Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Frogs in December?

OK…I should have known something was up when there were banana slugs on my walkway Friday night. I mean slugs in mid-December? Really? I hate slugs.

But I should start with the faulty weather report. For that is the beginning.

The weather report read that the rain would end by two PM on Saturday. So, based on the weather report, we decided to wean this weekend. We separated the foals (Chakra and Tantra) from their dams on Saturday morning. One Lusitano pair and one Percheron pair. The fillies went into in a huge stall together and the mares went into a pasture.

Now, two days later –the water has been unrelenting. The temporary rain has turned into a nasty, three-day tropical storm. Perfect weather for weaning…not.

The fillies in the barn are going stir crazy as it has rained and rained and rained.
At the first hint of stopping this afternoon, I have the bright idea that I will get the fillies out into a paddock at the opposite end of the farm from their dams.

Now I just have to get the foals out. No problems, right? They are halter broken, haven’t seen their mamas in two days (who are far away on the other end of the farm). I usually don’t have an issue walking foals together –as we kind of move along in a group. I know what I am doing. Yeh, right...

Somewhere between the stall door and the barn entrance, Chakra (900 pound, seven month old gorilla –um, Percheron foal) decides to run. Tantra (Lusitano foal) decides on a different tactic. She goes for the “aires” and rears up before trying to run. Lead ropes are fast becoming tangled. At this point, we are walking past carriages with lots of spikey parts that look like they are going to hurt –as I am being pushed in that direction. I decide (not my brightest bulb moment) or maybe it just happened, to let go of both lead lines and protect my 52 year old ass . Those naughty fillies are out of the barn like bats out of hell.

They race through mud and rain (yes, is it raining again), dragging the lead ropes over to the four Percheron mares (not their mommys) grazing. This is a goodly distance of about ten acres from where I am standing. Luckily, those mares pretty much ignore the babies and after much “are you my mommy?” behavior, the fillies decide to run again- just as I am almost caught up with them. They take off again, toward the barn, with me doing my best to catch up. At this point, Tantra hears her mommy and runs for the back of the farm. Chakra missed the mommy train and missed where Tantra ran too. So she wanders around over to my direction. I nab her and get her in a paddock, where she immediately begins neighing and running around too. One down, one to go (or so I think).

Now I run to the back of the farm. Tantra Lusitano filly is running the fence line with her mammas on the other side. All three horses are frantic and covered in mud. I grab Tantra and she pretty much runs me over as her mother runs the opposite direction in the paddock. I grab her again, she rears. I hold on –she is frantic and contemplating jumping the fence to get to her mother. Oh good!…not. This is NOT working. At this point, I am covered in mud. There is mud in my hair, my hands, clothes and my boots. I am slimed with Georgia clay. Time to stop digging.

So, I unclip Tantra and take another tact. I go in with the mares and catch Tantra’s dam, Caranja. I get her out (leaving 2400 pound Glory mare in the paddock stomping around like an elephant) and walk Caranja to the paddock where Chakra baby is. Tantra follows along like a little lamb. I get all three horses in one paddock and then remove the dam from the paddock. Whew! Babies together and Cananja dam is being a doll. All is well in mudville. Now, to get Caranja back with Glory in the mommy paddock. The feeling of Success! I can taste it (along with a whole lot of mud). I am singing hallelujah. I am going to have that glass of wine and a hot bath soon!

Except. Except. Except.
I hear a loud cracking sound and turn around. Tantra filly has flung herself over the four board fence and lands on her back in the mud! My imagination runs wild. I have visions of a broken neck, torn flesh and terrible damage. But Tantra gets up and sprints to her mama’s side again. No visible damage done. Oh man… I am so lucky.
At this point in time –forget the bath, I just need a drink.

Time to change tactics again. I lead Caranja into the barn with Tantra following quietly along. In the barn, I manage to get Tantra in a stall and Caranja in another. Much crying ensues from Tantra, as she proceeds to throw herself against the wall –but the stalls are bomb proof (errr Percheron proof). I am not giving in -these fillies have to be weaned.

Glory, the other dam is crying piteously in the paddock, as well as stomping through the mud. When I get to her, she is shaking from being separated from everyone. Chakra, the other foal is crying out front. There are lots of unhappy horses in mudville.

