Friday, August 29, 2008


In the spring of 2003, I took Josey to California for her last breeding to Richwood. Josey was getting up there in age and I don't look at mares as foal factories, but the first foal from Richwood was extremely nice and another would most definitely be the same. Josey would foal out our first foal on the new farm the following spring. So far we had surmised it was probably going to be a chestnut, as Josey was pretty dominant for the color red. Her bay base coat was just her colors she wore for the world to see, inside she was a chestnut making machine. She did produce color on her babies, she did not need any assistance in that department. Her first foal had been a very loud snowcap by an ApHC stallion, Jewel was a soft chestnut, almost fawn colored with a nicely frosted butt. So, we were pretty sure this impending foal would be just as red and highly colored.

With the new barn up and the stalls in place, Josey had a lovely suite in which to have her last foal. We had always foaled our babies out on the green grassy pastures when we lived in California, so having a huge foaling stall was a luxury. But Josey would have none of it. She waited it out, having her breakfast first and then at 9:30 am on May 25, 2004 she circled the center of her paddock, laid down and had the most lovely little spotted, blanketed to the withers chestnut filly you ever saw! She was 40 inches at birth and symmetrically marked everywhere!!

Princess at one week of age

She was every bit as cute as her full sister Jewel, just bigger and more flashy! There was never going to be any doubt about her Appaloosa heritage. This little girl was all the elements F1F was looking to put on the ground. She truly made her mark here at the farm, being the first foal on the new land and a very striking one too!

After Princess was born, lots of work and effort went into promoting the farm, Casper and readying the other horses for showing. Breeding stopped, as we knew it would until Casper came of age. Horses grow up so fast and Princess was no exception. She surpassed her sister in height by the time she was 3 years old. They made a lovely pair in the pasture, grazing together or racing around. We were amazed at how very different they both were. Same dam, same sire and the two were as different as night and day. Jewel was bold and personable, Princess was more edgy and shy. But watching them frolic together is an image I will always carry with me.

Full sisters, Princess and Jewel

Princess is undersaddle now and on a big learning curve. She is 4 years old and coming along very nice. I hope to have her out to a few Open shows next spring. She is not the jumper that Jewel is, Princess is very much a Dressage horse. I love this learning about each horse. They are all as different as people are. Each has their own skill set, habits and personality. No two horses can ever be alike, no matter how much you try to make everything the same for every horse, they all have their own interpretation of us humans and what we are about.

We are very happy to have had the opportunity to enjoy the sisters here on the farm. The day may come in the future when we get that chance again with another pair of lovely little fillies. For now, it is training, training and more training for this lovely filly who has grown up to be very tall and still very lanky, but will fill out with time.

next blog.............We're off to the Show

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Horse that didn't Fit

On October 3, 2001, I was having lunch at the Hacienda restaurant in Loomis, CA with an influential TB breeder. We were laughing and discussing her mare, Sierra, who was due to foal at any time. Why would she have a mare due in October?? Well that was why we were laughing. You see, it was a test breeding. The mare had not cycled for several months the year before and this breeder wanted to give her up and coming Hanoverian stallion some breeding training. So Sierra was used as a test mare. Well, Speedy (the stallion) did very well on his test took!

Most of our conversation was based around trying to get her to remember the dates she bred them. She couldn't remember the exact days, only that it was late October or early November. We had a few margaritas and headed back to her farm. On the way I told her that there would most definitely be a foal waiting for us. She laughed me off and we joked around some more. We pulled into the driveway and she went to the house to check the phone and I meandered back to the lower pasture.

I was right! Standing there next to Sierra was a tall, red filly. She walked right up to me and put her tiny little head into the crook of my arm. I was in love! She was dry and had already nursed. She was gorgeous!

Once again, I became enthralled with another foal. I am a sucker for foals. I visited her everyday I could. She was one easy baby, no sass, no fuss, just friendly and healthy.

