide what stallion to breed her to. The stallion that I had chosen does not live cover. I have AI'd her a half dozen times and only had one foal. I have better success with live cover. I know it is a wild idea, I want to breed her to her half brother Spider. I have been reading everything that I can find on this subject. Even though the paternal side is the same the maternal side of the horses doesn't have one ancestor in common. The chances of a defect are slim and most of the articles claim that it is ok as long as you do not exceed the 50% of one ancestor. Has anyone out there done this, own a horse that is closely related, or know of someone? How did it turn out, would they do it again? This baby is for me, I have no plans to sell it. Stacy is 18 years old with chronic laminitis, she wears special shoes. This years baby may be her last. After this one is born, I'm having the Chiropractor come out and adjust her. If he thinks another baby will be too hard on her she is done. She can just stand out there and eat until she is just to uncomfortable. I may take a lot a slamming over this, one of my friends wasn't thrilled with it. Maybe I'm being selfish wanting a foal out of the 2 horses that I love the most.


Jessie said...

Here is a link to my filly's pedigree. Her sire was a result of what you are describing...

You will have to copy and paste because I'm not sure how to do a direct link in the comments here...

Anyway, I know that my filly's sire is a really nice horse. He was used as a breeding stallion for a few years and then he was gelded to become his owner's trail horse. They've never had any problems with him. My filly turned out fine too!

Good luck in whatever decision you make!

Katharine Swan said...

I wouldn't do it.

1) If you love that horse so much, why would you put her through another pregnancy? Carrying the extra weight has to be making her more uncomfortable, special shoes or not.

2) In-breeding is done all the time in the racing industry, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it should be done. Even if there isn't a defect as a result, you could still be accentuating traits from their line that shouldn't necessarily be accentuated. Furthermore, even if the risk of a defect is "slim," that isn't the same as non-existent, and are you prepared to spend the money and suffer the heartbreak if something is wrong with that foal?

3) I don't know how the horse market is where you are at, but here it is totally saturated. Tons of really nice horses aren't selling. Now I know you plan to keep this baby, but think of it this way -- that baby would displace a horse that already exists that you might be able to give a home to otherwise.

I think there's lots of reasons not to breed Stacy -- to any stallion, but especially to her half-brother. But probably the biggest reason that I can see is that by breeding her again, you could be shortening her life by hastening the breakdown of her feet. If you really love her so much, isn't it more important to keep HER around for longer than to breed a baby that might not even be anything like her in personality?

Jean said...

I don't know a thing about breeding, so I can't comment.

However,there is a lot to be said about whether or not bringing another horse into this world is the right thing to do. Katherine does make some good points.

Would it be fair to Stacy? At 18 and lame, it just might be painful for her.

Guess you have a lot to think about on this one. Maybe some of your other readers will know more about the kind of cross breeding you are considering.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Here is the way I look at it...

You know the mare and you know the stud. What traits do they have in common and how much do you like those traits? Because that is likely what will be concentrated by the cross.

Inbreeding and linebreeding have been done...and successfully I might add, since the domestication of the horse. How does anyone think we developed any of the breeds we have today? When done selectively, it has tremendous benefits.

The only time I have ever seen problems arise from inbreeding(which this essentially is) is when the breeders ignore poor quality or traits in either of the closely related individuals. Considering you have cutting stock, there are two known genetic disorders that might affect your decision, HERDA(Poco Bueno) and GBED(King), both have tests you can have done, although you might be short on time if you think you might need to test for those.

I also COMPLETELY understand how you feel about wanting to breed a mare you really like, one more time. It's darn hard to find a mare you like and with the added bonus that you know what her foals are going to be like. Those of us that raise horses, especially those of us that raise them for our own use, like to perpetuate a line that we know we like and that we get along with.

We are not the same as people who just go buy a horse because they want a horse.

You know this mare does not have many more years on her. Whether she carries one more foal or not, she is probably not going to make it to "old age". If she is healthy now, why NOT take the opportunity to get that last foal? I would!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I'm just thinking about your much-loved, precious, senior, lame mare, Stacy. If it were me, I wouldn't do it. I agree with Katharine and Jean.

Also, things happen and you can't take care of your horses anymore. Sadly, it happens to alot of well meaning, good animal owners every day.
(Look at me, not being able to physically take care of my own horse)

Around here in New Mexico, horses are being given away, sold for less than $800 and even being dumped on other folks' land or out on Public lands to starve.

