In 2006 when my stallion Guards Apollo’s first foal was born, my mentor and I began thinking about a stallion to follow Apollo. Joe Langcake and I had just met the year before, but we had already developed a great friendship, and Joe was keen on helping me breed the best Fell Ponies I could. He had suggested Apollo to me, and he subsequently helped me obtain two mares, one of which he had bred, Restar Mountain Shelley III.
In 2007 when I decided to retain one of Apollo’s daughters, the need to find a stallion to follow Apollo became more important. We had found one that we thought would be a good candidate, but then for a variety of reasons we realized in 2010 that it just wasn’t meant to be. Then began the long wait. For a few years the stallions Joe used were too related to my stock. And by this time I had realized just how hard it was going to be to sustain the great progress that I had made in the type and movement departments thanks to Joe’s help. While there were certainly unrelated stallions in this country that I could breed my Apollo daughter to, I had learned so much about how good traits and bad are inherited that I just couldn’t bring myself to breed her to any of the stallions already in this country unless I absolutely had to.
After visiting Cumbria, I had identified several mare lines as my favorites, with a casual goal of someday having representatives of each of them in my herd. One of those mares was Restar Lucky, Joe’s favorite mare. She was the only one of Joe’s mares that was unrelated to my stock, so we began to pin our hopes on finding a stallion for Lucky that was also unrelated to my stock and hopefully getting her to produce a colt. I realized of course that a lot of stars would have to line up, including that the colt would pass Joe’s very strict standards for stallion material and then that Joe would let him leave England and come to me.
Well, to make a long-enough story shorter, in May of 2013, the stars lined up. Restar Lucky Joe was born, and he is now on his way to Colorado. This colt is an opportunity-of-a-lifetime for me because not only is he out of one of my favorite mare lines, and not only did he pass muster as stallion material, but Joe has labeled him the best thing he’s ever bred. That’s saying something since Joe has achieved the pinnacle of Fell Pony breeding in my opinion by having nearly every foal born be breeding quality. There is so much more that has contributed to Lucky Joe being the opportunity of a lifetime that there’ll be several chapters of a book before I finish writing about all of them! Suffice it to say that I am extremely excited to be so much closer to seeing Lucky Joe in the flesh soon instead of just in pictures.
I’m grateful to Craig Humble for photographing Lucky Joe for me back in August. His photographs have sustained me while Lucky Joe has been en route to Colorado.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2014