Wednesday, 04 March 2009

ROM = Breeding Quality???

Many boys and girls dream of owning their dream horse stallion, making it big in the show pen, and retiring rich with a wonderful stallion, and watching his babies compete. The reality is that when you grow up, it doesn't always happen. Today, it takes an incredible stallion, a good trainer, an incredible show record, and money to create that stallion that makes mare owners say "I have to breed to THAT stallion". You can't make the money if you don't spend the money in the first place. My discussion today turns towards AQHA stallion, Big Yellow Caddi, and his owner Cathy. This discussion is not to determine if he is worthy of his balls. This discussion, is in fact, about whether he is going to become a big enough name in the pen to be the stallion that Cathy thinks he is.

While I cannot agree with everything that goes on in the AQHA show pen in halter, western pleasure and hunter under saddle; I do know what it takes to make it big. Sometimes what it takes to make it big is not what the owner wants to do nor can afford to do. For example, I have worked with many top halter barns. I know what it takes to fit an AQHA or APHA halter stallion, go win the world, and stand him at stud. However, I do not agree with getting them as beefy as the judges like to see them. I don't want my horses to be overly fat. I want them fit. I have fit on over 15 AQHA and APHA World Champion halter horses; however, when it comes to fitting and showing my own; I choose what is right for MY horses over the "winning way". Alas, I have yet to win the world in halter with one of my own horses because I don't get them as big as the horses that are winning; despite the horse having as close to ideal conformation as you can get; but I digress.

The point I am trying to make is that what wins and becomes successful is not always the way we, as owners, want to do things. This is where Big Yellow Caddi comes in. While I think Cathy's goal is a great goal; I do not feel that she is going to reach that goal within the unrealistic time frame she has described. A basic run down of the goal she hopes to achieve is to: get an ROM on Big Yellow Caddi within one show season if possible, and stand him at stud. While it is possible to get an ROM on this horse, I highly doubt it's going to happen in one season and here is why.

Whether you choose to believe so or not, getting points in AQHA in any event is no easy task. This stallion is already four years old and has never been to an AQHA show. He should have already been in the pen in at least a halter class. Now that he is our, it will be extremely difficult to get halter points being that he is an aged stallion and the class sizes are generally smaller. Why are the class sizes smaller? Well, most; not all, but most people that are serious about promoting a stallion start showing halter as weanlings and yearlings. The class sizes are larger and there is a greater chance of accumulating points in a small number of shows. I'm no sure what the average aged stallion class size in her neck of the woods but here in Texas... it's not very big. That says something! There is a huge concentration of halter horses here in the Aubrey/Pilot Point area; yet the aged stallion classes are so small people are lucky to get one point for winning the class. While it is possible to accumulate those points on an aged stallion, she is going to have to go to quite a few shows. This means spending money. And more than likely it will be more than what she has budgeted for. So lets recap here: we have a four year old unshown stallion that would now have to go in aged stallions if competing in halter, costing a lot of money. Now lets dig a little deeper. Like I said, it is possible to get those points, but does Big Yellow Caddi look like what's winning halter at the AQHA shows? No. Why? He's not a very balanced horse per his photos; he's long, and under muscled, and not up to weight. Do I think he's a decent horse... sure do. Do I think he's a halter winning horse... nope. The fact remains he is not a representative of what is winning in the halter pen which will make it much harder for him to even earn halter points.

Now let's get down to western pleasure and hunter under saddle. Cathy is like me in that she does not want to conform to the ideals that the western pleasure and hunter under saddle industry want to see. I don't want to see a head between the knees. I don't want to see a painstakingly slow lope that is unbalanced, uncadenced, and four beating. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to conform to this. ( And yes I know the rules are calling for a head and neck no lower than level and a nose that is slightly in front of the vertical. I also know they are asking for an extenion of the jog and a lope with forward motion. The problem is that the change is ever so slowly happening and the head bobbers, and four-beating over canted horses are still winning). However, in my opinion, even if this horse did conform to these trends, I don't think he's going to be a winning horse. The reason? After studying some photographs of Big Yellow Caddi being ridden, he is not cadenced in his gaits. He is big and clunky looking with a head that is too low and a nose that pokes out well in front of the vertical. Add the fact that his first year in the pen may very well be this year. A lot of other stallions are already being campaigned and shown. Where does that leave this stallion? In the background. I'm not saying that in the right hands this stallion couldn't shape up and do some great things in the pen; I'm saying it's going to be hard for him to get the recognition. Add another 12 shows to start accumulating points and you have even more money spent.

