Sunday, August 5, 2007

Which of these two TB mares would you pick to breed from, and why?

Just call them "bay mare" or "chestnut mare" in your comments. I have deliberately picked two amateur photos that are not the best poses. These are Thoroughbred broodmares that are over 15 years of age and both are in good weight and well cared for, so it's a pretty fair competition. If you could pick one of these two for your own broodmare, which would you pick, and why? If your particular discipline of choice comes into play in your decision, you might want to mention that as well.

To clarify: I don't think either is a "fugly" horse. I think this is a good exercise in evaluating two mares. I'm also going to make a point when we are done about how you can't judge quality by circumstances.

Now that everybody's had a chance to comment, I personally like the liver chestnut better - but I can see some good arguments for the bay. It depends on which conformation faults you personally think are a bigger deal - and that does, typically, have something to do with the discipline you're involved in, which is why I mentioned it.

I like the chestnut mare's hip and she has an ideal shoulder angle. Both mares are posed badly. The chestnut is posed so that she looks like she has a huge head, and the picture was taken looking down, which is never a good idea. The bay is posed awkwardly with her head up and standing in a way that makes it hard to judge her back end. The bay is a bit more compact, which I like, but her hip can't hold a candle to the chestnut's. Also, the bay is a little straight in the shoulder though, yes, some of that look is caused by the way she is standing. She is very deep through the heart, which I love. What I would really like to do for a broodmare would be to put the bay's front end - perhaps with a little more shoulder slope - with the chestnut's hip!

By the way - yes, I know that I didn't give anybody pedigree information or other background. It was simply meant to be an exercise in evaluating conformation, and I was curious to see the comments. It was not a trick question designed so I could jump on you and go "aha, you never asked if _____" and "I wouldn't breed either one!" was a valid answer but not the only "right" answer. There actually wasn't a right answer. This was merely a discussion starter.

The other point I was going to make was that circumstances don't dictate quality. Broodmares in particular tend to wind up in bad places if they go a year or two without a baby. That's what happened to the chestnut mare - she was a slaughter rescue. For the money it cost to save her, she would have been a pretty nice mare for a breeder on a budget - but they would have had the eye to pick her out from the herd. She got extremely lucky and has a permanent home where she doesn't have to do anything but eat.