Breeding the Right Kind ~ Winright Holsteins

Breeding the Right Kind ~ Winright Holsteins

A feature article in our 2020 Fall Special, written by Julie Ashton. 

Matt, Erica, Brian and Audrey Enright with Lindenright Atwood Bounce EX-95.

“If you want to achieve success, then don’t doubt your dreams!”

Brian and Audrey Enright moved to Winchester, ON in 1978 and created the Winright prefix. While Audrey originally created it by combining their town and last name, Winright could also be perceived a different way – a prefix that just sounds like it should belong to award-winning cattle. And, over the last 40 years, Brian and Audrey, along with their son Matt and his wife Erica, have built an incredible herd of Holsteins that is earning recognition around the globe.

Matt grew up involved in 4-H and began showing cattle at a young age. At that time, the family milked 40 cows in a tie-stall facility. As Matt’s interest grew in staying on the farm, they renovated their facilities to accommodate 116 cows with a 14-unit track system for milking. Matt met his wife Erica in 2013 after a mutual friend introduced them. They were married in 2017. While Erica grew up showing horses, she quickly adapted to the dairy industry and is now a key member of the Winright Holsteins team.

Matt’s parents, Brian and Audrey, are still involved with the farm, but plans are being made for Matt and Erica to take over in the future. Everyone is involved with daily chores, with Matt handling feeding and calves, while Erica milks and does the bookkeeping and marketing for the farm. They also have two full time employees that keep things running smoothly while Matt and Erica are away. “We are very lucky to have such a great team at Winright,” Erica commented. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do everything we do and have the success that we have.”

While known for an outstanding heifer program, Winright Holsteins is one of the highest classified herds in Canada.

And that success was not achieved over night. Key purchases made starting 15 years ago, along with more recent acquisitions, have all impacted the farm today. In the last few years, the Enright prefix has been announced time and time again in the showring and the ribbons and banners are stacking up. “We’ve really tried to focus on our heifers these last few years,” noted Erica. “And it’s paying off. Not only are our heifers competing in the show ring, they are calving in as Very Good two-year-olds and going on to show as cows.” Those heifers are also becoming brood cows themselves, with their daughters starting to perform in the showring. “At the end of the day, heifers still need to develop into milk cows,” Erica said.

In 2008, Matt purchased Crestlea Souvergn Elizabeth as a heifer from area friends and Master Breeder, Creastlea Holsteins. She was nominated All-Ontario Senior Calf that year, was 3rd Milking Yearling at the Eastern Championship show the following and placed 1st there as a Senior 2-year-old. She eventually scored EX-93-2E and is now a 12* brood cow with 72,000 kgs lifetime. The Enrights have sold more than 100 embryos from her and she has 6 EX and 10 VG daughters to date. Her daughter, Winright Chip Of Excellence (VG-88-3Y) was nominated All-American and All-Canadian Winter Calf in 2014 for Jeff Butler. Winright Sid Elegance (VG-85-2Y 4*) was All-Ontario and Reserve All-Canadian Intermediate Yearling in 2013 and already has 10 VG daughters. Some of those daughters have gone on to do well for other breeders and have daughters themselves that are standing out.

Explosion, left, and Baby Enthem, right.

Matt and Gerald Jaquemet purchased Budjon-JK Wbrk Enthem-ET from the Island Heat Wave Sale in July 2012. A Windbrook from Nominated All-American Rolling-Spring G Escence-ET (EX-95-2E 3*), Enthem has become one of the most influential cows for Winright. She was nominated All-Ontario Senior 3-Year-Old after taking home Reserve Grand Champion honors at the Eastern Ontario Championship Show in 2015. She already has 13 VG daughters and one EX daughter to date.

One of her most recognizable daughters is Winright Gold Chip Explosion. She was All-Canadian, All-Ontario and HHM All-American Winter Yearling in 2018, and received a max score VG-88 in June 2019.She was then named HM Intermediate Champion at Maxville Holstein Show and2nd at the Supreme Dairy Show later that year. “Explosion is probably one of our best homebred heifers we’ve developed,” commented Erica. Her daughters are following in her footsteps as well, with Doorman Emerson placing 8th out of 33and Diamondback Ebony placing 11that the Ontario Fall Show in 2020. The Enrights have sold numerous embryos out of Explosion and she is due again in 2021.

Erica’s dad, Matt Neville, Matt & Erica Enright, and Alex Chabot, the Enright’s friend and full-time employee, with Winright Goldchip Expolsion at the 2019 Supreme Dairy Show.

Winright Beemer Baby Enthem is another daughter of Enthem that has exceeded Matt and Erica’s expectations. She was HM All-American, All-Canadian and All-Ontario Spring Yearling in 2018 after impressive results at the Supreme Show, Madison and the Royal. She scored VG-87-2Y and was then HM Intermediate Champion at the Quebec Spring Show in 2019. Her daughter, Unix Ezra sold through the Winright Tag Sale in April and just placed second at the Atlantic Fall Championship show for new owners Cobequid Holsteins, NS.