As life would have it, things happen and things change. November of 2001 was a bad time for me. I lost my father to an auto accident. It changed my life tremendously. I no longer cared for staying in California anymore. The decision to move to our property was made and changes for our future were set in motion. I arrived in Spokane right around Christmas and winter was mild. Fresh cold air, planning and organizing and family helped me get over a very tragic time. The new year came and with it new plans and ideas for the property.

Hubby called me one day in late January to tell me he bought me something and I was supposed to guess what it was. Well, I can tell you I didn't guess right. He bought that filly for me. Yep, that tall red filly was now mine. What was I ever gonna' do with a Hanoverian/QH cross in an Appaloosa breeding program??? Gotta' love husbands, they always mean well!

Classy, as she is known and acts, grew up to become a very beautiful, QH type dishy headed, big boned, big bodied riding horse! And yes, she has talent. I raised her like I would any of our foals. She went undersaddle at 3 and I showed her. She is what some trainers would call a 4th Level horse. Dressage was to be her destiny and I sold her at 6 years old to the nicest lady and they both compete in Dressage to this day. Very happy ending for a horse who didn't fit!

Classy and I had many adventures of our own on the trail and in the arena. She was a wonderful ride, truly she was. But my heart belongs to the Appaloosa and Classy could never truly belong. I see her now and then. Her owner loves her and she is a sweetheart in the barn where she resides.

next blog.............Sisters

Sales are hard on a Breeder

When your goal is to "sell" horses that you bred, you really must be tough. You have to have some thick skin. Emotional outbursts are NOT acceptable. Being proud of your product is good. Getting the opportunity to enjoin in a sale is rare. At F1F, we do not produce very many horses. In 10 years we have produced 5 horses from our breeding program. The first F1F product to sell was our little Jewel at 5 years old.

She was all sport horse! Not more than 15.1 hh, this filly had heart and talent! She did not want to be a Dressage horse, she wanted to jump and man could she jump! She just had the power and the speed! I have a video of her somewhere where she clearly jumps over 5 feet. She was amazing. To top it off she was smart and sweet natured. Always the first to run to people in the paddock. Always stuck her head out of the stall first thing in the morning to greet you! She would hug you if she could. Yes, she was a darling and she got a great owner.

It wasn't what you would call the perfect sale. It was an internet contact and that in itself is cause for alarm. I was overly cautious and so was the buyer. We had email conversations for over two months. Was I suspicious? Of course. Was she wary? Absolutely! It was very much like fencing. She gave me information about her and I gave her information about me. We both took time to research each other. We both had references. We both were apprehensive.

But after a time, we came to know each other. I called her on the phone and she would call me too. The sale of Jewel became finalized and a transport was scheduled.

Now, not everyone sells a horse to a buyer across the country, but this sale was across an ocean. Jewel was going to Puerto Rico and in the dead of winter! I was very concerned, as was her new owner.

The day came when the transport arrived. The whole morning I kept busy. That is how I deal with things I don't like. I get busy. I clean. I pick up. I organize. I go back over what I just did. I was sad and elated at the same time. My baby horse was going to get a proper show home, but so very far away. Then I heard the truck, it was at the driveway. It was a huge giant monster ready to swallow up my little Jewel and I would never see her again........oh my, such terrible thoughts! This is what you bred her for stupid!!

I walked to the end of the driveway and met the haulers..........what awesome people they were! They showed me the full stall Jewel would get and the whole rig was immaculate from top to bottom. OK, I guess it was time to go get her. Kay, one of the owners walked with me to get Jewel. We both chatted all the while I haltered Jewel and walked her to the trailer. She loaded up the ramp like the perfect lady she was. Thank yous were exchanged and off they went.........

That is when it hit me. I cried and I cried and I cried some more. All that time, effort and love just hopped into a trailer and left me. Oh it was awful. The emotion we put into these animals is enough to fill an ocean!

