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Whether we’re talking about backyard horse breeders or dog breeders or ______ (fill in the blank) breeders. Take an honest assessment of the condition the horse industry is in, then compare that to the economic condition of the United States.

All you have to do is look at your local Craigslist Farm & Garden for sale section to see the overpopulation of horses.

Still backyard breeding continues.

What defines a backyard breeder?

  • Breeding two horses together because they’re available, not because the match is suited to produce a foal with improved conformation, or talent than the parents. This could also be a trait/habit of animal hoarders;
  • Breeding for color;
  • Breeding primarily for a breed ‘type’ trait (i.e. Arabian’s dished face, Quarter Horse’s large ‘hip’ or hindquarters, Bashkir Curly’s curly coat, Paso Fino’s classic fino gait, etc);
  • Breeding large quantities of horses to be culled in order to find that singular ‘champion’ foal (the resulting foals being sold off in production sales or sent to slaughter houses in Mexico/Canada, shipped to Japan);
  • Breeding genetically flawed, conformationally flawed, lame or otherwise knowingly inferior horses;
  • Breeding horses at a financial loss;
  • Breeding horses you are unable to appropriately care for (feed, farrier, vet);
  • Breeding horses you are unable or unwilling to handle, train and promote;
  • Breeding horses you are unable or unwilling to keep their entire life if they cannot be sold to appropriate homes.

Breeders often fall into several of these classes. Of course it’s easy to point fingers at breeders in large breed organizations, like the AQHA which recommends breeders dispose of their overproduction of inferior foals by sending them to slaughter (and production sales are common/expected from many big name stock horse ranches).

But smaller breeds have their problems as well, like the Bashkir Curly where many breeders continue to use and promote the use of hairless (extreme/baldy*) horses in breeding based on the anecdote that they are homozygous for the curly coat gene; these are horses who are defenseless to weather extremes (head & cold) and bugs (no manes, no tail hair, many times large swaths of their body hairless as well). Also curious is that these extremes/baldy Curlies also show consistent conformational defects.

[* Please note there is a difference between Curlies having short manes/tails but full body coats year-round and those I'm referring to as "extremes" or "baldies" in this article who also present with bald areas on their body or face of varying degrees.]

This extreme curly / baldy stallion is passing along both his good and terrible genes to offspring

AKK Warrior’s Black Smoke might be a really wonderful horse, but he hardly represents the finest qualities of the Bashkir Curly breed to be passing along his genetics.
This breeder has a large collection of stallions/breeds/colors, and looks to cross-breed anything. http://www.redhawkhorseranch.com/Stallions.htmReceived a message from a person claiming to be the owner of AKK Warrior’s Black Smoke on January 31, 2014; included here in full without editing.Was not able to post this directly by the persons post but feel YOU NEED TO REVIEW ! You should have accurate information regarding your conclusions and unfounded malicious comments regarding any individual and/or their horses/ranches. I am that “curly breeder” you refer to, as well as offer a link to my site(TheCurlyGaits.com).
1. In my over 20 years of breeding I have created just 12 curly horses total 2. I have not breed for any foals in/for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. A simple review of the information available on-line would have informed you of both of these facts. 3. In the realm of the curly breed, the stallion you refer to IS conformationally correct for his bred standards, in fact exceeds in many points.(Spanish Barb) He does NOT have bald patches but tightly curled hair close to skin that is very short in warmer months. Every one of his foals have had and kept their own hair, along with being “some of the prettiest curlys around”. He is 100% curly pedigreed (no outcrops which was allowed for several years in both registries for this breed) He is genetically sound including testing negative for any genetic concerns related to this breed. If you even looked at any of my foals you would see that they ALL were classic curly appearing horses, I have produced NO straight curly to date. 4. All my stallions are trained and ridden before being bred (to substantiate their potential as a “stallion”.) This particular stallion was not breed until he was over 5 years old and ridden several years prior to that (testosterone is not an excuse for bad behavior) If you had any direct contact with my stallions or even spoken to me you would of known that. 5.I have experience and education in genetics, such that all my crosses are well thought out and researched PRIOR to any breeding. I spent/spend quite a lot of money ensuring this variable. 6. I care about my horses such that I continue to care for my horses until they are able find suitable new homes, in today’s market this could be years. In fact the curly stallion you referenced to is gelded and is available to a loving using home that will see just what a beautiful horse he is inside, outside and to work around/ride. It is a shame these same characteristics cannot be applied to yourself. If you even looked a bit closer to the site itself you referenced you will see it has NOT been update in many years! The main site RedHawkHorseRanch.com accurately relates the dispersal of my heard. I believe it would be in your best interest to remove your malicious and slanderous remarks regarding myself, my horses, ranch or anything else related to areas you have no knowledge or proper experience with. I have already saved your current comments as of 01.30/14 and am currently considering taking additional action related to your obvious malicious and slanderous publically posted comments that have no connection/basis to any reality except those based purely in your own delusional ideas/thoughts. Interesting that I am unable to post this information directly to that “blog-post”, but hope that the people of this site will recognize the need for accurate information to be on their site, and by continuing to have such statements here clearly slanderous and malicious, places them in a position of condoning such actions which will have them held accountable for the same. Thanks:

~ [email protected]

 

These are just examples. Every breed has some weakness that backyard breeders continue to utilize, ignore, promote(!) or hide.

The low-cost backyard breeder

Let’s consider the face of the horse market as it stands right now. The cost to buy horses has dropped while all other costs associated with them have continued to rise; and those trying to sell horses, at any price, will tell you it’s difficult compared to even 10 years ago. The demand isn’t there, and supply is extremely high.

So where do the foals go that backyard breeders continue to churn out? A $500 foal compared to an $800 trained riding horse? At least in the Midwest that is a normal sighting. I can guarantee you that $500 doesn’t come close to breaking even on the expenses of breeding, unless you are neglecting & starving the mare and didn’t pay the stud fee. Or starving your own stallion too. Let’s not even bring up the costs of promoting those horses, registration for the foal, the upkeep costs of the parents (farrier, vet).

All of the costs related to keeping the mare and stud (or stud fee), property (or boarding), feed, farrier, vet, taxes, registrations, etc should all be factored into the cost of selling that foal. If it’s a business anyway. Unless you’re independently wealthy and doing this as a true hobby and enjoy flooding the market and giving away horses to questionable futures…

Let’s do some simple math. Assuming a breeder is selling their foal for $500. His dam was kept barefoot and the farrier charges $30 per trim. The breeder stretches the farrier visits to the maximum length considered acceptable (8 weeks). Over the course of a year (12 months) this will cost the breeder $195 in farrier fees alone – just for the mare. If they own the stallion too then take that cost and divide it across the number of mares bred/foals produced in a year (assuming he isn’t being trimmed on a different schedule, or wearing shoes).

That’s $195 in farrier fees for the mare who produced the foal that breeder is selling for $500. That isn’t considering veterinary costs (pregnancy checks to prevent twins, vaccinations to prevent abortions, unexpected injuries or illnesses, yearly coggins tests, etc), feed (hay, grain, supplements – and remember that pregnant mares require more nutrition than a pasture potato), property or board costs and so forth.

http://www.scheckelpaintandquarterhorses.com/sale.html

Having spots is not an excuse to be used for breeding. Having testicles or a uterus isn’t a good enough excuse either.

