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Foxton Morgans on Resort Valley Ranch

2 pictures below are brothers Harry & Torrence Corbin working on Resort Valley Ranch circa 1923.

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Main ranch house built 1921 after the original burned down. Present home of Tom & Barb Butterfield

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Resort Valley Ranch was homesteaded mainly by the Corbin family.  They had moved their cattle here during a particularly hard winter, as a "last resort", leading to the creeks being named Last Resort and West Resort.  Hard times in the 1930's and drought conditions, convinced the Corbin's to sell out and move to lusher climes.

Tom’s father, Dr. O.J. Butterfield was another doctor that invested his spare money in cattle ranching.   Purchased mainly after 1945, Tom's older brother Rupert tried to make a living raising trout on the Resort Creek property in the late '40's.  Otherwise, the place was occupied by various old-timers who caretook the place until 1955, when Barbara and Tom moved here to oversee the cattle business.  The second slope of the driveway frequently had to be dug out by hand for access. 

     The years of drought had left the place overgrazed and barren.  Times were hard, and the horses needed to work the cattle ate plenty.  The opportunity arose to lease them out in nearby Foxton--Foxton Stables was born.  An old livery and other outbuildings provided the facilities needed.  Mutual benefit was derived from the business as customers to the general store also would take advantage of the riding horses just across the bridge.  Workers and helpers came from off-duty air force boys, as well as volunteer children from the local summer cabins.  Guided rides were offered, as well as moonlight rides when appropriate and by appointment.  There were also "Chuck Wagon" cookouts which included a horse-drawn hay ride to and from. 

     Tom and Barbara also put on a Trail Horse Trials which was an annual competition over obstacles, judged, set up to simulate obstacles a horse might encounter while out riding.  This became more widely attended the second year, coming to the notice of horse breeders like Mary Woolverton, who competed in it for the first time in 1963.  (That's when Nan first fell in love with Prince of Pride, a golden palomino Morgan stallion who always looked like the perfect horse showing how to do it perfectly.)  1963 is the last year this event, and the stable business, was held in Foxton.  From then on, the stable was run from the barn at the ranch, and the Trail Horse Trials was not put on again until 1966, when it was sponsored by the 4-H Trail Dusters and put on in conjunction with the first annual Top of the World Competitive Trail ride which was head-quartered on the west end of the property. 

     As the stable became busier, more horses were purchased or leased to meet the need.  Many of these horse were grade individuals from known breeds.  The better mares did double duty by raising foals each year, that would be sold or auctioned off.  Some of the mares were bred to our Shetland pony stallion, Tarzan, he was called a chocolate-dapple.  Several years we had Appaloosa offspring from a friend's stallion.  For a short time, a Moroccan Paint stallion was used, but he tended to throw the lethal white gene, as well as breaking Tom Butterfield's knee with his bad behavior.  He soon found his way back to auction!

     A couple of the leased mares were Morgans.  They proved to be easy to work with as well as hardy individuals that kept well, and the foals proved easier to halter break than the other horses.  They made a good enough impression that a young gelding was purchased, and one nice mare was bred to the Morgan stallion Julio--descended from Juzan.  The resulting colt, Julian, was kept as stallion until age eight, before being gelded and living out his years as a family favorite.  Julian did a lovely running walk.  Unfortunately, none of his offspring were kept, including the two from the half Shetland mares kept for the family.

     It may seem that the cattle operation got dropped by the wayside.  In actuality, that's not far from the truth.  The fact that the registered Herefords purchased by Tom and Barbara, turned out to carry dwarf genes, which soon became apparent each calving season.  This rather limited the value and productivity of the herd.  Financial concerns brought on by Dr. Butterfield's death in 1967, subsequently led to the dispersal of the cattle herd. 

     It was fortunate that the Stable had become established enough to become one of the mainstays of the family fortunes.  Diversification was always a necessity.  Horses were leased to the Forest Service when they needed them.  The entire string would be utilized for company picnics, with the horses being brought to the site.  Churches were sent flyers promoting group rides and hayrides.  Boy Scout troops were welcomed to camp, ride and work on both Horsemanship and Conservation Merit Badges--which benefited in valuable erosion control work.  Many times, ranch hands were obtained from these sources, both for fencing and Christmas tree cutting.  There were many winters that the place carried over a hundred head of horses, as several camps in the area would winter their horses here.   Dad would haul them back and forth, pull their shoes, etc.

