Thursday

A to Z horses – Zooming with Ziggy


Six-year-old Ziggy is a chestnut gelding with Blue Feather Farm, sporting four white socks and a blaze with a lightning bold.

The 16-hand hunter-jumper is double registered with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) as Lonestars Iron Class. In the hunter arena, Ziggy is known as Payaso.

Ariel Univer bought Ziggy from a breeder on the Illinois/Iowa border, just before his third birthday. The youngster had just 10 days of saddle training at the time.

“All of the horses I had owned before him were Thoroughbreds,” Univer recounted.

“As soon as I saw him, I could barely contain myself. He was so cute – and such a spitfire! We bonded right away, and I knew I had to have him. Let the training project begin!”
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That was four years ago.

Barefoot, Ziggy has schooled on courses with jumps up to three feet and has auto lead changes.

Recently, he was named reserve champion in the Green Division at a Northern Illinois Hunter-Jumper Association (NIHJA) show at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Chicago’s Western suburbs.

“Now I know that buying Zig was the best decision I ever made. He’s become everything I ever wanted in a young horse. Whether we are showing on the NIHJA circuit or just going for a trail ride, he’s always my partner in crime.”

Currently share-boarded by Illinois equestrian Krystina Cortesi, Ziggy is now offered for sale.

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Last year’s A to Z post: Zap! It’s a Zorse!
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Wednesday

A to Z horses – Yes! It's YS Tanjobi!



YS Tanjobi is a 1998 Bashkir Curly of Southern Wisconsin. 

The Bashkir Curly Horse is known for its textured coat, fetlocks, mane and tail. This equine breed actually sports its own tell-tale curly hair, which is generally hypoallergenic.

Bashkir Curly Horses are generally amiable, calm, smart and quite teachable.

Owned by blogger, graphic artist and web designer Erica K. Frei, the Ontario-born sorrel sabino gelding is currently training in French Classical Dressage.

Frei has worked with Jobi since he was a two-year-old stud colt. Originally, he was the first stallion of the Jobi Farm Bashkir Curly breeding program, which began in 2000.

Standing 15 hands high, Jobi has Foxtrotting Curly and Damele (ranching) bloodlines. He lives at Frei’s own Jobi Farm in Milton, Wisconsin, with other Sport Horse Bashkir Curlies.

“We don’t currently compete,” Frei said. “However, Jobi was shown considerably in open and breed shows when he was younger. He did well in English classes with many blues and champion ribbons.”

Frei has fondly tagged Jobi as “a wonderful dance partner,” and her photos clearly express why this is the case. The pair are working on such exercises as the capriole and the Spanish Walk.


Last year’s A to Z post: Yearlings and Youngsters
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Tuesday

A to Z horses – Expression Extolled with Xiomaro BR


Xiomaro BR (El Nino x Mia), a 2004 PRE (Pura Raza Espanola) Andalusian stallion, is owned by Illinois equestrian Tiana Ng, but the gray Classical Baroque horse is loved by many.

In fact, the stunning stud was awarded the USEF Horse of the Year/Grand Champion Andalusian/Lusitano title for 2011. His performance specialties include the canter pirouette, passage, piaffe, Spanish Walk and Spanish trot.

Xiomaro was also featured in the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. For his performance with trainer Mario A. Contreras in front of 25,000 on-site spectators and millions of television viewers, Xiomaro was accompanied by the Lexington Ballet and the Lexington Symphony Orchestra.

Here’s the video:
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Standing 16.3 hands high with an elegant long mane and tail, Xiomaro resides in Huntley, Illinois.

Xiomaro also possesses a playful side.

“He is my silly goose at home,” quipped Hornickel. “He’s a sweet, funny, energetic stallion that’s always ready to go.”

Xiomaro showed his stuff with the Baroque Horse group at the 2012 Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, Wisconsin, last weekend.
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Last year’s A to Z post: X - Halt – Salute

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Monday

A to Z horses – Working Western with Windy


Whoa! Look at that!

