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 How now brown cow? (a tutorial of sorts) 504 views  •   1372 days ago
Valkyrie   MOD    •  51,401 career posts  
So I'm bored. And I have internet for the day (despite being screwed over AGAIN. Long story) so I decided to write down how I run my account. The last time I did this a couple of people contacted me later on and said I'd helped them, so hopefully this time I can help more people :)

Basics

All of my horses are registered in five 5* registries (usually the same ones). This actually makes a HUGE difference. I bought some horses a few months ago and they were going poorly so I checked them. They were in five 4* registries. So I switched them and pretty much the next day they all started jumping four inches higher.

I feed all my horses Carrot Juice. For me this is non-debatable. You get out what you put in.

All are in jumpoffs pretty much from birth. I try not to use items with my horses (see below) so keeping them in JOs keeps their strength up. As far as I've seen it doesn't adversely affect them because all my current 87"+ jumpers have been in JOs since they were born. They will never be unfairly matched with the automatic system so there's no real drama if they lose a few.

I don't like using items on my horses for various reasons. I believe it hides the horse's true potential. When I first came back I did it because I had an abundance of items and thought "why not" but really the horses didn't go all that well considering the monetary value of items added to them. My naturals go perfectly well on their own, both in my hands and in the hands of others, so I'm much happier to leave them as they are and only use items if they really need it. Also - I have a TONNE of horses so would need millions of dollars worth of items to service them all!

Breeding Standards

I raise my standards according to the amount of talent I have and the potential for them to jump high. When I came back (before the manual jumpoffs were reinstated) the max jumps were about 85" and not many horses got there, so my standards were around 82" for both mares and stallions.

When manual jumpoffs were reinstated this standard lifted to 85"+ and now that I have a multitude of 86"+ jumpers it's pretty much 86"/87". I'll only breed from an 86" jumper if their bloodlines are worth it, otherwise they get sold or retired.

I'm well aware of low jumpers being able to produce high jumpers (Shy Boy's dam wasn't even over 80" when I bred her to Nimmerdor, and Zac Gallant was only an 82" jumper but managed to throw two 87" jumpers from a limited crop) but with the amount of horses I have this isn't a viable option unless I REALLY like a horse's breeding. For a smaller stable it'd work wonderfully, but when you have 20+ mares and over a dozen stallions that need to be bred and more new breeding stock hitting 87" every week it kinda goes out the window!

So don't be afraid to lower your jump height standards for a horse with great lines, but also don't lower them for any donkey that comes along. There are some well bred low jumpers and poorly bred high jumpers who just got lucky with their jump height. It's up to you to do the research and give your foal every chance to jump well.

Breeding method

It's hard for me to explain, but I basically go based on intuition. There are certain lines I instinctively know will work well with others, and some lines I steer completely clear of. It's your responsibility as a stable owner to do your homework and experiment with various pedigrees and pedigree combinations to find what works.

What I do when breeding to an unfamiliar stallion or buying a foal reservation is check their jump height first, lines second, half-siblings third, and their own foals last (because many don't have a lot of jumping age foals when I find them). I prefer their jump be 85"+. If it isn't then I don't even bother checking their pedigree.

Next I open the sire and the dam in separate tabs and check THEIR jump and foals. If a parent is by a stallion I like I usually don't go any further. If they're out of a mare I like I check out their sire, and if he passes my standards then I'm happy.

Keep an eye out for brag posts and people talking about high jumpers etc. in the forums. You can usually grab a half-sibling from the same dam, or maybe breed to the same sire. A few months ago Chesy had a mare called Intoxicate Me who I saw in the forums. So I snapped up a foal reservation and ended up with Letter to a Spider.

Go with your gut. If you think an Elmo/Ellessy/SFI lined mare will match well with Twentynine Palms or SFI Dunklegeister then go for it. If you think a Chesy-bred mare matches one of your homebreds, more power to you. Play around with bloodlines and you'll soon find matches that work for you and learn when to add new blood, when not to, when to target Foundies, and when to stop breeding a certain line.

