A New Broodmare Joins the Brood!

mare in pasture

Life moves fast on a farm.

And if there’s one thing that horses and farming both teach you, it’s how to be flexible. That sometimes, despite your best laid plans, things don’t always turn out the way you wanted…and sometimes there’s a big fat lining of silver in that rain cloud.

For me, that was realizing that Quill was not meant to be a farm horse, and not a good fit for me. He was miserable doing arena work and bored meandering around the island, and the big colt let me know it in no uncertain terms. So we sold Quill to an amazing horseman and trainer in British Columbia, Danny Virtue, who trains horses for Hollywood. They took to each other immediately. I expect to see Quill in all his magnificence on the big screen in the next few years, a lifestyle better suited to his larger-than-life personality.

Quill’s absence begged the question, What would I do for a riding horse?

Enter Isabella.

mare in stall

Look at that face! This was one of the photos from the ad the seller posted. It totally worked.

My bestie, Bernadette (known as B), was helping me search, and I had already come across and then stupidly dismissed the ad for the mare because she was in foal, and I wanted a horse I could ride right away. B convinced me to take a second look. The mare was only three months along, which meant I would be able to ride her for at least the next few months. She is in foal to an amazing stud (more on him in a minute). Best of all, she was the sweetest, most agreeable horse I had ever met, and she soothed the aching part of my heart that missed Quill.

I love her a ridiculous amount.

mares and flly

Asta checks out her new auntie grazing nonchalantly in the pasture as Neela watches carefully.

two mares

The two mares meet safely over the fence. Neela ultimately established her dominance, but it took a while for Isabella to give in.

stallion racing barrels

The Baby Daddy: He’s also a Quarter Horse, a famous barrel racer called Slick By Design.


We are thinking that the foal may be solid black like its sire. Emma has named the baby Batman (or, if it’s a filly, Batgirl).

mares and riders

My best friend B is on Mocha and I’m on Isabella, at a scenic view we rode to that’s just down the road from our farm.

mare and rider

Ah, summer! This mare is so gentle, I have yet to ride her in a bridle.


A Colt, a Holiday and a Whole Lotta Paint

What do you get when you start with a blue roan colt and add a little (O.K., a LOT) of red and white Crayola paint for the 4th of July?

A living American flag, that’s what. Have you ever painted a horse? It’s a fun challenge.


Emma walks Quill at the farm before we load him onto the trailer. That’s Mocha on the right, waiting to load up, as well. Photo by Matt

Emma Billington, a wonderful horsewoman and horse trainer who lives on San Juan Island, agreed to walk Quill in the local Friday Harbor 4th of July parade, as I would be riding Mocha. Handling Quill, who turned 2 in June, is something I would trust only a handful of people to do. I’ve raised him since birth and often refer to him as “the love of my life” so you get the idea. While he’s still only a colt, Quill stands at nearly 17 hands. Physically, he’s a big boy, but mentally, he’s still a youngster. Like most youngsters, he’s curious and awkward and a little unsure of himself. What better exposure than a parade?

To get him ready for said parade, Emma also generously agreed to help me decorate him. We painted him at home on the farm–using non-toxic, washable paint, of course. It took us a little more than an hour–and he was very good. We held our collective breaths that he wouldn’t smudge it on the way in the trailer but he emerged from it unsullied.

Emma kept Quill near Mocha during the parade because the filly kept him calm.

Emma kept Quill near his “Auntie Mocha” during the parade because the filly’s no-nonsense nature kept him calm. Photos by Josephine and Charlotte Crosby.

horses in parade

We’re part of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, so posse members rode together as a group.




What a handsome pair!

What a handsome pair! Matt and Yukon before the parade (with Quill in the background).

Matt went as Zorro (as the theme of the parade was Hollywood), and Yukon was his typical magnificent self.



Little Miss Mocha was a trooper and patiently carried me throughout the entire crazy parade. She was very calm. Not bad for a filly who just turned 3.

filly greets girl

Mocha says hello to Charlotte Crosby, one of the members of our ground support team.

Now, to plan for next year…

Amy on Mocha, who didn't spook once during the entire parade.  Brave little girl!

Me on Mocha, who didn’t spook once during the entire parade. Brave little girl!

more mocha