University of Maryland Raises the Bar
Breeding Program Expands in its Third Year
(first appeared in the August 2015 issue of The Equiery)
photos and article by Katie Anger
Driving down Folly Quarter Road in Clarksville, a farm with large silos, acres
of green grass and beautiful open fields is clearly seen. This farm is owned
by the University of Maryland and used for its Agriculture and Natural Resources
program. However, the cows are not the only members of the Terrapin family out
there in rural Howard County.
Right across the street and up the hill is a more hidden farm where their
equine UMD companions reside. As the University’s Campus Farm at College Park
raises funds and works on possible new renovation and improvement plans, this
smaller farm acts as the home for mares donated to the program and their newborn
foals, courtesy of the University’s equine breeding program.
Acres of corn between the various pastures at the Clarksville
farm make the weaning process much easier on the mares and foals.
This year’s colt Blazing Terp,
by Buffum and out of Daylight Lassie.
Restarting the Breeding Program
The equine breeding program is now in its third year after its restart
in the spring of 2013. The program had been in existence about thirty
years ago, but
went dormant in the late 1980s. Now, it is back and continuing to grow as the
arrival of the next set of foals is anticipated.
The first two foals were born in 2013 on the Campus Farm, and then transported
to the Clarksville unit with their mothers where they were prepped for sales
when they hit the weanling stage. UMD’s first foals were Amazin’ Terp
by Cherokee’s Boy (standing at Murmur Farm) out of Amazin’, and Diamondback
Fire by Friesan Fire (standing at Country Life Farm) out of Daylight Lassie.
Both the filly and colt were successfully sold later that year at the Fasig-Tipton
Weanling Sales with Amazin’ Terp going to Teresa Beste of Christ Is King
Stable and Diamondback Fire to Louis Rao, Jr.
Two more foals were born in the program the following year, this time, both
colts: Fear the Fire, by Friesan Fire out of Daylight Lassie, and Maryland’s
Best, by Rock Slide (Shamrock Farm) out of The Best Sister. Donated by Christie
Jim Steele of Shamrock Farm, this was The Best Sister’s first year at
the UMD farm. Amazin’ did not produce a foal that year.
The 2015 Crop
The program now has two new foals residing at the farm: a feisty colt
named Blazing Terp and his sweet little filly counterpart Maryland’s
Miracle. Blazing Terp is by Buffum, who stands at Northview Stallion
Station, and out of Daylight
Lassie. Maryland’s Miracle is by Baltimore Bob, who also stands at Shamrock
Farm, and out of Amazin’.
Student and one of the caretakers at the Clarksville farm, Kristina Davis,
described each foal as having much personality and spunk and says that
working with them
is always exciting.
Davis also stated that she always learns something
new working with the foals and, although she does not know what she will
the future, she is sure that the knowledge she has acquired working with
the foals will certainly come in handy.
The two charismatic young foals are currently the only ones at the farm
and are healthy and thriving.
Extensive veterinary expenses
for the filly Maryland’s
Miracle (pictured here with student Kristina Davis and barn manager
Tim Shellem) have prompted the program to create the “Fearless
Foaling” fundraising campaign.
Teaching Babies to Be Big Kids
With over 900 acres to work with, the weaning process is made easier as
there is plenty of space to separate mares from foals. Up the hill from
are more pastures, originally used as rotational grazing demonstration
there were geldings at the farm. Now, they are used for the mares and foals
before they are weaned. The foals will stay in this field while the mothers
closer to the barn.
Davis says that between all of the corn and the distance over the hill,
the foals and dams can neither see nor hear each other, allowing the process
to run smoothly.
Weaning tends to stay pretty consistent with each set of foals, as they
born in the early spring, weaned by the end of the summer and sold around
The folks at the Clarksville farm have high hopes for the two current foals
and their futures. They are hoping to show Blazing Terp at the State Fair
and both foals will be sold in the fall to make room for next year’s
babies and generate income for the breeding program.
Fearless Foaling Campaign
Although the foals are currently in full health, it was not always
this way for Maryland’s Miracle. The filly was born on an early March morning and immediately
had trouble breathing, followed by seizures. The newborn foal was transported
to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine’s Equine
Medical Center in Leesburg, Virginia where the filly was diagnosed with neonatal
maladjustment syndrome. She has since then made a full recovery, but also just
recently had hernia surgery.
Runaway Pearl is the newest Thoroughbred mare at the UMD program
and was donated by Northview Stallion Station.
Her spirits are high, but sadly so are her veterinary bills. Because of the
cost of the foal’s bills, and the fact that the program is run mainly
on donations, the school has started a fundraiser called “Fearless Foaling.” This
campaign was started to pay off Maryland’s Miracle’s veterinary
bills, and also to continue to cover the daily upkeep costs of the horses
such as grain
and hay, farrier visits, barn maintenance and repairs. Program leaders also
hope that these donations can possibly expand the program and allow more
students to join. Without financial support, however, the foaling program
The members of the program do not want to see it end
again and are fighting to secure the future of the program. The first
goal of $10,000
had been met
by two donors: Carolyn Karlson and Tom Rooney, each donating $5,000. The fundraising
goal was then raised to $15,000 by July 22. The total amount raised by press
time was $11,105.
Currently three mares at the farm are two to three months pregnant and are
all in good health. The mares all receive monthly checkups; however, the procedure
could be made easier if funding could be raised for a sonogram machine. Barn
manager Tim Shellem said if the farm had its own sonogram machine, these checkups
could be conducted at the farm with no veterinarian needed. This would also
students to learn how to use the sonogram and monitor the foal’s growth.
Shellem also said they are hoping for an addition to the main barn that will
more space for offices, as well as
room for seminars
and teaching projects.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
With three new foals anticipated for the spring of 2016, the donations would
certainly come in handy. The program expects a new Thoroughbred foal as well
as two Thoroughbred/Warmblood crosses, a first for the program, next spring.
Daylight Lassie, was live covered by the stallion Nicanor,
who stands at Shamrock Farm, while The Best Sister and UMD’s
newest addition Runaway Pearl were artificially inseminated by Warmblood
stallions Praise (Dutch
Contucci (Hanoverian), both standing at Hilltop Farm in Colora.
Runaway Pearl was donated by Northview Stallion Station after program head
Dr. Amy Burk and her students saw her at a sale last winter. “I would really
like to have two Thoroughbred and two Warmblood crosses each year for the students
to work with,” Dr. Burk stated. Unfortunately, Amazin’ has gotten
too old to breed and has been retired from the program. She will be looking for
a new forever home once Maryland’s Miracle is weaned. Dr. Burk also
stated that the program is currently looking for another Thoroughbred mare
in foal to a Thoroughbred stallion for the program as they are
hoping to have four
foals born at the Campus Farm next spring.
With fundraising taking place, foals being weaned and sold and the expectation
of new foals in the upcoming spring, it looks like the equine breeding
program at UMD is going strong and not ending anytime soon.