speedy stalking

While I was in Germany I did some light stalking of my three favourite horses, but that was pretty much limited to their FEI records and whatever video I could view for free on rimondo. I didn’t manage to find all that much Speedy evidence online. I tried looking up his breeder’s name as it was spelled on his passport but got nothing, and hunting down his trainer and rider on the mighty Goog and Instagram didn’t get me much either. I wasn’t a very good CreepStar3000 — I kinda gave up after that, until I wrote Speedy’s last week’s pedigree post.

The ticket to Speedy stalking, it turned out, was his brother — brothers, actually. After finding Ulisses on Ponyforum, I managed to make my way to his pedigree on All Breed Pedigree (I had checked there earlier but didn’t find Speedy, likely because I misspelled his name or dropped the PP from the end) and then promptly looked up the progeny record of Niina PP, Speedy’s dam.

Niina has four listed offspring, all male. And so I did a quick internet search for Bravour PP, since it looked like he might have been kept a stallion. This led me to Bravour’s Facebook page, in Polish, but decipherable!

Once I was there, I found the breeder’s website listed on Bravour’s page and started stalking the breeder specifically. I had looked up the breeder’s name on Speedy’s passport already, but it hadn’t yielded anything. After I found her site, I contemplated emailing, but then I ended up finding her barn’s Facebook page and messaged her there instead.

Speedy’s breeder, Monika, was happy to hear from me and we chatted a bit about her horses. I asked how Speedy got his name, and she said “His name should have been start with S, like his father Simply the Best. He was very fast as a foal so I decided to give him the name Speedy Gonzales , like a cartoon hero from my childhood.” Which, lol, shoulda known. He was fast, cute, little, and needed and S name.

baby Speedy is cute AF but honestly it’s just Speedy but smoll. was hoping for some more redonkulous baby pictures.

I also complimented her on his amazing temperament, and Monika said that Speedy was “very streight and problemless foal from the very beginning”, which I’m guessing means he was an easy kid from the get go. In Monika’s program they “pay a lot of attention to the character of our foals, because we know they will be [children’s] mounts and future companions – their obedience is a guarantee not only [of] sports success, but also the safety of the young rider.”

I have this new pet hypothesis that the European model of pony championships (maybe their championships in general?) is a big part of why I ended up with such a steady genius of a hony. Pony championships seems to be a place for breeders to show off their program as much as it is for young riders — literally 12-16 year olds I’m not even kidding they are babies — to get a start at showing off their riding skills. For a breeder to show off their breeding stock among all those great young riders, those ponies really need to be 10s in rideability.

it’s a very brave hony, leading on the trails!

All four of Niina’s offspring are jumping fools. Which makes sense because Niina is herself the product of Monika’s pony GP mare, Novella, and the FEI Grand Prix stallion I’m still googoo over, Machno Carwyn. Novella only had a few offspring before her sport career began. Her sport career included competing in the pony GP (a mere 1.4m, not even as tall as I am at 1.5m) with Monika’s son, after which Novella was sold on to another young rider.

The oldest brother — Benjamin PP — is also the smallest, a little under 14hh. He’s the adorable petite kind of pony, and seems to be packing around a little kid these days. Bravour (picture at the link) is competing with an older junior, and has this super fabulous flaxen mane and tail. He’s also smaller than Speedy — 148cm maybe? an actual pony. They seem to have a great time at the .90 to 1.0m level!

(Speedy free jumping at 4 in the auction program.)

Ulisses, a 2019 model, is only 146cm right now. I’m not sure how much he would be expected to grow. When I asked about Speedy, I was told that ponies often grow to 2 or 3 and then not much more after that. So perhaps Speedy (153cm) will be the giant in his family.

Following along with Speedy’s breeder’s page has been pretty fun too. She doesn’t have a ton of horses closely related to Speedy, but it’ still neat to see his somewhat-distant relatives out and about performing. Plus pony foals! And occasionally when I dive really deep into her page, I’ll find a Speedy picture or video that I hadn’t uncovered before, which is always neat.

power pony pedigree

Pedigrees are honestly not something I’ve ever paid a whole lot of attention to. Since I am not a breeder and prior to Speedy have never shopped for or sold a horse, I just…. never really got into it. Plus, as a data person, it has always seemed to me that people put a little bit toooooo much weight on certain aspects of the pedigree. When I catch people saying things like “the R line is very rideable” or “the S line is super athletic” or “Mr. Prospector offspring aren’t very sound” I can’t help but get skeptical. There is just so, so, so much that goes into the physical and behavioral attributes of any individual horse. How could those incredibly polymorphic traits be distilled down to characteristics maybe shared by one parent, one grandparent, or even a line of horses sharing an initial?

we hauled out for a lesson and some cell service guys were working on this tower the entire time — Speedy did not give a shit and he’s the world’s greatest creature


When your fancy new hony comes with a fancy Equidenpass you start getting kinda interested.

sadly, pony does not have (and will never get) that adorable little oak leaf brand

And boy oh boy did I find out some super fantastique and interesting things. (You can see Speedy’s extended pedigree here.)

