Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Ellie took this
I'm sure you all remember my favorite equine photographer, Ellie. Basically, any time you see a stunningly gorgeous shot of a horse I like on my blog, she took it. She has other skills than just that, though. She's also a top-notch pedigree researcher. How do I know?

It's simple. She and I were both curious about Cuna's background. I gave her a fragment of a name that I knew may or may not have anything to do with his Jockey Club registration.

She ran with it. In a couple of hours, she came back with this:

1) His pedigree.

2) A brief report on him.

3) A race report for the race he won.

4) An article about the sad passing of his race trainer, who sounds like she was a wonderful lady.

Cuna face!!
Then it got even more interesting. After all, we weren't really sure the horse she was researching was my beloved Cuna until we saw this:

This is a picture of a Cuna sibling from his damline.

The big, soft eye? The little stripe? The tiny muzzle? It's totally Cuna.

Ok, officially it's "The Riddler" and he's for sale on dreamhorse. Reading through his description is like reading about Cuna. He's "Not for a beginner rider, but is a very fun ride for a rider with experience." and "an excellent mover with great natural balance, big stride" AND "has been showing at Events and Combined Tests, winning a Novice level event and Training level Combined Test, but would be happier with a career in an arena". 

Yeah, pretty much they just described my horse, except it's his brother. Side note: someone buy this horse and GIVE HIM TO ME. I want them all. 

Another Cuna face!!!
As if that wasn't enough, she next found this guy, known to his owners as Irish Lexicon.

Again, look at his face. Same shape, same markings. He's a little straight through the hind end and is that bright, flashy chestnut.

Here's an excerpt of his description: "an OTTB retiring sound and with no track blemishes or vices, super quiet and willing without being hot, laid back attitude but not lazy, very sweet and kind, trail rides on the buckle".

Yep. It's what you think. There are other Cunas out there! 

Of course, at this point it was officially speculation despite the fact we were finding horses EXACTLY like him. Another one that stood out was Seattle Blossom. His story has more similarities to Cuna: old horse living in a pasture, loaned out to a friend to "try". One ride later, the friend says, "I'm keeping him forever." 

This morning, I talked a friend into helping me check Cuna's tattoo. (Ok, I'd never done it before and I didn't want to hurt him. Lay off.) I took a picture of it, sent it to Ellie, and she got confirmation. Cuna is officially registered as "Acuna" and was born 2/20/95. 

Think about that. 

1) HE'S 17!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm totally going to tell his old owner that she misrepresented him to me. After all, I bought him thinking he was 19 and he isn't. :-p It's a small thing, but I'm pretty happy to know that the old guy might have a few more years left than I thought he did. 

2) 2/20... doesn't that sound familiar? Sort of important? It is. On 2/20 of this year, I posted a blog about a lesson I had on Cuna that had taken place a couple of days earlier. A mere two days later, I made the hallmark post "Crossing the Rubicon" in which I decided to sell Izzy.

Yes folks, that means that pretty much on Cuna's birthday, I put my horse up for sale so I could buy the old red man himself. That connection seems almost too perfect. I'm pretty sure that I officially bought Cuna on Izzy's birthday too, but that's another topic for another day. 

The hunt continues. I'd love to come across some pictures of Exclusive Partner, Cuna's sire or Cabarnet Dawn, his dam. The common thread for the identical siblings seems to be Cox Ridge, his damsire who stamps his offspring with darling faces and sweet personalities. Oddly, that old man was a bay. 

The Original Cuna Face <3
The search isn't over yet. There may be baby pictures of Cuna out there somewhere and OMG you know he must have looked like a "giant red bambi" to quote Ellie. Even if I never find them, though, I'm still loving every day with my not-as-old-as-I-thought-he was man. 


  1. I'm totally on a research high right now. RESEARCH ALL THE THINGS!!!!

    Oh, and also? I WILL find a picture of Exclusive Partner if it's the last thing I do.

    Yay 17 year old Cuna!

  2. I meant SO neat. lol. sheesh.

  3. Love this! Love finding out horsey histories

  4. I looked up th estallion In Reality that was supposed to be my mare Tess' sire. She looked just like him and had she been in eutero the year he died, she would have been about a year younger than represented as well.

    I did just find all of the info on my other TB mare, her race history, everything. Of course I printed it out and it is fun to find out all the cool things about their past.

  5. love all the info :)

    bring on the research!

  6. The first thing I did when I saw his pedigree was say, "Yay, 17yo Cuna!" It's about time you looked him up. Now find all the other things!! I want to see baby Cuna!

  7. I was going to say, "Cox's Ridge puts good minds on horses", but you seem to have already known. First thing that jumped out to me on his pedigree.
    I like Ribots, too. Athletic horses, with intelligence.

  8. Grandpa Exclusive Ribot lived to 32. Good genes http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/23929/exclusive-ribot-son-of-the-great-ribot-dies
    Picture from a Connemara's pedigree http://www.connemaras.com/nails/pdsun.html

    Exclusive Partner had 73 starts, spanning nine years!!

  9. This. Is. So. Cool! I know zero about bloodlines but I like looking at them. ;) You might look at the second site a little closer to see if they have some old racing videos of Cuna. I did this with Charlie and I think I had to pay $5 and could watch something like 20 races. It's pretty neat to be able to see your pony rocking it on the racetrack. Enjoy!

  10. That's awesome! I love finding out about Jetta's past and her family, it made me so thrilled when someone sent me a baby picture! Too cute, I hope you can find one of your giant red bambi :)

  11. He ran at the same tracks as Don! That makes them practically cousins, right? :D

  12. That is so cool. He raced a lot but is obviously built to last. And it's even better to find out he's only 17. Yah!

  13. That is so cool! Very interesting.

  14. The history on these horses is so cool. It is like a window into their past. I hope you can find even more. And 2 years younger, awesome!

  15. Love it! Hope you can track down a baby pic and also that winning race shot! Like 'ME', when we adopted our OTTB, Cheers, we paid a few bucks and got to watch race video clips. When we watched them, my family was cheering him on...like we were at the track :)

  16. Ok, I would love to know what sites were used to find all this information. I have a young ottb mare, I do have her papers, and would love to find more about her. I am no good at the research thing, I get frustrated to quickly and give up. Some good leads to start would be so helpful!

  17. Check Pedigreedatabase.com and Equibase.com :)

  18. Definitely pursue baby pics! Derby was bred by Airdrie stud, and they dug up and emailed me his baby pics. I about died from the cuteness. (Hello, tufty little ears. Swoon.) http://collectingtbs.com/2011/10/11/derbys-early-days/

    My own research also turned up the fact that Derby sired two foals before being gelded. I even found a pic of him with one of them! http://collectingtbs.com/2011/09/29/holy-vows-also-known-as-derby/

    I see that Cuna's maternal grand dam is Xalapa Sunrise. She foaled millionaire runner Sunny Sunrise, trained by Bud Delp (who trained Spectacular Bid.) Here is a compendium of articles about Sunny: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/keyword/sunny-sunrise

    Pretty cool stuff! I know it doesn't mean squat for our old geldings, but I do love learning their histories.

  19. That's so neat!! I'm super jealous though, I have tried to research into Prince's past and I get stuck at some big name trainer who barely remembers him let alone have any clue where he came from. =-/

    It's always been my dream to find baby pictures of him! Good luck finding some of Cuna.

  20. That is so awesome!!!!!! I hope you can find baby pictures too. That would be so cool. I also think it's really awesome that you decided to sell Izzy on his 17th birthday! Happy belated birthday Cuna!


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