Stable size

In my opinion and experience - more horses equals more money.

This can come as income from selling, stud fees, foal reservations and jumpoff winnings. The more horses you have the more chances you have of getting high jumpers and good breeding stock. If every horse you have earns around 50k+ from jumpoffs in their lifetime, and you're breeding almost solely inhouse because you have a multitude of high jumping horses, that's a fair bit of money coming in without even needing to sell horses or attract people to breed to your studs.

Limiting your horse numbers can have benefits (quality over quantity, less time needed when registering/breeding etc.) but it can also have its cons and make the game a bit boring. Do what you are comfortable with, but in my experience a large stable is more fun and profitable.

Challenging

Send all you can. You aren't guaranteed to get challenges sent to a horse of yours, but you can send that horse to other horses and it stands a chance of improving.

These days people don't seem to mind not being offered prizes, but I still like offering them every now and then as an incentive/thank you. Money prizes don't seem to attract a lot of jumps anymore, so I tend to offer free breedings instead now. Just go with what you want. People are nice enough to send whenever/whatever they can.

I put jump heights and "natural" or "items" next to horse links in my JO page to help people know what to send. Some people have a lot of itemed horses, others have a lot of naturals.

The jumpoff limitations seem to be severely handicapping what you can and can't get in the way of challenges these days, so be patient and be grateful for any you do get.

Bloodlines

Find bloodlines you like and stick to them like a bad smell. I like using my favourite bloodlines in oblique ways, as well as targeting them. Sometimes I'll deliberately make a double cross of two favourites pedigrees. Then I'll cross those foals out to new bloodlines or other favourites, then cross back in to each other again to combine all that quality into one or two really awesome foals.

Locate new bloodlines as best you can - especially if they're firing at that moment. I buy/breed to studs and mares from good lines whenever I can. Even the smallest, most obscure pedigree can have success and launch bigger and better things for you. I am a big fan of PT Secretarait on the dam's side (especially if he's the damsire), I also found Down Down and the Fourteen line around the same time and discovered all three worked well over my established lines, so I used them shamelessly for a few weeks. Now the descendants are of breeding age.

Always get at least one or two crops from a homebred stallion you like. Even if you end up retiring him you still have his influence. If the influence sucks you can always get rid of the foals later on, but there's every chance the influence will be good and help improve your horses. Zac Gallant was only an 82" jumper but still threw two 87" horses from a few breedings. Vikander only had three jumped foals and one was the 87.5" Jack McIntire. Both Zac Gallant and Vikander only had a few breedings each but they still produced well and that influence will stay in my barn through their foals.

Buying

NEVER be afraid to buy in new blood. If someone is selling a foal from decent lines, or out of an immortal parent, snap it up. It can pay serious dividends.

Haylist was one of my more recent purchases. I got him for 500PBs. He now jumps over 87".

Also, don't be scared of spending a lot of money if you think the pedigree justifies the expense. Lankan Rupee was a 2,000,000 PBs purchase as a foal reservation. First foal from the mare, by one of my stallions who wasn't popular at the time because his pedigree didn't have any "big" names (but both parents were well ranked as naturals and so was he). I kept him natural and he did exactly as I thought he would.

The trick with spending a lot of money is you have to be ABSOLUTELY committed to adding those particular bloodlines to your stock, regardless of the eventual performance record of the horse. I never spend an excessive amount on a horse I'm not prepared to breed to later on. Big money should be spent only when it can improve your other horses as well.

I also love buying foals out of Foundies, or foals by my stallions or out of an old mare of mine. I purchased Shy Boy's dam Coy when she was a foal because she was by a stallion of mine called Cullinan. This method of buying is pretty much the same as getting a foal reservation. It adds new blood to your barn.

Also - every now and then take a chance. Buy a cheap foal and see how they go. Breed to a cheap stud who threw an 87" jumper from his first crop. Buy a reasonably well bred mare that didn't jump very high and breed from her. New blood can do WONDERS for lines that might have stagnated. I have lines that I love to bits but I am never shy to try "improve" them with outside blood.

