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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Pearls of wisdom from breeding industry veteran


ABOVE: The Thinking Horse Breeder by Jeanette Gower offers wide-ranging advice.

THE Thinking Horse Breeder by Jeanette Gower is definitely not just another breeding book.

While breeding techniques are thoroughly discussed, there are other sections that aren’t about mating and foaling, making this a really worthwhile read for anyone involved with horses.

Jeanette’s advice on “When the Market Goes Pear-shaped” should be heeded by all, as well as printed in large letters on every stud office wall and referred to every year.

She shares some of the signs to look for, including people dropping prices on good stock or taking longer to sell, organisers finding it hard to get support to run events and numbers of free-to-good-home and must-sell horses increasing.

Reading the signs, Jeanette says, is a part of being a “thinking breeder” and she tells it fearlessly, drawing on her experience breeding Australian Stock Horses at Strathalbyn in South Australia for more than half a century.

Jeanette founded her stud, Chalani Australian Stock Horses, in 1967, pursuing her passion for the art and science of breeding that she has made her life’s work.

ABOVE: The back cover of The Thinking Horse Breeder by Jeanette Gower.

She lectured on equine studies through TAFE for 19 years and her previous publication “Horse Colour Explained” (1999) was the first book on equine colour genetics published in Australia.

In “The Thinking Horse Breeder”, Jeanette has turned her attention to the practical aspects of the entire breeding process.

The well-illustrated chapter on new-born foal problems will be a huge help to any one faced with a really worrying problem.

Breaking and handling, stud routines, first aid and weight management are all covered, and keeping records and further education are also talked about in a no-nonsense way.

The last five chapters are possibly the most interesting for the general horse owner, as well as breeders.

On marketing and promotion, Jeanette opens with: “Can people find you? Do they know you exist? Have you Googled your name? Are you visible?”

This chapter drives home the point that buying and selling a horse is not easy.

As someone dealing with images of horses every day, my favourite section is on photography.

As Jeanette says, “everything depends on photos for advertisements, promotions, memories and records, and you MUST have good photos”.

The whole chapter is about showing a horse off to its best and includes the warning that a bad photo will haunt it for the rest of its life.

Jeanette also warns against buying a horse or choosing a stallion from just a photo because so many of the images have been digitally altered in programs like Photoshop.

Her message is “be careful”. It’s good advice.

There’s so much intelligent information in this book that I recommend buying it whether you are a horse breeder or not.

ABOVE: Jeanette Gower gives readers a sneak peak at the book.

The Thinking Horse Breeder By Jeanette Gower

RRP: $42 (paperback)

Available from Amazon in e-copy and paperback now or hard copy from June 30, 2023

For signed pre-order copies or more information contact the author.

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