•••Meet The Breeder
Anna McNally - The Leopard Centre
1) What made you want to breed and raise Appaloosas?
I have had a lifelong love with the appaloosa breed. The first time I saw an Appaloosa was in the June 1973 Appaloosa News magazine that I found on a trade table at a horse show I was riding at in New Zealand. I still remember every page of that magazine and I was hooked. When I was ten years old a friend at school took their thoroughbred mare to the first Appaloosa stallion in New Zealand, Sunrise Personality, and I remember only that I was going to have an appaloosa one day. My first Appaloosa was purchased in Australia and I bought him home to New Zealand with me on the plane in 1984. My real dream was realized in 2004 when I married and moved to the USA, and purchased my first foundation appaloosas, Ulrich Jewels Ruby and Rockalena’s Eclat, followed by Polar Birdsong and Eclat’s Surprise. The last three I mention were all bred by Frank Scripter and it really was a dream come true for me. My first stallion was BBR My Regal King, a modern but deeply bred Appaloosa with perfect conformation and flawless temperament.
2) In your herd who is your favorite mare and why?
Production-wise my best producer is Zuni Turquoise TLC, she is the fourth generation of my bloodlines, she has had three foals, all of which I cannot fault.
Herd-wise I like them all, each an individual, each with its own unique qualities that I have selected for over the last 16 years. I cull heavily for temperament. They have to have excellent conformation meaning I try to match the right mare with the right stallion. Finally color comes last, but I feel like I have achieved the ‘icing on the cake’ also.
3) What’s your end goal with your breeding operation?
To continue to produce breed improvement in each successive generation. To breed a foundation Appaloosa who is consistent and to breed what I expect to produce. To produce many generations of Appaloosa to Appaloosa blood with no outcrossing to other breeds. To produce a horse free from any genetic diseases and faults and to produce a horse that everyone wants. To keep my operation small in order to achieve the above. By breeding only the best to the best, and producing quality and never quantity.
4) What are your goals with your foals?
To go out and ride with the best, to do a wide variety of ridden disciplines, to stay healthy and sound, even when old. Versatility is what I strive for, being able to do whatever you want, and do it well. I have bred foals that have gone on to be top English prospects, Western Performance, Ranch, mountain horses, and trail riding. The most important thing is that the owners who have these foals give them lifelong homes and enjoy and have fun with them.
5) What are your favorite bloodlines?
I started with the leopard bloodlines of Ulrich Ranch in Montana, and the Frank Scripter Ghostwind bloodline from Michigan who got many of his stock in turn from Moneycreek. This turned out to be a golden cross with the best of both bloodlines combining to produce exactly what I was looking for. Good color, good size, good conformation, and good temperaments. I outcrossed these two bloodlines with other foundation Appaloosa lines and avoid, if I can, the infusion of modern appaloosas who have genetic and conformation traits I don’t want to introduce. I also like the bloodlines of many of the early breeders, although I avoid the Mighty Bright bloodline just because of the large amount of white markings it produces (splash/paint characteristics).
6) Do you promote those lines in your breeding?
Of course. I do believe that the foundation Appaloosa is a horse who will outlast a modern bred horse in its hardiness because of its roots in the Native American culture, many of the horses I have bred can be traced directly to the Ghostwind lines of the Nez Pearce and iron cloud horses of Lakota in South Dakota.
7) What is your outlook on the Appaloosa breeding world right now?
The foundation Appaloosa will always be a different breed because of its unique color and qualities. I believe in future years the foundation Appaloosa will stand as its own breed, and the modern Appaloosa who has more quarterhorse blood infused in its blood, will become a subdivision of the quarter horse breed, along with paints, each under their own branch of the quarterhorse umbrella. So in my own opinion the foundation appaloosa future looks bright, as more people discover its unique color and talents.
7) Any bloodlines you would like to see promoted more?
Nothing I haven’t already mentioned. I like the old school, foundation bloodlines. I like the Native American connection.
8) You breed for leopard foals. Why that pattern specifically?
I guess I like a horse that stands out, I have a fascination with the spots. Why some have huge baseball size spots, and others have merely freckles. I like to study genetics, to work out a cross and see it comes out as I had planned. I guess the uniqueness is special. But color is nothing unless you have all the other qualities to go with it. Even though I breed for color, I also require correct conformation and excellent temperament, color is nothing without these. I am not color-blind.
9) What was the foundation of your program?
I made a plan. I talked to other horse people. I talked to businessmen. I researched and studied for years before I actually had a ‘program’. I wrote down what I wanted to do, and stuck to it. It wasn’t an overnight thought. Finally, I went out and bought the best horses that suited my program. I never bought in bulk, I am a small-time breeder and always will be. I didn’t let distance or price dictate my plan and I never compromised. I kept my numbers ofAppaloosas very low in order to provide them everything they needed for their success. I look for buyers who will do the same.
10) What drew you to the Appaloosa breed?
Just the fascination with spots initially, followed by how intelligent, unique, trainable, and versatile the Appaloosa breed was. You can do anything on the back of an Appaloosa.
11) How did you get started in your breeding program?
I found Ulrich Jewels Ruby, one of the last Ulrich Ranch horses from Wyoming, at an auction and I stayed their many hours until I had her and bought her home. I found Rockalena’s Eclat up in Montana and had her shipped here, followed by Polar Birdsong, and Eclats surprise who I found in West Virginia. My stallion came from Minnesota, and I bred from there, keeping the fillies and after their breaking and training and riding was complete, I bred from there and am at the 6th generation now of my own horses (GAP 6 eligible).
12) What do you think that we as Appaloosa breeders can do to build together to make the breed better?
I have always been a believer in helping others, just as others have helped me over the years. Working together as breeders to share knowledge and swap bloodlines and ideas, put aside differences and get along would go a long way in the future development of the foundation Appaloosa. Promoting local events like trail rides and shows also helps to keep enthusiasm. ~