Tilly was born on Mother’s Day three years ago today. It has been an interesting, challenging journey which began with choosing a sire and dam; coordinating the breeding schedule, location, documents and veterinarian assistance; and a myriad of other details I had never thought of. It began with a sudden impulse to have a horse, but not any horse. I grew up with a splashy black and white paint mare we called “Pinto Paint” that I loved dearly. She had two blue eyes and a tolerant, albeit mischievous personality. My memories of riding her bareback with the wind in my hair up and down a trail along the creek bottom fills me with nostalgia to this day.
In January of 2008 I spied an article in the Denver Post featuring a black and white homozygous tobiano stallion named Pistol Packin’ Frekles. Horses were in town for the Denver Stock Show and I tore the article out of the paper and laid it on my desk. And the wild idea was born. Thankfully, my niece Sue is a horse woman and agreed to let us lease her sorrel mare Tia for the grand experiment. Tia is predominantly solid in color but her sire, JB Classic is a sorrel overo paint and his sire, Titans Bar, is a sorrel overo. Tia qualified as a registered paint brood mare and she has produced some lovely foals for Sue.
Shopping for the other side of the equation led us to SugsTruLuck, a black and white homozygous tobiano paint with genetic capability to assure a colt with classic patches of color. SugsTruLuck, in addition to being a gorgeous animal, was an APHA Reserve World Champion, earning 1,200+ APHA points in ten events. His lineage from Tru Bruiser, Painted Tru Tru and Lily Quadrille, all black and white tobianos, gave us some hope he would produce a black and white foal.
Our breeding schedule was delayed right out of the starting gate with an outbreak of equine herpes virus (EHV-1) at an event in Ogden, Utah and one in Oklahoma. The trainer who managed SugsTruLuck wanted assurances that the stallion station we contracted with in Pueblo, Colorado was free of any outbreak, since show horses travel regionally and nationally. After a brief delay, we got going but the first attempt was unsuccessful. The second try produced two embryos and the vet interrupted development of one, leaving the one remaining to ultimately become Tilly.
Officially christened Tru Tahlequa Miss, this pretty baby takes after her mother’s side of the family and is registered as a bay tobiano/overo. She has two blue eyes, which thrilled me, even though I have sunk a fortune in fly masks to protect her eyes from the sun. Having been away from horses most of my adult life, taking charge of a six-month-old weanling was a jolt into reality. After the long, eleven-month gestation period and the wait until we could bring her home, it all seemed like a dream that had not yet come true. And then we had our hands full of a jumpy, sad little foal who wanted her mama and didn’t like anybody but the long horn/angus steer we weaned in the corral alongside her. The bond that formed in that first week between Feed Lot and Tilly has endured. It has been hilarious at times, frustrating at times, and scary at times.
Mother and baby off to a great start. Happy Birthday, Tilly!