“She is an all-around mare,” Johnson said, describing her seven-year-old purebred Arabian horse Windy.

Registered with the Arabian Horse Association as HRA Windstar (De Strikit Rich x Barons Class Act), Windy comes from the famous Bask Polish Arabian bloodlines.

She stands 14.2 hands high. Johnson acquired the lovely 2004 mare as a two year old and started her under saddle at her home farm, where she has six additional horses.

Johnson has described Windy as a sensitive horse and a calm and willing learner.

“Windy is a sweet horse and very smart,” the Minnesota equestrian explained. “She’s too smart, in fact. She’s the first one to figure out when the pasture fence isn’t hot, or if someone forgets to latch the gate. Fortunately, she just heads out to the front lawn to graze.”

“With her beautiful floating gaits, Windy is great at Western Dressage,” Johnson added. The black mare is schooling in Western Dressage, but she also does well with trail riding. And Johnson’s daughter Kaija has been practicing barrel racing with the mare.

Based in Maple Lake, Minnesota, Johnson is active with Midwest Western Dressage, a regional group of horseback riding enthusiasts in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Incorporated in 2010, Midwest Western Dressage offers clinics and special events in this emerging discipline.
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Sunday

A to Z horses – Visiting Venus


The ancient Romans worshipped Venus as goddess of love and beauty. Today, near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a pretty black mare carries the legend forward.

Owned by marketing specialist and equine therapist Jocelyn Stott, Venus is a 2000 purebred Arabian Horse, registered as CBC Shamraff.

“I named this pretty little mare Venus because I think black horses, and especially Arabians, are among the most beautiful,” Stott remarked. “In folklore, black mares were considered bad omens. The Bedouins often killed them at birth.

“This is where the term ‘nightmare’ may have come from. Wouldn’t it be more fitting, if a black mare was named for love? I sure think so,” she added.

Foaled in Eastern Montana, Venus ran freely with a small band of ranch horses near the Montana/North Dakota border.

“She was bred for cutting and reining, but she loves the trail the most,” Stott said. “Venus is a quick-witted athlete. She can spin around very fast in the pasture, while at play with her herdmates.”

Stott and Venus have formed a close bond, even playing together in the pasture.

“Venus likes goats and children, but mostly she loves fresh green grass,” Stott explained. “Sometimes when I go out to the pasture on warm mornings with my coffee, she’ll sit down at my feet while eating grass.”

(Yes, that's Venus in the photo to the left, sprawled out in the grass by her pasture pals.)

Occasionally, Stott enlists Venus to help with equine-assisted therapy at the Equine Therapeutic Learning Center, which she co-founded near Spokane, Washington. The nonprofit organization works with individuals who have physical, emotional or cognitive disabilities.
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Saturday

A to Z horses – Uncle Mo Unbridled


Retired from racing at four, Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie x Playa Maya by Arch) is already displaying his potential as a Thoroughbred stud.

The Kentucky-bred bay boy is already projecting 2013 progeny totaling over 50.
As a racer, Uncle Mo proved his prowess early under jockey John Velazquez, winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Eclipse Award for Champion Two-Year-Old in 2010.

Taking the Wood Memorial in 2011, he was a favorite for the Kentucky Derby until trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole (of Repole Stables) scratched him for illness.
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In eight starts, Uncle Mo racked up five wins, as well as a second and a third.

Uncle Mo is now standing at stud at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky, although he is set to move to Australia in a few months. His 2012 stud fees are set at $35,000.

In addition to Uncle Mo, Coolmore’s American stud roster includes Cape Blanco, Dunkirk, Fusiachi Pegasus, Giant’s Causeway, Henrythenavigator, Lookin At Lucky, Majestic Warrior, Munnings, Scat Daddy, Tale Of The Cat, and Thunder Gulch.

