A thrilling puzzle

This time a special Phryso: the breeding issue. Weighing up the pros and cons, the hope for a wonderful and healthy foal. Something every breeder recognises. For us winter is the time to sort out everything that leads to the final stallion choice. A list of stallions that gets shorter and shorter and then the final decision: that’s the one! And yet…
Back in the day, in the era before semen dispatch made its entrance, when everyone still had to travel to the stallion with their mare, by the time winter came to an end we would be sure which stallion it was going to be. We had the journey all mapped out, trailer behind the car and the mare loaded up. And then at the end of the dirt road we didn’t turn right as planned, but left instead. Making our way to the stallion whose name was indeed on the shortlist, but who hadn’t made it to the top of our list. A sudden change of mind which we have never regretted. It turned out to be a colt foal that not only did well at inspections but later on also performed well in the Grand Prix circuit of America. We sold him when a foal and he was given all opportunities. Knowhow, breeder instinct or just luck? Who knows.

This is not a plea to not do the research. We had done all that and we will certainly keep on doing that. And anyway, that process of researching is far too enjoyable to skip. We all know that breeding is not a mathematical exercise. Probably everyone can give an example of a top mare and a top stallion whose pairing produced quite an ordinary foal. And vice versa is just as common. Still, I’m convinced that the best recipe for a good result is to make use of all the available knowledge. Every breeder is welcome to enlist the help of the Studbook.

Breeding values, bloodlines, sport performances: there is so much available data. At the same time that makes it quite a challenging puzzle sometimes, but as far as I am concerned that also is the great appeal of breeding. This is the time when the new foals are born. Always exciting, but above all, ever so wonderful. The first whinny of a new-born foal which so often meets with an answer from the other horses in the stable. And the question of colt foal or filly foal? For us, as for most breeders, the most important thing is that mare and foal are healthy and doing well.

Tineke Schokker-Strampel

Chairwoman KFPS

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