Horse Breeding, On the International Trail

Breeding Quality Horses in the United Kingdom

July 28, 2015

Correct conformation, overall balance and consistency are at the heart of Sovereign Quarter Horses’ breeding program.

By Katy Krshka, AQHA international intern, Summer 2015

A few SQH 2 year olds.

The moment I walked out into the lush green broodmare pasture, I knew I had stumbled upon something special. The scenery was dotted with sorrel mares and their beautiful babies. As we walked closer, one thing became very apparent about these horses: consistency.

Sovereign Quarter Horses, owned and operated by David and Sarah Deptford, is located in March, Cambridgeshire, England. They currently stand three stallions and foal out around 10 to 12 broodmares each year. Half of those broodmares are home bred and raised. David grew up in an equine-centered family. David’s grandfather was internationally recognized for the show ponies he bred and raised, and David’s father began importing Quarter Horses in the 1970s, with David following closely in his footsteps. Needless to say, an eye for a good horse is a characteristic that has long been a trait of the Deptfords, and it carries on today.

Read the rest of this entry »

Breeding Soundness Examinations for Mares and Stallions

July 10, 2015

Ensure that your breeding stock is healthy with regular breeding soundness exams.

A breeding soundness exam can save time and money when trying to get a mare pregnant. Journal photo

A breeding soundness exam can save time and money when trying to get a mare pregnant. Journal photo

By Dr. Steve Fisch in The American Quarter Horse Journal

When adding a new mare to the broodmare band or a putting a new stallion in the breeding shed, you need to consider more than just bloodlines, conformation and pedigree.

If the new mares are not pregnant, a breeding soundness exam is usually a good investment. A BSE can prevent a lot of wasted time and money spent trying to get a mare pregnant when that mare actually has reproductive issues that can prevent pregnancy. A BSE should also be performed on mares who failed to become pregnant or carry a foal to term in the previous breeding season.

It is equally important for stallions to have a BSE before the upcoming breeding season. Waiting until breeding season is under way and having mares showing up not pregnant is not a good idea. Read the rest of this entry »

Breeding Polo Ponies, Part 2

June 19, 2015

American Quarter Horses are finding success on the polo field, opening up a new horse-breeding niche.

Colonel C San Miguel was named the American Polo Horse Best Playing Pony at the 2013 Women’s Championship Tournament Season 8 Finals.  Owned and Played by Kristy Waters Outhier Colonel C San Miguel, bred by Lou and Wanda Waters, is by Colonel Clout and out of Law Mans Pistol by Utopia Law Man. Photo courtesy of the American Polo Horse Association

Colonel C San Miguel, owned and played by Kristy Waters Outhier, was named the American Polo Horse Best Playing Pony at the 2013 Women’s Championship Tournament Season 8 Finals. Colonel C San Miguel, bred by Lou and Wanda Waters, is by Colonel Clout and out of Law Mans Pistol by Utopia Law Man. Photo courtesy of the American Polo Horse Association

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

In case you missed it, Part 1 of this series focused on the history of polo and how professional polo player Sunny Hale became involved with the sport!

Professional polo player Kristy Waters Outhier grew up around Quarter Horses – her parents, Lou and Wanda Waters, owned American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee Colonel Freckles – but wasn’t introduced to polo until she discovered the sport as a college student at Tulane University.

“I was reading through the book of things to do at Tulane University in New Orleans,” Kristy says. “I grew up cutting and doing working cow horse and all of the AQHA stuff, and I was really into sports in high school, especially basketball and team sports. So when I found polo, it was like the greatest thing that I had ever found in my life. It still is! It is such a mix of team sports on a horse. You excel through personal achievement – the more you work, the better you can do; the harder you practice, the better you are. There’s this whole huge element of this team being involved, as well. When you add all of that with a horse, it’s just awesome.” Read the rest of this entry »

Breeding Polo Ponies, Part 1

June 5, 2015

American Quarter Horses are finding success on the polo field, opening up a new horse-breeding niche.

