Tangy Starlight and Laura Dare.
"Fancy," as she was better known to family, died on Tuesday, a day after giving birth. Photo by Dersham Daniels Photography – Courtesy of Laura Fenimore Dare

Tangy Starlight Leaves Behind Proud Family Legacy

Yet again, the performance horse world has lost a talented performer and outstanding producer with the passing of 23-year-old Tangy Starlight on Tuesday.

Owner Laura Dare of Lexington, Oklahoma, said “Fancy,” as the mare was called, died a little more than 24 hours after giving birth to a stud colt sired by 2010 NCHA Futurity Open Champion One Time Royalty.  

According to Dare, the mare seemed fine during the birthing process as well as afterward. The next day, when she began to show signs that she might be colicking, an ultrasound of her stomach showed that she was bleeding internally. 

The foal was put on a “nurse” mare and, so far, is doing well, Dare said.

Fancy (Grays Starlight x Tangy Lena x Doc O’Lena) meant the world to Dare, who considered the mare to be part of a horse legacy passed down to her from her grandfather, Fritz Strain, and her late mother, Edie Fenimore. Fenimore passed away when Dare was 5. 

When Dare’s grandfather decided to cut back on the horses he and his daughter had acquired over the years, he gave Fancy, who had been started and trained by Bobby Ingersoll, to Dare in 2003. The mare hadn’t been shown much, Dare said, but with the help of trainers Todd Bimat and Rock Hedlund, it wasn’t long before Dare and Fancy were collecting their share of cutting paychecks between 2004-07. 

“I have said multiple times, ‘I swear this is my mom reincarnated!’” Dare said of Fancy. “That is just how she made me feel.” 

Fancy was healthy and sound, Dare said, when she was retired from the show pen in 2007, with an Equi-Stat lifetime record of $54,809, to move on to the next stage in her life — breeding champion performers.

The mare had proven herself to be a successful broodmare, having already produced seven money-earners with total earnings of $193,060 for an average of $27,580. 

Her No. 1 earner is Reymaniscent, a 2012 mare by Dual Smart Rey, with earnings of $84,140, followed by Misplaced Cat, a 2007 mare by WR This Cats Smart, that Dare showed to win the 2010 NCHA Futurity Amateur championship and the 2014 NCHA Novice Non-Pro World Finals as well as $73,806 in lifetime earnings. 

“She was the kind of horse that every time you saw her, she had just kind of a light in her eye — she was always real bright and real happy to see you,” Dare said of Fancy. “It didn’t matter if you were in the barn or if you went to the pasture and she was way out in the back pasture, if she saw you at the gate, she just came to you. She was just really personable that way. 

“She was just the kind of horse that made you want to be happy around her. She was always happy and was always easy to be around. She was just a horse that never had a bad or grumpy day, where mares usually do. She never did.”

Dare still owns Misplaced Cat and is also raising babies out of her. 

“She was the closest spitting image of her mother — she looks like her, she works like her, she acts like her. She is maybe not as friendly, but she was kind from the start and just always so much like her mother. Then with me being able to go and do well right off the bat on her, I made a choice right after I won the Futurity that I was never going to sell her. “

Dare moved to Texas from Oregon in 2008 when she started college at Texas A&M. She and husband Trevor, a reining trainer who works for Silver Spurs Equine, have lived in Texas or Oklahoma ever since, Dare said.