by Cheryl Erpelding
Breeding superior warmbloods has been Pamela Duffy’s lifelong work. Pam states, “I have been fortunate enough to have had horses in my life for fifty-five years at this point and the responsibilities and joys of partnering with so many equine friends have been life-changing. As soon as I could walk, the experience that I craved was sitting on an equine’s back.” Her first competition, in Mexico, was in Show Jumping. As a young rider, with her mounts Chula and Naranjal, she entered multiple competitions and faced many challenges. It was a very competitive field and at the same time, a fun and amicable experience.
At the age of 18, she backed her first home-bred colt. For the first time in her life, she had an all-encompassing project that required consistency, patience, fairness, and sensitivity. This young horse taught Pam all of life’s necessary lessons – consequences, priorities, time management, accountability, realistic expectations, and how to deal with frustrations. These and many other lessons as well. Pam shared, “Horses seem to mirror what we are as people, and are often the best teachers. Horses need to have a working and caring connection with humans, and vice versa. I am a firm believer in this fact.”
After years of learning and improving as a rider and breeder, Pam felt sufficiently well-rounded to start her own business, Sunsprite Ranch, LLC., in Temecula in 2000. Over the years, some of the following competition horses were owned, bred, and/or produced at Sunsprite: Sunsprite Syrius, Sunsprite’s Saltamontes, Sunsprite Madeira, Sunsprite’s Parody, Sunsprite Kirschbluete, Sunsprite’s Cali, Sunsprite’s Feine Melodie, Sunsprite’s Watusi, Sunsprite Seryndipity, Sunsprite’s Destino Mio, Sunsprite’s Sir Frederico, Sunsprite’s Fleurette, Sunsprite’s Farrah, and more. In addition, there is a pilot breeding program currently in place in Germany and it has already had very positive results. Over the next year or two, quite a few horses will be joining the herd in Temecula.
Pam’s friend from Canada, Sara Sellmer, who spent time a few years ago praised Pam’s horses and reported about the horses she was riding, “Intelligence, athleticism and sensitivity are common traits. They are all very correct in their movement.” She also stated in a previous article about Sunsprite, “The related traits of balanced canters and big walks are of special appeal. A balanced canter translates to a natural ability to adjust the stride. That makes it easier for the horse and safer for us as riders. It’s a big advantage when you are galloping down to a big solid fence. Cat-like is the phrase I keep going back to,” she reflects. “They are soft and light over the ground and really agile.”
Our previous editor Kim F. Miller reported on Pam and Sunsprite.
“Partnering with a young prospect is a substantial commitment from a rider or owner, Pam acknowledges, but no more so than the substantial commitment Sunsprite has been making to American Sporthorse breeding. Breeding all-around athletes was Sunsprite’s goal at launch and remains so today. The stallion and mare choices change and evolve, but the program’s priority does not. In eventing terms, they strive for horses that start a Three Day Event competition winning dressage on Friday and finish still atop the leaderboard after cross-country and stadium jumping. Elegant movement and overall athleticism are common denominators in all their horses, but temperament is their top priority.
Pam enjoys her immersion in the sporthorse pedigrees, but she doesn’t expect bloodlines to be the first lure for most customers. “We hope a buyer is most interested in compatibility, potential, and temperament.” Pam also feels it is important for potential buyers to come and see the horses in person at her farm. She is very excited about the new horses that she has coming in the future of her breeding program.
Pam is very pleased with the direction of her Sunsprite Program and is going to focus over the next three years on jumping lines. She says, “This is where it all started, and that seems to be a fitting place to close the circle. Infinity, an attractive, athletic, and fully approved stallion who is based in Germany and is currently six years old, has experienced a great deal of success under his rider, Jens Hoffroge. If all goes as planned, Infinity will make it across the pond next year and will shift his focus from Three Day Eventing, where he has done exceptionally well up to 1-Star to Show Jumping.” Sunsprite Ranch was fortunate enough to purchase Infinity as a two-and-a-half-year-old at the Trakehner auction in 2019.
Sunsprite has also expanded its breeding program with some very promising non-Trakeheners. In particular, Westphalian, Oldenburgs, Hanoverians, Dutch Warmbloods, and Holsteiners have been added. In addition, the breeding program seeks out young talent in the form of American-bred individuals, since the American breeders deserve recognition in their own right, by pairing their best mares with some real star power. It also offers the opportunity to exchange ideas and to evolve continuously as a horse person.
Dr. Donald Trotter, Pam’s late husband, brought a brilliant touch to “The Sunsprites” and was eager to learn about the warmbloods and gradually became a real fan of farm life. He is sorely missed, but when times get tough, as they inevitably do, his quirky sense of humor, his intelligence, his creativity, and his kindness are still an inspiration. That energy keeps the evolution of a cherished dream alive and a better equestrian blueprint is still in progress. Pam’s closing thoughts are, “In a philosophical frame of mind, it seems to be the time to publicly proclaim that ‘The best is still to come!’”
To reach Pam call 951-514-6857 or visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SunspriteWarmbloods.