V-122

Foxvangen's Toy Boy at age 14, November 2009

In 1996 after a year of Missouri Foxtrotter ownership, (but decades of other horse breed ownership)our interest in the breed prompted us to develop a breeding program. In our area there were very few Foxtrotters and there was a ready market for those available but beyond that we had interest in developing a line of Foxtrotters along the original, more traditional lines.

After several months of seeking all the information available on the breed we could find and viewing countless horses both via video and in person over a multi-state area, we were puzzled at the lack of standardization in the breed and also the variance in style of motion.

Not finding what suited us for breeding stock locally prompted me to make a trip to Missouri. Like so many other people out of the loop our only real source for contact with Missouri Foxtrotter breeders or sellers was via the annual breed Celebration book. Over a course of several weeks we perused and selected a number of farms advertised in the Celebration book marking those of interest in order to schedule a visit while I was in Missouri. It would be a two-week-long scavenger hunt but the prize at the end was to be the start of our breeding program.

Flying to Kansas City, Missouri I rented a car. The next day I began my search by visiting several prominent breeding farms. What I saw there further puzzled and frankly disappointed me. A very large percentage of the horses seen were extremely lateral in motion and were not at all what we had hoped to find. At each stop that day I was told that "a horse isn't any good unless it paces." " a horse is short strided if it doesn't pace". " A horse has to be pacy so we can mechanic them to square so we can get a show gait". " We breed our horses to pace so we can get the show gait"

The Ad photo that drew me to the Clarkson ranch. Rollen Clarkson is riding his favorite mare, Fancy Pants C after cows. Our mares Miss Molly Fox and Casey Ann Kay are granddaughter of this mare.

Call me naive but all these statements shouted to me that the claim these horses were "naturally" gaited at the foxtrot was totally false! Yet I knew in my barn at home there were two mares that DID foxtrot naturally, deliver ground covering, glass smooth rides, and were sure footed travelers. But where were such animals to be found?

It was also disappointing to see a range of horses who often were conformationally less balanced than we like to see and many that were positively defective in conformation with camped out hind ends or spindly legs. Many of the horses seen lacked symmetry or style and spoke not a whit to the quality of breeding their pedigrees were touted as having!

One day, after several days of frustration and disappointment I went back to my motel room and picked up the several Celebration books I'd brought with me. Each had a number of earmarked pages containing ads for the farms I'd set out to visit. One by one those had been checked off with comments in the margins as to what I'd seen there.

As I thumbed through the lovely color photos and larger black and white photos in the book I was again disappointed because all the farms that had initially interested me had produced nothing remotely close to what I sought.

 

The first time I saw Toy Boy looked more like an Appaloosa in his coloring. He was gangly and rather coarse with a full dreadlocks mane on both sides of his neck. But he impressed me with his intelligence and movement.

Deep in thought I finally began looking at the smaller ads toward the back of the book. One particular ad caught my attention. It depicted a portly man in his early senior years sitting on a horse chair fashion while the horse went after a group of cows. The horse was off the ground obviously intent on heading off a stray yet the man sat smiling and perfectly at ease even though his seat was far from advantageous. This ad told me several things. First it said the horse was not likely pacy or it would not have been doing what it was in the photo. Second, it said the horse must be smooth or surely the man would have toppled off it with his style of riding. Third it spoke of the sensibility of the horse to not only do a job of work but manage to balance it's rider while doing so. I determined to go visit that farm.

So it was I met Mr. Rollen Clarkson ( see article on Rollen Clarkson) I made a phone call to him from my motel room. " Mr. Clarkson? I understand you have some Foxtrotters for sale at your farm" He replied " Yes mam, I do." I asked " Mr. Clarkson do they foxtrot a little bit?" He responded " No mam, they foxtrot a whole lot!". "Mr. Clarkson would you mind if I came out to visit and look at your horses?" " I'd be right proud to have you mam" And so it was that a relationship began that lasted several years until Mr. Clarkson passed away.

The Clarkson ranch was way off the beaten path even in terms of the Ozarks. It was located in Taney County at Protem, Missouri which is deep in some of the most rugged parts of the Ozark Mountains. The Clarkson ranch, according to Rollen included several thousand acres which used to be bordered by the White River where it divided Missouri from Arkansas. Rollen had grown up there.

A number of years prior to my trip, the government had dammed up the White river and created Bull Shoals Lake, which became the new southern boundary for the ranch.

Two weeks after his arrival Toy was beginning to grow and showed signs of muscle mass at last. His spine, breast ,shoulders and ribs were nearly fleshed over. He was very "pink" which caused quite a few comments!

It was quite warm when I arrived at the ranch for the first time. Rollen was sitting out under his prize Elm trees sipping at a brew. He wore bib overalls just as he had in the little photo in the Celebration book. He was very relaxed, courteous and friendly in a natural sort of way that endeared him to me instantly. There was no facade or arrogant sales pitch in the man at all. I was perfectly at home and at ease with him.

Rollen took me out on the ranch and showed me first his own brood stock. I was struck by the symmetry and degree of standardization his mares exhibited. AND I was struck by the fact they came toward us moving square with most of them foxtrotting or cantering as he called them up and spread grain on the ground for them. He explained that the majority of the mares were related and had stemmed from his first Foxtrotter mare. He had been breeding Foxtrotting horses since 1946 and had one of the first actual herds to be registered in the MFTHBA when it was formed.

