I feel behind every successful breeding program, there needs to have a fire fueling it, a driving force. What is it that makes it special? What made you start it in the first place? What makes you keep doing it? Is it for the money? the glory? the fame? or is there something deeper?
I think back to when it all started for me. Although I have always had a deep interest in equine reproduction, I had NO intent in ever owning my own stud and doing all that it entails. I'd been around enough other studs and around that block enough to know that I really didn't want any part of it. However, the mare side of it, I was super interested in. And that is why we are here now, what started me and what keeps me going all began...or did it?
If you know me or read my blog, surely you've heard about the grey gelding, Smoky By Lucky Boy. The horse that took me through High School and College and who with his help I completed some of my biggest accomplishments. Smoky, a son of the late Dollys Lucky Boy, a little known stud in Texas of Doc Bar and Sugar Bars descent with nothing so special in his pedigree to stop someone in his tracks. Although, he was little known and had less than 20 registered colts on the ground, he proved to have many proven performers besides Smoky in the barrel pen. It was a bloodline that I knew would die if no one carried it on and it was something that meant a great deal to me. It was when I was in college that I finally got this start by buying a half sister to Smoky, my first Dollys Lucky Boy daughter. She was followed by two more Lucky Boy daughters in the next two years.
My plans were to train and compete on the two younger mares (then 4 and 2) and then breed Smoky's full sister, who although was a barrel horse, she was crippled enough to keep her from being rode. These three were supposed to be the start of my breeding program. The foundation, the drive, the passion came from them, but most of all from Smoky. I believed in these genetics and wanted to preserve them, promote them and give them the recognition that they deserved.
Then when Elvis came, born from Smoky's full sister, things changed. (See previous blog post, Dreams Coming True Part 1 for the full story. ) I knew that I wanted to go on with this bloodline that had carried me to the top but it changed from having the broodmares to having a stud. What better way of getting these lines out than a stud who could reach much further than a mare could. That's far from the reason why Elvis is still a stud. Although his pedigree was special, especially to me, he earned his right from his conformation, trainability, versatility, performance, etc. and continues to earn it every day now with his colts.
This breeding game is a tough one. It's filled with heart ache, tears, sorrow, the coulda woulda shoulda's. It's not for everyone and when people start to go through the tough times, many drop out. However, no matter how tough it may be, how down I can get through a given situation, I push on because this is a horse, a program and a dream that I believe in. It's not built on just a whim. I've ridden this line of horses for years. I've won on them for years. I've dreamt of producing horses like these for years.
The highlights far exceed the down falls. As I brushed out Elvis' mane yesterday, enjoying his company, I couldn't believe how far we've come in our program. Its been a long tough road, but its been worth it in so many ways. You see, what makes it so special is that I can still feel the presence of Smoky when I look at Elvis, ride him and his colts. I can still see the vision that I had when we first started out and it's better than I ever imagined. I keep going because I know that there are better things to come!
It's never been about the glory, the money or the fame for me. Theres a passion that lies within me for this business. It's not just a business to me, it's my life. A program that my family can be proud of and will enjoy for years to come. It started with a gray gelding, continues with a palomino, and has the future of so many colts that all share in the line that now, will not be lost or forgotten.