     Our pinto line originated with Barbara's mare Calico, a pinto mare of unknown breeding, though Tennessee Walker was suspected due to her gaits.  Having been diagnosed with Navicular disease, she was bred to the Shetland, Tarzan, a chocolate-dapple--producing the mare Feather (Nan's pony).  This line has been bred only to Morgans since '66, when Feather was bred to General James, producing the mare Calico Doll, granddam to our stallion RV Eagle Feather.  Doll was only 14.2, but she had heart, stamina and intelligence.  Having learned much at the knee of the Shetland, Feather, Nan began training Doll in 1970.  This mare was just four years old when she took the High Point Champion in the '71 Trail Horse Trials, over some tough competition, including Mary Woolverton's Prince of Pride.  She could side-pass, two track, drag a log, pull a cart without blinders, open gates, work livestock and run all day.  She also would gait occasionally, a trait that skipped a generation.

     Calico Doll was bred to Prince of Pride five different times, prior to his death in 1973(?).  She would get in foal but never carried to term.  Nan did some riding for Mary in exchange for these breedings, working Victory Vagabond.  Finally the arrangement was settled by getting Calico Doll in foal to her stallion, Great Hills Richmond.  Calico Doll's brown colt from this cross was sold on to the Tumbling River Ranch for cattle work.

     In the 1970's, a local breeder came to our attention with her stallion, Topside Midnight, when she competed him in the Top of the World Competitive Trail Ride.  The crossing of Calico Doll with Midnight produced the black 3/4 Morgan stallion, Jaspar, in 1974.  He was used for breeding four or five years, overlapping the transition to pureblooded Morgans in 1977. I always thought it unfortunate that he wasn't pure-blooded as he had wonderful manners, was very solid and typey and a generous sire.  We sold his offspring until 1985 and still have a great-granddaughter.  He was gelded in '81, and sold in '82.  A few of the solid colored part-bloods come down from this line of the family.  One of his daughters has competed as a grade horse in Competitive Trail riding for the past ten years.

     Three major land sales were required for operating expenses during the late '60's and early '70's.  The Indian Park Ranch was decreased to 280 acres, Resort Valley Ranch decreased from 5,000 acres to its present 4,000.  The Camp Fire Girls purchased the property adjacent to the driveway, leading to their utilizing horses from our string for their horse program.  As the Camp increased its horse program, the public stables was gradually phased out.  This freed up the Butterfield's lifestyle enough for them to focus on starting raising the pure-blooded Morgans, beginning with their purchase of SH Crescent in 1976.

     Purchased from Irma and Jerry McGuire, Crescent was 15 hands at age three.  Barbara fell in love with Teton Easy Rhythm and Crescent was bred to him prior to being brought home to Colorado.  The bay colt from this cross was named Foxton Teton, and so began our herd of Flyhawks.  Teton later proved his worth in giving us people loving foals, many of them mares.  In 1979,Crescent was bred to Mary Woolverton's Great Hills Richmond, producing our second bay colt, Foxton Sky Pilot. 

     Tom and Barbara's son and daughter in law, Mike and Laurie, purchased Angelique of Wyolite in 1976.  She was brought down from Wyoming the same trip as Crescent.  They bred her to Mary Woolverton's stallion, Victory's Moonshadow, in 1977.  Tom and Barbara purchased her prior to foaling, in 1978.  This gave us the black mare named Shadowlique, who had three colts by Foxton Teton in '83, '84, and '86.  The 1983 bay gelding,Foxton Shadow Hawk, was sold to Larry Vickroy and became his Competitive Driving ribbon winner.  Larry also purchased the bays Foxton Cavalier, and Foxton Storm Shadow, neither of which worked out to make a pair with Shadow Hawk.  Shadowlique was sold in foal to Society Statusmaster, in 1987.  This time she had a bay filly named Cézanne Status who is gaited.  (Angelique had a tendency to gait, it skipped a generation and was brought out by Society Statusmasters strong inclination to gait.)

     The cross of Flyhawk blood with Senator Graham's gave us horses we liked, so we have pretty much continued this breeding strategy.  The calmness and sense of the Chocolate breeding behind General James was also noted, so we have tried to include these bloodlines whenever possible to offset the fire of the Flyhawks.  This is partly what led to the decision to use Pegasus Persuader in '81, '82, and '84.  Nan and Barbara both liked the silver-dapple coloring and his influence helped produce quieter offspring.  These breedings resulted in Foxton Pegasus, a silver/bay dapple that was gelded;  Foxton Felicia, a silver-dapple/black;  and Foxton Persuasion who was a chestnut like his dam.

