“She was the prettiest horse I have ever seen, and I wanted to make sure that she had the opportunity to pass her genetics on,” Susan explains. Photo © Terri Cage

Silver Lining: Too Sleepy for Candy’s Foals Claim Top Two Spots at APHA World Show

Sometimes it takes the darkest of times to appreciate the precious moments in life, and it is often said that after every storm, there is a rainbow. This has certainly been the case for longtime breeder and exhibitor, Susan Juroe, of Longmont, Colorado.

Although Juroe has seen her share of ups and downs in both the show arena and breeding business, no low compares to the day she tragically lost her mare, Too Sleepy For Candy (more affectionately known as Mandy), suddenly in the fall of 2014.

At that time, Mandy (pictured left with Juroe) was only five-years-old and at the top of her game in both APHA and NSBA competition, gathering multiple world championships in western pleasure and already winning titles in the trail, western riding, and halter. “She was just getting started, and her potential as a show horse was endless,” says Juroe. Juroe had always thought that Mandy would leave a lasting legacy in the show arena for years to come and her sudden passing left a void and an immense amount of unfinished business for both Juroe and her trainers, Tim and Shannon Gillespie.

Thankfully, Juroe decided to start Mandy’s breeding career early and started doing embryo transfers shortly after she purchased her in 2011. “She was the prettiest horse I have ever seen, and I wanted to make sure that she had the opportunity to pass her genetics on,” she explains.

Her first two embryo transfers, both by AQHA stallion, VS Flatline, resulted in two beautiful red roan overo foals, whom she named Kid In A Candy Store, also known as “Adam” and Line Up For Candy, also known as “Eve.” (pictured right) Although Juroe knows that breeding is always a gamble, it was hard not to get her hopes up when she saw these two loping around her pasture as weanlings.

Her gamble paid off when Eve made a statement during her APHA World Show debut by winning the Three-Year-Old Novice Horse Limited Rider Western Pleasure Sweepstakes with Blake Weis. Although Juroe has believed in her homebred foals from day one, seeing Eve with the ribbon around her neck and Mandy’s name up on the screen as the dam of the class champion was a bittersweet moment.

Weis was overwhelmed when hearing the story about the loss of Eve’s dam and how meaningful this title was to the whole team. “Eve is a great horse with a lot of natural self-carriage and a great topline. She was very compliant and honest in the pen. She has a very bright future ahead of her, and I was grateful to show her,” says Weis.

As if Eve’s win wasn’t sweet enough, the crowning moment of the APHA World Show came when Adam and Eve went head-to-head in the Three-Year-Old Breeders Trust Gold Western Pleasure Futurity and claimed the top two spots. Adam won the class with Aaron Moses and Eve was reserve with Shannon Gillespie.

Juroe was elated and overcome with emotion as she witnessed her two homebred horses standing on the wall together after third place was announced. “When they were first and second, I couldn’t believe it. The feeling of knowing that I am the breeder of such amazing horses on top of the bond I shared with their dam brings me so much joy and has helped to ease the pain of losing her so prematurely,” says Juroe.

Moses was extremely grateful to ride Adam (pictured left) in the class and agrees that he is has a very bright future ahead. “Adam is a nice horse. I think his mind is one of the things that make him special. He is always ready to go to work and has a lot of presence in the show pen. He has a great topline and is natural and pleasant when he is doing his job. Tim and Shannon have done a great job with him, and I was honored to show him,” he says.

Adam and Eve being at the top of the class was equally as emotional for Shannon Gillespie, as she showed Mandy and has been a part of both Adam and Eve’s training and preparation for the show arena. “It is so meaningful and special because we loved Mandy so much and to be able to ride her babies who have the same wonderful qualities she had helps to keep her memory alive. We miss her every day, but we feel so lucky that her legacy will live on through them,” she says.

Tim Gillespie echoes Shannon’s sentiments and acknowledges that Mandy’s presence is felt every day when they work with her talented offspring. “I see a part of Mandy in both of them and to have all of her babies show such extreme promise is truly a gift from up above. She was one of my all-time favorite horses and losing her was very hard on all of us.”

Tim continues, “When we started riding her babies, I immediately clicked with Adam and Shannon clicked with Eve (pictured right). It is almost as though they were both made for us and we feel very blessed. We are so excited for Susan because if anyone deserves this, she does. This has reminded us that it is important to remember that nothing is ever promised and it is important to enjoy every minute because things can change in the blink of an eye. Having this new chapter after all the grief that went along with losing Mandy has given us renewed appreciation and hope for the future,” he says.

Thankfully, Mandy’s story didn’t end with her sudden passing. Her legacy is a story that is still unfolding. “Losing Mandy made me lose so much hope, but her babies have restored that hope. They remind me of her everyday with their magnetic presence, kind dispositions, and talent. I know that they are a gift from her and she lives on through them,” says Juroe.

As if this story doesn’t have enough of a silver lining, there are still more of Mandy’s offspring that are just getting started and some that have yet to hit the show arena. A full sibling to Adam and Eve, named Pickup Line will be shown next year in the three-year-old western pleasure events, as well as Candy Confidential (by All Time Fancy), who placed third in the two-year-old Hunter Under Saddle at the World Show will begin his all-around career.

Too Sleepy For Kisses and Too Sleepy For Hugs (both by John Simon) will also make her debut in three-year-old western pleasure next year. “Although this isn’t the way I thought things would be, I can’t help but be grateful for all that I have been given,” says Juroe.

The excitement is high, and the rainbow after the storm is beautiful. This is the beginning of a new chapter, and there is no doubt a guardian angel is watching down from Heaven every step of the way.

Photos © Larry Williams and Terri Cage

About the Author: A California native turned Texan, Erica Lang Greathouse took her first pony ride at a local fair at the age of four. That ride ignited her passion for horses, and there was no turning back. In her show career, she has earned a Congress Championship, multiple APHA World and Reserve World Championships, and a top ten finish at the AQHYA World Show. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Psychology.