What makes our breeding program different?
The horses produced by the Last Frontier Farm/Wits End Eventing, LLC program are bred specifically for eventing using the method of line breeding which has been developed by top European farms and thoroughbred racing barns over generations. Whether a horse’s breeding will produce offspring who can be a Hanoverian or Holsteiner or Oldenburg, etc. is much less important to us than whether or not the breeding will produce a horse we feel will be a top contender – competitive, sound, safe and happy in their job.
Too few breeders understand the importance of the mare in breeding. Because mitochondrial DNA is only passed through the female line, the broodmare, who has been historically undervalued, actually plays a more important role in the phenotype of the offspring than the stallion does. See these articles and their references for a more thorough explanation of the broodmare’s importance in foal outcomes:
Too often, mediocre or poor mares are bred to nice stallions in a hopeful die cast. At Wits End, we prefer to start with mares who are by performance, pedigree and conformation superior and line breed them to stallions selected to be both an exceptional physical AND genetic match. In addition, many of our mares are carriers of the large heart gene.
We look at many factors when deciding which stallion to put with which mare including the foals intended level of competition, temperament of the mare and stallion, and the physical match as well as selecting for factors important in line breeding such as sex balance, siblings, filly factors, colt factors, etc. For an excellent start in understanding these principles see:
Having an admitted obsessive compulsive Wellesley Biochem-English major married to an MIT and Stanford trained engineer creates exactly the right environment in which to spend happy hours calculating the probabilities of producing the next Olympic gold medalist or the match most likely to take a young rider or amateur sanely through the learning process
with a trunk full of blue ribbons.
Once the breeding decision has been made, the 11 months waited, and foal is on the ground, the crack Wits End Eventing team steps in to make sure foals are imprinted and then handled daily, exposed early to clippers, scary noises, ground rails, etc. As yearlings, they begin traveling to neighboring farms and to the Future Event Horse series shows where they are bathed, braided, and shown in hand. Along with their daily exposure to our cheeky mini donkey, three goats and three mini sheep, these experiences produce babies who have been there and done that before they are ever started under saddle.
Horses who are not sold as babies are broken in and started correctly and then incorporated into Sharon White’s excellent Last Frontier Farm program, long known to produce top prospects for young riders, adult amateurs, and professionals alike.
Because we want happy owners who enthusiastically recommend us, we will be VERY honest with you about what we planned to breed, how close we think we came with a particular foal, and whether or not we think that horse will be a good match for you and for your future goals. We want happy horses with happy owners!
Do you only sell the horses you don’t think are any good?
We breed to sell. Some horses are retained for a variety of reasons (i.e. we feel their genetics are important for future breedings, the dam is older and we fear we may not get further babies from her, we want a horse to move up the levels to advertise the future babies from a particular stallion or mare, etc.). We can occasionally be talked into parting with a horse not listed for sale for the right price; however, usually, we have other babies who are equally nice but who, because they were the wrong gender for the breeding program or because we already have similar lines in our breeding stock, are already for sale.