Now, Cathy has stated numerous times she is not going to breed this stallion unless he proves himself. By proving himself, she means earning an ROM. I personally would like to see some Superiors, maybe a World Champion or Congress title, etc. The reason is that while he may be able to perform well, his conformation lends him to looking like every other buckskin gelding out there competing. For my taste, he just does not catch my eye as a breeding stallion. He's average to me. When I look at him, there isn't a wow factor. There is a "oh, he's nice enough" factor. So let me ask you this. Since it is fairly easy for many horses to get an ROM, as long as you show enough to get the points, how does this stallion earning an ROM make him worthy as a stallion? There are tons of geldings out there with ROMS, Superiors, World champion titles, etc. and they are obviously not breeding. They lack testicles. But how in the hell can anyone think that just because a stallion earned an ROM he's going to be the next best thing since sliced bread?

Standing a stallion to his full potential means campaigning, advertising, showing, and dedication. It takes years to create a sire. Here is a perfect example. A friend of mine owns Impressive Proposal, an APHA Champion with numerous ROMS, Superiors, and points in a variety of events. He started his show career as a two year old. She has advertised him heavily, and showed him heavily. He is now twelve years old, still 100% sound, and siring the same. It has taken years to create this stallion and produce the incredible offspring he has on the ground. They have solid bodies, bone, and minds. They also have versatility. While she gets plenty of customers, they are not beating down the door. This stallion showed the APHA circuit until 2003. It took him time to make a name for himself and he has indeed made a good one. My point is, how is Big Yellow Caddi going to compare if he only shows one or two seasons? We all know it's harder to get points in AQHA than it is in APHA because there are more horses competing.

Again, I'm not saying this horse couldn't be a success; but rather that with Cathy's goals and stipulations in mind, I don't believe he is going to be as big of a success as she hopes.

What are your thoughts?


exes blue eyed devil said...

Thank you, as someone who shows AQHA I agree with everything you say about Big Yellow Caddi. He is a coarse looking horse and honestly he is no Krymsun N Gold that is for sure. Cathy will have to show in amateur and open classes to get that ROM and seeing as how she has never shown breed circuit (or hasn't in decades) she honestly has NO idea what she is in for.

Here in Michigan and Ohio the ammy and open classes are 3 points at the most, and when you have horses like Batman and Krymsun N Gold rolling in, well good luck getting a brown ribbon....

Kathy just does not have enough money to promote this horse, and has no skill to teach him herself. I think she is hoping some great trainer will step forward thrilled at the prospect of showing her horse for free or next to nothing. That simply doesn't happen, Cathy. You will pay for EVERYTHING, as you should. I hope she is planning on hitting worlds or congress because I wouldn't give a horse a second look who didn't compete there.

Honestly the northwest isn't exactly wp or hus country, heck it isn't even AQHA breed circuit country. Cathy is delusional.

Amber DBTD said...

Awesome post, HNH... I have nothing to add, just found it an excellent read.

CCH said...

I have a barn full of geldings that have ROM's and have qualified/competed at AQHA World.

My main show gelding placed high (like 4th I think) at the APHA World in Open Cutting. I wish he was a stud, but then I would never own him.

But, as someone who is campaigning a stallion, holy crap its hard. It costs a little more money to keep him fit, (he is a bottomless pit), advertising (huge $$), incentives/futurity funds, and all kinds of other little things that I don't want to add up for fear that I might die of shock.

I've looked at her horse, he looks nothing like a breed show horse. Open show, sure. She needs to teach him to rope or do something ranchy if she wants to get points because that's what he looks like to me. I wish I was sorry for my opinion, but I'm not.

smottical said...

I thought this was an interesting look at what it takes to create a successful stallion. It makes me, for one, very glad that I'm not out to do so! I never even thought about going to a breed show until I was able to obtain registration papers for my filly. I'm glad I did, but still may stick to open shows because I'm in it for fun, not ribbons or profit.

