January 2015 - AliBoo Farm, Inc.
Written by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 01:36
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Developing young horses is a key component to top sporthorse breeding program.

by Kim F. Miller

The AliBoo team with Carrasca Z (Asca Z x Calato)

Everybody agrees that having a path to develop young horses is critical to America gaining ground on Europe as a source for top sporthorses. The level of talk on the subject has risen in recent years, and it’s turning into action on a few fronts: The Young Horse Show debuted on the West Coast last September, thanks to its partnership with Blenheim EquiSports organizers, and there are high hopes for more YHS and other related events in our region this year.

AliBoo Farm, Inc.’s owner Janet Flury could not be happier about these developments. The Minooka, Ill-breeding program began as a family endeavor to produce prospects for daughters, Taylor and Alison, now 24 and 28. Subsequent years of bloodline and breeding savvy is now accessible to the public through semen sales, young horse sales and breeding consultations, but Janet knows the family’s expertise is wasted if the owner of the resulting foal doesn’t have a realistic path for realizing its potential. For that reason, careful development of young horses has been an important component of AliBoo’s program for several years.

AliBoo’s breeding, raising and training are geared for the jumper ring. The goal is talent and scope for international level competition, with temperaments that allow owners to excel at the highest level and have a horse that’s a pleasure to ride and spend time with.

Wilbur

This is all part of a larger mission of “contributing to high quality breeding standards in North America,” Janet explains. AliBoo is home to three approved Belgian Warmblood stallions: Diamant d’Heure ABF, Carrasca Z and Vuvuzela Z.  Another six or seven younger sire prospects are typically in the AliBoo pipeline. “We hope to be helping the industry as a whole with breeding and breeding services, and by bringing young horses along and getting them off to a good start.” It’s a huge help that Taylor Flury has a gift for developing young horses and a special knack with young stallions.

AliBoo has a proven track record and an ever-growing resume in this department. At this fall’s Young Horse Show Finals, held at Tyron International Equestrian Center in North Carolina, AliBoo horses dominated the winners circle. Carrasca Z (Asca Z x Calato) finished with a perfect 10 in the 4-year-old free jumping and had the highest score in-hand as well, with a 9.64, to bring home two high point coolers. Diamant d’Heure ABF (Diamant de Semilly x Rio Grande) also earned the Perpetual Best American Bred Young Horse Trophy with his high score in the free jumping of 9.45. Both of these approved BWP stallions are available, via fresh and frozen semen, for breeding this year.

Vuvuzela Z (Vagabond de la Pommex Casantos)

Not to be outdone, Meister ABF won the 2-year-old free jump chute (8.69) and was second in hand (9.05). Calano Z and My Pride Z finished first and second respectively in the 3-year-old jump chute (9.81, 9.56). Little Anthemis Z also earned a high score (8.25) to finish second in the yearlings in hand.

The YHS showcase provides constructive feedback from sporthorse breeding experts and is a good marketing tool, Janet explains. “Most people want to win, and we are trying to demonstrate that our methods work and our horses are succeeding. We want to give people a reason to buy American.”

Janet’s professional background is in consulting and loss control/risk management and she sees domestic-bred horses as a relatively safe bet. The cost and health risks of importing a horse are not part of the equation and the horse’s upbringing is easily tracked and monitored.

Janet is thrilled that the Young Horse Series came to the West Coast last fall and she predicts growing interest will be rewarded with more such events in the region. “The West Coast has a lot of outstanding sporthorse breeders and we all need more places to bring and present young horses in a show type of environment.” (The Young Horse Show events are open to horses 5 and under, and are a stepping stone to the performance-oriented Young Jumper and Young Hunter Futurity programs.) AliBoo is actually preparing for a West Coast presence of its own with a facility in Kalispell, MT, chosen for its proximity to the international show jumping venue, Spruce Meadows, in Calgary, Canada.

Overall interest in breeding is growing, Janet observes. “Professionals and amateurs are becoming more educated and aware of the importance of good breeding. They are getting the idea of seeing a horse they like and figuring out where they can get one like it for themselves.” A good portion of AliBoo’s client base is amateurs with a talented mare whose competitive days are on the wane. The AliBoo team takes pride in helping such owners navigate what can be a complicated process to finding the right stallion for a client’s mare, whether it’s one of theirs or an outside stallion. They have a strong network of fellow breeders and are happy to refer clients as needed to get pairings that contribute to a rising tide of great sporthorses in the States.

All In The Family

Meister ABF (Lupicor x Landetto)

Taylor and her sister Alison can take credit for AliBoo’s existence. (“Boo” is Taylor’s nickname because she was born on Halloween.) The family began breeding when they recognized it as a more affordable way to keep their daughters well-mounted in the higher jumper divisions.  Although Taylor describes AliBoo as a “boutique breeder,” the endeavor has grown well beyond its relatively modest origins. Today, Taylor is a noted authority on breeding and young horse development and she’s grateful to be so at an opportune time.

“People are starting to realize that good horses are getting harder to come by and that they need to look at younger horses and how to bring them along,” she observes. “You see a lot of our top riders appreciating that they need young horses and the awareness for developing young horses is definitely growing.”

Taylor’s approach is tailored to each individual horse, but some of her philosophies are applied across the board. AliBoo youngsters are handled on a daily basis from birth. This differs from programs that handle youngsters periodically in between many months, sometimes years, in pastures where they have relatively little interaction with people. AliBoo’s horses spend plenty of time in pasture, along with daily interactions that form a foundation of acceptance for the next step in their training.

Alison Flury and Cosmea Z (Calvados Z x Lupicor)

Standing still for grooming, blanketing and farrier work are early lessons, all administered with careful balance between patience and firmness. “A young horse needs structure and guidelines,” Taylor explains. “They have to understand what you are asking and you have to know when to stand firm and when to go back a step.”  Riding-age horses spend time on the trail, so there’s little to surprise them in a show environment, and ground manners are an important part of their education.

“We are not really breeding for amateur competition,” Taylor explains. “But we want horses than can be ridden and handled by anyone. We want them to be very rideable and to always be horses that have a job to do.”


For more information on AliBoo Farm’s stallions, breeding services and young horse development, visit www.AliBooFarm.com or call 815-475-4524.