From the Foaling Barn

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An Homage to Gunner

Last year I watched the finals at the Futurity with Kathy and Lindsey McCutcheon. After an uninspired, error-filled couple of hours, a little paint mare ran in and stopped and the crowd started paying attention. As we watched Americasnextgunmodel make her way through the pattern, Kathy McCutcheon leaned over and said, "Some horses just have crowd appeal." And, indeed, the little mare did. She looked like a horse who loved her job and gave it her all. You just couldn't help smiling as you watched her. When I left the stadium at the end of the competition, I saw Casey Deary on the ground with his horse, and I was surprised at how small and, frankly, ordinary she looked. Had I not seen her show, I would never have guessed that she had just won the NRHA Open Futurity. Americasnextgunmodel was just one of six Gunner offspring in the finals, but she was a perfect representative of her Five Million Dollar Sire. Since he first started coming into his own as a stud, Gunner put his stamp on this offspring, It wasn't the bald-face and floppy ears that marked Gunner offspring, but rather it was their spirit.Gunner was the bedrock of my own breeding program. Each July, after the end of the breeding season, I list all my mares on the white board in my foaling barn, and begin the long, arduous process of planning my breedings for the next season. I always know one thing for certain, I will be breeding to Gunner. And the first decision I make is which mare or mares I will pair with him. Now when I think about the coming breeding season, I can't imagine how I will fill the void. This past year I bread my mares to ten different stallions, all of them wonderful, proven or promising studs, but .. . . Well, there just isn't any other reining stud like Gunner.



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