Leaving The Nest
Last year we finally were able to get a viable embryo from my mare Role Model crossed with Presley Boy. We had tried to breed her and let her carry in the past but she never took, then we were not able to get an embryo to take in a recipient mare while she was showing. Then last year we got 2 embryos from her x Presley Boy, but only one took in the recipient mare and we finally had a foal due from her in 2014. T^2 as we call her is a very special mare and everyone on our team had long been wanting a foal from her so we were all thrilled when we finally had one due, especially a Presley Boy.
In the past our business plan has always been to wait to sell the foal until it has arrived and it is a bit older and we can see “what we have.” We made the decision last year that we would begin to offer our foals in-utero. When we got the news that we were expecting we put it on Facebook and shortly thereafter had an interested buyer contact us. It was such a bittersweet moment as while all of our foals mean so much to us, this foal was very special. Little did I know at the time that I was meeting a person who would become like my 2nd mom/grandmother. Through a mutual friend, an older lady in Woodside, CA found out about our Presley Boy Filly and after a long conversation purchased the foal in-utero.
Fentress Hall is a 70 year old woman who I often joke with that she is really only 30 but she doesn’t know it. She has more energy and vigor than I do and I could not believe it when she told me she is 70, even more so when she told me she planned to ride this filly at least once (she will be 74, when “Bunny” is 4). She is an amazing inspiration and I hope that I take after her, she is still very involved with her horses and rides every day. Fentress has a stallion with similar bloodlines to Presley Boy and that looks exactly like him; as such she immediately fell in love with Presley Boy at the 2010 WEG and decided she needed a foal by him. Thus our foal was perfect for her, as Presley Boy babies do not grow on trees and our mutual friend loved Role Model. She now also has a filly and colt by her stallion out of Role Model due in 2015 and she is ecstatic. While talking about the filly before she was born her name became Bunny (bun in the oven), although her registered name will be O Presley Girl ABF.
Bunny was born in March of this year and from the start she was the most perfect baby. A black filly, she really got the best of both parents. She is probably one of, if not the nicest, foal we have ever had. She has the most beautiful uphill, balanced canter and is so smart. Everyone that knows her has said they are going to steal her. She would let you put on her halter and walk next to you within days of being born; it has been like this in everything we ask of her or try to teach her. After spending so many years with her mom, I see so much of T^2 in her; they have many of the same mannerisms. Whenever you have to tell either of them no about something they get this look in their eye and their ear swivels as if to say how dare you tell me no; never in a mean way just an annoyed way, it is adorable.
Well, yesterday the day finally arrived that Bunny would go to her new home out west. Even though we knew this day was coming it was heartbreaking for everyone here at AliBoo. Anyone that knows my mom and I knows that we love our horses, yes we love the sport, but that is not by any stretch the reason we do what we do. It was so funny at a show when my groom told me he was going crazy like me because he had started to talk to the horses. I have full conversations with my horses, sometimes they listen other times they ignore me depending on the day and conversation. I will start a whole controversy here by admitting I would run into a burning barn or put myself at risk if I needed to save one of my horses. I feel this way about not only the foals that are born here but the horses that have come into my life. I spend so much time with these horses through thick and thin; when they are healthy, sick, tired, and content. I feel their pain when they are injured and laugh along with them when we are out on a trail ride and they are kicking their heels up.
They are like my children and it is heartbreaking to see them go (I am in the wrong business, haha). I will never forget when a third generation breeder from Europe told me his dad was a “traditional” breeder and did not want to sell any of his horses; this is me. It started with my first pony, when we had to sell him I bawled like a baby for days; I had just lost my best friend (I was 5 at the time). While I may steel myself to get a little tougher each time it is never easy and I try not to think about them leaving but I will admit that I still shed a few tears whenever one has to go to a new home. All of my horses are special to me and irreplaceable; they each have a little piece of my heart and when they leave that little piece breaks, but when they are going to a good home that makes it so much easier.
I suppose this is only the start of our foals growing up and going to new homes, and some would just say oh get used to it, but that will not happen. The business we are in means that horses will come and go. However, the day I stop loving my horses and being sad that they are leaving is the day I am no longer here.