The herd stallion was a young stud only aged 6 years but he struck me with his innate gentleness when Rollen's little girl, a product of a late-life parentage, ran up to him and grabbed him by the leg and hugged him. The stallion gently nuzzled her and was very careful not to step on her. It was spring and breeding season with mares and foals milling all around yet that stallion was taking good care to be gentle with the young child.

Two weeks after arrival Toy Boy trusted me. My "pink" horse drew attention of passers by even though he was still gangly and ribby but he had totally fleshed his body in that short time.

Next Rollen took me out on the ranch to find the young stock. We searched water holes and finally found a group of about 25 horses ranging in age from two long weanlings to 4 years of age.( Also see Miss Molly Fox's page) The majority of them were two year olds.

Rollen owned over 100 horses but had them split up in age groups which were located at various different places on the ranch. It was young stock in which I was particularly interested.

Being spring the grass was up well and the horses were sleek and shiny. They looked well-fed, content and at ease. At the time I was far less interested in the particular pedigrees as I was the individual. I had to learn what pedigrees represented which was to come a few months later.

Right away I saw the two youngest of the group. One was a flaxen chestnut and one was a true roan,... both colts. I was amazed at how young they were to be out on their own like that. Rollen explained that he weaned all his foals on October 1, each year no matter when they were born. These colts were late born having been foaled in latter July so they were only 2 1/2 months old when they were weaned and taken out to forage and fend for themselves through the bitter Ozark winter! That they had even survived is testament to their rugged toughness!

Toy Boy 3 months after his arrival. He had filled out considerably and had begun to develop a decent top line.

As I watched the roan colt picked his way cautiously among the milling horses that were all vying for a place to eat the grain Rollen had spread out on the ground. All these animals lived a basically feral life and had never been handled so in essence they were all wild horses! That colt did not rush in to grab grain. Instead he deliberately looked for an opening that afforded a safe place to access the grain without getting himself into big trouble with the older horses!

The flaxen colt was nervy and on guard, but the roan colt showed intelligent self confidence. He was getting what he wanted without fussing or showing fear. He was thinking before reacting.

As I watched I was also struck by the way he used his body. Even relaxed his stride was solid and long. He used his body to advantage and did not waste energy on nerves or needless motion.

I had seen prettier colts and I'd seen better cared for colts but there was something about this particular fellow that kept drawing my eye back to him. He factored V-122 which means he was 9/16 old foundation blood and only 7/16 Walking horse by blood.

By age two, Toy Boy was already 15 hands and growing. He was developing well and showing signs of the dynamic horse he was to become!

At the time I was certainly not a skilled photographer but my camera was kept busy as I observed all these horses and mentally selected those that interested me most.

After a while we got back in the truck and trundled off to see yet some other horses on the ranch. I felt very satisfied with the standardized shape and quality of the Clarkson horses. The prepotence of type Rollen had achieved in his herd was remarkably different from any other farm or ranch I had visited in any of the states I'd sought Foxtrotters.

Rollen explained that his was not an "open"herd. He rarely introduced new mares to his group which means all the old mares were at some point replaced by their own daughters. Only twice had he added mares. Once he won 5 roan mares in a game of chance with a friend of his. The roan colt's dam had come from one of those roan mares. Her name was Snipsie C.

Toy Boy's dam, Snipsie C. was 8 years old in this photo and sporting her winter coloring. She was heavy in foal with Fire's Strawberry Wine, Toy's full sister that belongs to our sister in law. Snipsie C shows the same sort of curl Toy Boy gets in winter.

Rollen had also taken in several mares that had belonged to his brother when the brother became too ill to care for them. Other than those small additions to the herd, his group was remarkably close bred.

To keep his herd from becoming too inbred he changed stallions periodically but always chose stallions of similar type and coloring. Rollen preferred flaxen sorrels with a bit of chrome but toward the end of his breeding career began producing every sort of Sabino imaginable! All the way from minimal with just stockings and a face marking to maximum whites. He had speckled, spotted, splashed, fully roaned.... just every sort of sabino there is yet he didn't know how he got them all. Finally he bit the bullet and purchased a splashed sabino stallion which became the sire to all our Clarkson horses including Toy Boy.

That meant, were I to purchase the roan colt he would be sufficiently diverse in blood to be able to take back to Clarkson bred mares so long as they were of his original stock.

The only photos I have of Toy's parents are very poor examples and truly do not show the horses to advantage however they are posted here to give an idea of what they were. They have good bone, joints, feet and are balanced conformationally even though the angles of some of the photos don't admit to that.

Comanche Wildfire Z is Toy Boy's sire. This photo does him little justice but at leaves gives some idea as to what he looked like.

The horses at the ranch foraged for their feed. In winter sometimes round bales were rolled out for the cattle and the horses would get in an share that bounty but there was little else and not a lot of that! In winter they skinnied down to ribby but in spring they fattened up to sleek. It is the way of the region but was quite foreign to me. Rollen loved his horses but he used methods that his grandfather and father had used and had not moved into the modern era of stock raising.

