December 26, 2010
Topic: Not Sad to Say Goodbye to 2010
What a year. We've had some incredible highs and some incredible lows. For the last journal entry of the year, I'm not about to do a recap. Instead, let's concentrate on upcoming topics for 2011.
Keep the questions coming. Just posted a new Q and A today. Always happy to answer specific questions.
What the hell is the KWPN thinking about relaxing the standards for OCD? The champion of the stallion show last year, class C OCD; the winner of the performance testing this fall, class C OCD in one stifle and one fetlock. On one hand, I'm thinking that we all need to relax a bit about minor OCD; on the other hand, it feels contradictory to what we, as breeders, have been drilled into believing for well over a decade. It's a conversation.
Totilas, Totilas, Totilas. I'll never get tired of talking about this horse.
I have my flight and hotel reservations for the Stallion Show and for 10 days in Germany. Am looking forward to two weeks of horse vacation, visiting friends, and making new acquaintances with German breeders.
Chemo ends in March. Then on to the rest of my life.
Our Orchis x Totilas baby is due May 17th!!!!! Knock on wood; cross fingers, toes, and all available body hair.
I'm looking forward to a summer full of riding. Princess and I have a plan.
And, of course, breeding, breeding, breeding! Orchis, Werites, BoWendy, and D'Orites are on my list this year. Totilas and UB-40 are the only two stallions definitely on my list so far. We'll see what's going through my head after meeting dozens and dozens of German stallions up close and personal, plus seeing this year's crop of KWPN dressage specialists.
Yup. 2011 is going to be a great year.
December 5, 2010
Topic: Another Pony for Robert Dover
Just saw a post on FB of someone wanting to raise the funds for Robert to have a particular horse available for him for London. Of course, I had to follow the link and see the horse. Dutch. Ircolando x Akteur x Cadmus xx, out of the same mareline as Leslie Morse's Kingston. Interesting that we see Akteur up so close in a sport horse's pedigree...what, Akteur would be how old now? He was born in 1964, so he's four years younger than I am. That makes him 47 in 2011. Yet, look at Judgement (Consul x Lucky Boy x Akteur)...Totilas (Gribaldi x Glendale x Akteur)...and now Tacolando (Ircolando x Akteur x Cadmus xx). On top, through Ircolando, we also go back to a combination of Marco Polo and Furioso xx blood. What's behind Consul? Nimmerdor x Purioso. What's behind Totilas? On the bottom, Glendale, who is Nimmerdor x Marco Polo. On the top, more Trakehner blood. On the bottom, behind the Akteur, more TB blood through Pericles xx. So, this is modern KWPN breeding. Sounds a lot like foundation KWPN breeding to me. Look at Jazz's pedigree...Cocktail (Purioso x Le Val Blanc xx x Hessel (Trakehner again)) x Ulster (Nimmerdor x Antonio (1/2 TB) x Amor (sire of Akteur) x Pericles xx). There's the combination of Furioso xx, Pericles, Amor, and Trakehner again. Hmm.
So, what do I get out of my Totilas x Orchis (Jazz x Roemer x Eros (by Amor) cross? Interesting to think about! I'm even more excited about a Totilas x Werites (Furioso through the Florestan, on top of the Jazz x Roemer x Eros) cross! Now, if anyone out there has any quality Aktion frozen (Pion x Akteur), I'd be willing to give that a try someplace in my program. Oh, wait. UB-40 ( Olivi (Jazz x Aktion) x Michelangelo (Trakehner) x Farn (sire of Nimmerdor) x Erdball xx...more TB blood). So, you're thinking I should hang onto my UB fillies and breed them to my Totilas son that I'm bound to get over the next couple years? What a good idea!
Love this stuff. Of course, breeding isn't just about matching pedigrees; I know this. Doesn't stop us from having fun with it, now, does it?
December 1, 2010
Topic: Breeder Group Ideas from Holland
My friend, Loucky, emailed me a newsy email about what she and other breeders in her region's breeders' group have been up to. I'm SO JEALOUS!! Even though I'm kind of committed to periodic poisonings over the next four months, I'd love to see our New England Breeders Group continue. Let me know if any of these ideas get you excited...
We had last week a small seminar of our breeding club and we invited Jacques Verkerk to guide us through choosing a stallion for our mares. We presented 6 mares, one of them was Ritamorka - the dam of Citango and Camorkus- with her Romanov foal and JV gave us all the details and tools to choose a good partner. Now we have to make up a list of candidates and in January we will have the next session and go thru all the available stallions.
At the study club we have every month a nice session and one of the nicest one will be the meeting of "Fokkers ontmoet Fokkers" between breeders from Noord Brabant and Zeeland. We will visit some farms in Brabant and the group from Brabant will meet the ones from Zeeland some weeks later. It will be a good meeting since we always can learn more of the breeding lines from other breeders. We will conclude the meetings with a nice dinner all together.
Other meetings will be: linear scoring, learning to score also fast and secure; preparing for the keurings, what to do the weeks before the keuring, etc.; indexes and breeding values; first aid for horses; even equine photography, since most breeders are not top photographers and make sometimes a mess with their camera and feel sorry about the bad shots they made.
We also bought a foal,a colt,together,a Gribaldi x Jazz to prepare him for the 1st selection. The dam is Tsarina B and a daughter from Reine B. The now yearling is at the farm in the area and we have sometimes a special meeting to evaluate him, nice because it is also a social event and we all like it. We have put all together some money, and the committee who went out to look for a good prospect knew exactly how much the total budget was. It was not easy because a good one is not cheap. Finally, we found this one, since the owner liked the idea so much and Peter Bleeker was very gentle to us. Peter Bleeker is very involved in the Prinsjesdagveiling and is also a vet by himself.
This coming Friday we have a dressage clinic evening with Marlies van Baalen. The riders are all from the province of Zeeland and they are riding horses bred and born in Zeeland. The KWPN region Zeeland had this good idea and we are thinking it is a start to get our riders much more involved in the region. We got a very good amount of riders that wanted to take part in the clinic (it is free and the riders are getting as a gesture an extra nice saddle pad). We have set up criteria for the riders: they should have won competitions, some needed to be out of the group of young riders, also some male riders. We limited the total group of riders only to 10. The visitors are getting free coffee and there are no auditing costs. Part of the total cost is paid by the KWPN and the other part by a group of sponsors (like the owner of the restaurant who will have a nice profit that evening by serving drinks and meals).The whole setup was done in no time and during the break at the clinic, we will honor the breeders from the province of Zeeland who had horses during the WEG in Kentucky. They are Orlando (ridden by James Dwyer) and Tiramisu (ridden by a rider from Belgium). Both horses were part of the para-equestrian dressage.
Maybe with the ideas from the above event and the breeders club you can use for the New England group.
Also we have upgraded our site at the KWPN main website and it gives good information to the members. It turns out that the internet in Holland is much more used then 5 years ago and the members are more involved then in the past using the internet. Our member list from the head office of the KWPN had only a few e-mail addresses and together with the secretary we called the members to get their email addresses (it took us a lot of time and money) but now our list is completed for 97 %.
Last year (2009) we had a clinic from Rob Ehrens (he was expensive), and again in 2011 a jumping clinic. Also in 2011 we will have 2 Breeders of the Year, a dressage breeder and a jumper breeder. We did this already in 2010 and it was a great joy and recognition for the breeder; they were very impressed and are still talking about the event.