Selling

Basically when I sell a horse I put myself in another person's shoes and ask myself "would I buy this horse?" If the answer is no - I'll retire instead.

If the answer is "yes" then make a post.

Share the horse's link, it's jump height/rank (if it's an older horse), its stats, maybe its DNA. Write down the parents, too. I usually put SIRE ex DAM (DAMSIRE) because people remember stallions. If the horse's pedigree is exceptionally good I will write a little bit about how good the sire and dam are, what foals they've thrown etc.

Then set a realistic starting bid. Mine is usually 100k. I don't sell a horse unless it's worth at least that (in my opinion). I don't mind what it gets up to after I set the starting bid, but if a horse isn't worth 100k to me I'll usually retire it instead. There's no point releasing poor quality horses for a measly amount of money. That just makes your lines look bad.

Set an ending date/time and stick to it as best you can. Bump the post once or twice a day. Monitor questions and comments posted on it.

If you want to set a BN you may as well just stick the horse up for that amount so someone can snap it up. If you're accepting items/credits/RL $$$ be sure to do your research first and find out the current conversion rate.

Culling

Never be afraid of culling. Ever. If a horse doesn't wow you then get rid of it. Sentimentality won't earn you money or improve your bloodlines. The amount of 86"+ jumpers I have retired in my time playing could fill several accounts, just because they never stood up and said "LOOK AT ME" when they were competing or breeding. If a horse can sneak by under your nose and jump well and you don't even realise, then it probably isn't consistent or impressive enough to breed from and is better off sold or retired. And if a horse's first foals aren't making you at least sit back and think "okay, yeah, that's promising" then get rid of them.

Keeping your finger on the pulse

People love to brag, love to show off, love to be proud of things and are happy to share their accomplishments. They'll post their latest 87" jumper in the forums, they'll make a sappy post about a mare they love, or a sire they've had luck with. Read these and pay attention to the horse, the breeder, the owner and the pedigree.

I get people messaging me sharing foals they have from my lines that ended up jumping well. I love getting these messages because I'm happy for them and their success, I'm happy I bred and sold a good horse, and now I know there's another good jumper for me to watch out for and maybe breed to later on.

Ages ago someone posted about how happy they were with a particular horse, and later on I found out a stallion from the same line was for sale. I didn't have many inhouse studs at that stage so I snapped him up for a meagre 250k (he was an 85" jumper and ranked well). I bred to him a few times and he ended up giving me No Such Thing, Wangaratta, and Altar Boy.

Marketing and your reputation

Basically you want to seem elite, and this status won't come to you immediately. I've been playing for nearly 11 years and breeding Thoroughbreds first on Morgan and then after the server merge for maybe five of those 11 years. Of those five years I've been producing good horses for about three years. Horses I am happy with, at any rate.

In order to build a reputation as a good breeder, first you need to consistently produce good horses. This means at least one 87" jumper from every crop or every second crop. It means owning mares who consistently throw good foals, or stallions who are sought after as studs. It means selling foals that go on to perform well, and buying horses from other people who then do well with you.

You need to be prominent, visible, helpful and friendly. If someone has questions about gameplay or breeding be sure to try answer them. Congratulate people on their breeding achievements, make a brag post when you get a good jumper, buy horses from other people, plug other stallions who have thrown you a good foal or two etc.

Be a figurehead and run your business like an empire. You'll soon make a name for yourself. But also be humble and respectful.

Be strict about what blood gets out of your barn. From 100% of my breeding stock I will release maybe 60% of the lines. If it's hard to get a hold of a certain bloodline, and that bloodline is going well, then suddenly it becomes very sought after. You can earn a lot from standing stallions with that blood, or selling foals/foal reserves or mares with it. There are stallions and mares I NEVER let loose in the public sphere solely to limit the amount of horses with that blood on the server. I know the foals have every chance of doing well in my barn and I'd rather they had that chance than dilute a stallion or mare's breeding statistics by letting them loose on the server and risking foals not getting the same chance with someone else (for whatever reason).

