In my breeding program, the focus is on the disposition, which in my opinion consists of willingness, attitude, patience and ability to think. Conformation is a must, however, using them will eliminate them due to conformation and disposition. I keep mental notes on each horse, from halter breaking to starting, so that when asked I have a history on each horse and comparisons to dam, sire and siblings. I am the toughest critic of horses, my own and others, and I have started a lot of outside horses in addition to my own and in so doing I have seen and learned a lot. I believe that this gives me the ability to make an educated guess as to the capabilities of a horse.
I consider myself "lucky" when looking at, handling, and using the horses that I have raised. What I mean by "lucky" is that my hopes, plans and dreams of what I wanted to raise years ago has come to be realized. My hopes were to raise good minded athletes with muscle to burn that would be able and willing to do anything that was asked of them! Nothing like asking for everything in a neat package. I consider myself "lucky", but I have made mistakes, had some things work out better than expected, and been blessed with some good fortune. However, there is always some things that can be improved on, whether training or herd improvement. I am always reading, watching or visiting with people about training practices or breeding related issues. Also, looking to bring size, athleticism, pedigree and color to add to or improve my horse herd.
Along the way, I have met some people that have given me priceless advice and knowledge. One that I live by was given just as I was starting my paint breeding ~ "Always tell the truth about a horse, because if you don't it will get around fast and you'll always have a bad reputation." However, I have been told that I am too critical of a horse and that they are better than I said they were.
In breeding programs, there is a focus on gelding, fillies and stud prospects. The gelding programs don't like to ride fillies. The fillies are annoyances that are bred or sold as soon as possible. In a filly and stud prospect program, the attention to detail is crucial. The fillies are ridden and mental notes are kept so that when they are put in to a breeding program, they produce an exceptional foal. The fillies are judged constantly as to whether they deserve to raise colts. A foal is 75% or more like it's dam, therefore, the mares are judged before they become mothers, but then are judged by each foal they raise. The mare is also judged through the foals development.
The stud prospects are handled and expected to like and run with geldings. Here I don't castrate stud colts until they are 2 years old. At that time, the decision of whether their attitude, athletic ability, conformation, muscularity and pedigree are good enough to be given a chance. Then when they are started and used, mental notes are kept and decisions are made as to testicular rights - given or revoked. A stud prospect us ultimately kept intact if he is going to be beneficial to the horse world. I have seen a lot of studs that wouldn't make a good gelding, but their pedigree or color was more important than conformation, and especially disposition. NOT HERE!