November 30, 2010
Topic: Late to Work
I'm never late. Let me repeat that: I'm never late. My OCD with time is too severe and the stress being late induces is just not worth it. Well, this morning, I was late to work. Why? Totilas. Yes, there was a live feed, starting at 6 am EST, to officially announce his new rider, Matthias Rath. Of course, thanks to internet chat rooms and multiple so-called news sources, we've known this for a while, but this was the first time we got to see Matthias on Totilas. My opinion? (Not that you care...) This is going to be an even better combination than Edward and Totilas. The horse looks fabulous. There isn't the degree of harmony between Totilas and Rath quite yet, but Totilas looks stronger, more in front of the vertical, and more correct in his collection, if that's even possible. Looks to me that Germany is back in position for gold. At least it's a Dutch horse that's making it possible for them.
November 17, 2010
Topic: Love to see our horses happy in the world
The picture below is of Siri Ingebrigtsen and "Bam Bam", aka, Bandito SSF (Donatelli x Hierarch). Bam Bam was a super talent, but sensitive boy, from the beginning. Knowing that he's in a caring, knowledgeable home with a capable and patient rider who can realize his potential is what placing our horses is all about. I love this picture.
November 2, 2010
Topic: Werites/Breeding Thoughts for Next Year/Rabbits
Werites arrived Sunday morning at around 8 am. The mare looks as if she just stepped out of a Walter Farley novel--she's got the archy neck, Araby face, and the sleek, rounded look of an athlete who's been rested for a few months. She's lived away from us for so many years that I'd forgetten how beautiful she is. Much to her dismay, she's still on a month more of stall rest. She's quite convinced that she should be going out when the rest of the horses leave the barn in the morning. Carol's mare/"I'm a Morgan in pre-winter Yak mode" has the dubious honor of staying in during the day so Werites has company. What's been really fun is to see Werites and Felicites (Rousseau x Orchis) across the aisle from each other. Ms. Perfect (Felicites) looks like an exact miniature of her big sister. Orchis has, unfortunately, passed on the most ridiculous, hoarse (no pun intended) whinny to both of them--it's a cross between a scream and a moan. I think I could deal with its overall non-mellifluous quality if there weren't so much insistence behind it. Nonetheless, Werites is in her first premium orange standing wraps, in my barn, for the first time in a number of years. As long as I remember to take my tank in for a recharge, I'm shooting for a late March or early April breeding to Totilas.
So, in my tank, I have one dose each of Ferro, Alexandro P, and Uphill; a few doses of Donatelli; some goat semen; and space for the stallion-who-will-not-be-named. The latter is Orchis's date for 2011. He could be Bowendy's date as well, but I'm leaning pretty heavily toward Ferro right now. I like the double Ulft. I also really want a Ferro mare in the broodmare band eventually. You all know how many times I'll change my mind between now and July when Bo is finally ready rebreed--just my need to obsess. Having three mares to breed has got to be a minimum for me. I need at least this many breeding picks to vacillate over.
Happy November. Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit. Speaking of rabbits, I've been trying to get Carol's young male mini-lop interested and persistent enough to tackle one of Carol's older females so we have Christmas bunnies. My wife LOVES rabbits. Have I told you that I'm not even allowed to order rabbit in a restaurant anymore? Crazy. Anyway, with some luck, if anyone needs a last minute Christmas gift for a deserving bunny-lover, give me a shout.
October 26, 2010
This has been a summer of major transitions for us. As I was standing in the pond paddock with the woman who just bought DaVinci SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff), this knowledgeable dressage person commented on his transitions--trot to canter, back to trot--and on how impressed she had been when she saw Americus SSF (Sir Sinclair x Hierarch) loose for the first time (hence, the reason she'd come to look at Leo) and how easily he rocked back and made his transitions...Leo's transitions...what we breed for... etc., etc. But, it's really got me thinking. How many frustrating training sessions does a dressage rider face when a horse is not bred to naturally carry himself through a transition? How many frustrating years do we, as human beings, waste when we do not carry ourselves gracefully through life's transitions?
This month, I've loaded LaVita onto a trailer to a new permanent home. I held Oleander while she was palpated and probed and prodded for her transport health certificate. I watched as my own children gently herded two of our favorite babies onto a trailer to head to their new home. And, I'm sad. Sad that life has thrown us a bit of a curve ball. But, I'm also thankful that such wonderful people have come forward to take these incredible horses, and I'm thankful that I get the opportunity to refocus and fine-tune my breeding program. So, as emotionally and as histrionically as I could be during these transitional months, I choose, rather, to lift myself to the next place, and carry on.
Orchis preg-checked A OK today with her four and a half month old Totilas baby cooking away. Bowendy, though teasing up a storm, has a three-months-no-mistaking-it-as-a-pregnancy uterus. Werites is due home this week. And, I got to do my walk today with visions of the next two or three generations of SSF horses swimming through whatever regions of my brain dreams inhabit. Is there really any reason to feel sad? No.
My friend Johan has answered a question about KWPN jumping lines in the Q and A section. Check it out. He's always willing to answer questions, so don't hesitate to have me send him questions.
The youngest of my personal breeding products turns 18 this Saturday. Can't believe my adventurous, naked little boy has turned into an adventurous, nearly naked adult.
Life is good.
October 21, 2010
Topic: Keep your fingers crossed..
Werites is sceduled to be picked up from New Bolton either late tonight or eary tomorrow. It's been so long since she's been home it feels as if we're getting a brand new pony. Have to figure out how to get her onto the property with as little walking as possible. Not sure how big the rig is that's bringing her, but she hasn't walked outside of her stall since June 5th, and she's supposed to be on complete stall rest for at least another six weeks. It would really suck to have to walk her in very far. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, I've paid the $25,000+ to New Bolton, she has three funny looking weanlings already set up in the in and out stall opposite hers for company, and we have a couple doses of Totilas frozen waiting for her start cycling in the spring.
While I'm thinking about it, if one of you folks sent in a suggestion from your husband for the Warmbloods Today create a name that replaces "warmblood", drop me an email. I can't find the email that contains it, and I want to give you/him his Donatelli frozen.
I've had both email and telephone conversations with a few people about the KWPN bloodlines in the WEG. Since I've followed the specialization trend and my knowledge of jumper lines is becoming daily weaker, I've asked my friend, Johan, to write a piece for the journal. Look for that in the coming week or so.
October 14. 2010
Topic: Totilas Sold
Crazy day in the horse world. It will be especially interesting for those of us who went out on a limb and paid the big mula for the first Totilas frozen, and Schockemöhle mass-markets the semen for significantly less per dose. Oh, well. What are you going to do? Personally, I don't think we've seen the end of this story. Mr. Schockemöhle has never struck me as the altruistic type, do-anything-for-Germany kind of guy. I think either Totilas is going to an undisclosed person as his or her horse for London, or Totilas is going to be the star of the next PSI auction. Retiring the horse to stud is unlikely at the proposed sale price; sure you can bank a lot of frozen semen and insure the horse, but how much frozen would you have to sell to get into the profit area? Even if Totilas were to continue to breed 250 mares/year at his current studfee of 5500 E, it would take more than 10 years to make his purchase price. If the number were doubled and he bred 500 mares, it would still take more than five years. Now, some combination of Schockemöhle selling is frozen and a really ambitious and well-funded rider wanting gold in London I can buy. It's all speculation at this point. Tough loss for the Dutch team, or so it appears. I just hope this incredible horse is treated fairly and not turned into a Stallion Show spectacle all over Germany to sell breedings.
October 4, 2010
Topic: Good News!
Ms. Werites is scheduled to come home this week!!! She's to remain on stall rest for another month or so, but she's finally coming home. Of course, this means a majorly maxed out credit card for me...no settlement with the insurance company yet.