Find a happy medium. If you've got good horses you can charge through the nose for them, but don't do so. People are hesitant to spend a lot of money if they don't really have it, especially on something that might not do well. You need to make your horses accessible to make money, but you also need to make them good enough to demand good prices so that you make GOOD money.

Quality should always trump quantity, but at the same time quantity will beget quality. Have a lot of horses if you think that will improve your odds of getting a good jumper, but don't just buy/breed willy-nilly. NEVER breed or buy something you have no intention of breeding from. Pedigree should always be more important than jump height when it comes to breeding.

My entire breeding philosophy is based on consistency. Consistent jumpers, consistent showers (when we had shows), consistent quality foals. Consistency equals strength, and strength means a better chance of good horses. I would rather breed/buy from an 85" mare who has thrown two 87" jumpers and four more 85"+ jumpers from ten foals, than one 87" mare who has only thrown a handful of 84" jumpers.

Not everything is about money

If you have a really nice mare you can ask other breeders if they want to do a foal trade. I like doing this with a few of my friends every now and then. I'm also happy to offer them cheap foals because I know they'll give the foal a good chance. I'd rather sell a 500k foal for 200k to someone I know will do well with it, than sell a 500k foal for 800k to someone with more money than sense. I do a lot of these sorts of trades over PM to avoid hurting feelings.

You don't need to wring every last dollar out of a horse you're selling. If you're selling them then there's an obvious reason - either they're not good enough for you, or you don't have time for them, or you need money. Either way, what does a 50k discrepancy matter? I never assign a numerical value to things. I have a ballpark figure in my head, but I'd rather offer a stallion at 80k and have him bred to than offer him for 200k and not get any breedings. You'll earn more from an 80k stud fee ultimately than you would from a 200k stud fee, because more people will breed.

I only set high stud fees on horses I KNOW are worth it (eg. Twentynine Palms, whose new fee will be 800k when I bring him back) or horses I want to limit breedings to (eg. Rifleman Brown, whose fee is also 800k) or horses I don't mind if they don't get bred to because I'm breeding to them anyway and just thought I'd give the public a chance if they wanted (usually my 150-180k fees).

When you have a tonne of horses you earn a fair bit from jumpoffs. Back when the JOs were working properly I was getting over 300k a day in winnings, and 2 million a week. That's from a stable of around 150 horses. Money doesn't matter much at that stage because two days of jumping is enough to buy that 600k foal you want, or to save up for a big breeding spree to outside studs. When you stop worrying about money it stops becoming an issue.
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I've redirected my focus on my dam line and have found that my bloodlines have become increasingly stronger as the crops go by. I actually picked up that tip from you.

I still pay attention to my stallions and who I breed too but I really truly direct 90% of my focus and attention dam line and it has made a HUGE difference. I generally get 5 foals per mare and then sell unless she's a FANTASTIC producer (3 or more 84/85 jumpers).

I don't like to keep mares forever because I like to keep bloodlines fresh but horses like Em, Pink Lemonade, Gia, Queen of the Nile...those are mares that will stay until retired.

I've moved my breeding standards now and keep studs that are 84 or better (Ive moved them to a separate account now) and keep anything thats 84 or lower cheaper so those that want the influence of my lines but can't afford the super nice horses, can afford it.

When it comes to foals, some I bred with the intent just to sell and others I breed to keep. I tend to cull every time I have a group thats 15 and anything that doesn't meet my standards? Boom, you're gone.

Stud fees, recently I've gone up a lot on my fees because I've gotten to a point, reputation wise, where my lines are worth it. I occasionally will sell horses or foal slots or even fees where they're less than my norm because sometimes it's nice to see newer players get that influence into their barns too. But on the flip side, some lines I'm very stingy with and if you want them, you have to pay for them. Like with Queen foals? It's not worth it to me to sell one for less than 500k. Period. She's proven that she doesnt typically produce anything lower than 85 so I KNOW I'm selling a quality foal with her.

