"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo



Sunday, June 1, 2014

VC Blog Hop: Let's Make a Baby


L. Williams comes up with the best blog hops! This is an especially fun one!

I actually did look up stallions for Lily at one point. My trainer at the time believed I could be Olympic material on the appropriate horse and decided that the best way for me to get an upper level dressage horse would be by breeding, either to her Azteca mare Rose or to Lily. I actually let myself get caught up in this craziness for a moment there and so I really researched possible stallions. I never even posted about it because it seemed like an insane notion even at the time. It was fun to shop around and ponder and consider, but at the same time, I honestly didn't see myself ever really going ahead with breeding. You can buy a high quality baby of almost any breed for far less than it would cost to breed a maiden mare and all of the veterinary care involved with the ands/ifs/buts, and then the training of the baby itself. I love Lily dearly, but there are some things about her conformation that to me don't qualify for breeding material.

For the sake of this blog hop, I will set aside all of the cons of breeding and play along. Because it's fun to oogle at stallions!

One of my better conformation shots of Lily.
Taken at the end of her rehab post ligament injury last summer.
*Sidenote: no ribs, but not much of a topline.
Lily standing almost square. May 2014.
Things about her conformation that I would want to improve in a baby: more bone overall, better feet, a more sloped shoulder, shorter back, shorter pasterns, longer gaskins. She is post-legged in her hind legs which puts additional stress on her hocks in performance. I know it's just a matter of time before she needs hock injections.
*Sidenote: ribs visible, but a much stronger topline and better muscling overall. If you erase those ribs, she looks like a total beefcake.
Lily is mostly TB. With something fancy thrown in...maybe? I've been calling her a TB/Trakehner cross since she has "Eastern European Warmblood" according to her DNA test. Trakehners are one of several Eastern European warmbloods in this country. There are several breeding farms in the Ocala, FL area, like this one. Lily is originally from Ocala. This is just me having fun with what she might really be. ;) TB/Trakehner sounds better than TB/?. Haha...But tell me you don't see a resemblance. Google "bay Trakehner" and you'll find specimens like this one:

Val H from Trakehner Hof
Looks a lot like my girl, doesn't he? Love his bone and big feet.
Regardless, TBs crossed with other breeds produce some really fantastically athletic crossbreeds, like the Iberian Warmblood (TB/Andalusian cross):

Stony Man, an Iberian Warmblood
Oby is an Iberian Warmblood. Bred by Old Stonehouse Farm.
Master Maluso, by Maluso NZ. Photo from the Iberian Warmblood registry
Maluso was another Military bred Andalusian. See explanation below.
This is what I wanted to breed for back when I was looking for stallions to produce a dressage prospect. I honestly didn't want a warmblood. I didn't want the super fancy artificial-looking movement. I wanted something part Andalusian, the original dressage horse. With their short backs and naturally uphill build, Andalusians are made for collection. There is a reason why these guys were used as light war horses at one point. It's how High School (Alta Escuela) dressage started: that awesome capriole that people oooh and aaah about? That movement was developed so your horse could kick your adversary off his horse!

How much air?
THAT much air!
I had originally looked at old-type Andalusians like the Military bred Andalusians that made a name for themselves in Olympic level competition. These Andalusians are descendants of the Military Stud (Yeguada Militar) horses in Sevilla. Examples of famous Military Andalusians are AgenteLeviton, Evento, and Granadino.

I honestly can't find now the stallion I had chosen at the time, before giving up on the breeding idea. But Botijo has similar bloodlines to that stallion. Botijo is a grandson of Invasor, who in turn is a son of Evento. Evento competed at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games as part of the Spanish Olympic dressage team. The team scored 6th place overall and Evento was 11th in the individual dressage competition. Invasor was also a member of the Spanish Olympic dressage team, in his case for more than 10 years!

I'll take those bloodlines, thankyouverymuch. :) Botijo is stationed in California at Dorado Andaluz, but has been approved by the Cria Caballar in Spain. He is showing at grand prix level dressage.

He has most of the qualities I would want in a stallion to improve Lily's conformational faults: short back, long gaskins, short pasterns.

Suspension!
If you're wondering why I gave up on this whole notion and moved away from competitive dressage, this article does a great job explaining it.

However, I still think that if I were going to breed or buy a horse specifically for dressage, I'd personally still go with an Andalusian or Andalusian cross.

But...now my sport goals have changed. Supposing I bred Lily, I'd go the Anglo-Arabian (TB/Arabian cross) route. Anglo-Arabians are SUPER versatile and are equipped to excel in pretty much every equestrian sport:

Anglo-Arabian performing a capriole at the Ecole de Versailles
Snooze Alarm, an Anglo-Arabian owned and evented by Lauren Keiffer. He was featured on the cover of Modern Arabian Horse magazine. Read more about him here.
Sarah Jones Te, Anglo-Arabian mare competing in FEI level enduranc
Shagya Arabians are basically Hungarian Arabs but they have a small amount of foreign blood mixed in them so technically they are considered part-bred Arabians. This basically means that they are heavier boned, taller and less refined than the "pure" or asil Arabians. Rushcreek Arabians look like Shagyas. Shagyas are often bred to asil Arabians to produce hard-core endurance athletes.

So for the purposes of this blog hop, I went and checked out some Shagya Arabian breeders in the US. There aren't many. I decided that the stallion I would choose is KS Rubin:




Photo from Northeast Shagyas
Seriously, the horse is put together like a power house. Short back, lots of bone, big feet, nice angles to shoulders and haunches. And proven athletic capability. I actually like him way more than Botijo or any of the other Andalusians I had considered when I was thinking about maybe breeding Lily! If you want to read more about him, go here.

Gracie already made a baby prior to her previous owner buying her and had been allowed to nurse said baby for over a year! Gracie was skin and bones at the time; her previous mom practically rescued her. Understandably, the previous mom did NOT want Gracie bred again not any way not nohow at her new home. I promised her breeding was something I had absolutely no interest in doing. So we won't even talk about what Gracie would get matched with.

Thanks L for another awesome blog hop!





7 comments:

  1. Oh Lilybird, the babies you could make! Haha

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  2. I can't even play this game because there is nothing better than a baby horse and the last time I owned a mare she had three foals in five years. I do know that if we buy another horse for J, it will have to be a gelding. I just couldn't handle the temptation. In fact, I keep entering to win a free breeding from Arabians Ltd in the off chance I will win. J just laughs helplessly and says "but you don't even own a mare." And I say, "I could fix that if I win."

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    1. Oooo but you should totally play! I'd love to see what you would breed if you could! :D

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  3. This was such a fun blog hop! Both of those stallions are gorgeous! Great picks. I'm almost caught up on your blog and enjoying every second reading it.

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