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      30 Jan

    Hiba is sadly been loaned to a friend since I lost my job last year. Hoping the day will come when I can see him regularly again. I know he's enjoying real pasture for the first time though.

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Eggs, Embryos & Marketing

Of all the developments in animal husbandry, I am most astonished by the impact and possibilities of embryo transfer and marketing. It's not that I'm a late-bloomer, or that I've had my head in the sand as science has increased the impact of mares in the genetic pool. My years in animal husbandry span well over a half-century and cover a broad spectrum. It was the cattle industry that first brought embryo transfer to my attention when they started shipping calf embryos around the world inside of rabbits. The science of it was understandable. The marketing impact is what took me so long to see.
I saw it in full force at the most glamorous auction I have ever attended. I'm speaking about the highly publicized and well-managed egg/embryo auction at the Arabian Horse Nationals in Brazil just two months ago.
This auction was a shocker and it broke new ground. Certainly, it must have broken some records financially (Maybe a few wallets, too) and, clearly, it set new marketing and staging standards for our industry.
The mares were of excellent quality and so were the sires of the embryos offered. According to my notes, prices of eggs ranged from $35,000 up and the highest selling lot was $170.000 for an embryo repeating the breeding of FA El Shawan and his sister (Selket Marlaina). No, it wasn't me who sold that embryo. I was just in the audience studying everything I could, and sensing how much all this was changing the industry in which we are all so invested.
I knew the game had changed significantly. I knew the players were changing, and, I am changing along with them. I realized it isn't all about stallions any more -- it never really was, but the importance of dam lines was something really "known" and studied by dedicated breeders who kept it pretty much to themselves. Stallions were the glamorous fortune-makers marketed on the world stage. Mares were the secret ingredient that made the difference in a stallion's progeny, but most people didn't want to face it.
On this farm, The Selket Arabians are what is known as a "mare herd". That's what the herd's founder, Jim Andreson, always called it, and that's what he paid most of his attention to. He knew a mare could make all the difference for a stallion (good or bad) and that's why he turned down the chance to buy or use some very popular stallions which saturated the industry over the years. I'm glad he did. I'll leave it up to you to study the Selket pedigrees sometime and see which popular names don't appear. And, no, it wasn't because of "politics" or money. If Jim wanted a horse in his pedigree, he got it.
All of this brings us back to the marketing revolution that is building momentum around us now. Important mares are on the rise financially because of wider influence on the breed -- and it's incredible to see and visualize. So often, I say "On With The Show!" like a master of ceremonies or a circus ring leader might shout. That's what I'm doing now, as I open the theater curtains of my mind and step aside for the great mares bursting onto the world stage.
- RH.


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