The day leading up to Posey’s birth was a perfect representation of who she would be.
That morning, I let Joy and Apple out to enjoy the last drops of spring sunshine before the inevitable summer heat and humidity begins to suffocate everyone. The grass was vibrantly green, the shoots springing from the soft earth nourished by heavy spring rains, and the birds plucked Apple’s winter coat from his back to line their nests. They wandered the property and settled at this delightful little meadow next to the flowing creek. I watched them from my back yard, trying to catch a little sun between preparing for my last two weeks of finals as a first-year law student. I remembered thinking of how peaceful and comfortable Joy looked, despite beginning to wax the night before. The breeze was soft, almost like it was coming off the ocean instead of a little natural spring.
About 12 hours later, I sat in my makeshift foal-watch “bed,” watching the most natural and sublimely delicate moments that a mare and foal share while getting to know each other. I was (and still am) shocked at the filly that entered the world by way of Joy. In my wildest and most absurd fantasies, I dreamed of a large boned chestnut filly, preferably of Joy’s same shade of red, with four white socks and a face marking of some kind. As long as both mom and baby were healthy, I would be thrilled, but I couldn’t help but think about the infinite possibilities.
Breeding Joy was not something I took lightly, as those who have been longtime followers of my account would know. If you’re a newer follower, check out the #BringOnBabyFbomb and #MaidenMareUpdate hashtag on Instagram for a baby journal! One of my longtime goals was to produce Joy into something that proved her to be breeding worthy. The timing worked: she was schooling FEI with two shows entered at Pre St. George, she had scored very well at her inspection, I was beginning my first year of law school, I was engaged, and my then fiancé and I were moving to a horse property that was foal friendly. All of these things had fallen into place just so, after years of planning, and Joy seemed to get that. She also seemed to understand all the late nights I spent researching the perfect stallion for this, my future partner, because our reproduction vet called her “fertile Myrtle” when she took on the first artificial insemination, no problem.
Lord Locksley *Pg* ended up being the perfect match. After what felt like decades and what was really almost six years of researching, following stallions, tracking down semen records, following progeny, and practically spending so much time in the Trakehner studbook I almost became a horse, I decided on a 16.1h, grey Grand Prix stallion with the kindest eye. He checked all my boxes, including improving Joy’s weaknesses, contributing a level-headed mind, was the only actively competing Trakehner Grand Prix stallion at the time with consistent scores, and was having very nice foals out of even not so nice mares. His bloodlines were (and are!) old world gems. While maybe not as sexy as the famous sires like Abdullah *Pg*E*, E.H. Gribaldi, Habicht, or E.H. Buddenbrock, the names that jumped out of his pedigree spoke volumes for breeding a traditional, talented, and long term FEI horse. Why I chose to breed within the Trakehner studbook is a write up for another day, but what you should know is I took Joy’s contribution to the breed seriously.
As Joy’s pregnancy progressed, not without its own tribulations, I picked names. Fbomb was my pet name for the foal who had yet to enter the world (mainly a joke because the foal’s registered name had to start with an F and because I assumed I would be dropping a lot of fbombs with this baby), but I had registered, and barn names picked out, all with the MN nomenclature for my surnames. For a colt, I had the registered named of Federal, Ferdinand, and Fitzgerald. Maybe Fitz because I loved the band Fitz and the Tantrums and thought #FitzAndHisTantrums would be a hysterical tag. For a filly, I had chosen Fame (obviously because of the David Bowie song, future freestyle anyone?), Faye, and Fanfare, with a special barn name for a little chestnut filly – Posey.
My favorite things became how pleasant Joy was pregnant with her extra hormones, nesting in her deep shavings, and the little bouncing dance that her belly would do when it was meal time! I liked to joke that whoever was in there was already practicing their dance moves. It was strangely comforting to see how active this foal was, causing Joy to nip and kick at her belly, happily running out of room in-utero and ready to come into the world.
There was this strange phenomenon that happened once Posey was born. All my preconceived understanding and preparation, guided by years at breeding stables, was pretty much shattered. It was as if, and I know how ludicrous this sounds, that Joy understood when I told her “we’ll only do this one time.” She realized I had paid my dues with her, my larger than life, bombastic partner. Almost as if she had control and knew how much I had prepared for the worst temperament possible. Of course, she didn’t. This just happened to be good breeding, and honestly? I think a little bit of dumb luck.
