Breeding a Winner

Longtime breeder Durene Bowman watches one of her mares win at the 2017 Merial AQHA Region Two Championships/

Montana friends Durene Bowman, left, and Ruth McDonald-Gates share some laughs with their mares at the 2017 Merial AQHA Region Two Championships in Rapid City, South Dakota. (Journal photo)

Durene Bowman of Billings, Montana, was happy with the first place mare in aged mares – even though it wasn’t her mare.

That’s because it was her mare – sort of.

Durene bred Art I Chocolate, a 2010 bay mare owned and shown by Durene’s longtime friend Ruth McDonald-Gates.

At the 2017 Merial AQHA Region Two Championships in Rapid City, South Dakota, “Daisy” was first under all three judges in aged mares and was reserve grand champion under two in the pointed show that accompanied the regional event.

Durene, a 10-year breeder, bred the Art I Sweet mare Just A Sweetart to Chocolua to produce Daisy – a mare who started life with a different barn name.

“Her name is Daisy now, but I was sick when she was foaled,” Durene said. “I had cancer. I called her ‘Chemo,’ because she made me feel better. She gave me a reason to get up and go do stuff every morning. Ruth changed her name to Daisy.”

From the beginning, Daisy was adorable, Durene said.

“She was so cute – a little tiny thing and she was already in my hip pocket,” she said. “I walked out, and the mama had her three days early, so she was already out in the pasture.” Durene likes to compete with a more finished horse, but she usually takes along a young one for seasoning.

“When Daisy was a 2-year-old, I took her to her first horse show just to tool around on her,” Durene said. “She wasn’t clipped or anything – just this big old bushy mane, and she had her head poked out over the stall. Ruth was at the show working, and saw her and bought her there – a 2-year-old that hadn’t been out. Ruth just took her out and rode her all over.”

Durene bred Just A Sweetart, a 2003 bay mare by Art I Sweet. She favors large-bodied, attractive stallions, and from the first time she saw Art I Sweet, he fit the bill, she said.

“I saw him at the Congress when he won, and that’s how I (picked him),” she said. “They’ve got to be pretty and they’ve got to be good movers, first and foremost. And good-minded.”

Durene also bred Just A Sweetart’s dam, IB Sunesational by Western Dandy.

“She has AQHA points in everything – halter, pleasure, under saddle,” Durene said. “She got hurt when we were gathering cows one time, so she became my broodmare.” In halter at the Merial Region Two, Durene was showing Impulsive Sensation, a mare she didn’t breed. When her riding mare was injured, Durene looked for a successor.

“I went looking and found her at Rocky Mountain College,” Durene said. “She was in the college program, and a student was breaking her as a 2-year-old. I saw her and I thought, ‘Wow, she’s awesome.’

Impulsive Sensation is a 2013 bay mare by Impulsions By Mail and out of An Awesome Goodbar by An Awesome Mister. She was bred by Greg and Faye Little of Decker, Manitoba.

“I started breeding in the ‘80s,” Durene said. “I’d breed them, I’d show them and get some points on them, and I’d sell them. That’s how I kept showing. I like a pretty horse. I want to ride – riding is first and foremost, but they have to be pretty.”