Saturday, September 5, 2020

Why Be a Breeder?

Breeder Kendra Hansis recently shared a post on Facebook about what it's like to be an equine professional. The post was specifically describing being a trainer, but Kendra asked:

"Breeders: what keeps you in this game?"

Here is the original post (much of which also applies to breeders), by Shannon Eckel, followed by breeders' responses to Kendra's question.

Here’s the ugly truth of what people don’t tell you about going professional:

-You will work 13, 14, 15, 16+ hour days. Not for a lavish vacation, but to put fuel in a truck and a sheepish dinner on the table.
-365. Rain. Snow. Christmas. Funerals. Hot and humid you are there, you are working.
-People will tell you your six figure horses will never be nice enough and those 3-4 figure ones will never be rank enough.
-The biggest shows are the loneliest places. People support you until you become a threat, then they will try and break you down.
-You will see death and hardships. A lot of hardships.
-You will want to give up.

Why don’t people tell you this? Simple. We wouldn’t have an industry.
What people don’t tell you is why you don’t give up:

-When that quirky horse gets it.
-When you get that first big sale, first client horse, first investor, first time your barn fills up.
-When those few people believe in you and you start getting phone calls of people being sent to you.
-When a training client strikes it big.
-When you finish a day and look back at a farm and business you built.

Why don’t people tell you this? Because there’s not a grand enough word to describe that feeling and that’s why we are here.

From breeders:

"When you hear that first gasp of air filling the lungs of a new foal and there is instantaneous love."

—Gary Marquardt, Walkabout Station, TX

* * *

From Kendra Hansis, Runningwater Warmbloods, NJ: "Moments like this:"

EM Raleska (Rascalino/ Warkant) and her 2020 Glamourdale colt, Paddington Skyfall H2O, bred by Kendra Hansis at Runningwater Warmbloods in Frenchtown, NJ, and owned by Scott Durkin. Photo copyright Kendra Hansis.

* * *

"Those few moments when the result of all your hard work, blood, sweat, tears and money takes their first step, or first win in the show ring or trots down the centre line under the spotlights having been crowned a champion, so you do it all again."

—Sacha Shaw, Volatis Stud, UK

* * *

"It’s a thing of the heart..."

—Valerie Carter, Oakwood Equestrian, FL

* * *

"Moments like this...

Zoraja TSH (Chicardo/ Cathalido/ Riverman) and her colt Barenjer TSH by Bandelero JSF. Bred by Heather McInerney. Photo: Heather McInerney.

...and seeing them grow up to do this:"

2016 mare from Heather McInerney's first foal crop, Little Bit Amped TSH (Ampere/ Maverick RF/ Wendesohn). She was second in her the 3yo Material at Dressage at Devon in 2019, her first show. Ridden by Jessie Hayes. Photo: Heather McInerney.

—Heather McInerney, Timeless Sport Horses, LLC, TX

* * *

"All of it, from the excitement from every 'She's pregnant,' sitting with my mares as they look to me for comfort as they're close to foaling, the adrenaline that comes when the water breaks and then the excitement and humor as they take those first wobbly steps. It's the pride you feel as you watch them grow and mature into those spider legs. It's the feeling of accomplishment when they do well at inspections and breed shows. It's the bittersweet moment you load them on a trailer to head to their new home but the excitement of a promise of a bright future and the smile on the new owner's face as they take that lead rope and thank me for bringing their new partner into their lives. It continues on as I watch them grow up and start their training and go to shows, but also the super excitement as your program continues on when that mare or stallion you bred becomes a dam or sire too! It's a passion for every part of it."

—Gabriella Cottone, Cottone Sport Horses, Union Bridge, MD

* * *

All responses used with permission.

If you are a breeder, why do you stay in it? Please contribute your thoughts in the comments below.

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