Are you sure you could take full financial, physical and emotional resonsibility, (including complete training, so it would be sure to find a good home if you had to give it up) for another horse, even if it might have health issues, for at least another 20-30 yrs?

Just a few questions to ask yourself before you go ahead with what you are considering.

Like Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park, "Just because we can, doesn't mean we should".


ps How's Stephen's ankle/foot/leg doing now? I hope he's all healed up better than new :)

Donna said...

Wow Callie, tough decision. I wish you the best.

Callie said...

Not my decision, Donna, This one is on Jess, my co-author to this blog. I don't breed, because that's not why I have my horses. Mine are just non-pedigreed muts, I occasionally ride around the field or if I get a chance to trail.

Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses said...

Thanks Jessie. Katharine, you do have some valid points. The one that I am most concerned with is if something is wrong with the foal. As for the other points.

1.She gets the best farrier care, vet care and chiropractic work when necessary. All my horses do. She is considered broodmare sound. I would never endanger her. I've been around breeding farms for over 10 years. If their feet are really bad they won't even carry. People would send them in for breeding and they would never take.

2.I breed for cutting show horses. The market is tough, but is still out there. I do not need to buy any horses because I bred and raise them for myself. I try to take them all to the show pen. My boyfriend and I bought a few young horses in the fall for a competition that will sell. I want a specific blood line to show, that is why I breed my own. I keep more then I sell. When my stallion is done and Stacy is done, so am I. I will be close enough to retirement and will be to old to jump on 2 year olds. I bought two colts that someone was starving this winter. I will probably keep one and find a home for other. I've done my share of saving horses over the years. I find them homes. If I breed one and sell it, it usually goes to someone that I know that also shows cutting horses.

3.I do not want to put a defective foal on the ground. There is a chance no matter what stallion she is bred to. She had one colt that now has a slight twist in his foot. The stallion does and I never noticed it. The stallion owner has the foal and wants to sell him now because of it. I'm trying to buy him back. I'm enrolling in the Greener Pastures program with AQHA. I would try to take back any horse that I bred if it ends up crippled or just needs a retirement home.

Katharine Swan said...

Wow, Callie, thanks for explaining that. I've been reading this blog for a little while now and I still missed that somehow!

Jess, I'm glad you are conscientious about rescuing horses when you can. I still don't think you should do it. Even if you choose to ignore the overpopulation problem -- which I couldn't -- you still have the issue of your mare's feet. I do believe you give her the best care possible, but are you SURE that she is comfortable enough to carry another foal? Horses have an amazing tolerance for pain, but just because they don't show it doesn't mean they aren't feeling it.

I also am highly skeptical about breeding not taking if the mare's feet aren't sound. That sounds like a myth to me.

As for the concerns about something being wrong with the foal, I honestly can't give you any more specific advice about breeding other than what I've already said. You might want to have blood tests done on both horses, and perhaps have a professional analyze the results for you. If they are both carriers for some genetic problem the foal could end up with it.

In any case, I am very glad that you are enrolling in the Greener Pastures program (I saw the blog post on this the other day). I think your heart is in the right place, otherwise you wouldn't be hesitating and asking for advice -- you would have already done it, and not cared about the consequences.

Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses said...

Thanks B.E.C, neither one has a lot of King or Poco Bueno. It it so far off the papers. They are both of good confirmation and great dispositions. L.O.R you have points that I have considered. With all the advances in vet care horses are having foals well into their 20's. My one mare had one at 24. She would still be going if she had not slipped on the ice the witnter before last. I had to put her down, the winter was hard on all of the animals including us. I have a place to go with them if I can no longer care for them. Right now we are showing 4 horses and I have one in training that is entered in the Futurity. I do not want to sell him, the trainer priced him to someone for $50,000. I'd have to see the check before I'd think about it. Right now as far as breeding her, the vet will let me know.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Whoops! and Whew! Callie, I didn't know you shared your blog with other folks. I thought you wrote that post, which had me scratching my head a little. lol! I don't remember you ever posting about any other horses besides your two. :)


Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses said...

