Welcome to a Special Family!

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Around here, clients tend to feel more like close friends. You get to know them and their families, you attend events together, travel together, and watch them grow and progress. Cheering for their accomplishments and encouraging them when they need to try again. This is why we get excited when a new family joins ours. We were happy to see James and Courtney Coughlin Makris and their family recently purchase Mandatario de Spring aka "Boss".

Looking forward to making this a family affair with children, James and Mikayla, sparking an interest in competitive riding and horses in general. We agree this is a great family hobby and passion!

A passion Courtney know a little something about! Courtney was the 2011 Quarter Horse Congress Queen and now serves as the Committee Chair for the Congress Queen Contest. She was born and raised on a Quarter Horse Farm in the Mountains of Southwest Virginia. Growing up showing Quarter Horses, Courtney has earned multiple Congress Championships throughout the years.  Courtney and Boss will be training and showing with Spring Lane Ranch and we can't wait to see how they do in their debut together at the Last Chance show in August.

James and Courtney with Boss

"Little" James getting to lead Boss for the first time.

Sire Selection

Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 2:49 PM

It's only fair since we discussed good mothering mares last month that we would discuss great producing sires in June, right?

Let's face it, every magazine you pick up has a wide selection of impressive looking stallions who are topping the charts in their discipline. When it’s time to select a sire for your breeding program, all those beautifully designed ads start to run together. It's almost overwhelming to narrow the national, international, sexed, non-sexed, crazy long list of sires into...the one.

The one who is going to give you a better foal than last year or is going to improve your herd's genetics. And while you may be dreaming of raising the next Jordan, Undulata, Chrome or Doc, honestly, every breeder, everywhere, really wants just one thing. Improvement. More bone, more speed, better movement, more athleticism. We all want a healthy foal, but preferably one that sits nicely in front of the backdrop and looks good in purple and tricolor.

As a breeder, of any size, improvement is always the goal.

Just like making an investment, and wanting a good return, you must put the effort into your breeding program. There is no guarantee or promise you will get a great return but like any investment the more effort you put into your decision the better your chances are.

Where to start? Be diligent.

Most owners struggle with this next step but if you want better, you need to look at what you already have. Analyze and access your mare. Where is her strength? Where is her weakness? What would you change? What negative comments do you get consistently from judges? Make a list of the attributes you would change to give her better performance. Second, be realistic. Perception and knowledge can really affect the usefulness of this list. If your judgement is softened by how much you love your mare, or lack of experience, get a Qualified second opinion. Don’t expect more from your mare than she can give, your feminine, fine boned mare is not going to throw you a draft horse. Know her breed and structure and what she can produce in her offspring. Lastly, if your mare truly can’t deliver  what you are looking for, consider spending the money you would invest in breeding into purchasing or using your mare as a recip. Rather than being disappointed and ending up with a foal that won’t meet your needs or expectations, there may be one out there waiting for you.

New or Same? Be deliberate.

Before you can select a stallion, you must ask yourself which way do I want to go? New or old?  The answer to this question will narrow your search and should be deliberate based on the direction you want to go. Most breeders make this decision based on where their breeding program but as a small breeder, you can make this decision simply on preference of the many benefits both offer.

Line breeding and close breeding create the genetics in some of the top horses in the country in every breed, industry and discipline. Offering a chance to take something great and finish the rough edges right off. It tends to take the best characteristics of an animal and solidify them, etching them into every progeny that follows in their line. That would be the double-sided sword of line breeding, what is good and what is bad is now concreted in. Close breeding has some advantages but is not recommended and can result in possible deformities and other health issues.

Like one of those investments that has high stakes but high returns, picking a stallion with completely different blood lines can be a little risky. As an industry, we tend to lean back on what everyone else is using or what has worked with our farm’s lines because its comfortable and safe, offering a cookie cutter experience that grants us a foal “like” something we’ve already had or seen that is proven. However, reaching out beyond what everyone else is doing, and introducing “new blood”, can sometimes be risky but often have great rewards. Creating a brand-new look, one the judges love, one that outperforms, and out runs its competition. One that doesn’t look like everyone else and maybe that is what you are looking for. The tricky thing about new and different, people are never sure if they love it or hate it when it first shows up.

Do Your Homework

You have your list of attributes and know your direction.  It's time to find the sire with all the right pieces. Watch videos, find competition videos, not just the ones posted by the owner or semen service. Call or Facebook people to find out what they think of his foals. (Hint: look up his progeny records in your association and see if you know anyone). If you have the opportunity, go see him. Don't skimp in the areas where your mare is already good. Find a stallion that has those same great traits, chances are, it will not overcompensate those qualities as much as make sure you don't lose something in that area.

Be diligent. Be deliberate. Be involved.

We just finished off the end of our breeding season here at Spring Lane. We have two separate breeding programs at the ranch, Saddlebred and Paso Fino. We chose to do a little old and new this year with our breeding. Some of the sires we chose this year were Sedgefield’s Legacy, Quinto Elemento, and Oculto de la Serranic. If you are interested in learning more about our Paso Fino and Saddlebred breeding program, please contact our office for a tour.

GPFHA Spring Fling

Posted on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 9:52 AM

The team had a great time at the Georgia Paso Fino Horse Association's Spring Fling in Perry Georgia this past weekend. Roberta, Janice, David and all the members that helped put it on were incredibly nice and did a great job. We also met a new friend, Mr. George Nettles, who we enjoyed spending time with and getting to talk to.

