A Report From the Front Lines: Stud Fees and the Market

Headley Bell of Mil Ridge Farm and Nicoma Bloodstock believes stud fees have fallen far enough for the Thoroughbred industry to start seeing some significant positive effects. The signs, he said, include the following:

"I, for the first time, was shut out on stallions that you wouldn't even have to ponder before. You werehaving to move sooner on booking mares, and I think there was value across the board for stallions. People still have to breed their mares, and there's still people who want to breed to specific stallions. You've trimmed numbers of the lower (quality) horses, but there is still significant demand for the horses people want to go to.

"Also, I think stallion farms are really attempting to limit the numbers (in stallions' books) more than they ever have (since big books became popular).  I think they realize the excessive numbers are a big part of why we're dealing with the issue (an oversupply of sale horses) that we're dealing with, so they (stallion managers) are actually saying, ‘No,' which is very positive. Artificial insemination is one of our greatest threats, but with technology, we've been able to almost have artificial insemination, i.e. the abundance of numbers (of offspring sired by one stallion), and one of the consequences is oversupply. Now that there's not the demand across the board (for stallion services), I think stallion managers realize an abundance of supply (of one stallion's offspring) is not the answer."

Bell concluded: "To me, as painful as all this is, hopefully there will be some good that comes out of it. And hopefully most of us will survive."




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But, I disagree about A.I. being our biggest threat.

A.I. (IF properly used) could be one of the Greatest applications of the future.

The main foreseeable problem with it would be in the Farm Managers ability to Discipline himself on how many Samples they use or sell to the public each year.

For example:  

If they had a total of 20,000 samples from 1 particular Stallion and they only released 50 samples per year for 5 Years at a time and then saved the rest for 10 years down the road and Re-released them only once every 10 years or so...it could still be a Wildly popular trend in our future breed.

I mean...who wouldn't love to be able to have a Direct son of Bold Ruler, Secretariat, A.P. Indy or Storm Cat in the future ???

Storm Cat of course as most already know currently has stored Samples available Exclusively for the Quarter Horse industry.

05 Jan 2010 5:26 PM
mary glynn

I am a long time horse lover but new to the study of the throughbred. my Question is Why is the collected Semen from  Storm Cat only for the Quarter horses? We raise our ownhorses and they are Q.H. with Three bars and Perfect pleasure. Have had some good wins in barrel racing.

I love reading about the breeding industry and hope 2010 brings a better year for us all.

06 Jan 2010 11:10 AM


The Quarter Horse industry "Does" allow A.I. and has for many years now, but the Thoroughbred industry does "Not" and probably will not for many more years to come.

06 Jan 2010 3:22 PM
Julie L.

My belief is that A.I. should not be allowed in the Thoroughbred industry. We already have the problem of an over supply of yearlings for sale and quantity does not equal quality. And Mary the reason the Storm Cat semen is for Quarter Horses only is because their breeding industry has allowed this practice of A.I. for decades and the Jockey Club will not register a Thoroughbred foal conceived by A.I. I am for farm managers limiting the books on stallions I believe this is a step in the right direction.

08 Jan 2010 1:00 AM

In addition to AI, the AQHA also allows MULTIPLE embryo transplants.  If you peruse any AQHA sale catalog, you will find multiple offspring from the SAME mare.  The Jockey Club should use the AQHA as an example of everything NOT to do.  AI should NEVER be allowed by the Jockey Club.  The only reason people think AI & ET is so great is GREED!  If you are unwillingly or unable to pay the associated costs of live-cover, then you have no business breeding horses.  If a stallion is unable to live-cover, he has no business in the breeding shed.  If a mare is unable to stand for live-cover, she also has no business in the breeding shed.  It will be a very sad day indeed if the Jockey Club goes the way of the AQHA.  

10 Jan 2010 10:23 AM
mary glynn

Thanks for the information, We  only breed for my sister to use the colts and she has done well. In fact she broke 2 state records last year on one of our babies that we bred. He is the only one that was AI the rest were pasture bred. Also We don't sell our horses they are with us until they pass on . If i am understanding what the post is saying all the horses that are going through the sale at keenland are live cover babies is that correct? Thanks for educating a south Ga country girl!

12 Jan 2010 11:46 PM

Mary Glynn, Keeneland only auctions Thoroughbreds. And all Thoroughbreds that are registered with the Jockey Club are "live cover" only babies.

18 Jan 2010 6:05 PM

AI would work with the Jockey Club limiting registration to one foal per year per mare, conceived during regular breeding season, and limiting the number of foals that can be registered to a particular stallion to a set number i.e. 135. In addition, deceased stallions would be limited to a smaller number of offspring, say 50, and only for a period of 5 years after death. AI without rules would cause havoc. AI with strict rules would be beneficial. Quarter horses have devalued themselves commercially by  too many embryos out of one mare per year and no restrictions on stallion offspring registration.

20 Jan 2010 7:43 AM

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