The Structure of Breeding Programs



  • Hello guys, I have been thinking about breeding programs for a while now and I am curious as to how you guys run your own.

    Here are some questions as a guide, but I'd like to know basically anything, even if they aren't included in this:

    How many horses do you think is needed to run a successful program? How many are mares, and how many are stallions?

    How do you choose which stallions and mares you'll breed? How do you prevent inbreeding (especially if you only have a small amount of horses, or especially if you don't breed to outside horses?)



  • Hey there, I would really like to know what you want to achieve with your breeding program? Do you have any goal? :slight_smile:

    I really think it depends on your personal goal, but other then this I would say to your questions, that, first, you definitely need a good "handfull" of horses, because you just said it yourself, you want to prevent inbreeding. And you only can maintain a large genpool when you either start with many own unrelated horses or you breed with horses from other members.

    For the choosing of a fitting pairing I consider the breed I want to ... yeah ...breed and the discipline(s) the offspring is supposed to have. For example if I wanted to have a Dressage prospect of some WB breed I would look up for the breed outcross restrictions (so I can have a realistic purebred) and then for two horses that fit both the breed restrictions and give at least some boni in Dressage. As simple as that :sweat_smile:

    But, yeah, in the end it really depends on the goal you have when you breed! :sunflower:



  • I don't really have a specific goal, I am just trying to get a basic idea for the amount of horses I might need.



  • Interesting question :thinking:

    I'd say maybe decide what disciplines you want to focus on first before starting a breeding programme, because how many disciplines you want to breed for will decide how many horses you 'need' as breeding is all tied up in bonuses and points now. Personally if you want to start your own lines from foundation I'd have a main stud, and a cluster of mares, using outside foundation stallions of the same breed to help prevent inbreeding and just work up from there. However if you want to just breed your own horses you might need two stallions? perhaps more if you want to keep working up the generations.

    You can always buy 'breedings' from other peoples horses too, though if you don't want to breed to outside horses why not try and find someone with a similar goal/same breed and maybe partner up as breeding partners? :thinking:

    I'm a bit weird when I choose who to breed, I have this weird quirk where I don't like majorly uneven pedigrees like where a foundation stallion has bred to a fourth gen mare and has all these empty spaces in half of the pedigree :laughing: I've a problem now where It's a struggle to find outside horses to continue my own Eventing line as my own horses seem to all end up related to everyone elses.



  • I would also say it really depends on what you want to archive.
    How many horses you need also depends on that. It is a simple maths game.
    If you really only want to use your own horses, you need a huge amount of horses. To breed one 3rd generation foal you already would need four foundations and two foals from them.
    Easiest is to start with a stallion and a few mares. The rest normally comes, at least it was like that in my case.
    You could ask a bunch of members how many horses you need and get from each one another answer somewhere between 5 and 150 horses.



  • Say I want to do 1 discipline, 1 main breed and then a few horses of various other breeds. What I am thinking is maybe TBs as the main, cross them with WBs to have a variety of those. I'll probably pick WB breeds that have a lot of outcrosses so they can be bred together, too.



  • I think it also depends on how much time you can spend here on the forum and also in game to create horses (and maybe enjoy actually playing ^^). Because it takes at least some time to compete the horses regularly and organise them and their points a bit. But I would also agree with @Jase-Sunshine

    @Jase-Sunshine said in The Structure of Breeding Programs:

    The rest normally comes, at least it was like that in my case.

    I really think just start with some horses you think fit your likings breed and discipline wise (your idea with the TB's and Warmbloods sounds good, I think you should go for it). And then the rest comes along :top: You will see what fits your likings best and what amount of horses you need. When I came back here to Equus last year I actually only wanted to have a decent number of horses, but I definitely have more right now then they were planned :see_no_evil: You will see if you would like to do or need to do public breedings or maybe buy some outside horses at some point. And you can always import yourself any kind of horse you want if you want to only breed with your own horses. So I think if you just start off you will find a good way :slight_smile:



  • I am constantly on the lookout for new bloodlines, possibly unrelated to my own. I have sold a lot of Irish Draught horses but frequently make raffles or small sales of foundation Irish Draughts to promote them and to motivate people to compete and breed their own :) So that's kind of a way you can get brand new bloodlines unrelated to yours, but that you know are still very good.

    In my own program I have 23 horses active and 8 that are retired from breeding now as they have their own heirs with me.

    Very few of those 23 are related so I get to mix and match A LOT between them and I have several stallions that will be the founders of their own lines, such as Incandescente is the founder of the Irish Draught "IN" line or King with the "KI" line, Theano is slowly but surely building his "TH" line... :)

    For breeding selections I look at the horse's performance in shows and preferred disciplines and breed by that.

    I think a successful program is one that keeps an eye out for new young horses by other members and make their own horses as well, and one should not be closed to using other people's stallions or mares for their own program horses. Some of my best horses of the current generation are by my mares and outside stallions, so fear not :)


  • PR Committee

    Some advice from a horse hoarder, if you're wanting to focus on breeding, don't keep a lot of stallions for yourself. Keep a couple and get them to a point where they've made a name for themselves, but focus on mares. There are a LOT of wonderful stallions on EC and you'll find that using them instead of your own stallions will help you build your lines more.



  • Only can agree with Andrea. Also most people tend to breed their mares less than their stallions, so it is easier to catch a good breeding to a stallion than with a mare. (Or at least that is the feeling I get)


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