View Full Version : Picking which international stallions to breed/buy offspring from?

03-07-03, 04:17 AM
As an aside on the $$$$$ thread for FEI dressage ... just wondering about how people pick international AI for breeding. Before AI we were limited by location on which stallion you would choose ... now the only limitation seems to be price! I am not a breeder, only a rider, but looking at the vast array of horses available now that have been bred with imported semen, I have never heard of most of the stallions but they all seem to have been top performers etc in various areas, or have xx number of great offspring or classified with a score of 9 from someone!

I am sort of thinking about my next horse and will probably buy another youngster and was thinking about a weanling/yearling ... looking at what is available is just dazzling! Are people choosing stallions from pictures as they can't see them in the flesh? what sort of temperaments do these horses have and pass on? If one stallion has won blah blah competition and another has one bleh bleh competition ... which is the better choice?!

Of course the mare is as important but most of their lines I have heard of, and what about the matching of mares to stallions ... are the Australian mares going to produce very different offspring as they have been bred by local stallions?

I find breeding just amazing ... you can put two top horses together and get crap ... and very rarely you put two ordinary horses together and get WOW! As a rider we are going to have more and more choices of bloodlines from overseas (which is a great thing) ... but it does make the choices harder!!

My other query is to do with numbers ... before because of the limitations you would get a number of horses by the same stallion in the one area so you could compare ... if there are 10 different horses by 10 different stallions it makes it harder to compare a breed line (especially when choosing mares for further breeding), and pick the best of type. Associated with the price discussion ... if you choose to buy a horse from XX stallion ... you are less likely to know whether you are buying the top of that stallion's produce, or the worst ... but you'll be paying top price anyway :-)

I suppose ... the answer to this all is ... know your horses, know what is good ... and no matter what the breeding is you'll get what you want :-)

03-07-03, 05:46 AM
Great post!

I am in the middle of picking my mares 'overseas husband'. This will be the first lot of frozen semen I have used.

To choose the stallion I have used articles, videos, pictures and performance results. I also have a 'contact' who is on the Dutch selection panel, and who has become quite useful answering my newbie broing questions :-)

I have however felt that I am in a bit of a risky situation having not had the chance to see any of the stallions I like the look of in the flesh. However I know that the Celle State Stud and those sorts of breeders wouldn't dare think about using these stallions if they weren't worth their weight in gold.

Look forward to others' views on this.

03-07-03, 06:02 AM
Well I can't tell you what other people do but I can tell you what I do. I don't know if the same resources are available to warmblood breeders or not.

The first obviuos step is to look at what stallions I can actually access. There are a limited number of Friesian stallions available by frozen semen as yet, far less than for warmbloods. The next step is to look at the in breeding coefficient's. Again something of great importance because the breed is a "recovered" pure breed, inbreeding can be an issue.

Once i have eliminated the ones I cannot use, start looking at the ones I can. Study evey photo I can of the stallion, his progeny and video that I can get my hands on. Talk to people who have horses by that stallion. Do they have a reputation for throwing dressage types or driving types? (the internet is a wonderful thing).To get a feel for the horses and the way they move, how prepotent they are etc. Also look at their scores at licensing. They get marks for walk, trot, canter, ridability, driving and manners. There is also a write up about them. For the stallions approved on offspring there is also a linear score which shows the tendancy to throw certain traits in the offspring, slope of shoulder, length of forarm, size of hooves, cow hocks, "tactful" trot, high knee action etc etc. Then try and marry that up to the mare. One mare for instance is slightly short with a short forarm, but has a nice hind quarter and topline, lots of hair but a slightly coarse head. So I chose a stallion with a reputation for throwing tall offspring with a well developed shoulder and long forarm, but also a good hind end and strong action. One part to try an improv eon her and one part to complemt what she already has. I wasn't so worried about one that throws good hair or jetblack colouring as improving the structure of the horse was more important.

And then you start praying.

So really I go though exactly the same process I would if I could see the horse in the flesh. It's just a little more difficult having to rely on photos and video. Oh, and planning a trip overseas in 18 months time again to go to the annual licencing to see all the new ones not on video yet plus the older guys as they all have to be represented each year.

03-07-03, 06:08 AM
Interesting topic

There are a number of ways the OS stallions are graded they have their performance test, where you can usually get the results from the Agent and their is the World Breeding Rankings. Where the horses are graded according to the number of offspring competing in FEI competition and the placings that they have achieved.

The second is usefull to find the real foundation sires that can reliably produce good competing stock. Horses like uniform have production something like 800 international competing offspring.

The performance tests are where you look when you are looking at much younger horses, as they will not have the offspring in the market as yet. It gives some indication as to their potential only. These are usually the next wave of stallions that will be used by the breeders in Europe.

My view is that breeders should be looking at the foundation Sires to produce their breeding stock and then looking at the younger stallions to cross over these to get the sporthorses.

Picking the right mare is alot more tricky especially when you cant see the stallion other than by video. You can look at the bloodlines of the mares that this stallion has clicked with to produce top horses in Europe and make some assesment of the best type of mare for that horse. Or as we do you can breed particular Stallions to different types of Australian mares to see which clicks best.

As for riders having to select their new horse from the OS stallions, you should ask the owner for details of the stallions used and really it comes down to the individual horse and what it is like regardless of its parents. Being able to compare with others is going to be much much harder as for some bloodlines there are so few available here.