One of Matt and Erica’s most noteworthy purchases of late was at the Music City Celebration Sale in 2017. Budjon-JK GChip Ellen caught their attention, along with their good friend Matt Petitclerc. Ellen, a daughter of EX-95 Emilys Edair from EX-96 Elegance, had some success in the show ring as a heifer, but her brood cow prospect proved to be the most dynamic aspect of their purchase. Already scored EX-91 EX-MS, she sold dry and asa donor dam and has gone on to be a prolific embryo producer for Winright and Petitclerc.

Erica with JM Crushabull Hot Date, Junior Champion of the Summer Invitational 2020. © Cowsmo

Her daughters have made headlines over the last two years. Winright Solomon Espresso was 2nd Junior Calf at the2019 Maxville Summer Show, where she caught the eye of Simon Lalande of Ferme Blondin. They contacted Matt and Erica and purchased her as a 4-H calf for their son. Espresso turned heads everywhere she went, including winning her class at the Royal. She was named All-Canadian and All-Quebec and was nominated All-American. After a long “COVID winter” Espresso finally returned to the show ring in claiming HM Junior Champion honors at the Summer Invitational and Junior Champion honors at the Ontario Fall Invitational Show. Winright Unix Twilight, owned with Radiant Holsteins & Diamond Hill, was 1st Senior Calf and Reserve Junior Champion at the Atlantic Fall Show in October.

2018 … An Unforgettable Year

By the mid 2010s, Matt and Erica had really started to focus on their heifer program. Winter 2017, they renovated an old barn at their house across the road from the farm, and started to really work with the heifers from the get go. The following year, their efforts were rewarded.

Throughout the spring and summer, their heifers were performing well at the local and provincial shows, but the big tests would come in the fall.

Weeberlac Tickle Me Red, Grand Champion R&W, Ontario Fall Invitational Show 2020.

Matt and Erica only took three heifers to Madison that year, but it was the right three. Atwood Kiss, a daughter of Sid Elegance, stood in the top half of the Fall Calf class. Baby Enthem was 3rd and Best Bred & Owned in the Spring Yearling class and finally Explosion was 6th in the Winter Yearling class. These three came together and took home first in the Junior Best Three Females class, eventually earning them All-American honors as well.

“For the Royal that year, we decided to focus strictly on the heifers,” Erica recalled. “We didn’t enter any cows and dedicated our whole program after Madison to the heifers.” And again, their dedication and commitment paid off.

The Royal 2018 started off huge for their breeding program when Winright V Doorman Bubbly, a daughter of Lindenright Atwood Bounce (EX-95-2E18*) was the winning Summer Yearling and Junior Champion of the TD 4-HClassic for Justin Velthuis.

Matt and Erica had first admired Miss OCD Doorm Georgette-ET after the senior calf claimed Junior Champion honors at the Northeast Fall National Holstein Show. “We tried to buy her then, but they decided to sell her in the Sale of Stars instead,” Erica recalled. Backed by an EX-94 6* Goldwyn from the Georgette Outside family, they purchased her for $20,000. The following day, she would win the Intermediate Calf class for Winright.

They also purchased Garay Doorman Blind Date (a maternal sister to Awesome Beauty VG-88-2Y) after she was the Reserve Junior Champion at Madison, and she won the Senior Calf class. Goldwyn Karamel and Atwood Kiss both placed in the top half out of 41 in that same class. Baby Enthem followed with a 4thplace finish out of 37 heifers. And finally Explosion won the Intermediate Yearling Class.

Winright Unix Versace, 1st Intermediate Yearling and Reserve Junior Champion, Ontario Fall Invitational Show 2020.

But, their day wasn’t over yet. Judge Jamie Black selected Georgette as Junior Champion, the trio of Kiss, Baby Enthem and Explosion won the Junior Breeder Herd and Winright Holsteins was named Junior Premier Breeder, a first for the farm. Georgette was also selected as Supreme Junior Champion. “These weren’t even goals we had set for ourselves yet,” remarked Erica. “But to attain that level of success was just remarkable and unforgettable.”

To cap off the year, Winright was the leading exhibitor in the All-Canadian contest and had the most titles in the heifer division of the All-American contest. They had an impressive three All-Canadian titles and one Honorable Mention, along with Bubbly named All-Canadian in the 4-H division. Blind Date was named All-American, with Georgette Reserve, Explosion High Honorable Mention and Baby Enthem Honorable Mention. Their Junior group walked away with the Unanimous All-Canadian and All-American titles.

“After 2018, we’re just hoping and trying to have another group as good as they were,” commented Erica. “It’s going to take some really special heifers to do it though.”

2019 proved to be an exciting year as well, with Georgette again named Supreme Junior Champion of the Royal for new owners Doeberiener, Bowen &Schilling of Ohio. Winright also exhibited four All-American nominees themselves with Espresso, Georgette and Tickle Me garnering nominations for their owners.

