Horse Experiences, Memories and Opinions

My name is Tom Simmons. I have had Morgan horses since 1963. I have trained almost any breed you can think of. I have had a good amount of success. I have written articles for Western Horseman, The Morgan Horse, and The Carriage Journal. In the 47 years that I have worked horses, I have seen a lot. I would like to share with you some of my experiences, opinions and memories. Please feel free to email your thoughts. I will try to address them. Tom

Location: North Carolina

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Breeding #2

Breeding on performance is a very common practice. Most people think that is the way; to breed to a horse that has a proven record, judges like him, and he shows well. There are horses that certainly pass on these traits. A few years ago, when I lived in CA, at a show I saw a very nice Western pleasure horse. When I looked at his pedigree, he was by Vanderland Encore. Later at another show, I saw a very nice hunt horse. When I looked him up, he was by Vanderland Encore. Then I saw another super nice Western horse and he was by Vanderland Encore. Now it was apparent to me that Encore was a very good sire of Western pleasure and hunt horses. I never saw any outstanding park or fine harness horses by him-not to say that he never sired any-I just never saw them. I was not a great fan of his breeding, but I wanted very much a breeding to him. Circumstance just never allowed it to come to pass. I think I would have gotten a very nice horse by him, but on paper the foal would have been bred very different from what I breed. It would not have made a very pretty pedigree.

There are other horses that advertise as leading sires of one thing or another and having a great show record. Sometimes you have to question these wins. There are a lot of judges who do not know what they are doing. When a World Champion Western horse is shown in a picture trailing his hocks, something is wrong. A horse is no better than the judge who placed him first. These things should be taken in consideration when deciding how to breed your mare.

Being horse of the year means nothing. Anyone who wants to chase points bad enough can go to every little pumpkin roller around and have horse of the year. When breeding your mare you need to take all these things into consideration. I am talking about Morgans here, but these things can apply to any breed.

Vanderland Encore #28160

Monday, April 24, 2006

In the years that I have bred and trained horses I have learned a lot. Because I have trained a lot of horses, I have had a good overview of different horses and different breeds. The most important thing that I have learned is what you see in a mare or stallion is often not what you get. Within a breed there are families that do not cross well with other families and there are individuals within the family that do not cross well with other individuals. To breed to a National Champion may not be the best cross for your mare. Your mare may have a much better foal by the horse that stood fifth in that same class. The thing that has been a bonus for me is that I have personnally trained what I have bred. Because I have trained them I have a first hand knowledge what that off spring is like. My opinion is never based on outside information. To be a good breeder you have to know what you want in your horses. You need to know what it looks like and what it feels like.

When you breed a dog you may have 10 puppies. There will be a pick of the litter. A few may be show dogs. Some will be pet quality.

When you breed your horse, your mare she will have one foal. It may be a pick of the litter or it could be pet quality. You may breed your mare ten times and she may never have a top quality foal. You can greatly increase your chances of a top quality foal if you thoroughly understand the families of your mare and of your stallion.