Rollen talked extensively about Foxtrotters and named some of the old horses of prominence in the breed that he had known and ridden personally. He was a wealth of uncomplicated information that came from a using perspective rather than just a show barn interest. I quite liked that insight into the breed. In the years the breed was forming and prior, there were not many families in the Ozark regions where Foxtrotters came. Those families that were there intermarried, so in Rollen's case, he was related either by blood or marriage to many of the people who owned, used and bred the early notable Missouri Foxtrotting horses.

Eventually I asked Rollen to name a price on the horses that interested me and we made a deal. Toy Boy was to be shipped to me in a few weeks as soon as I could contact a shipper. The mares would come a bit later on a separate load because I planned to bring a full load meaning a shipper would have to build a run around my shipment so he would not have to haul empty one way. I also wanted the colt shipped in a box stall so he could move around or lay down if he wanted to. It's a trip of over 2,000 miles and I did not want him too exhausted from such a grueling ride.

Poole's Red Rocket

Toy Boy threw back to his great grandsire, Poole's Red Rocket. They have the same look, the same head, neck, stature and build as well as coloring. ToyBoy has a double cross to this fine old time stallion.

Before he could be shipped the colt needed to be wormed and a coggins test taken. Rollen agreed to have the vet come tube worm him and get the paper work in order while I located and consigned with a commercial horse transit to pick him up. Getting that job done required rounding the colt up, roping and earing him down, man handling him to submission really because after all he was wild! Not a real friendly first experience with humans to say the least but that is how it is done on many of the old ranches in this country.

It was late May by time all the arrangements were finally made. Rollen had rounded Toy Boy up and had brought him up to the main ranch where he was put in a pen. Unfortunately that pen bordered the brood mare pasture. Somehow during the night Toy had gotten through the fence and in with the mares. Toy Boy was a virile youngster even though he was young and under sized. He went after the mares but the herd stallion took exception to that and had attacked him as stallions do when they drive young males out of the herd in the wild.

At age 3 Toy Boy was really becoming a horse! He had dynamic presence and a strong beauty.

As a result of the stallion attack Toy's neck was severally torn on both sides, he had lacerations and a lot of bruising in other places as well but would survive. It was the next day the shipper arrived to get him. By then his double full mane had plastered to the wounds and stuck firm. Rollen had called me to tell me what happened so I was prepared on my end to deal with it.

When the shipper was close to delivery he called to ask me if I was aware of the shape the colt was in. I asked if he was referring to the wounds. He said no. The colt was skin and bone! In the month since I had seen him the Ozarks had suffered a drought. In that region of the world two or three weeks of no water means the grass dries up to dust. NO feed is available because where the soil is so poor the grass virtually lives on the moisture from rain. All the horses had starved down but particularly the youngsters.

Toy arrived shaky on his legs, bewildered and scared right plumb to death. He was so emaciated every bone in his body showed and his breast bone protruded so badly it looked as if it would cut right through the skin! Had I seen him looking like this initially I wonder if he would still be standing in my pasture!

Toy Boy had a full double mane of dreadlocks that split down the middle and hung evenly on both sides of his neck. But that mane had now scabbed into the wounds inflicted by his sire, and was also harboring a host of ticks! It needed cleaning up and sorting out but the colt was so terrified and wild it would be a while before that job could be managed!

Toy Boy's first ride went very well. He just went to work as if he'd been ridden a long while.

We had prepared a paddock and stall barn for him. Each of our horses had individual barns complete with tack room etc. Each free access paddock opened onto an individual grass turn out so if a horse needed to be contained it had everything it needed right there. We designed that set up for brood mares but when we knew Toy was coming we converted one for him while his own new digs were being constructed. We had hot wired every row of the 2x6 paddock boards so he could not jump, climb, or chew his way out. After all he was virtually a wild stallion colt with the instinct to run from humans.

We got him into the paddock relatively easy since he was so weak and scared he hadn't thought to fight us. Once in the paddock however, he raced around like a ping pong ball gone wild! He tried climbing every fence just as we thought he might! He hit that hot wire so many times it taught him right from the very beginning to leave fences utterly alone! But I felt bad he had to endure yet another scare. His sensible brain had been sorely taxed with all he had gone through that week.

Finally I took a chair out in the middle of the paddock and sat down real still. Then I began to sing. Soon he slowed his frantic escape attempts and started to look in my direction as if questioning what this new strange thing and sound might be. I kept very still and did not make eye contact with him. I just sang soothing songs and made no move toward him.

Slowly but surely Toy crept up to me. He circled and came closer and closer until he was behind me stretching out his nose to sniff my scent. Within about 15 minutes he was nuzzling my hair and then all of a sudden he put his head over my shoulder, heaved a huge sigh and fell sound asleep with his chin on my shoulder. Bless his heart he was exhausted emotionally as well as physically.

All during that ordeal the shipper stood watching. He said he'd never witnessed anything like it. But I'd done the same thing with Mustangs before or with nervous horses that have lost trust in humans. Somehow horses tend to be soothed by soft singing and they quiet and lose their fear.

As a mature stallion, Toy Boy is massively powerful. His hind end speaks for itself! STRONG hocks, bone, hip make him extremely athletic. He has been mistaken on several occasions for a Peter Mc Cue Quarter Horse! That is not a real compliment in my opinion...lol.

