Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Devon preview: Swirly-coated beauty, Bellatesse

This photo by Erin McCardell from Hilltop Farm is about the most stunning inspection photo I've ever seen. This young filly is Bellatesse by Bugatti Hilltop, bred by Hilltop and purchased by Kris Schuler, a breeder here in PA. She bought  her at 5 weeks. Bellatesse, now a yearling, will be at Devon, and I'll be front and center to see her in person.

click to see source of photo 

The photo is posted on the Edgewood Meadows Web page along with more info on Bellatesse. She is by Bugatti Hilltop, as I mentioned, but her mom is pretty special. Comtesse is an award-winning mare by Cordoba. Congrats to Kris Schuler on selecting this lovely youngster.

Below is a recent photo of Bellatasse at a yearling, taken at the 2010 Fair Hill Breed show (again, courtesy of Erin McCardell). Note that Belatasse has an unusual swirly coat that makes her even more distinctive. The swirls are called watermarks and there is a discussion on an equestrian listserv about the presence of watermarks in G-line horses. Sara Andrew left a comment that I'll repeat it here: watermarks are common on Friesians as well.

Again with the brick-bat: It's about the mare!
This filly illustrates an important point of breeding that everyone seems to know but few seem to practice. I'm no breeding expert, yet I know this. How can so many breeders not know this?

The mare is the most important choice you make as a breeder. 

It makes me dismayed and sad to hear breeders talk about getting broodmares on CANTER or from rescues. Many breeding programs consist of  a dozen mediocre mares rather than one or two really exceptional mares.   My hat goes off to the breeders who break the bank to get really terrific mares and build their breeding program on a solid foundation.

See ya at Devon, Bella!


  1. Wow! That baby trot is amazing. Wonder how she moves now?

  2. Funny...the swirly watermarks are pretty common in a lot of Friesians as well. My young one has it and so does his dam. It does look kind of funky:P Pic here, you can see it pretty clearly on his neck, but he's got them all over his body: http://www.flickr.com/photos/95185725@N00/4914478657/

  3. Wow, what a beautiful little girl. That first photo is simply amazing! I couldn't agree with you more about the importance of a good mare. I had mom picked out for my 2-year-old way before I settled on the right dad. And the mare is definitely making her mark on my filly. They have the same movement, the same kind eye, and the same quiet temperment. It makes perfect sense, mom has nature and nurture going for her by way of influence since the babies spend half of their first year in this world by her side.

  4. What a gorgeous little girl she is! I wonder what she will look like when she's all grown up (spectacular, no doubt :o)

  5. actually, this filly's owner just posted a more recent picture over on COTH.

    look here: http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs313.snc4/40981_1496435283152_1002193261_31449599_5714071_n.jpg

  6. There's nothing wrong with a good Thoroughbred mare as a brood mare.

  7. Stacey

    Thanks for the nice comments on my filly Bellatesse HTF. I was very lucky that Hilltop farm allowed me to purchase this filly as often times fillies of this quality are not for sale. I agree with you that the higher the quality mare, the more likely the quality offspring. I do hope that Bellatesse will fulfill her potential in the future. She still moves wonderfully, and in the photo that Stacey used, she was named the Reserve Grand Champion of the Fair Hill Show.

    And I also do love a very good TB mare. I have a (now) retired 21 year old TB mare who is very nice and was one of the few to pass the American Hanoverian Society inspection and Mare Performance Test. She has given me wonderful babies in the past, most of which have excelled in the hunter realm.

    However, I wholeheartedly agree that only the very best mares should be used.

    I hope to see you at Devon, Stacey. You can come give Bella a pat, she loves people. :-)

  8. Yep, I have a TB that would have been a good broodmare except he is a gelding ;-) One year at the Hilltop inspection a tb mare was the high score mare at the inspection plus she was elite eligible -- think her name was little black? A lot of registries are tough on tbs brought for inspection, and I think that's appropriate, but I totally LOVE the good ones. I like to learn about TB bloodlines that make good sport horses.

    I'm dying to see Bellatesse in person.

  9. Stumbled upon this blog accidentally and just wanted to say thank you for the photo props!
    Bella is a lovely, lovely filly and I can't wait to see her going under saddle!


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