Monday, December 24, 2012

How Puck Happened

Barb Gualco, owner of Sir Caletto (Puck's sire), asked me to compose a brief history of how Puck came to be. As I always do when given a writing assignment, I will share what I wrote with you!
Sir Caletto (c)Silverhorne Sporthorses

Wolfnbankersclothn (aka, 'Wolfn') is an off the track thoroughbred rescue from the MidAtlantic Horse Rescue. I adopted her in January 2007; she was exactly the horse I was looking for at the time: a talented thoroughbred mare who had raced a long time (3 years, in Wolfn's case) and came out sound on the other side. The intent was to have a horse to retrain, compete as far as she could go, and, eventually, have a mare that had what it takes to be the "mother of champions." I got all of these things out of Wolfn, but maybe not for as long as I would have liked.

Wolfn at her last competition. (c) Xpress Foto

She was a blast to retrain. She took to cross country immediately and became very competitive in show jumping and dressage. Unfortunately, an old racing injury kept Wolfn from ever trailering well, thus preventing her from ever really hitting her stride at a competition. The injury in question was a broken sesamoid bone. Although she had been given adequate time off before she returned to racing, and the x-rays at the time of her vet check gave every indication it would not be a problem, horses are (as we all know!) more complicated then that. Although she never once has taken a lame step in her life, the vibrations of the trailer are enough to irritate the injury, sending her flying off the handle, kicking the trailer violently.
Wolfn's lovely trot. (c) Xpress Foto

In the Fall of 2008, I decided it was time to breed her in the hope it might settle her down. My Intermediate horse was battling soundness issues, Wolfn wasn't trailering well to shows, and I needed to think about my next prospect. I consulted Gerd Zuther, a dressage clinician who knew Wolfn and I well, but more importantly, knows all there is to know about quality German stallions, as he has been an inspector for the Hanoverian Verband for decades. Gerd sat me down with the Hanoverian Stallion Directory and we went, page by page, through the entire catalog. He regaled me with tales of soundness issues, questionable inspection venues, and (very appropriately)  kept turning the page if the stallion couldn't jump! In the end, he chose two stallions for me to make a final decision. He said, "Choose either of these two, and you cannot choose wrong!" In a way, Sir Caletto was actually the underdog for me, since he was a gray, and I was terrified of having another gray horse!! But I took some time and really dug into both horse's history, personality, conformation, progeny, pedigree--everything I could find--and found that Sir Caletto came easily to the forefront.

In 2009, I moved out to Maryland for my first job, and brought my pregnant mare with me. She stayed with my trainer, Eric Dierks, while I struggled to find somewhere she could foal out. The thoroughbred barns wouldn't take a show horse, and the warmblood breeders wouldn't take a thoroughbred! Finally, I approached Hilltop Farm, the best of the best, and they said they would happily take my money!! That Fall, I took Wolfn to the GOV Mare Performance Test at High Point Hanoverians, where she showed everyone what a quality TB looks like, placing 2nd in the Jumping Performance test and finishing 4th overall in the Mare Performance Test.
Proof from Wolfn's GOV inspection. Very bad manners on my part. 

On May 5, 2010, Streetlight Manifesto was born while the barn staff were distracted by a colicking mare a few stalls down. Wolfn wanted her privacy (she was about a week late), and as soon as she saw her chance, she took it! 'Puck' was a completely healthy, normal baby.
Fresh squeezed!
At his GOV inspection in August of 2010, Puck was recognized as a "Premium Foal." He received very positive comments from the judges including, "It is surprising, considering his Jumping pedigree, but this horse has an excellent trot!"
Running with Mom
After the inspection.

Wolfn returned to competition for the 2011 season back in Wisconsin. Unfortunately the trailer issue had not abated, and much welding and many stitches later, I finally gave up on Wolfn's show career. Every time we made it to a show, she would be sore, and I would be a raw bundle of nerves. So she enjoys life in a pasture, and I focus on Puck. He is taking to working life easily. At 2 and a half, he already happily gives pony rides to my able-bodied teenage assistant, Haley. We know he's ready for more responsibility, but we've got lots of time. My goal is to have him walk-trot by March, when Gerd Zuther will be in town. How great it will be to show him what he helped me make!

I have high hopes for Puck. Wolfn had more talent than my Intermediate horse ever had, but her potential went sadly unrealized, and Sir Caletto was able to add soundness and sense to her fire and athleticism. Puck is the best of them both, and I know that he will be a force in the eventing world in the years to come.
Puck as a two year old. So sweet!

No comments:

Post a Comment