Jewel says "goodbye"

As a breeder and seller of horses...BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY........balderdash! I felt as though I had just sent my child off to war. Oh did it ever hurt. No it did not go away. I spent the next several weeks on pins and needles. Did she make it to Florida yet? I know Kay was totally tired of hearing from me. Then Jewel had to load onto a plane and fly to the island. Oh, that was scary for her and I wasn't even there! This is a filly I held tight to me in the middle of a Thunderstorm because the thunder scared her. Soaking wet and shaking all over, she relaxed in the comfort of her human.

Jewel arrived in Puerto Rico like the trooper she was. Popped out of her transport crate with a whinny and onto the trailer for her new home.

This stuff is hard. You breed them, you birth them, you raise them and train them and off they go. Sounds like motherhood, eh?

Jewel has a wonderful life in a nice barn with a sweet 13 year old boy as her rider. He calls her Graffiti.

I don't think I will ever get any better at this. I love my babies very much!

next blog...........The Horse that didn't fit

Finding the Perfect Match

Ain't she cute?!!

Oh hell, they are all cute when they are little! I love all baby horses, really, really love them!

In 2005 I started looking for "the" mare. Not just the right mare, but "the" perfect mare for Casper. The pedigree had to be comparable, the temperament had to be exact, the size and future abilities had to be present and the color had to be right. That is the problem with us Appaloosa breeders......we have a big list of criteria to meet before breeding can actually happen.

I looked and looked and I had noticed this little filly as soon as her photos became available........she was cute cute cute! Far away from me too. But the more I looked, the more I kept coming back to her. She was simply adorable. I wondered how she would grow and what her parents were like. So I did my usual himming and hawwing and feet dragging.

Until I took a trip down to California in the fall of 2006 to pick up my then 4 yo filly. I had taken Casper along to "ride" and Jewel had been getting some training and exposure. On my drive back, I planned to stop in and meet this now long yearling filly. Well, it was a good deal for her owner and myself. I fell in love and her owner got her sold! She loaded up and made the 14 hour trip home w/o a hitch! Another trooper has arrived at F1F! This was very special cargo!

Misty has as deep an Appaloosa Pedigree as Casper. Her Grandsire was a very well known horse, competed by his owner Dee Banks with points in HUS, Trail and WP. Her Granddams were also well bred. Her dam was huge, over 16 hh, which told me Misty could more than likely inherit size. She was a very pretty mover as a yearling (still is!) and took to her long line lessons easily! She is also just sweet, sweet, sweet!

As for color.......yes, color is very important! Being an Appaloosa Breeder means we must strive to breed a visible Appaloosa. Producing more fewspots is not a bad thing, just not altogether desirable. Yes, we need to have good quality fewspots available, but we also need to provide the buying public with recognizable Appaloosa horses and a fewspot......well, that is just a white horse to most people. Misty is a very dark buckskin, some call it a sooty buckskin. She has a smattering of white snowflakes across her loins and the most striking striped hooves you ever saw! She also has huge hooves, almost throwback huge! Trimmed up they are beautiful, allowed to grow and they remind one of the phrase "platter footed"! So she is kept well trimmed.

At 3 years old now, Misty is lovely. She is 15.2hh and still filling out. Her undersaddle training started in July 2008 and she is just as easily trained as Casper. She practically threw the saddle up on her back by herself!!

After a few years of riding her and showing her, she will be ready for breeding to Casper. But for now, she is learning and will be competed. She is part of our plan for producing deeply bred Appaloosa horses. She has all the required qualities, now she has to prove it under saddle!

next blog............Sales are hard on a Breeder

Changing from Horse to Stallion

Most horse people are aware that a stallion is slightly different from a gelding or a mare. I am not talking physical attributes here. I am talking about "mental" and "instinct". All animals want to procreate, it is their purpose and a stallion is no different. Mares come in heat and they too want to procreate and a stallion wants to be the one to do the procreating! Well, throw that stallion into a domestic horse situation and things can go from good to bad very quickly. The urge or "instinct" of a stallion is very strong and people have got to have the upper hand or stallions can wreak havoc in a matter of seconds.