Leveling the Playing Field

Posted on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 7:01 PM

For over a century stallions have been able to be successful in the ring, on the track and in the breeding field. Ultimately stallion owners have been able to have their cake and eat it to. Owners of truly talented and successful mares have had to make a choice. Does she retire early and become a once talented up and coming star turned brood mare, allowing you to pass those great genetics down. Or do you continue her career knowing you may miss the opportunity to raise her prodigy?

Thanks to science and the tremendous advancements in Equine breeding programs across the world, you no longer have to make that decision. Embryo Transfer (ET), oocytes collection and vitrification, along with advancements in semen collection and AI technology have leveled the playing field for the "working girl" in the equine industry. No longer do you have to choose to put her on the sidelines while the boys run the game.

Dance and one of our recipient mares Dino

A perfect example of that is our latest foal out of Undulata's Nutcracker and Deep Blue's Blue Bonnie. Bonnie had a very good season last year, leaving us excited to see her progression this year from cart to under saddle but still not wanting to miss the opportunity to begin her breeding program. We elected to do ET as we have done several times with our mares that either have a little age to them or are performing well and we choose not to interrupt their show career for breeding at this point. Choosing ET allowed Bonnie to have her first colt earlier this week just as show season is really kicking off for us. As Bonnie continues to work the arena and add to her impressive resume. Dino, Bonnie's recipient mare, seems very content to be enjoying the stables, pastures and receiving all the extra attention as she nurses "her" colt and will continue to raise him till weaning time.

As we give these mares more and more experience and time in the arenas and with the ability to select any sire and even options now for selecting any mare with ease, owners have the control to create a more competitive foal with better genetics. I suppose the real question is, where does this take equine competitions of all disciplines in the future?

Maybe it means that as Bonnie's colt grows and develops his own show career that mommy dearest may just be part of his competition!

Just Arrived!

Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 9:04 PM

We are beyond excited to announce the arrival of Bonnie's foal. This beautiful colt Of Undulata's Nutcracker and our very own Deep Blue's Blue Bonnie arrived at 6:45 PM last night! Help us welcome this new bundle of joy to Spring Lane Ranch!

Grounds Guru

Posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 12:01 PM

Our facilities team recently resembled a hive of busy bumble bees as they waken our sleepy flower beds up from winter's slumber. As you walk the grounds and scan the facilities, you can hear the buzzing of the bees, (ok, technically that's the pressure washer) busy planting, painting, and preparing for Spring and Summer.

Our team may resemble busy bees but after watching several of the projects they have recently been working on come to completion, I think we'll rename them the Grounds Gurus. The new paddock fencing, the cottage flower beds, new flooring in the cottage and apartment, a sitting deck with hanging flowers by the office and the list goes on. Facilities Manager, Ron Lasseter, and his crew Nicki Hernandez, Jerry Vinnedge, and Elijah Lasseter are always working to make the ranch look impeccable. They are the reason so many of our reviews talk about the grounds and facilities here.

Team work goes a long way and it makes the load a little lighter when you have some company. Which is why even our trainers and trainer's assistants have been pitching in to help with some of the larger projects and grounds maintenance. Their hard work has this place truly feeling like Spring, new & fresh!


Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 4:00 PM

Congratulations to our trainer Anibal Garriga de Jesus and his lovely bride Yomira on their wedding today!

April Equine Spotlight of the Month

Posted on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 9:39 AM

Deep Blue's Blue Bonnie

This mare loves the show ring! She doesn't just out perform her competitors in ability, but with her sheer joy and passion for being in the ring.

2018 was a great year for Bonnie and Trainer, Mark Wilson, in the fine harness classes. We were honored last week when the award came in for third place for the USEF National Horse of the Year Fine Harness Open division. This year Bonnie will be showing under saddle with rider and owner, Heather Shea.

The first show of the season started out with this dynamic duo winning both Three Gaited Park classes at the UPHA CH 16 Spring show in Tampa. Our 2018 show season with Bonnie was a great year but we look forward to seeing her compete under saddle this year!

Bonnie's foal is due to arrive next month. Keep an eye out for news this month as Mark continues Bonnie's training for the upcoming Germantown Charity Horse Show and we prepare for her new foal to arrive.

Photoshop finds his home

Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 11:26 AM

Photoshop aka Huey will be missed around here. His goofy but sweet ground manners always made him a hit with our lesson students and anyone who walked in the barn. Which is why we were thrilled to see him go to Ms. Logan, who plans on riding him in Academy. We are so thankful he found someone to take good care of him and we wish you and Huey the very best in everything you do together!

Ms. Logan and Huey

"Boss" is the boss

Posted on Monday, April 8, 2019 at 9:46 PM

A little cliche, I know, but how can you not be proud of this gelding? Not only was he the first foal ever bred and born here at Spring Lane Ranch but he just never seems to stop performing and surprising us. Which we were just recently when we received the ribbon and announcement from the Paso Fino Horse Association naming Mandartario de Spring "Top 10 Gelding of the Year" 2018 for Bella Forma.

Awards aren't new to Boss as you see him pictured below winning the 2017 and the 2018 Grand National Champion Bella Forma Gelding. He's currently training under saddle for the fino division with Anibal Garriga de Jesus. To learn more about "Boss" or any of our other Paso Fino horses please contact our office.