Posey began and continued her life with no ill-will, no cares, no fears. While Joy began to walk the earth as if it owed her something from her first step, Posey acted as if everything was the newest, greatest thing in her life! She has never, ever asked me why or told me “no.” I have to be honest and say what a breath of fresh air it is to not be constantly on guard for a “fight” response to new situations. Instead, Posey takes everything in stride. She wants to walk beside me and learn in all the areas that Joy needed support. Joy would actively seek things out of her comfort zone but needed the ability to have someone to fall back on.
A plethora of people have asked what I think Joy and Posey’s similarities and differences are, and I have to be honest, the only thing they share is the shade of red they bare. These girls could not be more different if they tried. The way they process information, the way they display their thoughts, their physical conformation, their interactions with the world around them… It’s pretty remarkable to think they share any DNA at all. In the beginning, I tried to draw parallels between them. I searched for pieces of Joy in Posey, looking for any link that tied them together, almost in a way that makes me think I was concerned that without a part of Joy, I couldn’t be as close with Posey. Like my love was tied to this concept of a mini-Joy. I could not be more wrong.
For a long time, I wasn’t what I would consider a “mare” person. The biggest reason for that was I didn’t have a lot of access to them, and the ones I had access to usually put teenage me on my tail. But when I began to bond with Joy as a young, sparky filly, it was the most precious thing in the world to me. I valued it more than anything in my world, and I was willing to do whatever I could to continue to have this incredible mare on my side. One of my subconscious worries was that she was my heart horse, my soul mate and that I would never feel the same way towards another mare. What a silly worry that was! Meeting Posey for the first time was almost exactly like meeting Joy for the first time. The tears, the excitement, the unmatched feeling of love. However, at the end of the day, I didn’t breed Joy, but I did breed Posey, and she was a dream come true in every way.
Posey is carefree. It’s not merely foal naivete, it’s something more ingrained in who she is. P trusts those around her, and now it’s my job to reciprocate that faith to guarantee she has an above average education. She lives a good life, and, despite her grownup problems like her recent colic care, nothing gets her down. She’s peaceful, gentle, and positive. Most of all, she’s silly and doesn’t have any kind of impediment in the realm of pride. The truth is, I didn’t need any similarities between Joy and her to bring me confidence in an unknown future. Posey did that all on her own, with her ridiculous floppy lips and incessant whinnies.
I have so many dreams of things I hope to achieve alongside my new redhead partner in crime, but really, I’m already debt to her. She is a delight to handle, even if we have to have a few workarounds with her large size, and I hope with the right hand, she’ll stay saintly. Her future is based around the idea of longevity because I’m in no rush to put any pressure on. With solid, serious upper-level gaits, substantial bone, and an unbeatable mind, it’s hard to imagine that she won’t be a naturally gifted FEI dressage horse. It’s early to tell, but in about three or four years, this beautiful yak will blossom into something to behold. Being a red Trakehner mare comes with a lot of stereotypes, and I think she’ll be pretty skilled at proving people wrong!
I have this dream of getting back into the show ring and eventually competing Joy and Posey – in different levels of course – and qualifying them both for finals. Then taking that two-day drive to the Kentucky Horse Park with these two incredible representations of what heart-led passion can do and competing them both. Not for ribbons or scores, even if they would be great, but for the fulfillment of a dream with my two best girls. I bet by then, Posey will tower over Joy, Joy will be wondering why she can’t shake her daughter, I’ll have some grey hair, and maybe, just maybe, I will have decided to add an additional F-line Trakehner to the string… But that’s in the far, FAR distant future. For the foreseeable future, my focus is on enjoying every second of every day I’m lucky enough to watch Posey grow. My little flower isn’t so little anymore, but that's okay. She sure is blossoming into something big and beautiful.
To you and your future, sweet Fanfare MN! Your future is blindingly bright, full of adventure, and our journey has just begun. No matter what we do, where we end up, or who you ultimately become, I’m eternally grateful to be your partner. Thank you for all you have done and for all you have yet to do.