From humble beginnings come great things: Genuinelil Moonshine
January 3, 2019
Unless a stallion owner is handed down the business, complete with three or more well-bred, well-built, well-mannered, already-advertised stallions, 10 to 20 broodmares that are the perfect fit for aforementioned stallions, a large indoor arena set up for the training discipline of choice, and alleys lined with stalls with lush, clean shavings, and a staff to feed, groom, and care for the ample herd, they likely start from humble roots. This may involve gathering up a new mare when an opportunity presents itself and often settling for a mare that is sound in structure and temperament, but perhaps has a scarred leg from her youth, as well as putting their eggs all in one basket, so to speak, by owning and breeding usually only one or two stallions. Teal Koller's breeding program fits the latter description.
Her 2014 bay roan AQHA stallion Genuinelil Moonshine, dubbed "Huck", is the center of Teal's business and efforts, flanked by eight mares and several outside mares. While happily married and on her husband Matt's family ranch, Teal is left to her own devices more often than not while Matt, a lead forestry technician at Black Hills Fire Use Module, is gone fighting fires spring through fall.
"Most of the fire season, not only am I a horse care taker, I'm also basically a single parent as well. Not totally, because I have support from Matt, but I bought the stud horse because in the beginning. I thought he could be an income to my family on top of riding colts."
Originally from Utah, Teal had established herself in the area as being a fine trainer to send colts for starting or horses for finishing, but by moving to South Dakota two years ago, she put herself in a position of starting over with outside training horses, outside mares to breed to Huck, and day-working opportunities.
"I think her horsemanship has really evolved even over the last few years," said Teal's friend and mentor Brett Sabey. "When she became a young woman, she started thinking about horsemanship and not just riding. She worked really hard at placing their feet or their body. She hasn't ever been afraid of work, but she really did hunker down."
Last summer, she was able to finally gain some momentum, perhaps a little too much.
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"Last year, I ran myself near to death. Breeding season was way more intense than I ever imagined it would be," Teal said. "I had four outside colts all the time—three of them were roundpen colts—so from now on, I'm not taking roundpen colts."
In addition to her seven mares eligible to breed to her stallion, Teal has a list of outside mares penciled in for Huck's 2019 breeding season, and she hopes to add collecting to the process and eventually offer frozen semen, taking the pressure off of both Teal and Huck.
"It's really time consuming. I can't have plans, can't go anywhere, mostly because I don't know when the public is going to bring a mare in," Teal said. "You have to be available all the time. It sounds hunky dory, but it's not an easy job to do, but it doesn't last forever."
Having an intense passion and a horse she adores helps drive Teal and keep her one-woman show rolling. Huck, a son of Utah stallion Lil Lena Moonshine, a grandson of High Brown Cat and great grandson of Smart Little Lena, is Teal's go-to ranch horse, and she has also started him on the barrel and pole patterns, used him for mounted shooting, headed out of the box, pasture roped of him, heeled on him in a branding pen, and showed him in a few casual pleasure classes. She often chooses to cross her cow-bred stallion on running-bred mares to get the ultimate versatile horse.
"I hope to take him to a few barrel racing futurities next year, but that's not my long-term plan," Teal said. "Futurity isn't necessarily as important to me; I want something that is solid. If he isn't ready for them, I won't go."
When she acquired her stallion in 2015, Teal was a single mom with a three-year-old daughter and Huck was a skinny yearling, recommended by Sabey, who owns Huck's sire.
"It had always been a dream to raise babies. Brett called me one day and told me about Huck, and told me the people who raised him wanted to sell him," Teal said. "He was underweight, but I could see his frame and the eye on that horse was just unbelievable."
Having ridden and loved two of Huck's sisters and his dad, Teal went with her gut and traded riding a few colts for the stallion. She made the decision early on, however, that if he didn't prove to possess a sound mind and excellent conformation, he would end up a gelding.
"Really, with that stud colt, we weren't really sure if he was something she would want to keep for a stud. He was little and runty and a little underweight, but he sure had the chance to grow up and be fancy," Sabey said of Huck. "I think he dang sure lived up to her expectations."
Luckily for Teal, he meets and beats her high standards for conformation, athleticism, and a kind heart and easy temperament and passes the same great qualities, and his color, on to his babies.
"His babies seem to be like him, gentle, smart, willing," she said. "They retain information so well. I love him as far as brains go. He has really good feet, good bone, a giant heartgirth, and a ton of heart." Huck is a favorite mount for Teal's six-year-old daughter Isabella.
Later the year that Teal got Huck, she also got two mares that were a good cross for Huck, a 2005 mare by the name of Im Eye Candy and a 2013 mare RGR Lucky Jewel.
"I have run across a few trades to get to some of the mares I have now. I've found deals on well-bred horses that someone isn't getting along with for whatever reason," Teal said. "One of my good mares was my using horse, and now she's out in the broodmare pen."
She has since expanded her band to include eight total mares over the past three years with names on their pedigress like Dash Ta Fame, Chicks Beduino, The Signature, Dash for Cash, Streaking Six, Sophisticated Cat, CD Olena, Genuine Doc, Special Effort, Colonel Freckles, Peppy San Badger, FDD Dynasty, and Corona Cartel.
"I guess my ultimate desire is to try to produce quality horses that are good for any and every task but also easy for anyone to get along with," Teal said. "In picking the mares I own, disposition rated just as high as pedigree and conformation."
Teal has primarily advertised her stallion and his babies on Facebook, and thus far, she has been able to sell his offspring as weanlings ranging from $2,500 to $3,500.