When Toy's nap was over he continued investigating me and I kept on singing. From that day til this he has simply been my boy. In those first few hours we forged a bond that has lasted nearly 14 years so far. He learned he could count on me, trust me and that I was there to help him.

The next day I halter trained him and then was able to clean up his nasty looking neck. He was very good to stand as I soaked and softened the scabs so I could get his mane out of the sores. He stood nicely while I medicated the wounds and he was a perfect gentleman while I removed ticks. But he was nervous and antsy if anyone else got close. Each day I took him out for walks He learned fast and never once challenged me or offered to be defiant or to bolt. He was interested in what we did and he was willing to try anything I asked of him.

He ate well and converted amazingly well. It seemed each day he was heftier than the last. Within two weeks his little body was pretty much covered again. The bones did not stick out so badly. I wish I'd thought to get photos of him when he first arrived but I didn't. The first photos I have of him after his arriving at our farm was about two weeks after he came. By then, even though he looked really poor, he was not the emaciated scruff of a colt that had first arrived.

I wormed him again and fed him. Not much grain because he was not used to it and when a horse gets down that bad grain can cause more trouble than it's worth. But Toy converted well and just began to grow like crazy. I sent photos of him and his progress to Rollen who cautioned me about force feeding. I assured him I was not force feeding but Toy had free access to hay and grass 24/7 and the grass in Washington is richer than that in the Ozarks. We kept the pastures mowed so he didn't get too much green grass too soon. We also put him on mineral supplements for his bones and joints but very little grain, less than a pound a day.

Within two more weeks he looked like a totally different horse! He grew enormously and his frame straightened and his neck came up. Horse heads are very heavy so when the muscles of the neck are lost it is very difficult and tiring to hold the head up. By now, however Toy was not having any difficulty in that direction. His posture changed as he filled out and his bearing changed along with it.

Toy Boy greeting Carl and asking for his round bale. This is the beginning of the game they play.

By time he was a year and a half old there was no one who could say he was in the least stunted! To the contrary, no one would ever imagine the rough start he'd had in life. By time he was two he was large for his age and at three he looked very mature. Rollen said he was the best looking horse ever to come off his ranch. Of course I'm sure that was a figurative statement but he was very proud of him and what we had done with him.

As Toy Boy grew we began to understand just how fortunate we were to have found him. Everywhere he went he foxtrotted unless of course he was cantering or galloping. He loved to run full blast the length of his pasture and then slide stop, roll back and foxtrot back to the starting point. He was innately gentle natured but he was also dynamic in his stature and presence.

We were convinced he was the stallion we wanted to found our breeding program around. Because Toy Boy was from one of the few outside mares in Rollen's herd he was not related through his dam to any of the Clarkson mares we had selected. Though they did share a sire, there was plenty of genetic diversity to allow breeding the mares to him. We spoke with Rollen Clarkson and asked his permission to change Toy Boy's registered name to Foxvangen's Toy Boy. Rollen said he was honored we would want to do that. So it was that Toy Boy became the patriarch of our fledgeling breeding program.

By then we had several mares gathered. Some came from the Clarkson ranch and some came from other old lines. Our goal was to roll the attributes of all the bloodlines we had collected into one horse. And at the same time we wanted to standardize the resultant type into a prepotent group of fine, old style, Missouri Foxtrotters! We spoke with several experts in this sort of thing including Mr. Eldon Eadie of Tennessee Walking Horse fame. Mr. Eadie theorized that the foxtrot is the only intermediate gait that can be bred into a line to breed true. We hoped to prove that point because we had seen that done in Mr. Clarkson's herd, but we didn't have 50 or 60 years to get to that point. The experts estimated we needed three generations to accomplish our goals..

In late 1997 we had the opportunity to have Toy Boy started under saddle. We normally do not start our babies and we normally would not have thought to start Toy Boy, but the rare opportunity presented itself to have an expert Foxtrotter trainer visit us. He came to put on some clinics we arranged for him but was to stay with us for five weeks. During that time he also worked horses by the hour for many people from our club to identify how to "fix" their individual gaiting or behavior problems. He worked 87 horses that way so we got a very good example of how capable he was.

Unlike most horse, Toy Boy is not intimidated by things being over his head as he attempts to catch his round bale.

It was also an extraordinary opportunity to have Toy Boy started without having to send him out anywhere which was very appealing. Toy by that time was already a little over 15 hands and was weighing a little over 1,000 lbs so we felt a couple weeks riding on sandy footing in our arena would not harm him.

Toy progressed very well. On his eighth ride we were at an arena where a clinic was being presented. All during the clinic Toy Boy stood tied to the rail. He was the only "male" horse save one in the arena. All the rest were mares who were going past him constantly yet Toy never offered to talk, paw, fidget or get upset at all. He simply stood quietly and patiently. After the actual clinic was finished the trainer planned to give a presentation with Toy for the group. We had put ribbons on Toy and gussied him up in a show bridle and the works.

