Many years ago, my barn obtained a “paint” mare. Looking back, I doubt that’s what she was. Certainly a mutt of some description. She had a sharp V sliced out of her left ear. Someone told me that indicated she’d been a cart horse at one time or another. Again, no idea of the true or false of that. All I can say is she moved and felt different than any other horse I’d ever ridden. They called her Pétrus, and for a short time, she was basically mine.

I remember Pétrus as being hard to ride, but also one I hoped to be put on. She was hell to catch, the type that saw you coming with a halter and tore off in the other direction. She was pretty and tough, and the first time I ever cleared a roll top I was on her back.

Pétrus & me. (Please ignore the no helmet and always wear one.)

I often wonder if she’s the reason I like Tobianos (not to mention mares) so much.

Paints and pintos aren’t exactly hard to find in Texas. In the hunter world, though, it wasn’t all that common to have a horse that wasn’t solid. I was scheduled to ride her only once in a show. It got cancelled and we ended up playing mounted games instead. I gained some serious growth as a rider on that mare, and I often wonder what happened to her. Like most barn kids, the horses stay locked in my brain while I went off to grow and learn elsewhere.

Years later, a large pinto pony named Whim would reignite my love for jumping. His owner sort of shrugged at me when I rode him for the first time. “You’re going to hate him on the flat,” she warned, “but just wait til you get him over fences.”

I still remember the day I rode him for the first time. I’d just started jumping again as an adult, and for whatever reason, I felt a bit panicked about it. As I’ve mentioned a time or two before, I’m a sucker for a long spot. I like forward and I like long. It often leads to me rushing fences. I assume I was even worse back then, as my fear made me want to get there and done even quicker. My instructor at the time just calmly stated, “You’ve got plenty of time.” Something clicked inside me, something I’ll be forever grateful for; I sat up, waited, and thought, “She’s right. I have sooo much time.” That jump felt near perfect, and the rest of them after were equally good. And just like that, I lost whatever fear had been hovering around me and was happy to be flying again.

Whim and Pétrus were just two, but I’m sure there were more. Those are just the ones I remember. There is just something about breaking up that solid colouring that attracts me.

In my youth it was pinto arabians that I obsessed over, now it’s the warmbloods. I taught myself about the Dutch Warmblood Samber and his mother, Tina D. I casually watched as the homozygous son of Palladio grew up and did well at his stallion testing, earning himself a place in both the Oldenburg (GOV) and RPSI books.

Pallido Blu CF, proving he’s got hops.

Then Star came along. We’ve done so well together, Star and I. So when my husband and I started discussing options for expanding our human family, part of the talk shifted to what would happen with Star when I couldn’t ride. Selling was never going to happen, and leasing seemed like a poor choice from all sides. Then I had a bit of weird appiphany…what if Star and I were pregnant in the same year? I’d get the foal I’d always wanted to bring up from scratch, and Star would be out of work regardless.

Which explains my current interest.

I’d discounted Pallido Blu as a stallion. I thought him being in the USA made things too difficult. I talked myself out of using him. Then I spent some time talking to people who’d bred to him.

They talked about babies who were whip smart, but trainable. They talked about his babies being the types of horses everyone wants to have in their barn. And then I talked to a Canadian breeder about how hard/easy it is to get semen imported from the US to Canada.

Not only did she encourage me to try the US/Canadian shipment, she looked up Pallido Blu’s inspection scores for me. “His rideability is higher than Checkmate,” she advised, “and that’s even after him getting an age deduction.” The more she talked about the scores and what they meant, the more I started to feel like I perhaps I should think about Pallido Blu as a viable option.

Through a weird series of events, I ended up buying a second-hand breeding at a fantastic price. Now all there is to do is wait for spring.

Regardless of what happens, I’m happy dreaming about my little bay tobiano foal. And really, who could ask for anything more?

Christine Sharpe is a Canadian who grew up riding Hunter/Jumper in the Southern USA. Now living in Toronto, she is a thirty-something who is back to riding after four years off and having her first child. Christine is aiming her Thoroughbred mare, Star, toward the Jumper Circuit and Warmblood Breed Inspections. She struggles daily to juggle family, work, and her equine lifestyle, with occasional success.

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