Best Babies Final Batch


We’ve loved receiving your submissions to Best Babies Photo Contest! Here is a selection of the final set of entries. At this point our panel of judges which includes professional equine photographers Cheryl Smythe and James Hudyma, will help decide which one of these beautiful photos takes home the grand prize of  a Greenhawk foal package. Runners-up will each receive a copy of Josh Lyon’s excellent guide, Foal Handling, the Lyons Way.

Stay tuned to see if your selection is picked!

Okay, Suzie, take a bow. 2010 AQHA filly sired by Whiz N Custom (“Custom Crome” x “Whiz N Darlin”) and out of Wimpys Little Step mare, Julies Genuine Step. Photo taken by Kevin, Silverado Colt Company, Carberry, Manitoba

Tater Chip Bandit 2010 APHA colt, Sire Poco Docs Bandit, Dam PP No Chip Marks. Photographed going for a swim in a creek at Sussex New Brunswick by Sylvia Balsor. 

Sunset beauty. Peso – dam is Bliss, sire is Tully. Photo by Cheryl Nygaard, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Sorrel stud colt by Sweet Slydun Doc and out of DD Zooms Only Angel. Photo by Rosemarie Ortman, Ryley, Alberta.

Dirty nose. CV Nifty Feature, a sorrel overo APHA filly. Photo taken by Cheryl, at Colour V Ranch located in 150 Mile House, British Columbia. 

A Silver Spoonful

Hes A Peptospoonful. Photo by Don Shugart

I recently read on that David and Stacie McDavid – owners of Hes A Peptospoonful – have offered to dish out $1 million dollars to the owner of any Hes A Peptospoonful offspring who can claim the title of National Cutting Horse Association Open Futurity Champion through to 2013. I believe this was in place for the 2009 Futurity, but obviously unclaimed, as the Dual Rey-sired stallion Rockin W was guided to that spectacular 229 finish by Tony Piggott.

The McDavid family are also offering a sizable bonus to non-pro, limited non-pro and amateur winners sired by Hes A Peptospoonful or Widows Freckles at all three of NCHA’s Triple Crown events, through the 2014 NCHA Summer Spectacular. In fact, they intend to match the official NCHA payout to any Hes A Peptospoonful-sired or Widows Freckles-sired offspring that win the non-pro, limited non-pro and amateur divisions of the NCHA Futurity, NCHA Super Stakes and NCHA Derby from the 2009 NCHA Futurity through the 2014 NCHA Derby.

According to Harrison’s blog post, David McDavid purchased Hes A Peptospoonful at the 2001 NCHA Futurity, where the three-year-old “had captured headlines by becoming the first horse in 30 years to win both go-rounds and the semi-finals. The red roan stallion was in the news again during the 2006 NCHA Futurity, where his first foals made an impressive showing in the finals.”

Hes A Peptospoonful stands at Joe Landers Stallion Station near the cutting capital of North America, Weatherford, Texas. His stud fee is currently $8,500 U.S.

It’s a Boy!

This itsy bitsy sorrel beauty arrived at our log house, as these precious packages tend to do, early in the morning. Last Tuesday to be precise. Exactly two days after we had Teenager’s volleyball teammates out from the city for a Sunday picnic, and for which we had, quite politely I thought, asked mommy mare to kindly have baby present for.

Of course she didn’t listen. Do they ever?

Well, never mind that. Don’t think for a second we’re not grateful for a healthy foal, no matter the arrival time. The first few hours were tense as I wasn’t certain baby was receiving the much needed colostrum. Call me paranoid but she didn’t exactly seem to be, well, greedy enough. Of course, I have a lot of experience in this, having been around for the initial hours of so many foals prior to this baby.

One, to be precise.

It’s true, I may have been stressing about nothing, but that’s the way of mothers. It’s how our world goes round. We stress, we consult, we go for a walk, we’re happy. Until the next time. To alleviate my worrisome mind, I checked back at Jenn’s post at My Stable Life about that very same subject – foals and colostrum – and found it extremely helpful. Particularly in formulating a back-up plan if the situation really did go south.

Which it didn’t.

Baby makes seven at the log house. Our own horses, that is. We also periodically look after two or three others. But for myself, and my daughters – Teenager and Wee – we number one Paint Horse gelding, two Quarter Horse geldings, one Quarter Horse mare, new baby, and two ponies of unknown heritage – though Teenager and I have strong reason to believe one may have escaped from a Russian circus.

That’s all I can say about that.

But I have so much more to tell you about all of these horse/human equations in the following months. Stay tuned!

Foal Contest Batch #3

Carol Harris Talks Cloning

Many-time cloned stallion, Smart Little Lena.

The Tuesday, May 4th edition of The Washington Post featured an article about the cloning of horses. Writer Stephen Hudak interviewed long-time Quarter Horse breeder, Carol Harris, who is now 86, and owner of Bo-Bett Farm in Florida.

By now everyone is familiar with the first cloned animal, a sheep named Dolly, born in 1996, and deceased in 2003, when she was euthanized, at the age of six, with severe arthritis and lung cancer.

