This is Lito’s story. From the very beginning. Which, really, is a lot of Cheetah‘s story.
It has always been a life long dream of mine to breed a mare of mine and then raise and train the foal. I never knew when it was to be, I just knew that it was going to be. I am one of those ‘mare people.’ I will always have at least one. I have been blessed with some great ones. While in college, I found THE MARE. We clicked almost right away. I knew I would have this horse for life and I would one day breed her. My secret planning commenced just a couple short months after she was officially ‘mine.’
I did not tell my family for I thought they would think me crazy. I did however tell my close horse friends, naturally. The dream would have to wait till after I graduated and, ideally, I had a stable job. You know, to be responsible. I also had been chunking any and all money that I could into savings. Next came the fun part. Choosing a stallion. This surprisingly, did not take too terribly long and all came about in a wonderful way. I knew I wanted PRE (Pura Raza Espanola/Pure Spanish Horse/Andalusian) and narrowed it down to two reputable and well known ranches within the Iberian horse community here in Texas that have more than one successful stallion, both in the show ring and the breeding shed.
One definitely stood out from the other in that I thought I recognized the owners. I dug a little deeper and came to find out that my grandmother (the one where I get most of my horse gene from) bought her last horse from them! I met them when my grandparents bought the horse, but I can not remember what year that was. That is another story for another day. Anyway, when my grandmother was no longer able to ride anymore due to her health, they bought that horse back from her at the same price she paid. They are lovely people and treated my grandmother with such kindness and respect. Couple that with the quality of their two top stallions at the time and their outstanding reputation, I knew my choice. It was really at this point, when the decision was so easy, that I knew breeding Cheetah was the right thing to do.
Are you tired of waiting to hear about the stallion I chose? OK. I chose Rancho del Lago‘s Magico VIII. This hunky 1997, bay stallion has quite the resume. He was successful in the show ring. Check. He has w truly wonderful temperament. Check. He has an established foal crop. Check. His get are of good temperament/mind, trainable, brave, and successful in the show ring. CHECK. I also met him those several years ago with my grandmother. These lovely photos of Magico are from Rancho del Lago’s website.
Fast forward to after graduation and half way into my year ‘off.’ I call it my ‘lost year,’ but that is yet another story for another day. Now was the time, I thought to myself. I had seriously saved every possible penny. I had already decided I was going back to school to get my graduate degree. I had time to tend to what it would take to get Cheetah bred, have the foal born, and handle/gentle/train him before I had to become a real adult. This was when I broke the news to my parents. They thought I was crazy and I do not think they believed me. Never a good thing. This was very much happening.
It took two tries and a twin reduction to get her bred, but pregnant she was (and, yes, I have ultrasound pics)! I will save that story for another day or else we will be here all night. It was fun to watch her transformation, both physically and emotionally. She was a great mom even before the foal was born. Just look at the happy pregnant mare face at 11 mos, 9 mos, and 6 mos.
At 10 mos., I took her to a lady that foals out mares for people. I give you permission to marvel over that life! Given that Cheetah and I were both maidens (ha!), I wanted her to be somewhere where she got constant supervision from someone experienced in case of an emergency. Here she is in all her glory, getting very close.
After this visit, I went to the store and bought a bag of carrots, several bottles of champagne, fresh squeezed orange juice, put them all in the fridge, baked a special coffee cake, and stuck it in the freezer. I could practically feel she was going to foal any day and I wanted to be prepared to celebrate.
Stay tuned for part 2!