There was a lot of noise in the arena. People were talking, laughing, shouting etc. Rather a pandemonium if one were to put a word to it. The trainer went to the center of the arena and quietly mounted Toy Boy. As I watched my young stallion he went to work as if he had been trained all his life. His powerful stride was perfectly cadenced and his head pumped like a pump handle. All of a sudden the noise in the arena died down. Then it quieted totally to a hush of silence. EVERY eye in that arena was trained on Toy Boy. I heard comments like " My GAWD, look at that horse move!" " Where did THAT horse come from?" "Good grief, look at that horse move!" the comments were in awe of Toy Boy.

Toy Boy chases after his round bale...note how well he maintains his feet. He has not been trimmed since we brought him back from the trainers ten years ago!

The funny part to all that is that he had been standing right in front of them all day long yet no one had even paid attention to him. NO one realized he was a stallion! No one gave him a second look as he stood quietly tied to the rail. But EVERYONE was giving him a second look as he performed for them in that arena. He was utterly breathtaking. And it was just his 8th ride!

Toy Boy was working the rail to which were tied all the mares that had been in the clinic yet he never looked side to side. He got to work and performed so beautifully we were immensely proud of him. So much for the theory that the old style horses couldn't become show horses!

We do not show and have no desire to do so. We cannot abide some of the things that go on in the show world so we prefer to set our goals on the usability of our horses. We have no doubt, however, that our horses would perform exceedingly well in the show ring even though many show breeders claim horses of the original foundation type couldn't. That day in that arena proved them wrong.

In 2000, Toy was sent again to the trainer. In between those years we had used him to stud and I had ridden him a handful of times but we never planned to keep Toy as a riding stallion from the very beginning. For one thing we have far too many mares that need riding and we had few places where stallions were welcomed in our area. We didn't trailer out much for riding because we owned two businesses that took up our time so riding had to be off our property for the most part and laws regarding stallions were very strict there. Toy's job was simply to be our "herd" sire.

Toy Boy sneaking a bite off his round bale. The bale is moving on the tractor but it does not intimidate him one bit.

I had ridden Toy enough to know what he could do and that was all I really needed to know. But in 2000 a friend wanted to ride Toy at the Foxtrotter Celebration in Ava, Missouri. Toy was not show trained so we sent him to the trainer for what was to be six months of training. . That mistake is one we shall never make again.

Away from our view and censorship, the trainer resorted to what amounts to fiendish abuse of such proportions one must wonder about the sanity of such a person. Toy was brutally abused in a deliberate manner that the man bragged about. Such terrible abuses done to a lesser horse likely would have resulted in the horse going crazy or simply dying. Toy suffered shock collars attached to his legs charged on high and then run down. He was put in an arena with a seasoned stallion to fight. He was thrown in a round pen in the summer heat and covered with a tarp and then left to bake all day in the sun. He was whipped mercilessly. His tongue was cut half off by wires. The list of atrocities goes on and on yet all through this Toy held his composure and did not rebel. He defended himself but he did not attack as he surely could have. Finally the abuse got so insane, Toy ran the trainer out of the round pen. My hat is off to him! That man deserved much worse.

Toy Boy trying to catch is round bale even though it is way over him. He is perfectly calm and having fun with his game.

As fortune would have it, I had reason to be in the area of the training barn so I popped in one day to find my horse standing in s tiny stall barely large enough for him to turn around. The temperature inside that barn was 108 on the thermometer yet he had not one drop of water in his bucket and not one mouthful of hay in his feeder. His stall was so deep in manure he could not lay down and there were pigeons roosting over his head. The dung from those birds had virtually eaten his mane and forelock off. He was covered in dander and dirt with scabs and sores all over his head and face. He was so covered in that filth no one could even tell what color he was. He had lost a good 150 lbs or more and was so dejected looking it broke my heart.

Needless to say we got him out of there pronto. The trainer claimed he was a rogue and a killer yet when I demanded to see him RIDE the horse ( I don't believe he had ever ridden him in the 3 months he'd been there) the horse did not do one wrong thing! He stood patiently for saddling even though the man slammed the saddle down on his back and cinched it just as hard as he could. The horse did nothing wrong with the man forcefully grabbed his head to bit him up. All this was done right in front of me with my temper broiling hot. BUT I had to see what the man had done to my horse and also to see if there really was a violent streak in him. There was none, just as I knew.

Toy Boy trying to pull the round bale off the spike. He has such a gentle mouth when he takes food from my hand, yet he nearly pulled that bale off the tractor forks.

When it came time to leave he said he'd go get the chains. Chains for what I asked. Oh you will never get him in the trailer without them he said! of all the ridiculous things to say. He also said he would load him because the horse would likely KILL me..! HA! Not my boy.

I waited for him to untack Toy Boy, then slipped a halter on my abused horse. Not only did he load up, he nearly ran to do so. He wanted out of that torture chamber just as badly as I wanted him out of there!

The last comment the "trainer" said to me is "he is one whale of a horse, I could not break his spirit". Now why, I have to ask, would anyone even WANT to?

Later I found out that this man had ruined countless horses. Why? maybe he didn't want competition or maybe he just got his kicks in being a fiend. I cannot say. But it is a sin that people can get away with such things.

While Toy Boy was in training we made our move to Arkansas. Because of that we were not taking Toy home to the home he had known for 4 years. We were taking him to our new home. When we arrived he was a bit disoriented to have so much space for himself and he needed every inch of that space to heal his damaged body and severely wounded mental process. As soon as I turned him out he ran to the farthest corner of the pasture and did not come back up for many days other than at night to drink. We did not crowd him or make demands of him. He needed down time to recover and collect himself. We were seriously afraid his mind would be totally gone. We gave him his time and his space.