Speedy is approved as a “Hanoverian small horse” (since he’s not actually a pony). I don’t have a clear idea (not enough research and probably won’t muster up the will to do so) of exactly how the different warmblood “small horse” registries work, but I do know that much like the main warmblood registries the stud books are open (so open omg) and that all of the small warmblood horses/warmblood ponies fall under the “German Riding Pony” umbrella. He’s also 1/8 thoroughbred (two great-great-grandsires are xx) and 1/4 straight warmblood (sire’s sire is Hanoverian). Aaaaand…. he’s a full quarter WELSH!

no we have not been getting into trouble together why do you ask
(I’m trying not to pirate anyone else’s images so I’ve linked to things as much as I can, and am filling in the blanks with the International Mouse of Mystery.)

Speedy was bred in Poland, and imported to Germany when he was 4 and sold through Ponyforum Gmbh (sales videos here, here, and here. Side note: ponyforum used some pictures of Speedy to sell his 2019 half-brother Ulisses this year, and you can still see them thanks to Google’s caching function.) He is by the GRP stallion Simply the Best TCF — appropriate, since Speedy is the best — and out of the mare Niina PP. Niina PP doesn’t seem to have a competition record, but Simply the Best TCF competed at the Bundeschampionat twice and potentially went on to compete further. Simply the Best TCF doesn’t seem to have a ton of internet presence.

Which is fine, because this whole post is really just an excuse to talk about Niina PP’s sire: Machno Carwyn. Machno Carwyn is a Sec. D Welsh Cob born in 1992, who lives on to this day toting around children and enjoying a pasture puff life. Standing a robust 146cm (14.15hh, that’s 14h and 1.5 extra inches, to be clear) and sporting a truly impressive set of bangs, he won the European Show Jumping Championships twice (in 2000 and 2001). Once again, I’m not entirely sure of how it goes in Europe, but it seems that the pony European championships have jumps up to 1.4m (4’6″, and the ponies are piloted by children??).

Mancho Carwyn
Machno Carwyn — hair, hair, hair, omg hair for days

Machno Carwyn also competed extensively at the Grand Prix — not just the PonyGP — winning 7 of the 25 international Grands Prix in which he placed (it’s unclear how many he entered). He’s also known for being ridden extensively by a 12-year-old. For the pony championship classes in Europe, riders are to be between 12 and 16 years old. And good old Machno was happy to be piloted by a shrimplet through the big classes. And obviously he has a ton of offspring out there. His performance record makes him an incredibly valuable performance sire.

A little more digging (and talking to Jen!) revealed that Welsh ponies are a huge component of GRP (and other continental-european-RP) breeding programs. Which makes sense — there is a lot of warmblood in most of the GRPs, and I imagine those get oversize (see above magnificent hony) easily. Breeding in some smaller, yet still super athletic, Welsh blood is probably extremely helpful. And Welsh ponies have a righteous badonk on them, which would definitely improve some of those flat-crouped warmbloods.

yep already teaching my fancy pony bad things. funny, this reminded me that when we first saw Speedy being ridden by his trainer, they executed a very nice square halt and that was commented upon by my entourage.

As much as I “don’t” pay attention to pedigree, I do think it’s worth paying attention to the performance record of the dam and sire (or damsire, if that’s all you can get!). Both Simply the Best and Machno Carwyn have good to exceptional performance records. I’ve stalked Speedy’s siblings (I know he has two, and one was sold through Ponyforum this year) a bit to see if they are as cool as he is. The one I found seems pretty neat also, lending credibility to the magic uterus-Machno Carwyn influence.

I’m not about to go out and buy any of Speedy’s siblings (or any other horses or ponies…… right now, anyway) but learning a little more about his pedigree has been a lot of fun. And definitely made me reconsider Welsh ponies (sporty cobs especially!). Also — yes I will eat this crow — it has made me think more about the value of studying pedigrees. There is some serious power tucked into Speedy’s bloodlines, and it shows.

but also a brain worth its walnut-weight in gold. we put him in the trailer backwards (for…. reasons its complicated) and he was like “okay weirdos I guess this is how Americans trailer”

Blog Hop: History of the Horse

The Owls Approve is having an adorable blog hop for the next four+ months leading up to her pony’s 18th birthday. ¬†The first question is a great one for me, because I love pondering Murray’s history — and it actually got me tons of information on Murray through my¬†googling! ¬†I found an owner of his dam on the Grooming Supplies forum (though she has since been banned) and DeviantArt, and through that pictures of his dam. ¬†Is this total stalking? Certainly. Is it also the glory of the internet? Definitely.

History of the Horse
Before you met, where was your horse?  Who bred him/her?  What do you know about his sire and his dam?  What do you know where he came from?  Tell me about the time before he had a trainer.