I bring in Chakra and put her in a stall.

I bring in Glory and put her in another stall.

Glory looks at the foals across the aisle, and settles. Caranja dam is already settled. The foals look at their mommys and think that this arrangement sucks but is better than nothing.

Everyone, including me is covered in mud from head to hoof.

I go get hay. The sound of four giant jaws masticating fills the air.

I am a nervous wreck. This fierce battle between fillies, dams and myself has taken over an hour…

As I begin to shut the barn door, I look down as a huge frog is crawling between the barn door and the concrete. Eewww…. Frogs in December, it just isn’t right. I rescue the frog and here I am... now for the glass of wine.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I will be teaching a one day workshop in late January or early February on how to care for and manage the pregnant mare, her delivery and her foal. If you are interested, please PM me with your email address and I will send more information on the workshop and date when it becomes available. 

Workshop topics will include:
Understanding the changes your mare is experiencing.
When will she foal? 

Tools to help you catch the big event.
Review of the normal events of delivery.
What can go wrong, and what you can do until your veterinarian gets there.
Care of the post parturient mare.
How to spot serious life threatening problems.
Health care of the foal.
Understanding the normal behavior of the pregnant and foaling mare and foal development.
Maternal behavior and bonding problems and solutions.
Raising an orphan foal.
Normal behavioral development of the foal.
Early intensive handling of foals.
Least stressful weaning methods.
Foal training to create a solid training foundation to grow.

Attendence fee: $40 for the first person and $20 for each additional attendee on the same registration form (single payment). The workshop will be held at Cielo Azure Farm, 771 Mitchell Rd, Jasper, GA 30143

For more information: jill@cieloazure.com or 770-735-1549

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Spanish Norman Foal Market Analysis:

Spanish-Norman Breed Profile

"A rare and exclusive breed, the Spanish-Norman blends the genes of the Andalusian of Spain (and Portugal) and the Percheron of France to re-create the phenotype of the courageous horse that thundered across the battlefields of Europe. These were the noble horses, bred for courage, strength and stamina that left an indelible imprint on the history of the western world.
The Spanish-Norman, "the warhorse of the ages as the sporthorse of today," is capturing an international audience of equine aficionados.
Research shows that early Spanish horses influenced the development of the now lost Norman horses of medieval France. Norman horses infused with Barb blood contributed to the equine type that would eventually come to be known as Percheron, after the Les Perches region of France. Both the horses of Andalusia and Normandy possessed an infusion of Barb blood from the Moorish invasions. Blood typing studies by Dr. E. Gus Cothran of the University of Kentucky, have located similar genetic markers in both breeds. With their common oriental ancestry, breeding Andalusians to Percherons produces offspring approximating the type of the old Norman horse, prized for carrying the knights to victory centuries ago."

See: http://www.spanish-norman.com/breedprofile.htm for more details on the Spanish-Norman Breed.

Spanish Norman Foal Market Analysis:

This is a small market analysis of Percheron versus Spanish-Norman Foal listed sales prices.  I also included the sales prices for Lusitanos and Spanish Andalusian (IALHA registered only).  

Ads are for sale and sold (listing price only). 
Ads from Internet horse classified ads, websites and craigslist. 
All efforts possible were made to not duplicate ads. 

Ads were for North American horses only (USA and Canada).
Search was conducted on 10/8/2012.
All horses were registered with IALHA, Spanish Norman or PHAOA.
Lusitano and Spanish Andalusian were reg IALHA only –near as I could figure. I did not include APSL or PRE horses.

None of the horses used in the analysis were broke to ride or drive.  All were born in 2010 or later.

Auction results were not included because listed sales prices were compared across the board.  Auctions list sold prices, which is not comparable with sales prices.  Although draft horse auctions are common, breed auctions for Spanish-Norman and Lusitano foals do not exist.

The average prices of breeds in tabular form were:

IALHA Lusitano (n=13)

IALHA Andalusian (n =8)

Spanish-Norman (n=7)

PHAOA Percheron (n=7)

There are very few Lusitanos in the world, with APSL estimating less than 10,000 Portuguese horses. Our Lusitano stallion, Wolverine is an IALHA(P) and Spanish-Norman Foundation Approved Sire: Wolverine is one of a few and may be the only black Lusitano stallion approved for breeding within the Spanish-Norman Foundation. The Lusitano Spanish-Norman horse is extremely rare and is very valued. 