On a side note, I LOVE Impressive Proposal. Also, his sire is in my filly's pedigree. :)

exes blue eyed devil said...

I heartily agree with CCH, that horse is NOT a pleasure stallion, ranch work would be perfect. Waaay to coarse for pleasure...

success in the pen said...

Keep in mind that a person can not accurately judge a horse by a few pictures alone. That stud may have a 10+ lope for all we know. Granted from the pics he does not look to be the "type" for WP or HUS, but looks can be decieving. My opinion as of NOW, with only pictures to go on, is that he is too clunky and uncadenced to be great. I have never seen a video so I could be wrong. You just never know. A picture is only a moment in time. Until I see a video I cannot form an "accurate" opinion because I simply don't have all the evidence. He may do well at smaller breed shows picking up some points here and there. Any horse can do that. But I still don't think he's going to be a fabulous HUS or WP horse. The politics and specialization in the pen are against him in that respect.

jordie0587 said...

I have to agree with you as well. While I LOVE a buckskin, BYC just isn't that impressive to look at. When I see a stallion, I expect to be wowed, he's a BUCKSKIN stallion and just doesn't hav that WOW factor.

Impressive Proposal however, DOES. When you walk on the property, it's hard to take your eyes off him. He has a presence about him that says "Look at me" and you do. You can see his beautiful movement even when he's just in his turnout, he's just plain graceful. I know you can't tell everything from pictures, but even in his pictures you can can see quality.

THAT is what you should expect from a stallion. Not something that is just OK and as a 4yo stallion doesn't have any type of "WOW" to him.

Bexs said...

I've always had this picture in my head in cartoon form that looks like this.

A middle-aged, beer gut, short wearing, boot wearing guy/gal in a large cowboy hat with his crappy put together stallion all tacked up with this saying beneath it....

We only go to the small shows so Bruno can always place!

rosesr4evr said...

Awesome post!!! This is what I've been trying to say and just didn't get it put out there as well as you just did. When I asked the question of what her plans were for the VLC/BYC, THESE are the points I was trying to make.

I don't think an ROM is anything special for a Breeding Stallion. I never even give them a second look. I have always figured that was the BYB's claim to fame because they couldn't hack it with REAL competition. Add some Superiors and Champion titles and I might pay more attention.

I have never thought he was anything but a buckskin. That's the first thing I see when I look at him and it's the last thing I like and there's not much in between there that I could be positive about. Do I think he would make a nice gelding? Absolutely.

His bloodlines leave a lot to be desired. There's not anything in his pedigree that I would just have to have. The barn I take lessons at is full of Invitation Only, Artful Move, Lazy Loper horses and there's no comparison with Cathy's horse.

I'm not trying to be mean, just honest. She tries to tell everyone else about their stud and yet she's as guilty as they are.

He would make a cute gelding to go show on though. If he were gelded, depending on how he rode, I wouldn't kick him out of the barn.

Dena said...

Very well written. We have a saying. "Talent is Talent and Beauty is Beauty. And Speed will always be Speed. But if, you ain't got the money to bring that pony to the party? All you really have is another backyard flower".
Money and Politics. You do not have to like it. But it is the reality.
And in bashing the very folks you needed to be politicing you paved that path to backyard glory.
An ROM is nice. And a worthy accomplishment. For both horse and handler. But it is the smallest of achievements for the big time stallions.
We all have dreams. And I have no desire to bash on someone elses dream. None...Zero...Zip...Nada...
But maybe that is what it should be called. "A Dream".
I want to ride a Triple Crown Winner. Be President. Discover a cure for cancer. And I really dream of World Peace. It could happen. The percentages of possibility are slim though.
And I recognize that.

rosesr4evr said...

Hey, the stallion you mentioned your friend owning? Well she has a mare that is the paternal grandmother to a mare I used to own. The mare is Tilly's Zipcode! The mare I used to own is A Smarty Rose. I was researching her bloodlines and someone sent me an old picture of Tilly. Too funny. Small world.

rosesr4evr said...


You really want World Peace?? Are you practicing for a beauty pageant?? So along with the Stallion Showcase we're going to have the human beauty pageant right? TEE HEE Eyes jus funnin yu!
That would be great, wouldn't it? World Peace. Something to shoot for.

