Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Breeding B Part 1- The Post That Turned Into A Novel (Sorry!)

Following up on my New Years goals, we're planning for a foal!

I know it's early days, but I am just so freaking excited. The realist in me knows that maybe my big scheme of having a foal in 2022 will work out, maybe it won't. Last year our plans were put on hold due to the pandemic, this year, who knows. I live quite far from everything so we'll definitely be affected if there are any restrictions in place - I'm planning for B to go live in Vancouver for a little while while the vets (hopefully) work the magic. Part of me wanted to just update things once there is some real progress and the pony is in foal, but I like the idea of just documenting everything in real time, for better or worse.  I'm a total newbie to all of this so taking notes is a good thing.

I know some of you will think I'm crazy to breed, some will be excited. If you're the former, please be assured I've been thinking on this for years, have got multiple professional opinions and it's not an impulsive decision. I've taken in a few rescues and bought a few projects and while I'd never discourage anyone from doing either, I don't think it's for me anymore. I kind of want what I want these days. As far as purchasing the little Welsh D of my dreams, I've been looking for years and not found anything as fun and sensible as Bridget. I don't think people sell those ones. Of course you know I bought Sophie a couple of years ago to one day fill Bridget's shoes, but I'll just be honest - I love Sophie, and I think I'll have a lot of fun with her, but I regret not just breeding Bridget then.


In the wayback time machine, a 5 year old Bridget, this must have been one of our first rides.

ANYWAY.  Now that we've decided a foal is hopefully going to be a thing, the next big decision is choosing a stallion.

You might remember this was a plan last year, so I had already planned and discussed things with the vet and some experienced breeders a year ago. Then Covid happened and it was honestly a bit of a relief because I was still undecided between a couple of different stallion and vet options.

An extra year to think on things (plus the experience of starting Sophie) really helped me clarify what I'm looking for.

I know B looks chunky and clunky, but like so many Welsh D's she's actually quite athletic. But, when I was looking at similar types to her I couldn't find anything available to Canada that had much of a competition record or training beyond what she has. It's important to me the stallion has some kind of moderately successful ridden career, because at the end of the day I want to ride! Bonus points if it's got a prettier neck and shorter back than B and can jump a little too.  North Forks Cardi was an obvious choice, but delving into that a little more and asking some opinions from people I trust, he and Bridget are just a bit too closely related for comfort.


Apparently I don't take conformation pics of B, but you can see she's not got the most elegant of necks.

That got me looking at some pretty fancy warmblood and TB options. Some of the stallions I was looking at actually had Welsh Cob crosses on the ground and they are absolutely incredible, fantastic looking prospects. In a case of it truly being a small world, Sophie's breeder had one and was the top scored foal in NA. So, that option was (and is) pretty darn tempting.


I do love a bay with a white blaze tho, let's add that to the wish list.

As I was chatting with breeders, though, I kept coming back to the fact that I've realized while it's fun to ride those sharp, forward thinking, extravagant movers who need a job, I am the person who is equally likely to want to noodle over to the lake bareback in a halter and might spend an hour ride just walking and chatting with friends. I'm not really in any sort of program, my work schedule is weird, and there are times I can barely keep up with the averagely sharp thinking and nicely moving baby Sophie :)


About as wild as she gets.

I think what it boils down to is what I've known all along - that B is really more than athletic enough for me and my dressage and low level eventing goals, is a perfect all arounder for me, but she's lacking the work ethic/drive to be consistent moving up further, at least competition wise. I'd be more than happy with a Bridget 2.0, but a Bridget with a bit more go and a bigger desire to please her rider would be epic. I really don't think I need to prioritize the huge modern moving dressage pony/horse end of the stallion spectrum. If I was thinking future resale, the fancy small warmblood stallion would be a no brainer, but since this is just for me a trainable, willing mind is key and I'm not averse to cobby pony types :)


Anyway, we are nearing the end of this novel.

 I finally made a decision. In my quest to make a Bridget 2.0, I've ended up choosing this guy:




Stibby! They are of a type and height, so a better than average chance I'm just going to get another sporty round pony in the 14.1-14.2hh range. Probably with a cute white nose too - priorities, everyone :D He's got a super competition record and work ethic. He's still going strong at 19, which is nice - soundness and longevity are good things! I got excellent feedback from everyone I talked to about his temperament, and I really liked the video and descriptions from those who know him. They make him sound like a more trainable and motivated Bridget which really sold me - I like her, quirks and all, so I suspect I'd like him since it sounds like they've got a lot about life that they'd agree on ;) It's not going to be the trendiest, fanciest foal, but I have a really good feeling about my decision.



Finally, I've got to give a huge shout out to all the breeders out there who were completely honest with me re: their stallion's temperaments and what they tend to pass along. They could have easily told me what I wanted to hear. I was all over the map this past year with Welsh Cobs and German Riding Ponies and Thoroughbreds and warmbloods and a couple of breeders really went the extra mile to discuss it all with me. I felt really intimidated to chat with some of them because I'm really so unknowledgeable and am a nobody with a pretty average mare as far as breeding sport ponies goes, but everyone was so kind and helpful. No one ever made me feel like I was wasting their time with questions. 

Moving on to step 2 - I've got a bit of paperwork and veterinary appointments to sort in the next couple of months! This is all a little nerve wracking for a newbie, but fingers crossed the end result will be well worth the effort.




