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The Horse Lover's Blog

Mysteries of Type and Blood

Looking at my two classically bred Morgan mares out eating their hay this morning, I admired for the umpteenth time Robin's beautiful long legs. She is a fourteen-two hand mare with a round barrel--I won't reveal what the weight tape said about her poundage. Let's just say she has well-sprung ribs!
Her elbow isabout level with my waist. The elbow of her companion, the fifteen-hand Woodgate Martha V, comes only up to my hip.
This evening I got out the weight tape to confirm this measurement. Indeed, there is a four inch difference. Robin is 36 inches at the elbow. Martha is 32 inches. Martha declared that in her former life she was only measured with an oak measuring stick with brass ferrule, the hundred-dollar or so kind, not a free grain store weight tape. So I was unable to compare their weights, and we have a little training project for tomorrow.
Both these mares have a lot of Flyhawk and old Government breeding. Martha V is by the tall, athletic stallion, UVM Springfield. Robin is by the small, athletic stallion River Echo Hamilton. At pasture running together, they often look startlingly alike, making the same head motions and flagging their tails in a similar way. Yet standing still, they are very different in type and conformation. It would take a wiser person than me to run through their bloodlines and see just where Martha gets her extreme depth of body, and the characteristic of being rather heavy on the forehand, and where Robin gets her race-horse balance.

Robin bears a startling resemblance to a classic trotting horse broodmare of the 19th century, Green Mountain Maid. She doesn't descend from the Maid, but shares crosses to Henry Clay and Iron's Cadmus, horses in the classic mare's pedigree. Green Mountain Maid has a statue in her honor out in California, and $10,000 was offered for her when she was 20 years old. The offer was turned down. (Thanks to the excellent research of Brenda Tippin for this info, and the photo of Green Mountain Maid which you can see by following the link. Same lovely long legs, same butt, same belly, same white hind feet, and very similar head. They could easily be mistaken for the same horse. I wouldn't take $10,000 for Robin, either.  Read More 
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Martha V. Arrives

Woodgate Martha V. arrived on our farm a week ago. She's a 12 year old Morgan broodmare who was to have provided a foal with Robin's sire, the beautiful River Echo Hamilton. She appeared to have other ideas, however, and has come to me to start a new career.
She arrived the day our neighbor moved a flock of sheep to a nearby pasture. I believe sheep are a new species to Martha, as are chickens. She was riveted by the sheep, and quite interested in her new friends, Robin and Zeke, but we kept them apart for a few days.
The next few pictures detail their meeting. The drama ended with the girls grazing together in the field, and Zeke self-isolated in the barnyard, calling plaintively to Robin, or possibly to the grass. Only two horses have gone out at a time since, as this is all a bit too dramatic for my nerves. However, I'm amazed at how beautiful the two mares are together. This is why horse people appear greedy. Horse added to horse only increases the poetry of the scene. Read More 
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