Coolmore Australia already lists Uncle Mo, along with such studs as Choisir, Duke Of Marmalade, Dylan Thomas, Encosta De Lago, Excellent Art, Fastnet Rock, Haradasun, Henrythenavigator, High Chaparral, Lookin At Lucky, Musir, Oratorio, So You Think, Spinning World, Starspangledbanner, and Zoffany.



I had the pleasure of visiting with this handsome horse in Pletcher’s backstretch barn at Louisville’s Churchill Downs after the 2010 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Mo’s truly a charmer, so we can hardly wait to see what his babies look like next spring.
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Friday

A to Z horses – Thunder Roars in Golden Years


Thunder
Now retired, Thunder is a senior Spotted Saddlebred Horse with a hard-luck story and a much happier ending.

As a youngster, Thunder spooked while tied and flipped over backwards, knocking the retinas out of both eyes. He was instantly and permanently blinded.

Thunder now resides at St. Francis Horse Rescue (SFHR) in Rosholt, Wisconsin.

“Thunder and his friends, Peppy GusGus and Sammy, are sponsored by Betty C.,” explained SFHR’s Mary Egging Hetzel. “She is very content with them living here. When they came, we had three empty stalls, right in a row, and she claimed them.”

Despite his total blindness, Thunder was trained for riding and became a dependable mount.

“His owner had 20 years of enjoyment with him,” Hetzel said. “He is one of the easiest horses to handle, and the volunteers just love him.”

Today, Thunder plays in the pasture with his old pals, GusGus and Sammy.

SFHS currently has several horses available for adoption, with profiles listed online.
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Last year’s A to Z post:  Trailer Terrors and Other Trying Times

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Thursday

A to Z horses – Stop and Salute Scarlett and Her Sidekicks


Scarlett
Scarlett is the newest member of the Madison Mounted Patrol Unit. The 17.1-hand Percheron/Friesian mare joined the Madison Police group in 2011. Ridden by Officer Casey Cherne and Officer Sarah McLaughlin, Scarlett is a 1,700-pound black beauty.

Her first owner donated her to the force after completing the mare’s initial show horse training. “Scarlett was deemed well-suited for police work,” McLaughlin explained. “Her great personality and willing attitude made her a good candidate.”

Coming seven this year, Scarlett will make her first public debut in uniform at the 2012 Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, Wisconsin, in mid-April.

Beau
The Madison Mounted Patrol Unit currently includes several special horse, such as:

Beau – a 2000 Missouri Fox Trotter

Bubba – a 2002 Percheron/Clydesdale gelding

Jack – a 2002 Percheron gelding

Luna – a 2005 Percheron mare

Luna
The Madison Mounted Patrol Unit assists the Madison Police with special events, gatherings, parades and other city highlights.

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Last year’s A to Z post:  Stars and Stripes, Snips and Stripes

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Wednesday

A to Z horses – Running with Rio


Barbara Bradshaw’s trio of miniature colts gives new meaning to “The Three Musketeers.” They've also been dubbed "The Three Amigos," and it's easy to see why.

Little Pinto Rio may not be the ringleader, but he and his pals keep Bradshaw and her boarders in stitches.

Rio’s crew includes little gray Drifter (sporting a dorsal stripe) and all-black Bandit, fondly tagged “Mr. Independent.”

Owner and operator of Bradshaw’s Ranch since 2003 with her husband Dave, Bradshaw brought the three minis home to their farm in Bristol, Wisconsin, in December 2010.

The barrel racer, trail rider and equestrian trainer plans to teach the young horses to drive. In the meantime, Rio and his cohorts are doing therapy work with some of Bradshaw’s clients.

“Rio, Bandit and Drifter are as sweet as ever,” she said of the miniature merrymakers.

“They really love doing therapy too. I started using the big horses, but one young lady wasn’t too keen around them. When I brought out the first mini, I was quite amazed to watch how they interacted,” Bradshaw recounted.
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