Breeding Arabian Horses Art or Science?
By Christie Metz
In today’s world, this is a logical question due to the advancement of science and technology. However, when you are dealing with a live animal such as the Arabian horse the answer is a little of both, art AND science. This horse has an incredibly rich history within the culture of the Mideast that now extends outward on a global basis. The special physical characteristics that make this particular horse a unique breed has consistently connected humans from all over the world. This is a part of the allure of becoming a part of the Arabian breeding continuum that has existed for hundreds of years.
Science, is inexact and ever changing but as applied to the process of breeding, it allows us to make selective choices that were not available even ten years ago. Now we are able to ship frozen semen internationally, ship cooled semen domestically and utilize the process of embryo transfer and ICSI.
Art, is the ability of perception to create visual beauty by specifically applied choices of pairings/mating for an Arabian sire and dam and each breeding is an effort to create a more beautiful and wonderful resulting foal.
The challenge we all face in creating these horses is combining the science of breeding and the inheritable genetic traits that they carry with the vision of our ultimate Arabian horse. All this while remaining true to the breeds' traditions and background. Improving but not making it an animal that it was never meant to be, remaining true to the roots of this particular breed.
Thoughts from Henry and Christie about Breeding
Breeding horses is not for everyone; it carries with it the inherent responsibilities to live animals that on average live twenty years or more. However, for those of you who find this a passion, whether or not it is a hobby or business you will find it requires commitment. A commitment of time, effort, monetary resources and a dedication to an ever-changing plan for success… all wrapped up with patience.
How you begin this journey of breeding horses is a personal choice. First, you need to decide whether you will do this as an avocation or vocation. But no matter your choice of business or hobby, please approach this in an informed way..... you will benefit much more.
One of the ways to approach this endeavor is with mentor guidance (this is how we began) or with several mentors for that matter. In our personal experience, a knowledgeable and trustworthy mentor only increases your enjoyment. Attending conferences, seminars and seeing as many horse farms as possible is also a wonderful way to gain firsthand horse expertise. It allows you to build bridges for business relationships too. Knowledge will save you time and money. Listening and applying what you hear from knowledgeable breeders is invaluable.
Henry and I believe that we are stewards of this special horse for a short time and that it is our job to help move them forward as strongly as possible in both their physical qualities and their rich history, especially through education.
If you decide to become a breeder of Arabian horses in the world of today, Henry and I would encourage you to add mentorship to your equation for breeding. This will definitely add to your enjoyment. No matter if your goal is to raise one or two foals or have a large number in your program or adding to this breed for generations to come.
Number one: Determine the type (style) of Arabian you wish to breed and stick with your vision of that horse; do not be swayed by trends or the next popular horse dictated by advertising or the show ring.
2. Determine if you are going to be a hobby or a business. If you choose to be a business then pursue this set-up just as you would any business. Consult with professional people that have been and are active breeders. Identify the people that you admire in the business and ask them to mentor you, teaching you everything.
3. Have a mission statement, set business and breeding goals, also learn to develop and market your own horses.
Our management approach at the farm is as a team. Henry and I are both hands on, we are the team leaders. SMF utilizes the services of excellent Veterinarians, Farriers, a Nutritionist and Reproduction Consultants in order to ensure that your experience with us is a happy one, successful and enjoyable. Henry handles the day-to-day farm management, and my job is the marketing and herd health planning. Ann Marie Linn is our very capable Office Manager, she is the first line of communication at SMF and will always be solution oriented for you, the client.
No matter what your personal goals may be for your own business please understand it is our goal to assist you. We believe that you do not have to reinvent the wheel, please, learn from our experience. Whether you are breeding for the best foals, or need help to buy the best bloodstock or plan an Open Farm Day, we can help you achieve your goals.