Essentially that $500 foal is being produced because the breeder likes producing baby horses. It isn’t to improve the breed, to improve upon the parents. It certainly isn’t because they’re running a business of any kind. They are hobbyists who are flooding a market where the victim is the horse because they face a future of uncertainty.

These breeders put their horses at risk of neglectful or abusive homes, abandonment and eventually the slaughterhouse.

The breed-trait backyard breeder

Seeing a foal for sale at a higher price point is not a guarantee they aren’t the result of backyard breeding practices, just that they’re being sold to a different market.

Breed traits produced in extreme can create a certain niche market for breeders, offering foals at a higher price point, but forcing these horses to live their lives deformed, damaged or in pain.

The dishier their face, the more 'exotic' many Arabians are considered

Arabians bred for an extremely dished facial feature will suffer a lifetime with a deformed nasal cavity.

Whether the focus is on a physical feature, a color pattern, a certain kind of movement, hair coat; really the list goes on. Halter horses are bred to the point they’re unrideable (literally), unsound, plagued with genetic diseases; but the breeder isn’t in it for the horse’s well-being. The list could go on.

Halter bred mare, being sold to be used in breeding.. no surprise there.

From any angle this filly is sickle hocked. But she’s got amazing bloodlines so that makes it okay.
http://4r-texas.webs.com/forsale.htm

And when these horses succumb to their purposely-bred weaknesses what’s to be done with them? Again, it’s to an auction, sent to slaughter or perhaps they’re lucky enough to have found their way to a home where they’re quietly forgotten, neglected, or instead forced to work through their pains and live abused.

Retirement for breeding stock?

Another important question, where do the broodmares go once they’re no longer breeding sound? They’ve no training to fall back on and maybe retire as a child’s lesson horse. Or the stallions? These aren’t happy stories either.

Older broodmares for sale often face a frightening future

Like this mare, for free. At 17 and not sound for riding? Her risk of ending up on a slaughter truck depends a lot on luck.

What happens without backyard breeders?

Eliminating or even largely reducing the number of backyard breeders irresponsibly bred horses could breath life back into the horse industry again.

Eliminating low-cost backyard breeders

The supply vs. demand of horses would become more level or even drive a higher demand for horses than there is supply; effectively raising the value of every horse on the market. This would also allow sellers to pick and choose the best home for their horse rather than picking based on highest cash offer.

The value of foals will likely increase as well as stud fees, allowing breeders to invest in their business and provide better care for their horses. This could eliminate any financially-blamed excuses for not becoming better educated about breeding, genetics, conformation, training; investing in at least basic ground training for foals so they leave being able to lead, load, tie, stand for the farrier, etc – which again only improves the future of that foal.

A number of other areas could see similar improvements as a result. Getting involved in equestrian activities would be a more serious venture and education become a standard for beginner riders. It would be fantastic to see every new rider taking riding lessons before buying a horse (or becoming a horse breeder)!

Horse slaughter could also become too expensive to be viable. If  the average horse costs $1000- $2000 without any training… well I think you can fill in the blanks. Removing horse slaughter plants from the US has done nothing to solve the horse slaughter problem, it’s just changed the dynamic slightly. The real problem is overpopulation and devaluation.

There are certainly a large number of people who would protest this, they like the availability of cheap/free horses because they feel they can’t afford a horse that costs thousands of dollars. But is it really that they can’t afford it or unwilling to wait the amount of time it would take to save that amount of money? And which kind of horse owner is going to provide a more stable future for their horse – the one who wants everything now for nothing, or the owner who plans and saves?

Of course it isn’t the equestrians that like inexpensive horses who face being dumped on the slaughter-truck when no one sees their value anymore. Good news is we can start treating those ulcers we developed leading up to the ban/approval of reopening slaughter plants in the US again – for now. But horses are still shipped to Mexico and Canada every day to be slaughtered, often resulting in further traumas due to the long trailer rides.

Eliminating the breed-trait backyard breeder

Many breed-trait breeders have a niche market, or run in competition circles and demand higher prices for their foals, show horses and stud fees. Unfortunately many of these horses are also bred for a singular purpose in the show ring or just for breeding.

When their time is up where do they go? Lame, injured or no longer breeding sound…

At least this stallion is HYPP negative

Highly valued horses are not exempt from being overbred with glaring conformation faults. This stallion’s hind legs are mortifying, but at least he’s HYPP n/n unlike many other horses this farm breeds.
http://www.scheckelpaintandquarterhorses.com/sale.html

Eliminating breeding habits that are rewarded in the show ring is always more difficult, there’s money to be had in it after all. Getting more judges in the show rings that reward more conformationally correct horses would be too easy. Take into consideration politics and relationships as well.

Turning this around won’t be that easy but the peanut rolling rule did get turned around. There is always room for progress if we use our voices properly (and I don’t mean using our inside voices..).

Become a more responsible equestrian!

If you’re breeding can you make it down the list above without ticking a mental checkbox? Great! If not it might be time to re-evaluate what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and what changes you can make to contribute to a better future for the foals you’ve produced. No matter the breed you’re involved with you owe it to every horse you produce to be as educated and responsible for their lifetime-welfare as possible.

For the rest of us, stop buying from low-cost backyard breeders! Stop buying $500 foals. Yeah we get pulled in emotionally with the thoughts of if we don’t buy them then someone terrible probably will, or they’ll end up at auction, or . . . But buying a foal like this is doing no long term favors for anyone. You’re going to see that same breeder selling another low-quality foal at a financial loss next year, and the year after.

Reducing your herd to breed for color doesn't make you a more respectable breeder

This breeder is asking people to buy her previous ‘keepers’ so she can emphasize on breeding the overo coat pattern.
Changing the niche trait doesn’t automatically change the demand for the horses being bred.

And niche breed-trait backyard breeders? Don’t buy from them either! They might be asking a higher dollar amount but again you’re supporting and encouraging the continued production of horses with intentional flaws. Flaws that can cause that horse to suffer more through their life because the breeder likes post-legged/sway-backed/ewe-necked/pigeon-toed/hairless/HYPP Positive/navicular-prone/ horses…

Maybe even take the risk of speaking up and telling that breeder what they’re doing isn’t in the best interests of anyone – horse or human, and why. A good portion of backyard breeders aren’t doing these things on purpose, genuinely think they’re doing their breed/bloodline/color/gait/etc a favor. I doubt you’ll be long-time friends but you never know right?

If you want to rescue a horse, pick one up from a responsible/reputable rescue. Do them a favor by putting your money towards them helping other horses in need. Don’t pay to support the delusions of a backyard breeder who is only filling up horse rescues, auction sales, production sales and slaughter trucks. Adding Clarification : IF YOU WANT TO RESCUE a horse do your research and select the most reputable rescue you can find. If you want to buy a horse from a private seller then by all means do that as well; I’m not suggesting you should ONLY take in a horse from a rescue, but if you do go that route make sure that rescue isn’t a non-profit front for horse dealing.

If you’re set on buying from a breeder, again do your research. Buy from a breeder whose stock is conformationally sound. Someone who is investing in their horses’ futures by providing great care and training, breeding for their market demand and not mass-producing or mass-culling.

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Comments 67

  • I’m posting this to Polo Pony Rescue’s Facebook page. You have detailed very well how and why we have a horse overpopulation problem. The overpopulation is not one of quality, well trained horses. It consists of (a) stuff that should never have been produced and (b) stuff that never got trained or (c) all of the above.