When you breed your homebred studs, how many mares do you generally breed to him? I did five on one stallion, retired 3 of them because of stats.

Speaking of stats, I've also gotten slightly less picky about them. I don't automatically retire horses that are 37/38 anymore. If they end up proving themselves down the line, I will stirrup them. I used to retire anything that wasnt 39 or better automatically.

I also stick strictly to the carrot juice and 5 star registries. I had a horse I thought I registered, realized I hadnt and after putting him in five, he hit 82 to the next day at 5yrs old, he's now jumping 85.25

Noooow that I rambled and jacked val's post xD I hope this helps someone too =x
 
Stone Creek Ranch II     •  20,681 career posts 1372 days ago
 
I am learning so much from you guys! Thank you so much for posting how you guys do things! It really helps out a TON! I'm definitely going to use your tips and suggestions for sure!
 
Apollos Luck     •  2,826 career posts 1372 days ago
 
Ooh yes! Female lines are so much better to focus on. I remember reading a dog book as a kid and it said "keep the females because they're your rudder, the males are just the wheel".

When I breed homebred studs I usually throw about 3-6 mares at him first time and possibly breed again another time. Vikander (sire of an 87.5" jumper) had a few retired due to bad stats so I retired him because he was obviously not going to be a reliable stats producer.

Stats-wise I don't care if they are 37 or higher. 37+ can produce 40 stat foals easily enough and they perform the same as any other horse. 36 or lower I retire. I kept one poorly statted twin once and itemed her and she went on to jump 87.25".
 
Valkyrie    MOD   •  51,402 career posts 1372 days ago
 
So I was bein' a creep...and going through your horse Shane's pedigree (was looking for a stud to breed to and decided to stalk her) and apparently she goes back to Queen of the Nile from ages ago and I got oddly excited of that o.O
 
Stone Creek Ranch II     •  20,686 career posts 1372 days ago
 
Hahaha funny how that happens, huh?
 
Valkyrie    MOD   •  51,403 career posts 1372 days ago
 
Oh my lamb O.o thats a lot of information. Thanks for your tutorial! I agree with you. The more the merrier! I have made so much off of JO's just from the having an abundance. Register, feed, Jump until they are older and then its pick and choose. Granted mine arent all hitting 86" like yours. Only a handful of mine.
 
TearLily     •  6,884 career posts 1372 days ago
 
You'll get there. Target quality and weed out the non-hackers.
 
Valkyrie    MOD   •  51,407 career posts 1372 days ago
 
Wow this is such a detailed and insightful way of looking at everything. Thank-you for taking the time to explain this haha. All these years on and I still learn new things, techniques, ideas etc all the time.
This will be particularly helpful as I start to return to the game now that my semester has finished at uni ahaha. I have neglected my horses a lot and so this will give me a lot to think about and look into now that I am getting back into it.

I am excited to start applying some of these ideas and seeing how they go! haha
Thank you again
 
donjo 2     •  10,952 career posts 1372 days ago
 
No worries :)

If anyone has any questions feel free to ask, too.
 
Valkyrie    MOD   •  51,416 career posts 1372 days ago
 
Bumping this up :)
 
Padfoot     •  71,879 career posts 1346 days ago
 
Its funny how a horse will stand out.
My first ever mare I bought to breed from cost me 5000pbs, she jumped 80.75". All three foals went on to jump 84.5"
I hope to keep that line going. They are just breeding age now.
Creme Please

I do like to buy in outside lines, my Mayfair line came about from having a pair of twins that both did well.

What no one has mentioned is whether the name of the horse and or its photo influences anyone's decision to breed or buy.
I admit to buying a 5000pbs foal, because I liked the photo:) It went on to jump 87" Those foals are just starting to nudge 85" So that choice paid off :)
 
Pastel Retirement     •  3,619 career posts 1346 days ago
 
This is a little ofd what is today's ponybox
But it might help
Bumping post
 
Blind Infernal      •  30,883 career posts 47 days ago
 
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