Thursday, October 4, 2007

Half wits breeding half breds

We've had this discussion before, but I want to clarify that not all crossbreds are bad. For example, you can cross a show quality Saddlebred and a show quality Arabian and get an equally nice, show quality National Show Horse. Those are two breeds that blend well together. They are targeted toward the same disciplines and their conformation is complementary. The resultant foal may be registered and shown in breed shows.

The problems come when someone cannot afford a 100% Trendy Horse Breed Du Jour and therefore decides that a nifty solution would be horses that are 50% Trendy Horse Breed Du Jour. Typically, these folks don't give a rat's ass about the quality of the Trendy Sire (if it's a Gypsy Vanner or a Friesian or, in this case, a Norwegian Fjord, it must be good, right? Like all Mercedes are good! Yeah, okay...) and they think the Magikal Sperm of the Trendy Sire will overcome any weaknesses in their shitty, backyard auction-rescued mixed breed puke of a mare.

Sadly, that is not how it works, and this is proven in today's example, described by its owner as a "grade sport pony type filly." Owner goes on to brag that "has had 3 weeks worth of bandaging twice a day so she is great with her legs!" This is because she injured her right foreleg. Looking at that fence, and the amount of crap laying around everywhere, I simply cannot imagine how such a thing could have happened. They note that she is for sale because she is smaller than they had anticipated, although they state she will mature 13-14 hh. Well, their mare was 14 hh and the sire was a Fjord, exactly what were they expecting? You are not going to get 16.2 from that cross!

This filly is not going to win any beauty contests. Her head reminds me of a polo pony I used to know called Scout, but referred to behind his owner's back as "Snout." Her shoulder's good but her neck is short and unattractive. There are no decent pictures here - she looks sickle hocked but may be ok, it's hard to say. Her front pasterns are very long and weak and she's not just toed out - if you look below, her knees point out - the leg isn't straight at any point. I am ok with her being downhill because she's 16 months but the other things, she isn't going to grow out of. The lump of proud flesh just adds to the picture! (Did you know there are remedies for that? Yes, there are!)

You know why I gripe about heads? I agree with you all who say you can't ride the head. That's true. But no one wants to buy an ugly pony. They don't. Try to sell one and you will see how true this is! Face it, judges want a whole picture. They want a pony that is elegant to look at, moves well, and jumps well - and buyers want a pony with a good disposition that their kid can manage without major drama. If you are going to breed sport ponies, you had better be breeding for all of these elements or you are going to wind up with a herd of fugly ponies in the backyard that you can't get rid of, much like this lady.

But hey, the half Fjord pony can be yours for the low low price of only $2000 or trade for a stock trailer. Here's the problem with that: So can the pony at left. This pony is five years old. Here is her description "She is currently being schooled over poles and cross poles. She is willing and going very nicely. Moves off your leg and collects up. Flat knee and nice stride. Canter is cadenced and balanced. She is great outside or in the arena. Pretty little mare with tons of potential. Likes to jump." While this isn't a $20,000 conformation pony either (I suspect it is just a midget QH, the ad doesn't say), if you have $2000 to spend, you'd be a lot smarter buying this pony - who you could resell after one show season and make a tidy profit.

(The really funny part is, I could probably convince a buyer that this dun filly is a half Fjord before I could convince them the filly at the top is!)

Moral of the story, as usual: STOP BREEDING CRAP. There is absolutely NO incentive for a buyer to purchase your crooked-legged, fugly headed yearling when they can take the same $2000 and buy a cute, trendy colored pony that only needs minimal finishing to go show. The horse market did not get this way overnight. Doing a tiny bit of research would have revealed the facts of life to you 2 years ago, BEFORE you bred your backyard pony to someone's Fjord. Think, think, think before you bring horses into the world that there is no market for!