WEG observation: Type doesn't matter. Look for a major shift in keuring selection over the next couple of years. My guess is that the focus is going to be more and more on the use of the body and correct conformation for soundness, not type. If it's not, to hell with keurings.
First round of chemo down...11 to go.
September 21, 2010
Topic: Holy Totilas Embryo!
Did you see that a Totilas x Reina B embryo went for 32,000. Euro today? With the auction surcharge, that's the better part of $50,000. For an embryo. Of course, Reine B is a proven sport mare with a super pedigree, so I imagine your chances of getting a talented foal are high...but that's a lot of money for any foal, especially one that's not on the ground yet. I wonder if this will have an influence on Totilas's studfee next year. Let's hope my remaining two or three doses don't get even more expensive to use!
I've updated the sales page, complete with congrats. If someone is interested in Tiadaula, until the end of September, I can offer a ridiculously low price for a third level mare. At this point in time, she's not my mare, so I'm not calling the shots on this. We like her so much that if Michaela were home more we'd keep her as a riding horse. She's really a sweet girl. Tia, that is. Michaela's sweet, too, but I was talking about Tia.
The first of the sold horses have started leaving. I've got to tell you, it's with mixed feelings that I'm watching them go. LaVita and Oleander are going to be really hard. But, I believe in our farm's mission statement/slogan, "A place where dreams come true." A lot of nice people are getting some really nice horses. Spreading the quality gene pool just means that there are more good breeding programs out there--which means that there are more high quality KWPN horses being produced--which is good for all of us.
Speaking of frozen semen (I was in the first paragraph; this isn't random), what am I going to obsess over next year with only three mares to breed and a tank already containing Totilas, Ferro, Uphill, and Alexandro P? Of course, I'm toying with adding one more stallion to the tank, just to give me something to stress over...
Update on Werites: Her right hind is almost healed. Her left hind is coming along more slowly. She's still at New Bolton...yes, from June 5th. No one will commit to a departure date for her, but I'm hoping we can get her home and acclimate her before it gets really cold.
Update on SSF offspring: Rocco SSF (Idocus x LaVita x Elcaro) and Zaz Putnam are really clicking in the jumper ring. They just placed second and seventh in two huge classes this weekend. Willioso SSF (Rodioso x Oladaula x Hierarch) Heidi Hauri-Gill have been high point at three or four dressage shows this summer. Willi was a boy I wanted to keep for myself in the worst way, and he's a half brother to Tia. It's great to see SSF horses out and competing. Here are a couple of nice shots. Thanks to Tom Putnam, via Cynthia Richards, for the Rocco picture and Heidi Hauri-Gill for the Willioso shot.
September 3, 2010
Topic: Human Update
I promise that I'll get back to my horse conversations really soon. Believe me, I'm more than ready. While I'm thinking about it, if you haven't read Warmbloods Today, try to get a copy of the September/October issue. I did a really fun column on Totilas. It's one of my favorites.
Michaela and I met with the oncologist yestersday--news is good. As of right now, there's greater than a 70% chance that I'm cancer-free. Everything obviously cancerous has been removed from my body. Since there was perforation of the colon wall by the tumor, chemo ups my chance of being completely cured to between 90 and 100%. I start a six month treatment plan at the end of the month. It's one week on/one week off for 12 treatments. Not sure how this is going to play out for the Stallion Show ... but if I have to miss one Stallion Show, I'll cope. So, good news. I'll try to keep future journal entries focused on the horses! Enough of this cancer conversation.
August 29, 2010
Topic: Scot's New Kitchen!!
OK. This project started in February. It's not done yet, but here are the first pictures of an almost-done kitchen. The view is of all my barn and fields. Open invitation to all of you to stop by for a cup of coffee and a muffin.
August 20. 2010
Topic: I need something to look forward to...Stallion Show anyone?
Well, the pathology report came back. Of the 13 lymph nodes tested, one was positive, so I've got to do the chemo thing. Prognosis remains positive--my attitude remains great. By the end of the year, this should all be behind me. So, that being said, who's up for the Stallion Show this year? Only people who are willing to have a good time need apply! I'd love to get a table and spend three or four days looking at horses and talking Dutch bloodlines. If anyone is interested in splitting a table with me, let me know.
August 18, 2010
Topic: I'm back...
Had I known what it is like to have major surgery going into having major surgery, I don't think I would have been quite so stalwart about the whole thing. Holy crap. No need to bore you with the details, but it was an ordeal. Surgery was more extensive than the doctors had planned because they found some adhesions between my pancreas and colon--hence, I was split open like a chicken about to be pan-fried. That being said, everything went well. Still waiting for the pathology report, but I'm optimistic that the worst is over. All of your positive thoughts, cards, emails, flowers, and phone calls have been appreciated more than you can know. Thank you, from my family and me. I'm not the religious sort, but I feel truly blessed to have so many caring people in my life.
A special thanks to Michaela Tolman. The girl is amazing. I told her that a group email would be fine, but she insisted that every person had specific questions, and she felt impersonal not answering all of them.
On the horse front:
I think we still have the free Morgan gelding, the third level mare, and maybe Ms. Carpe Diem SSF left to sell, but that's it. I will eventually get around to a congratulatory list of new owners.
And, so there's no confusion, Felicites SSF (Rousseau x Orchis) and Franco SSF (UB x Bowendy) are NOT for sale. They are listed as for sale in the keuring information. I must have been delerious when I was filling it out or thinking that I was checking something else, but they are NOT for sale. We have two people with standing offers on Miss Perfect, and I don't want them to get excited for nothing! And, Jimmy is going to be our next out-in-the-real-world performance horse.
On the Werites front:
The latest report is that the New Bolton vets are doing a skin graft of the right hind to help the wound finish healing, and then splint the left hind to see if they can get her to carry the fetlock a little higher. All is going well, though. At this rate, I'm just hoping she's home for Christmas!
Again, thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts and well wishes. You are the best.
August 6, 2010
Topic: Thanks and Update
Thank you so much for the phone calls, emails, and stop-bys. It's much appreciated. I went through a full day of pre-op process, being poked, needled, scanned, interviewed, etc. We're all set for an afternoon surgery on Monday. The staff at Mass General has made all of this a really positive experience so far. If you can't wait for a journal update, Michaela is willing to answer emails: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks also for the incredible response to my horses. As of today, we have sold LaVita, Oleander, Nanette, Sanette, Buttercup SSF, Forrest SSF, Fantastico SSF, and Fabio SSF. We have a "hold until Monday" on DaVinci SSF, a "I'm going to do whatever I have to buy her" on Carpe Diem SSF, and a couple of people coming to see the free Morgan gelding this weekend. That leaves only Tiadaula SSF, the third level mare.
Also congratulations to Clark and Richard Moss on acquiring an incredible foundation mare, D'Orites SSF (Donatelli x Orchis). We weren't selling any Orchis daughters, but Clark and Richard made us an offer we couldn't refuse...a near life-sized mosaic tribute to Orchis in our new kitchen. If you've never seen any of their work, check out www.eofc.com My new kitchen should be usable by the time I get out of the hospital, so I'm looking forward to coming home and cooking family meal. Once the mosaic and the mural (part of my original design) are done, we'll have a huge unveiling party. You're all invited!
So, by mid-November, I'm going to be down to nine horses. This is the lowest number of horses we've had in nearly 20 years. Our foals next year....this is a short list:
Totilas x Orchis
UB-40 x Bowendy
So, wish me luck on Monday. Drop Michaela an email if you want an update.
Totilas be with you. (you'll need to read my next column in Warmbloods Today to get that...)
