When writing about the history of The Spin Doctor, JoAnn McGrath wrote:
“With four Reserve Championships as a two-year-old, followed this year by three Grand Champion awards, The Spin Doctor, our large, red, athletic, half Bolivian, herd sire has turned a lot of heads. After winning Grand Champion at the Ohio State Fair last month, Paige was asked where we had bought him. We didn’t, we bred him. But the question has prompted me to share his history with those of you who might be curious about his background.
In 1988, I attended a conference where the geneticist, Julie Koenig, spoke about the new South American blood. I hadn’t given much thought to introducing these new woollies into my herd because most of them appeared to be puff balls without much substance. However, it was her contention that the “new blood” combined with the old established lines in this country, provided a great deal of hybrid vigor. She showed photographs of some of the F1s from these crosses and most of them were big and beautiful. The trick was finding a male that I could afford (surely you recall the prices in the late 80s and early 90s?) But, more importantly, one that wasn’t phenotypically a departure from our breeding goals.
I received a picture of one of Iris Christ’s 1987 Bolivian babies. It was a body profile of a yearling male. He was white with red cheeks–with a long level back, a reasonably (and proportionally) long neck, fantastic ears, and heavy bone under the curls on his legs. “Yes!” I told Iris and Tom and Paige flew to Oregon and brought him back. Paige fell in love with him immediately because his disposition was totally serene–and remains so.
“Sunny’s” dam, Sweetheart, a beautiful red female with a thick, flowing coat, had been purchased by Iris at the previous importation. Since the breeding had taken place during, or just before quarantine, the identity of Sunnybrook’s sire was in question. It was either Risky Business or Simon Bolivar. Subsequent blood tests were not conclusive.
We bred “Sunny” to nearly every female on the farm, since he was an outcross to all. He has produced one beauty after another. However, the nick with Feetie Pajamas, a female from Patterson lines, that I bought at Hartman’s auction in l988 as a weanling and who was Grand Champion at the Virginia State Fair before she was a year old, appears to be perfect. His full brother was born this spring and seems destined for stardom, too. While “Feetie” has given us, in addition to The Spin Doctor, and this year’s “Little Feet,” four girls–for which we are very grateful–she is one of those females from whom we will be more than happy to get males.
The Spin Doctor’s first get were born this spring–a female out of Timpany–an Andean Spirit daughter–and a male out of Chilela–who is half Canadian and a granddaughter of Conception (as is Timpany). This year, however, we will have some offspring on the ground whose dams are totally North American. It will be interesting to see if the vigor that is very evident in him, continues in his get.”