A horse that is ridden, handled and shown is the common goal. To be a stallion that is ridden, handled and shown is much more involved. Manners are everything, public perception is everything. Safety is key. How many of you have ever been to a horse function where Stallions were not allowed? The major problem is their behavior in "public".

Casper was going to need proper breeding training and pass with flying colors, before he could take the first step towards being considered stallion material. How do you do that? He was already easy going, laid back and nice to be around. Breeding training and the possibility of making a foal no one is ready for is a conundrum. Fortunately, I had some good help, guidance and several frustrated mares. First off, we decided "in hand" breeding was really the only way to go. Pasture breeding was out. AI would come down the road. So Training my Horse to be a Stallion when he was asked to be a Stallion was the goal.

With lots of consultation, we chose "whip" training. No, that does not mean we whip the crap out of him, it means the whip tells him what he can and can not do. Rearing up because you are an anxious stallion is a big no no, you will get the whip across those front legs for that type of display. Having the whip in hand, leading from his right side (normally horses are led from their left side) and going in a specific direction (to the breeding chute) tells the Horse that it is time to become a Stallion, still expected to behave, but time to breed. Stopping in a specific spot every time and using the same specific words over and over and over until they "get it", even with a ready and willing mare standing 50 feet in front of him, he could be taken back to the barn if his behavior was inappropriate. Consistency was the key. "you want to breed, you behave on cue". Whip up, means stop everything, whip down, means proceed. Enough of this repeatedly and I ended up with a stallion who looks to me to assure him he can go ahead. My job as his owner and handler is to ensure the safety of him, the mare and the people involved. If the mare says no, we go back to the barn. If the mare says maybe, we might work on her a bit and still end up going back to the barn. If the mare says yes, then all goes well and all parties are happy!

Good in hand breeding is essential to our operation and having a behaved and confident stallion, who knows what is expected of him is a must! Happy mare owners is a result and a bonus!

Now in public, you may or may not see a stallion act up. Some stallions are normally very vocal, meaning they MUST tell everyone they are a stallion and that they are HERE! This can be annoying and can also be OK, but if it goes any further than just announcing themselves then serious problems could incur. Casper is an extremely vocal horse. He talks to us, his people, he talks to the calves, he talks to the geldings, he always talks to the mares and is very nickery when breeding. In public, he is one of those that HAS to announce himself. It is who he is and it never goes any further than that. He is well aware that the ONLY place to breed is back home at his breeding chute in the woods. In fact, during breeding season in 2007, any trailer coming down the driveway past his paddock just had to be carrying in a mare for him, he was sure of it! On occasion, yes, there was a mare coming for him. But most times, it was just cattle moving. You can actually see the disappointment in his face when no one came to get him from his paddock. I know because I peeked around the corner of the barn on purpose to see what he was doing and he is very good a sulking.

So becoming a useful riding horse is paramount, becoming a trained breeding stallion is a plus. Producing promising progeny is the next step to becoming a Stallion!

next blog............Finding the Perfect Match

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The First Ride

Those of us that raise a horse from birth and on into their "useful" years have all experienced it; the critique of physique, the evaluation of attitude, the hours of observation for tell tale signs of willing partnership and judgment of future discipline. It takes years to raise a horse to the age where you can actually see any fruits of your labor. The breeding is easy, waiting 11 months for your product, keeping your mare happy and healthy throughout her pregnancy, birthing out the foal and getting past those first few critical days all seem to be a mere pittance of time compared to the long anticipation of that first ride. The repetitive lessons of leading, loading, learning to tie, move away from pressure, desensitizing, standing quietly, long line lessons, picking up the feet, learning to respect the space of humans, behaving in a group, ponying on trail rides, getting bathed, worming, shots and all sorts of other daily activities your youngster may encounter in the 3 or more years it takes to raise them up before they can even be thought of as a riding horse. It is not something we take lightly here, we are serious about well behaved, happy equine partners and we do it day in and day out, over and over. Some days are good, some days are great and some days you wonder if they actually have a brain!

