Black Creek Crossing: Three Generations of Horse Show Royalty
This time of year, the equine industry flourishes with newborn foals. Our newsfeeds filled with “Welcome to the World” photos, and breeders sharing the exciting news of their stallion’s offspring. For Lori Watkins, owner and operator of Black Creek Crossing, the 2017 breeding season holds a special place in her heart. With the birth of a special foal, Lori has the grandmother and grandfather, mother, and now the third generation granddaughter all living at the farm together- a first at Black Creek Crossing.
The story began in 1998 when Lori purchased her first show horse, a 1995 mare named, Investment Royalty, from Bob Bahler, and trained by John Marano. It was evident from the beginning of their time together that this horse was remarkable in and out of the show pen. Lori pointed out of novice in just five shows with Investment Royalty, proving that they were a force in the show arena. Lori soon decided that the mare would not be sold. Their partnership was just unfolding. Royal (pictured right) had a compact, stocky body built for western pleasure with a dishy little Arab head that her whole life would be a signature trait in her foals. She was a great mom, but for sure a taskmaster and made her babies behave. Everyone would have a little bite mark on each flank if they ever nursed with too much gusto, and every baby was sweet, kind, and a complete joy.
Investment Royalty would become the beginning of the beloved Black Creek Crossing.
As Lori looked to expand her farm in Indiana, a particular stallion caught her eye at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. This might just be one of those love at first sight stories. Astonished by his look, Lori followed the horse to the show pen and watched him compete in the western riding. As the horse left the arena, Lori didn’t miss an opportunity to talk to the owner Steven Stephens. This conversation led to a breeding between Dynamic In The Dark with Lori’s own Investment Royalty.
The cross deemed the brilliant start to a legacy. The first foal, Gently In The Dark, by Dynamic In The Dark and out of Investment Royalty would become a Congress Champion. Happy with the cross, another breeding was booked. Unfortunately, Dynamic In The Dark died the day after that one shipment for the second breeding. There were a lot of crossed fingers during that pregnancy because there would be no do-overs. The following year, a second colt, Invest In The Dark, arrived. A few years later, Lori reflected on a particular moment at the Congress between these two siblings (Gently In The Dark a.k.a Phatt Asset (pictured left) and Invest In The Dark). The older brother won a Congress Championship and the younger brother was tenth in the same youth riding class.
After Dynamic In the Dark passed away in 2001, Watkins bred to industry notables like Blazing Hot, Rocked And Steady and To Be Dynamic. Lori appreciated the genetics and talent of the Dynamic line so much that she purchased full brother, Pure Dynamic, in 2004. Every stallion bred to Investment Royalty proved to be lucky with her foals going on to earn 96 Open Halter, 262.5 Amateur Halter, and 35.5 Youth Halter points. Performance points include 344 Open, 765.5 Amateur, and 470.5 Youth Performance Points. 12 superior titles, 2 AQHA Championships, and Congress Championships, and multiple circuit championships, 334 (Open, Amateur, & Youth) combined All Around High Point Awards and over $21,000 in NSBA earnings.
Now, Investment Royalty is twenty-two (pictured right) and retired from breeding. Lori says she is sound and happy. She has her girlfriends and enjoys a trail ride every now and again. Still wanting her mare’s superb lineage at Black Creek Crossing, Lori purchased one of Investment Royalty’s daughters by The Good Ranger from Roma Thomson by the name of Dreamin A Lil Dream. She was bred to Lazy Loper, and on January 22, 2017, gave birth to a filly that was named Chloe (pictured left).
“Sometimes it’s easy to forget all the things it took to get to a particular place in your life. This whole event with three generations here at one time was a reminder of all the decisions that happened in between to get to this particular time and event. It was a great moment and one that I took particular joy and a sense of accomplishment in reflecting about.”
What started with a few horses, a small barn, and a vision began in 2001 became a bigger dream when they established their larger barn and had their first foal. Black Creek Crossing unfolded because of one horse and her owner’s belief in her ability to produce and make a meaningful contribution to the horse industry. Investment Royalty has been recognized by AQHA by being on the all-time leading dams’ list.
Pure Dynamic is home (pictured right) and, while he is not actively breeding, Lori has frozen breeding doses available allowing for just a few foals every year. Two are expected in 2017. The legacy continues at Black Creek Crossing with the help of their veterinarian Dr. Joanna Bronson, and breeding manager April Holden. April has worked in the breeding program at the farm for twelve years.
“None of this just unfolds and happens on its own,” Watkins states. “Many amazing people contributed to the incredibly talented prospects we offer every year. Our core staff includes April, Chasity Lusk, and Danielle Hug, with outside help from Kay Conrad, great trainers Joe Goodenow, Blake Britton, Marion Troyer, and also Tim and Shannon Gillespie.”
Lori has an enormous archive of foal pictures and keeps track of those horses who have gone on to show or just happily be an excellent addition to someone’s family. There is a beautiful paragraph that circulates on social media about how someone had the dream to breed a mare for a foal, someone loved that foal and nurtured it until it was passed along to its new owner to love and care for. That is her hope for every baby born at Black Creek Crossing.
Go hug your horse. Someone probably loved a mare, and carefully chose a sire. Someone devoted their life to a stallion they believed in. Someone chose to help make babies for a living. Someone sat up all night for who knows how long to help your horse into the world, and someone kissed that wet nose. Someone put on the first halter, picked up the first hoof. Gave the first bath, and tightened the first girth. It took a lot of hearts to carry your horse to you. They gave many moments of their lives, many breaths, many stomped toes and broken boards. Hug your horse for them…they did it believing in your horse’s future, so make it a good one. ~ Author unknown
About the Author: GoHorseShow intern, Morgan McCarthy Warda, is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in Wildlife Biology and Writing. Morgan grew up actively competing on the AQHA circuit. She balances her time between her job as an Agriculture Environment Assurance Program Technician, showing, writing, being an MQHA board member, and working as a student research assistant at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. In the future, Morgan plans to obtain a Master’s degree in Wildlife Management and continue to be an active member of AQHA.
Photos © Black Creek Crossing