     The next mare Tom and Barbara purchased was Wyoming Beaut, in1980.  Jerry and Irma McGuire had purchased her in foal to Wyoming Flyhawk.  Double-bred Bennington lines, Beauty's colt was a red bay named Foxton Conejos.  Due to her temperament, we always bred Beauty to Foxton Teton as he generally threw friendly colts.  Beauty gave colts each year until 1987, when she finally gave us a filly, Foxton Tapestry.  We determined to keep the filly and sold the mare, only to have Tapestry die out in pasture just a few months later.

     Thom Harris and Nan were married in 1981.  He had worked on the place during the summers since 1974, through the transitions from public stable to private herd and part-bloods to pure blooded horses.  He took Foxton Teton to 4th place in the A.M.H.A. Open Competition, Trail Riding Division, in 1983.  In 1984, he repeated this placing with Solita Kristee, who had been purchased the previous year from Jacqueline Dunn of Elbert, Co.  This mare serves as Barbara's trusted mount to this day and they are in the Partners Program.

     Foxton Teton was the stallion who advanced the pinto herd when crossed with Calico Doll.  They had three offspring: RV Calico Domenica, a black and white pinto mare in 1981;  RV Rose, chestnut mare in 1982; and RV Jaxon in 1984.  Rose and Jaxon are both gaited.   Domenica is the dam of our stallion, RV Eagle Feather, by Topside Midnight.  Foaled in 1993, he has given us several pinto offspring, as well as a couple solid colored, typey part-bloods.    

     It was while carrying Jaxon, at age sixteen, Calico Doll was pressed into service at the Chugwater Competitive Trail ride in '83.  As the only available sweeprider, she and Nan finished the two day, 60 mile competitive ride with no ill effects, even upon having to trailer home immediately afterwards.

     The Morrison bred, gaited mare, Dores Day, was purchased by Mike and Laurie Butterfield in 1982.  They raised two foals by Foxton Teton, IPR Juleagain and IPR Magenta.  Dores Day went over a year carrying Magenta, causing her to be one of the first horses bloodtyped from our breeding.  Dores Day became a Foxton Morgan in 1986, we liked her gaits and the fact that she had a line to Julio, the sire of our first part-blood stallion.  She produced offspring from the stallions Foxton Teton, Society Statusmaster, and Topside Midnight.  In fact, it was Nan's desire to get a foal from this mare and Midnight that subsequently led to the owner transferring Midnight's papers over, in 1989.

     1982 continued the gradual transition in our herd.  The now gelded Jaspar was sold.  Teton's second year of offspring were endearing themselves to us all.  Tom and Barbara purchased two more mares:  SH Bonnie Belle and Ramul's Trixie.  Bonnie was a green-broke, brown chestnut, by Dee Cee Destiny.  She was a family favorite, producing many fine foals, as well as being a trusted riding horse that did many a pack trip.   Ramul's Trixie was a yearling, another skittish, lively chestnut mare--much like SH Crescent.  We had hopes for her future in our herd, but she died unexpectedly two years later.   We suspected that the extreme fluctuations in the weather that week had triggered a bout of colic.

      1983 was the year that Royal Rose Anna, a Flyhawk granddaughter, joined our herd.  She was purchased from Mary Lassiter of Cedar Edge, Co., the breeder of Solita Kristee.  We suspect that she is the source of a minimally expressed Sabino gene, she was a flaxen chestnut with a blaze and four white hooves.  She had been bred to Kellfleet and had a black colt named Foxton Normandy.  He was donated to the Colorado Boy's Ranch in 1986.  Rose Anna's first foal by Foxton Teton was named Foxton Carillon in 1986, a flaxen, chestnut mare with a star connected strip.  The black mare, Ebony Rose, sold as a yearling in 1988.  We have kept her final daughter, Foxton Echo who was foaled in 1988. 

     Sh Crescent was taken out to be bred to Society Statusmaster in 1983.  She had a gorgeous bay filly named Foxton Debutante who was purchased back by Don Daniel, Sy's owner.  Unfortunately, this filly died in the following year.  

     The end of 1983 brought the bad news that the Camp Fire Girls were no longer going to be running the camp or leasing the horses.  Amazingly, we were able to find a dude ranch that wanted to get a string of horses.  It was arranged that they would lease all horses and tack for a season, and upon approval, they would purchase the same through the following year (1985).  The deal worked for both parties and they subsequently purchased all of the horses and much of the equipment.  They also paid the horses' pasture their final winter here.  It was the end of an era of driving the herd in from pasture each morning, and back out each evening.  It may have been our biggest year for horse sales ever;  thirty-six head in all, fourteen that we raised, and twenty-two that made up the stable herd.

