In reproductive terms though, a good mare is not necessarily a mare who has won a lot of accolades herself. She may well be an outstanding performer possessing every attribute we seek, style, femininity and perfect conformation...or she may be a non-descript, poorly put together, never been rode reproductive queen. Either way, they leave us their legacy and pass down remarkeable traits, generation after generation.
There is a status name given to mares that consistently outproduced themselves, irregardless of what stallion they were bred too and that is a "Blue Hen". These rare and exceptional mares, no matter their own faults, possess in their DNA the ability to consistently produce get and grandget and great-grandget and so on down the line, who have the ability to surpass both dam and sire. Often, they transend "event" specific ability too. A "blue hen" bred to one type of stallion will produce get that are exception in one area and bred to a totally different stallion produce get that excel in another area. Nonetheless, they stamp their produce with certain abilities that only they have the ability to pass down.
In case anyone ever wondered how I pick bloodlines to talk about?...for the most part they are bloodlines our own herd possess or bloodlines that my family have had, raised and used over the generations. We do not inbreed or linebreed(unless the linebreeding is incidental). I guess if you had to categorize our breeding program, we would be considered "nick" breeders. We utilized someone else's successful inbreeding/linebreeding program and crossed those mares on a complimentary stallion. Now we take those mares and are crossing them on another intensely linebred stallion. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel though. We are "nicking" bloodlines that have already proven they work.
So on to one of my favorite "blue hen" mares... FL Lady Bug
This mare was inducted into the AQHA Hall Of Fame in 1999. Her produce are legendary and have infiltrated a number of specialized events. Besides her most obvious success producing outstanding race horses, the FL Lady Bug blood flows like water in the rodeo world.
Not surprising(to me) is the fact that you will also find her located in Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle horses.
An outstanding HUS horse carrying her bloodlines is Shawne Lake...
Of course, if you want to see a high concentration of horses that carry this great mare's blood, you don't have to look any farther than the NFR.
I can feel the nay-sayers of extended pedigrees shaking their heads. How is it possible that a single cross 4 or 5 generations back could possibly contribute to the success of a modern competitive horse? That my friends is simple...because the FL Lady Bug's were good horses and even the few who were not "as successful" as the majority were still bred to more good horses. The Lady Bugs were nicely made, had good bone, better than most dispositions, a can-do attitude and they consistently passed that on. This is the reason she is considered one of, if not the most prepotent "Blue Hen" mare in history.
There is more...much, much more on this mare and the impact that she has had over the years...along with her mother...and a half sister out of the same mare. And then there is her pedigree...which falls right in line with the inbreeding/linebreeding things I have been on a roll with...