How to Produce an Event Horse with Andrea Baxter

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Is there anything more rewarding than competing on a horse that you bred and trained from the ground up? Sponsored Rider Andrea Baxter of Estrella Equestrian has had some of her biggest accomplishments on home-bred horses, including completing her first five-star event on a mare that she and her mother bred.

Andrea now competes at the five-star level on the mare named Indy 500, while simultaneously competing Indy’s son, Laguna Seca, at the four-star level – which is a true testament to Andrea’s breeding and training program. Watch the video below to find out a little about Andrea’s philosophy when it comes to breeding and producing event horses!


How did you get into breeding event horses?

“I got into breeding and eventing from my mom when I was very young. My mom did a lot of breeding when I was a kid. We always had mares and babies around, so I got into looking through the magazines with my mom and picking out stallions.

My first good horse I rode was a horse that my mom bred. She rode it through Advanced and I took him on to Young Riders. We went on to breed another good mare that I rode again at Young Riders and took her all the way through the five-star at Kentucky – and it’s gone on from there.”

What goes into your decision when deciding whether to breed a mare?

“All the mares we started off breeding were off-track thoroughbreds. When I got Indy 500, she was a four-year-old. She was not off the track but she was a thoroughbred and had a bit of a ‘wingnut’ history. I got her and decided to breed her to help try to calm her down.

When I did that, she was easy to get in foal and had ‘Junior’ or Laguna Seca, my current four-star horse. She was a horrible mother but he turned out to be quite a superstar. It’s pretty cool seeing the two of them grow up together being both Advanced horses at the same time.”

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Andrea pictured with Indy (left) and Indy's son Junior (right), who both competed in the CCI4* divisions at The Event at Rebecca Farm in 2021.

What kind of timeline do you try to aim for when producing a young event horse?

“Laguna Seca was a very big baby, so I started him a little bit earlier than some. He was about two years and I put about 60 days of training on him, then turned him out to mature and develop. When he was four, I started training him a bit more to jump and do proper flatwork. He came out strong as a five-year-old and did very well in the Young Event Horse program.”

What is the importance of the USEA Future Event Horse and Young Event Horse programs?

“I think it’s really important to start the babies with a lot of handling and groundwork. Unfortunately, when Junior was a baby, they didn’t have the Future Event Horse classes so he missed those, but he did start off in the Young Event Horse classes. With all of my other babies, I have done a lot of the Future Event Horse classes and I think that’s really educational for them to learn the manner and in-hand groundwork.

Sometimes the Future and Young Event Horse classes can be a little subjective and we’re not sure what they’re looking for, but I personally have always found huge value in the classes as a training tool for my horses. I like to take it on as something that I feel like the horses take away as an education more than I worry about how they place in the class.”

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Even Indy 500 had to start somewhere! Andrea says that it's important to start with lots of handling and groundwork to develop horses into top-level competitors.
Any final considerations or tips for someone looking to breed and produce young horses?

“Picking a stallion for your mare seems like a big task. I think it’s important that you are starting with a really nice mare to begin with, then pick a stallion that complements the mare that you have and is not too opposite. Obviously, we want to make things better, but if you go too extreme on opposites, I do worry that the baby will have too much variety in its look. I usually try to breed complements to complements.”

Thanks for reading and happy riding! For all your eventing needs and more, visit RidingWarehouse.com.
 

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