Winners of the Nutrena #AQHAFoals Contest

The most rewarding aspect of horse breeding is the adorable foals that are born every year.

There aren’t many things cuter than an American Quarter Horse foal! This year, the Nutrena #AQHAFoals Contest inspired many AQHA members to share photos of their adorable new foals. Entrants submitted a photo and an essay explaining why they love their new American Quarter Horse baby. Our friends at Nutrena then selected four winners, who received 100 pounds of Nutrena horse feed. Featured here are the four winning essays and photos.

Katy Dieringer, 22, Moses Lake, Washington

“Platinum” was born on a dark Monday morning on May 23, 2016. This is “Diva’s” first child, and she loves him so much! Her name is Sugarmansladyliberty (by Lenas Sugarman), and his father is Jumping Jack Whiz by Topsail Whiz. Moses Lake, Washington, is where Platinum calls home. This picture was taken at 5 days old, and he has already grown and filled out so much since then. He is the perfect little palomino, a color I was not expecting but am so happy to have!

 Platinum has so much life and spirit. He loves to run in circles as fast as he can around his mother. She doesn’t let him get too far, though! Aside from practicing his running skills, Platinum loves to take power naps so that he can have enough energy to get right back up and start running again. He has already been getting used to wearing a halter and will soon learn to lead. He is such a friendly and curious little guy that I do not think it will be that hard to teach him. Platinum and his mother get to enjoy the warm summer days out on pasture, and they are tucked cozily away at night in a straw-bedded stall. Every evening when the lesson kids go out to the barn, Platinum gets spoiled with love by everyone! He is the main attraction at the barn, and he sure knows it, too! His personality is starting to show, and he believes that he is the coolest thing since sliced bread.

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He has already made so many new friends, such as people, cats, dogs, chickens and even other horses. Being the only foal on the property, he has to make do with what he has. Sometimes it's boring playing with just mom because she is too worried he might get hurt! Every day, he just keeps getting cuter and cuter. I almost don’t want him to grow up! But I also cannot wait until I get to break him and start riding! I plan on keeping him, and I hope to have a highly competitive reining horse one day that can make me some money! The first step to success is feeding your horse a good-quality feed so that they grow strong and healthy. Platinum and his mother are already being started on Nutrena Mare and Foal grain, and they love it! It not only will allow Platinum to grow with the right nutrients (when he learns to eat it), but it will also ensure that mom gets them, as well, so that she is able to produce enough milk and stay at a healthy body weight. To me, Platinum is the most adorable foal I have ever seen, and I am thrilled that he is mine. He has already brought so much joy into my life, and just looking at him or simply thinking of him makes me so happy I could cry! He is the most special little addition to my critter family, and I don't think he could be any more perfect.

Jennifer Yarbrough, 21, Fresno, California

I love my American Quarter Horse foal because he has saved my life. I had been depressed for a year and developed an eating disorder that was consuming my life. “Pockets” completely changed the path I was on. He gave me hope and a purpose. The day he was born, I decided I needed to enter treatment. Each day is hard, but my little colt makes it a little bit easier and gives me motivation to continue on. I love my American Quarter Horse colt because without him, I wouldn’t be here today.

Bailee Bertrum, 23, Willliamson, Georgia

Smackthatcrackerjack was born May 9, 2015, to my best mare, Nimble Crackerjack. She was my first horse and was purchased for me by my father as a 3-year-old. I won many things on her in the National Barrel Horse Association, including a youth world title. In 2013, I got the sad news that she had to have an early retirement due to a bad leg. That’s when I decided to breed her. It seemed like it took forever for her to give us her little baby. We even called her a baby hoarder. One night, after a long night of being awake all night in a fight with my boyfriend, I came to the barn to find a sweet little dun colt standing at her side. My heart was healed. He has been so good for me, and he’s the smartest little thing! In January 2016, only three months after we weaned him, I lost his mama to equine protozoal myeloencephalitis. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, and the most difficult thing to watch. In him, she left me a piece of herself. He reminds me of her on a daily basis. He has a strong, humorous personality. I miss her every single day, but having him around makes it so much easier. I wouldn’t be able to go on without him!

Did you know that a foal’s first experiences can affect them for the rest of their lives? Get off to the right start with AQHA’s FREE Halter Breaking Your Foal report. Download it today so you can train a well-mannered and trusting American Quarter Horse.

Danielle Parker, 20, Dawson, West Virginia

My colt, “Tuff,” (pending name Gold Tuff N French), was born on April 26, 2016. He came from my very special mare, “Jetta,” whom I have had since I was 9 years old. I am now 20. This colt was mistaken for a cancerous tumor in the left ovary of my mare. I was devastated. Of course, I was going to have my mare sent to surgery for the tumor to be removed, but hadn’t yet. I noticed my mare’s belly growing in size constantly. I thought to myself, “Surely this tumor hasn’t grown this much in such little time.” I had the vet out again to have her checked. Sure enough, there was no tumor; that was a baby growing! I knew something was going on. I was so excited I just couldn’t believe something so great could come out of the horrible situation that I thought I was in. When it was time for my mare to foal, I spent a few long nights at the barn waiting for the arrival of my precious baby. I missed the birth, of course. We got a surprising call from our neighbor saying they had a baby horse on their porch. I couldn’t believe it, but it was true. There was a baby horse on their porch – a gorgeous, stout, little palomino colt. I had no idea if he had even nursed before he took his little trip down the road. He is a tough little guy, that’s why we call him Tuff. He is one little special guy, and he showed me that miracles do happen! I love him so much! He will make a great horse one day.

Find more adorable foal pictures, as well as great horse breeding tips, on AQHA's Horse Breeding How-Tos Pinterest board.