Our of the sales adds found for Spanish-Normans, only one horse was still for sale.  As adults, the prices of Spanish-Normans was much greater than the foal prices.  So, it appears that that market for both foals and adult horses is very robust.  

If you have a registered Percheron mare and wish to create a Spanish-Norman, Wolf is available.  The foals will be eligible for half-Lusitano (P) registry through IALHA and the Spanish-Norman registry.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall is Here!

It is a wonderful feeling to wake up, go outside and NEED a light sweater!  Summer in Georgia is hot, humid and sometimes stifling.  I love it but I also love when fall arrives, right on time at the fall equinox.  Today is such a day.

Even better, Robert (my husband), for the first time in a year was able to ride yesterday without discomfort or pain!  You see, for a year or more, my husband has been suffering with what was diagnosed as diverticulitis, then worries of colon cancer.  But one day, he realized that his symptoms were a "zebra."  A rare condition, that often hides as something else and he was right.  It turned out that he had a large abdominal wall hernia (a very rare type of hernia in a man, that is not where most hernias are found).  Well, a month ago he underwent surgery and now that the surgical sight has finally healed, the results are amazing.

He is back to dreaming of a future of being physically able to move again and being involving in riding horses again!  So, yesterday -we went on a small trail ride with Soleil and DaVinci.  It felt so good to be riding with him again.  Of course, DaVinca was full of tricks and Robert was able to ride through them without issues.

Myself, fall is always my best training time.  I like to make goals, even make a chart to document progress and to keep me on track.

This week, I am back in the saddle on Soleil.  Soleil has also had health issues this summer.  Her allergies flared up with the Georgia heat and plant allergies; making her extremely uncomfortable.  Bathing, topical treatments, antibiotics and anti-histamines have barely made a dent.  Most summers, she is kept in the barn but this summer, we broke down and let her stay outside with her herd.  It was a failed experiment that won't happen next year.

Then last week, Soleil got bitten by a nest of wasps and her face swelled up, as did the many stings on her body.  With that, we took charge, but her on new drugs and have been keeping her in a stall during the day.  The change has been dramatic!  She is still a bit itchy from old lesions but  she is 85% better than she was with her allergies from just a week before!

But with the change, comes a new determination to get her back into the dressage ring.

And Robert has plans to get DaVinca and Wolverine out practicing too.

So, today I begin looking for a new instructor.  One who will come to our farm, as long as the weather is good and help us work up to the next levels in dressage.

I am ready to tackle some new adventures and look forward to a great fall with lots of riding, adventures and friends!

Cheers!  ...and happy trails!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Spanish Normans are on the way!

Baby dates for four Spanish-Normans (of Lusitano lineage) and one lusitano for 2013! 

G.T.’s Joanna 4/27/13
Duncreek’s Mill Glory 5/12/13
Cielo Azure’s Queen Eleanor 5/30/13
Cielo Azure’s Fleur Du Soleil 7/2/13

All the mares are extremely high quality show Percherons of the best lineages around.  All are proven show animals and have been chosen for our breeding program for their versatility.  All but one are closely related, so the foals will be easily matched for driving.  All will be black in phenotype.

The mares are bred to our show quality Black-bay, Lusitano stallion (phenotype black): Wolverine.  His sire was a national champion bull fighting horse in Mexico.  

All foals will be eligible with the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA #6777(P)) and the Spanish-Norman Registry.

We do not plan to keep any colts next year, only fillies.  So we expect that there will be foals available.  

We are really excited about this cross for dressage, working equitation and driving.  

Here is a photo of "Wolf" (the sire):

Photos of the mares: 

Cielo Azure's Fleur du Soleil
Soleil is an amazing mare.  She has won at the national level in riding, halter and driving classes.  I am really hoping Soleil drops a filly!

Duncreek's Miss Glory 
A fantastic moving, huge mare with presence!  Her full sister was National Percheron Champion, All American and Champion at the World Percheron Congress.  