July 24, 2010
Topic: Some News
This is not meant as a "pity Scot" journal entry, so please don't take it that way. I was diagnosed with colon cancer last week, and my family and I have spent about 10 days in limbo, not knowing the severity of it or the plan of action. The cancer was discovered during a routine procedure. I have no outward signs of its presence. My surgery is August 9th, in Boston, at Mass General. My doctor assures me that everything is going to be fine and she can treat this. As it turns out, I'm really optimistic and upbeat about the whole thing. Sometimes your body hits you over the head and says, "Pay attention to what's going on in your life." So, that's how I'm approaching this. We've decided that I need to reassess some priorities, cut down on my work and stress loads, and concentrate on living the kind of life I want to be living. As you may or may not know, nine months out of the year, I'm here at the farm by myself with the 20 horses, plus having a full-time teaching job and doing the too-occasional theatre project. I've just reached a point at which my body and brain are telling me it's time to refocus a bit. That being said, Tuesday, I started making some calls and sent out a couple of emails about placing some horses. We've decided to cut our numbers in half. Since Tuesday, we've sold LaVita, Oleander, Nanette, Sanette, and confirmed the sale of Buttercup. We have people interested (but not sold yet) in Tiadaula SSF (Zeoliet x Hiearch) third level mare, Da Vinci SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff) and Carpe Diem SSF (Farrington x Pass the Glass xx). In the next few days, I'll post a more complete list with full descriptions, but currently we have available the three I just listed, Fantastico SSF (UB-40 x Elcaro), Fabio SSF (UB-40 x Diamond Hit), Forte SSF (Farrington x Jazz x Contango), and Equinox Courageous Lad, a sixteen-year-old Morgan. This isn't about money; it's about change. Consequently, the horses are priced between $5,000 and $10,000, with the exception of Tiadaula, the third level mare. I'll go as low as 250/month for the right homes. The Morgan gelding is free because he has Sweet Itch, which is really difficult to manage in the summer. He's a blast to ride, but, again, managing him during the summer is tough. I can't imagine that these will sell as quickly as the mares have, but you never know. If you're interested, drop me an email or give me a call.
So there's no confusion, I'm not going out of the breeding business--breeding Dutch horses is my passion and brings me some of the most joy in my life. I'm just slowing down for a bit. We're keeing Orchis, her three daughters, ZaVita SSF, Bowendy, Franco SSF, and two UB-40 fillies, Eliscia SSF and Fleur SSF. So, with Carol's riding mare included, that still leaves me with ten horses. That will keep me busy enough.
July 19, 2010
Topic: Jess and Werites
Just thought I'd have Joe post a picture of our friend, Jess Alvarez, with Werites at New Bolton. Jess's boyfriend lives near New Bolton, so she was kind enough to stop by with a bag of carrots to visit Werites. The mare is healing really well now. She's still never going to be ridable again, but at least she's alive. She's been at New Bolton since June 5th.
July 10, 2010
Topic: I know...I disappeared again!
So, updates. Let's start with Werites:
She's still at New Bolton. She developed a cast sore at the top of her right hind, so the vets removed the cast about a week earlier than they wanted to. They found that the surgical site had opened and the tendon separated. Evidently, this is not uncommon is this type of injury. There is good granulation going on, so things are healing. They decided to have a special shoe made that has a built in support for the fetlock. This, in combination with a bandage and some type of splint device, is what Ms. Werites is wearing on the right. On the left, her fetlock is still dropped more than they would like, but it's better than it could be. She's wearing a bandage and splint on that side. She appears more and more comfortable, walks willingly around her stall, and is eating voraciously. At this point, she's on only 2 grams of Bute/day. The tendon ends are still sticking out of the surgical site, so those have to be trimmed. They don't change her bandages unless she's lying down, so Werites herself determines when she's ready to be rewrapped. The prognosis remains that she has less than a 10% chance of ever being ridable again, but they're fairly certain she will be pasture sound for breeding. On a more frustrating note, the shipper's insurance company is willing to pay for the medical expenses, minus the shipper's deductible, but they are not willing to pay loss of value--so, unfortunately, I'm afraid we're going to be mired in a law suit in the near future.
I don't know about the rest of you, but it's a weird-ass year for breeding. I've only bred three mares so far.
Uphill x Nanette (Contango x Amor)
Totilas x Orchis (Jazz x Roemer)
UB-40 x LaVita (Elcaro x Belisar)
All three are pregnant on the first try and sewn up tight. None of the rest of the mares have cycled well enough to breed. I had three mares in heat on Wednesday, gave each a shot of Deslorelin at 9 pm, ordered a shipment of semen...only to have one mare in a breedable place on Friday morning. Since that mare was Princess, aka, ZaVita SSF (Contango x Elcaro), whom I'm supposed to not breed but ride, my wife and daughter completely pulled rank and didn't allow me access to the nitrogen tank. Torture! I had these lovely visions of a Ferro x Princess baby passaging through my head for days. Hopefully, knock on wood, Oleander (Havidoff x Ramiro) will be in her 30 day heat in the next day or so, and she'll cooperate enough to take on the dose of Uphill I have saved for her. Other breedings I'm still planning on:
Florianus x Carpe Diem SSF (Farrington x Pass the Glass xx)
Alexandro P x BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz)
Totilas x Werites SSF (Freestyle x Jazz)
Uphill x Sanette (Jazz x Contango)
This year's babies:
Again, I know, I know! Michaela was good enough to go out the pasture and take some shots for registration purposes, but I've yet to post one. We've got some super babies this year--I'm being passive-agressive in not updating my sales page. I can't keep them all, so someone or two is/are going to have to go.
Fabio SSF (UB-40 x Diamond Hit x Havidoff) This boy is a powerhouse and SO fancy. He's shedding out to a dark bay and has three high whites and a lot of white on his face--he's going to be a super riding horse for someone. We call him Froggy. He has three really expressive, scopey gaits and a winning personality. He's going to be a little heavier in type (like the D line horses), but still quite elegant. I'd love to find the right future dressage partner for him.
Felicites SSF (Rousseau x Jazz x Roemer) We still call her Ms. Perfect. She is the prototype of the modern dressage type--leggy, uphill, long-lined, elegant. I'd like to see her be perhaps a little more supple in her movement, but I'm not complaining; she's a keeper.
Franco SSF (UB-40 x Sir Sinclair x Jazz) Jimmy is my favorite baby of the year. I'm in the minority on this; Keagan and Michaela are Ms. P fans; Carol is a Clark fan. My only problem with this little boy is exactly that; he's little. I'm not sure if it's that he's a first foal out of a young mare, or if the mare is going to throw small offspring. If he could be judged just on his movement, he'd be the number one foal in the country this year. Supple, expressive, powerful, shortens and lengthens--just outrageous. Type-wise, he's pretty fancy, too, bt in a small package. We'll see. I'm a fan.
Fantastico SSF (UB-40 x Elcaro x Belisar) Clark(as in both Clark Kent and Clark Moss) is the nickname we decided on for this handsome boy. Carol is completely smitten with him. For one thing, he's amazingly handsome--bright bay with a huge white star, and he has this "look at me" kind of quality of a very special horse. He's also HOT! Every once and a while, LaVita has a baby that is a little spicy...they've all grown out of it...but, as babies, they're really quite silly. Clark is one of these. The first time we put him out, he went through a milk crate, over the top of the goat pen, and knocked over a wheelbarrow on his way out the door. Mind you, none of these things were really in his way. He's already much more tractable, thank goodness, but he was entertaining for the first couple of weeks. Type-wise, he's the fanciest baby LaVita has ever had. Movement-wise, I think he's the first of her foals to have her truly powerful gaits to the degree she does or more. He's really rectangular, gorgeous front. Again, we'll see.
