Hi all… I guess we’ve been a bit behind on the farm updates this spring… Let me share a bit with you! I was really hoping to have 1-2 foals this year… I haven’t had the fortune of having a foal since we produced Nightfall in 2004. Nightfall is the only foal from my Intermediate Level event mare Hail to the Chief, who successfully carried me to NAYRC. We bred her to Windfall, the champion at Rolex KY CCI****, and the resulting foal was everything we could hope for and more.
Skip forward four years later. (Nightfall pictured left.) I wanted to geld him and have him be my future big guy, but had some very impressive horseman reccomend against that over the years… So I’ve just waited. I’ve waited for him to be naughty or difficult to handle or not as talented as I’ve hoped, and then I’d geld him. But at every turn, he amazes me… He is wonderful to deal with, and is very loving. But moreover, he is the most talented horse I’ve ever sat on. So last year I said, well, let’s see if we can get a mare and do one test breeding. Then if I don’t like the foal or he’s not fertile, we’ll geld him.
I didn’t have a broodmare at the time… But I was riding Roofie, this amazingly talented 6yo gray TB who loved eventing and loved to run & jump. (Roofie is pictured RIGHT). I thought, “Hmmm… She’s an AMAZING ride. Maybe we’ll give her one year off and let her have just one foal.” So Roofie came in heat on the day of our farm horse trial (Horses are sooooo convenient!) and Ryan was collected on the same day he did his first event. No pressure! Then I managed to acquire Kate, a lovely bay TB mare with big movement and a great disposition, so I thought “Okay, I have a broodmare now! If Roofie didn’t take on her first go, she’ll go back to eventing and Kate will take her place!” But oh no… Just like the good little girl that Roofie is, even though she is a maiden mare, she took on first try. And then we bred Kate… So now we’re at two! That’s plenty right?
Wrong!!!! I was lucky enough a few years ago to find a sister to my first advanced horse, Never Stop Dreaming (PHOTO pictured left). Wow–it was so exciting!!! Till she went two straight years without successfully getting pregnant and carrying a foal. GRRRRR! What a dissappointment. To my luck, I started working with Dr. Barbara Schmidt at Bridlewood Farm with her wonderful (and very fertile!!!) stallion Fabuleaux, and with our amazing veterinarian Dr. Chris Newton. What amazing folks! They have transformed our poor, previously reproductively injured mare Sprite into a big, wide, waddling broodmare!!! So Sprite may finally be coming through with her live foal guarantee… Ooops, that’s foal #3!!!!
And then I was speaking to a wonderful friend who finds us nice track horses. She was selling a broodmare for a client, and WOW did this mare steal my heart! She was a gorgeous 5yo gray TB mare, by the Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone. She’s big and beautiful and gray and a gorgeous mover! That’s Cameo…. And somehow, oops, I came home with her!! This is Cameo. I figured that we certainly wouldn’t be able to get all these gals in foal… So that’d just give Kate and Cameo for broodmares….. OR NOT!
And then, by now, you all know about Moonlight Memories, aka Coral. She is Nemo’s mom!@@@@ WOW! So exciting. But I bought her at the Keeneland Sale, so rather than getting my hopes up that she’d still be in foal, I figured certainly she wouldn’t be. But sure enough, she was still in foal… And to MONARCHOS!!! So there’s foal number five???
WOW, so here I sit… Today is March 26, and as of today Coral is at day 300 in her breeding, and Roofie is at day 299. That means that a foal can successfully arrive anytime after day 300. GULP! I’m a professional rider, but I am an amateur breeder… This will be an amazing summer! I’m very lucky to have the best experts in the world right at our back door, and possibly the best vet in the country a mile down the road. But what a huge undertaking we have in front of us!
So we plan on keeping you updated on the baby news on this blog over the summer. Roofie and Coral are due at the end of April, Kate in June, Sprite in July, and Cameo is due in August, as she was a late arrival. I am trying to not get my hopes up, as not every breeding has a happy ending… But I can tell you that I am incredibly excited! I have been trying to keep my hopes calm, but when I see those five waddling ladies in the field with bellies dropped and rotund outlines, I can’t help but get excited!!! It will truly be a busy summer! I am nervous, excited, anxious, and eagerly awaiting the next few months. Stay posted… We have a busy time in front of us!