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33 comments

  1. Well I think it is exciting, though a very, very big gamble. But I guess you never know until you try!

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    1. I'm feel like everything buying horses is a gamble I lose on 99% of the time...so I figure why not try a new game? Terrible logic, I know ;)

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  2. I really love the journey of breeding -- for space reasons, it's something I have only done once so far (to produce Cinna, who I adore), but down the road I can't wait to do it again. So I will be living vicariously through you and Bridget and I can't wait to follow along! :)

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    1. Realistically, this is going to be a one off thing so I'm going to do my best to try to learn as much as I can and enjoy the journey.

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    2. For me it will just be about the occasional breeding to replace my riding horses, since I can't afford to buy what I like, but I can breed it and wait for it to grow up! :)

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    3. I’m really liking the idea of replacing my riding horse with another that is 50% ‘her’. I am also in the boat of not being able to afford to buy anything that checks all the boxes, but I’ve got time :)

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  3. SO exciting and I'm glad you're writing novels about it! I've found the same about breeders, they only want the best for their programs and their stallions, so they'll flat tell you (nicely) if they don't think it's a good fit. Connor's breeder thinks for hours about these kinds of things, who would cross well with who, who will pass on their butt to this horse that doesn't have a good butt. It's really fun to listen to.

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    1. I ended up with pages of notes. I really appreciated their honesty! I seriously tried to find a way to make something like castleberrys Cadence a possibility but cross border transport and planning right now just added too much extra worry.

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  4. Hooray! That's so exciting.

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  5. It is exciting!. I bred my mare twice and it was quite the journey. And a lifetime learning experience. Looking forward to living it vicariously through you.

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    1. So cool. I’m pretty apprehensive, but excited at the same time.

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  6. He’s a gorgeous pony. Good luck.

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  7. I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to read more :)

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    1. I'm feeling that awful combination of too excited to back out, and awake half the night anxiety LOL

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  8. I'm so excited to follow along this journey with you!

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  9. I don't think there is anything wrong with breeding for the horse/ pony YOU WANT. We can't predict the future, but I also get how hard it is to find SENSIBLE sport horses/ ponies for less than 15k, and I am not even looking in rarer breeds or geographical locations. All my horses are geldings, so I will live vicariously through you, but I do not think this is a decision to feel bad over.

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    1. Thanks for this :) Agree, so hard to find something sensible and athletic enough (and sound!), add in my wish for a cobby pony and it feels like needle in a haystack odds in this area.

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  10. So exciting!!!! The stud you picked looks incredible - and how great that many stallion owners took time to answer your questions. I like reading about how you thought things through - I went through a very similar process in fall 2019 when I was researching stallions. Having a foal has been a major bucket list thing for me for as long as I can remember.

    Our foal is due in the next 2 weeks, so I'm getting realllllllllly excited. And slightly terrified, as we all know things can go sideways too.

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    1. Oh that's super exciting! You'd better post lots of pictures when he/she arrives :)
      I was so surprised how many breeders were totally upfront about their stallion's quirks or shortcomings. I was expecting to have to interpret things like you would in a sale ad, but they're like "yeah he doesn't have the greatest work ethic" or "he looks great loose but he's not that special under saddle". Shockingly honest!

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  11. I’m so excited to follow your journey for this. My young horse is a cardi baby out of a WBxTB mare. Unlike you I needed the cross to give some size but had always adored cardi. I absolutely adore ponies but I’m definitely not pony sized so I look forward to seeing the next generation of ponies through you 😊

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    1. Oooh exciting, I just missed out on a Cardi/WB foal before I bought Sophie. People snap them up so quickly! I just love him too.

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  12. Looking forward to living vicariously through you! Like your thought process on stallions. I've read an article or two about how breeders are making dressage horses that are brilliant but too much for the average amateur. Good you are thinking about your end goal(a fun horse!) at the beginning of the process.

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    1. I so agree! I’ve been lucky to be able to ride some super talented ones but am under no illusions I am talented/dedicated enough to own one, so I bought Sophie who’s kind of a smaller, mid range model ;) Even so, she’s a lot - probably still more than I would have signed up for had I known, which really confirmed to me that I just want something sensible with average ability! That’s another common thing some of the breeders themselves mentioned - everyone just wants super fancy, even if the trainer ends up doing the riding.

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  13. yay i am here for you no matter what you do. Cant wait. I would LOVE a cob one day. I dont need tall (Remus is 15 hands on a good day) but like the Cob mentality. And i LOVE Bridget so am very excited for you!! YAY so cool. THat stallion is GORGEOUS!! YAY (can you tell i am over the moon for you?)

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    1. You're the best and I'm a pretty big Remus fan too <3

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  14. Very exciting! I was amazed at the price and complicated process to ship to canada from the US when someone wanted to see about it for Roscoe. Glad you found a super stallion. Can't wait to see a Bridget baby. It is a wonderful experience to have them from birth.

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    1. Thank you! Roscoe would have been on the list too because he’s exactly what I was looking for, but yes, import seemed a bit too complicated for a first timer like me. I do wish I could have gone purebred but I just wasn’t finding any cob stallions easily available here I felt excited about.

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  15. How exciting! I look forward to following your foal journey.

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