Dam Spotlight: Taris Designer Genes
Photo courtesy of Cam Essick

A Special Mare

“Mare power” can mean a lot of things, and 20-year-old Taris Designer Genes checks all those boxes. Champion in the show pen? Check. Producer of champions in the breeding barn? Check. Perpetuator of her physical and mental talents and gifts? Check.

Taris Designer Genes made her mark by winning the 2006 NRHA Open Futurity with NRHA Million Dollar Rider Randy Paul. NRHA Hall of Fame members and Two Million Dollar Owners Pat and Jim Warren of Rancho Oso Rio bred and raised the mare, and Paul trained her from the start. The mare went on to stay in the top ranks at other big-money events, finishing her show career with nearly $271,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings.

Now owned by Tamarack Ranch in Alvarado, Texas, Taris Designer Genes continues to grow her legacy, which currently stands at $670,000 in progeny earnings. Next year, the ranch will have fourth-generation babies that track back to Taris Designer Genes, with a goal of riding the fifth generation.

Naturally Talented Offspring

“The foals out of that mare are very unique,” shares Tamarack Ranch manager and NRHA Professional Gabe Hutchins. “They’re very talented as far as the maneuvers—I don’t really have to train them all that much. I haven’t ridden one that doesn’t have a natural turn and stop. They learn so quickly, a lot of times I have to slow them down. I’ve ridden horses out of her and by many different sires, and they all ride the same—they’re very consistent across the board.”

NRHA Seven Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani has shown many reiners out of Taris Designer Genes—notably Guns In My Genes, Electric Genes, and Ice Cube—as well as having ridden the mare herself.

“She’s a very strong mare, mind-wise,” Fappani notes. “It’s almost like riding a stud, and the babies I’ve ridden that are out of her are very similar. She’s very potent in that she’s been bred to a lot of different studs and the results are always the same. They’re gritty and can handle pressure. They become really confident, good show horses that have great minds.”

Selective Breeding

Hutchins is mindful of quality over quantity with his band of mares and only pulls two embryos from Taris Designer Genes annually. This year, he lucked out with a double-flush in the 2022 breeding season, so she’ll have three 2023 foals. This philosophy leads Hutchins to look at percentages over straight numbers in terms of earnings.

“Her offspring earning percentages are phenomenal,” he says. “Pulling fewer embryos is easier on her, especially as she ages, and it builds demand on the sales side, too. I generally keep one and sell one. I prefer her fillies, but the last four years she’s had colt after colt. This year, we’re anxiously awaiting those three foals and hoping for a filly. To me, riding mares is a different game. Her fillies are so physically strong and have so much to their maneuvers. They’re very special.”

[CHECK OUT ANOTHER INCREDIBLE DAM]

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