I would like to thank everyone for their comments. It was a hard decision to make. A long time ago a friend that bred both thorougbreds and arabs gave me advice. She told me to breed my mares every other year to let them heal up. Stacy had a false pregnancy last year and was in foal this year after just getting covered a couple times. The market as far as reining and cutting is concerned is holding up and is expected to have a little bit of a rebound in the fall. I'm taking Stacy's 3 year old to the futurity this year. If he does well, I will have Stacy vet checked next year and book a well bred high dollar stud that I've always wanted a foal out of. If my 3 year old does really well, I can do embryo transfer. I have a mare that we bought in the fall that had a gorgeous filly last month. We bought her for Spider. I have not bred anything that we have owned to Spider in over 4 years. The last one was Kansas, who Spider hates. Gerald is showing that mare's 4 yr old (Angel). By the way, never name anything Angel!!

photogchic said...

I wouldn't do it. Not worth it. For the same resason Katherine Swan posted. Have you thought about looking for a young horse with her similar bloodlines to your mare? I sometimes look on Dreamhorse for certain bloodlines of horses I have had and loved. Good luck with your tough decision...I know we all want to clone our horses and many do that by breeding...but you rarely get the foal you are better off looking for that perfect horse for you. Think of this as well...100,000 unwanted horse in the US every would be sure to find a good match within that 100,000.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Sounds as if you have thought everything out. Sometimes it's good to be able to put things out there. Sometimes just saying them outloud(so to speak) makes things much clearer.

If it means anything, I think you are making a good, well-thought out decision. People really need to understand that breeding for a purpose is still relevant.

There might be 100,000 unwanted horses out there, but I don't have the time nor the inclination to sort through the junk to find a good one. I'll stick to raising my own. Haven't had to dump a horse yet.;)

Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses said...

Why are they unwanted? That is a blog in itself. Photogchic, I understand what you are saying, if I could, I would save them all. Unfortunately a lot of those unwanted horses cannot be fixed. I have one mare that was abused at some time in her life. I have not been able to gain her trust. One day she may hurt someone, not intentionally, just from fear. I bought her in foal. Im worried that she is going to pass that on to her colt. She will not be bred by me. So many go from sale to sale because of behavior problems. I found a younger full sister of Stacy's, the owner wanted far too much money for her. I just want a filly out of Stacy, I think I will get one this year. Stacy was my first cutting horse. I took her to the World Finals. Her 2 colts are extremely cowy and athletic. We don't know how the last one will do yet. I know what I have in her, another horse would not be the same. My 3 year old out of her is still a stallion. No one would ever know. I plan on cutting him after his 4 year old year, stallions hold up better competing. I commented earlier that I do not plan to breed her to Spider, she will most likely be left open this year. Trying to carry one while nursing will be a little harder on her.

Katharine Swan said...

Why are they unwanted? ... Unfortunately a lot of those unwanted horses cannot be fixed.I'm sorry, but that really makes me mad. It's a total pro-slaughter excuse that the horses going to slaughter are "unwanted for a reason." Now I don't know where you stand on that issue, but that totally sounds like where this is going.

The majority of "unwanted" horses are not unwanted because there is something wrong with them. They are unwanted because there are too many horses and not enough homes. And with that in mind, I really don't think any breeding right now is responsible. Give the horses already living a chance to find good homes before you go creating more!

Callie said...

I have to pipe in here myself a bit too, I agree that there IS a lot of unwanted horses that are unwanted because they cannot be fixed, WHY? poor breeding, people who think they can but cannot, abuse, over breeding for just the sake of trying to make a buck. I have to stick with Jess & BECS here, if you're breeding for yourself, than that's a perosnal decision and you personally take on that responsibility and it's for a personal horse you train for your purpose. Have I ever considered it? Once, but I decided that I was NOT equiped to properly train that foal and neither of my mares are pedigreed, so I adopted a throw away foal and it died within 7 days of her adoption, nothing that I did, she twisted her gut, but more than likely had something wrong internally as she had disfigured genatalia and that's why that breeder was going to send her to kill, so I took her, in the end I tried and she died anyway at the total cost of about $1,000 between trying to save her and the cost of having someone pick her up afterwards. I agree too that there are thousands of adoptable horses out there, but if you've ever sat and watched what goes through an auction and most of those "unwanted" horses do, you'll see just what is wrong, most of them. Maybe you'll get lucky and find a gem, but a high quality working specialized horse for your particular discipline? Not likely. It's MOST unfortunate, I agree and it's sad. Most resposible breeders are now only breeding for themselves and one at a time or every other year and I think that's ok. At least the ones I've come across have, especially in this market. There is not enough people for the horses, that's a cold hard fact, they're expensive to keep and care for PROPERLY, but those of us who do have horses, usually have what we can afford and nothing more, unless we are irresposible and take on more than we can afford. As for myself? That's why I only have two, the two that I can afford to care for and the two that I can love and are right for me. As to the slaughter issue? We won't go into that here, we've been there and done that and there have been heated arguements on this site in the past. People will hold their opinions on that issue whatever they are and in the end , it still doesn't get resolved. There is just NO point in that discussion. I know Jess values the opinions given here and they all have helped her to make her decision. And thank-you all for giving your thoughts on the matter.

