On May 19, 2019 my gut instinct told me I needed to go out to the pasture to check on Vida. Another mare had foaled that night, in the barn, where she belonged, but Vida had been giving us no outward signs of foaling being imminent. The year prior, despite being a bit early (though plenty "safe"), she did some serious homework because she pretty much followed the book to a T, however in 2019 I guess she couldn't let the other mare steal all the attention because as I breached the hill that looks over the pasture she was in, there was a bouncing baby at her side. Sigh - horses are one of the many reasons I'm prematurely turning grey.
The foal turned out to be a feisty little filly who I named Phascinating BRR, and her barn name became "Dory" after the "Finding Dory" movie. She had a bit of a stressful start to life as V was not impressed with the prying eyes of her herdmates, but we managed to get them up to the barn unscathed and they quickly settled. V is such a wonderful mom, and she was even better the second time around, but as I got to work with this filly I knew she was going to be fairly different than her full sister Ostara BRR.
Dory was absolutely striking; Amara ("Ostara BRR") was truly lovely and correct as well, but Dory really had that extra "look at me" factor, and as she aged she quickly became #BreederGoals. The girl was an absolute knock-out, and although she has a firey streak to her, with a little bit of consistency she has been so incredibly willing, friendly and smart. She was for sale for a few months with a few inquiries here and there; twice I thought she was sold only to become ghosted, but finally at about 5 months old the perfect new mom came along, and she took the plunge to purchase her.
Her new mom lives in Quebec, which is on the other side of the country from us. To be specific, she is is about 4200 KM (2600 Miles) away, so needless to say she based her based off photos, videos and my word. She made the decision to board Dory with me until the spring, as winter was fast approaching and the roads would quickly become unreliable, plus there was significantly less shippers going back and forth through the winter months. I had vowed to continue with Dory's Kindergarten lessons, but truthfully I was terrified to ship a baby across the country. What if she got hurt? What if the shipper wasn't nice to her and forgot she was just a baby? What if she was scared? What if her new mom doesn't like her after all this? She was leaving everything she had ever known and going on a 6-Day Journey across 4 provinces to an entirely new place filled with entirely new people and I was an absolute ball of anxiety despite this being a huge moment for me as a breeder.
Finally though, the day came and ironically, it was her full sister's 2nd Birthday as Dory embarked on her journey across the country. We had only practiced trailer loading in the yard a handful of times and my trailer had a ramp while the shippers did not, however she did me proud when she took a sniff and promptly walked right into the spacious box stall filled with excellent looking hay and buckets of fresh water. She did have a brief moment of "okay thanks, time to unload", but she quickly settled and by day 2 the shipper reported she was being "just an excellent passenger", and finally on Day 6 she arrived in the loving arms of her impressively patient new mom. She was absolutely smitten from the moment the trailer door opened, and finally after several long months they were united.
She had a 24 hour layover when the driver hour'd out and legally had to take a break, and she got to spend it in this gorgeous grass paddock in SE Ontario.
It's a funny moment as a breeder. I'm new to it still - Dory was only my second foal I have produced thus far and I really feel humble about the entire situation. It really drives home to me that I'm on the right path, because the number of foals she could have snapped up between Alberta and Ontario is significant. She wanted a foal specifically by that stallion, but I know for a fact there are several in her region as he stands just one province over from her. She and I built an excellent rapport right from the get-go and I feel so blessed she trusted me enough to take the risk in purchasing Dory. It's truly a remarkable moment to be so new to this world and already feeling as though I am doing well in my evaluation of horses, my pairings, my horsemanship and care and my marketing while remaining professional.
Many have asked me "So when are you adding more mares?" or "When will you buy a Warmblood mare?" and I'm fairly upfront in saying my absolute end goal is only to ever have 3-5 broodmares so I can focus my resources (read: money and time) on the absolute best quality I have relatively easy access to at this point. Mass production has never been the goal, but rather to produce ammy-friendly horses with the quality a professional would appreciate, and so far I think I'm off to a wonderful start. Adding another mare, preferably a Warmblood mare, to my arsenal of beautiful mama's was part of the 5-Year Plan, and I was waiting for the perfect scenario. I've gotten relatively lucky so far with horses just kind of stumbling into my path, but I wasn't expecting things to come together so quickly when I put out a very casual ISO Ad on facebook two weeks ago, and just as Dory arrived in her new home on the other side of the country, I brought a new face home. She deserves her own post however, so I'll leave you with this cliffhanger and a very old, very terrible quality teaser photo for now.