Pauline Harkin: Where are the stats? *H&H VIP*

  • Opinion

    A couple of weeks ago, my mare Velvet Dream — the only foal out of my fabulous 15hh pointer Supreme Dream — started to have her first foal at 4.30am. We nearly lost them both as the foal was coming backwards and the mare’s waters had gone. It took almost three hours to haul out the huge colt foal and the vet, Sam Burton, gave him mouth-to-mouth.

    It made me think about how different breeding cows is. In the cattle world, you know every single statistic about the bull, so that you can match him with your cows. However, with stallions, there are none.

    If you have a mare who is broken winded, bleeds or has had a tendon injury, it is so important to match her with a stallion who throws clean-winded or sound progeny.

    Ideally, you shouldn’t be breeding from mares with problems, but not being able to improve on these faults because of the lack of statistics has to be extremely bad for the thoroughbred breed’s future.

    Breeding thoroughbreds is costly and, in my opinion, a percentage of the money we pay to Weatherbys should be put towards gathering information, so that we can breed with more confidence and improve genetics.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 8 June 2017