     This was the year we took Crescent out to Mary Woolverton's, Saddleback Sea King.  This resulted in the nice, chestnut mare, Foxton Brittany.  She was sold at age four and went to a Texas cattle ranch, in foal to our young stallion, Foxton Society Beau.  She had a lovely bay colt.

     1985 was also the year we purchased RG Irish Rose, we called her Trish as we already had two Roses.  She was a brown mare and was in foal to Teton Shadow Hawk.  The resulting colt we named Foxton Brigadier, and sold when he was three.  Trish's next colt was by Foxton Teton, a chestnut, but he had to be put down due to his leg being broke before he reached two months.  We trained Trish and sold her for a riding horse, in 1988.

A great percentage of our horses sell once they have been started under saddle.  Only occasionally does a horse remain long enough to require "finishing".  Nan has been the main trainer of all these horses, from birth and through all of the ground work.  Seven head is the most I recall having to start in a single year.  Thom Harris was quite surprised in 1986, when she informed him that he was going to have to take over this task for the next few years.  Nan was finding it difficult to keep up with the young horses during ground driving, when she was four months pregnant!  Actually, Thom had been doing more training than he realized.  He had already been taking over the livelier colts once they had been started.  It benefited Nan to be able to focus on the first year's training, knowing  he would continue the riding on a portion of the less green horses.  The main thing he had to do was to polish up his ground-work skills.  He still prefers Nan to do the ground driving, and she prefers that he does the longeing.  All of the horses benefit from being handled by different riders, so it works out well.

     We had taken SH Crescent to several stallions over the years.  It was always a problem as she was upset with having to adjust to new locations.  In 1986, we leased Society Statusmaster and had him here at the ranch for a few months.  Though he was shown as a park horse, we were delighted to discover that under saddle, he showed his desire to move out in gait. 

     Bred to SH Crescent, Dores Day, SH Bonnie Belle and Foxton Felicia, his offspring can serve as an example of the inheritance of gait.   There is as much variance in the quality of gait as there is in the quality of trot.  SH Crescent was strong to trot, her colt was strong to trot.  Dores Day's gait I would call moderate, though solid in her gait, she didn't have much speed and would still trot too.  Her colt, Foxton Society Beau, is very strongly gaited and I have never seen him trot.  Both SH Bonnie Belle and Foxton Felicia I would qualify as moderately strong to trot.  Both were very smooth, with Felicia being able to go at speed.  Bonnie's filly, Foxton Shamrok Belle is fairly strongly gaited, but will occasionally trot and has speed from the sire.  Felicia's filly, Foxton Fawn, is not gaited to my knowledge, I think she is strong to trot like her granddam, Crescent.  Foxton Fawn is the second silver-dapple produced by our breeding, Felicia's first of three.

     Some horses never show gait until they are older and balanced in their way of going.  If they have only moderate gait, they may never have shown it as it needs to be 'brought out".  As in any training, one has to discover what works with each individual horse.  Some prefer to gait up or down hill.  Some gait when they are tense.  Trying to increase their speed at the walk will often encourage gait, as will trying to keep them to a walk when their buddies have gone ahead.  It is always important to encourage gait!

     Foxton Society Beau showed exemplary type from birth.  We have raised and sold many colts, none of whom had what we were looking for in a stallion prospect.  Raising our own is an important aspect, in part due to being able to imprint train and handle the horse all along.  The fact of Beau's gait and breedability to Teton's dam and daughters made him a good choice to keep.  His foals have nearly the same qualities as Teton's, though are somewhat more sensitive to frightening stimulus.

     Saddleback Sea King had his turn again in 1987.  This time he was brought up to the ranch.  He had never been trained as it was felt that his damaged hip would not be strong enough.  All I can say is that it didn't keep him from jumping out of his pen one day when I led Crescent by.  He had already bred her, I guess he thought it would be nice to join her in pasture.  This cross once again gave us a chestnut filly, Foxton Crescendo.  Jon Hyer purchased her to work cattle, but she became his wife's horse a few years later.

