Looking back over the years you have been a breeder, have you always bred the same breed and been true to it or have you explored your options finding the right breed mix for yourself?
Over the years, I find that our breeding operation (my mom and I) has varied with regards to breed of choice but we always seem to keep coming back to one mainstay breed.
My mom first started breeding Purebred Arabians. We ended up with some good animals for the time (1960's - 1980's, pre-AI era) but found that with mediocre mares bred to the best we could afford at the time, mediocre stallions we ended up with good, versatile, conformationally correct, mediocre horses.
My mom also dabbled in a few crossbred ponies and Welsh ponies to keep up kids mounted on smaller beasts, except be kept gravitating to the Arabians for the mounts of choice.
The in the early 1980's, my folks got on the bandwagon and bred National Show Horses (Arabian - Saddlebred crosses). Boy oh boy, were we breeding good now. By breeding those same mediocre Arabian mares to good calibre Saddlebred stallions hybrid vigor rose to the challenge - gorgeous, athletic, versatile, conformationally correct with added zip (look of eagles). But with the lack of shows in Canada, this breeding venture fizzled out - or at least the reward. Plus you were never guaranteed an English Pleasure or Park horse and sometimes came up with a Western Pleasure mount.
Along the way the folks had acquired a pinto Saddlebred mare and her yearling NSH filly. More on this later. We did some straight Half-Arabian crosses and again got great individuals.
Sold the Saddlebred mare and I bought a Hackney Horse mare who has made great Half-Arabians, and along the way 4 pure Hackney Horse fillies - wowzer, all exceptional individuals who have since sold to the US. Our one CSH cross is lovely but too big for us and not in a direction we want to compete any more. This year's Half-Welsh is again an exceptioal invidivual.
Meanwhile back to the NSH filly, who became our first Arabian National Champion, crossing her with an Arabian stallion gave us a small 3/4 mare. Enter American Sport Pony registry. Began crossing NSH mare with Welsh to get bone and stride length and 5 foals later oh my oh my - this is the type of animal we want - look of eagles, gorgeous, athletic, versatile, conformationally correct individuals. We are having fun showing those ponies and just getting them going undersaddle. They are all registered Half-Welsh as well.
In the mean time I bought a Half-Arabian - Applaoosa mare. While we have no plans to breed her we have solidly campaigned this mare - Half-Arabian, Appaloosa, Open, Competitive Trail and Endurance. One National Championship, 1 Reserve National Championship and multiple Top 10s later.
While it looks like we keep flitting from breed to breed, we have always had Arabians or Half-Arabians in the barn and we keep gravitting back to Welsh ponies as well.
What we want with our breeding program is gorgeous, versatile, athletes, who are conformationally correct and have a set of registration papers to back up the individual - we don't really stay true to one breed or another as we go where our horses point us. We won't get rid of a breoodmare just because she doesn't produce "pure" whatevers, we hunt around to find the "right" cross for that mare.