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

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