     Topside Medallion joined us in 1988, having been retired from Norman Baker's breeding program.  We covered SH Crescent and Foxton Quotation, but neither mare carried through.  Crescent had one of her few years off from raising foals.  In 1989, he was bred to IPR Magenta, who was now owned by Ken and Mary Butterfield (Mary Meyer).  This cross produced the nice bay mare Jemez Sienna.  We also covered SH Bonnie Belle, resulting in our chestnut mare, Foxton Fairy Belle. 

     Medallion was only here the two breeding seasons as we acquired the stallion we really wanted, Topside Midnight, now 21 years old.

     Throughout his life, Topside Midnight had competed in many disciplines:  Competitive Trail Riding in the late '60's and early '70's, ridden by his owner Patti Favara;  I believe he was driven by his next owner, Virginia Wages;  Robert and Cynthia Hellman did show jumping.  Patti bought him back in 1985, when she competed him in Dressage, reaching second level.  This is to the best of my knowledge.

     As Midnight had few registered offspring, Patti offered him to us when she had to move to Georgia on 1989.  She didn't want to put him through such a climate change at his time of life, and felt that we would give him the opportunity to cover lots of mares.  His first season here, we bred him to Dores Day, Foxton Felicia and SH Crescent.

     Born in 1990, Foxton April Doll is Dores Day's bay filly.  She is typey and compact.  At four months old, she got through a fence, tearing a great wound in her right chest, foreleg juncture.  It was obviously quite fresh when we found her, so our veterinarian stitched it up, only to have everything rip open again when she stood up!  April still healed well, her scar is hardly noticeable.  April has had three colts to date.  She is one of our trusted lesson horses.

     Foxton Felicia's cross with Midnight presented us with another silver-dapple, Foxton Smokey Dawn.  This mare is a small, rounder mare than her sister, Foxton Fawn.  She has been a good, quiet mare for us.  She started to show gait three years ago, even though neither parent showed gait.  Dawn has also proven herself by passing her color and gait to Foxton Frosty Dawn, when crossed with Foxton Society Beau.

     Besides acquiring Topside Midnight, 1989 was notable in the birth of our second son, Justin.  I know, I never went into the birth of our first son, Corwyn.  Lets just say that is a whole episode in itself, and it's amazing that I willingly allowed it to happen to me again!  It's a good thing that Thom adjusted well to the horse training.  Having two sons rather limited my time and energy.  Af.

     Foxton Elegance is the third Topside Midnight foal we received in 1990.  She is a lovely 15.1 hand, black mare that personifies her name.  One of Nan's most trusted riding horses, she is well mannered and walks out well.  So far, she has given us two foals, by Foxton Society Beau, Foxton Excalibur and Foxton Beaudette.  Excalibur should have gait when he becomes balanced with maturity.  Beaudette has already shown her gaiting ability and we're keeping her for our herd.  She's everyone's supervisor if given the chance, a real friendly and curious filly.

         We finally sold the last remaining daughter of Jaspar's line in 1991, to Sherry and Ross Eckel.  Riga was never even registered as a part-blood, though she was 3/4 Morgan.  One parent has to be pure blooded, her were both 3/4 Morgan.  Nan had competed Riga in 1982 in a couple of trail rides.  They both found it to be a lot of work!  Also, Nan needed the time for training the young horses, so Riga was allowed to be a broodmare.  Crossed with Teton, she had a lovely bay colt, RV Rigel, in 1984.  He sold as a three year old, after he had been started under saddle.

     Riga's other contribution to our herd was RV Cinder in 1985.  Cinder has been one of our most trusted mounts, and lesson horses, but she didn't inherit the gait.  She was Justin's horse for a while, until he lost interest, now I'm encouraging him to choose another.   I think that mare would follow me anywhere, I've led her across a beaver dam with just a piece of twine around her neck. 

     Cinder took matters into her own hooves when it came to becoming a broodmare.  She was so keen to the task, she knocked down the corral fence during the night, and got in with our young stallion, Foxton Society Beau.  (I like to picture her falling over backwards when it gave way.)  This was in 1993.  The gaited bay colt, RV Sparkler, was the result of this union.  Sparkler is one part-blood that will always be known as a Morgan--just from his looks.  If he had been pure blooded we would have tried to keep him entire.  Diane Marquardt is his proud owner who competes him in competitive trail.

     Riga's next five years were spent as a riding horse.  She was the first horse Nan rode after Cory was born.  She was one of the horses that Cory rode when he was young, though his horse was really RV Calico Domenique.

