Letters to the World

Published February 11, 2013

Letters to the World

Steve Doran, Los Olivos, California: Regarding a stratagem for the small breeder, who has always been at the vanguard of the breed, truly great opportunities are availing themselves to us at last. While no one of us

individually can save the world, so to speak, we can collectively safeguard many horses and by doing so we can collaterally save lines and families of horses from vanishing with benefit to ourselves as well.

In times of economic crisis, unusual opportunities present themselves. It would seem that this is an opportune time to bring an individual of merit into our programs that we could otherwise not afford. The horse that needs a home and protector can immediately increase your herd’s standing and your profit is immediate, intrinsically, through the chance to increase your herd’s reproductive value through better individuals with desirable bloodlines. The horse gets a much needed home and the breeder increases his own viability for breeding better horses in the future. 

I have personally curtailed breedings and have cut down to only two expectant mares. Economically it’s far more feasible to purchase females using the example above than to breed at this time. By dollar cost averaging the purchase of new and superior females with those I bought in better times for more money, my herd becomes more economically viable and a new purchase is justifiable. Every horse I astutely purchase is an immediate economic success. Superior individuals with better bloodlines coming into my program fill the intrinsic quotient. Not so if I breed them — everyone gets culls.

For those choosing to breed, stud fees are a better buy and many stallion owners are more apt to negotiate when you present them with a very good mare. Stallions and bloodlines that were out of reach to some of us can suddenly come into our programs and offer us a better chance at success when the market rebounds.

The safeguarding of our horses and their wonderful lines is paramount now and this is how I am addressing and justifying my continuance with horses. I’m banking DNA for the future and it’s better to purchase it just now than to breed for it. 

I’m speaking strictly as a small breeder in my own situation. In forty-plus years with the Arabian I’m still evolving and want to know more. When I see someone struggle to keep just one horse in their lives, I’m reminded that it’s the best horse in their world and the best reason for having one. It’s how I began and that’s how small breeders become.