Good or bad for breeding riding horses (Quarter horses, jumpers, dressage horses, etc.)?
I have come here to find out as much as I can on this subject.
Oh yes, I LIKE El Prado. I'd like more bone but everything else is soooo good! He looks better than Portrait Gallery.
After seeing El Prado's picture if Portrait Gallery is a full brother I'd be much more willing to give Portrait Gallery a chance at stud. I would just be pickier about the mare's conformation (withers and bone.)
All I say is merely what I read, books by horsemen and horsewomen with A LOT more experience than me.
Looking at the TB conformation photos I am struck with how little bone the modern TB has. It has gotten so I have changed my ideas about outcrossing to hot-bloods--now I would go to the TB for refinement and to the Arab for substance, when I started out in horses 40 years ago I would have thought the opposite, the Arab for refinement and the TB for substance.
Not just any Arab for substance, of course. But when I see more bone on an 14.1 1/2 Arab mare than on 16.2 TBs I just had to change my mind.
Right now I would avoid super-refined heads, they all seem to come with deficient bone. Now I prefer big, craggy heads, much plainer than the fashionable ideals. This goes for all the light horse breeds.
More about perfect conformation not being necessary for top performance. This quote and information is from "Step and Go Together" by B. K. Beckwith in chapter 10 "You CAN Win Them All" about the great Hungarian race mare Kincsem (b.1874) who won 54 out of 54 races, 41 of them in classic events, from 1/2 mile to 2 5/8 miles against females and males,all types of weather, in 4 years, in eight different countries.
"She was as long as a boat and as lean as a hungry leopard...she had a U-neck and mule ears and enough daylight under her 16 hands to flood a sunset...she had a tail like a badly used mop...she was lazy, gangly, shiftless...she was a daisy-eating, scenery loving, sleepy-eyed and slightly pot-bellied hussy..."
She won all these races in spite of insisting on gazing at the scenery or eating flowers when the tape dropped and all the other horses started running hard. She started running when she felt like it and won everything.
From the pictures I've seen (paintings) she did not have any bone either. She would never have passed a conformation test. Herring gutted, a rather insubtantial looking mare, low withered, ewe necked, long ears, and low withers, but she did have a nice shoulder. She also bred on, dam of 5 foals, 4 stakes winners and one unraced. There are still descendents from her.
Beauty and perfection are wonderful to look at, and these beautiful and perfect animals can produce horses like them, but performance is what proves that the horse is good. TBs, the desert Arabian, and the Standardbred were all bred for performance, not correct conformation or beauty.
You might consider that the desert Bedouin would sell their perfectly conformed stallions to the Europeans, but Homer Davenport had to go through negotiations and have a high politico on his side to get to buy some rather scruffy and imperfectly conformed colts and stallions by good war mares of undoubtedly pure blood from the desert Bedouins. The mare of that importation (Davenports, 1907 to the USA) that had the greatest influence on the American Arab, who still is represented by distant dam line descendents in the top Arab shows, was always described as ugly and awfully conformed. But she was a proven war mare, had the scars to prove it. This mare was *Wadduda 30. If I see a stallion and I find he is descended from her I figure that he has a good chance of being good at stud, her mare line descendents include the great stallion Fadjur and many others.
One stallion of that importation that is still represented in sire line in some horses at the National shows was never described as perfect, or beautiful, or even very desirable, but his dam was a war mare and he was of pure blood, and he still breeds on in sire line. He was *Deyr 33. The two most successful founders of families of that importation were considered to be REALLY BADLY conformed.
The most perfectly conformed horse of Davenport's importation, *Haleb 25 is barely hanging on descendent wise and he had no strong line of show winners. He was in no way a failure, it is just the horses of the importation that bred on the best would have been thrown out of any conformation class today and could be considered ugly.
That is really interesting but it also makes me wonder if the warmblood studbooks end up approving the right horses. My horse's dam is by a TB called Man in the Moon, a son of Buckpasser out of a nearctic mare. Man in the Moon was approved by the Dutch warmblood studbook but after two years he could no longer cover mares because his foals did not have the right conformation. However he can be found in quite some good performers. Link to Man in the Moon mentioned on the internet
And there must be many more like him.
Both the desert Bedouin Arabs and the early English TB breeders based their breeding on blood and performance. Perfect conformation and beauty can issue from both of these bloodstocks but the breeding decisions of the original breeders were based on other things.
The Standardbred was selected for ONLY on performance. At first the horse had to trot or pace a mile in 2 1/2 minutes to get into the Standardbred stud book. Only much later was the stud book closed. Standardbreds are not known for their beauty, but then the Standardbred is not a pure hot-blood.
Human beings have the talent of taking excellent breeding lines of horses, fixating on something that is completely unnecessary for good performance, and then ruining the breed. A breed can be ruined in decades. I've seen it happen here in the USA.
I must confess that I know very little about the French Arabian/Anglo-Arabian breeding programs. I noticed in his pedigree that the French breeders kept on going back to the desert for "out-cross" blood.
I always got the impression from the English breeders I've read that they thought the French Arabians lacked refinement and beauty. In other words they were probably useful horses, and the French have bred a very good Anglo-Arab from their stock.
Looking back through the pictures I saw that the French breeders picked the Arabians and TBs that would cross well, with similar types, and I also noticed that they did not go for the "level" croup. Good for them.
Sorry that I do not know these horses as well as I do the American Arabian.