     The next eleven years have found Riga back on the competitive trails.  She has seldom placed, but she has been the trusted mount for numerous novices to the sport.  What a perfect way to learn, on a gaited horse!  The Eckels also own and compete with two of our pure blooded Morgans.  Foxton Bandido (Foxton Teton x Angelique of Wyolite) is a large bay gelding born in 1982.  He's still going strong and Sherry is still wondering when he's going to mellow.  Bandit is the horse silhouetted on the A.M.H.A. Open Competition Award.  Their petite mare, Foxton Bon Bon, is also by Foxton Teton, out of SH Bonnie Belle, foaled in 1985.      

     Keeping a stallion will teach you a lot!  One of the hardest things sometimes is keeping their condition up through a breeding season.  Any problems encountered from having one stallion multiply by each additional one brought into proximity.  If one stallion is upset or excited, the others escalate the energy, as each one tries to be the most visible and important.  They wouldn't want to miss out on anything!  Unfortunately, all this activity is deleterious to their health in many ways.  Sometimes they don't even focus properly on their grain or hay.  Foxton Teton would come out of his pen in competition shape from running the rails.  Topside Midnight would travel his fenceline until I had to shoe him, as he'd worn his hooves off, not to mention his weight! 

     The summer of 1992 was enlivened by RV Cinder and RVCalico Domenique's, escaping from the annual pack trip.  Domenique was in foal to Topside Midnight, and these were two of our best using horses!  The packers spent most of a week trying to find the two mares, both of which had halters and leads on.  (They had both been mistakenly released to graze at the same time.)  This was near Turquoise Lake in the Leadville vicinity.  Thom and I also went up a couple of different weekends to look for sign, and to post notices of the lost horses offering a reward.  The local ranchers all agreed that they would show up when the snow started falling.  Finally, an elk hunter spotted the mares with a herd of elk that was heading towards Aspen.  He missed his chance at an elk by opting to catch one of the horses.  Having seen the notices in the paper pertaining to the horses, he had brought a rope along.  Fortunately, Cinder still had her halter on--Nika didn't, and she acted like she wanted to go with the elk!  Cinder came right over to see the man, so he tied the rope on and took her down to the trail head.  We had left a bale of hay there over a month before, in the hopes that the mares would at least hang there long enough to eat it.  He tied Cinder there, she and Nika started in on it.  Thom zipped down the next morning, to find the bale mostly eaten and Nika gone.  He hopped on Cinder and she took him right up the mountain after Nika, giving a buck now and then from sheer spirits.  Nika had gone way up there again and was surrounded by grass, aspens and a little spring was handy.  We sure were relieved to get those mares back home!  They had been out there a couple of months, their bellies were fat and their shoes had little wear.  I think it was rather fortunate anyone ever got to see them--they had it made up there.

     1993's crop of foals brought us three head, one by each stallion.  RV Calico Domenique gave us our pinto stallion, RV Eagle Feather.  Solita Kristee had the bay colt Foxton Casco, by Foxton Society Beau.  Dores Day had her last filly, our last by Foxton Teton, a chestnut mare named Foxton Nina.  This is the mare Thom competed this year.

     In 1993, we sold two of Teton's offspring, one gelding from Midnight, a daughter of Medallion, plus Beau's dam, Dores Day (after weaning).  It was our fifth breeding season with Midnight.  Now twenty-four years old, we began noticing weakness in his hind end.  He even fell a time or two when breeding.  We also noticed that he was becoming unable to stand up if he was lying on his left side--we'd have to roll him over.  We knew the old boy wasn't going to be around much longer.  The end is seldom pretty.  He left us a great legacy in his sons and daughters, which we'll always appreciate!

     Topside Midnight's last crop of foals was in 1994.  Foxton Debonair (from SH Bonnie Belle) and Foxton Black Jack (from Foxton Quotation) were both sold to Carroll Whiting in January 1995.  He also acquired Foxton Fawn, raising a couple of silvers from crossing her with Foxton Debonair, plus a few other foals from some other mares.    Foxton Eloquence was one of our last daughters from Midnight.  The other black filly was out of my part-blood mare, RV Rose--she went to a good home in Canada in 1996.

     Full sister to Foxton Bandido, Foxton Quotation was foaled in 1983.  She had been my "work" horse from age four.  She also gave us Foxton Exclamation, 1991:  Foxton Equation, 1992;  and Foxton Black Jack in 1994,all by Topside Midnight.  We crossed her with Foxton Society Beau in 1995, producing Foxton Bay Star.  In 1997, we sold her to my friend Roxanne Turnbull.  We still use her for lessons, or a gentle ride, whenever needed.  We leased her back in 2001 to cross with Kickapoo HDC Chief, but she didn't settle.