Toy Boy feels he has won when the bale is finally placed. He always hugs it and holds it down with his head. He loves his round bales!

Then one morning when I went out to feed, I heard my darling Toy Boy's nicker. He has a special way of talking to me. He came to the gate and talked to me for the first time since I'd sent him away to training. I knew then that my boy was healing and I hugged him and spent all day with him reinstating the bond we had enjoyed since the day he had arrived in Washington.

Toy was very reserved with men however and was not to be trusted, especially around men the same stature as the "trainer" or men wearing the same sort of hats. He would instantly become violently angry when he would see someone that looked like that trainer. He would calm if I spoke to him but any horse can be a danger and Toy Boy was such a powerful horse by then had he ever decided to turn vicious he would have had to be put down. No one would have been able to control him.

His exceptionally willing nature and kindness saw him through however. He became less and less upset by his flash backs and began to be more and more like his old self. Even at that we do not trust him with strangers and will never allow anyone to access him. I handle him and my husband can be around him but we keep him away from anyone else. He may be perfectly fine, but he may also have a flash back and we cannot count on anyone being safe.

Toy Boy has a powerful body and a heart of a lion but he has the gentleness and integrity of a good dog. He is watching Jan's mares from his round bale in this photo. He looks very much like his great grandsire, Poole' s Red Rocket!

When we breed Toy he is at liberty. I tell him to go to his paddock and he does. We close the gate and bring the mare to his fence to tease. If she is ready I take her to a gate and stand on the one side so I can manage her and not be in the way. Then I call Toy and he comes. On command he mounts. We cover twice within a 15 minute period. When he has finished the second cover I tell him to go back to his house and he does. I bring the mare out and it's a done deal. I am a 65 year old woman at this writing and handle both the mare and Toy by myself. That is testament to how reasonable and manageable he is.

Is Toy Boy a perfect horse? Of course not. He is a very good and decent horse however and is very strong as a breeder. He stands 16 hands tall and in good condition tapes at a little over 1200lbs. Toy Boy has very correct conformation and posture. He is so balanced he does not need a farrier. He wears his feet perfectly evenly and keeps self trimmed beautifully. His frame is strong and powerful. Though he is a bit large and hefty for our taste he is a valuable balancer for most mares that are less correct in conformation or which need more bone or joints. And, he invariably puts a natural foxtrot on his offspring.

On more than one occasion we have had people come by our farm wanting to breed to Toy Boy thinking he was a Quarter Horse. They all claim he looks like a Peter Mc Cue Quarter Horse. Pete McCue was packing a lot of Thoroughbred and Toy Boy indeed is distantly related to him. They share quite a bit of common ancestry including Janus, Highlander, Glencoe, Sir Archy and a host of other horses instrumental in the development of the American Quarter Horse. Toy Boy is related to some of the earliest foundation Quarter Horses such as Dan Tucker, Joe Hancock, Steel Dust, Old Fred...as well as Peter McCue. He is also related to Little Lena and a host of modern day successful cutting horses.

Janus and Sir Archy were considered primary contributors to the development of the Quarter Horse but those two sires also play heavily in the Missouri Foxtrotter ancestry. Toy Boy has 677 crosses to Janus, over 1,000 crosses to Sir Archy, and is "kissin cousins" to the three tallest/biggest foundation sires of the Quarterhorse breed.

Toy Boy shares common ancestry to Peter Mc Cue and other foundation Quarter Horses but has far better balanced conformation.

 

Toy's offspring show his courage and his kindness. They are sensible and they are easy to work with. They are tolerant and willing horses with spirit and grit. He passes his phenomenal joints, fabulous feet and great bone to his offspring along with his natural foxtrot. He produces solid horses that are sound and serviceable, athletic and personable. Beyond that he also produces a good percentage of roans. He has blue roans, bay roans, honey roans, chestnut roans all to his credit at a ratio of approximately 60%. That percentage should balance out over time to 50% but right now he's ahead of the curve.

In 1999 we bred Toy Boy to our mare Chief's Magic Ribbon. The result of that mating was a stallion colt we named Foxvangen's Braveheart Two. That proved to be such a good cross we repeated it several times. Over the next few years we found that Toy's prepotence tended to correct conformational weaknesses in a large variety of of mares. He consistently produced good legs and improved top lines. He improved balance and calmed the flightiness of high strung mares. He also cured pace in a number of pacy mares that came to him. Even when bred to mares that only paced the offspring were all born foxtrotting.

In 2001 we found out that Toy Boy is actually a curly and is hypoallergenic. Prior to that we had paid little attention to curly horses and had only heard of them existing a short time before. Toy Boy is sleek and smooth coated with extremely short hair but in the coldest winters he gets waves and curls on him. When we first noticed ringlets on his rump one snowy winter we just thought of it as a novelty. If his hair was longer it would likely curl more but when we sent hair samples in to be examined the examiner reported his hair as being the shortest they had ever measured. His hair was only 3/4 inch long and that was his winter hair.

