By SARAH JAYNE JOHNSON
“When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to Larry Jerome’s philosophy for Jerland Arabians. Over 50 years ago, with one mare and a dream, Jerome started breeding Arabian horses. Little did he realize what his mare and his breeding program’s success would amount to; seven generations later, just one of his achievements is multi-national champion Kola J (Khaja J x Jer-Koko).
In 2020, Kola J unanimously won the U.S. National Championship in Open Western Pleasure with Stanley White III. This followed their 2019 tri-color in Junior Horse. Kola J’s beauty, poise, and mentality were apparent in the show ring, and his fans look forward to seeing those qualities in his first foals, which will hit the ground this year.
To any aspiring breeder, a visit to Jerland’s Wisconsin operation—or even a phone call with Larry—is a must. Jerome, whose business is based on his passion, studies genetics and understands the diversity of qualities found in the Arabian horse. Years of background and generations of champions have yielded trial and error experience to his expertise in different fields of Arabians.
“One of the things you have to do as a breeder is develop a focus: what is the most important to you? What are the things you look for?”
He shares his knowledge of breeding by pointing out how similar it is to judging a show; breeders have their ideas of what they want, similar to how all judges differ. It is not about which stallion is winning at that moment, but which one will best match a mare when it comes to crossing bloodlines.
“You have to see the things that are important, and you start to seek out families of horses or individuals who specifically carry strong traits that they will be able to pass on to their offspring.”
Jerome explained that everyone has different philosophies. However, having goals, confidence, and achieving each step is what he uses to manage his breeding business and advise aspiring breeders.
Jerland Farms has a string of successful stallions including the keynote sires *Khadraj NA (Ponomarev x Khatreena NA) and MPA Giovanni (Da Vinci FM x Glitzy), as well as Khaja J (*Khadraj NA x Promise V), and up-and-coming Kola J. In addition, Jerome appreciates the incredible broodmares on the property. An essential part of his success, he says, is having a large group of broodmares that all possess common denominators in genotype and phenotype. Knowing these helps him select stallions according to certain characteristics.
The number of large Arabian breeding facilities has drastically declined. This has happened in all areas of the equine world. As a result, the opportunity to travel and learn from other breeders has also been reduced. With fewer foals born each year, it is more challenging to compare stallions who might match best with a mare’s bloodlines. Jerome enjoys tracing families of horses back to certain pedigrees, which allows him to come across broodmare gems who have brought Jerland success in the show ring.
Jerland-bred horses have been shown in all types of disciplines, from halter to western, hunter and English. Kola J will return to the 2021 Nationals this fall in Open Western, with trainer Stanley White III—Jerland Arabians invites you to visit. Sharing knowledge speeds up the learning curve and is how one stays successful in any part of life, especially in Arabian horse breeding. It is the Jerland way … new beginnings and great endings: Jenerations of Excellence.