    Posted by Cathy TropeJanuary 30, 2014 4:01 pm
    • Thank you for sharing Cathy. It’s unfortunate but definitely spreading information about the problem can help bring about some change. Education is a powerful tool. :)

      Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 30, 2014 7:09 pm
    • Actually, there is currently an overpopulation of “quality well trained” horses… In this economy, excellent horses with a ton of training wind up in the slaughter pipeline.

      Posted by RoxanneJanuary 30, 2014 7:19 pm
      • Agreed Roxanne. The problem is that many responsibly-bred and well-trained horses get pushed out of good homes because of the sheer volume of horses in the marketplace. And, for many equestrians who are trying to do right by horses in need they might turn to helping rescue or house horses that are the result of backyard breeding practices, untrained, unhandled, neglected or abused thinking that the well-bred/trained horses will have no problems finding a suitable home.

        Either way these practices put ALL horses at risk until supply/demand makes a drastic shift.

        Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 30, 2014 8:42 pm
        • There again, it’s ignorance. I have received emails and petitions from some rescue outfits begging for donations to pay for surgeries for animals that should by rights be euthanized. My vet was “fired” by a rescue because he recommended euthanization for several horses that were obviously in pain and the director refused to consider it as it was “cruel”. So yes, I agree that some would allow the well trained to move on thinking that someone else would take them. Either way, what are we to do? Big breeders keep flooding the markets with foals who’s only claim to fame is registration papers, a few backyard breeders don’t know better, and anytime the government gets involved, things go south…what to do…what to do…

          Posted by RoxanneFebruary 2, 2014 11:19 am
  • I agree wholeheartedly with the list. I also believe in speaking my mind when I see poorly confomed or bad dispositioned horses or dogs being bred. I don’t however like getting on the “only use a reputable rescue etc” band wagon as far too often reputation is in the eye of the beholder, well, so is that breeder too come to think of it! Too many think that they are breeding great horses just because they go to the Congress or the Worlds or the Celebration, and have a
    “trainer” and a “barn” with a white rail fence. They are all contributing to the problem. I’ve seen some fantastic horses that do their jobs well that came from back yard breeders. If you talk to dog breeders, the ones who place a value and premium on their dogs, they will all say that they rarely ever “make money” on a litter of pups. Because they invest that money back into each litter following. It’s a labor of love, not money. You, in your blog here, are essentially tossing that out the window it seems. A reputable breeder, of any species, will only breed what they can A) care for B) place in appropriate homes and C) market effectively. Until judges cease to reward poor conformation, fake gaits, abusive training methods, and name brand bloodlines, our problems will continue.

    Posted by RoxanneJanuary 30, 2014 7:15 pm
    • But also look at the state of dog populations. They too suffer from rampant irresponsible breeders of all scales – from those with an accidental litter to puppy mills.

      A goal of any breeder should be to at least break even on the costs of breeding, ideally. But, the market also has to be in a position to support that. Right now horses are being sold for less than it costs to produce them – and yes they are a product of sorts.

      If you’re unable to sell the foals you’re producing for at least the cost of creating them and raising them to when you sell them it is a HUGE red flag that the market is over-saturated. Personally I would consider anyone contributing more horses at a loss to an over-saturated market, no matter what their other best intentions may be, an irresponsible breeder.

      Not all horses are bred based on competition ‘standards’ (what the judges are rewarding, correct or incorrect) either.

      Largely I think it takes a) educating buyers and breeders, b) publicly voicing opposition towards irresponsible breeders (in a non-violent way, btw), c) reducing the overall horse population by limiting breeding – even by otherwise ‘responsible’ breeders.

      Re: Reputable rescue – do your research. Eye of the beholder, absolutely. Look at the information about that rescue – are they a non-profit? If so you can lookup their financial records to find out how they’re reporting expenses and income. Ask them for references from people who’ve adopted horses from them, etc. Do the research you need in order to feel comfortable adopting from them and not supporting a ‘rescue’ which is really just a front for horse-dealing as that only helps to prop-up backyard breeding, large-scale breeding/culling and the slaughter industry.

      Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 30, 2014 9:09 pm
      • I was right there with you right up until you suggest people should acquire horses through “rescue”. One of the absolute worst ways imaginable to become a horse owner. Downright liars & Scammers (some even under FBI investigation), hoarders, the ones that use the most pathetic horses imaginable as a “cash cow” for donations from bleeding hearts, right down to just the crazy cat lady who wants the public to pay for their horse habit. For the lions share a shady industry that’s likely to stay that way for as long as it remains unregulated. Me? I’ve long thought that legislation that required horse breeders to be licensed and to maintain that license the #1 rule was you had to show a profit and be paying taxes on those profits or be heavily fined. That would solve a lot of it. Problem is people in free countries object to those ideas even if that is what would ultimately be whats best for horses. So its either that or a robust kill market. If the dog and cat debacle isn’t proof enough that you can’t shame people out of over-breeding with articles like this I don’t know what is. My hats off to you for the effort regardless.

        Posted by Karen GarriottJanuary 31, 2014 12:54 pm
        • You can’t classify all rescue’s as bad!!!! The MHARF is fantastic!! They have a program that places eligible 4 yr old and up horses with a trainer for 100 days…the trainers then compete in 5 classes. Halter, pleasure, trail, freestyle, and vet/farrier check. After the competition the horses are up for adoption viava silent auction. The horses go home with thier trainer…where the trainer can help introduse the new owners. It was an amazing event to watch….let alone participate in!! I was one of the trainers and ended up adopting my student…he is amazing…we will be entering the world of mounted shooting!! I feel blessed everyday that I found MHARF and plan on doing the challenge again this year to help another untrained unwated horse find its forever home!

          Posted by 4myHurriFebruary 1, 2014 9:40 am
        • It depends on the rescue. My recommendation to first time horse owners doesn’t fit what a lot of people say. I say to go to a reputable rescue OR a reputable trader. A lot of people knock horse traders, but if you pick the right one they’ll find you the right horse and will often let you take the animal on trial or even return it three months later if it’s not working out.

          If you’re going to get a horse from a rescue, make sure they have a good reputation. In the Maryland area, both Day’s End and Gentle Giants (If you want a draftie) have awesome reps. And don’t try to rescue yourself unless you know what you’re doing…

          Posted by poveyjrFebruary 1, 2014 11:30 am
  • BRAVA! Perfectly and profoundly said, thank you! It’s high time this was spoken out loud. Now, if we could only convince the three worst contributors to the slaughter pipeline (AQHA, APHA, Jockey Club) to curtail their incessant over-breeding, the future of today’s horses would be so much safer.

    Posted by Robynne CatheronJanuary 30, 2014 8:33 pm
    • That would be contrary to their corporate motives. The more horses bred the more fees they collect and (potentially) the larger their membership base.

      An organization to promote limited breeding to help curb the horse population and return value to the market could be useful though. Contacting breeders directly, spreading educational information to pony clubs, colleges, through vets, etc.

      I know a lot of breeders think, “well I’m not a backyard breeder so I’m not contributing to over-population because my horses are ________” (fill in the blank). So education is a big key. Even organizing sponsored castration clinics to help those with young colts geld them, or to go further sponsored clinics to help breeders with untrained breeding stock get them started under saddle so they have a (potentially) more secure future.

      Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 30, 2014 9:17 pm
  • Breeding of any kind should be stopped, a moratorium instituted, until EVERY animal has a good home. There are simply too many, and man is too irresponsible and greedy.

    The appalling and disgraceful amount of innocent animals that live their short lives either deformed, and or struggling with a myriad of genetic diseases and disorders is irresponsible and demonstrates the ignorance and greed of the breeders. I blame them…but I blame more the government for not implementing mandatory spay neuter ordinances and laws. NO country should have as its legacy, millions upon millions of animals euthanized and or slaughtered because there are not enough homes.

    These innocent animals are victims of mans greed and ignorance, and selfishness. They just are a living breathing disposable object, like paper plates, cups, forks, and all the other trash America throws away.

    The disposable society we live in is what the problem is….everything, even if it is a living, feeling, being is disposable. I was raised to understand that if you adopt an animal, that animal was your lifetime responsibility, they became a family member. But if we look at how our society functions nowadays, human family members are thrown away too, in nursing homes and other “facilities”. A change in mentality is in order, and so too should be laws to make life better for animals.

    Posted by RDEFJanuary 30, 2014 11:05 pm
    • Horses do not have litters, RDEF, they typically have one foal at a time, with 11 months gestation period and can’t be weaned until five months. 1% historically have gone to slaughter, which should be zero percent, but 1% is not enough to ban breeding of horses.

      Posted by dkJanuary 31, 2014 12:04 am
      • I’d love to see the sources for the historical horse-slaughter percentage you’ve quoted. Not saying it isn’t true, but according to who?

        Personally I feel that ONE horse facing neglect, abuse or slaughter (which is inherently abusive with present horse slaughter practices) is enough of a reason to make changes to breeding practices. But my focus is on the welfare of the horse.

        Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 31, 2014 12:26 pm
          • Breed conservation is very different from backyard breeding. Quarter horses are hardly at present risk of dying out altogether. And if someone wants to wave around the banner of “but I’m saving this rare breed from extinction” all the more reason to be judicious in your breeding practices.

            I’ll share the link for others who might want to read the information as well, thank you for sharing it. :) http://www.kaufmanzoning.net/

            Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 31, 2014 7:50 pm
    • Really great points. And your last statement really hit home for me right now. My Grandmother’s health is failing and all signs right now point to her life nearing a close.

      As tough as that reality alone is, having to deal with the vultures present in the hospital industry, medical staff, hospice organizations… it makes me very angry with the way my Grandmother is being treated as an extraneous cost to the system, and those of us fighting to protect her rights being treated as ignorant of the fact that all life has to end at some point.

      Spay/neuter promotions used to be more prevalent even than they are now. Remember Bob Barker singing his tune about spaying and neutering your pets? We should be pushing the message more loudly in the horse industry as well.

      The responsibility and failure of doing the responsible thing as far as fixing young pets/horses I believe falls on the initial breeder. Really, they *should* be educated enough to know whether the youngster they produced is breeding material rather than leaving it to the judgement of whatever potential buyer (and hoping they are educated enough or able to make an unemotional decision). In horses this falls primarily on stud colts since spaying fillies/mares isn’t common practice (yet?).

      Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 31, 2014 12:39 pm
  • It’s obvious that nobody wants to breed traits that are harmful to a horse. That said, every breeder should breed to their breed standard. Type is what sets the breed apart. I do not agree with the article at all on this point. The best breeders breed to their breed standard.

    Posted by dkJanuary 31, 2014 12:01 am
    • I wouldn’t be so certain that nobody wants to breed in damaging traits…

      Halter horses are often bred with disproportionately small hooves and post-legs or sickle-hocks which leads to eventual soundness problems.

      Stock breeds continue to use breeding horses with known genetic diseases such as HYPP with many breeders having a preference for HYPP positive horses over HYPP negative.

      In miniature horses there are bite problems (overbite/underbite) and dwarfism among other problems.

      People specifically breeding for frame-overo risk producing a lethal white foal which is guaranteed to die within days of being born due to an incomplete GI tract.

      etc etc etc

      Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 31, 2014 12:01 pm
      • It’s apparent that you are in Quarter Horses. I’m in Morgans, and we have a problem with people not breeding to our breed standard. When you look at a horse, you should immediately be able to recognize the breed, if it’s a purebred horse.

        Posted by dkJanuary 31, 2014 7:38 pm
        • Nope, not “in Quarter Horses,” but they have a more recognizable issue which is why I used them to illustrate the point.

          Regarding the Morgan breed standard are you referring to the trend of breeding park-type Morgans?

          Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 31, 2014 7:53 pm
          • Much of the problem in the Morgan breed has been with adding illegal bloodlines and registering them as purebred Morgans. This is how the “park-type” Morgan was achieved, with a few honest individuals.

            What is needed in the Morgan breed is to test all new foals back to the date that the books were closed to outside blood, and to register the foals properly — into a purebred and newly-created part/half registry.

            All breeders of every breed should be encouraged to breed for their breed standard.

            What good is it to have a registered Morgan (fake or real) that looks like a Dutch Harness Horse, Saddlebred or Hackney? A Morgan should look like a Morgan.

            Posted by dkFebruary 5, 2014 10:47 am
  • It comes down to responsibility..some will never get it. Back yard breeders all the way to big time breeders need to stop over populating!
    We used to raise and show paints and quarter horses. We did quite well with many of them but when we sold them we always did our best to stay in contact with the buyer. We bought one back and gave a couple away to forever homes rather than send them off to the killers. We have been to futurities where BIG time breeders haul in a dozen nice foals, win the money and then dump those same foals or take them home and destroy them! Sickening! Most of this was with breeding stock colts..the breeder would say, you want him, pay me $500 or he will be destroyed. SICKENING!
    On another note, we bought a couple of foals from a smaller back yard breeder ( as they didn’t go out and show/promote) They bred up to 20-30 quality foals a year and had fair prices. When the market plummeted, they stopped! No, these weren’t World Champion foals but they all had nice bloodlines and they were quality mares…Excellent ranch/using horses and very good confirmation. They didn’t own a mare that I wouldn’t have been proud to have in my own yard!
    I would have a serious issue if we had to get permission to breed a mare or stand a stallion as those with the most would always come out on top.
    Folks need to be educated. Just because Fancy is a big sweetie doesn’t mean she should be bred. All babies are cute but we need to be responsible for what we create. Dumping them for slaughter isn’t the answer…you might take on the race horse industry on this one as well!!

    Posted by lindaJanuary 31, 2014 8:30 am
    • A part of me also shies away from the idea of breeding being regulated – having to get permission. But then another part of me says that model does work in other instances.

      If you look at european breed organizations and state studs that regulate the approval of stallions and mares, and subsequent evaluation of their foals you see an overall improvement in the breeding standards, conformation and movement of those horses.

      You also see a stronger market as evidenced by the price of warmblood horses approved by those organizations.

      Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 31, 2014 12:06 pm
    • I often feel this way too, but if that were true women still wouldn’t have the vote.

      I’m not sure if it’s about making people care in the same way (about the welfare of the horses they’re breeding) or caring in the social context of not wanting to be labelled as irresponsible breeders should criticism of breeding habits become more public?

      Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 31, 2014 12:03 pm
  • While I do agree that there is an issue with the over breeding of any animal, please do some research and cite those sources before you throw a breed under the bus. I would like to point out a couple of facts that you have gotten wrong in this article, specifically, with regards to the Bashkir Curly horse, or just the Curly horse. The curly trait is a dominant gene. It is not something that is being bred to “enhance” the breed (for example, how the bulldog has been bred to have a squishier nose to look more appealing which is utter bullocks..). It is just part of the breed since they were first discovered (which is a really good historic read for anyone interested in how these horses were brought back from almost being killed to extinction). The other thing is I am not sure that you understand really what an extreme curly (or bald) curly is. I own two curlies, one extreme and one straight and it is -10C outside right now, and the extreme curly has about 4 inchs of the thickest wool you could possibly imagine. I also have friends who have extreme and ‘normal’ curlies, and they are most certainly not suffering because of breeding. In the summer time, my extreme does lose her mane and tail and looks bald. But, there is hair there. It just doesn’t look like it. As for the bugs, well, she just pairs up with the old guy and his tail takes care of most of them. If she didn’t have him, she still would be ok (look at how horses shake off flys, interesting read). I do realize this world is not perfect, and there is probably someone out there ‘backyard’ breeding a curly, but there is a lot of decent good breeders trying to promote and conserve this breed with the best interest of the horse in mind, not the human. I know I probably will get flamed from the mob about this, but please feel free to ask any questions. If I don’t know the answer, I sure do know someone that does.

    Posted by H.AJanuary 31, 2014 10:02 am
    • I’m actually very informed about the Curly breed, having been heavily involved in it since 1999, and only over the last couple of years becoming less publicly vocal within the online community of breeders.

      There are in-fact two known versions of the curly gene, the most commonly seen is the Dominant-gened Curly horse, but a recessive version also exists that shows up in other breeds seemingly at random. What we used to see most frequently were recessives showing up in the Missouri Foxtrotter, Percheron and Arabian breeds but it certainly wasn’t limited to those.

      I’m not really certain the definition of “enhance” you’re making reference to? But there are Curly breeders who use the presence of the Curly coat as a sign of the breed’s hypo-allergenic quality and hardiness to cold weather. Although it may be making a slow shift towards improving, you’ll also see breeders selling off resulting straight-coated Curlies at significantly lower prices than their Curly coated foals/horses. This preference for a breed trait is no different than breeders who sell solid (non-pinto) Paint horses at a loss because they’re focused on primarily reproducing one breed trait – in their case the pinto coloring and in the Curly breed’s case the curly coat.

      If your horse has a full covering of hair on the body in all seasons then that is NOT what I’m referring to. Also, ownership is one thing but to potentially reproduce the trait of baldness on the body on purpose is, in my opinion and observation, abusive to the horse and puts them at a greater risk in the future of suffering.

      From the pedigree research I did over a number of years in regards to the Baldy-trait Curlies it is genetic, likely a recessive gene. I say likely because anything genetic that does not yet have a test available to confirm/deny is only a theory. Same with any references to a horse being homozygous for the dominant curly gene since there is not yet a test for it.
      There are certain bloodlines that are very likely to produce a Baldy-trait Curly if crossed, line-bred or in-bred. This topic used to be discussed semi-regularly within the community of breeders when I was more involved but it seems that it’s gone mostly quiet which is a shame as it should be an area that breeders readily work to improve not just for the breed’s reputation and public image, but for the welfare of the horses being produced given how small the gene pool is.

      Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 31, 2014 12:24 pm
      • I really disagree with your blog on the curlies. I am very shocked to see them attacked as they are hardly over populated like most of the breeds out there.Also the attack on the baldies is really silly. As far as your knowledge of them, please confirm if this is true:

        Erica was once a “back yard breeder” herself who started out with VERY BALD
        mare ( a very sweet lovely little mare by the way but certainly conformationally
        challenged !!!) and bred her twice – producing two bald offspring. She did
        publically state that these horses would go to auction at one point if no one
        bought them.

        As for training horses well so they were guaranteed a future – Erica
        publically stated that she trained her Jobi to respond to seat and leg cues in
        an odd backwards manner which made him virtually unusable to anyone else but her
        – after he was sold and re-sold.. she asked for donations so she could bring
        Jobi back home. She relied on the kindness of other breeders to get them back.

        So is there any truth to this? I was not going to put this here but you attacked others so easily so I must ask.. This is just something I was told and heard about. However the Jobi horse, I do remember that as you were publicly begging for help to get that horse back. Please think before you attack a breed, You only hurt the Curly breed here. Not helped.

        Posted by CHFebruary 3, 2014 3:06 pm
        • Hi Autumn,

          To point out that there is a genetic fault in a breed that should be avoided is not the same as attacking an entire breed. Is every Curly horse bald? No. Have I criticized any Curly horses who maintain a full body coat? No.

          You make accusations towards me as though every equestrian ought to have never made a mistake to learn by, change, grow and move on from. That would be like saying if a person should fall off their horse once before they learn how to ride in a balanced way that we should see them as permanently damaged and incompetent. Have you ever fallen off a horse?

          Perhaps I point out the baldy issue in the Curlies so plainly because unfortunately when I was breeding Curly horses there was very little science and real information available for breeders to help them make decisions. Most of it was myth and third-party accounts. It was still common for breeders to tell potential buyers that Curlies were so special and unlike other horses you didn’t need to deworm them, vaccinate them, provide hoof care or shelter in the winter…

          For the most part that isn’t the case anymore and still it would seem that instead of people who care about horses and the breed speaking up to help improve the state of the breed, they remain quiet. Have I ever made a mistake in my life regarding horses? Yes. I dare say that anyone involved in horses has made quite a number of mistakes, but that hardly makes a case against that person speaking up and saying that certain mistakes can be avoided – like the continued breeding of Baldy Curlies.

          Regarding training horses to ensure they have a more secure future, I still stand by that. That is largely inspired by what did occur with my Curly Jobi. I was lucky he ended up in such a caring home that wanted to see him back with me and not someone looking to dump him off anywhere they could quickly make their money back. I am forever grateful not only towards the family who gave me a chance to bring him home, but also to each person who helped financially make that a possibility. Of those who donated who happened to be Curly breeders I don’t regard them as just some group of ‘breeders’, but genuinely people who I had developed some kind of relationship with over the years being involved with the breed we all love, and they provided more than anything monetary by cheering me on and wishing me luck in bringing Jobi home. They kept me inspired and hopeful as any great friends do when someone needs it the most. There were a great deal more who wrote me saying the couldn’t or wouldn’t donate but wanted to let me know they wanted to see me succeed and those kind words meant just as much to me as if they had donated.

          That experience has made me more sensitive to the reality that although you may train a horse in a way that makes the most sense to your horse, if you don’t also train them in a way that people educated in mainstream riding techniques can understand you are setting all parties up for failure.

          This fear of the whole Curly breed being damaged by a criticism towards the continued breeding of a genetic defect I don’t understand. The Curly breed is thriving and has been since the time when I became involved with it when the common perception was that all Curly horses were either sick with Cushings or were ill-conformed ponies. What is left to damage it is trying to closet this problem instead of facing it and working it out to further improve the breed.

          I remember a time when you couldn’t find a trained Curly to buy and its small market was almost exclusively stud colts or stallions. Many of the people who were most involved and pushing to improve the breed’s public image, to make information about the breed more fact based and credible, to research research research and initiate genetic testing, the start of Curly Sporthorse International and greater involvement by international owners and breeders; many of those original people I am lucky to have known and met and learned from. And I’m lucky to have learned from those people because like us all I’m sure they’ve made their own share of mistakes as equestrians and not let it stop them from continuing to spread information that could be helpful.

