It is a snowy winter evening, and I was digging through some photos and came across this one of Cocarina. Her expression says so much about her. A classy mare, her feminine features and soft eye gives you a glimpse of her intelligence. She is alert yet calm and composed. A seasoned competitor, even when travelling to a show with her young foal she is confident and well-mannered.

When it comes to breeding, stallions get the spotlight – but in reality mares provide so much more to their offspring. We purchased Coco as one of those rare gems with both a solid performance record and pedigree, but I think her biggest value goes far beyond that.

Intelligence – simply, what matters most is what we find between a horse’s ears! Intelligence is hereditary, further developed by environment. When you look at what we ask a horse to do with us, as a partner in sport – the ability to learn and make good decisions is crucial. Intelligence matters. Smart horses learn, have common sense, they keep themselves safe and sound – and show their foals how to do likewise. Her foals are brave, inquisitive and follow her example.

Mothering – a very heavy milker for sure, she takes excellent care of her foals nutritionally but it goes beyond. Other mares race around after their foals, but Coco commands her foals with a look and a whinny that they seem to understand easily. She sets boundaries for her foals, provides discipline, but is always fair.

Character – foals observe how a mare interacts with people. Coco is an angel, patient and forgiving, she doesn’t take advantage of an inexperienced handler or situation. She is friendly but never pushy, well-behaved and respectful with people. She is quite vocal, and I laugh when she bellows at me (I want in, now!) or greets me with her deep little nicker. She most certainly expresses herself, but always with good character.

As an elite mare she is accepted into the Hanoverian Jumper Breeding Program. Proven in sport as a jumper, and as a broodmare. Holsteiner by blood, she is by Coriano out of a truly excellent damline.

Coming into her golden years, Coco has earned special privileges around the farm. Extra carrots, mints and apples are par for the course, but I think what she likes most is her “lawnmower” time. On a nice day, when we are working outside around the farm – she gets to roam around and graze anywhere she likes.

We hope to have her for years to come, classy mares like this are worth their weight in gold.

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