Thursday, March 7, 2013

Because It's Fun

If you own a mare and she has a uterus (which most of them do), I'm sure you've given some thought to possibly breeding your mare someday. Casting aside all the negatives about doing such a thing (backyard breeder, too many horses already, krazy kolor breeder! blah blah blah...) it's fun to think about. It's just one of the many super cool perks to owning a mare.

While I know you should NEVER breed for color alone, I can't help but talk about color as a factor in my search for the perfect stallion because Lilly is "color". She is a regular registry Paint and has a copy of the cream gene, so it's rather fun to anticipate what her foal would look like when paired with different stallions. Even if I found a gorgeous bay QH, I could potentially have myself a buckskin or palomino Paint. So while I'm not looking to breed for a specific color, I could do so quite easily, and not have to compromise the quality of the stallion.

If I sent some money to UC Davis and asked them to DNA test Lilly to determine exactly what she is as far as color goes, here's what they would send me:
ee - homozygous for red
aa - homozygous for the agouti deletion, meaning black is evenly distributed
n/Cr - heterozygous for the cream gene
n/T - heterozygous for Tobiano

I haven't actually had her tested, but because of what is expressed in her color, and because she's registered, I can look up the colors in her pedigree, so I'm fairly certain. Her sire side is nothing but sorrel Paint horses, so he's easy. Her dam side is a bit more colorful, though, and all Quarter Horses. In her three generation pedigree she has palominos, sorrels, duns, a red roan, a bay, and even a gray. A smorgasbord of color if you will, assuming they were all registered correctly. Her dam was a very sweet, very old, palomino.

So, what would I want in a stallion? Well, first I would think about what I'd want in a foal, and kind of work backwards. Essentially, I'd want a carbon copy of Lilly. She's the perfect height, has a wonderful temperament, is easy on the eyes, and is athletic enough to do everything I'm interested in. I used to say I'd want a stallion with nice hooves because Lilly's were so bad off, but it's clear to me now that hers would have been fine if I had given them a chance. And while Lilly isn't ever going to be a halter champion, she doesn't have any major conformation flaws that I'd need a stallion to try and correct. At least I don't think so... I'm sure someone else might have a different opinion on that one. Maybe by the time I'm ready for a foal, they'll just be able to clone her!

I've known for a long time which stallion I'd breed to if I ever decided to take the risk. I met him many years ago when I lived in Virginia. I had met his owner a few years prior to that through work, being mutual horse folk and all, but after I got out of the Marines we lost touch. Then, when I was selling my house in Virginia, low and behold, who shows up to look at it? She did! She ended up buying a different place, but we kept in touch and when I needed somewhere to board Lilly and AJ, she offered up some space at her place.

Lilly went into a pasture with some other mares, and AJ went into a pasture with another gelding, a yearling colt, and two stallions. Yes, two stallions. I was a little nervous about AJ living with two stallions but as it turned out, the whole group of boys got along famously. AJ was actually the boss... he ran that pasture with an iron hoof. I always found that to be quite amusing.

Lilly's potential future baby daddy is one of the stallions AJ used to beat up on. His name is Hunter Bay Creek, or Hunter for short, and he's a very handsome dun Quarter Horse. He's registered with the AQHA, the IBHA (International Buckskin Horse Association), and the NFQHA (National Foundation Quarter Horse Association). He was born in 1997, is built like the old school QHs, and has a personality that would pair perfectly with Lilly. They're both easy going and laid back. I think a horse like Hunter would give me the best shot at having a foal that has Lilly's temperament and personality. His owner has bred him quite a few times since I moved from Virginia, so I have only been able to see his recent foals through pictures. They're really nice... they're just like him and super smart. The fact that he is a dun is just icing on the cake.

Sadly, the only picture I have of Hunter.
He's cow bred and not show bred, but Lilly isn't show bred either. She's really not anything bred to be honest. I'm not sure why they even decided to breed her sire and dam together, but I'm glad they did. Hunter's pedigree is actually pretty impressive and since he's foundation bred, you can probably guess some of the names if you're into QHs at all. You can check him out on All Breed Pedigree, but his great grand pappy is Doc O'Lena.

Since Hunter would make an awesome stallion, and Lilly would make a fantastic broodmare, it's time to play with color. What possible colors could I get from Lilly and Hunter? After guessing the specifics of Hunter's color, I plugged it all into one of those fancy coat color calculators, and here's what it spit out:
6.25% Dunalino Solid or 6.25% Dunalino Tobiano
6.25% Sorrel Solid or 6.25% Sorrel Tobiano
6.25% Palomino Solid or 6.25% Palomino Tobiano
6.25% Red Dun Solid or 6.25% Red Dun Tobiano
3.13% Smoky Black Solid or 3.13% Smoky Black Tobiano
3.13% Bay Dun Solid or 3.13% Bay Dun Tobiano
3.13% Bay Solid or 3.13% Bay Tobiano
3.13% Black Solid or 3.13% Black Tobiano
3.13% Smoky Grullo Solid or 3.13% Smoky Grullo Tobiano
3.13% Dunskin Solid or 3.13% Dunskin Tobiano
3.13% Grullo Solid or 3.13% Grullo Tobiano
3.13% Buckskin Solid or 3.13% Buckskin Tobiano

Unfortunately, dunalino, smokey black, smokey grullo, and dunskin aren't colors recognized by the APHA. They would also call a bay dun, just dun. So if any of those colors came out, the foal would just be registered palomino, black, grullo or dun.

