No, still no baby from Peyton. She’s big as a house and increasingly uncomfortable but clearly my impatience is having zero impact on her timeline. Still holding out hope for an April Fools baby, which might be the joke she’s ultimately gonna play on us.
But while there’s no new foal to introduce yet, as I mentioned earlier this week, a new member of the WTW string has arrived. We’ve been hunting for another nice TB mare (and when I say hunting I mean HUNTING, I’m pretty sure we saw every friggin TB mare for sale in America) looking for one that we felt had the right pedigree, temperament, movement, and conformation to suit a sporthorse/eventer breeding program. A lot of them have one or two or those qualities, but not many have all of them. We tried to buy one a month or so ago from Benchmark but were about an hour too late (another eventing breeder snatched her up!) but I think eventually the right one did come along.
Vee is also known as Vonhra, an 8yo TB mare who just ran her last race in February. Despite a racing career spanning 5 years she retired sound on clean legs (not even so much as a pimple on those legs!). She’s also got a great temperament, good movement, and a strong more old-fashioned looking TB type. The shipper who brought her from AZ to TX had nothing but very positive things to say about how great she was to work with, and her previous owners felt the same way.
Vee was not a very good racehorse, only winning once in all that time, but she had some serious turn of foot when she felt like it.
We really wanted something with a sporty pedigree, and I think we got that. Her sire Lonhro was an Australian racehorse (we didn’t set out to have two TB mares with Australian heritage, but here we are – Lonhro and Peyton’s damsire Quest for Fame were actually at the same stud farm in Australia! Peep this pic of both of them together.) who shuttled to America for a few seasons, and Vee is from one of those seasons. If you’ve never watched Lonhro’s Australian Cup win from 2004 you definitely should, it’s one of the most gutsy finishes I think I’ve ever seen. He stood in Kentucky but Vee officially hails from Maryland, having been bred by Robert Mantuso and born at Chanceland Farm. She was sold originally for 95k and made her way to the West Coast, racing mainly in California. When we picked her up she was at Turf Paradise, in Arizona.
Lonhro’s sire Octagonal is from the highly coveted Sir Tristam (Sir Ivor) line, and produced a lot of showjumpers and eventers in New Zealand and Australia. Octagonal’s dam was Eight Carat, one of the best producing turf mares ever. Lonhro offspring are a little bit hard to find in North America due to how little time he spent here, and they’re generally pretty popular as sporthorses. They can sometimes be a little on the smaller side but have reputations as great amateur-friendly horses with excellent canters. Vee was advertised as 16h, but sticks at 16.1 1/2… on the big side for a Lonhro and the perfect sporthorse size!
Some of that size may be thanks to her dam, Jolie Visage (looking at Vee’s gorgeous face, I have to wonder if – given the name – that’s who she got her head from). Jolie Visage’s sire is Broken Vow, who is a bit over the 16.2h mark. He’s another stout TB with a lot of bone, giving Vee substance from both sides of her pedigree. I’ve seen a lot of sporthorses from Broken Vow popping up in eventing as well as h/j, no surprise given that he’s by Unbridled and out of a Nijinsky mare.
On the bottom of her pedigree we find Lyphard, who should be pretty well known to any thoroughbred sporthorse aficionados. Lyphard himself was a fantastic turf horse in Europe and an excellent producer of mares, although he did find some success with his colts as well. Most notably he produced the stallion Dancing Brave, who produced Ghareeb – a stallion you find over and over again in 5* event horses from the UK and Ireland, especially on the damside. Rounding out the bottom of Vee’s pedigree you find the stallion Riverman, who was a very successful turf horse and sire in France that also become known as an excellent broodmare sire (fun fact: Riverman’s broodmare sire is 3/4 related to the dam of Mill Reef – another heavy hitter in the sporthorse world).
Basically, there is a lot to like about Vee, especially from a sporthorse breeding perspective. Her physical type is excellent too, with an super neck set, strong connections, good proportions, great balance, big feet and correct legs. She looks pretty darn good for a horse that spent so long racing and has just come off the track, and we can’t wait to see what she looks like once she’s been let down a bit more.
She’s the type of mare we think could cross well with some of the longer-lined European showjumping stallions, and that’s mainly what we’ve been looking at for her as a first baby daddy. The only bummer is that a lot of the US frozen semen brokers are very short on stock right now, so our first two choices aren’t available. There are still some good options that we’re pondering though, so stay tuned to see who we pick. Welcome to the WTW family, Vee!