     One of the advantages of electric fencing is that the horses won't even get near the fence.  Unfortunately, it has never worked that well for us, the stallions consider it a challenge to knock it down.  Teton would literally throw himself into the rails of his pen to get after a horse he disapproved of there.  He had banged up his right knee to the point of being chronically sore.  He also has a large callus on his chest.  This makes him sound like a mean horse.  He never bothered any weanling that managed to slip into his pen, which happened nearly once each year.  I'm sure one of his fondest memories was being surrounded by a whole troop of Girl Scouts, all chattering, admiring and patting him.  But if I had a horse in the corral that didn't want to be caught, Teton would get angry at the horse and lay into it if it tried to take refuge near him.  Yet, a portion of his last winter was spent in our foal pen, accompanied by one of his weanling grandsons--they had a grand time playing together!  

     Foxton Teton came to his end in 1997.  He was so focused on the mares that he forgot to eat and drink.  His system shut down and we had to face the decision of putting him down.  We had been breeding him to Foxton April Doll, but she was still in heat for several days after his passing.  The veterinarian checked her out as being open, so we figured that was that.  

     The following spring, we leased April Doll to Phil Magee, who took her to the T-Bone Ranch in Nebraska to be bred to T-Bone Lad Squire.  We had joked about her "hay bally" as we loaded her into the trailer.  The joke turned out to be on us--she foaled the first week in Nebraska, while out in pasture with the stallion.  Assuming that the black filly must have been engendered by April's

 visiting  the newly gelded Foxton Bay Star's pasture the previous summer, we went ahead and sold the filly Foxton T-Bone Surprise to John Streiff.  Bloodtyping subsequently proved Foxton Teton to have been the sire.  That is how we allowed Teton's last filly to get away from us.

      Horse breeding is a pursuit to fill one's life.  It's an interwoven tapestry of bloodlines.  Teton was twelve years old when we got Midnight.  Beau was four.  We didn't really need another stallion, but the herd benefited from his addition to our bloodlines.  Both of the older stallions gave us a solid group of mares to breed to Beau.  We didn't purchase a mare for thirteen years.  Even then, it was grabbing an opportunity, rather than a necessity.

     Phil Magee had some mares pastured with us in 1998, when financial necessity forced him to disperse his band.  We were fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase Amador Firelight.  A gaited, Jubilee King bred mare, she also has a line to Hylie's Heir.  This line can also be traced in Foxton Teton's pedigree.  Firelight was in foal to T-Bone Classy Lad and we had hopes for a young colt to bring new blood into our herd.  We lucked out and are proud to own Medicine Wheel Redwing, the chestnut colt born in 1989.  He is also gaited--we  look forward to many gaited offspring from crossing him on Beau's daughters and sisters.  His first foals arrived this past spring, two chestnut part-blood fillies and a brown colt from Foxton April Doll.  The two fillies are to serve as replacements for their dams in my herd.

     We have sold RV Cinder to our friends, Roxanne and Gary, with the stipulation that I could raise a replacement from Cinder.  This summer again proved Cinder's control over her foalings.  We were quite surprised to discover that she had had a filly while the Hayman Fire was keeping us on our toes.  Cinder was just out with the herd in one of the pastures.  This chestnut filly has the look of her granddam Amador Firelight, so we figure that Redwing is the lucky sire.  Thanks once again Cinder, for saving us time!

     Another mare we have purchased from Phil Magee is Greentree Zinnia, in 2000.  I was interested in her as she transitions through gait when being led.  She did not carry her weight well at first and was very difficult to deworm.  She's made a lot of progress in both regards since we've had her teeth worked on a couple of times.  Zinnia proved her value as a broodmare this past spring, when she gave us RV Bonita.  We are very pleased with this black and white pinto filly.  This is another horse that I think would follow me anywhere.  (There is one every year, it proves to be of great benefit when the weanlings wander off somewhere!)

     I'm hoping to make more progress with Zinnia's training this spring and summer.  She has been started, but has attitude.  We didn't even try to use a bit on her before her teeth were tended to.  It could be that her attitude was caused by her discomfort.