Toy Boy is a very expressive horse. His intelligence shows in his deep set eyes.

His hair in winter is so dense it is impossible to dig one's fingers down to the skin. His hair is very silky and fine and he is never shaggy. But on the coldest winters he gets waves all over his neck and legs and sides but the hair on his top line curls. From a few feet away it is really not noticeable but up close it's quite evident. He has a dreadlock mane and curly tail as well.

We had a visitor come to our farm by the name of Lene Jensen. She lives in Norway. Lene is extremely allergic to horses but when she arrived at our farm she declared Toy Boy a curly horse! At first the import of that escaped us because at the time we were unaware of how many people are actually allergic to horses!

Lene asked permission to go in with Toy. She stood with her nose right on his neck and had no reaction at all! At first her actions puzzled me but when after 15 minutes she still had no reaction she explained that normally horses cause her to get weeping eyes and asthma attacks! GOODNESS!!!!

To prove her point she walked over to some of our other horses and before she could even get near them she began wheezing. Her eyes were tearing as if she were crying...! That drove home just how important it was that Toy was non-allergenic to at least some people allergic to horses!

Toy Boy has a very powerful and correct hind end. He always stands square and moves like a good roping horse. Lee Ziegler loved his legs and stature. She commented frequently especially on Toy Boy's hocks and knees. Big and flat. Farriers have seen his feet and say they would clone them onto all the other horses they work with. They never even need to file his feet much less trim him but we do have him checked periodically just to be sure he is still balanced.

After that we began to get interested in that quality. We began to really study Toy Boy's hair coat. He is not the same every year which we find interesting. In cold, dry winters he gets waves and tufts on his rump and in some winters he does not get waves all over his body. In mild winters he barely curls at all. In very cold winters his entire body curls including his legs. In winters when there is a lot of freezing rain or snow his coat gets a bit longer so the curls become pin curls rather than tufts. Evidently the hair curl pattern is weather related and acts as insulation. We believe this to be a primitive action left over from the ice age ( see article on curly coat theory)

We began keeping track of Toy's offspring and found that a large majority of them are born with waves or curl. When they shed their foal coats the curl sheds with it and they never seem to get curly again. In winter, however, they will get patches of waves or curls but none of them have been seen to get all over curly again after foal coat shed. They mostly all have curly manes and tails. So far they have all tested as being hypoallergenic by at least two people with allergies.

Some of his offspring show more wave later in life in winter and some that are born with straight manes develop curly manes around the age of two or three. These things are all consistent with what Dale Esther told me he got from Golden Governor and Golden Rawhide.....

In winter Toy Boy gets curls and waves to his coat. His hair is exceptionally silky and very short. He never gets cold and refuses to stay in his shed even in the coldest time of winter.

We do not advertise our horses as being curly. Nor do we advertise them as being hypoallergenic but we do have many of them tested by people with horse allergies and find that they are indeed nonallergenic at least to some folk with allergies!

Just where that characteristic came from in Toy is uncertain though he has many crosses to Golden Governor. But over time we found that many horses stemming from Poole's Red Rocket also are curly. Then we found that many horses stemming from Merry Boy are curly. It is my belief Toy actually got his curl from Poole's Red Rocket. Toy also got his coloring indirectly from him through his dam. Poole's Red Rocket is twice Toy's great grandsire.

In winters that have a lot of snow, Toy Boy's hair gets long enough to have actual pin curls but in cold winters he just gets waves and tufts to his coat. He does not shed his mane or tail and does not have skin problems.

When we bought Toy Boy he was our first roan horse ever. Truthfully the color had never impressed me much. Toy was purchased for his other qualities and frankly at the time his color was just something that came along with him.

When he shed to an amazing PINK color shortly after his arrival, it intrigued me and whetted my interest in how roan works. Having never studied that particular color it was extremely interesting to watch the almost chameleon changes Toy Boy went through as his color matured over a period of years.

He changes color not only seasonally but year to year and much of that also seems governed by weather. At times the white hairs are longer than the red hairs so his body becomes very light. Some years his body nearly looks white while at the same time his points become so dark red they look nearly black.

Other winters, Toy stays less roaned due to the red hairs staying longer than the white. In those winters he looks very wine colored due to his liver chestnut base.

There are times when he looks nearly pink/silver and times when it is difficult to tell he is even a roan. Some years his face and legs are very red and other years they are a very deep burgundy, nearly purple looking. Basically he changes color four times a year.

Another interesting thing about his color is that there are times in the year, each year, that he develops vertical stripes on his sides. Personally I'm not overly fond of that characteristic because from a distance it makes him look like his ribs are showing! The stripes are the same each year and cover the rib / body area on both sides of his body. He does not seem to get stripes on his hip or leg areas. We believe this unusual pattern may be a result of sooty at work but so far no one seems to understand just what causes this.

Toy likely is striped all year actually but they only really show when he has a specific balance between the white and red hairs that allows his body to be light.

Toy Boy can get nearly black or purple looking on his points at certain times. His light coat pattern allows his stripes to show.

The first winter we were in Arkansas we did not have our barn built yet. The mares and foals had a hay barn in their field that we used to feed them under. It was an extremely bitter winter with record low temperatures and wind chill factors that ranged between 20 to 50 degrees BELOW zero and that wind and cold lasted for six weeks!

