Coral LaCE was a mahogany bay with a high arched neck, elegant head and conformation. His gait had an accurate, elegant and powerfully driven style. He was a Horse of Horses, and had a very significant impact on many of the best Paso Fino bloodlines in this country. Bred by a bullfighting horse breeder and trainer in Columbia, South America, Coral LaCE founded a dynasty.
Coral LaCE had great ability
to extend and collect in gait to adjust to the speed of every
other breed. He consistently produced horses with a huge range
in gait. His great heart to please was equal to his great heart
in stamina. Few horses are purely gaited like Coral and his lineage.
Because Coral LaCE was imported, he was no relation to any of the other LaCE Paso Fino horses.
When you watched Coral LaCE in motion, you realized that Alberto Uribe Sierra was no ordinary breeder. Mr. Sierra was a renowned horseman of horsemen. He was a trainer of the bullfighting Lusitanos, a judge and, after I rode Coral LaCE, I realized he was also a breeder of Paso Fino horses to be horses of horses. Coral LaCE, at the age of 19 years old, was one of the most agile of all the breeds of horses I have ever ridden. Coral would respond to execute any command from the slightest of cues, which made you feel he was just an extension of your body. He was so well gaited at any range; he quickly became the 1972 Grand National Performance Stallion in the United States.At this time Grand Championship classes for each major division (fino, performance, and pleasure) were a competition between the top horses of the division including stallions, mares, geldings, and schooling horses.
From 1976, I observed Bobby, Alegria de Blanca, La Sombra Nuac, Bambino de Coral, Coralito to only mention a few of the offspring of Coral LaCE. Because of their accuracy, style and agility, the study of the Colombian background of Coral was never a priority to me. These offspring all looked alike in movement with great carriage. They were all loved and highly valued by their owners. The owners rode their Coral offspring in the show ring as their closest companions. The rider and the horse became one beautiful sight to see. I saw that these horses had something in common. I discovered that Coral LaCE was the common factor. After watching these horses, I developed a tremendous desire to breed some of my mares to him. I made contact with Betty Klein who was the owner of Coral at that time. I was hoping she would accept my mares for a breeding to him. She did accept; and that was the start of my herd of nearly thirty of his sons and daughters on my farm in Weirsdale, Florida.
The history of Coral LaCE is quite interesting for he was first imported into this country by Mr. George LaHood. At that time, Mr. LaHood and Cece Figueroa were partners. When they separated, Coral LaCE was not part of Mr. LaHood's breeding plans, so Coral LaCE was sent to Miami, Florida, with Mr. Cece Figueroa. Mr. Figueroa then sold him to Mr. Frank Noyas in Brandon, Florida. Mr. Noyas soon fell in love with Coral and he rode him all over the Brandon area. He claimed he was not a rider and yet, Coral would carry him everywhere. He often stated that people would stop him all the time and tell him how elegant and beautiful his horse was. Mr. LaHood also made this statement when his son would ride Coral over the territory of Valdosta, Georgia. Coral LaCE was always the gem of the parades and the show rings, or just being ridden along side of a rural highway.
It did not take long for Betty Klein to realize this was the horse of her dreams. She wanted this horse. She soon became the owner of Coral LaCE. Then a number of years passed and Betty Klein began to have some personal problems. Betty loved Coral so much that she began to search for the one person who would love him as much as she did. Much to my surprise, I received a phone call from Betty telling me she had to find a good home for Coral; the horse she loved with all her heart. She wanted to know if I would buy him, so she could rest knowing the care and love he would have. You can imagine the emotions that ran through my soul at that moment. Needless to say I became the owner of Coral LaCE in 1981. I can say he was one of the loves of my life. He soon won my heart with his sweet nature and his beauty. Needless to say, Coral LaCE charmed me right out of my beliefs in owning and breeding only Pure Puerto Rican Paso Fino horses.
While Betty Klein owned Coral, she rode him often in costume with a sidesaddle. Betty spared not a penny on her costumes, so the two of them became the anticipation of all of us who were at the shows. When his offspring began to win so many placements, demonstrating the qualities Coral passed to them, he became the 1980 #1 Top Ten Sire in the breed. He earned a place on the Top Ten Sire's list a total of thirteen times in his life.
The great range of gait that Coral LaCE possessed was consistently passed to his offspring; thus enabling them to gait along side any other equine breed, mode, or ability - gaited or otherwise. One horse that needs to be mentioned at this point is Coral's Monarca de Vez. Monarca won the All Gaited Speed Challenge, third in team penning, poles and barrels - demonstrating exceptional speed and versatility against a variety of breeds. Other Coral offspring and grand-offspring have demonstrated the accurate speed often associated with Coral LaCE by winning the National Largo race. Among them are Coral's Alejandro de Ve (2 time winner) and Bronce de Vez - who won in 2007.
Coral and his offspring were well known. Rhonda Hart that owns "The Gaited Horse Magazine" said she knew of Coral LaCE before she ever heard of a Paso Fino horse.
When the Paso Fino Horse Association established the Hall of Fame, Coral LaCE was the very first one to be voted in. During his lifetime, he sired 181 registered offspring. This placed him eleventh place for number of offspring produced at that time. This was before the great era of artificial insemination. He was tenth in the nation in stallions with the most grandsons with more than fifteen indicating the number of his sons and daughters who went on to reproduce. He was number two in the nation in general ranking of the best stallions according to information produced by the Statistics Study of the Stallions by Mario Gomez Caballero and based on research information from the official PFHA Stud Book.
Coral LaCE was already a legend when I bought him. He retained his place in the Top Ten Sire's list for many more years due to the successes of so many owners of his offspring. It is a credit to Coral that these owners could train, ride, show and win many championships for so many years. Many of his daughters became Top Ten Dams along with numerous mares who were bred to Coral and produced winning offspring.
Coral LaCE died in 1993. He was as beautiful at twenty nine years old as he was when I first saw him. He walked to his resting place, held his head high and called to his mares one last time before stepping into his final place to rest on my farm. To this day, Coral lives on my farm through his sons, daughters, and his gorgeous grandchildren. They all reveal his presence every where I look. Coral LaCE was truly the greatest horse I have ever known.