In a perfect world, Lilly would give me a Tobiano filly with ANY of those colors except sorrel or bay. So, because that's what I want, Lilly would give birth to a solid, sorrel or bay colt that could only registered as a breeding stock Paint (SBP). Not that there's anything wrong with sorrel or bay, of course (AJ is a sorrel!), it's just not what I would want if I could choose any color for the world's most perfect baby horse.

I don't have a name picked out yet, but it would have something to do with money and gin, and possibly the color blue. I'd like to work in the Tanquery Gin name and maybe tie it in with gambling so it relates to cash. Then I could use the barn name Rummy (as in the card game), which would work well for a filly or a colt.

Maybe in a few years I'll consider it. I'm way too busy now, and Lilly and I are finally going to have a full, uninterrupted, super awesome show season. I'm very excited to see how we do this year and next as her training progresses. She'll only be 13 this year, so we still have plenty of time to have fun together before I even start thinking about cute, adorable, fuzzy muzzle foals.


  1. How fun to dream... a Buckskin Tobiano would be so cool.

  2. Its funny that you should post this, because I have often done the same thing with Sassy. I'm pretty sure I would want to breed her to Major Heavy Metal, who I featured in my blog once before. Mostly because I'd want to push for a flaxen sorrel, which he has thrown before when bred to a sorrel mare. (he is palomino) He has so much to offer the breed. He is athletic, sound, easy going, and built as about as perfect a horse as I have ever seen.
    But alas she has lameness issues which could easily be genetic so she is off the breeding market for ever.
    I'm not a big fan of back yard breeders, but that is because so many do it for the wrong reasons. There are always those questions you have to ask yourself. Is my breeding going to contribute to the breed? Realistically will I be able to work with a foal and help it grow up and be productive? Am I breeding because I think I'm going to make money off of this foal? (we all know how well that works, yet people do it all the time)
    Judging from your post, you have already asked and answered those questions, so why not breed her when you are both ready?

  3. My first mare had her first foal at 14 when we retired her from showing and she didn't have any issues. She was an awesome mom! Just like you, all I wanted was another one of her. She was well bred, had a successful show career, and I did a ton of research to find the right stallion. Hard to believe that baby is now in his teens and my sister uses him for dressage. I'm so glad we were able to keep him in the family because watching him over the years has been so great. I wouldn't want it any other way. Would I do it again, though?

    I do have fantasies about having Dee bred. She has had one foal without issue (before we owned her). I love her pedigree, and her conformation is super. There are a couple stallions out there who I really like and who I think would be great matches. Then I remind myself of the expense (omg are they expensive, and that's when everything goes right) and the risks (if something happened to my girl in attempt to get another one of her I'd never forgive myself).

    Doesn't change the fact that it's darn fun to dream and imagine what you might get. Oh yes foals are expensive and risky but my little guy was so rewarding too! Long story short, I still won't rule it out! Dee is only 11.

  4. I have done the same thing. I have thought about breeding Fritzy but have since changed my mind. I don't like her attitude and it would concern me that her baby would come out with a 'tude! She has had 2 babies prior to me owning her. Both black and white tobiano's. She was bred to a b & w tobiano, the same stud both times. I have looked up her babies through APHA. I have also looked up and way back at her pedigree. It is always so interesting to see what is there and who they go back too.
    I love Hunter... He is a hunk!! Wow! I say good choice!
    It's always fun to dream, that's for sure!

  5. Love looking at stallions. Also, I have a friend whose gelding is named Tanqueray, but he goes by Tanq (and it's so fitting because he's huge!), love that name.

  6. It definitely is so much fun to think about the opportunities! I think that as long as you are committed to raising and giving that horse a good life regardless of color etc, then theres no problem 'backyard breeding'. I think its so cool to be able to raise a baby, and know that you have been their owner the entire time. Theres no guess work with their background, it's just so cool!

  7. Just as a side note, you could ALREADY clone her ;)

    A good friend of mine has bred some very nice horses over the years. She never breeds EXCLUSIVELY for color, but like you, color is definitely a factor in the 'perfect stallion'. As a result, she has a drop dead gorgeous palomino gelding with a great personality and terrific feet.

    1. WHAT?? Could she carry her own clone or would I need a surrogate mare? :)

  8. That's the up side of mares, for sure. What fun it would be!

  9. I don't own a horse but you mentioned somethings I find interesting if we ever did get horses and wanted to breed.

  10. Thanks for all your comments and stories! It's definitely not something to take lightly, because you never what's going to happen, but it's fun to think about. I think I would be more stressed out than EVER worrying about Lilly and her baby, though.

    If I bred her, it would be because I want to keep and raise the foal. I would never breed her with the intention of selling the foal, so whatever popped out would be mine forever, just like Lilly. I enjoyed raising Lilly from a weanling, and I think it would be fun to do it again.

    Maybe in a few years...