According to the article in The Post, there are about 65 equine clones now in existence, with 50 of them produced by the Texas company ViaGen, a cloning center which is expecting another 50 equine births in 2010.

While most major breed associations do not allow the registration of cloning, it’s troubling nonetheless, to many in the horse industry. Particularly, when in some sports, such as barrel racing, whether an animal is registered or not, may be somewhat secondary, as in the case of Charmayne Jame’s clone of her extraordinary barrel gelding, Scamper.

Since Scamper was a virtual unknown, and a further, a gelding, there was no hope of breeding another like him. So James decided to clone the horse in the hopes of continuing his bloodline for the sport of barrel racing. The successful clone, Clayton now stands to the public for a fee of $4,000 U.S.

Clayton, the clone of Scamper, now stands as a breeding stallion.

Harris isn’t a big proponent of cloning and unabashedly states her view in the article, concluding horse people get into cloning because they “smell money” and are “looking for a shortcut to a great horse.”

Cloning will likely continue to be an interesting debate in the horse industry. Harris’ viewpoint is black and white: “Breeding is an art. Cloning is a replication.”

Others, like James, have an each-to-his-own viewpoint, and do not see a disservice to the industry or equine world in the matter of cloning.

So, internet world, where do you stand?

Best Babies Batch #2


We’ve loved receiving your submissions to the foal contest! Keep them coming, this is a long-standing contest running until June 30. Here is a selection of the second set of entries we’ve received for our Best Babies Photo Contest. (You can see the first batch in the March Screen Doors and Saddles Archives). I’ll post another June 1 and the final June 30, after which the judges will make their decision and one lucky winner will go home with the Greenhawk foal package.

Floppy ears by Nu Doc Boy out of Arabian mare. Photo by Gloria Dodd, Cache Creek, BC.

Charlie by Simply Cinnamon out of Majors Sugar Bear. Photo by Leanne Thomas, Widney Paints, Okotoks, AB.

Mojo by Simply Cinnamon out of Willow With Champagne. Photo by Leanne Thomas, Widney Ranch Paints, Okotoks, AB.

Whatcha looking at? Foal by Got Pep, out of Peppahickaroo. Photo by Christine Fleming, Fleming Land and Livestock, Sherwood Park, AB.

Murphy the mini. Photo by Emma Feltz.

Barrel racing beauty by PC Double Frost out of La Suena, Bar 77 Ranch, Brandon, MB. Photo by Jean Marc Perron.

Poco Docs Supreme by Poco Docs Jessie, out of Holmdale Peponita. Photo by Jane Feltz.

Hey baby it’s spring! 2010 filly by Meradas Money Talks out of Smart Rosey Chic (Smart Chic Olena) owned by J. Drummond Farms. Photo taken by Danielle LaForge of Regina, SK.

Powder, meet Chardonnay. Black Powder is out of a Foxtrotter mare and by a Spotted Saddle Horse stud named Soldier. Photo by Lori O’Neal, Dover, Arkansas.

Good listener, Betchahezablessing, a solid Paint. Photo by Denise Pederson, Bentley, AB.

Now it’s your turn, you still have plenty of time to submit your foal photos and enter our Best Babies Photo Contest. You might win our fantastic foaling package, sponsored by Greenhawk (value: $130). Please send your photo, a brief description of foal’s pedigree if applicable, photographer’s name and hometown to

Neat is Sold to Canada

Jac Daniels Neat

Kevin and Cindy Smith of Carberry, Manitoba recently announced their purchase of the AQHA stallion Jac Daniels Neat. The 1990 dun will stand at their Silverado Colt Company facility.

Jac Daniels Neat is sired by Hall Of Fame Sire Hollywood Jac 86 and out of NRHA money earner, Lady Bee Great, who is sired by Hall Of Fame Sire, Great Pine.

Kevin said they have high aspirations for “Neat” and referenced the famous story of Sally Brown, who partnered up with Richard Greenberg on Hollywood Jac 86, naming the syndicate the “Jac Pac.”

“Ironically, we live only hours away to the north where the Hollywood Jac 86 breeding story began in Minnesota,” he noted.

Jac Daniels Neat, at 20-years-old will stand to a select group of mares, including the Smith’s stellar broodmare band that includes two own daughters of Topsail Whiz.

Currently, in 2010 Jac Daniels Neat sits at #69 in the NRHA All-Time Leading Sire’s List with earners of more than $250,000 in NRHA events, and another $45,000 in NRCHA and NCHA events. “That just shows the versatility of his offspring,” said Smith. “We hope to carry on the great tradition of the Hollywood Jac 86 line with Neat, and the dream that prior owner Roxanne Peters from Auburn, Washington, had started.”

~ NRHA Reiner notes

AQHA Data Reveals Breeding Trends


~ Heraclitus, early Greek philosopher

Photo by Cowgirl Creations

If you need to know where the modern western horse industry is headed, there is no more fitting marker, yardstick or demographic cruncher to give allegiance to than the American Quarter Horse Association. If you don’t believe me, take a moment and reflect upon the trends and changes that have come our way in the past 30 years. The influx of youth into the industry through the show circuits in the 70’s and 80s, the advent of baby boomers and their specific needs through the late 80s and into the next decade, followed by the surge of recreational riding in the 90’s, as that generation retired their show gear.