American Quarter Horse of the 2013 U.S. Open, Mischiefs Last Roll, aka "Sugar." Mischiefs Last Roll is by Roll The Cash and out of Gettin Into Mischief by Streakin Six. Photo courtesy of the American Polo Horse Association

American Quarter Horse of the 2013 U.S. Open, Mischiefs Last Roll, aka “Sugar.” Mischiefs Last Roll is by Roll The Cash and out of Gettin Into Mischief by Streakin Six. Photo courtesy of the American Polo Horse Association

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Polo, one of mankind’s oldest team sports, has long been dominated by Thoroughbreds and most recently by Argentine-bred horses. Fans and players of the sport took notice in 2013 when a few of the world’s top players rode American Quarter Horses at the U.S. Open in Palm Beach, Florida.

Shining the spotlight on the breed at such a prestigious event is drawing attention to Quarter Horses in the sport, but professional polo players Sunny Hale and Kristy Waters Outhier have long been fans of using Quarter Horses in the demanding sport.

In 2006, Sunny created the American Polo Horse Association, and the association along with AQHA recognize the top Quarter Horse at the U.S. Open. Mischiefs Last Roll received the 2013 award. The 2007 Roll The Cash mare is owned and ridden by Adolfo Cambiaso, an Argentinian polo player widely known as the greatest player in the world. A full sister to 1996 racing champion aged stallion Roll Into Mischief, Mischiefs Last Roll is out of the Streakin Six mare Gettin Into Mischief and was bred by Patricia North of Grove, Oklahoma. “Sugar” was played by Adolfo in the 2015 U.S. Open Finals. Read the rest of this entry »

Seeing Silver

May 22, 2015

Learn about horse-breeding crosses that can produce various foal colors including silver, a gene that dilutes black horse hair.

Close examination of the legs of a bay silver shows that they are not truly black. Many change to silver-flaxen on the lower part of the leg. Photo courtesy of Lesli Kathman

Close examination of the legs of a bay silver shows that they are not truly black. Many change to silver-flaxen on the lower part of the leg. Photo courtesy of Lesli Kathman

By Lesli Kathman in America’s Horse

If you ask the average person about the color of a horse, you will most likely get a very literal answer. To them, a chestnut horse might be brown, a grulla might be gray and a light gray horse might be white. As horse people, we have our own language that describes horse colors more precisely. Brown refers to a very specific horse color, and there are more terms – sorrel, chestnut, liver, bay, dun – that communicate just what kind of horse we are describing. Read the rest of this entry »

Fescue Toxicosis

May 8, 2015

Your grass could endanger your mare’s pregnancy and your horse-breeding program.

A fescue pasture with a close-up of the grass and a microscope picture of the endophyte. Dr. Thomas Lenz photo

A fescue pasture with a close-up of the grass and a microscope picture of the endophyte. Dr. Thomas Lenz photo

By Dr. Thomas Lenz in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Tall fescue is the most common perennial grass pasture found in most parts of the eastern half of the United States.

It was brought to North America in the late 1800s from Europe and became popular with the release of the “Kentucky 31” strain in 1943 because it is easily established, toler¬ates close grazing, stands up to heavy horse traffic, Read the rest of this entry »

A Horseman’s Eye

April 24, 2015

The late Hall of Famer Charley Araujo sheds light on evaluating American Quarter Horse conformation for horse breeding.

Charley Araujo looked for horse that was wide between the eyes, with eyes set low on his head. Journal photo

Charley Araujo looked for a horse that was wide between the eyes, with eyes set low on the head. Journal photo

By Charley Araujo in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Editor’s Note: Charley Araujo, a member of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame, wrote this piece in 1970, but his timeless wisdom still holds true today.

Since I was a child, I have observed horses. I grew up in a time when horses and cowboys were the admiration of the day in our country. We lived here in California up in cattle country in the mountains, and that was all there was to admire. We used draft horses to work, and I still admire draft horses, and I judge draft horses, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Contagious Equine Metritis

April 10, 2015

Learn about this disease and its effects on horse breeding.