Murray, registered as Ima Looking Cool, was bred by Running Luck Ranch (also known as RL Enterprises, they have had several registered names in their time) in Parlier, Southern California.  He is the progeny of Dontsellmeshort (a graded stakes winning Sire) and Ima Princess Royal (Royal Egyptian x Iciness).

dontsellmeshortCalifornia Thoroughbred Breeders Association¬†stud advertisement¬†picture for Don’tsellmeshort

Don’tsellmeshort (Benchmark x Miss Soft Sell – Siyah Kalem) is a 2001, gray stallion with 18 starts and over $400,000 in earnings. He did best as a two-year-old in 2003, winning Maiden Special Weight and Stakes classes. ¬†He continued to race well throughout 2004 and 2005, and then retired to stud. ¬†Don’tsellmeshort is full brother to Brother Derek, though never matched his brother in earnings.

Ima Princess Royal (Royal Egyptian x Iciness – Ice Age) won her maiden race and little else, and was allegedly retired due to a career-ending injury.

benchmarkCTBA advertisement for Benchmark

I’m surprised that with two downhill-ish parents (I won’t repost the picture of his dam as I can’t find its owner, but she is, trust me), Murray turned out to be a relatively uphill guy. Ima Princess Royal¬†also looks quite chunky, but¬†reports¬†of Don’tsellmeshort¬†tell me that he’s a smallish guy, so perhaps that’s where Murray got his slender build. ¬†I have to say that I’m pretty glad Murray didn’t inherit his father’s pinhead (sorry dude, but you’re a touch too refined for me) or colour — gorgeous as he is, I’m so not into keeping a gray clean.

I have contacted RLR for baby photos, but alas, there are none to be had. ¬†Murray was among Don’tsellmeshort’s first crop of foals,¬†and was sold as a colt¬†in the CTBA¬†Yearling Sales on August 17, 2010 for the whopping sum of $1000. ¬†Several other trainers at the Pleasanton track also bought Don’tsellmeshort yearlings that year, probably hoping to repeat the success of their sire. ¬†I’m not sure where Murray went between August of 2010 and when his training began around February of 2011 (I should check with Reina, honestly), but he was probably put out on pasture for a little while. ¬†In 2011, Murray started training at the track.

yearling sale

I’ve only talked to Murray’s trainer, Reina, briefly about his time at the track, and from what I can glean, he and his half-siblings were pretty much hellions. When I last visited, Reina made a point of telling other trainers what Murray (formerly “Rico the Freako” when he was with her) was up to now — namely, carrying me over large obstacles. ¬†All were amazed.¬† When Murray arrived, he wasn’t trailered like a gentleman or even dropped off a truck like a wild creature. ¬†No, no, no. Nothing so simple for my Murray. ¬†He had to be chased from pasture into the trailer, and then the trailer was backed into his stall at the track and he was unloaded. ¬†The next day, it took Reina half an hour to catch him with a halter —¬†in his stall. ¬†He was not her favourite.

2011-9-1The little monster at two.

Murray made a point of making everything difficult: no work ethic, didn’t trust people, was too smart, rolled on the hot walker — with other horses!! — and extremely cinchy (oddly enough, all of his half-siblings are extremely cinchy also). ¬†Airs above the ground¬†were such a part of his daily routine that his jockey worried about getting him into and out of the start gate for his first race. ¬†But race he did, four times, and by October of 2011 it was clear that racing was not for him, and Reina was actively looking for a new home for Rico the Freako, and so he arrived at my trainer’s barn around Christmas.


This is where I technically first met Murray. ¬†He stayed at our barn for around two weeks during Christmas of 2011. ¬†In that time, a couple of potential buyers came to look at him, but none worked out. ¬†Finally, my trainer’s mother met him when she came to drop off her haflingers for training and fell in love with him, so Murray went¬†to Oregon for some much-needed growing up.

Murray came to our barn a couple of times for a few months of training, but mostly hung out in pasture in Oregon being pampered by his new owners.  I saw him each of these times, and each time thought he was pretty neat.  Mostly, though, I heard what my trainer and a few others were saying about him: that there was something special under that semi-feral and highly suspicious demeanor.

september 2013Awww jumping babies are soooooooo cute.

Murray entered training for good in July 2013, and I came into the picture shortly after that. ¬†He was definitely not abused (perhaps benignly neglected by his breeders), nor was he mistreated, he simply likes to act like he was (OH DO NOT TOUCH ME WITH THE BALING TWINE THAT IS CLEARLY DEMONIC). ¬†But really, he’s just a clever, suspicious guy with lots of ‘tude. ¬†Alydar progeny have a reputation for attitude, and the Royal Egyptian son I know is completely full of himself, so I guess he came by it honestly. ¬†The only other thing his pedigree suggests is that he should make a great pleasure horse — Benchmark babies supposedly do — but I can’t imagine anyone would have mistaken him for a pleasure horse a few years ago.

SO. That is the long story of Murray. I love writing about him. It’s fun. Go join the blog hop and tell us about your horses!!