In contemplating Gogo's future for the next year, I keep coming back across breeding as the one thing that sticks out as simultaneously the most important thing I could do, and the most undecided. I've already ruled out eventing for this year - even if she bounces back fast from this injury, I see no reason to push her and fit her up for it. We have time. I have two different vet opinions on breeding - one says definitely, one says put her back to work and don't bother. While I do agree with putting her back to work at least in a rehab sense, as that is the best and most controlled way to strengthen and heal a tendon, I'm not planning on hitting any big shows anytime soon. And seeing as I had planned on breeding her next year anyway (before this injury happened of course), this isn't exactly a spur of the moment thing. I've given it a lot of thought, and it's a definite yes for her future. The question, however, is when. Do I breed now, or do I wait? If I don't breed her this year, chances are (should she recover well and go on injury-free) that I won't have a chance to breed her for several more years given her ideal competition schedule. And let's be honest, it's a gamble all around to have an older maiden mare, and sometimes it isn't worth it.
So that leads me to now. This is the ideal time... or well, almost the ideal time. If I do breed her now, that probably cuts out next season as well, seeing as it's a full time job to be a mom, a double full time job to be a mom and a riding horse, and a triple full time overtime no lunchbreaks job to be a mom and a riding horse who is getting fitted up for a competitive season. (Although hell, that way I might finally get her to lose some damn weight!) And that isn't ideal in my mind either, losing two seasons. On the other hand, it will absolutely get me to take my time. Forget about worrying, forget about planning for a season, forget about feeling the need to push her before she may or may not be ready - I won't have that option, so it won't happen.
She'll be 9 this coming year, 10 when baby hits the ground, which means it won't be until age 11 that she's back to eventing fully again. God, that sounds old. Way old. But by breeding her now and REALLY taking my time, I might just secure a seriously long competitive career with her down the road. Who knows, she could be eventing until she's in her 20's! Lil' Tricky was 21 when he did Rolex. The nicest dressage horse in my barn is a Grand Prix horse who is 21, still in full work, and not on a SINGLE supplement. Nothing. He is a far more supple and expressive mover than all of the other horses in the barn combined. That's impressive. But back to Gogo... god forbid I try and get her back into work too soon and she reinjures herself, because she'll probably be done. And then she'll be making babies anyway, so there you have it. It's just a matter of NOW or LATER?
I've made my very basic list of pro's and con's for you all to see. I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but I want your opinions on this. Breed her THIS YEAR, or DON'T?
Reasons to breed this year:
1) Good time - recooping from an injury, not competing
2) Gives me plenty of reason to take as much time as I need - won't have a competition season next year either most likely so this injury will have absolutely maximum potential for not ever happening again!!
3) Will have a super awesome, well-bred event baby to start up potentially when Gogo's career is winding down - good timimg all around
4) Breeding now prevents her from being an older maiden, which are harder to get pregnant, keep pregnant, and foal out safely
5) Did I mention having an adorable, bouncing, rearing bundle of joy!? I have no interest in purchasing my next horse elsewhere. I want her kiddo and nothing else. I would be the happiest kid in the world to end up with a complete carbon copy of her. In fact, I'd prefer it that way!
Reasons to NOT breed this year:
1) Money. I am doing well enough at this point for myself and will be able to afford two horses without issue, but still... two horses is double the expense of one. I enjoy spending lavishly on Gogo, and I do remember what it was like not long ago to be spending lavishly on Gogo and then going very hungry myself. Not where I ever want to be again. This is really the most enormous reason. Of course I'll be able to afford it, but I kind of am enjoying being able to spend extra money on ME for once! I also eventually need to be thinking about, you know, my life and future beyond all this... do I want a house someday? I have a really small savings fund for my supposed someday retirement, should I be thinking about this some more? I mean, as a horseperson I will NEVER retire until the day I die, but you know. The future is eventually going to be the present.
2) Cutting out an extra competition season. I suppose this is just for selfish reasons really. Can't wait to get back on that mare and gallop XC! But there will be time for that in the future. Sometimes it just feels like everything is a ticking clock though.
3) Time. With two horses, probably at two separate barns, I will lose large amounts of time that I already struggle to find somedays. Yesterday I got home at 9pm from the barn, just because I was there cleaning! I didn't ride anybody, so imagine if I had two horses to ride! I also would probably lose travel time, due to both the time and money issue. And that's fine, a sacrifice I can make (because I've already sacrified it anyway, sadly), but you know. I like having the option even if I don't actually have it.
So what to do? Breed her now, take two years to get back into competition, and then go on to have a long career while baby grows up and gets reason to head out just as she is winding now? Continue to ride her and not breed, and have a competition season next year and extra time and money for myself but have to breed her later as an older maiden and risk sitting out several seasons while I have neither mare nor baby to ride? A hard choice.
I will tell you this, I had a dream two nights ago that Gogo did in fact foal out right in front of me and randomly (don't think I knew she was pregnant in the dream). I went in to clean her stall, and she popped out a baby while STANDING, and it lasted all of about 5 seconds. It was a huge, bright bay colt with those distinctive I'm-going-to-grey-out markings around his lil' nosey. Oh noes, not a grey colt! We want a dark bay filly just like her mom!
(One of my boarders snapped these two pictures of her looking adorable. She has the oogly-eyed skeptical face on in the first picture because the guys were in the hayloft getting reason to throw down lunch hay, and in the second she is obviously getting up to get her lunch hay!)
The very special Ridgeway weekend
3 days ago