          Cheers

          Posted by Erica FranzFebruary 3, 2014 4:40 pm
  • Kudos to you and the work you do Haley!

    Sorry your comment got stuck in moderation briefly, I do that to help prevent spam links from coming through. Hopefully more people will visit your page and get involved. :)

    Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 31, 2014 3:24 pm
  • I am educated about and deeply experienced firsthand with the Curly breed and the breed standards. However, nowhere in the breed standards does it say that loss of BODY hair resulting in bare skin (baldness) is a) normal to the breed’s accepted standards or b) encouraged.

    … me and my beloved Curly, *YS Tanjobi :)

    Posted by Erica FranzJanuary 31, 2014 3:38 pm
    • Yes overall baldness is not good and is often a serious health problem in any horse and probably linked to diet. I have seen some extremes with seriously thin hair but i would not breed that horse.

      Posted by Erica WrightFebruary 3, 2014 7:16 am
  • Excellent article! I am a breeder of American Quarter Horses, and have been for 20 years. With that said, I have not bred any mares for 4 years now. Why?
    The market is over saturated with the likes of those horses described in this article. I am a Professional Horseman, and a member of AQHA Professional Horsemen, and I conduct horsemanship clinics around the country, and I see horse people with good intentions, but have no clue of the Horse Industry.

    My horses are well rounded, sound ‘Using Horses’ that can earn their keep in rodeo competitions, ranch work, and a few in the ‘Show Arena’. I am just now getting the last of my offspring out in the world of the rodeo roping arena. I have no plans for breeding any of my MaMas for the next year or 2. We have about 500 acres, short grass, and water tables dropping. I have made money with our horse operation, but I do not know how much longer that is going to happen.

    Again, a excellent article, and I hope all horse people take heed of what is happening in the equine world, and the sorry economic condition this world is falling into!

    Posted by Larry HannonJanuary 31, 2014 9:40 pm
    • Thank you Larry for sharing your experiences. :)

      I agree very strongly with your statement of the good intentions of horse people. I do believe that every breeder feels they are going into the business with the best intentions and given a perfect situation (ideal economy, strong market for your particular niche, low overhead, etc, etc) that could be all that is needed. But when we’re faced with less than ideal situations as have been mounting over the years is when making the difficult decisions is what really defines you.

      Feel free to share a few pictures of your up and coming youngsters if you feel so inclined, I’m quite fond of good working horses. :)

      Cheers,
      Erica

      Posted by Erica FranzFebruary 3, 2014 4:48 pm
  • Absolutely, backyard breeders are part of the unwanted/rescue/slaughter horse problem.

    With all due respect, however, that being said, a couple of notes:

    1) Small, quality breeder is not synonymous with backyard breeder.

    2) Large breeders who put 200 foals on the ground every year while selling only 25 of them every year (completely unhandled and untrained albeit registered), are also large part contributors to the unwanted/rescue/slaughter horse problem. Perhaps mathematically and statistically even larger contributors than smaller backyard breeders. The AQHA and the AHA officially support the slaughter pipeline as a method of culling herds for large breeders.

    (I have been a full service equine professional for over 40 years – boarding, breeding, lessons, leasing, rescuing, showing, training, transporting, trail and pony rides.)

    Posted by Andrea 'Skye' Drake StephanFebruary 1, 2014 12:58 am
    • I agree wholeheartedly with your points, I guess they were a bit buried in the article as I’m seeing people respond with the impression I’m only talking about small-scale breeders.

      My personal preference is to see small-scale breeders who are doing so in a very informed/thoughtful way. They have the ability to keep better tabs on how their offspring are doing in new homes, and to also make quicker changes to their breeding program should they need to (easier to transition from breeding to riding 1-2 mares than 20-30 mares).

      Cheers :)

      Posted by Erica FranzFebruary 3, 2014 4:53 pm
  • Two things missing from this item:
    -professional breeders who are still breeding ill conformed horses, esp the TB racing industry… if they were really interested in breeding better faster horses, err why the closed studbook? Tb breeding is about high yearling prices, not improving the tb breed
    – people who breed [insert species here] because of their own ill informed views on animal sexuality vs their own I.e. all those who think a mare/queen/bitch ‘should have one (litter)’ for whatever weird reason they think, or who associate gelding/castrating an animal with their own machismo (please, if you think that, most women already think you are a dick), or a variety of other sometimes oddball almost conspiracy theories

    Posted by Viv001February 1, 2014 2:31 pm
  • Not all “back yard” breeders breed $500 foals. Every foal I have bred has gone on to be successful…some as show horses, some as ranch horses, some as children’s horses, some as trail horses. But then again, I only breed exceptional individuals. I breed for correct conformation and willing dispositions…no genetic defects or carriers accepted as breeding stock. No bad attitudes/dispositions, because I don’t care how pretty it is or how well it’s bred or how well it mover, if it doesn’t have a sensible, traonable disposition it’s not worth a dime. Parents must have been ridden and stayed sound. I have sold horses from Maine to California…and the majority are still with the original buyers. I see the problem with irresponsible breeding…but a quality, well-conformed, good minded foal free from genetic defects is a quality animal, whether the breeder raises 1 foal a year or 100 foals a year.

    Posted by PigletFebruary 1, 2014 11:31 pm
    • I agree, not all backyard breeders are small-scale breeders either. I think some people like to call small-scale breeders (breeding just a couple foals a year) backyard breeders, but I disagree with this and find that Irresponsible Breeding Practices = Backyard Breeder is more in line.

      Cheers :)

      Posted by Erica FranzFebruary 3, 2014 4:43 pm
  • it’s great to know there are people out there keeping a watchful eye on out of control of breeding of horses for years I’ve been seeing it going on and at last it has a voice just bloody glad you are all out there

    Posted by Mary GamackApril 2, 2014 6:35 pm
  • I just found this article and while I do agree with most of what’s in it I am a breeder and I know there are some of us good ones out there. I breed AQHA cutting horses. I only produce 2-5 foals per year. I only breed mares who have great conformation and have already earned or produced over100,000 NCHA and the stallions we breed to must be hall of fame horses. Every foal I produce goes to a hall of fame trainer and is sold during their three year old year or kept by us as a open futurity prospect. They are handled from birth and fed Purina feed. I have no desire to adopt a problem produced by someone else. I am sorry such horses exist but I am not a contributer to the problem. I do not like the horse slaughter market but as long as there are people who toss a sale barn stallion out with a field of sale barn mares it is necessary.

  • I do believe you have a strong point however, at the same time there are holes in it. I believe you forget that some people have grown up breeding. I bought a yearling that was AQHA and for low cost why? Because the guy doesn’t need an extreme amount and up here in your Montana North Dakota South Dakota, you can’t ask for crazy high amounts or they won’t sell. I show, but most of your people up here use them for ranch work. And the man I bought my horse from did make money, but he knows how breeding works and runs his mares and studs. Very well, and trims his own. So this may go for you bigger city areas but not the ranch life. I don’t think you realize a couple thousand is a lot for a ranch work horse. But I do agree with people breeding bad genetics that should not be done. But up here we need some of those “backyard” breeders as long as they produce quality foals. Not everyone can afford a 5,000 new foal

    Posted by StephJune 27, 2014 8:18 am
  • I am one of those people looking for an inexpensive horse. Mine had to be put down because he colicked. I don’t compete. I trail ride. My expenses aren’t huge. I pay board. My expenses outside of that are farrier and vet. I applaud rescues, however I don’t want some telling me if I move, I have to surrender my horse, thus I prefer to buy. I do however agree with all you said about breeding. And the overpopulation of horses… Which is the same issue we have with cats not dogs. I too think breeding should be regulated. This isn’t about people and their freedom to breed. It’s about what’s best for the horses. As living breathing creatures of God, we should be thinking of their welfare, and not the breeders freedom to breed.

