This has been going around facebook among my breeder friends and I love it so much I really wanted to bring more attention to it and post it here. Do you know your horse’s breeder? If it isn’t registered, odds are you probably don’t. But if it is, you can find that information and track down the breeder. It might take some time and effort, but it’s worthwhile to try. Here’s why.
Written by: Brandy Brown
Stop and think for a minute about the beloved show horse you gush about regularly on social media. Do you know off the top of your head who bred that horse you love so much? If someone asked you at your next show, could you tell them where to go to find another horse bred like yours? Many cannot. But if you can, do you make an effort to help promote the breeder who brought your beloved horse into this world? If no, why not? Would crediting that breeder take away from your success? Would it take away from your trainers worth? I would contend no. But would it help to elevate a quality breeder and help others to find them when they are looking for a horse? Yes, hugely.
Even if you can’t name them off the top of your head, I can almost guarantee you that somewhere, there is a breeder who still cares about your horse. A breeder who spent hours planning for the perfect breeding cross. A breeder who crossed their fingers in anticipation that the mare would take and be in foal first try. A breeder who watched in anticipation as that mare grew round and heavy in foal, hoping for the perfect foal. A breeder who gave up many nights of good sleep to watch that mare closely to ensure a safe and healthy birth. A breeder who sat beside that mare while she labored to bring your horse into this world and maybe even gave it the extra pull. A breeder who helped to dry off that little miracle and watched in never diminishing awe as they took their first breaths and first steps. A breeder who taught your horse all the basics and instilled a trust in humans from the beginning. A breeder who loved this horse and cared for them from the first breath. A breeder who likely found it hard to say goodbye when the day inevitably came, no matter how good of a home the horse was going to. A breeder who probably still thinks about your horse from time to time and would love to know how they are doing. A breeder who watches from afar while those babies they raised go on to do great things and cheer them on with every success, even if they are no longer within that horses inner circle. A breeder who repeats the cycle each spring and keeps striving to breed the best possible horses, even when they know that they may not get any credit when those horses are out winning someday. Without that breeder, you would not have your horse. Stop and think about that for a second.
There is no horse industry without quality horse breeders. No matter what scale they operate- 2 mares or 20 mares- they are all valuable to the industry and deserve respect and recognition for their efforts. Breeding horses is not for the faint of heart. It is a tireless and often thankless endeavor. It can be as heartbreaking as it is exciting. Some years you bring healthy, beautiful foals into the world and their mothers get to raise them. Other years you may lose a foal or a mare or both and that is something no breeder can get past without a heavy heart. The average horse owner may not think or know of all that goes into breeding a horse while they are enjoying their equine partner. So I am here to shed a little light on the life of a good horse breeder. Most breeders love every horse they raise, do everything in their power to give them the best start possible and do their due diligence to get them into a good situation. I have been raised in this industry and can’t count the number of foals I have seen enter this world on our farm. So many have gone on to do great things and many times I am able to follow that progress and keep in touch with the new owners. That is best case scenario- to be able to stay engaged with a horse you loved from the first breath and know they have gone on to be someone’s beloved partner. Alternatively, many of the horses we’ve bred disappear and we are unable to keep in touch. This is the saddest part because you just don’t know. You hope the horse has a great life but you can’t be sure.
So here is my request: take a moment and figure out who bred your beloved horse. Often, breeders are fairly easy to find thanks to social media. If you can find them, reach and let them know that horse is loved and thank them for their part in the journey. I can guarantee getting a note like that will make almost any horse breeders day and it only costs you a bit of time and effort. I think it would be great for folks to also take it a step further- when your horse is out winning, make a point to give some credit to that breeder on social media or to the people who ask about your horse or admire them. If a breeder is breeding great horses, make sure people know! If people out there are looking for a horse like yours, help them learn where they can find another one just like it.
To all the breeders out there, big or small, I see you and I commend you. To all the horse owners, I set forth a challenge: when you post about your horse #tagthebreeder
The breeding industry is a tough one. It’s expensive, it’s time consuming, and it’s fraught with heartbreak. Many breeders, especially smaller ones, struggle just to break even every year. Many years, they don’t. But they keep doing it out of love for the horse and passion for what they’re doing. If you know your horse’s breeder, try to find them. Friend them on facebook. Drop them a message. Tag them in your show posts. If you don’t know them, but know other good breeders that deserve recognition, sing their praises on occasion too. Share one of their photos now and then. Point people their way if you seen an ISO ad. A small and simple thing to you could mean a lot to them. We have so many quality breeders in this country that people just don’t know about because it isn’t talked about enough.
While technically I am Presto’s breeder on paper since I chose the sire and the dam, it was Willow Tree Warmbloods that really did all the work required to get him (and keep him) on this earth. Transporting the mare back and forth for breeding, keeping her in great condition, making sure she was taken care of properly day in and day out, foaling her out, and taking care of Presto for the first almost year of his life. None of that was an easy task AT ALL, especially given his rocky start to life. Breeders are heroes.