Foxy is a dunalino AQHA mare. She has been one of our riding horses, a broodmare, and a safe horse to put children on for many years. She was born in 1993. She has earned her retirement! In the wintertime I take her some warm soaked alfalfa pellets with a little feed mixed in. I stand at the gate and yell her name. She comes running out of the herd and out of the gate to get her meal. I kiss her and smell her and tell her I love her. She is a great aroma and fuzz therapist. She is one of the kindest horses I have known.
We farm with our hearts not our heads. It is not a good business model! But we love these magical creatures so much that we can't turn away from those who need help and a home. So we have quite a collection of horses that don't contribute much except their beauty. Some of them were gifted to us because they are lame, or old, or unfit to ride. Some we raised and they have problems that keep them from joining the breeding program. And some are our retired breeding stock, we don't throw them away when they done producing. Here are some of their stories. I will keep adding to the list as I find the time.
This is Tory. She is about 23 years old, a grade gaited mare. She lost her left eye years ago. She has a fear of anything on her left side. So she formed tight bond with one of our QH brood mares and always stayed right with her. When we brought Sassy in to breed we had to bring Tory in also, put her in a neighboring pen, and then take them back out together. When Sassy died a few years ago, Tory was devastated. But now she has formed a bond with Rose, who is, touchingly, one of Sassy's daughters.
Rainy is a grey appendix quarter horse mare. She broke her pelvis by flipping over a fence at weaning. It healed but left her gimpy for life. She is very friendly and loves to be in the middle of whatever is going on. Sometimes her thoroughbred comes out in her and she over reacts a bit, but her good nature prevails!
BIG VALLEY RANCH
Sprite is a red dun quarter horse mare. When she was born she couldn't stand up. She was septic and the vets did heroic work on her. We held her up to nurse every 3 hours for two months. She finally got where she could get up and down on her own and survived. But her joints are permanently affected. Her front legs are twisted to the right, her hips are crooked, and her right stifle is enlarged. She can never be ridden or bred. But she is sweet and friendly and keeps up with the herd. So she graces our pastures!
Pride is a 1997 AQHA sorrel mare. She belongs to my daughter Natasha. Pride is a stoic, she takes everything in stride in her quiet, reserved way. She is very gentle, was a lovely riding horse, very quick on a cow! She is built like an old type quarter horse, very stocky and muscled up, and yet she moves so smooth, so comfortable to ride. She has had many foals for us, including 3 of her daughters that we kept for broodmares: Denim, Aspen, and Glory. She is pictured here with her last baby, Honey, in 2018. She seems to be enjoying her retirement, again in her quiet, reserved way.