Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Internet is a Double-Edged Sword

We all use it, often many times per day. You can't even have a good old-fashioned argument anymore, without someone pulling out their cell phone to settle it almost immediately. Yet, rarely does anyone challenge the internet's authority.

With an online-based business, I use the internet more than many people. But when it comes to passing on information about stallions I try to only repeat firsthand information. Firstly, from the mouths or the websites of the stallion owners themselves. Secondly, from clients who have firsthand experience to relate. Passing on opinions from someone who heard it from someone who read it somewhere is not acceptable to me. Unfortunately, this happens a lot in this business.

My first example of this was years ago when I first started in the frozen semen business. Brentina, by Brentano II, was all the go, brilliantly winning Grand Prix events and Olympic medals. Yet no one would buy her sire's semen. It seems someone on a popular sport horse chat room opined that his semen was no good, because she had used it and didn't get a conception. The hue and cry was raised; it was shared all over the internet and it killed all interest in Brentano II. Eventually, I asked the assistant director of the Landgestuet Celle about it and mentioned the name of the woman who had declared him a dud. "Hmm," he said. "That doesn't make sense. She only bought one dose." One opinion, amplified, had effectively killed a marvelous stallion's reputation. When I finally persuaded someone to try using his semen, she got a conception, the first of many for a stallion with an excellent conception rate. I have had this situation come up several times through the years, with stallions being unfairly maligned. Recently I had a stallion criticized for having semen that didn't work by one breeder, only to have another get a conception with a single straw from the same collection.

Unfortunately, in the case of using new stallions, North American breeders are often the guinea pigs for newly offered semen, because the Europeans don't use it much. They generally don't even test it on a mare of their own (my dream) before they ship it. Most stallions end up being at least average conception-wise, but a few end up being basically non fertile (my nightmare). This is why I tell breeders using unproven stallions that all I can rely on is the reputation and honesty of the supplier and the fertility of the sire line to guess at a untried stallion's fertility. These situations illustrate why it's important to rely on firsthand information.

Stallion owners invest significant time, effort and money to provide semen for sale to the public, so it's really a crime to let unfounded rumors stand as truth. But, boy is it ever hard to convince some people otherwise when they've read it on the internet. This is the reason I built my Conception Database,, which is completely user driven. The only time I have any input is when a stallion I know to have good fertility is unfairly disparaged. Then, I offer my input via the "Brokers Note" at the top of a stallion's page. If there's no information on a stallion, call me, as I often have information that has not been posted. I'll tell you what I know straight up: excellent, average, low or no conception or don't know.

Keep on reading and researching, but deal with trusted sources of information and try to base your breeding decisions on firsthand knowledge.