Being from Seattle, Libby is always a fun opportunity for me to enjoy some hot, sunny weather before I dive back into the dark ages! But this year I got the extra special treat of getting some quality time with the weanling colt I’d just purchased from Dan and Solveig Watanabe of Olivia Farm.
OFI Federico, born on Cinco de Mayo of this year, is an absolutely stunning young man out of Olivia Farm’s Norwegian-import white dun mare Silvia, by their handsome Dutch-import stallion Tico.
I had been keeping an eye out for the perfect stud colt to compliment my two lovely mares and as a performance prospect to show in dressage. I had actually been planning on holding off a few more years on a purchase but when Olivia Farm turned out four top quality colts this year, I immediately bought a plane ticket to Spokane!
Trying not to let first impressions get the better of me, I considered conformation and personality on all the colts. There was OFI Ari, a long-legged fellow with big bold movement – not a bad choice for a dressage horse! OFI Siljar, by the up and coming 4 year old stud Skogheim’s Viljar, had a charming personality, nice conformation, and the extra style points of being a white dun. OFI Kronos is the first foal to be born in North America from frozen semen imported from Norway and his winningest sire sadly passed away last year making him one of a kind.
So many good choices, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off of OFI Federico – Rico!
The thing that struck me most about Rico was his beautiful face with a huge soft eye and petite muzzle that he could contort into any shape depending on his mood. With people he was far more cautious than the other babies, who were delighted to be touched constantly. Rico preferred a little personal space at first but I could tell the sensitive little boy loved to be loved as long as the conditions were right for it.
I was still trying to be objective about my decision when we took the babies in the arena to watch them move at liberty. OMG! Not only did Rico have the most spectacular, fluid and lofty movement I’ve ever seen in a fjord baby, he seemed to amp it up for the benefit of the spectators! I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I figured I was going to be buying a colt that weekend.
The hardest part was not being able to take him home right away. He wasn’t weaned yet and we had to build some more stud-proof accommodations on our farm. Thankfully the Watanabes made a deal with me to grow him out with the other colts until we were ready to bring him home – I always call them the “fjord enablers.”
Dan and Solveig brought him to Libby with their three other weanling colts for their youngstock evaluations and the experience of the halter classes, in-hand trail and the in-hand cones race.
What a weekend! I handled all the youngsters for the show and evaluation and I sure got a good workout. Dan told me at one point that wrangling a pack of weanling colts at their first horse show was a lot like flying a whole bunch of wobbly kites. Such a good analogy… We all made it through though and had a great time.
Rico continued to impress me with his sweet and sensitive personality and proceeded to win blue ribbons in the halter class and cones race after pulling fantastic scores in his evaluation. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase of him and was grateful for the time I got to spend with him at Libby.
Thank you to everyone who participated in and worked hard to orchestrate the evaluation and show at Libby. What a great club we have! See you all next year!