from the book, Echo of Hoofbeats by Dr. Bob Womack
The riddle of selecting broodmares does not lend itself to a
precise answer. The fact is that few mares, regardless of their
characteristics, will produce outstanding offspring.
But just as outstanding show stock possess unique
characteristics, so do those mares which make outstanding dams.
Broodmares should be chosen as
such. They must be chosen
in terms of their broodmare qualifications and should not be chosen
solely in terms of their accomplishments in the show ring.
The characteristics necessary in a good broodmare may also be
present in show stock, but the fact that a mare does well in the show
ring in no way assures her success as a matron. On the other hand, some mares that do not do well in the show
ring may very well develop into fine broodmares. There seems to be general agreement among breeders that a
broodmare must be naturally loose and that she must possess fineness in
conformation. Such mares
should mount high in the wither with the neck coming out at marked angle
from the body. The mareís
shoulders should roll as she walks about the pasture, with the back legs
reaching well under the body as she walks along.
After these characteristics
have been found, the buyer can then apply his/her own standards of
color, pedigree, and show record. Unless
the former characteristics are present, the latter will probably be
Once the breeder has selected
his broodmares he must choose the stallion with which to cross them.
The natural tendency of most breeders is to select a World Grand
Champion. Such an attitude
is difficult to criticize, but it falls short of guaranteeing the
production of an acceptable show horse, much less a champion show horse.
Mac Carter suggested that mare
owners first of all assess their mares in terms of strengths and
weaknesses. According to
Carter every mare has an area of weakness, and owners who fail to
identify such weakness are closing their eyes to reality.
The comments of Billy Hale tend to bear out this opinion.
Carter counseled breeders to cross strength to strength, weakness
to strength, but never strength to weakness or weakness to weakness.
Such an approach demands complete honesty on the part of
breeders. It seems apparent
that successful breeders are those who study the characteristics of
their mares and deal honestly with them.
If the mare has a coarse head she should be bred to a stallion
with a fine head. If the
mare trots she should be crossed with a stallion that swings.
If the maresí back is too long she should be crossed with a
short-backed horse. Breeders
must remind themselves that neither the mare nor the stallion alone can
assure an offspring of acceptable quality.
The offspring will inherit some characteristics from its sire and
others from its dam. The
hope is that the inherited characteristics will be such that the
offspring will represent an improvement over both its parents.
Most people would not consider breeding a fine mare to a stallion
of poor quality, but the same people often breed a mare of poor quality
to a fine stallion and expect the impossible to happen.
It seldom does.