But nothing can compare to the satisfaction of spending all that time, effort and love on a horse that willingly says to you, "OK.......Lets Ride!"

When Casper turned 3 years old in March of 2006, it was time to plan his under saddle training. Was he ready physically? Was he ready mentally? At the same time that Casper turned 3, so did my gelding Baybe. These were two very different horses at 3 years of age. Casper was a "laid back, take it all in" type of horse, whereas Baybe was "cautious and alert" ALL the time. Casper did not worry about his place in the herd, he was very confident of himself, Baybe was basically shy and low man on the totem pole and had no confidence. Two very different horses, with two very different demeanor's!

Up to this point both horses had gotten the same treatment and same ground training, with pretty much the same reactions. So putting the saddle in the middle of the round pen for Casper was comical and for Baybe - it was frightful!

Casper nosed the tack with utmost curiosity with it placed upon a noisy tarp. He walked all over the tarp to "figure" out just what was this "stuff", rearranging the entire setting to suit his liking. Then he wandered off to gaze longingly over the panels at the mares. So off to work he was sent! He tacked up without a hitch, didn't care too much for cinching, but accepted it and took my weight on and off and on and off and got bored of that too! So I mounted up and had hubby hold a long lead rope to his halter, while I worked him off my leg...forward, sideways, backwards, forward again.....all I could say was "WOW"..I loved this horse! He picked up everything so quick and that was how he acted all spring and into summer, even putting on a bit for the first time was easy. His attitude and mind were just like a sponge!

Baybe, well, let's just say he needed more time, he wasn't quite physically nor mentally ready for this human attachment thing! Physical immaturity in a horse is readily evident in how the horse wears his hooves down, carrying his legs well underneath himself to the point of inner wear and no outer wear at all, which tells me about how balanced the horse is and Baybe was not balanced by himself, so carrying a rider would set him even more off balance. He was given the chance anyway to take on that saddle and blanket.........but mental immaturity won that spring! He never could relax and being nervous and edgy is not a good sign! Mounting was out of the question. Baybe got further ground training with the saddle and blanket, but he was allowed to mature one more season. I actually started him again in the late fall/winter and by the time he turned 4 the next spring, I was able to show him in W/T classes.

Casper was well past W/T mid summer of his 3rd year. But taking it slow was important in preserving his soundness for later in his life, so we just had fun, rode around, played around, learned new things and became buddies. How much more fun could this little horse be? Not having more than 30 rides on him, I showed him under saddle at his first breed show, we did not place in anything, but I was so very pleased with him!

next blog.........Changing from Horse to Stallion

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Foundation Curse

When you take your animal to a show, you expect to hear a few words from the other exhibitors. You know, words like "Great to have you here!" or "Glad you could make it to the show!" or even "I've not met you, so glad you are participating!"

You don't expect to hear nasty remarks muttered purposefully within earshot.

But that is how Casper and I were "welcomed" at our first breed show in Spokane. I had heard there was prejudice in the ApHC, well now I had experienced it. You know what, I didn't care! I took my boy out and we had fun, he was behaved and that was all that mattered late that summer of his yearling year.

The term "Foundation" really has several meanings where horse breeding is concerned. The die hard foundation breeders are a varied lot, some good, some not so good, some honest and some not so honest. That statement can be applied to just about any horse breeders and I have found within the Appaloosa breed you really need to do your homework. Outcrossing is looked down upon by the foundation breeders, so for me, I was stuck in the middle of the two factions of the Appaloosa family, Modern and Foundation. I loved my little foundation horse, he was ever so easy to work with and I had plans to outcross him along with plans to breed him to regular Appaloosa mares. But in our world, you have to fit the square peg into the square hole and we just weren't going to fit that well!