Fleur SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff x Ramiro) Fleur was my least favorite baby of the year to start with. Michaela kept telling me that I was wrong and that I should just give her some more time before I judge her. Well, she's right. This filly is lengthening out and looking really good. She's powerful in her movement, though I'd like to see a little more expression--though she does have excellent lift in the withers. Her type is absolutely lovely. All and all, I'm more pleased with her every day, and had the thought today during morning chorses that there's really no reason to sell her--she should hang out and be one of our UB-40 generation breeding girls. I know, I'm pathetic.
That being said, we can't keep them all. I love payment plans. Give me your credit card number and $250 or more per month and I'm happy. Our foal crops just keep getting better and better, knock on wood. It would be difficult to be disappointed in any of these babies.
So, that's pretty much what's going on at SSF. I'm still not in my new kitchen, although it is getting closer. I've been painting and planning. It's going to be a beautiful space.
We just made the trek to Cornell, to drop off Keagan at Cornell's Wrestling Camp. Does one of you live in Casanovia, NY? As we were driving through, I had visions of filling out a FEDEX form to Casanovia. I'm back out that way next Thursday night, in order to pick up Keagan on Friday.
If you're in the area, stop by. Am happy to do a show and tell with the babies.
June 27, 2010
Topic: Here We go!
Totilas baby on the way. Yes, we scanned Orchis yesterday morning and found a really nice filly embryo sitting just to the left of center in the central part of the uterus. Michaela and I both agree that it's a filly embryo. Carol didn't see it on the scanner, but swears it was a colt embryo. Personally, I don't care. I just want 340 days to go by and have it safely and soundly on the ground and nursing.
Werites continues to progress quite well. The prognosis is still that she will never be a riding horse again, but she remains bright and cheerful, shows no sign of founder (knock on wood), and continues to wear her cast well. All we can do is wait.
The second meeting of the New England Dutch Breeders went extremely well. Lots to report, but the short of it is that Lizzie and Olivier look better than ever, Sal is a god, and Faith Fessenden's presentation kept her audience rapt for nearly two hours.
June 14, 2010
Topic: Fleur SSF
OK. So, I didn't get exactly what I wanted, but close. Chestnut filly, pretty white star instead of thin white stripe, and two minimal white fronts instead of two high hind whites. Bottom line is that SSF has another UB-40 filly for the breeding program! Have to be psyched about that.
June 13, 2010
Topic: Foal Watch
So I'm sitting here drinking a glass of wine, knowing that my Havidoff x Ramiro mare is about to foal out a chestnut, UB-40 filly with a thin white stripe and two hind high whites--just like her great grandmother. She was dripping clear fluid a couple hours ago; now, she's waxed with the bright yellow, candle-wax stuff. It has to be tonight. Of course, since I'm one four five in the guessing-the-right-sex department, I probably have a dark bay colt with no white about to be born. I'll let you know in the morning!
Update on Werites, she's become progressively more uncomfortable in her cast, which the vets had hoped would last for two weeks, so they're replacing it tomorrow.
The latest foal, UB-40 x Elcaro x Belisar needs a nickname. He is so handsome! I had him outside for a minute today, and he has so much movement he has no clue what to do with it. We need some barn-name that connotates rock star, top model, world-class athlete. Let me know if you have any ideas.
June 12, 2010
Topic: Night Check Surprise!
Just went out to check mares and turn on the cameras, and, much to my surprise, I was greeted by a new and very loud and opinionated whinny. Between the time I finished chores and came back out for night check, LaVita popped out a really fancy, bay UB-40 colt. Upon first inspection, I'd have to say he's the nicest baby this mare has ever had, and that's saying a lot since she's preferent and soon-to-be prestatie. Fantastico SSF. Within the half an hour I was out there, she'd already cleaned, and he stood up and nursed. This colt is a dark bay, with a big white star, and one white foot behind. And, he's HUGE! Better yet, this is the first foal out of five that I've been right about the sex beforehand. Will be fun to see him outside tomorrow.
June 12, 2010
Topic: First Dose of Totilas and Werites
Well, at 12:10 today, Orchis was inseminated with the first dose of Totilas. Everything went great, except I'm hoping I didn't screw it up between thawing and inseminating. I put the drop left on the end of the insemination pipette on a slide, and it looked like crap. Immediately, I retrieved the straws from the trash and checked a drop from them, and it looked fabulous. What are you going to do? Why the drop on the end of the insemination pipette would look different than the drop from the end of the straws, I don't know. Orchis had a great heat. The Deslorelin worked like a charm, and she normally doesn't respond to HCG. All I can do is wait 14 days and be glad I have two more doses.
I can't go into all of the details about Werites's injury because I don't know if we'll be involved in a law suit or not, but the poor girl is done as a sport horse. Commercial shipper. Tendon sliced 50% of the way through on one hind leg and tendon ruptured on the other side. No one seems to know what happened. She's at New Bolton for the forseeable future. At this point, we're just hoping to be able to save her and have her as a broodmare. So, we've gone from the highest of highs in the horse world with this mare, to the lowest of lows. If anyone lives near New Bolton and would be willing to stop by and give her a carrot, we'd appreciate it.
June 11, 2010
Topic: Franco SSF
I saw his white face from the driveway. Yup. Came home, in a rush as usual, and much to my surprise there was a little white face in the pond paddock, lying down just in front of BoWendy, our Sir Sinclair four-year-old. She was 340 days on the 5th, so she was right on time, but there was no wax, not even a full udder, when I put her out in the morning. At any rate, BoWendy was born with only one eye due to her mother's having a virus while pregnant. Every time this little guy would get on her blind side, she'd panic and spin around looking for him, knocking poor Jimmy over. By the time I got him into the barn, he was pretty tuckered out. The mare has since calmed down immensely and is being a top-notch mother.
We bought this mare from our good friend and fellow breeder, Loucky Hagens. She is Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Ulft, out of the Wendy line. Those of you who were at the meeting at our place on May 1st can vouch for what kind of mover she is--probaby the best we've ever had on the farm. As you can imagine, I've been really excited about the possibilities of what she can produce for our program. Well, let me tell you, if she continues to put foals on the ground like this one, I think she may well turn out to be our best producer.
If you look at the breeding on this colt, you'll either think I'm brilliant or crazy. He has Amor in his pedigree six times...Furioso five times...and a strong concentration of phenomenal Thoroughbred blood--so much so that he is genetically over 40% Thoroughbred. And, better yet, in phenotype, he looks as if he is almost half Thoroughbred. This is a beautiful colt. Dish face. Leggy, leggy, leggy. Uphill. Beautiful shoulder. Two testicles (this seems to be an issue for us with really special colts...). Let's hope he can move. He's a little scrunched up right now from being a super leggy baby out of a first-time-foaling mom, but I think he's going to unfold into something extraordinary. Franco SSF, after James Franco, "Jimmy" for short.
June 10, 2010
Topic: Some Thoughts on Totilas
Since I can hardly be viewed as unbiased, since we've shelled out the mula for a Totilas breeding, I've opted not to post on the recent thread about Totilas on the Chronicle Forum. I don't know whether or not he was presented at two and a half, but, if he was, he wouldn't have been that interesting on paper.
One, Gribaldi had a number of sons selected for the performance test in the couple of years prior, and none of them turned out to be anything too special. As a matter of fact, none of them went on to become approved. Combine this with a mareline that reads Glendale x Akteur x Pericles xx x Farn, and you have a colt that is by a stallion who doesn't seem to be producing stallion sons and is out of a really old-fashioned mareline. Pedigree alone might have kept him out of the approvals. This was also around the time that people were questioning Gribaldi's temperament and the temperament of his offspring.
