Great thread! Although I'm not a straight anything breeder there are diamonds to be found in these programs. I like Dr. Stoneback's advice on breeding.
By Dr. Richard StonebackEven when the pain of advancing arthritis slowed him down in his last years, the flaming fire was always evident and his proud “Look Of the Eagles” was ever present. I never owned *Count Dorsaz but this horse meant so much to me that when he was put to rest at the advanced age of 31 and I received a telegram informing me of his death, it was like loosing a wonderful, dear friend.One of the major aspects of our breeding program of today is to inbreed to *Count Dorsaz and also to his sire, Rissalix, by adding a line or two from *Count Dorsaz’s half brother, *Ranix. This allows us to concentrate the genes for all the great desirable characteristics I outlined above in the discussion of *Count Dorsaz.Another part of our program is to continue the inbreeding of the *Raffles-Raseyn/Skowronek line of Arabian seed stock. We have capitalized on the fabulous horses produced by the breeding programs of the * Raffles-Raseyn/Skowronek breeders of the recent past who inbred so successfully these great horses. We have acquired the best of the lines that we could get our hands on so as to continue the same inbreeding program.In addition, we cross the two inbred lines to produce the DOUBLE R horses, which blends and combines the best of both the Rissalix and * Raffles-Raseyn/Skowronek lines. More recently now, we are breeding the Double R to Double R and have been amazed at how well and how true the outcrossed Double R horses are already breeding within themselves. They are quickly gaining the desired homozygosity for a bloodline to be considered a significant strain unto themselves, which will breed, on in a reliable true fashion and the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.I must point out, however, that reaching this state of homozygosity with the Double R horses had a significant head start since the dam of both Rissalix and *Rifala was the great mare, Rissla, who was sired by the action sire, *Berk. Rissalix went on to sire *Count Dorsaz and *Ranix. *Rifala produced *Raffles which makes them cousins. By using *Count Dorsaz and *Raffles so heavily in our breeding program, we have really been linebreeding to the great Rissla and had a good head start towards our desired genetic homozygosity of the Double R Arabians.While outlining our breeding program, you have noticed the great value placed on inbreeding and linebreeding. A word of caution is in order here. When inbreeding, only inbreed to animals of clearly exceptional quality and be prepared to cull out of your breeding program any undesirable individuals produced. You can accentuate any faults as well as the desirable characteristics of a line when making such matings. Thus, is behooves you to know any of your stock’s faults as well as its good points and to be very judicious about what individuals of a line can and should be utilized in such matings… not all will be!You can easily see that a serious breeder MUST know how to evaluate both the conformation and the pedigree of his breeding stock used in such a program as conformation faults of horses many generations back in a pedigree can be brought out in a foal. However, the benefits of a well planned and thought out inbreeding/linebreeding program will allow a breeder to reap generations of rewards for his efforts if done properly.Anyone considering entering the Arabian horse breeding business should do so with great seriousness of purpose. You will be taking on a big responsibility continuing on with the centuries of selective breeding of this great breed that is unparalleled in history. Study all you can about the breed in general as well as about the great individuals of the breed, both past and present. Visit some breeding farms and study breeding programs. You will learn more there than at the show ring.There are many types of Arabians today. Most of them excellent in their own right. YOU must decide what suits YOUR tastes and needs before making your investment. If you wish to become a breeder of any importance, set your goals early and stick to them. Have YOUR ideal Arabian horse in your mind’s eye and keep moving towards that goal. You will not make any progress if your change every time a new fad appears in the show ring. Breeding blue ribbon winners together to produce a foal is so frequently done today and will not necessarily produce a good foal and is certainly not the answer for a breeding program. Often blue ribbon winners are not related in any significant manner and will result in an outcross foal. Such continual matings brings about a state of heterozygosity genetically, with very little predictability or reliability in the uniformity of the animals produce. It is a strictly hit or miss chance with far more misses than hits. This is one reason why the Arabian market place of today is flooded with poor quality animals of relatively low value. Cheap horses produced by matings made with little or not thought or purpose.Breeding Arabian horses requires a lifetime of dedication to really reap your desired results. The best advice I can give you is to select your foundation stock very carefully, buying the best quality individuals and pedigrees that you can afford (if you can convince the owner to part with it). Remember that the stock which you buy is really no better than the integrity and knowledge of its breeder.There are recognizable families of Arabian horses in the United States bred by specific breeders. You can see them and readily know whence they came. This can only happen when that breeder has had an enduring breeding program to which he has stuck through thick and thin over many years. Remember than such breeders do exist and appreciated them for their efforts and try to emulate them. They put in many years of labor for the love of the breed, not to mention, the money, sweat and tears. Their true reward comes each time a newborn foal stands and shows its indelible, unmistakable stamp of its artist/breeder.
All through our story you have noticed that name of *Count Dorsaz appearing very prominently. If I had to single out one horse in our breeding program, it would surely have to be this great sire. He transmitted great overall smoothness, good size, magnificent style, the ultimate in presence and elegance with the fabulous natural action he himself possessed up to his final days.
Patrick G. Gregory