Monday, May 21, 2007

The Long Road to Foal-Dom!

Ten years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to purchase my first American Quarter Horse. She was an exquisite bay mare, registered as Tees Brazen Lady. I secretly loved her from the moment I first saw her at just a few days old. We've been showing the last eight years in western events at open breed and AQHA shows. As she got older I began thinking it sure would be nice to breed her. I wondered what kind of foal I would get. I had seen a very nice black stallion at the Horse World Expo in Timonium MD years earlier and thought "Wouldn't they make a beautiful foal!" Thankfully Doug and Kris Ruppert agreed and I reserved the Pennsylvania Quarter Horse Association (PQHA) Quality Improvement Program (QIP) breeding from them last April for Virtual Zippo. In basic terms, the QIP promotes better breeding of Quarter Horses within Pennsylvania and encourages the growth of the PQHA futurities. The stallion owner "donates" the breeding to PQHA and the mare owner buys the breeding at one-half the normal stud fee. This was great for me as I was able to afford to breed to the stallion I had been eyeing up for years.

After the first of several vet visits, Tia was ready to be bred last April. I'm not sure about you, but Tia is my best friend and is a huge part of my life. I considered all the possible consequences of my decision to "replicate" my girl. Would she come through the delivery unscathed? Would I be able to afford to have two horses? I'm a boarder and my husband and I have not been able to find a small place of our own where we can have horses. He also has two children from a previous marriage so his two plus my two furry, four-legged "kids" would equal four mouths to feed! But I wanted to breed Tia by the time she was 9 or 10 so I felt I couldn't wait much longer. I had been saving for this little project so I was ready to finance all the up-front costs and my truck would be paid off by the time the foal was born so her board would be covered. Everything went fairly smoothly during Tia's pregnancy. We went to a few shows and did well. She colicked twice during her third month and we cut our show schedule short. She had not had a bout of colic since I owned her so I was certain it was due to the pregnancy. After the longest 11 months of my life, Tia finally gave birth to a bouncing baby girl on April 17, 2007. Now the fun was really going to begin!