Two, Totilas is not a modern type. Look at the horses that were approved in his year: Three Krack C sons, Tuschinksi, Trento B, and Tolando; Troy; Turbo-Magic, the Cabochon x Cocktail son who I think has died; and Tenerife. Physically, Totilas doesn't really fit into this picture. What we know now reminds me of conversation to which I've referred before. When I asked Jacques Verkerk about his obsession with the modern type in relationship to Judgement's type, he replied, "Yes, but he uses his body in a modern way." At the time, I felt rebuffed, but, over time, I've come to see what he meant. Totilas is this kind of horse. His type is secondary to the way he uses his body. In a jumper, such as Judgement, it was easy to see his talent as a three year old, because we got to see him jump. For Totilas, piaffe, passage, canter pirouettes, and extended trots were years away. Should an expert panel of horsemen be able to predict which two and a half year old horses have the capacity for the high demands of collection and extension at the upper levels of dressage? Maybe. In any case, it's not as easy as watching a three year old Judgement sail over a gymnastic with an oxer the size of a house at the end of it.
It remains to be seen whether or not Totilas is going to prove to be a sire of any importance. As a matter of fact, we're probably eight to ten years away from any certainty about it. For me, he's an exciting match for my breeding program. I want his suppleness and his incredible temperament. Hopefully, we'll get a pregnancy this weekend when we use our first precious dose.
In other news, we have a new foal this morning UB-40 x Sir Sinclair. Chestnut colt with tons of white. Will write more about him in a bit. We're also dealing with a most unfortunate tragedy concerning Werites. I'll write about it when I can. Send positive vibes to New Bolton for me.
May 27, 2010
Topic: As Always in Breeding, the Good News and the Bad
OK. Call me a fool, but I'm trying one last time for an ET--Werites double-ovulated to Alexandro P semen last Sunday. We flush on Monday. Just my luck, we get no ET success for years, then we get a double ovulation that will probably result in two embryos, two recipient mares, and the fees that go along with two mares! The Alexandro P frozen looks phenomenal, according to Judy Yancey. There's a new clip on youtube of an Alexandro P x Balzflug foal at the Van Manen stallion show. The colt is bred by Mark van Nunen. Although the footage doesn't afford much of a view of the colt, there's a transcript of the announcer's comments...and...the announcer is none other than Jacques Verkerk. You can read it for yourself, but, basically, he's extremely positive about the colt's use of his hind leg and expressive front--the comment is something to the effect of "super talent for dressage." For you doubters or hesitaters out there, I'm telling you Alexandro P is going to end up being an important dressage stallion for the KWPN. I seriously thinking about breeding a second mare to him this year.
With any luck, tomorrow will be the hat-trick of the semen shippers arriving at SSF. Kathy is shipping our Uphill frozen; Merijane is shipping our Ferro; and, I'll believe it when I see it, Holstud is shipping our Totilas. It killed me to see Orchis in such a good heat over last weekend and not have the Totilas frozen. Guess I just have to trust that everything works out for the best. Maybe next cycle's follicle contains the "golden" egg! Or the goose. Actually, my preference would be the goose that lays the golden eggs.
We're looking at a phenomenal schedule for the June 26th meeting at Imajica: show and tell of Madeleine's breeding program, Grand Prix demo with Lizzie on Olivier; demo on how to ride the IBOP; and, last but not least, Faith Fessenden on pedigrees and a video presentation of the KWPN's foundation sires. Not to mention, I'm sure we'll be involved in some fun dining and partying along the way. Typically, when a new club/organization is started, the first meeting is well attended and everyone is super excited. By the time you get to the second meeting, it's not as well attended as the first, and people aren't quite as enthusiastic. Don't let that happen here--this is going to be a phenomenally beneficial educational experience you couldn't get anywhere else. No one else has accessible video footage of these stallions. I know the whole Tolman family is planning on attending.
Here's our sad news. Our Contango x Amor mare, Nanette, had a gorgeous filly by UB-40, on the Friday night, April 30th, before our first New England Breeders meeting. The filly has a cleft palate. From all we have read and have heard, it's congenital and only happens once in a thousand foals. Well, there have been some instances in which horses born with a cleft palate survive and go on to productive lives. More often than not, however, the foal aspirates, develops pneumonia, and has to be euthanized. Fawnette SSF will be a month old this weekend. She has seemed to thrive until this week. I'm pretty sure it will be her last weekend. She's getting more and more lethargic and has a severely congested nose most of the time now. It's really a shame; she's a beautiful filly. We investigated the surgery option, but the success rate is only 60%, and the cost is between 8,000 and 10,000 dollars. I decided to let her live as long as she was not suffering--it could be a sad weekend.
May 22. 2010
Topic: I'm Not Breeding This Weekend
Yes, I'm seriously bummed. So you know, I've requested from the beginning that the Totilas frozen be handled by a broker rather than shipped to each of individually. Well, we can't get our shipment this week because the health papers have been filled out incorrectly, by one word, on the other side of the pond. Evidently, all shipments coming from Europe have to read that the stallion was washed with a Chlorhexidine wash before collection. If this one word isn't there, the current USDA people don't allow the shipment. Orchis is in a good heat. I have a free weekend. we have no Totilas frozen. Did I know to caution the shippers of this new requirement? Oh, no. Would a broker who is accostumed to importing semen on a regular basis have known this? OOh, yes. Ironically, we received the invoice from our bank for the total of the Totilas breeding on the same day at we received the email that the frozen wasn't coming. Makes me crazy.
Three UB-40 foals due in the next two weeks. None of the mares has really decided to bag up yet. Has anyone else experienced UB foals typically decided to reside in the uterus longer than the normal foal? We've had five so far, and only one has been born on time.
May 17, 2010
Topic: Here we go...
OK. My dry shipper arrived in Holland today, en route to pick up our three doses of Totilas. If the gods of horse-breeding and semen-shipping hold out, we should be breeding Orchis next weekend. Just received an email from a friend, who sent me the latest mailing from Dressage-News: Only six mares in the USA were selected--among them, Brentina. Guess Ms. Orchis is in pretty good company! Wish us luck.
April 10, 2010
Topic: First Meeting of the New England Breeders of Dutch Horses
Sorry that the name keeps changing every time I write it--we didn't even discuss what we're calling ourselves. At any rate, due to some circumstances beyond my immediate control, this posting is much delayed. Please, take that as nothing more than my schedule and not the success of our first meeting.
We were blessed with a near perfect Saturday afternoon and evening. People started arriving between 1 and 2:00. At around 2:30, we began with the show and tell of SSF horses. I don't remember the exact order, but these are the horses:
Carpe Diem SSF (Farrington x Pass the Glass xx) Carpe is our second chestnut filly out of an exceptional TB mare we recently had to put down. Since the horses we know we're keeping don't receive the same attention and handling that the horses we're selling, I thought it best that Ms. Carpe had a spin around the show and tell paddock before we used her for linear scoring later in the afternoon...not sure it made any difference, however! She's a big, powerful girl who is definitely getting a program this summer.
LaVita keur pref. (Elcaro x Belisar) She was not happy about this...after the keuring at which she became preferent, I promised her she wouldn't have to do these inane displays of purposeless movement. She stood in her stall and pouted for the rest of the afternoon. Literally, at her last keuring, she dug a hole in her stall deep enough to stock fish, and, when being led toward the trailer to leave, she broke free and put herself on the rig, without her foal. Nonetheless, heavily pregnant and really irritated with me, she still can move.
Bowendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Ulft) This mare garnered some oohs and aahs from the crowd. She was born blind in one eye, so she can never be in the studbook, but she moves like a slinky.
Oleander B ster (Havidoff x Ramiro x Elan xx) This mare is also heavily pregnant, so we didn't push her, but it was obvious from her unbelievable ability to bend her joints how she's produced such top babies over the last few years.
Buttercup SSF (Diamond Hit x Havidoff), with her UB-40 colt, Fabio SSF. This was fun to see, as Fabio, aka, Froggy, is the great great grandson of our first Dutch mare. Buttercup also looks fabulous. I probably should have waited a year more to present her--she has stretched out and is really moving well. Froggy demonstrated for all how he got his nickname. He's a flashy, flashy, bouncy boy.
Orchis (Jazz x Roemer) with her Rousseau filly, Felicites SSF. Orchis gets better and better with age. Her movement is more lovely than ever. And, I know this year's filly blew people away. I've been smitten since she was born, so it was nice to have such a positive reaction to her.
Next, we were treated to some time with Liz Austin and KC Dunn's lovely Rousseau x Farrington mare, Allure, bred by Dan and Gina Ruediger. Liz invited questions while we watched her braid and tack up Allure. Once down at the dressage ring, Liz explained her process of introducing horses to new places and began her warm-up. For about 30 minutes, Liz rode, talked, and gradually asked more and more of Allure--all the time, explaining to the crowd her methods and reasons. Liz took questions through out. At the end of their session, Liz untacked Allure and we began our discussion of the linear scoring. We discussed the purpose of linear scoring and looked specifically at the points of the linear score sheet that I personally find most important in breeding.
As an aside, due to the void of Dutch breeders in her area and her love of KWPN-inspired conversation, KC Dunn was in attendance at our New England meeting. Of interest to many of the spectators was KC's success with ET. She has nine foals from Allure, all via ET.
Next, while I went off getting dinner ready to be served, Kathy Hickerson took the crowd through the actual scoring of Carpe Diem SSF (Farrington x Pass the Glass xx), using copies of the form the jury uses. I wasn't there, but from what I understand, Keagan Tolman's wrestling tenacity came in handy in running this mare for the crowd...as I've said, we don't handle the keepers anywhere near as much as we should... I've saved all of the linear score sheets, and the person who has scored the mare closest to how the jury scores her at this year's keuring wins a breeding to Donatelli.
During dinner, we began a discussion of what we'd like to accomplish as a group, talked about some goals for our region, and agreed that we'd like to meet on a regular basis. I won't go into the specifics of a major marketing strategy that we've decided to explore, but I'm excited about it.
Our next meeting is scheduled for a weekend in late June or early July, at Liz and Madeleine Austin's Imagica. Faith Fessenden has agreed to do a video presentation of the foundation sires of the KWPN studbook, and we'll do a clinic on preparing for and riding the IBOP. More details to follow.
Our third meeting will be part of the KWPN-NA Education Seminar, held the day before our keuring, at Pineland Farm, on September 10th. Our winter meeting will be at Dayna Gant's Apple Lane Farm, in Lancaster, Ma., date and agenda to be announced. (sorry not to clear it before posting, Dayna, but you offered--hope it's still OK!)
All and all, it was a great day and really well-received. Having been to many KWPN-NA Annual Meetings, I can say that our smaller meeting served a very similar purpose, in that it provided networking opportunities and a prime setting for good conversation and the generating of ideas. Of course, it was free and had no budget other than the generosity of everyone who attended (I still haven't gone through all the cheese, crackers, coffee, half and half, wine, homemade breads, or non-alcoholic beverages people were kind enough to bring), so we can't afford to fly in quite the panel of experts the KWPN-NA is able to provide--but the educational benefits were/are huge, nonetheless.
A huge thanks not only to everyone who contributed to the olfactory success of the day, but also to Team Tolman who came through in HUGE way under some rather unexpected circumstances: Carol, Michaela, Keagan, Helaine, Teagan, and Caleb. It always makes me so satisfied with life to see my family shine.
April 28, 2010
Topic: Get-together This Weekend
Joe has posted directions on the bottom of the homepage--just scroll down. My cell phone doesn't work so hot at the farm, so if you can't get in touch with me, just leave a message on the home phone. I'll have coffee and tea available during the day, though we may want cold drinks. Am planning on grabbing a case of wine, making a pastitsio (one of my very favorites) and a Greek salad. If anyone wants to bring cookies to have with coffee, that would be cool. Carolyn Olivier's husband make's killer breads, so she's bringing rolls. If there's something else you think you have to have, bring it.
Should be a blast! Hopefully, the third foal will be on the ground by the weekend.
April 27, 2010
Topic: Felicites SSF!
Finally, Sunday night, just in time for me to be ready for Monday morning back at school...Orchis delivered a really special Rousseau filly. I'm thrilled with this filly. If I hadn't already committed to Totilas, Orchis would go right back to Rousseau. So, yes, Johan Knoppert and Emmie de Jeu, I should have listened to you both years ago.
Fabio SSF, aka, Froggy, is one of the funniest foals we've ever had. What a character! I can't wait for people to meet him this weekend.
Speaking of this weekend, I'm sorry not to return calls and emails more promptly--last night I actually slept from 8:30 to 4:00 and feel as if I can actually move my limbs today--I'll send out mass directions, an updated schedule (still starting at 1), and, most importantly, THE MENU in a day or so.
April 25, 2010
Topic: Sleep Deprivation
I feel as if I'm part of some government torture experiment. One mare at 348 days; one at 337; two foaling stalls with cameras; one birth alarm belt; and a wife who can sleep through the night because she knows her compulsive husband is going to be awake every hour to hour and a half to fumble for the remote and aim across the bed at the TV. So far, we've had four false alarms with the belt--Orchis lies flat out at least twice a night...after ten days of watching Nanette, I've never seen her lie down in her stall, let alone stretch out into the foaling position, so I put the birth alarm belt on her last night...she lies down in her stall. Both mares are comletely bagged. Orchis is waxed. Nanette was actually at 340 days on the 17th, the same day as Buttercup who had the sense to foal not only on time but also at the beginning of my vacation. I'm back on school schedule as of tonight, so by the time some of you see me on Saturday at our first KWPN-NA/NE meeting, I may just be smiling faintly and nodding in your direction. If I appear to recognize you, for God's sake prompt me with a glass of wine and push me toward the barn.
April 18, 2010
Topic: Fabio SSF
Our first foal of the 2010 season has arrived! Welcome, Fabio SSF (UB-40 x Diamond Hit x Havidoff). This great great grandson of our foundation mare, Weigelia, is a bright bay, with four white feet and a white stripe on his face. Adorable and so, so elegant. We'll get some pictures in the next couple of days.
April 17, 2010
Topic: May 1st New England Dutch Breeders' First Meeting
Things are shaping up. I've just started my April vacation, so Carol and I can tidy things up a bit around here. My new kitchen is still not done, so you all may be entering a construction zone, but I promise good food and fun beverages.
Schedule so far:
Lizzie Austin is bringing KC Dunn's Rousseau mare, Allure. Allure has been in Florida all winter with Lizzie, and we're going to be lucky enough for Ms. Austin to give us a mini-clinic on how she starts and brings along her young prospects.
We'll do a show and tell of the SSF breeding program. Hopefully, three foals will be on the ground by then, plus the broodmares and young stock that are part of our program.
I'm planning a linear scoring demo, with some hands-on practice...which will culminate with a linear scoring competition. Our Farrington x Pass the Glass xx three-year-old will be competition subject. She will receive her scores for real at this year's keuring, so whoever gets the closest to the jury's scoring will win a free breeding to Donatelli!
