I chose not to re-breed Vida last year due to various deciding factors - pregnancy, baby, money, pandemic, market, time, hay, and all that jazz. I was comfortable in my decision and despite my father-in-law offering a free breeding to his Street Cry son, who I actually really like, I resisted the temptation and left her open. I had hoped to return her to light work this year since she won't have a foal at her side, and I'm actually really looking forward to having that opportunity! Plus, I feel it will benefit her value as a broodmare in my program. She's such a big, beautiful, lovely mare and I haven't had the pleasure of sitting on her yet, though my husband has popped on her bareback in a halter in the pasture a few times. I may need a step ladder to haul my butt up that high (16.3), but I'm really looking forward to having the pleasure. She's given me two fabulous foals and really weaseled her way into my heart.
While my hope is to ride her this season, she is still scheduled for a date with a new boy later this year. In 2018 I bred her for the first time to the KWPN stallion Parcival, and I was so thrilled with the resulting filly, I chose to re-breed her the following year. I had purchased the stud fee when it went on sale as I had three years to use it, but didn't fully decide to repeat the cross until she foaled. Both fillies were very similar in many aspects, but different in several others. I was absolutely in love with them both, and both sold well to great homes prior to weaning which was a huge plus. I've loved Parcival since I first saw him about 15 years ago when he was still in the USA, and when he sold to Canada a few years ago I very excitedly and sat on my hands until the time was right to breed the right mare to him. I always wanted one for myself, but I've taken on breeding as a small investment opportunity (though I'm currently not making any money on it as I get started LOL), but I haven't had the opportunity to produce a 'keeper' as of yet.
For 2021, Vida is booked to be bred to the KWPN stallion Prototype. I've really liked Prototype for some time, and with temperament and rideability as some of my top priorities in reproduction, he is well suited to Vida and my breeding program. He is renowned for his rhythmic canter, brave and laid back personality, and fabulous work ethic. He's proven himself in various Hunter rings, and navigates tricky courses well and is known to use the high options whenever possible. He has a similar build to Parcival and is the same size (16.3), but I would venture to say he's is on the chonkier side in terms of substance and bone in comparison (though, that could be that whole "hunter fit" thing creating that illusion lol). I'm very excited to see what comes of this cross, provided I am able to confirm Vida in foal. This year will be my first time attempting my own Artificial Insemination (I already do my own ultrasounding, etc) so it's going to really test my skills.
As if that wasn't already enough, I have also made another decision regarding my future breeding plans. For the past two years, I have waffled on the idea of breeding Sierra but always put it off for various reasons. I'm very good at focusing on the 'bad', and as a result I often told her she didn't deserve to reproduce because of our occasional frustrations under saddle. Every under saddle issue Sierra has is anxiety-related due to poor training in her past and it's taking a long time to build it back up (especially because I accidentally subjected her to more poor training recently, just as we were making headway). When I had her in in regular work, she was an absolute pleasure to ride and to this day is one of the most rewarding horses I have had the pleasure to work with because she so badly wants to do the right thing. She's given me some trouble as of late at shows and once in the field at home, all of which were related to anxiety that occasionally pops its head up. When I strip away that conditioned response and look at what are important traits to me in a broodmare, I found myself considering the fact that I can tick off those proverbial boxes with just as much, if not more, confidence than I can with Vida. I always loved her type and when I bought her, I was careful to evaluate her conformation with the intention of using her as a broodmare in the future. Her trainability and brain (when in a familiar setting) are outstanding, and she has a very sweet, loving personality. She's changed the opinion on many die-hard mare-haters, and is generally very gentle and laid back. On the ground, she's easily the easiest, safest horse on my farm (though Vida is great, she can occasionally get wound-up in hand if she decides she's feeling sassy). Movement wise, she's a moderately good move (especially for a TB), and subjectively speaking, her Canter is her worst gait. With her previous Eventing experience, she has a little bit of a show record (Vida does not due to her career-ending injury), and it goes without saying - she has stood up well to work in ways that Vida did not.
Her issues that I often complain about (because I like to focus on the negative with my riding horses) make up about 2% of her persona. They only occur occasionally under saddle, and in my opinion, are entirely conditioned responses. After much (literally years of) thought, I concluded that during those invaluable moments when foals learn crucial life skills from their mothers, Sierra is a rock-solid gem. Sierras occasional issues are not a cause for concern for me in terms of breeding, as they all appear under saddle in less-than-familiar circumstances (at shows, etc) and it's hard to fault her for them when you know the history nor can you confirm or deny they are at all hereditary. At one point, she was a good show pone, but it evidently takes a lot of time in the saddle and a calm, confident pilot, and I'm subject to show anxiety myself. Truthfully, I have thought long and hard about this while confiding in my mentors (IE experienced breeders with no emotional ties), and when I clear the concerns of her anxiety from my brain, I like the prospect of breeding her. After years of agonizing consideration I booked her in with Parcival. I chose to use Parcival because I feel he stamps the conformation areas I wanted to improve on Sierra, I'm familiar with his foals so far, they've sold well, and his owner is exceptional to work with. As mentioned, I have always wanted a Parcival foal for my self - even before I had dreams of breeding and therefore If I can swing it, I would like to keep the foal for myself though I will probably advertise it in the beginning regardless. No matter if I get the pleasure of retaining the foal or not, I always feel that considering marketability is crucial when breeding, as you genuinely don't know what life may throw at you to force your hand. Naturally, this is all based on assumption at this point because she's not confirmed in foal and I don't know if I will use the breeding this year (it's good for 3 years), so standby for that update but I am rather excited about finally reaching a decision. I still have every intention of her being my riding horse, so she will not be transitioning into my breeding program full time - at least not any time soon.
So here's to some lovely foals on the horizon if everything goes well!