Local stallion selected one of the best Andalusians in the world

Deanna Martin leads her two-year-old champion stallion Dartañan back to the barn after putting him through his paces in the arena.

The warm afternoon makes Dartañan yawn after a workout in the arena.

Deanna Martin shows Dartañan’s perfectly shaped star on the stallion’s forehead. “Almost like a heart,” she said about the star’s shape.

Grand Junction resident Deanna Martin has a secret.

In the big red barn behind Martin’s house, she keeps one of the top Andalusian show horses in the world.

Dartañan is a two-year-old bay colored stallion who took home the Reserve World National Champion (second place) at the Celebration of the Pure Spanish Horse last weekend in Las Vegas.

Dartañan lost by only one one-hundreth of a point.

The Las Vegas honor added to the awards for Dartañan. The horse also won the top one-year-old title at the Fiesta in Florida and finished in the top 5 at the Fiesta California in March. Saturday, he finished as the reserve champion in the two-year-old colt division at a Region 4 show in Denver. The finish qualifies him for the nationals in Fort Worth, Texas in October.

“When we get into the show ring, he does exactly what he is supposed to do,” Martin said. “He comes alive.

There are 27 male horses there and he is all business.”

The Andalusian is also know as the pure Spanish horse. It is traditionally a white horse and was the breed that was brought to America by Christopher Columbus. Every American horse has an Andalusian in its lineage.

“The reason they bred them to be white was because it was noble and pure and everyone wanted to be on a pure white horse,” Martin said. “Early on, the Andalusian ran this continent.”

Dartañan is actually rare type of Andalusian because of his bay tone. Martin said it is a rare gene for him to have.

love at first sight

Martin always had a love for horses.

Growing up, she raised quarter horses. However, as time passed, Martin had to give up the animal she loved for school and a family life.

But as her children got older, she got the old itch back.

“I told my husband John that I can’t stand it anymore and I’ve got to have horses,” Martin said. “He said, ‘well, go find a horse.’ ”

So Martin got her first horse, a white Andalusian named Baloo, a dressage horse. Dressage is the concentration where the rider wears a top hat and tails on and shows off the horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to perform.

“He has done very well getting to the third level in that,” Martin said. “But horses are herd animals, so we decided to get a stallion.”

Rather than purchasing a foal or filly, Martin chose to pursue a older horse so she could tell what it would look like when it grew up.

“When looking at a baby, it is like looking at a puppy, because you can look at the parents to get an idea of what they look like. But with an older horse, you can say, ‘I see the adult in this,’ ” Martin said. “I had seen
Dartañan online and he was what is called private treaty, which means it is so expensive they don’t put a price on it.”

Martin flew to Florida, to see Dartañan, bought him and brought him back to Colorado that day.

Dartañan is still young — in his second year as a show horse. Most Andalusians will show until they are 18 or 19 and live to be 40.

When brought to the competitions, he is judged upon conformation (how he looks) and functionality (how versatile he is) as a pure Spanish horse.

“They are really looking for proportions,” Martin said. “Head compared to shoulders, how the shape of the head goes into the shape of the neck.”

Dartañan is walked into the ring by a handler and performs walking and trotting for the judges.

“They are looking for his movement and how fluid it is,” Martin said.
cash cow

Every victory Dartañan picks up adds to his value. Martin plans to begin breeding Dartañan.

Just like race horses, the better a show horse performs, the more money he is worth in breeding.

“As a three-year old in January, I will start breeding him and taking early booking for him,” Martin said.

“Right now for him, it will be $750 for a non-thoroughbred and $1,500 for a thoroughbred. If he wins in Texas, his price goes up.”

And while the ribbons and medals Dartañan is winning is gratifying, the breeding is what will make Dartañan worth every dollar spent on him.

“I am promoting a stallion,” Martin said. “And a lot of people are buying this breed because you can put them in the backyard. They are a breathtaking horse.”

A big motivation for breeding Dartañan is to get as many local horse breeders involved to improve the quality of horses in the Grand Valley.

“This is a great horse,” Martin said. “Just think, a horse from Grand Junction is one of the top horses in the world.”


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