Friday, March 1, 2013

Back To The Shed ~ A Visit With Arch at Claiborne

Back to Claiborne with Guest Blogger Lindsay Hunter, this time with a mare to visit Arch. Longtime friend, Kim Ammeter riding shotgun. To visit Lindsay on her FaceBook page, click here.
Photo of Arch courtesy Kim Ammeter

Claiborne 2/21/13

Accompanied by my long time friend and fellow rider, Kim Ammeter, I set out on a cool, windy afternoon to take a mare to Claiborne. Like me, Kim has ridden all her life, and continues to enjoy the horses and everything to do with them. Since her retirement from the city government, it has afforded her more time to ride and be at the barn, and she has been game to go along on any wild venture I propose, including the dying of tails and delivering of ponies. So here we go, and Kim is armed with her camera.

We collect the mare and discover from the breeding shed envelope, that she is booked to Arch, sire of Claiborne’s prestigious runners , ArchArchArch , Blame and Uncle Mo, all now retired from the track and standing at stud. ArchArchArch is along the road at Spendthrift, Blame stands alongside his sire at Claiborne, while Uncle Mo resides in splendor over at Ashford Stud in Woodford County.
Kim reminisces that the last time she visited Claiborne was when the great Secretariat was still there, and recalls that Secretariat’s stall still had the nameplate of his equally famous sire on the stall door, Bold Ruler.
There is so much written material about Secretariat, including the movie, photos, just treasures of the past - all worth reading and following up on. Numerous homes and offices display Tony Leonard’s famous photo of Secretariat with pride.
Turning into Claiborne’s main entrance, Kim exclaims that it hasn’t changed at all from her last visit many years ago. There are two Sallee horse vans pulled up to the loading dock. I turn the trailer around in the large parking lot (only large when you’re first to arrive, but can get very crowded with 5 or 6 trailers present .)
We’ re early, so we wait.
Promptly at 3 pm, we see the shed crew stirring. The teaser, a black Tennessee Walker, is brought to the teasing stall. Visiting mares are brought to the front stalls, Claiborne mares are kept away from visiting mares and are teased along the back stalls. We are called second to the shed. Our mare is not paying attention to the teaser, preferring to pick at the straw in the stall. She is a maiden and so prior to introducing her to Arch himself, they bring the teaser into the shed to ‘jump’ her, to make sure she isn’t scared about the whole breeding thing and kicks the stallion, who probably has 60 more mares to breed this season. She does great, so Arch’s groom is signaled to bring him from the stallion barn.
Claiborne is conservative in their stallion books, seldom overbooking their stallions, unlike some of the farms that might breed 150 or more to a popular horse, all live cover. The Jockey Club, the governing body for the Thoroughbred horse in America, prohibits any other methods of mating, while most other breeds are allowed to produce offspring by artificial insemination, either fresh cooled or frozen semen , which enables popular sires’ semen to be shipped anywhere, including across the continent, to recipient mares. Some registries allow multiple foals from one mare in a single season. This can flood the market with foals by a popular horse, even full siblings in the same year. 
By prohibiting this practice, the Jockey Club and Mother Nature limit the offspring to a certain extent, so when you present your youngster at a sale, you hope there aren’t too many others by the same sire, at least not as good as the one you raised !
Kim is able to take photos, of Claiborne’s white swans, of Arch, of the shed, so the accompanying photos are to her credit.
Soon we are back out through the yellow gate, and loaded and on the way back to the home farm. The barn crew, almost done for the day, is there to meet us and unload, and we are quickly on our way back to Silverstone.


  1. Nice read, but Arch is the broodmare sire - not sire - of Uncle Mo.

    1. Correction to this story : I knew very well that Uncle Mo was by Indian Charlie (now deceased ) but somehow got it twisted around, appreciate the readers' setting the record straight. This is what happens when one is driving l;ong hours and trying to tell stories.....hope you are enjoying the trips with me anyway. from Lindsay