1999 Award of Excellence Winner
Balmullo’s Beacon... A Success Story

The Early Years

From his Breeder: Donna Duchworth

Aladdin was always one of my favorite Connemaras so I was overjoyed when Catherine Mack decided it would be okay to let him come to Florida for a winter's vacation--I had been begging her for years! While here, he was bred to two purebred mares and two thoroughbred mares and produced four outstanding children.
Balmullo's Beacon was, of course, one of the purebreds. His dam was Tullymor's April Fool, who I had always thought would be the perfect mate for Aladdin. She was by Montully's Son out of a very "old fashioned" mare, Aillte Mhuire, owned by May Medley. May had pickedAillte to breed to her Tully because Aillte was related to Mountain Lad through Jiminey Cricket and Tully was also related to Mountain Lad. It was May's idea to save the bloodline by doing a little line breeding which, in the case of April, turned out to be a great idea. April was the first of many foals produced by Aillte and Tully. Her conformation was, according to Eileen Simpson, ideal for a Connemara. She was very round and "pouffy" (one had the feeling that she would make a great pillow!) which I thought would go very well with Aladdin's more angular build. She moved very correctly, but definitely like a pony, and I thought Aladdin's long flowing stride would complement that. Their bloodlines were a great match, too, Aladdin being an outcross for the linebred April. Also I thought Aladdin's very sensitive nature and,. high people IQ would go very well with April's personality, for April was what you might call the dumb blonde of equines. She was very beautiful and had lovely soft doe eyes, but she didn't always quite "get it." This was exhibited when her second child was born, a filly by Roary. I saw April standing one morning over a shiny sac on the ground just staring off into space. If I hadn't seen it and rushed to tear open the sac the foal would have suffocated.
But Bubba, as we called him, appeared on April 7, 1992 with no apparent problems, although he did arrive two weeks before his due date so he had to deal with his postnatal care by himself! And I will have to admit, I was somewhat aghast at my first viewing, for it appeared as if Bubba might have gotten April's personality and Aladdin's angularity. He was very gangly with legs all over the place and also not terribly friendly. He grew up playing with Finny, St. Maybe, Emma, and Celeste, though, and did get very friendly, but he stayed gangly for a very long time. Regarding his education, we don't "push" the babies for contact, but with feeding, feet trimmings, and veterinary care, they gradually warm up as did Bubba. But he was still looking somewhat less than optimal when we had the first inspection clinic at Balmullo Farm, where Eileen Simpson was the clinician, and many Connemara breeders came. While opinions were divided as to how Bubba might turn out, Kathy Lucas was certain that he would be the best of the bunch, and I always believed that it would be impossible for him to be anything but beautiful and talented, considering his parents. Vanessa also had faith that his breeding would overcome all and bought him when he was a yearling. The rest, as they say, is history!

Becoming A Swan

From his Owner: Vanessa Morgan

Balmullo's Beacon made the trip from Florida to North Carolina as a yearling. He arrived at three in the morning and lived in a large paddock, somewhat hidden from view, for the next year and a half. He was weedy with a not-so-pretty head but had the hip and shoulder angles that mark a great athlete and the presence and conformation of a great sire. Bubba was the classic ugly duckling, turned swan! At age three he bloomed into a magnificent young stallion and that's when his breeding career was really launched.
I started him very lightly under saddle that same year, at age three, but his serious training was turned over to Jill Mooney when he was around four. Since then, he has come home periodically for breeding but has been mostly with Jill for the past couple of years. I have learned so much more than I could have ever imagined by talking to, working with and watching Jill and Bubba in competition and training and have had the greatest fun watching Bubba develop and mature!
After finishing the 1999 season, Bubba has come home again, this time to be my Novice packer (my limitation, certainly not his). I am really excited about getting back in the starting box after five or six years and am even more thrilled that it will be with Bubba. I wasn't able to attend either of his award presentations this year because of medical reasons but will be literally back in the saddle about the time this article is published, just in time for the spring event season.
In recognition of his performance accomplishments these last few years, I wish to express my deepest appreciation to Jill Mooney, who rode him to many, many victories and top placings at USCTA events in 1999. I am deeply grateful to Donna Duckworth for keeping him whole and letting me have him! And mostly, I thank God for the opportunities and blessings that have given me the privilege of owning Balmullo's Beacon, who I have had for almost seven years. Now I am looking forward to many, many more years with him, exploring new horizons, and watching his foals grow up.

A Winning Pair

From his Trainer: Jill Mooney

I met Vanessa in Winston-Salem where she worked with my husband, Mike, at Planters-Lifesavers. She had a young Connemara stallion that she wanted campaigned. Balmullo's Beacon a.k.a. Bubba, Bubs, Bubbles, Bubbalicious soon came to live with us! He was not entirely agreeable in the beginning; however, soon he realized that life wasn't going to be just about making pretty babies!
The two and a half years that he was with us were truly delightful; he learned quickly and willingly. Novice level with Bubba was not spectacular, but at the Training level he was stellar. His performance record shows what he is made of. He was also a true companion to me and now that he has gone home, I will miss him terribly, but Vanessa will enjoy all that he is! Have a wonderful time with this fantastic little horse, Vanessa!

Article from American Connemara , Edition II, Vol. 1, No. 2, March/April 2000 issue