During that time we fed all the mares and foals up under the hay barn until the weight of ice brought the entire barn down! After that we made wind breaks out of round bales and rolled out round bales for the horses to lay and walk on because the ice build up was nearly a foot deep making it treacherous for them even to walk to the water tank.

Toy Boy had his own pasture so we gave him a semicircle of round bales to act as a wind break. He is so intelligent he pulled hay down from the bales and made himself a bed on the southeast side of the wind break. THEN he laid down in that hay and when it got really cold ( it never warmed over -5, he pulled hay up over his legs!

Toy's exceptionally thick hair insulated him yet he was wise enough to nest in his hay when the temps dipped into minus double digits!

Another feature we love about Toy Boy is his sense of humor. He is playful and invents his own games. His pasture is a terraced hill. He loves to run down that hill, slide to a stop, roll back and then foxtrot back up the hill to do it all over again. The man who runs the road grader for our county road times his work so he can be at Toy's pasture for lunch time so he can watch Toy's antics.

Another game he plays is with a tire. He can pick that tire up and carry it horizontally in his mouth. He flips it in the air to make it hit the ground and roll back to him and then puts a leg in it and slides the tire up and down his leg.

One other game he plays is with Carl when he comes to put out a new round bale for Toy. They go through this same routine each time. Toy grabs the bale and Carl lifts the bale up with the tractor... they have a whole routine they play until finally Carl just places the bale, then Toy Boy hugs the bale as if to say "MINE". It's really rather fun and funny.

Toy Boy also has a whole repertoire of voices. He makes a mewing sound when he is begging that sounds like a little puppy. He has a roar that is loud enough to hear for miles when he is angry or is calling to a mare. He has a special distress whinny whenever there is trouble and he's trying to call me. He has saved the day on several occasions because he is like a sentry and shouts out the warning when there is a problem. He has his courting whinny and a talking whinny. He has a whole range of voices, sounds and ranges of intensity when he "talks".

We are very pleased with Toy's production and also that of his son, Foxvangen's Braveheart Two. We currently stand Toy's Grandson, Foxvangen's Solaris who was sired by Braveheart Two. Both Braveheart and Solaris also produce curly foals that are non-allergenic.

At the age of two Toy gave a performance that silenced a crowd. It was only his 8th ride and yet he performed an amazing, head nodding flat walk and foxtrot with reach, perfect timing and a heart stopping dynamic, ground covering speed.

Toy Boy is currently 14 years old and will live out his life with us. He is a wonderful horse with a good heart and the pride of a king. . Needless to say, we love him dearly! His offspring carry his good qualities noticeably. Here are some examples of Toy Boy's production:

Foxvangen's Braveheart Two...V-109 ...(9/16 old foundation blood).. Dark sooty chestnut possibly liver...at age 4. Dam: Chief's Magic Ribbon H.

Foxvangen's Shere Khan...V-94...(5/8 old foundation blood)......flaxen golden chestnut solid ....at age 2 months. Dam: Miss Molly Fox

Foxvangens Miss Molly's Toy Fox...V-94...(5/8 old foundation blood)...flaxen golden chestnut minimal sabino..at age 2 weeks. Dam: Miss Molly Fox

Foxvangen's Trade Winds....V-109 ..(9/16 old foundation blood).... dark chestnut-sorrel non-sabino ...at age 4 years. Dam: Chief's Magic Ribbon

Foxvangen's Tinker Toy...V-94 ( 5/8 old foundation blood) Honey Roan..flaxen golden chestnut roan...at age 11 months. Dam: Miss Molly Fox

Foxvangen's Captain Midnight ...V-109.( 9/16 old foundation blood) dark, sooty chestnut...at age 2 years. Dam: Chief's Magic Ribbon H.

Foxvangen's Moonlight Serenade ...V-109.( 9/16 old foundation blood) Liver chestnut true roan...at age 2. Dam: Chief's Magic Ribbon H.

Foxvangen's Autumn Topaz...V-94 ( 5/8 old foundation blood) Flaxen golden chestnut...at age 2 months. Dam: Miss Molly Fox

Foxvangen's Tonka Toy...V-115..(9/16 old foundation blood) chestnut true roan sabino....at age 2 months. Dam: Casey Ann Kay

Vj's Blues Glowing Ember...V-124.( 1/2- old foundation blood) rich deep red sorrel....at age 2. Dam: Cappuccino's Vanessa

 

Foxvangen's Noble Ambassador...V-110 (9/16 old foundation blood) Golden chestnut...at age 18 months. Dam: Foxvangen's Que Se Ra

Sparkle...V-101.( 5/8 old foundation blood) Liver chestnut true roan...at age 7 months. Dam: Foxvangen's Summer Heat.

Foxvangen Ribbon's Beau...V-109 ( 9/16 old foundation blood) dark chestnut true roan...at age 10 months. Dam: Chief's Magic Ribbon H.

VJ's Blue's Answered Prayer..V-117.( 9/16 old foundation blood) black (blue) true roan..at age 3. Dam: Super Storm

Vj's Blues Ritz Crackers..V-128 ( 1/2 old foundation blood) chestnut true roan...at age 2. Dam: Graham's Crackers

 

 

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