While the baby boomer generation drove most of these movements, the AQHA serviced those needs. Consider the AQHA Youth World Show, the Select Show and the association’s wildly popular Horseback Riding Program. The AQHA has nurtured every demographic trend which has found its way into the horse industry over the past four decades. It’s foreseen most of them.

Which is why, when the AQHA releases data, those of us who are invested in the western horse industry, tend to pay attention. At the 2010 AQHA Convention in Kissimee, Florida, the AQHA shared with its members, for the first time ever, stallion breeding numbers. That made me sit up. As I looked through the report, the data revealed some interesting trends to come.

Trent Taylor, AQHA treasurer and executive director of operations, noted the 30 years of registration data the AQHA reviewed showed a classic Economics 101 supply-demand curve.

Interpreting these trends also becomes somewhat of a history lesson, as Taylor pointed out that the supply-demand inclines and declines can be directly attributed to the repeal of the favorable equine tax law in the 1980s; oil prices that hit highs in 1981 and 2007, and lows in 1988, 1994 and 1998; stock market record highs from the late 199s to 2007; and the closing of horse slaughter plants in 2007.

“There are also other factors that affected the supply and demand of our horses,” Taylor added, “including implementation of the AQHA Incentive Fund and the Racing Challenge, alliances formed with other equine organizations, pari-mutuel wagering, and registration rule changes such as embryo transfers, the use of cooled and frozen semen, the registration of multiple embryo foals and the repeal of the white rule.”

Taylor also believes that the trends point out that members of the industry must uphold quality selective breeding standards.

“There are opportunities to the thoughtful breeder who can look to the future,” Taylor added. “We must accept the changing world we are all living in. And yes, we face many challenges as an industry, but there are also many opportunities for the organization and the individual that is willing to invest in a horse that has brought us to this point and will take us into the future.”

“This is the first time we have reported our stallion breeding numbers in this nature,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway Jr. “Historically, we have reported registrations completed during the year. That includes weanlings to 4-year-olds. To gain a different perspective and look for trends, we looked at the number of registered foals by foaling year in hope of giving our members more information to make decisions.”

“Our purpose in doing this is to provide as much information as possible, in a timely manner, so our members can make knowledgeable breeding decisions based on accurate statistics,” Treadway added. “After reviewing these reports, breeders have the opportunity to analyze future markets for prospective foals with more information than they have previously had available.”

Here are some of the slides from the presentation:

In early 2008, when it was obvious that the United States economy was beginning to tank, business owners began taking a good, hard look at their numbers. AQHA was no different. The AQHA Executive Committee, along with the AQHA Investment Oversight Committee and members of the AQHA staff looked at past American Quarter Horse industry trends, hoping those examples would help them predict when the economy might start climbing back out of the hole it fell into.

In 2009, AQHA’s completed registrations for American Quarter Horses of any age totaled 112,005.

To view the entire Powerpoint presentation, go to

To view the 2009 AQHA Annual Report with more statistical data, visit You can also find the 2008 and 2007 Annual Reports at the link.

Best Babies Batch #1


Because it’s a beautiful spring day. Because we await our own new arrival here at the log house. Because it’s difficult to think of any subject which can loosen the words “grab the camera” from any horseperson’s lips more readily. Because I can’t wait to show you the first set of submissions to our Best Babies Photos Contest. Because I fell in love with photographing foals when we had our first two years ago, pictured above with my daughter. Because I want to encourage you to capture those short-lived days of foalhood.

Here then, without further ado, is a selection of the first set of entries we’ve received for our Best Babies Photo Contest.

It’s a predicament. Guns Poco Sun out of Suns Affair by Ima Sun Ofa Gun. Photo by John Regier, Pitchfork Ranching Quarter Horses, Lethbridge, AB

Invitation to play? Two foals by El Peppys Hurt. Photo by Karla Reimer, Beaverlodge, AB

A field of green grass, dandelions and new babies signal spring. Tito, a Cattin colt on the right, and Splash, a Pepto Taz colt on the left. Photo by Kevin Genz, KG Performance Horses, Duffield, AB

Sharing a kiss. Stud colt, Custom Made Surprize by Hangten Surprize. Photo by Stacey Huska, Drayton Valley, AB

Baby with a barn background. Star is a Standardbred foal. Photo by Lindsay Macneil, Cape Breton, NS

The Drop Zone doesn’t miss a beat, by Peptozone out of Sea Breeze Please. Photo by Lori Turk, Wyoming, ON

And finally, we love the warmth of this mood shot of a Quarter Horse foal taken in northern B.C. Photo by Nicky Hemingson, Grande Prairie, AB

Now it’s your turn, you still have plenty of time to submit your foal photos and enter our Best Babies Photo Contest. You might win our fantastic foaling package, sponsored by Greenhawk (value: $130). Please send your photo, a brief description of foal’s pedigree if applicable, photographer’s name and hometown to

Contest ends June 30.