Some photos of Dyana for consideration of her conformation and how it will pair with a stallion.
Step 1: Should you breed your mare?
I have a mare, so that means I am obligated to breed her, right? HELL NO!!!!
It should come as no surprise that I have decided to breed Lady Dyanaformer in 2023, but before we get too far into this adventure I wanted to give a strongly worded warning about breeding. This is definitely NOT a decision to take lightly, and if you're considering it I highly recommend doing LOTS and LOTS of homework and thinking it over at length - I have experience breeding and have been contemplating this decision and continually educating myself ever since I first decided to breed Dyana's dam, Lady Macjazz back in 2017. The decision to breed your mare will not only be very costly but it also can be very risky, so it should never be taken lightly.
First and most importantly, TALK TO YOUR VET! Then seek out experienced breeders - not ones that have only bred a handful of horses but ones who have a strong professional reputation and a history of breeding foals that become successful athletes. If you're only breeding for temperament, reconsider your decision. You cannot guarantee anything about a foal, but you can confidently assess the temperament of a horse that is already alive and waiting to meet you. While I obviously take temperament into equal consideration with athleticism, I would never breed a horse strictly for her personality. It's important to assess health, conformation, pedigree and temperament equally.
In addition to speaking with your vet and professional breeders, I also recommend taking lots of time to research reliable sources such as this article from TheHorse.com
“Foals are cute and majestic, but foals will cost you $15,000-20,000 before you even know if they’re an athlete,” Espy says. “If you know the foal will be worth more than $15,000, then great. But if you’re looking for a $5,000 trail horse or kid-friendly horse, then you might want to go buy a 7-year-old gelding that has proven he’s got what it takes.”
Step 2: Goals for the Foal
Now that I've done my research and confirmed that breeding Dyana is the right decision, I have started evaluating stallions to identify the one that will not only best match with Dyana but also best suits my goals for the foal.
I have decided to breed Dyana to a Thoroughbred stallion so that I have the versatility of being able to potentially start with a racing career while also being setup for success in a career after racing. Thoroughbred racing has a bad stigma, and when I got involved as an active owner I hoped to help show more people the positive sides of racing. Of course racing will only ever be a hobby for me with a very small barn of runners, but I truly believe that good racing professionals help develop sporthorses who excel in their second careers.
But debating the ethics of racing is not the point of this post; I only point it out because knowing what future I hope for my foal is helping to determine which stallions I consider. I want the foal to have the option to be a racehorse before going on to have a second career as a Dressage, Endurance, Eventing, Trail, etc horse with me. Maybe the foal will love racing and have a 10-year career at the track, or maybe she will make it very clear before her first start that racing is not her cup of tea. No matter what, she will always have a home with me.
With all of this in mind, no different than my list of criteria for shopping, I have a VERY GENERAL list of criteria for my foal:
Knowing those criteria will help guide my stallion selection process. I know that Dyana is 17.1 hands and bay with a trainable brain and good temperament (most of the time time LOL), and she proved to have talent as a racehorse which means I have many of the criteria for my foal already covered by her.
If I pick a non-gray stallion with a proven record as a racehorse sire, athletic correct conformation, and a good temperament who had a longer racing career, I should galvanize my chances of producing a larger non-gray foal with the athleticism, brain, and soundness I'm hoping to breed. Of course I won't know most of that for certain for another 2 or 3 years though, so I better be prepared to commit to the full life of the foal even if it ends up being a 14-hand pony with crooked legs and a pension for biting, kicking and bucking.
Step 3: Stallion Selection
One of the reasons I love breeding Thoroughbreds is all the amazing resources available to help decide the perfect mating. Now that I'm living in Kentucky, I'm also exclusively considering stallions who stand here in Kentucky. Thoroughbreds must be conceived by live cover in order to be registered with the Jockey Club - no artificial insemination which also actually reduces the number of mares a stallion can cover in a year. With that in mind and the fact that the majority of the top Thoroughbred stallions stand in Kentucky, I am looking at Kentucky stallions to also make it easier to shuttle Dyana to the breeding shed next spring.
I obviously need to narrow down the list of 222 Thoroughbred stallions standing in Kentucky, so I start by clearly outlining the criteria most important to me:
Then I start utilizing the valuable tools available to further narrow the list of 222 stallions to a more realistic size.
As I mentioned above, one of the best parts of the Bloodhorse.com Stallion Register is that there are pictures for the majority of the stallions, so next I'm going to look at pictures before I see them in person. I will also start researching their racing careers and performance as a sire, but aren't pretty pictures the most fun?!?! So, let's start there.
Who would you pick as your favorite(s) based on the pictures?
Scroll to the bottom of the gallery to submit your vote for your favorite(s).
Each photo links to that stallion's page on Bloodhorse.com, so simply tap/click on the photo to learn more about the ones you like. Photo source for all is the Bloodhorse.com page for each stallion.
Up next: I will dive into filtering the list by considering racing record, offspring, and pedigree in my next post, so stay tuned.
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Kyle Rothfus (aka Kyle the OTTB Mare Guy)