She might be. She just might be.
It's going to be hard to beat Dark and Stormy Daniels. That cria will be at the top of my list for a long, LONG time.
But ... This girl is pretty amazing, too, for more reasons than one.
First things first: Just look at her. I mean ... Look at her!
This girl has it ALL: the conformation, coverage, gorgeous head, huge substance of bone, and, oh yeah, superlative fleece already -- in the most perfect solid slate gray coloring. She also has the cutest darned ears.
The next thing that makes her exciting is that she is a granddaughter of the great Sparky, our farm ambassador and Harlequin Appaloosa poster child. As a reminder, she looks like this:
As Starr is Sparky's only daughter thus far, and this baby is Starr's first viable cria thus far, this makes this baby only the second female descendent of Sparky. So that, too, makes her pretty freaking special.
That isn't all, though. Starr, the baby's mama, is this girl here.
I had previously written about Starr way back in this 'blog post, in which I stated that I believe Starr to be a solid silver Harlequin.
I'd previously observed that this solid silver coloring very often appears to be associated with a Tuxedo Grey parent. However, I don't believe I ever quite went so far as to hypothesize, publicly, that it could be the result of a combination of the two genotypes. I had supposed that it was just another cool manifestation of the extremely variable Harlequin Appaloosa gene. Starr's sire is a Tuxedo Grey, but, because her dam is the Classic Harlequin Sparky, and she started life light fawn, I had no reason to believe that Tuxedo had anything to do with her coloration.
Last year, Starr gave birth to a male. He startled me, because he was clearly a TUXEDO Rose Grey -- and according to my records, she had only ever been bred to Riddler, our solid fawn blue-eyed rock star, who clearly is not a Tuxedo. However, I had a vague recollection of breeding her to Vivanno, who IS a Tuxedo Rose Grey, and loves to make Tuxedo Rose Grey, and, frankly, last year's cria REALLY didn't look like a Riddler baby. It looked just like a Vivanno. Riddler stamps a very specific headstyle, and that cria just didn't have it. I try to keep good records, but one never does know -- and we never would know, because the cria did not make it past a few days of age (I believe it was a very difficult birth). I filed the information in the back of my mind, and, in 2017, I kept much better records.
I also only bred Starr to one male, and that is this guy. This guy is also NOT a Tuxedo.
That boy is ASPN Royal Cobalt, a Pinto male (and also, apparently, a rock star producer -- he's going to be meeting a few more ladies in the future, thanks to this gal). No Tuxedo. Soooo ...
The third reason this cria is such a big deal is that she gives me information. I am now pretty darned sure that Starr carries, and expresses, both the Tuxedo Grey and Harlequin Appaloosa genes. This is a huge deal, because most alpacas that carry both genes only express the Tuxedo. I also hypothesize that it is the interplay of these genes that gives Starr her solid Platinum coloring. I think it possible that this baby might -- emphasis on might -- also carry both, and that this is why she is so uniform in color.
What do we do with this information? ... Not sure yet ... But I have some ideas. Regardless, it's exciting to have. Knowledge is always a big deal.
K writes this stuff, for some reason that has yet to become apparent.