Monday, March 11, 2013

Back to The Shed ~ And Back to WinStar

More from guest blogger Lindsay Hunter...

Spring ahead ~ WinStar March 10

It seemed like a short night, having set the clocks an hour ahead for Daylight Savings Time and as I left the house on the way to the farm, a skunk trotted determinedly down the middle of the road in front of the truck, never wavering until he reached his turnoff, no doubt after a long night of grubbing .
Turning onto narrow, tree lined Spears Road, a big brindle doe stood momentarily motionless in the headlights, then quickly skittered over the wire fence and into the brush. Bailey, the Dog With A Tail, panning for squirrels in the shotgun seat, went beserk.
Collecting the mare at Overbrook, we set off down the avenues, whose trees were starkly silhouetted against the grey dawn, but all to soon would be hung with fragrant blossoms. Onto Tates Creek Road, and there was very little traffic on a quiet Sunday morning to slow down our progress. Our appoinment at Winstar for 9 am meant that we would be in the second shed, reserved for the stallions that took their own sweet time.
The parking area was crammed full of trailers and vans, and I wiggled in to the only open space, recently vacated by a mare from the ‘early ‘ shed.
Van drivers stood around chatting, most grateful for the early morning coffee and doughnuts available in the observation room. Tony Cissell, , two way radio in one ear, directed procedings between the stallion barn and the breeding shed, all the while shuffling mares in and out of the teasing stalls to the wash stocks to the holding stalls. 19 mares were on the morning shed books, and the place was hopping.
My mare penciled in on the Roster board as number 3 in Shed 2, so even though I was early for the appointment, I was in for a wait.
Mike Owens, who with his wife, Jeannie, runs Cobra Farm, waited too, checking texts on his cell phone. Adam Corndorf, and manager, Glen, from Blue Heaven Farm, waited also, watching each stallion come into the shed. It is such a plus to be able to see these stallions up close and personal. Clayton and Tom Ameche, better known as ‘Arizona ‘, grabbed a quick coffee, while the van drivers from the three big companies in town, Brookledge, Hubbard and Sallee, stood around and compared notes about which sheds they’d been to and how busy they were.
High above us the Big Ass Fan mounted in the ceiling reminded me that we would still be coming to get mares bred when the days turned hot and muggy in May. Spot the teaser inspected every mare, suited up in his protective shield in case a mare needed to be jumped prior to putting a valuable stallion on her back.
Stallion after stallion walked down from the big barn and bred their mare. Medaglia de’Oro, Colonel John, Tiznow, U.S. Ranger, Artie Schiller, Gemologist, Pioneer oftheNile, Sidney’s Candy, Super Saver, Bellamy Road, Bodemeister , Congrats, Distorted Humor, Harlan’s Holiday, Speightstown , Spring at Last, one by one they all took their turn.
Slowly after each mare was bred and reloaded, the vans and trailers pulled away from the parking area. Tony began to wrap things up, erasing each mare from the board as she was bred.
Soon it would be quiet and uneventful in the shed, all areas hosed down or raked over, ready for the next session of the day, after lunch.

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