To breed or not to breed? That is the question. Am I in my right mind to even think about breeding Miss Golightly? I am not thinking about this just because she has a uterus. Believe me, I've met plenty of horses who happened to have a uterus, and I am not stupid enough to think that said organ automatically makes for breeding material. So why do I love my girlie so much that I feel the need to make sure half of her chromosomes get passed on and hang around in this world for a little while longer?
- First and foremost, this is one of the smartest, most caring, bravest, energetic, pleasing, tries-her-heart out horse I have ever met, and I would like to think I've met enough after twelve years (though I'm no expert). It's like she has all the good qualities of mares times 10. She has never offered to bite at, kick at, charge at, or any other way act dangerous or extremely aggressive towards any person, under saddle or on the ground int he three years I've had her. To other horses in the pasture maybe, but once that lead rope is clipped on, it's YES MA'AM. About the worst she has done is get into my space on isolated accounts and do that naughty I'm-feeling-great jump the other day that I blogged about, and even that was moving away from me. She has an opinion, but tries her damnedest to figure out what you ask. But she's smart enough to take over if she absolutely needs to. She's a good boss mare if she needs to be. There have been several times on the trail we would've both ended up hurt if she hadn't have stepped in. She's complicated, but there are more good personality traits to her than bad, far more. I don't know if personality is for sure genetic, but if it is, then this is one personality I would like to keep.
- She's a piece of heart horse. I feel like I really want to have a bit of her when she goes, even if that won't be for a long time. Enough said there.
- She's quite hardy. She kept on trucking with a suspensory strain with minimal "off-ness", and it could've been much worse at the rate I was working her while she had it (unbeknownst to my silly self... don't think I don't still feel stupid about that). When the vet did x-rays on her legs, she was surprised at the very minimal amount of arthritis she had for a 14-going-on-15 y/o horse who had done quite a bit of activity in her lifetime (from dressage, to jumping, to almost a year of polo and ranchwork, and who-know-what-else before I got her).
- She has awesome feet. She was able to keep on working the day her shoes were pulled, no transition time needed. And she has yet to have a hoof-related lameness *knock on wood*. The looks on people's faces when they would see us galloping on a rocky road without a hitch.
- She has good breeding. None of her siblings (that I know of) have shown any major health or lameness issues, and her sire is still a Grand Prix schoolmaster at age 23 in regular work. Bothersome, but I do not know anything about her dam beyond her registered name, who owned her dam at the time of the breeding , and the dam's breeding. But her grandsire, an Appendix QH named Azure Request, has had many offspring very successful in the racing world and who are sound enough to race for many years and then transition into other intensive sports like eventing. Not bad.
- She has an awesome walk and canter. Always at least a 7, usually an 8, the few times we have shown or ridden in front of judges and clinicians, and she scored high on them on her inspection papers. I will admit her trot is nothing spectacular, but it can become nice with some elbow grease, and she shows the same ability when she's feeling really special out in the pasture. Can she trot like Ravel? No. And I'm glad because I couldn't sit that. But she can get some nice loft and elevation and suspension and impulsion in it.
- She's got a great shoulder and a pretty decent build. She has some conformational issues as far as her back legs go, and that did contribute somewhat to her suspensory strain, so that is something that worries me as far passing on.
And here are my conflicts with the whole thing:
- There are so many horses out there. Granted, not all of them are nice, and certainly not all of them are what I am looking for (which, deep down inside, I realize is another Greta haha) and they are certainly not in my budget nor ever will be unless I get a very well-paying job (and who knows whether or not I will).
- If I breed her relatively soon after I graduate, then I should have enough money to cover stud fees and basic vet fees. This will also leave me enough time to have enough money to put a solid under-saddle start on the baby once it is 3 or 4, if all goes well. But here's the big what if: what if all doesn't go well? Pregnancy or labor complications (I would never forgive myself if I lost Greta or the baby or both) at the very least would throw the whole budget thing out the window. If the baby ends up with a defect, it would be my complete responsibility for the rest of it's life, and once again, if that defect(s) entails maintenance medical expenses, then the whole budget thing is once again thrown out the window. Not to mention personal things: what if the economy takes another lovely spin and I lose my job or can't find one? What if something happens to me and I cannot put basic work on a yearling? What if I hit a major unseen financial expense that I will not easily recover from? Those among so many other problems have always kind of scared me away from the whole pregnancy thing (and not just for horses) and I know it's all one big what-if no matter how you spin, but how many risks would I be willing to take? By the time I am old enough and in stable enough work, Greta might be too old to be bred.
- Finally, is Greta really nice enough to breed? Or am I just so endeared by her that I am perhaps a bit conceited?
Opinions? Be honest. I will get professional opinions, but seeing as it is a big plan, I like to get as many opinions as possible.
EDIT: Another reason for breeding is the ability to be able to start from scratch. Having worked with so many rescue and owner-to-owner horses, it begins to wear on you having to fix all these problems, some of which you just have to live with, and could have been totally preventable if people knew how to raise a horse! The good thing is that I can also do that with any super young prospect, and they're usually cheaper that way than buying them after they're trained. Still the same amount of risks as far as injury at a young age, etc. goes, but I don't risk the chance of anything happening to Greta.
AND I won't be doing ANYTHING as far as breeding until I'm at least fresh out of college. People tell me that now is time since I won't have a whole bunch of time for 4 years so the baby can grow, BUT... who has money like that in college? I don't and I'd rather my parents be funding education than a baby. Decisions, decisions!