For a past month we have been being busy driving around, meeting with breeders and checking out foals to represent on Foal for Sale. People often ask us, what do we look for when inspecting the young fillies and colts. We all have personal preferences when it comes to the looks and pedigree, but at the end, there are some general traits all quality horses have.
So, here is what we look for if we are buying a foal:
No matter, if it is a dressage or jumping foal, we believe the quality mare is the outmost important, with proven record to leave good progeny, top sport performance records and/or succession of quality mares on the dam-line. Before we see the foal, we study the pedigree from both sides to see what kind of off-spring the combination and each parent leave. Then when we are going to view the foal, we would like, that before you pay attention to everything else, the foal immediately appeals to you in terms of type and movement.
When visiting the breeders, we want to see the foals with their mares, in a relaxed environment where they are moving, preferably walking, at ease and even a bit lazy. An excited foal who is intimidated by the environment, worried about the mama, cannot really show his or her true qualities. We want to see a curious expression and good temperament, the correct conformation, straight legs and overall healthy look (no swelling on fetlocks, hocks or knees). Foals are of course in a different development phase. Sometimes the legs are not entirely straight at the beginning, but we need to evaluate if it will cause a problem in the future or not. We also look at the mother, how is she moving, the conformation and the character. If the foal is by embryo transfer, we ask the videos of the mare.
Choose a foal with the temperament and movement that fits you best! It is no use to buy a sharp and spectacular moving foal, when you are not able the handle it when riding them in future.
Short check-list for the dressage foal
Conformation: long legs, neck set up high, evenly formed hooves, good muscles on loin, back, haunches, enough angle of hindlegs and enough space on throatlatch
Movement: naturally uphill and balanced, free from shoulders, good use of the joints, active and carrying hind legs.
Short check-list for the show jumping foal
Conformation: strong straight legs, long shoulders, evenly formed hooves, long enough neck, short enough back and strong hips with enough angle on the hind legs
Movement: Free from shoulders, strong balanced canter, natural change of legs.
It is always exciting to visit the breeders, and listen to their stories and reasoning behind their breeding philosophy. Naturally, we all have preferences and as it has proven times and times again, there is no proven formula to find a future champion.
And, if there is something special you are looking for (combination of sires, special mother-line etc.), send us an email or call, and we will use our contacts to find that right one for you. Our breeders also have some foals that are in principle for sale, but not listed, so let us know your preference and we will it.
Always happy to help,
Sabine & Johanna