Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Real Prince

Now that the weather has warmed up, the grass is greening, and the snow is fading fast, it's a little easier to get into the Triple Crown mood. Those whose only exposure to horses is the occasional nationally televised race probably glaze over when the announcers start talking about bloodlines. Or maybe that's just me. Either way, I figured I'd give you a short primer on how it all works.

A registered horse is one that has been documented and accepted by a breed association. In our case, that is the American Quarter Horse Association. There are also associations for Thoroughbreds and Arabians and a host of other breeds. Each has its own system, but the breeding of the mare by the stud is generally documented with some sort of breeding certificate, and the foal is registered within a certain time frame after birth.

A Quarterhorse can be crossed with a registered horse of another breed and the foal still registered with the AQHA. A large percent of Quarterhorses have some Thoroughbred, a cross that tends to increase speed and size. There are rules regarding what percentage of the ancestry may be from another breed before the horse is no longer considered a Quarterhorse.

On the Quarterhorse forms, we have to give three name choices in order of priority (in case another horse already has your first choice) and indicate the horse's color, gender, date of birth, place of birth and owner. Then, on a diagram of a horse, you must sketch in all markings, which usually means things like a blaze or a star on the face and white 'stockings' on the feet.

I am not much of a student of bloodlines. I know a few of the more well-known Quarterhorse and Thoroughbred stallions, but beyond that I lose interest pretty fast. The truth is, good breeding may increase your odds of getting the colt you want, but it's no guarantee. When buying horses, we mostly look at the registration papers as a way of verifying that the horse is actually ten years old as the seller claims, and not a spry-looking eighteen.

That said, I thought I'd share a set of registration papers, so you can see what they look like. First, here's the horse in action in Cambridge, Idaho. We call him Nico.

And here are his papers. You might have to click on the image to enlarge it enough to read all of the print.

This is the back side. If you look real close, you can see he has a white sock on his right hind leg, a white star and strip on his forehead and a tiny white snip by his left nostril.

Surprised? Yes, you did read correctly. Those are my parents and that is my maiden name. Oh, you meant his breeding. Yeah, he is a grandson of Secretariat. Yes, THAT Secretariat. Even I recognize that name.


Sandra Cormier said...

Weeeee! Secretariat!

I have found that markings can change over the years. I did a portrait of a 3 year old filly while taking riding lessons at one farm. 10 years later, I see the same horse while my daughter was at a different riding camp. The blaze was wider, her overall colour darker. But with some questions, I found out she was the same goofy filly I taught to do figure eights when my kids were babies.

Anita said...

Icenoggle? Never heard that one before. I'll have to Google it. :)

Thanks for the lesson. My recent fondness for horses makes all things horse related, interesting.

Bert said...

I know you're married and all but I STILL think of you ask Kari Lynn Icenoggle.

Not Kari, but Kari LYNN - like you indicated your first day of math class in Mr. Wadman's class...



Cynthia D'Alba said...

growing up in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Thoroughbred racing was (and still in) a BIG DEAL. I remember going to watch the horses run when I was under 5 (we couldn't go in the track, but there was a back fence in a neighborhood where you could see the horses run past.) I started going to the track when I was 15 (well underage back then). Watching the major races (Ark. Derby, KY Derby,etc) was a tradition. Whatever we were doing on that Saturday, we would stop at 5 and tune in to watch.

Secretariat...what a special horse. How very cool to have a grandson.

I cried when Barbaro died.

Kari Lynn Dell said...

Anita: It's German. Original spelling would be something like Eisenacht or Eisenagel. Which means steel nail, if I remember right. I believe there's a castle, too. My great grandfather was a cowhand who moved west alone and died before my grandfather was born, so we've never really had contact with that branch of the family.

Robert: I was in the high school three weeks ago, first time since we graduated I think. I was in Mrs. Myhre's room for a meeting. I would so have gotten detention for that Pepsi I took with me. I also had a good chat with Mr. Ellis. Damn, can you believe next year is our thirtieth?

Cyndi: Barbaro broke my heart. And today would be the perfect day to go to the horse races. We really should try to get up to Lethbridge this summer, either for those or the chuckwagon races. I've never been to a live pro chuckwagon race.

Anonymous said...

The Wartburg Castle is in Eisenach, Germany. (Pronounced with a nice glottal at the end, like you're coughing up a fur ball.) Martin Luther translated the Bible at this castle. Gina

Jaym said...

I see no mention of the photographing required for registration. Or is that just Paint horses? Both sides of the head, chest, sides, butt. Multiply by thousands of wiggles, Momma's attempts to insert herself in the picture, and various cats and dogs trying to help...Glad we only had to do that a couple of times.

Bloodlines are fun. I used to have a Doc Bar granddaughter, big ol' red roan foundation-bred mare. Built like a tank, temper like a grenade. Fittingly named Cayenne.

Ah, horses.

Kari Lynn Dell said...

Jayme: Photos are not required by the AQHA, but can be included if the horse has a lot of white or complex spotting, socks etc. There are rules on how much white they can have and in what places and still be registered AQHA. Too much and they're considered a Paint.

Unknown said...

What happened to Ember?

How many children/grandchildren of secretariat are there?