Yearlings are such funny little horses, they grow up so awkwardly! Sometimes the front grows and they look like a moose and sometimes the back grows and they look like an anteater! Casper never grew seesaw like, he grew evenly, always slightly uphill, he always knew where his feet were and his movement never changed.

As a sport horse stallion Casper had huge potential, but some members of the ApHC just didn't "get it". The term Sport Horse always seems to conjure up visions of "big", whereas in my little circle of breeders, Sport Horse meant athletic and bold! Conformation must be of the type to allow the horse to engage power from behind and carry the rider forward but still be light and agile. As Casper filled out and matured, I continued to see in him the mind and movement required to produce Sport Horses.

So what is the Foundation Curse? My interpretation is your horse is judged by that title before he is judged by what he can do. And within the Appaloosa Foundation ranks, there are only a handful of those horses being competed when compared to the multitudes of National/World Appaloosa Show competitors. Maybe it is because the foundation breeders don't feel their horse is competitive in the App show scene, maybe it is money, training, prejudice or apathy........whatever it is, you are hard pressed to fill any FPD classes at an App Show. Mostly I feel it comes from the negativity surrounding the QH. Good QH breeding is also a hot topic, but the foundation breeders feel the QH has had far too much influence on the Appaloosa horse and the Modern breeders continue to outcross to the QH, regardless of the genetic defects found in that breed.

We did not want to take any chances on HYPP, HERDA or breeding Halter body types. We decided to cross on Thoroughbreds and use stallions that had very little QH in their bloodlines. Some folks can accept that, some can not. Some feel to win, you need that QH. If you think the Appaloosa horse is a stock breed, then I can see the need to breed out to the QH. But I don't believe the Appaloosa is a stock horse, I believe the Appaloosa is a "type" unto it's own. History shows us that there were plenty of areas in this country with Appaloosa horses before the breed registry was formed. Horses from all areas were registered in the late 30's and early 40's, regardless of whether they actually fit any conformation criteria or breed standard. This was also how the QH registry was started. And there are more than a handful of loud Appaloosas produced by breeders of registered AQHA horses.

So, whatever your "body type" criteria is, there is probably an Appaloosa horse out there to fit your taste. Here at Formula One Farms the original ApHC Breed Standard is alive and well, regardless of the Foundation Curse from either side of the argument!

next blog...........The First Ride

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Hunt for a Stallion

I first have to explain..........I never, ever wanted to own a stallion or have one on the property. I knew what was involved from my association with the TB/WB crowd. I also had experienced some frightful moments of encounter with a not so nice Appy stallion. I absolutely loved the QH stallion Settle it on Sunday, you never knew he was around and you never would guess he was a stallion. He was just that quiet and well behaved. He was ridden and trained by his owner, Joanie, for everything from Halter to English Pleasure to Cattle work. That horse was amazing, he just wasn't an Appaloosa and I knew I needed to breed Kinky to a color producing Appaloosa, if I was ever going to get a colored sport horse out of her.

So I searched. In the middle of my search, hubby and I moved Formula One Farms from Sacramento, CA to Spokane, WA. We built on raw land and moved an entire farm in one year.........very taxing, but well worth all the effort! I started to meet people in the Spokane area who stood stallions to outside mares. Some were nice, some were not so nice. Some were trained and some had never been handled. I was never impressed with the owners of these stallions. They weren't able to answer all my questions and a couple of them were downright afraid of their own horse!

What was my criteria? I wanted a stallion that was proven under saddle first. This did not mean a National Champion title, just a horse the owner would saddle up and ride in front of me when I came to meet him. That didn't happen. I wanted a stallion built uphill and sporty, most of what I saw was overly muscled, had a level topline or moved like a slug. I was discouraged......nothing in my nearby area was going to work. I started to search the internet and my bookmark menu got really long! I also started to read about modern bred Appaloosas and older foundation lines of Appaloosas. I contacted a few of these breeders. Some of them never got back to me, some were eager to sell me anything, some never ever handled their horses, some were ready to dictate to me what type of mares I should have, some wanted to talk me out of sport horses, some were downright rude to me and then there was one that really made an impression on me! Not just the horses, but the people themselves. These folks got back to me with answers, they actually rode the stallion and the mares, they provided photos and they never once tried to tell me what to do with my program. The had one crappy photo of a fewspot stud colt on their website and it intrigued me! It just had to be a bad shot, that horse from those parents couldn't truly be that bad looking...........

