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 and 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 do with horses in 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 the barn are more pastures, originally used as rotational grazing demonstration sites when 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 are moved 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 are born in the early spring, weaned by the end of the summer and sold around December.

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 this summer 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 horses and students to join. Without financial support, however, the foaling program will struggle.

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 June 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 allow 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 provide 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 Warmblood) and 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 that is 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.