Thursday, May 24, 2012

green broke

Pretty good advice right here, for when your young horse comes back from the breaker.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

tiger eye

I had noticed that several of our Paso Fino horses have very interesting eyes. Distinctly amber or lighter.

Here is a picture of Zara (AuSome Zarzuela by Don Cristobal Mako out of La Tentacion Mako), taken by Yvonne in December 2010:

The next photo shows Guajira (AuSome Guajira by Don Cristobal Mako out of Guanatanamera de la Raza). She was with us to be started under saddle a few years ago, when Yvonne took this picture. Guajira is now in NZ.

We have couple of other mares with similar eyes. It has always struck me as unusual and interesting. By coincidence (I was flogging google for other information), I came across an article about "Tiger eye" on a NZ website. It describes how "A researcher in the US has received a grant to study the genetics of "tiger eye" in Paso Fino horses". Quite interesting.

It is mentioned that tiger eye has a recessive pattern of inheritance. I have too small a sample of horses to draw any useful conclusions in that respect, but my observations agree with this this. Zara's sire Cali had dark eyes, so did her dam. Her full sister also has normal eyes. Two halfs sister out of another mare, however, have the tiger eye, and you can also see it in their dam. Some eyes are not as obviously yellow, but rather more like a dark amber, but close up, it is still pretty distinct.

I will see if I can find more photos with interesting eyes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

RIP Jorge

It feels like the end of an era to me. I received the sad news over the weekend. My friend Jorge de Moya passed away.

His uncompromising search for excellence, his vast knowledge of the Paso Fino breed and thorough understanding of the mechanics of gaited horses became inspiration and guidance for me. We were both too stubborn and opinionated to agree on everything, but from spirited discussions came better understanding for me. I had the pleasure of working for Jorge and taking care of his OliVaylle horses for several years. We always remained friends even after our paths diverged. He was generous to a fault. He was in love with his horses and even when his riding years were over, he never lost his passion for them. Paso Finos were in his blood from his youth, being a native of Cuba. However, he was never breed blind, and was able to appreciate and admire a good horse of any breed or colour.

Many years ago, Jorge did some ground breaking research into the gaits of the Paso Fino, and produced a video called "What is my Gait?". Unfortunately, not many good copies of this remain. This video is the best I have seen to clear up some myths and misunderstandings about the four beat gait of Pasos (and other horses). It was the first time I heard the term "isochronal" in the context of gait. Yet, it perfectly describes the ideal we seek for in a gaited horse: an even-timed four beat gait. Neither lateral nor diagonal.

He was an accredited judge for Paso Finos and wrote several articles about the gaits. His particular passion were the Puerto Rican Paso Finos. I understand that he was instrumental in bringing Alicante to North America, and he, together with Betty Klein, bred Paso Fino horses with the famous "Mako" postfix for many years.

Jorge was the first person to bring Paso Finos to Australia. He bred horses under the "AuSome" prefix. Aside from Paso Finos, he had Peruvian Pasos, Andalusians and Australian Stockhorses. We were of a like mind when it came to mixing the blood of some of these breeds to produce superior gaited riding horses, and both OliVaylle and Narrawin went down that road.

Sadly, when Jorge became ill, the horses had to be sold. I was able to help place many of them. I also acquired some of his Paso Fino and Paso Creole horses, which are now integral part of our stud.

The last time I saw Jorge, we picked up a float full of his best horses. He was happy to see them go home with me, but I could see it was breaking his heart.

Rest in peace, Jorge.

I will promise I will keep taking Chewie out for rides while he's fit and well. While I can no longer tell you the funny stories about Chewie's adventures, I will certainly be thinking of you.