Good Reading

Nick Breeding Article

Terry Jarchow

"A Breeders Viewpoint"

by Terry Jarchow

Breeding Peruvian Horses is not an easy task. There has been very little written about our horse so consequently it takes years to know about the Peruvian Paso - its pisos - its conformation - the bloodlines. Breeding horses takes study and skill, science and intuition, hard work and luck. And time - most breeders don't begin to see the fruits of their labors for 15 or 20 years.

When you begin to buy horses, pick your mares and fillies very carefully. They will be the most important part of your breeding program. Outstanding stallions always have outstanding mothers. This refers to their genetic heritage, not their prowess in the show ring. Always buy the very best that you can afford, even if that means buying one excellent mare instead of five mediocre mares. Never choose quantity over quality. Although every foal receives half of his genetic makeup from his dam and half from his sire, most breeders feel that the dam contributes more (55-60%) to the nature of her foals than does the sire (40-45%). The mare provides protection and nourishment to the fetus during gestation. Her mothering ability affects the health and behavior of the young foal. If a mare's athletic, show or productive performance have not been established, the reputation of a close relative should be considered. Good manners and a good disposition enhance the breeding value of any mare. Fertility is classified as an inherited trait. This includes physical problems and hormonal imbalance.

Then after you have obtained your mares, evaluate them objectively and carefully before breeding them. Choose a stallion who will correct your mare's defects and who will be physically compatable with your mare and who is producing high quality foals. Pay attention to the stallion's conformation - his good points as well as his weaknesses. The stallion should be judged with respect to his breed type and the goals of the breeder. Always check on the quality of the stallion's foals before you commit to breed to him. Is he producing what you want in a foal? Are the foals strong? Do they have excellent pisos? How is their conformation? Although a successful performance career will not always indicate the stallion's ability to transmit superior genes to his offspring, physical achievement should be one in a series of selection guidelines.

Selection of the best stallions from the best families offers a far greater chance of producing superior offspring than if the breeder uses an animal from a relatively obscure family. Horses (both stallions and mares) from successful families usually produce above-average offspring more consistently than do outstanding individuals from mediocre parents.

The stallion's stud fee may influence the breeder's final decision, but should not be used as a guideline for breeding potential. Based on the principle that the mare also limits and contributes to the value of a foal, many breeders set a limit on stud fees depending on the value of the prospective dam.

And as breeder Gordon McDowell noted in the Arabian Horse Times, "At the Arabian National Championships, you can always tell the breeder; while everyone else is wishing to own the winner, the breeder is wishing he had bred the winner. Owning a winner only takes money."

Some breeders stand around and wait for miracles. There are no miracles.