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Glow in the Dark Horses by Erica Larson


ennifer Tarr, a Warmblood and Thoroughbred breeder from Wellington, Colorado, is into bright horses–bright in color that is. Growing up, she was fascinated by the white

Thoroughbred horses and always dreamed of owning one. Today, she owns eleven all or mostly white Thoroughbred mares, one white Thoroughbred stallion, and has produced five white foals over her 20-year breeding career. Her next dream? Breed a white Warmblood. Although most horses that appear white are technically

grey, white Thoroughbreds are different. Jennifer points out that these white horses are not albinos (which would mean a lack of pigment anywhere on the body). These very rare horses are born with white skin and black eyes obtained through a recessive gene, and less than 50 have ever been registered with The Jockey Club. Researchers are still trying to identify and better understand the “white” gene, Jennifer adds. Jennifer acquired her first white Thoroughbred in 2008.

Eventually, she came across a mare named Silverella by the Thoroughbred stallion Airdrie Apache. Although the mare had had a rough start to life, Jennifer knew she would be a valuable addition to her breeding program. Jennifer purchased the now 11-year-old mare from the leading breeder of white and colored Thoroughbreds, Dalene Knight of Painted Desert Farm in Redmond, Oregon. “She’s a big mare,” Jennifer says. “She’s 16.2 hands, big bodied, conformationally correct, and just an overall nice horse.” Silverella foaled a chestnut Thoroughbred colt in her first

breeding with Jennifer, and it was then that Jennifer became curious about breeding another horse of a different color. “After reaching my goal of breeding white Thoroughbreds, I began to wonder if there were any true white Warmbloods,” she explains. “I’ve been unable to find any.” In 2010, Jennifer decided to make a first attempt at

breeding her white Warmblood. Silverella was her broodmare of choice, and the sire she selected was the Dutch stallion Parcival. Parcival, a 1997 liver chestnut KWPN standing 16.3 hands, was imported to the United States from Holland in 2006. Together with owner Amy Bock, Parcival has competed through Grand Prix in dressage. He started his stud career in 2009.

“I first found Parcival online through the Midwest

Breeders Group online stallion service auctions,” Jennifer says. “I was impressed with his physical attributes and also his performance record. After speaking with Amy—who was wonderful, helpful, and super easy to communicate with—I decided to breed Silverella to Parcival. I thought they would compliment each other and, of course, I was hoping for the small possibility of producing the world’s first white foal that would be eligible for registration with a recognized Warmblood registry.” Silverella was successfully bred in July 2010. For eleven months, Jennifer waited with baited breath to see just what

54 September/October 2011

Dragon, a very rare white Dutch Warmblood cross, at five weeks. Photo by Jennifer Tarr

would come of the breeding. Early in the morning on June 20, 2011, Silverella decided it was time to reveal the foal growing inside her. Jennifer laughs as she recalls the “pretty hysterical”

birthing experience. “My husband is an equine veterinarian who specializes in reproduction. We were there for the birth, of course, and as he was helping Silverella he was also giving me the play-by-play. ‘Left front is white. Right front is white! Oh my, nose is all white too…I think he is going to be white!’ he exclaimed, all this before the little guy was half- way into this world.” Sure enough, when all was said and done, Silverella

had given birth to a white Warmblood colt. Christened Pendragon, “Dragon” for short, Jennifer says the colt has “surpassed her wildest hopes.” “He is an outstanding individual, no matter what color

he is,” she gushes. “He has beautiful conformation and movement, a stunning head and neck, and he’s curious, pleasant, and very playful. I am very critical of my own foals, but this little guy is phenomenal.” Jennifer says that she plans on presenting Silverella at

the German Oldenburg Verband (GOV) later this summer for inclusion in their breeding book, and then she hopes to present Dragon for inspection and registration in the GOV as well. Silverella, she adds, will be bred back to Parcival this year. Although she’s achieved her goals of owning a white

Thoroughbred, breeding a white Thoroughbred, and finally breeding a white Warmblood, the rare white coloring still has Jennifer enamored. “When the horses are grazing at sunset, there’s just something reflective about them,” she smiles. “They just glow.” WT

sport horse snippets

A Colorado farm’s unique breeding program hits a new milestone.

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