McKibbin has a clear focus for breeding
Dams are just as vital in the mating stakes
Published 05/11/2016 | 14:30
Top-class horse producers the world over will always emphasise the importance of the dam when choosing a young horse, yet for others, stallions are often thought to be the most influential part of the stallion-mare mating equation.
The belief is that if the stallions consistently throw successful foals, they quickly develop national and international reputations and earn high stud fees. This is true, yet genetically, the mare is responsible for at least 50pc of the foal's make-up. In fact, some Irish producers will make that closer to 70pc.
A rule of thumb in the breeding world is that you can breed a mediocre stallion to a great mare and still have a nice foal. But breed a great stallion to an undesirable mare? The results will be disastrous. Temperament, conformation and talent are each critically tied to the mare's genetic structure, a structure she passes from generation to generation.
Therefore, understanding the mare's crucial role in the breeding process is an undeniably essential part of the breeding equation.
No-one knows this better than John McKibbin, who this year had his best year to date with the sale of top-quality sport horse foals boasting the best of performance bloodlines.
From a small broodmare herd of just five, the Northern Ireland breeder not only topped the Elite Foal Sale at Cavan with a colt by Darco, but also made €15,000 on another great prospect at the Supreme Foal Sale held during the Irish Breeders' Classic in September.
Mr McKibbin has always believed in the importance of the damline.
"Unless the dam has a performance record, you are at nothing," he said. "And they are just so hard to find here in Ireland," he said of suitable Irish mares for his breeding programme.