Contagious equine metritis is a true venereal disease and is spread primarily through breeding or artificial insemination. Journal photo

Contagious equine metritis is a true venereal disease and is spread primarily through breeding or artificial insemination. Journal photo

By Dr. Thomas Lenz in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Contagious equine metritis was first diagnosed in Thoroughbred breeding horses in England and Ireland. In the years that followed, the disease was subsequently diagnosed in most of the European countries, as well as Australia and Japan. The United States banned importation of breeding stock from the affected countries.

Despite the ban, CEM showed up in Kentucky in 1978 in a mare that had been bred to an imported stallion from France. By the time the outbreak was brought under control that year, nearly 500 breeding horses had been quarantined and the horse-breeding season thoroughly disrupted. The Read the rest of this entry »

Scoping for Horse-Breeding Issues

March 6, 2015

The endoscope can help veterinarians see reproductive problems in horses that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to accurately diagnose.

The endoscope allows veterinarians to directly view the inside of a hollow body cavity, such as a horse’s reproductive tract. Illustration provided by Dr. Patrick McCue

The endoscope allows veterinarians to directly view the inside of a hollow body cavity, such as a horse’s reproductive tract. Illustration provided by Dr. Patrick McCue

By Dr. Patrick McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

The vast majority of reproductive abnormalities in horses can be detected using common procedures. However, there are a few problems that need specialized procedures and equipment for an accurate diagnosis.

One of the techniques is endoscopy, which refers to directly viewing the interior of a hollow body cavity, such as the reproductive tract, using an endoscope.

Endoscopes are commonly used in equine veterinary medicine to observe Read the rest of this entry »

The Orphaned Foal

February 13, 2015

When this foal’s nurse mare rejected him, an unusual therapy eventually helped with adoption.

When a foal is orphaned, it might take a few tries and even a little therapy on the nurse mare to get her to accept him. Journal photo

When a foal is orphaned, it might take a few tries and even a little therapy on the nurse mare to get her to accept him. Journal photo

By Dr. Patrick McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Felix was an orphan at less than 10 hours of age.

His dam was a 19-year-old mare who had given birth to several foals previously. The birth was unassisted and uneventful.

The mare began to show signs of shock early the next morning and eventually died.

Felix was brought to our clinic for nursing care and management. We collected a small blood sample for evaluation of passive transfer of antibodies when he was about 12 hours old. We knew that he had nursed from his mother, but we did not know the quality or quantity Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Breeding How-To: Labeling Your Stallion’s Semen

January 30, 2015

Make sure there are no mix-ups by putting correct labels on collected semen.

A very important part of getting your stallion’s semen packed up and ready to ship is making sure it is properly and thoroughly labeled. Photo courtesy of Dr. Patrick McCue

A very important part of getting your stallion’s semen packed up and ready to ship is making sure it is properly and thoroughly labeled. Photo courtesy of Dr. Patrick McCue

By Dr. Patrick McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Throughout the country, stallions are collected for on-farm breeding, shipment of semen to the location of the mare, or for freezing. Some farms or clinics stand multiple stallions, whereas others may have a single stallion. Collection schedules vary with mare book size and management practices. A majority of Quarter Horse stallions with a large book of mares are collected on a routine basis, either every other day (i.e., even or odd days of the month), or on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday (and possibly Saturday) basis.

Breeding managers go to great efforts to promote or market their stallion(s), take pride in the way their stallions are housed, fed, groomed and handled, and are rightfully concerned about semen characteristics (especially sperm numbers and motility). The vast majority of farm personnel that collect, handle and process semen are well trained and efficient at their tasks. Read the rest of this entry »

The Changing Landscape of Quarter Horse Genetics, Part 2

December 19, 2014

What does the flattening genetic landscape mean for the future of the American Quarter Horse?

individual horse in a crowd

“Any time we take a single individual and increase its ability to generate offspring, that is going to decrease the genetic pool that is reproducing,” says Dr. McCue. Journal photo

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

In Part 1 of this series, you were introduced to the research team from the University of Minnesota that analyzed the genetic diversity of six Quarter Horse performance subgroups: halter, western pleasure, reining, working cow horse, cutting and racing. The 2012-2013 study was partially funded by the American Quarter Horse Foundation.

Now, we continue with the rest of the findings and what they mean for the future of the American Quarter Horse. Read the rest of this entry »