it had a cute head, nice neck, good shoulder, nice hocks, nice pasterns, but what was up with his tail set and butt? I asked for and received many more photos and measurements. I himmed and hawwed around for most of that winter. I knew if I bought a youngster, it was going to take lots of time and effort to raise it, train it and prove it. I shopped more during that winter of 2004 and after not finding anything else, I made up my mind that I was going to go get this little "ugly duckling" and put my efforts into raising up a safe, sane and talented stallion of my own.

I was not to be disappointed!! I left Spokane with an empty trailer, two days later I arrived at NorthStar Farms in Garvin, MN. I arrived very early in the morning, it was dark and there was a whinny from the barn. The sire to my new colt was in a pen near the driveway.....he was every bit as nice as Kyle had described him. I loved on him for quite some time through the panels. Then I peaked into the barn, oh my, what a sweet face I encountered. The photos Kyle had been sending me were awful, this was a very cute, very sweet yearling colt, nicely built and just as friendly as could be!

After most of the morning, I loaded this little man up into my trailer and headed back to Spokane. One overnight in Wyoming with not a peep out of him! I got him home and he just hopped out of the trailer, all curious and friendly. I had him one month and groomed him, walked him, taught him, loved on him and then took a few photos to send off to Kyle in Minnesota.

What a transformation! And over the next few years it was only to get better!

next blog............The Foundation Curse

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Heart of a Thoroughbred

The Thoroughbred...........oh my........where do I begin?

The TB horse is a very amazing breed. IF you are lucky enough to get your hands on one that has not been on the track, you have a totally different creature than one who was raced! Which is not to say that all OTTB (off the track TB) are bad or even less than stellar, they are just going to take more time retraining. But, the jewel of the nile is a TB w/o the "run"!

I got very lucky, I did not think so at first, because she was not the whole package! She was built like a tank, she was huge in both directions being big boned, wide, muscled and tall! Her neck was perfect, her legs were perfect, her hip was ample and she was well sloped in the shoulder and nicely uphill! But she did not have the cutest of heads.....but then, I have only seen a handful of TB's with adorable heads. And her name was Kinky Kumquat! Oh my, should I wear a bag over my head or should she?

In the beginning of my relationship with Kinky, I leased her. I bred her to a horse named Wap Spotted. I dreamed of that foal every night! I purposefully hoped for a colt. The cross was going to be simply perfect! Yep, in my little plan for Appaloosa Sport Horses, this foal was going to be a star performer! Flashy beyond belief! Yep, that was where my head was at.......boy did I get hit by the bus!

On April 14, 2003 Kinky delivered a colt, yes he was stunning, no he did not look like an Appaloosa. He pretty much was a carbon copy of his mother. He had personality to spare and was going to be an athlete, but he did not represent the breed. I was disheartened by his coloring, but glad he was healthy!

It was at this point where I decided the quality of Kinky's foal was so nice and along with pressure from her owner, that I bought her. She was willing, sweet and very much an athlete. Kinky was now my horse and her foal would grow up to be that same excellent quality, sans any Appaloosa characteristic!

You don't get devotion from the TB horse instantly, unlike the Appaloosa. With the Thoroughbred, you earn devotion, a little bit everyday until one day, that horse will do anything for you! Kinky still has her habit of pinning her ears to make you think she is this big scary word to her and she melts into the hug able, sweet pocket pal that she truly is. That first colt, now a gelding, is exactly like his dam, in every way! Oh, he is a registered Appaloosa, but he has the heart of a Thoroughbred!

next blog.........the hunt for a stallion