GT's Joanna
Joanna has won grand champion in halter classes, won in riding classes at large shows and is an amazing driving mare.  Her dam was National Percheron Champion, All American and Champion at the World Percheron Congress. 

Cielo Azure's Queen Eleanor
Eleanor has won Grand Champion in halter at the Georgia Draft Horse Show.  She is four years old and just starting her performance career.   She is growing into an extraordinary horse and we are very proud of her!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Marietta, GA Independence Day Parade!

There is nothing like a Percheron to please a crowd!  Joanna and I rode aside in the July 4th parade with the Georgia Ladies Aside Society.  We most definitely were the bells of the ball!  What fun and the crowds loved us!

Joanna looked stunning in her traditional draft atire and she piaffed and passaged the whole parade (with Robert firmly by my side) as she was rather a "hot Chitquita" with all the police lights and sirens, marching bands, muskets, crowds and car noises.  Lesson learned, travel with Ace -just in case!

But it was an adventure and we made the day of more than one little (or big) girl!

Joanna and I at home: dress rehearsal!

The Georgia Ladies Aside Society getting ready to go!  What a wonderful group of friends!  They were so supportive of my big mare and her first parade "nerves."  

This is just as we were about to start.  The crowd was estimated at 30,000 people.  The parade route felt like it was about two miles.

Yes, I had fun!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I am walking with the "big" mare herd this morning, the usual routine of mares and baby coming into the barn for grain and day stalls to escape the Georgia heat.  I have baby Chakra on one side, Soleil on the other -with her nose possessively but gently touching my arm as we walk, then Glory plus Joanna follow behind us.  I become filled with serenity, and calm.  I can literally feel their love and trust, not just from one but from all.  We move as a herd -no lead ropes, no restrains.  The groups feels like a cohesive entity. We walk down the two hundred foot aisle and each horse goes into a stall -with baby going in her stall first, and her mama following.  As I progress through my chores, I am left feeling euphoric.  I love my horses.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lessons Learned from a Percheron Dummy (HIE) Foal.

Early this month, we had a traumatic birth, which resulted in the Percheron foal named Chakra being born oxygen deprived. Chakra was a dummy (HIE) foal that we nursed back to normalcy over the subsequent weeks. Yesterday, I sat down and made a video journal of our experiences -for anyone that is interested.

Monday, June 4, 2012

This is a great video of Wolverine (Lusitano stallion available for stallion services -special price of $400.), made by Susan Ambrose.  Susan is available for website and marketing! http://ambrosiadesign.info/

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lusitano Stallion Breeding Special: $400.00!!!

Breeding season is in full swing!  This year, the breeding program has been revised.  We are breeding all of our mares to  our black Lusitano Stallion, Wolverine (Wolf) to create Spanish Normans.  Wolf has been bred via artificial insemenation to Cielo Azure Fleur du Soleil, GTs Joanna and Cielo Azure's Eleanor this month (we are waiting for next month's heat cycle to see if they have settled).  Next month, we will breed our Percheron mare, Duncreek's Miss Glory.  

We will be keeping the fillies from these breedings but will be selling the colts.  Prices per colt will be between $7,000.00 and $10,000.00  We will be glad to reserve a foal, with deposit.  There should be at least one colt.  There has been a lot of interest in these foals, so if you are interested, please let us know soon!

Wolf is also available for outside mares. Wolf has been trained and his semen tested for shipping from Centaur Farms.  His quality of semen passed with flying colors, even after three days -his sperm went from 90% to 80% motility.  His concentration is high.  

Wolf is a pleasure to work with -he has the best temperament.  I can even breed him by myself, if necessary.  I just enjoy this boy so much!

So, if anyone wants to breed their Percheron mare to create a Spanish Norman, we are here and ready to go!  Wolf has been registered with the Spanish Norman Foundation, and all offspring can be registered with IALHA (International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association) as half andalusians and shown as such.  

This month, we are offering a special.  

His fee for this month (AI only) is $400.  This is a fantastic deal and will not be available for long.

