Please share your opinions, expertise
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Q. Should we be using Artificial Insemination (AI) more often to improve our small genetic pool of Suffolks? What is the reason that AI is not used more often with Suffolk breeders?
Q. What additions or changes would you like to see to this web site?
Q. Do Suffolks make good riding horses?
Ann VanArsdale: "I think Suffolks are fun to ride and make good riding horses as long as you don't expect them to give you the kind of ride a quick little light horse would. Some people complain that they are too wide to be comfortable but I have not found that to be true. It's all in what you're used to or what you expect from a particular horse or breed of horse. They will go until you ask them to stop . . . just don't be in too much of a hurry to get to where you're going!"
Bekah Murchison: "Because Suffolks have never been bred for high knee action, they have a wonderful, ground covering stride. The short cannon bone combined with a long forearm are the conformation traits that create this type of stride. This makes their gaits very comfortable to ride. For this reason, Suffolks crossed with light horses make excellent sport horses.
Q. Why do you choose to have /work/ farm with Suffolks?
Cliff Bartyzal: "I choose the Suffolk breed to work with primarily because they are still bred as work horses, not hitch horses, or parade horses, or show horses. That is where the other breeds have failed - they breed for the market and will not worry about manners, as it is not as important as performance in the show ring. A good teamster can make a wild horse look good, but he is the only one that can handle them safely. All the Suffolks I have trained can be handled by anyone, as they are a great horse for young girls or old men that can barely move. I also raise shires - they show much better but can't match the Suffolk at work."
Roger and Cathy Thompson: "We are just starting out with a Suffolk horse farm. We are very impressed with the personality and the quality of Suffolks."
Jay Bailey: "I choose to work with horses for two main reasons. I much prefer to work with horses rather than machines when appropriate, and the horse has far less negative impact (soil compaction, pollution, etc.) than a tractor. I work with Suffolks because of their temperament, size and consistency. They are a joy to work with. They try so hard to understand and do whatever needs to be done. We work the horses first, breed them second, and a stallion is a great and willing worker. They are so much happier when they are working."
Q. When you choose to cull a horse from your breeding stock, what are your reasons?
Rodney Read: "I like to keep only the best looking and well put together horses for stallions. If I have a mare that is not the best looking, I look for a stallion that will make the foal the type that I would like to keep. I breed for a well rounded horse that looks like they did 100 years ago. As we all know, not each horse will turn out the way we think it will, sometimes it starts off looking bad and ends up a very nice and some times just the opposite."
Cliff Bartyzal: "I have noted over many years that the mare makes the biggest imprint on the foal. An ill mannered mare will pass this on to her foal. It appears that it is easier to pass on bad traits then it is good traits. Mule people claim that bad are the result of breeding to second class mares, and they just might be right. The Arabians would only breed the best mares - they ate the poor quality ones, and as a result the breed is one of the very best, solid as a rock, just like the Suffolks."
April Shafer: Very recently I've had to make a decision to cull a horse from my herd. She is parrot mouthed, this is a congenital defect that is known to be passed on to offspring so she can't be registered or bred. We have a very small farm and I have to choose the best of the best, I look for an overall pleasing appearance and a very "Suffolk" type, leaning toward the old style. I've been around them long enough now that my eye has become trained to look for the type I want to continue breeding, and I stick to that in my herd.
Q. Many breeds have rules for the correct way for horses to be shown. Are there such standards for the Suffolk Punch? If so, where can I find them?
Q. Should the ASHA establish "breed standards"? Please submit pros and cons to this idea.
Vicki Metz: "Keep the ASHA out of the Suffolks!! I am new to the Suffolk breed and am really smitten with them. I have experience with light horses and I recommend that Suffolk breeders not involve the ASHA if they want to keep their horses the way they were intended. Take the Arabian for example: Arabs bred the best to the best to get as close to "perfect" as possible. Then we step in and put standards in place and the horses must conform regardless of the important things. Just look around at most Arabians today . . . and they are just one example. Suffolks sell themselves."
Bekah Murchison: "I think that by having a 'National Grand Champion' and similar awards, other breed organizations place emphasis on competition, on showing, and on horses that look great. By holding our Annual Meeting in conjunction with a Field Day or other opportunity for owners and enthusiasts to get together and work their horses, we place the emphasis for Suffolk breeders on working horses. In my opinion, this is as close to a 'breed standard' as we need to get."
Tom Maynard: "I don't think that you can push someone else's' standards on the breeders as a whole. I do think that you can state what to breed for, i.e.. sound feet, good temperament, workability, etc."
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Mary Margaret M. Read, 4240 Goehring Rd., Ledbetter, TX 78946-5004
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