Maria Juana B - a.k.a "Stormy" 1981-2009
International Champion Maria Juana B 1991 Columbia SC Pleasure and Performance mare.
Ridden by Jeanne Maust Gibbon Glade, PA
Maria Juana B affectionly known as “Stormy” will always be remembered as a great mare. She is the mother of White Oaks Bayamo, Sir, Hurricane and Pordoroso and many more.
When you ride her, you will realize your dreams. She is like gliding in the wind, but with all the thrills of the fastest roller coaster.
This great mare is what the Puerto Rican Paso Finos are all about, heart and soul. This heart was what enabled their ancestors to live at least 3 months on a ship in slings with very little food and water. After their wary trip, they had to get off the boat and carry the Conquistadors through treacherous swamps and rugged terrain while exploring the New World.
They are hardy, strong and willing stock. They become your soul mates.
“Blessed are the Broodmares” – by Cheryl Watson
Hello, my name is Cheryl Watson, and I am a recovering Thoroughbred horse owner. My story began, as a child, dreaming of my first horse. It wasn’t until I was 30 years old that my dream came true in the form of a 4 year old Thoroughbred mare. Many falls, emergency room visits, and broken bones later, whatever nerve I had left was gone. I became a horse caretaker, taking pride in simply feeding, cleaning and brushing this fractious horse. She had the cleanest stall and was the shiniest horse of all.
Then in February of 1999, I went on a family vacation to San Juan, Puerto Rico. With memories of my white knuckle trail rides on my Thoroughbred mare still fresh in my mind, I reluctantly signed up for a trail ride through the rainforest on “Paso fino” horses. I was invited to ride the owner’s Pure Puerto Rican Paso Fino stud. This horse was so full of fire, I thought, here we go again! I secretly wondered what the hospitals in San Juan might be like…. BUT, this horse’s fire was different! It was a controlled heat, burning hot beneath the surface, but manifesting outwardly as intelligence, focus, and incredible energy. He had the look of an eagle in his eye, but also that of a wise old owl. With no exaggeration, it was what I saw in his eyes that convinced me to climb aboard that day. I rode him on the beach, in the streets, down sidewalks, in the forest, through back yards. Ta-ca, Ta-ca, Ta-ca …fearlessly I went! I was, of course, enamored with this incredibly smooth ride, but there were other qualities this horse possessed that I found just as entrancing. He was almost “otherworldly”….like an old soul. I immediately became obsessed with this breed and upon returning home, began my search for one of my own. This led me to my new friend Barbara Nichols at Frosty Acres Puerto Rican Paso Finos in PA.
My trip to PR and then my immediate visit to Frosty Acre’s, marked the beginning of my love affair with this great, pure breed. Barbara put me up on her prized mare, Maria Juana B (aka Stormy), and I relived my ride in Puerto Rico! The same smooth gait, the same smoldering heat, the same look of the eagle, and something else,…. the magic of an old pure Puerto Rican mare, with the genetics of hundreds of years of making and protecting babies coursing in her veins. Her senses and intelligence finely honed by the urge to produce, protect, preserve. These old Pure Puerto Rican mares are worth their weight in gold. Barbara always said to me, “you will want to get a mare”. She knew.
Fast forward 10 years later and I have 6 of these older, prized, pure Puerto Rican mares in my fields, all possessing the same integrity and intelligence that I first experienced with Stormy, and all passing on the incredible gait to their babies consistently. All 6 of my PPR mares had NEVER produced a Pure Puerto Rican foal to carry on their heritage. Had I not unearthed them, they would have died off and that would be THE END of their pure story. How devastating. …BUT the good news is that, so far, three of the 6 have been bred and produced fillies, replacing themselves! I shudder when I think how close they came to their lines ending with them. What an incredible waste – GONE FOREVER!
Replacing these precious old bloodlines must be a priority. Stormy came to Barbara at age 17, after having 15 baby’s, none were PPR. At Frosty Acres, she produced 4 Pure Puerto Rican babies for Barbara, 3 colts and one filly. Stormy, aka Maria Juana B, sadly passed away in early September, but, thankfully, her legacy lives on in her PPR offspring.
These valuable older mares can be very hard to find. I have had great success researching PPR bloodlines on the Paso Registry, calling PFHA for current owner’s contact information, and cold calling them to find out if the horses were for sale. Whether they agree to sell the horse to me or not, each one has said in some form, “this is the best horse I have ever owned”. I am never surprised to hear those words. One woman in Florida very sadly sold her PPR mare to me, “for the procreation of the breed” She was devastated but felt it was the right thing to do for our effort and to preserve the legacy of her mare’s bloodlines.
I would implore all of you to seek out these older pure Puerto Rican mares and acquire them to make sure they are bred Pure Puerto Rican. Don’t be afraid to purchase an older animal! The Pure Puerto Rican Paso Fino’s are so healthy, hardy and sound late into their lives! In my opinion, finding these old mares should be our greatest priority. They are out there! Let’s find them!