Katharine Swan said...

Oh, Callie, I understand completely not wanting to get into the slaughter argument. I agree, most of the time no one changes their minds, feelings just get hurt on a blog that ought to be a friendly virtual gathering place. I was just noting that I hear that excuse in that debate too, and that I don't buy it.

The problem I see with the "just breeding for ourselves" justification is that no one can 100 percent guarantee that they will never go under, never have to sell their horses, etc. Especially in this economy!

Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses said...

Very well said Callie and B.E.C!! Callie forgets of another horse that came with her sweet Misty. She had a yearing filly that cost her a lot of money in vet bills because of her nasty temper and she was horrible to handle. She went to a sale and none of us looked back as we drove away. The opinion of slaughter will never go, they have been discussed over and over and go nowhere. I will tell you for a fact it is still out there and if you sell your horse for less then the equivelent of 20 cents a pound to a stranger, that is most likely where it is going. I had an argument with a friend because I mentioned that her husband bought a pen of killer horses, she claimed he doesn't do that. I know better. That is why I bought two broodmares last fall. That's where they would have gone, doesn't matter in Canada or Mexico if they are in foal. That is the world we live in.

Katharine Swan said...


I thought we weren't going to go there. But if we are...

150 years ago "the world we live in" included slavery in the U.S. If everyone had the attitude that you can't change the way things are, it would still be that way today.

Oh, and if in the 19th century a group of women hadn't started a tireless campaign to ensure that "the world we live in" included equal rights for women, you wouldn't own your land -- or your horses -- today.

So saying "that's the world we live in" doesn't justify it or mean that it can't be changed. I agree that some horses may need to be euthanized if there are no other options, but it needs to be done humanely. A slaughter facility is anything but humane.

Callie said...

Oh, I don't forget about Sofia, she was pretty, but I could not trust her, she came to me still unweaned at almost a year and hungry. I did my best for as long as I could and that was that. Maybe I should have given her more time, but I couldn't deal with the food behavior and she kicked my husband in the head. I've learned a lot over the past 9yrs.

And it is true what Jess says, whether we agree or disagree about the slaughter issue, it is still going on. Every sale, every auction, the kill buyers are standin' there.

Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses said...

Kathrine, I wasn't debating the issue. I know what I see and what I hear. I don't watch the news anymore because I'm heartsick over parents killing their own children. Locally a 3 year old OD'd on cocaine that dear sweet daddy brought in.
I get a fraction of the pay that the man before me received. No matter how far women have come, men still occasionally talk down to me. I do what is normally considered a man's job in a basically male company.
I could not have children. My horses give me the joy that others receive from their children and grandchildren. How many people decide to stop at one child because the world has gotten to hard to raise their children safely? How many people tell their children that it would be wrong to have a child because the world is heading towards over population and children are starving all over the world. My choice, wait for Armageddon and let Jehovah God sort mankind out. I am kind to animals and go my best to be kind to man and not judge. That is not for me to do. I am being judged because of my choices. I do not need to defend my decisions. I thank everyone for their advice, I needed to hear the pro's and con's from someone else to make a difficult decision. With that, I am done with this post, I have two horses to work before I show them this weekend.

Katharine Swan said...

Jess, it is not my intention to make someone feel judged, and I truly am sorry if it came across that way. I tend to get really involved in debates, and I am passionate about what I believe in, so I often come on pretty strong without fully intending too.

You have a VERY good point about people not deciding to stop having kids because of the problems raising them. I guess the biggest difference is that parents are liable for their kids for 18 years and can't give up that liability by selling them (at least, not in our country), whereas they can with horses.

But again, you have a very good point and I respect that. Actually, I think you won that round. ;o)