But on our travels, I managed to squeeze in a trip to Red's breeder! That was a highlight of the trip for me! Bold Vantage Farm has one of the largest herds of purebred Akhal Tekes in North America. Cynthia very graciously came and picked me up at the RV park in High River and drove me around to the 3 sites with her horses. I had a blast with her. She is funny and loves to talk about Tekes. Me too! But I don't know near as much as she does!
We started at the old farm site, near town. Right away I met Murgab, in a paddock with a leased bay mare and her buckskin filly. The mare was of heavier build (not quite massive type – she did have a German? mare of MASSIVE type. She called her Cookie). Fun thing about Cynthia; she names all her horses funny barn names. The magnificent Murgab is Murray, there is also Cookie, Potato, Dinnerplate (Potato's part bred colt), Smootches, Covergirl, Cabbage, etc...
I liked the leased bay mare and her buckskin filly. Substantial girls! I think the filly will grow into a very nice mare! They may not be super “typey” but they are correct and will be sound! I'd rather that. I hate those Teke breeders that compromise proper conformation for typeyness. Another thing that struck me is Murgab has TONS of bone! I drooled. I would post pics of him, but he was INCREDIBLY uncooperative for photos.
Unfortunately, Mr. Murray was feeling lazy in the warm fall sun and he WOULD NOT MOVE FOR ME!!! I was really looking forward to seeing his awesome movement in person. No such luck. In fact, we saw 6 more PB (pureblood) Tekes at the old farm site before we came across one that would move out for me! More on her later.
We visited the broodmare pen. There were several of her broodmares in this pen, of all breeds. These were all the pregnant or without foal mares, most of them of other breeds. She had a lovely Welsh pony mare, cannot wait to see that foal! Bahilana was there (Red's dam). She has a really soft eye and while a little fat (hence the name Potato) she was very nicely built. She was bred to Kopeli last year, before his gelding, but did not take. (Not to worry, she did a collection on the old guy – 18 years – and has about 50 frozen tubes) So I am curious to see how his future foals come out!
Next pen over was a lovely, stereotypical golden buckskin Teke mare. At heel was her cremello (too bad) 2011 colt. He is a lovely boy and a stallion prospect. He was sold to Australia and about to be shipped when the prospective new owner has a reversal of circumstances and said she couldn't pay for him. So we loaded him and his mom to go out to the broodies herd a few miles away.
Last horse I looked at the yard site was another Murray filly, a coming 3 yo. They call her Smootch. She is stunning! And she actually moved when asked! Here are some pics... I am very eagerly awaiting news of her in the future, as I think she is very special. She is also Cynthia only filly of her favourite and foundation mare that she just lost this spring.
She is very bright and hot, and lovely to watch. She is very typey, but displays great conformation. For Murgab getting only a 7.5 for type, he sure throws typey foals!
We also put Kogan on the trailer, he was going to another site.
The next stop was the broodie herd a few miles away. Here I met Olimpic Gul, the mare that was for sale in foal to Murgab last winter. I looked at the foal and said... DAMN, shoulda bought her! While she is not hot stuff to me (though high marks in inspection) she makes REALLY nice foals! She improves very nicely. Unfortunately this was also a herd of slow pokes that day and they only moved a little, even when we let out the mare and foal off the trailer. But I did get some pics of what, to me, is a huge Teke herd!
Out in that field, I didn't spend time with her, was a PB Teke mare that sounds ideal for endurance. She is trained, but does not like going English. But put her out on the trail on a loose rein and she goes anywhere, anytime. She is forward, easygoing and confidant. Sounds perfect to me! Forgot her name though! Oops!
Our final stop was the new farm site. It is about 25 kms out of High River, on a GORGEOUS ¼ section of rolling land. I want to live there. They had just purchased it a few months ago and there was lots of work to do before moving themselves and all the horses on.
On the west side was her gelding pasture. It was gorgeous, with hills and gulleys and a nice big pond. There were 3 boys in there; a he-doesn't-count-because-he's-just-a-QH, SwiftSure (Red's full younger brother) and a very lovely flashy black yearling PB gelding. He was very typey (another Murray foal), but very conformationally correct. He was one of the top rated colts (if not THE top rated colt) in North America in the 2011 evaluation tour. I liked him, he was pretty, but also personable and friendly. AND A MOVER! Sorry no pics of him. Some are apparently angry Cynthia gelded him, but I think he will be an EXCELLENT ambassador to the breed. I hope someone with dreams of competition swoops him up!
Now SwiftSure, AKA Dinnerplate, named for the dishy head when born.
By the end of our little visit with him, I was ready to stuff him in my back pocket and try to smuggle him home with me. He has Red's (and their sire's, Murgab) wonderful temperament. They are really easygoing, but very responsive. Lovey, huggy boys. SwiftSure is more Arab-ish, rounder and less dry, than Red, and just a smidgen shorter (but a year younger, so...). SwiftSure takes after his dam, while Red really takes after his Teke sire.
We let out Kogan to play with the other geldings, and then drove over to the east side pasture with the mares. This had 2 older mares. One of which is not used because, while she is a very nice mare, she is the unfortunate colour of cremello! Lol. Cynthia is not fond of cremellos. And when bred to Murgab she has a 50% chance of another cremello foal. (She actually has 3 cremellos on farm presently)
I also got a tour of the buildings, one of which is an ancient old barn. It used to be the livery stable in High River, and was moved out to the farm decades ago. I cannot wait to see what they do to this place. It will be a stunning farm for them, I think!
I went inside to have tea and meet JK. I finally understood why he sold Red. He is well over 6 foot. I just sticked Red, he is 14.2 h @ 3 ½ years old. However, apparently he is working on an oil rig and claims when they strike it he is buying Red back. I said it had better be a gusher if you want to afford him! We enjoyed a delicious tea and a great chat about dogs (she has the shaggiest Springer EVER) and Tekes, before she drove me back to the RV camp.
Next year I am coming back for a ride in the mountains though!!!