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What Do You Think?



Question: How do you feel about the influx of colts into the Tennessee Walking Horse market?

An important and somewhat controversial question was posed to me regarding the influx of colts into the Tennessee Walking Horse market. I decided to pose this question to our readers.

When speaking to numerous people I asked several questions about the industry, to initiate a discussion. My questions included are there too many studs? Too many colts? What steps would you take to limit the number of studs and colts? Should there be qualifications for a stallion to stand at stud? Should there be limits on artificial breeding? What about embryos?

After talking to several people I came to realize is that this is quite a controversial issue for many people. Some of the readers felt strongly about this issue; some felt so strongly that in fact they were hesitant to answer the questions on the record. I respect that and do appreciate all responses given.

In my effort to be informed, I called the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association to find out how many colts were registered. To date for 2003 there were 12,508 colts registered.

The people I talked to all agreed that the yearling market is down and that changes do need to be made. They did not all agree on the reason for the fall or how to fix it.

Here are some of the responses I was given on the record.

Larry Lowman, Shelbyville, Tenn.

Lowman began by saying he does not feel there are too many colts or stallions. Lowman believes the reason the yearling market is down can be attributed to several issues. The extended show season cuts down on time available to start colts because there is less time to start colts. The few that are started are hand picked, while the others are not given a chance. He also said not as many trainers are starting colts, but instead are buying the few given the opportunity by someone else.

"We need to promote the new young trainers and try to create a new market for our horses," Lowman said. He also said there are a lot of states that need backing and support so they can cultivate new shows and new members.

Bill Harlin, Franklin, Tenn.

Bill Harlin does believe there is a huge surplus of colts being born. "There needs to be a greater sense of responsibility for the excess animals when there is no market," Harlin said.

He also thinks we need to "broaden the customer base." There are a lot more people out there ready to contribute to the breed, according to Harlin.

Ricky Womack, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Ricky Womack believes there are too many stallions and too many colts. But he does not think there should be set qualifications that a stud should meet in order to breed.

When asked about limits on the number of colts a mare can have Womack said, "It was tried by AQHA, but did not hold up in court." Womack did have an opinion on a possible way to limit the number of colts. "We need to do away with fall breeding because you cannot legally limit the number of colts a mare has," Womack said.

Valton Rummage, Columbia, Tenn.

Valton Rummage also believes there is a problem with the number of colts and stallions. He does not think there should be qualifications on studs. "The problem is that supply and demand are out of whack," Rummage said. "There are no set controls in place and no one to make the decision."

Rummage said people do not understand the situation. One example he gave was of an owner that threw two studs in a pasture with multiple mares. There is no way to know who the sire is. The owner wanted to know how to sell these unregistered horses. "Something drastic needs to be done," Rummage said.

Now I turn to you the reader. Ask yourself these same questions and send me your responses for possible publication in a future 'What Do You Think?' Email your comments to me at houchins@walkinghorsereport.com or fax in your answers to 931-684-8196, Attn: What Do You Think. Thanks for your response.

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