Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Thoughts on the Breeding Industry in the US

I was asked by someone writing for a national magazine to share my knowledge about sport horse registries in the US and how they work. I gave them some background, but I also thought of things they might want to know about the breeding industry in general in the US. Here is how I finished up. I don't know if they will use any of it, but it felt good to say it:

Americans have a sad legacy of feeling that we are always in Germany's shadow, because "they've been doing it for centuries and we're new to this." We believe that in Germany they "do it right," which means with deep knowledge and integrity. The fact is that we have breeders in the US now who have been doing this for as long as many German breeders. We have breeders who have decades of knowledge and experience, and we have breeders with deep commitment and passion. As a result, many of our breeders - large farms and small breeders - are producing truly top-quality foals. We have a solid base of breeders in the US that know what they're doing and consistently have the youngsters to prove it. 

What we don't have is a system for getting those young horses known and recognized, and into the hands of trainers who can take them to the top. We don't have a system for identifying promising foals nationally, so a rider on the East coast will never know of the terrific youngster born in Michigan or Oklahoma or Oregon or even Maine.

Many competitors still believe that you have to travel to Europe if you want a quality horse. Horse-buying agents keep repeating that (possibly because it's more fun for them to travel and buy in Europe on their client's dime), and there aren't enough success stories to prove them wrong. See previous paragraph.

One problem is the lack of connection between breeders and riders. There are usually some connections between a breeder and some of the local competitors, but what we're lacking is a nationwide way for competitors to connect with the breeders who are producing what they're looking for. Many horse people - even those in leadership positions within USDF or USHJA or USEF - are clueless about the entire breeding industry in the US. Many competitors are not aware that there are hundreds of breeders in this country producing horses with the most sought-after bloodlines for dressage, jumping, hunters, and eventing. Our future horses are already here, loaded with potential, but most riders don't know how to find them.

I've been working on my newly-launched website, which means looking at the stallions we have, and their offspring. (Click the home link, or the Stallion Gallery link at the top of the page if you want to see what I mean.) I have been seeing results on FB of ongoing inspections and the foals being evaluated. Let me tell you, we have some kick-ass babies being bred right here.