Woodlander Stud’s Lynne Crowden received the loudest cheer of the night at the 2018 British Breeders’ awards dinner in London (13 January 2018), when she was unveiled as the winner of the Stallion AI Services Meritoire Lifetime Achievement award, presented as recognition for a lifetime’s contribution to the breeding industry.

Among Woodlander’s stars are the double world young horse champion Farouche, as well as the record-breaking home-bred stallion Wild Child, and the highest scoring Futurity entrant of 2017, Gloria.

Northamptonshire-based Lynne shares with H&H her advice for aspiring breeders.

1. Don’t waste your time with poor mares

“In the early days I wasted a lot of time with mares that weren’t good enough. The time is wasted both commercially and literally — you’re always getting older. I tried to talk up the mares I had and make the best of them, but that best simply wasn’t good enough.

If you really can’t afford a very good mare, buy a really good foal instead. Spending the time waiting to breed from the foal won’t be time wasted.”

2. Know what you want to breed

“However much you love a mare, there’s no point breeding from her is she doesn’t have good pedigree, type and movement, and if she isn’t bred to breed what you want. You can’t try to breed a showjumper from a dressage horse — be clear about what you’re aiming to get.”

3. Think in generations

“You have to be able to look ahead, and learn from mistakes. I turned down an awful lot of money for Farouche (pictured, below) when she won at the world young horse championships, but if I could go back I wouldn’t turn it down again. For a breeder, you have to take your first profit and use it to carry on trying to make great fillies that are a development on the mares you have. That’s how you can continue breeding.”

4. Focus on the foal

If money is short, focus on breeding a fantastic foal that you can sell well, before you have to fund finding a rider and everything else that goes with it — a killer for all of us! Even if you don’t sell your foal for a huge profit, it can help you go on to breed the next one, and that’s your development.”

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5. Know your dam lines inside out

“Get to know your mare lines really, really well, so you are able to breed the sorts of horses you want. I don’t know why we so late to knowing mare lines in this country. I learnt it from thoroughbred breeding and the focus on ‘black type’ mares. If you want to sell a foal, it’s the mare that influences the price you get for a thoroughbred foal. I always knew it would be the same with warmbloods.”

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