t is now 2015 and there are a couple of inches of pesky snow on the ground outside the window where I am writing my column. The snow is not a bother but, by golly, the upcoming dip in temperatures is going to play hob with trying to keep the water buckets and those big old waterers in the fields ice-free.
My arthritis is fairly galloping along trying to keep up with the highs and lows of our weather patterns and the snow/rain days that seem to get here and race away. I often think to myself that when the weather starts switching fronts the joints of my body light up like a pinball machine in full operation. It is a mixed blessing to be able to accurately foretell weather by your own body.
This idea for this column comes to you courtesy of Bushwacker, 2014 PBR Bucking Bull, now retired — unridden for all of 2014, by the way. If that strikes a chord with any of you by all means hie yourselves to Julio Moreno's Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/juliomorenobuckingbulls, and see what all of the hullabaloo is about.
I was watching an interview with Mr. Moreno in which he said, in a rather offhand way, that 75 percent of a good bucking bull was from the cow, i.e., his mother.
That really hit me because when I spoke with most of the Thoroughbred breeders that I knew, and this goes back a good long ways, they, too, claimed that 75 percent of a good running horse came from its dam. It is rare that two such unrelated disciplines will give you such concomitant advice. That got my attention so I did a bit of checking.
The fact that Bushwacker is by a great bucking bull named A67 Reindeer made it even more surprising that the cow involved would be so highly thought of until you know that she is MO 110, a daughter of Diamond's Ghost and Bushwacker's paternal grandmother was AN 11, a daughter of the renowned Oscars Velvet.
So, having done even this small amount of research about a great bull and knowing what I knew about the equine distaff side of the 75 percent solution, I made a couple of calls to ask questions of several breeders of good horses.
Along the way I spoke with an event horse breeder of international repute, Mary Hazzard, who owned, showed and bred the great stallion, Babamist. I shared a wonderful conversation with Ms. Hazzard in which she reminded me that some stallions are also part of the 75 percent solution, or as she calls it, "pipeline horses" which, when bred to good mares can reproduce themselves far more often than the strict geneticists are willing to admit.
For those of you who are following the "new" interest in riding Thoroughbreds "just as though they were horses" you might be interested in an online article about this fine stallion which can be found at http://www.lanefieldfarm.com/babamist.htm. Don't forget to read the last paragraph of the article and the Competitor–Shared Ancestors section, too.
There is a mention by the author, J.W. Equine, of the "soundness and longevity" of the horses spoken of, something that has become less and less evident in today's horses and more and more of a problem.
There are a lot of reasons for the current state of less-than-sound horses I am sure, but one of the main ones is that people seem to believe that they can breed any mare, no matter what her underpinnings look like, to a stallion and have a viable horse from that cross.
Or worse yet, to a popular stallion, maybe even one that they themselves have never seen and are only shipping the mare to. Or it could be that people today are not cognizant of the necessities of horse engineering to successful horse locomotion. It used to be that all of the young wannabe horse people were exposed to often biting commentary about the engineering of a given horse and how it related to that horse's ability to do its job but our "kinder, gentler" political politeness has removed much of that forthright opinion from our way of speaking now.
It could be that a lot of people are putting more faith than they should in modern veterinary medicine and the wonders of current farrier practice. Neither farrier nor vet can fix what was never designed to work in the first place.
It could be that more people need to buy a few serious books and actually read them all the way through before they buy that first horse and start being buzzword-based experts. There is nothing wrong with being a beginner if you manage to progress beyond that point given time and application. And, as Bushwacker might say, that's no bull.
Hope Holland is the Times' equestrian columnist. Reach her at 410-857-7896 or firstname.lastname@example.org.