Since the age of 5, Marie Emrey has owned, worked and shown horses or ponies. Her original dream was to become a veterinarian but she ended up a biologist doing research. Though her areas of interest were equine lameness/ biomechanics and genetics she wasn’t working in either of these fields and therefore opted to become a certified farrier. She was mainly doing corrective shoeing on weekends and evenings. As a result of these efforts she was able to retire early from her research position to focus on what she loved most…breeding horses. In 2001, Marie and her husband, Jay, purchased undeveloped land in Cecil County Maryland and subsequently began building Lazy J Sporthorses and Ponies from the ground up.
Marie explains that her goals have changed somewhat over the years. She first started breeding warmbloods and warmblood crosses for the amateur rider because she wanted a partner with an excellent temperament, versatility and soundness/longevity. Although she says she still breeds for this “holy trinity”, she now concentrates on producing dressage, eventers, and hunter/jumpers that have the aforementioned qualities but are also able to take their rider to the upper level of their discipline of choice.
With a riding background in the jumper ring, Marie came to believe that many qualities that make a good jumper also make for a good dressage partner, etc. As a result she strives to infuse jumper blood into her dressage prospects and dressage worthy gaits into her jumpers. She says her theory is simple, “A good engine is important for all disciplines as well as an elastic, free shoulder and powerful connected push from behind. Jump talent is highly heritable whereas producing upper level dressage gaits can be more of a challenge. My current breeding goal is to produce a horse that possesses the correct conformation to perform the discipline in which it was bred as well as have the temperament/ride-ability and long term soundness needed for the upper levels of the sport.”
The broodmares of Lazy J Sporthorses have been carefully selected and according to Marie “carry some of the best, most sought after bloodlines available to breeders today.” Pleased with their foal crops each year they have had numerous First Premium foals in the disciplines of jumping and dressage at the AHS, KWPN, ISR/Oldenburg NA, RPSI and AHHA inspections. When asked about their foals Marie said, “We produced the KWPN’s 3rd highest scoring jumper bred foal of North America in 2012 and 2013. Many of our young stock have shown in-hand and are consistently in the ribbons at many prestigious breed shows such as Dressage at Devon and the Future Event Horse Series.” Recently, with only three judged outings, LJS Reminiscent (Red Wine – NF Amayzing), placed third at USHJA Zone 3. Many of their older offspring are proving themselves under saddle competing and winning USEF awards in dressage, hunter classes, hunter derby, eventing and jumping arenas.
SBS has been able to assist Lazy J Sporthorses with their breeding program though they don’t own or stand any stallions. When asked how SBS assists with her breeding program Marie had this to say,
“SBS has been a valuable resource for the most recent advances in equine reproduction. They not only offer collections for most of the stallions we utilize in our breeding program and store my frozen semen purchases but they offer their expertise and many services to help us get our mares in foal. Their newsletters and seminars keep us up to date with the newest research available."
Marie continues to say, “I am always searching for the perfect match for our mares and sometimes that stallion may only be available through frozen semen due to show schedule, age/health, or death. With SBS storing the frozen semen and having it ready for me eliminates a lot of shipping worries. It’s packaged in liquid nitrogen tanks which often last a week or more, allowing us to thaw and breed at the most advantageous time for a particular mare. We have had some bad experiences over the years with other semen distributors and missing paperwork. I never need to worry about this with SBS. I know with SBS we get all the assistance we could ever possibly ask for and have never had a negative experience using SBS.”
Photos provided by Lazy J Sporthorses.