    Posted by K LynneJune 27, 2014 8:21 am
  • OK its just not the back yard breeder,, come on now, we have popular horse breeders breeding 100’s of mare each year to try and find the one good one out of them.. So please stop trying to put the blame on back yard breeders because its everyone’s fault.. High dollar breeders in race horsing, farm breeders, show horses, etc… IT’s in the poor mans world and in the rich man’s world of over breeding horses, dogs, cats, etc.. wow media always wants to put blame on the lower class or the middle class people of breeders… So if you are going to post about back yard breeders then why don’t you post about big time breeders that send most of the horses to kill because they can’t make them any more money……

    Posted by tammieJune 27, 2014 8:23 am
    • Hi Tammie,

      In the article I mention “backyard breeding practices”, the emphasis on practices which put the horse at risk which can be done by any breeder – large, small, etc. I point out the problems associated with large breeders too if you read through the whole piece. :)

      Cheers,
      Erica

  • You have hit the nail on the head . good artical but i have one bone to pick with u,
    It some what disturbs me that u list complaints and facts about every single breeding operation out there from the veary small to the largest and then call them all back yard breeders i think that is the wrong lable to attach to this story,
    The only reasion for over horse population lays compleatly in the hands of suply and demand show jumpers , dressage, and race horses are the bigest through away zones. So please dont go lable them as back yard breaders. And no im not a breeder i have two rescue horses myself that will have there forever home with me .

    Posted by elizabethJune 27, 2014 9:12 am
    • But these bigger operations behave like backyard breeders, so I’m uncertain where the problem is with labeling them based on their actions? If the sky is blue shouldn’t I call it blue?

      Cheers,
      Erica

  • This is absolutely the best article I’ve ever read on this topic! I will, however agree with Roxanne that many fully trained, quality registered horses are also going straight to slaughter too. These have been broken down mentally and physically by abusive trainers and I see it all around me.
    There are 2 slaughter auctions not far from me and there is never a shortage of horses in the pen. These are in Amish country where they are throwing away their buggy and workhorses when they can’t work anymore. The Amish are also operating “horse mills” and dump any they can’t sell at slaughter. Go down there and look at the many pastures full of poor quality pintos they are breeding for us “English” to buy. They certainly aren’t being bred for Amish use, they aren’t allowed to use horses with flashy colors.
    I don’t really see any solid solution to the problem-the very people who excel in backyard breeding are not going to be reading this article or even running the numbers that prove that they are throwing their own money away.

    Posted by LeeJune 27, 2014 10:34 am
  • I agree that something needs to be done about the irresponsible breeders big or small, but I disagree on your suggestion to buy from a rescue. A first time horse buyer should go to a reputable stable and have lessons on how to care & ride a horse before they go out and look for one to buy. This has several very definite advantages. Firstly, the person finds out what is involved in owning a horse and do they have the interest to continue to care for their horse year after year. A lot of horses end up in auctions because they were bought & then the owners realized they didn’t have the interest or the horse was too much trouble. Second, the riding instructor can steer the student towards a horse that suits the rider, rather than the rider going out & buying a horse that they can’t handle. While some rescues are good, an awful lot of them do not allow “trials” while if you buy privately you have a better chance of being able to try out in lessons with your instructor there to help if you need it while you and your horse are getting used to each other. This would go a long way to keeping a lot of horses out of the auctions and also keeping a lot of new riders interested in their “hobby”.

    Posted by LynnJune 27, 2014 8:14 pm
    • You might reread the portion which discusses purchasing from a rescue. I do not “recommend” but point out that if you want to rescue a horse to do research on the rescues beforehand to make sure you’re supporting a reputable one.

  • I think we need to look more close at big associations for over breeding. Some people don’t need or want a horse with a big fancy name ect. AQHA APHA T-bred good suppliers of slaughter houses.

    Posted by teresaJune 27, 2014 8:25 pm
  • This is a topic which is rarely addressed, so thank you for all the information from a few different perspectives.
    I will say that my brother, years ago, bred tropical fish accidentally and was surprised at the price he could get for the offspring…. Point being that ever since childhood I have wondered why anyone breeds anything larger than a fish if profit is the sole motive. I hear lizards are lucrative as well.
    I am glad that other factors are discussed. Living in Maryland plants me smack dab in auction country – thoroughbreds and Amish horses of course, and so backyard breeders are not the primary contributors to the throwaway horse problem here.

    [Moderator's Note: I struggled with whether or not to edit out the following portion, which is to promote a specific rescue. I chose not to because I think it's important that everyone know they're allowed to share their voice, uncensored, so long as they are (reasonably) respectful of the other people posting. I have no affiliations, connections or experiences with the rescue or anyone involved with it, please research ANY rescue you plan to support.]

    As to rescue organizations I have mixed feelings, but primarily because there is such a range of quality in these efforts.
    So I want to applaud the ongoing efforts of Lilly Pond Foal Rescue, which is run by a woman who is, no doubt in my mind, a rescue genius. In addition to the seasonal influx of nurse mare foals, which is a costly and labor intensive effort, Sharon Hancock also buys horses of all ages at auction (New Holland). She has a large contingent of volunteers and trainers, several participating farm locations, vet/ farrier/dentist almost weekly, and more. (The local fire department disinfects her trailer when she returns from New Holland, for instance). Simultaneously she posts photos and videos of all the horses daily, places rehabbed horses at an amazing rate, and brings the horses back if the placement does not work out. I would strongly recommend LPFR to anyone in the mid-atlantic region interested in adopting an equine partner. Check out the web site and FB page. Then go to another rescue’s page and you will be looking at horses who have been at the rescue for 3 or more years….BTW, your donation (through Paypal) will be used to get exactly what is needed to save and improve the lives of more horses.

    Posted by MJ KrasnoffJune 28, 2014 4:36 am
    • I had a cousin when I was young, who made a mint breeding parakeets. They were small, he ran his whole operation from a small room in his parent’s house. But, I think that people gravitate towards playing God with very specific animals they identify with. For equestrians it’s horses, for fish breeders it’s fish, for my cousin it was birds. Just as there are many people who adamantly self-identify as being dog or cat-people and strongly dislike the opposite.

      And in a strange way, the practices of backyard breeders even if motivated by money is conflicted by their inability to create a sound and sustainable business model.

