Looking for a Baby Maker

Leeloo Needs More Friends

Juniper would like Leeloo to get more friends. Having Leeloo’s full and undivided attention is getting to be a bit much for her.

Because it is just the two of them and Leeloo is used to being with a herd at all times Leeloo insists that the two of them be together at all times, not just within sight, but together. Leeloo also hates bugs almost as much as I do which means she wants to be hiding in the slightly less buggy shelter area most of the daylight hours. Juniper on the other hand doesn’t mind the bugs if she can be shoving food in her face and would rather be out eating all day. But because Leeloo is who she is, and has no one else but Juniper, that means that Juniper has to be where Leeloo wants to be, and that is in the shelters and not eating for much of the day. They are not starving by any means, I have been picking up enough poop every day to know that, but Juniper would definitely be eating more if she had a chance. For Juniper’s sanity we really need to find Leeloo more friends.

Juniper’s preference – grazing

Leeloo’s preference – hiding from the bugs in the shelter



I have some strong feelings on who this next friend needs to be. I have wanted to have a horse farm my entire life, specifically I have wanted to work with foals and young horses. I had my first opportunity when Leeloo was born and have loved almost all of it; the injuries, illnesses, and mystery lameness not so much, though I have learned a ton. My goal when we moved here was to start a very, very, small horse breeding and training operation. I had hoped to have a new foal every other year and work with them slowly over several years and then sell one sane, sound, well trained, six- or seven-year-old every other year. VERY small operation. But to do that I need a mare worth breeding. I love Leeloo, she is one of the best horses ever, and I would love to have many of her qualities in future horses. However, the sheer quantity of lameness issues she has dealt with, some with clear sources and some without, combined with some of the soundness issues her sisters have had, makes me unwilling to breed her. I never, ever, want to have to go through the pain, heartache, and money that I have gone through with Leeloo again and the chance that there might be a genetic component to her various lameness issues is just too high to risk passing on to another generation. Therefore, I need to find a mare worth breeding.

I have learned that means different things to different people, this is what I mean when I say that: I’m looking for a mare with good conformation and a good personality.

Conformation. There is a lot of information on what good conformation looks like – this post by the U of M extension has a really nice summary. I’m looking for everything they mention plus I want a pretty head and good feet. A “pretty head” is a little harder to pin down than good confirmation, but I did find this website that articulates it fairly well. I think Leeloo has a pretty head, but of course I am biased. Good feet can be a bit trickier to identify because the condition of a horse’s hoof is a combination of conformation, genetics, nutrition, environment, and farrier care. Bad farrier care, bad environment, or bad nutrition can ruin perfectly good feet. That being said after having a horse that had to be shod year-round and dealing with Leeloo’s various feet issues, having good feet is a must. I read an article in the American Quarter Horse Journal (it was an actual physical magazine so I can’t link it) about one of the founding studs of the Quarter Horse breed. He was a really talented racehorse and a popular stud, but they mentioned in passing that he had bad feet. My immediate thought was, and you just bred that trait into how many future generations? So, I’m looking for good confirmation, good feet, and a pretty head.

Personality. I think a foal picks up much of their early personality and behavior from their dam. Leeloo’s dam Annie was a sweet, friendly, smart, willing mare who loved to be around people (she was a lapdog that somehow got born into a horse body) and I believe Leeloo got that from her both through her genetics and through learned behavior; by watching how Annie interacted with the world and people around her. That’s not to say you can’t ruin a perfectly good-natured horse by treating it poorly or that a horse that starts out as a bull-headed a** can’t eventually become a friendly and willing partner. But starting out with a foal who already likes and trusts people because their mom likes and trusts people makes the job easier. So, I’m looking for a sweet, smart, and willing mare. 

Things I don’t care as much about.

Height – I am a tall person and most of my height is in my torso, so when I’m sitting on a horse I look even taller. If I ever start showing again it’s important that the horse and I “make a pretty picture” and since I’m 90% torso I look stupid on short horses. Not to say shorter horses aren’t great, we just look very disproportionate. So, I’d like a horse that is at least 15’1 hands high and not taller than 17 hands. I know that in some performance-based events (like barrel racing) shorter horses are preferred which is why my height range has expanded from my long-term preference of 16 hands or so.

Color – I have always been partial to buckskins, duns, bays, and roans. But in the end color doesn’t matter, good confirmation and personality matter. Also, Leeloo is a chestnut and Annie was a gray and I love/loved them completely so who cares about color

Breeding – I think too many people get caught up with certain bloodlines and in the end a good horse is a good horse. A horse can have the “best” (as in most expensive or most famous) breeding and be just a so-so or worse horse. I do however want a registered mare because I think long-term it gives more options for what to do with her and how I can market and sell future offspring.

I have just recently started searching for this dream mare, having been preoccupied with the seemingly never-ending fence saga, I’ve gotten a few leads but so far they haven’t panned out, or have been out of my price range. I had always assumed I would be getting a Quarter Horse or an Appendix since those are the horses I have had so far in my life and most of the people I showed with while growing up had Quarter Horses or Appendixes. However, two of my last three leads were Paints and one of the neighbors who I’ve started to get to know better shows her horse at Paint shows. Is the universe telling me to get a Paint?

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