Dena said...

I was thinking about that Sandra Bullock movie when I was writing that.
Yeah, I really do want World Peace. It would mean that we have all evolved into something so much better.

rosesr4evr said...


You have a new SN! MissCongeniality! LOL

GoLightly said...

Great Post. Thank you. As an English person, it's nice to read voices of reason and knowledge in the western world.

Dena said...

I will think on that. Very funny BTW.

roanhorse said...

Blue Eyed Devil....FYI, the Pacific Northwest hosts the 3/4 largest AQHA circuit in the nation with over 1,000 plus horses at last year's OQHA(Oregon) Summer Classic; the big "boys", (i.e., Jason Martin and Charlie Cole), come to play here from as far away as Texas and Tennessee. We have monster futurities at the Classic with both HUS and WP featured and including team roping, roping and Working Cow Horse. If you were truly knowlegable regarding AQHA shows you'd know isn't a secret.

Should Ms. Cathy venture forth at this circuit, believeing she will do "well" she's in for an exceptionally rude awakening.

Washington State is no wimp either when it comes to AQHA shows. They've got some fine competitive horses there and some major point earning shows.

We also have a fair share of Californians coming up for our Classic and other OQHA shows from the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association...if you believe that the PNW is a cake walk, then come on out...we'd be glad to introduce you to some true "movers and shakers" and multiple world qualified AQHAer's for you to whet your teeth on.

"Discretion would be the better part of Valor".

By the way, that's "Amateur" classes. We don't have "ammy" classes.

Anonymous said...

This was very nicely and fairly written and all of it is very true. I would also like to add that a simple ROM is NOTHING to promote a stallion on and he would need to accomplish MUCH more to be considered breeding quality in my book. It is nice that Cathy has a goal for herself, it is unfortunate that she sets the "breeding standard" bar pretty darn low for herself considering where she puts the bar for the folks she rants about on her blog. From what I see she is no different then all the stallion owners she rants about on her blog and she shares the same pipe dreams that they do. Further, she is promoting that no one breed in this economy, a thought I agree with. She could set an example by gelding that stallion because by the time the economy picks up enough to justify breeding him, he will be old by show pen standards.

Anonymous said...

You know, I kinda agree with you all on BYC... I dont see whats so special about him, but all I have seen is snapshots. When we look at the Big name stallions, we look at them in person at shows or we look at professional photographs.. big difference.

I also do think Cathy MAY be in for a rude awakening taking him to AQHA shows.. but who knows, she wont say who is supposively going to show him..

As far as I am concerned, a ROM isnt a wonderthing as far as proving a stallion, and if all she gets on him is a ROM, I do think she will be a bit hypocritical, BUT I will say this.. I have NEVER seen Cathy critize a breeding animal, stallion or mare that I would personally breed. What she calls crap is in my book.. well crap. BYC is from what I have seen, not nearly horrid like the horses she posts on her blog.

Im not impressed with YHI horses either.. sure, they have had some success, but mostly at Palomino shows, I absolutely cannot stand the hocks on her older stallion floyd, the cremello is blah.. although I kindof like her new double registered stallion... I dont know, im just not seeing it.

But heres the thing.. BYC is a work in progress. So long as she doesnt breed him prior to "proving him" she really isnt being a hypocrite. Whoever is right will eventually be proven, so just sit back and watch it play out.. it will definately be interesting.

I know tons of people dispise Cathy for her blog, but she says what everyone else is afraid to say.. does she take it to far.. probably sometimes.. but still.. if she wants to be the name and face of calling people out.. let her.. what comes around gos around... she teeters on the edge of needs to be said, and going to far.. if she goes to far to many times, it will get her..

Anonymous said...

Anon; I don't dispise Cathy or her blog, and I agree with what you said. Still, if you are going to promote not breeding (and with GOOD reason in this economy) then the timing for BYC is all wrong. I don't wish anything bad for her but you are right, sometimes she does go too far and I have seen more then once a double standard. I still read her blog because like this one (which I also really enjoy) things are brought out and brought up that are LONG overdue in the horse industry. It delights me to see people having conversations about these things and maybe just maybe enough awareness will get raised to stop a lot of these practices.....