For a woman who started breeding paints just a few short years ago, Alynette Farley of Leander, Texas, has certainly educated herself. Owner/operator of Paint of a Different Color, Al, as she likes to be called, has lined her bookshelves with binders full of articles clipped from horse magazines, horse color and genetics books and equine care manuals. “As a small breeder, especially in the horse business, it’s important to evaluate your expenditures and analyze your return of investment. This business can cloud your judgment when the purchases are an “emotional” buy, says Al.
Al and her husband Charles moved from suburbia
Austin, Texas, to Leander, Texas, in 1998 to get out of the hustle and bustle
of the city. “We had no intention of getting into the horse business,
or even paints,” says Al as she smiles out towards her pen full of colorful
foals. She attended the Margarita Classic in Fort Worth in 1998 to lend support
to friends who were showing that year, and ended up buying the two year old
stud colt, Ima Great Print, a chocolate palomino tobiano with bloodlines going
back to Great Pine. Nicknamed Dakota, Ima Great Print went home with Al and
was to grow up and become her breeding stock stallion. In February of 1999 Al
took Dakota to the South Texas Paint Horse Club Show in San Antonio, and was
thrilled to place 1st in the green horse walk trot 2 year old stallion class.
Then in January of 2000 she entered Dakota in the Amateur Western Pleasure Class
at Waco in the Texas Paint Club Show and placed 7th. “We were off to a
good start and I was so pleased with Dakota’s performances.” As
Dakota grew, Al realized he was going to be too tall to become a reining horse.
She decided to pursue western pleasure and Dakota now works beautifully under
saddle. In 2001 Al decided to castrate Dakota after investigating the costs
of having a standing stallion at her home. “Why keep a stallion when there
are so many stellar stallions available through the APHA and the Paint Horse
Journal? Ima Great Print ain’t printin’ anymore.” She laughs.
“Dakota as turned out to be a wonderful gelding.”
With her continuing self-education in the paint horse world, Al has come to some conclusions and decisions. She knows color is wonderful, but she breeds for good conformation, strong minds and the bloodlines it takes to be competitive in the disciplines paint horse people practice. Al comments that the recent 4 part series about color, printed in the Paint Horse Journal (Dec.99-March 02), from the APHA was “phenomenal”. After studying genetics and paint color in depth she found the information in the articles by Dr. Jim & Linda McCall “ simple to understand.” Attending Paint Shows has allowed Al the opportunity to meet people that are friendly, informative, and helpful. Meeting people in the horse industry has been an important learning tool for her. “I’ve picked up a ton of information in the equine market place about breeding and genetics.” In 2002 she attended 12 shows put on by clubs such as North Texas Paint Horse Club, the Texas Paint Horse Club and the South Texas Paint Horse Club. A member herself of the American Paint Horse Association, Al appreciates the structure and the strict guidelines of the association. “Color and conformation are wonderful, but it’s important to follow the registration guidelines and rules of breeding and training or the true beauty of the breed will be diminished.”
Dr. Nancy St. Peter of Granger, Texas, has an AI program that has proven to have a high success ratio and Al opted to try it. The program was successful at Paint of a Different Color the first year and Al ended up with a beautiful homozygous filly and a palomino paint colt. “Both colts were so awesome that both mares are bred back the same way. It’s a lot of work but a real labor of love. Seeing the babies and working with them is so rewarding, finding good homes is important too. I try to match personalities and objectives of purchasers so everyone is happy.” Al goes on to say, “We may not be a large facility, but we strive to maintain the quality of the breed. Keeping the operation small allows us to imprint and work with our horses everyday.”
Al has two trainers. Larry Gonzales starts the 2 year olds and helps the youngsters along. Ground manners and safe trailer training is essential and Larry’s ability to read young horses allows him to utilize their own natural movements making required skills come about more easily and stress free. Gwen Schaeffer schools riders and horses for the show ring. She and Al have been working on western pleasure, trail, and western event riding. Goals are important to Al. She writes out goals and operatives for each horse evaluating the time it will take to train each one for a specific discipline. “I’d keep all my horses if I could. It’s easy for the emotional ties to outweigh the business sense part. I end up having a personal relationship with each horse, and just like having kids, I find myself mentoring their mental growth and physical development. It’s a rewarding, if not a bittersweet endeavor.” Al is committed to improving her communication skills with her horses. She gleans information from each of the disciplines and transforms it into her own way of training. Al thrives on the challenge of training horses. With her commitment to communicating with horses she has found there is spirituality. “Horses teach you to be a better person,” said Al. “I’ve learned patience and how important it is to take the time to watch body language, eye and ear movement and vocalization.” She has also learned that young horses need to be with each other. They need to learn the herd behavior and be allowed to be young and playful.”
“We strive not only to produce beautifully colored Paint Horses exemplifying the breed, but also promote quality bloodlines, conformation and temperament for the performance prospect.”
Developing marketable horses in a soft market can be a challenge. Training cost must be considered for the investment and market sale price. Al also found that Equine Mortality Insurance for selected horses proved a wise investment when the Farley’s lost their Zippo mare to rear intestinal colic. There was a colic rider on the policy so the entire investment was replaced. The Farleys’ had also tried boarding horses but found that staying profitable was a challenge. The time invested in keeping the barn and the feed and hay expenses were simply too costly for a return of investment. So breeding paint horses, even on a small scale, has given Al and Charles the opportunity to enjoy horses, have a daily “hands on” training and raising technique and even makes them a little money.
Alynette Farley has always followed the road less traveled and worked across the grain. When she moved to the Texas Hill Country she was enamored with the romance of the Old West. Artwork of cowboys aboard their brawny horses and American Indians riding their robust painted horses adorn the walls and tabletops of Al and Charles’ home. The wide appeal and vast spectrum of the color and genetics of the Paint Horse and the science that is available for research in breeding certain bloodlines, characteristics and color patterns is what drives Al to continue her self education of the Paint Horse. Fascination, research and success in her breeding program makes Al a well informed horse breeder who is very interested and willing to share, as well as learn, what there is to know about breeding wonderful Paint Horses.
At Paint of a Different Color you will also find a B&B… “Bed and Box Stall that is!” laughs Al, “I may throw you a croissant, but don’t get your hopes up for bacon and eggs!” Al offers a newly renovated 700 square foot cottage that is complete with a queen size bed, bath, living area with cable TV and a fully equipped kitchen. There are 4 stalls available, 12 x 12 and larger, hot water, infrared heat, a wash rack, a hot walker, a round pen, and a 120 x 170 arena. There are 16 wooded acres to roam at Paint of a Different Color or you can ride in the Austin Hill Country on many of the local equine approved trails. Several of these LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) approved facilities have well over 400 acres available for trail riders. Horsemen and women are also welcome to come and use the facilities without staying overnight. Trainers are available for sessions and lessons. There is also a travel trailer and RV hookups.
You can contact Alynette or Charles Farley at 512-260-8083 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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