      Great observations and thanks for adding them! :)

      • Thanks to the moderator for allowing my previous post. I understand (now) how my message went beyond what is typically allowed, and appreciate your willingness to include the bit about a particular rescue…

        Posted by MJ KrasnoffJune 29, 2014 7:18 am
  • I strongly disagree with calling it, The Back Yard Breeders!!! I did read the whole Article. You are downing a lot of fine knowledgeable, horse people! Yes you will always have some Idiots out there! Look at the statistics of the large breeders like TB, I have seen so meany babies discarded!!!! Because they were not of quality or just simply too many! Retired studs & race horse’s. it is so sad!!!. I have bread my own mares 12 years ago. I have sold three and still have two. I only bread with superior blood lines, good conformation, great color, and awesome personalities!!! I have imprinted my foals. They have gone off to be very successful! One of my babies broke her leg when she was 3/4mo. Old. My husband made a cast out of PVC pip. she is now 10 years old and is an awesome trail horse for a 4 year old.
    I have the two full brother & sister, my APHA mare won Horsemanship in 2007 & 7009, won all around rodeo horse, is a police horse, excellent calf sorting horse, trail horse and riding lesson horse. She is now 14. My APHA gelding started as a successful trick riding horse at three years old, dose the opening for the rodeos, trail and is an awesome riding lesson horse. I have had offers for my Horses, $10,000. , $20, $30, I could not sale at that time. They are in their forever home! I could not imagine life with out them! They are apart of the family! My APHA stud has good Confirmation, beautiful Bay tri-color.He has the best personality! I did sale him a few years ago to a friend of mine. She gelded him and He now belongs to a 6 year old. He is in his forever home. They are the best of buds! I love to see them, they are awesome together! We all go camping and go trail riding on occasions.
    My point is, not every back yard breeders are idiots!!! I do feel everybody, especially large breeders should stop breeding. As long as they are breeding, the situation will just get more ugly!!’

    Posted by VickieJune 28, 2014 12:54 pm
  • Its an even keel, straight across the board an where it started was with PMU Mares not only in Canada but the united states aswell, they were number 1 for foal an colt production that’s where your/ our problems started. Flooding the markets, Auctions, people buying mixing breeds, cross breeding, inline breeding etc, an all that mattered was PMU production, which we had alot of horses, alot were smart and ALOT were not. We now have oh superior bloodlines, that are damaged goods, they can not improve, they got worse do a COMPARISON between the horses of the early 1900’s, to until now, horses are thinner built, confirmation is off, there smaller framed, tall and thin, narrowly built horses from to much of messing with the breed. Its not from backyard breeders as you have stated, its from everyone straight across the board trying to sneak this cut costs here and there screwing with the industry, i can’t find or buy a decent draft horse in this modern age, if i do it’s 2500 dollars or more for a horse that’s a dummy, but its got a bloodline sheet that’s 10 miles long. Now there are the horse farms in both country’s letting mares and stud horses run together, the stud may have goodlines but the mare doesn’t or vise versa, the so called horse farms don’t care, just like the PMU Farms that started all this. Its a mess an it starts with people casting blame, do your research first apparently you haven’t. We are in a over spillage of horses that came from horse farms or PMU, farms to rescues and forever homes. Its to bad cause i bet these were some good horses in their day now there 15 to 30yr old, there of no use, hurt backs, injured stifles, founder, what can we possibly do with these horses? It would be better if those horses were put away, continually having them suffer is not serving them justice its an injustice. Honor them by doing the right thing for them. An hold the owners liable for the injustices done to the horses. It all starts at the breeders level, at the farms levels it is not the horses fault they ended up like that. Oh, an lets not forget the Amish or Menoites, their not backyard are they? Or are they? An yes here is another key contributing factor is this there are silent bidders at quality horse auctions to where buyers are buying for people overseas, they are buying our good quality bloodlined horses for human consumption, China is number 1, Europe is second,meaning France, England and Germany. Buyers buy all these horses take them to Canada to feedlots fattin them up, truck them to port load all these horses on a ship, slaughter them on international waters, discard remains over board, all meats are packaged an frozen meats are sold to the horse meat buyers, huge articles in the draft horse journal about it.

    Posted by MerleJune 28, 2014 5:13 pm
  • Lots of opinions and seem to know all the answers…..how to you propose to do it and who will monitor it, no use bitching about it unless you have a plan to unleash on anyone or everyone who has ever bred a horse. If you have no solution to a problem that took centuries of human stupidity to create – don’t waste peoples time bitching and complaining, but your words to work, get unified, contact congress – make a plan, legislation whatever – otherwise….you’re just expressing an opinion with no viable solution.

    Posted by Laura MartinJune 29, 2014 8:08 pm
  • This is an excellent article. The people who have come here to express their indignation are suspect (most of them, not all). This article is speaking of the ones who breed irresponsibly, so when people come here to explain that THEY are good breeders and your article is bashing them is way off base. My only thought is, there must be some guilty conscience at play here. I feel that if you truly ARE a responsible breeder, this article shouldn’t offend you in the least. No names were mentioned, only scenarios. If the irresponsible breeders would just stop breeding every horse with a uterus just because it has a uterus, maybe the market could become competitive again. Back when I was a teenager, you couldn’t touch a really well trained horse for less that $1500 on the east coast, and that’s for a grade horse, not a highly bred bloodlined show quality horse. As far as ranch horses, I’m sure it’s different on ranches now and was back then. People used to take pride in their horses, their training, their abilities. You didn’t often see hoarders (of horses) where I was from. You can read about it on the news just about weekly nowadays, horses starving, being neglected. Now, I live smack-dab in Amish country. I bought two drafts from New Holland auction, one was a 9 year old Belgian trained to do EVERYTHING. I paid $575 for him. You could not ask for a nicer horse, but they didn’t want to feed him over the winter months. They breed their mares every single year without fail. This is a community problem, a social issue. Our throwaway society. Until people own the fact that they are causing untold suffering because of greed, this will never stop. My hat’s off to the ones who actually do care about the animals they breed and take pains to ensure their future is a happy one. You are a rare breed and we need you to advocate for responsible breeding, also. It really makes me sad to see how many good horses are snatched up by kill-buyers every single week. It should NOT be happening.

    Posted by ValerieJune 29, 2014 8:53 pm
  • It amazes me to think people actually read and believe the above article. Of course parts of it are true but as a whole the situation is that instead of saving children and helping them live a beautiful life you have chosen to save every horse to a “forever” home and you have completely ignored the reality that this is an unrealistic approach for a 1200 pound animal. There are so many horses which have not been trained and are not suitable for a “forever” home anymore than a cow, pig or chicken. The horse has a romance issue and most of the “forever” home advocates have never lived in the country or owned a horse. What is it that makes the horse any more special than a cow? You can make a “pet” of a cow and ride it if you want to spend the time. Horses are useful animals but require a ton of money if you are going to raise, train and show. It is not practical to have a home for every horse. Therefore slaughter is the only real solution to the problem. It isn’t right to blame the backyard breeder unless they just rave colts in with their mothers and produce the same type of inbred foal that the mustangs do. Horses can be money making machines if you happen to get a good one or happen to be able to win shows or races but the rest are merely recreational and still cost a lot to care for. Some people will always cast them off after they are “finished” with them, but some will make sure they are taken care of as they always have been. There is nothing wrong in ending the life of a horse and allowing that carcass to be used to feed humans or other animals. If you feel there is something wrong then by all means take all the horses to your house and feed them and give them a good 30 years apiece. Those of us who have the space and want to care for their horse(s) “forever” do it but it should not be a requirement for the number of horses out there. They are not and should not be a protected species. And now it will be said that the Mustang is..if you look at the photos of the “mustangs” you will see in those photos are fat ,beautiful horses whose dna is most likely the local escaped quarter horse or paint or that of a horse someone turned loose, not a true mustang.

    Posted by JudyOctober 9, 2014 11:12 am

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