     Our pinto line doesn't grow too quickly.  We kept RV Eagle Feather as we liked his type, and his bloodlines, as well as wanting to be able to offer him for stud service.  So many people wanted to purchase his dam that we could never have sold her to anyone, without making a lot of people upset that they didn't get her.  Now I can offer to breed their mare or sell them a colt now and then.  I have a limited number of mares that I will breed to Eagle feather, as he shares bloodlines with so many of my mares.  We do try to cover one of our mares each year.

     His first foal came in 1996, from Solita Kristee.  RV Midnight Star is a nearly black mare that we have kept to represent Kristee's line in our herd.  She was followed by:  RV Cisco Kid, out of Foxton Shamrok Belle, in 1998;  RV Serena, out of Foxton Felicia, 1998;  RV Clover Lief, out of Shamrok Belle, in 2001;  RV Bonita in 2002.  Eagle Feather also sired a pinto colt from Snowcloud Savannah in 2002.  There is also a pinto colt from a Quarter horse mare that came to be bred a couple of years ago.  Being heterozygous, each foal has a 50/50 chance of being pinto, unless he is bred to a homozygous, pinto mare.  His record so far is pretty good, only two solid-colored foals out of a group of seven.

     Our future goals are to keep producing smooth, attractive, athletic, usable horses that like people and are a pleasure to work with.  So far our sons aren't interested in being ranchers. We hope they will someday find wives that are interested, or a manager to take over running the ranch/breeding program for them.  I'm currently waiting to see if Laura Behning's palomino mare has a palomino filly, if she does, I'm committed to purchasing it.  Having silvers and pintos doesn't prevent me from wanting even more color possibilities for my herd!

     As with any business or occupation, things don't always go as planned.  No matter how experienced one may be, there is always mistakes that can be made, no one can be right all of the time.  I'm not just referring to mares that get themselves in foal, either.  Sometimes bad things happen to good horses, as life can be unfair to the best.

     RV Domenique's last foal was in 1997, a lovely brown and white pinto filly, RV Calica, by Foxton Society Beau.  We planned on keeping her to replace Domenique as broodmare.  There was no particular hurry to train her as she wasn't intended for sale.  We were letting her finish growing and filling out.  Intending to start her this past summer, we were disappointed to find that she had a large swelling on her right stifle.  Assuming it was due to being kicked, we opted to put her back out to pasture to recover.  It didn't go away, but got no larger either.  I observed her in August when I moved the horses to a new pasture, no change.  How I wish we had checked it out then!  A month later I located the horses in the pasture.  I was quite dismayed to see that Calica was very thin and she had a large growth on her lower jaw--nightmare material for sure.  She had lost all her youthful condition due to not being able to eat or drink properly.  Subsequent biopsies showed it to be a massive fibroid tumor of a type that generally does not become systemic, but we could assume that the stifle was the same origin.  The prognosis would have been much better if we would have had the veterinarian check her out a few months sooner.  At that point, our only options were to have surgeries performed on both tumors and chemo-therapy thereafter.  The surgery on her jaw would have required the loss of some of the lower jaw's bone mass, at least three of her teeth were already disrupted from the jaw.  Calica would have been a special feeds horse the rest of her life!  We felt that poor Calica no longer had the physical reserves to undergo this sort of treatment successfully.  Though on hay and grain for a week, we could tell she was weaker than when we brought her in.  We couldn't force her to suffer any longer and regretfully put her down.

     Assumptions can be costly, have your veterinarian check things out!  It could prevent an even costlier outcome.  Our assumptions caused a terrible ending for a sweet little horse!

     Everyone takes dangerous risks daily, that we don't even think about.  We took a huge risk this past summer by not evacuating ourselves and our horses when the Hayman Fire raged only ten miles away from our ranch.  We knew the risk and deliberately chose to gamble with our safety, as well as the welfare of our dependents.  All I can say is, we did evacuate in 2000 for the High Meadows Fire.  It is a harrowing experience either way.  In our defense, we made the decision to stay partly due to the three previous fires in our area had made somewhat of a firebreak between us and the Hayman Fire.  It was a choice made in faith.  It was a decision to stand by our home and our assets, that could have cost us everything, including our lives.  There is no easing the worry no matter what choice was made.  The scariest part is knowing how much misinformation is out there in such a crisis.  (In 2000, we were told by a police officer, that Cathedral had burned at 10:00 that morning, only to have people evacuating from their homes along the river, tell us "no way"!)  We also had everything packed and ready to go, it would have been the horses that would have been hard to get out after the first day.  They can't make you evacuate, but if you leave the place, they may not let you return!

 


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Breeding for Temperment, Gait & Color