She’s the first one of her kind born in Texas, the Schwarzwalder Fuchs foal who made her appearance in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, April 15, at Proud Meadows Farm west of Waxahachie.
Proud owner Larry Riggs said he couldn’t be more pleased with the chestnut-colored filly.
Born about three weeks early yet perfectly healthy, the filly is the firstborn foal of Riggs’ breeding pair, the 4-year-old mare, Porta, and the 9-year-old stallion, Rondo, which he imported in 2004. The Schwarzwalder Fuchs (which translates to Black Forest draft) is rare in its native Germany, where there are about 1,500 of the breed. They’re even more rare in the United States, with Riggs estimating less than 15 of them have been imported from their native land, the Black Forest area of southwestern Germany.
Riggs said he fell in love with Rondo after seeing photographs of him working under harness.
“I had to have him,” said Riggs, who competes in combined driving competitions with Rondo, who also is trained under saddle. The Schwarzwalder Fuchs was developed as an all-purpose farm horse in Germany, with Riggs praising the breed for having a kind, even temperament that combines well with its physical talents.
“They’re good little riding horses, good driving horses,” Riggs said. “They’ve got good stamina and their temperament makes them great kids’ horses.”
The breed also stands out for its long, thick mane, which can range in color from flaxen to the highly desired white mane – such as that of Rondo’s, whose flowing locks reach below his knees when taken out of their protective braids.
Riggs recalled one event at the farm, when he drove Rondo in a demonstration, then allowed a visitor to ride him. Rondo was then turned loose for a liberty exhibition, with Riggs saying he thought the stallion at that point after a long, busy day wouldn’t put on much of a show for the farm’s guests.
It was as if Rondo knew, though, that all eyes were on him, Riggs said, describing what happened next: “He bucked and threw hair. He loves to toss that hair around when it’s down and he’s at liberty.”
For all of his playing in the arena, however, when it comes time to catch Rondo, a simple peppermint does the trick.
“All I have to do is crinkle that little bit of plastic and he’s right there, happy to be caught,” Riggs said. “He’s my buddy.”
Riggs and the stallion have a special relationship – with Rondo ready to carry his owner to the winner’s circle in competition and also to go out for long walks on a lead rope through the farm’s rolling, tree-lined landscape.
“They’re unflappable,” Riggs said of the breed’s calm nature. “Rondo’s never spooked whether I’ve been riding him or driving him. I enjoy being around him. … I love his looks. I’ve always loved his mane and tail. He’s the horse I’ve always wanted.”
Riggs said he expects interest in Rondo as a sire will only increase as word of his abilities and attributes spread – and especially now that there are several foals on the ground to represent what he can produce, both purebred and partbred. Potential buyers already have contacted Riggs about the foals – and a number of people have contacted the farm about securing a breeding, which is done through artificial insemination.
“This breed has such a good personality. I’m able to do whatever I want to with them,” Riggs said, saying that Porta, especially, is a favorite among the barn staff.
At the farm last Tuesday afternoon, maybe 12 hours after the foal was born, Riggs remarked on how the first-time, young mom was allowing people to handle her and her newborn without any sign of nervousness or aggression. The filly herself showed no concerns with any of the activity going on around her, allowing herself to be brushed and then escorted with her mom on a first-ever trip outside to a paddock.
The filly is the fourth foal and first purebred baby for Rondo since his arrival in the United States. He already has three partbred foals, two out of Arabian mares and one out of a palomino/quarterhorse cross.
The breed registry in Germany is for purebreds, with Riggs saying he is starting a partbred registry for Schwarzwalder Fuchs crosses in the United States.
Riggs welcomes inquiries about breedings to Rondo, who will continue to stand at stud at Proud Meadows.
“He’s got a home for life,” Riggs said of his dream horse. “He’s not going anywhere.”
Proud Meadows, which is primarily known for its world-class roster of Friesian horses, welcomes visitors. The public also is welcome to attend the farm’s next all-breed/rare breed two-day show in June.
For more information, contact the farm via its Web site at www.proudmeadows.com or call 972-938-8100.
E-mail JoAnn at email@example.com