The 2018 Royal Winter Fair will forever be special for team Winright, who won the Junior Breeder’s Herd class and was named Junior Premier Exhibitor.

Buying and Selling … A Business Model

For Matt and Erica, buying and selling cattle is all apart of their plan to develop the best animals for their herd. So, when opportunities arise for them to purchase new cows that fit their breeding goals, they don’t shy away from new investments.

A cow that has made huge headlines over the last three years actually got her start at Winright. Weeberlac Tickle Me Red was born just down the road from Matt and Erica. Matt saw her at just three days old in the hutch at Weeberlac and knew she was special. “Matt has never been a huge fan of reds, but even he was impressed and called Gerald Jaquemet, who loved reds, and they decided to buy her,” Erica recalled. Tickle Me was backed by five Very Good or Excellent dams from WDE Supreme Champion Lavender Ruby Redrose (EX-96-4E). Just a few weeks after arriving at Winright, Kevin Phillips called Matt looking for a “ringer” March calf for his daughter Alyson, and Tickle Me fit the bill. Since then, Tickle Me has done nothing but impress. She was named Junior All-American R&W Spring Calf in 2017, Unanimous Open & Junior All-American R&W Spring Yearling, Unanimous Open & Junior All-American R&W Junior 2-Year-Old and Reserve All-American B&W Junior 2-Year-Old in 2019.And she hasn’t slowed down yet, maxing out at VG-89-3Y and taking home Grand Champion honors at the Ontario Summer and Fall Invitational Shows. And while Alyson still retains part ownership, she is also owned with Kurt Wolf, OH, and housed at Ferme Blondin, QC.

Tickle Me is certainly not the only animal that Matt and Erica have been involved with that has gone on to do well for their new owners. Cows such as Reserve All-Canadian Gerann Roy Grendel (EX-96), Junior All-American Jobo Seaver Ainsley (EX-94), and Reserve All-American and Reserve All-Canadian Greenlark Lucille Atwood have all called Winright home at some point in their careers.

Miss Pcd Doormn Georgette-ET was Supreme Heifer at both the 2018 and 2019 Royal Winter Fairs.

2020 … A Year of Uncertainty

For an operation that relies on marketing, the spring of 2020 was tough. “Because of our extensive flush program, we always have a selection of show-aged calves and fresh young cows,” remarked Erica. “When COVID hit, and shows and sales were canceled, we had to come up with a plan.

The Winright Tag Sale was held April8-9 and featured 44 lots, with 36 selling for an average of $3932. “There was so much more interest in the sale than we ever could have imagined,” said Matt. From the sale, several animals sold that have already earned recognition both in Canada and the US:

  • Harmaly Crushabull Liana, 3rd Intermediate Calf, Summer Invitational, owned by Jacob Rouleau, QC & 3rd Winter Calf, North American Open Holstein Show, now owned by Hayden Prichett, OK
  • Liberty-Gen Knockin Boots, 1st & Reserve Junior Champion, OH Summer Show & 1st Winter Calf, Southern National Holstein Show, owned by Kenlee Phillips,TX
  • Winright Doorman Marykate (Doorman x GChip Ellen), 1st Summer Yearling & Reserve Junior Champion, Simcoe County Show, owned by Jay Robertson, ON
Winright Solomon Espresso, Junior Champion, Ontario Fall Invitational Show 2020.

In the fall, they hosted the Winright Fill Up for Fall Sale, featuring 56 lots averaging $3236. Winright Sidekick Cheap Date, a June 2020 Sidekick from VG-87 Blind Date, topped the sale at $9200 to Brian Hamming and Lucky Hill Dairy, AB.

Like many fellow Canadians, the Enrights were ecstatic that two shows were organized in Ontario this year. “Showing is part of our marketing plan,” commented Erica. “We showcase our genetics at shows and sell embryos and cattle based on people seeing photos and results.”

Winright had a great outing at the Summer Invitational, winning Junior Champion with JM Valley Crushabull Hot Date (Crushabull x Blind Date); Winright Unix Crayola, 4th Junior Calf; Winright Unix Versace, 2nd Intermediate Yearling; 2nd Junior Breeders Herd; and Knonaudale Sunnylodge Jazmine, 3rd Senior 2-year-Old. The Ontario Fall Show was another successful day with Versace winning her class and named Reserve Junior Champion, 1st Junior Herd and eight more top 10 finishes!

While 2020 has certainly proved difficult for everyone around the world, the Enrights have forged ahead and made the situation work for them. “We really love showing and can’t wait until things get back to normal,” Erica said. “But our sale success and limited shows have kept us motivated to keep working on our program.” For Winright, they’ve found their niche in the show heifer market, and have been fortunate with the success they have had along with the new owners of the cattle they are marketing. While 2020 comes to a close, they are already focused on 2021 and the hutches and box stalls are soon to be filled with the next crop of Winright hopefuls.

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