Wolf is black with the bay gene (he looks black before the summer fade), 15.3 and from bullfighting lines.  His isre is the famous bull fighting horse Centurio and his dam is Soraya.  Wolf has exceptional conformation, fantastic gaits and a temperament that is unbeatable.  He can be handled by anyone and is very nitelligent with lots of agility and cowsense.  Wolf is registered with IALHA, #6777P

Crossbreeders are welcome!

Please contact us at 770-735-1549 or jill@cieloazure.com for a contract or more information.

Video of Wolf from last summer.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Zarathustra Lusitano -coming two year old

Zara is looking fantastic! He is moving like a dream and has got to be the smartest horse alive. He is mischievous to a fault, into everything and is extremely social. We are having a lot of fun with him. This summer, I hope to take him to the IALHA show in Virginia -I think he is going to do great in the show ring!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Two Great Foals for Sale!

We have two 2010 foals (both coming yearlings) for sale! Both of these foals have full tails, are extremely high steppers with lots of hock action and will make excellent show horses as well as excellent trail horses.

Cielo Azure's Zeus is a very fancy Percheron weanling.
His sire is LDs Prince Charles and his dam is GTs Joanna.
Both sire and dam have won national and regional shows in either halter, cart or riding. Zeus is for sale, he is currently 8 months old.
He has coggins and is up to date on shots. He is a huge mover and has fantastic conformation.
He has been gelded and has a full tail!
Please contact Robert or Jill Malone 770-735-1549
He is priced to sell at $1400.00

Cielo Azure's Athena is a very fancy Percheron filly.

Her sire is LDs Prince Charles and his dam is Duncreeks Glory

(full sister to Duncreeks Miss Farah -chapion cart, hitch and All American).

Athena is a spectacular mare, she is currently 9 months old.

She has coggins and is up to date on shots.

She is a huge mover and has fantastic conformation.

She has a full tail!

Please contact Robert or Jill Malone 770-735-1549

She is priced to sell at $1500.00

Monday, January 23, 2012

Spanish-Norman Horses

What is a LUSITANO? The Lusitano is a Portuguese horse breed that was originally bred for war, dressage and bullfighting, Lusitanos are still used today in the latter two. They have competed in several Olympics and World Equestrian Games as part of the Portuguese and Spanish dressage teams. They have also made a showing in driving competitions, with a Belgian team of Lusitanos winning multiple international titles. They are considered a very rare breed with fewer than 10,000 registered Lusitanos in the World today.

A Spanish-Norman horse is a rare breed of horse that is a combination of a Percheron mare and an Iberian (Lusitano or Andalusian) stallion. They are considered a rare breed that excels in dressage and carriage driving. Spanish-Normans are recognized by USDF. Prices for Spanish-Norman weanling foals average between 7 and 12K, are in great demand and the few Spanish-Normans currently competing in the competitive dressage arena are doing very well in the rankings.

Why a Spanish-Norman?

There is evidence that Percherons contributed to the genetic lineage of the ancient Norman warhorse, which no longer exists. Research has shown that Percherons and Iberian horses share common blood markers and as such, the founders of the Spanish-Norman foundation wished recreate the Norman warhorse in all its glory. Within this breed, they wish to retain the presence, physical prowess and mental abilities of the classic medieval Norman warhorse. And so, in 1991 the Spanish-Norman registry was created. Currently there are few Spanish-Normans and the demand is high.

We have a black-bay registered Lusitano stallion (Wolverine 6777P), who will produce an excellent Spanish-Norman. Wolverine has excellent conformation and movement. His fantastic lineage is of bull-fighting (his sire was a champion) and Alter Real (carriage driving) lines. His price for shipped cooled semen for the 2012 breeding season to Percherons is $600 (plus shiping costs). This is a $200 discount off of his standard stud fee. Contact me for a breeding contract!

We will also consider joint partnerships, if you wish to breed multiple registered Percheron mares. We will provide the fresh, cooled semen (no charge) and split shipping costs. We get first pick at weaning of one of the foals (per two or three mares) and the other one or two foals will be yours without any strings attached.

For more info and photos, go to:


For more info on Spanish-Normans, the registry website is:


Any takers? Lets talk!

Jill@cieloazure.com or 770-735-1549

Here is a video of Lusitano: Wolverine (stud services available) under saddle: