Susanne Manz, Manz Dressage Horses
Twin Cities area, Minnesota
I’ve loved horses my whole life and always wanted to ride. But, in the last couple of years, I’ve been able to devote some of my time to my other passion – breeding dressage horses. Lately, I’ve been thinking about all the things a breeder of sport horses needs to know in order to successfully and responsibly breed sport horses:
· History and Strategy of Sport Horse Breeding
· Conformation and Form to Function concepts
· Genetics and heritability
o Breeding values and statistics
o Selection of breeding horses
· Equine reproduction techniques
· Riding concepts and how they shape your breeding goals
· Registries for Sport Horses
· Business concepts for breeders
· Advertising and Promotion techniques
o Including photography, video, showing, social media, etc.
· Nutrition and feeding of breeding horses
· Bloodlines and their strengths and weaknesses
There is obviously a huge body of knowledge that is important in shaping our goals for breeding as well as our ability to achieve those goals and market (or keep) the results. I wish there were a Sport Horse Breeders Comprehensive Handbook, but there isn’t. I haven’t found one source of information that fulfilled all my needs in a comprehensive manner. But, the following sources of information have been helpful to me:
· Organizations such as USSHBA focused on Breeding of Sport Horses
· Organizations such USDF, USEF, USHJA, FEI that determine expectations and standards for competition
· Organizations/Registries that provide standards and criteria for selection and registration of sport horses
o Stallion Shows, approvals
o Auctions and other marketing outlets
· Various books, magazines, on-line forums
· Registry meetings, courses, tours
· Competitions for sport horses
· Riding instructors
· On-line forums and social media
· Formal education such as equine studies, business school, etc.
· Networking, meeting, and talking to other breeders
I have voraciously consumed all the materials I can get on breeding dressage horses. But, there are lots of gaps in the written materials currently available. I live in Minnesota (for now anyway) and I don’t have many opportunities here to interact with other breeders of dressage horses. As such, I’ve had to travel quite a bit to network with other breeders and see horses and inspections/keurings. I take advantage of Registry tours and structured seminars (like the USSHBA Breeders seminar) for educational opportunities. And there are some excellent breeder groups on Facebook that allow good discussion.
USSHBA has a mission to support US Breeders through education, recognition and outreach. They have already conducted seminars and are planning additional seminars. Tell us what areas of education are most interesting to you. We welcome your comments.
A collaborative effort produced by the USSHBA Education Committee, USSHBA members, and our partners.