Have a coule more things in the works that I don't want to divulge until I know for sure.
Eventually, we'll head in and start our discussion of what we can accomplish as a group, set up the next meeting with Faith Fessenden, etc.
Then I'm cooking dinner and we start the party!
Let me know if you're planning on crashing on my floor or need hotel info. nearby. I've heard from around 30 people, but if you can confirm that you're coming, that would be great for my food planning.
Really looking forward to this!
April 15, 2010
Topic: Oh, well.
Hemorrhagic follicle this cycle--no breeding for Ms. Werites. Two tries is my limit, so now it's to the vetting (knock on wood this goes well). Let's just hope Ms. Orchis gives us another filly or two over the next few years. We do have a 2011 foal on order from this mareline, but it's a bit of a bummer not to have Werites contribute genetically to our program.
Of course, this puts my breeding picks completely into flux, yet again. I'm sure you're surprised! We've liked our Donatelli babies so much and have had so much demand for them that I should probably keep breeding to him until the frozen runs out. That would give you folks at least a couple years of not having to listen to me waffle about stallion picks. I'm not sure what I'd do with all of my extra time, but I'm sure I'd find something else to obsess over.
Good news: Princess (ZaVita SSF (Contango x LaVita)) has been home eleven days and I've ridden nine times. This is the most I've ridden in a ten day period since I was a kid. I'm having an absolute blast.
April 10, 2010
Topic: Lots of Updates
I've had tons of interest in the May 1st New England Dutch Breeders Support Group, so, yes, it's a definite. Haven't had a chance to put together a mailing so everyone in New England knows about it--spread the word. I'll post agenda, times, etc. when it gets a little closer. Looks as if we might have some really special "non-New England" guests....
So, three mares have started to bag. Nanette and Buttercup are at 333 days today; Orchis is at 322. From the looks, Orchis is going to foal first. I start April vacation as of next Friday night, so I'm hoping all three wait so my sleepless nights can be accompanied by sleep-full days!
Our ET luck continues to hold...no success with Ms. Werites on the first flush. We get one more try before she begins the exporting process. I've given Judy Yancey the go-ahead to use our dose of Alexandro P this time. Emotionally, combining one of the best horses we've ever bred with one of the best horses the Peters family has ever bred really appeals to me. If we can get a foal, I'll bet it knows how to use its hind legs. For those of you contemplating ET, my best wishes and my condolences. We are now at eight total flushes; six embryos; no foals--with two different mares over three different breeding seasons. We easily could have purchased a nice mare in Holland, bred her, and imported her for what we've spent. Ever the optimist (my family members will be rereading this line two or three times before continuing...), I still believe we will get a baby from Werites before she goes to Germany.
Just received an email with more specifics about the Totilas breeding. Holy crap, am I excited about this! I'm dying to know who else applied and had a mare accepted. Let me know if you know.
Well, here we go again with breeding picks. Now that the Don Schufro didn't take and I'm using my Alexandro P in a different cross than I'd planned, I guess I'm forced to think about potential crosses yet again. What a hardship. Fortunately, I'm up to the task:
Totilas x Orchis (Jazz x Roemer)
Alexandro P x Werites (Freestyle x Jazz)
UB-40 x Nanette (Contango x Amor)
Ferro x LaVita (Elcaro x Belisar)
Uphill x Oleander (Havidoff x Ramiro)
Uphill x Sanette (Jazz x Contango)
Uphill x Carpe Diem SSF (Farrington x Pass the Glass xx)
and I'm completely undecided on BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Ulft)
I think I need to see her foal before I make this decision.
We have some new pictures on our testamonials link (from the home page). Adonis SSF and Eza Vita SSF are both looking spectacular. Below are a couple of pictures of Aerosmith SSF. Thanks to Francois LaChance for sending them to me. This is a special mare.
March 26, 2010
Topic: Mud Season is in Full Swing
Let me start by saying congratulations to Francois LaChance on the purchase of Aerosmith SSF (Iroko x Pass the Glass xx). Stevie has been a farm favorite, and if we had decided to build a jumper breeding program, she never would have left the program. Our dressage focus is Francois's gain, however. She will become the heart of his jumper breeding program. Congrats on acquiring this special mare.
I don't know about the rest of you folks, but we're experiencing one of the muddiest mud seasons ever! It looks as if we're going to have to hire an excavator to get rid of it and bring in some gravel. My only consolation is that maybe all of the rain will end in time for a good first crop of hay. We've fed more grain this winter than ever, all because of the crappy nutritional value of the hay.
My friend, Johan, who has so willingly offered to answer your KWPN jumper questions, is also always willing to offer his opinions of my breeding picks! Well, I think he's convinced me to make a couple of switches in my breeding picks:
Uphill x Havidoff (gives us a really interesting cross with no Jazz, Ferro, or Flemmingh) Alexandro P x Farrington (doubles up on the Doruto)
Thanks to all of you who have sent such positive emails about the Totilas x Orchis breeding. I know a partial list of the mares in Holland that have been accepted for him, and it is staggeringly impressive. It's also reassuring to have the top KWPN dressage breeders in Holland believe what I believe about this horse.
Werites is at Judy Yancey's farm. Send pregnant thoughts towards Ocala.
March 16, 2010
Topic: Updated Breeding Picks
Well, if you've read the latest couple journal entries, you realize that Scot has to, yet again, revise his breeding plans for the year. What a hardship--to be forced into thinking about stallion picks. Poor me. Having said this, let me extend a huge thank you to Merijane Malouin for donating to the KWPN-NA Silent Auction. The Tolman family is delighted to have been the high bidder on the dose of Ferro frozen.
Here's the current list:
TOTILAS!!!! X ORCHIS!!!! (Jazz x Roemer) Don Schufro x Werites SSF (Freestyle x Jazz) Olympic Ferro x BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Ulft) UB-40 x Nanette (Contango x Amor) Alexandro P x Oleander B (Havidoff x Ramiro) Uphill x Carpe Diem SSF (Farrington x Pass the Glass xx) Merlin x LaVita (Elcaro x Belisar) Olivier x Sanette (Jazz x Contango)
We have never bred to this many different stallions in one year, but some really exciting crosses.
March 14, 2010
Topic: Big News
We received an email Friday afternoon, while at the Annual Meeting in Florida, that Orchis has been accepted as one of ten mares in the USA to receive a breeding to Totilas. I don't know how to express how excited we are this breeding.
In equally big news, it looks as if Werites SSF (Freestyle x Orchis) is moving to Germany. Michael Klimke spent three days with Jim in Florida the week before last, working on piaffe and passage. After the three days working with Werites, Michael made us the proverbial "offer we couldn't refuse." So, Judy Yancey has graciously agreed to help us get a Don Schufro ET before Werites makes the trip to Germany--Jim is dropping her off in Ocala this week on his way home from Florida.
Not bad for a small breeding farm in New Hampshire, huh? Keep your fingers crossed that it all works out.
March 10, 2010
Topic: Q and A w/Scot and Johan
A few weeks ago, I forwarded an offer my friend Johan made to journal readers, to answer jumper-related questions about Dutch horses and breeding. The first question and answer has been posted under the Q and A link above. Many thanks to Johan for his willingness to share his knowledge and experiences as an "indigenous" Dutch breeder!
Off to the Annual Meeting! Florida can't be much nicer than NH is today--high 50s and sunny. Should have some major breeding news to share with you folks by the time I get back!
March 6, 2010
Topic: Princess and KWPN-NA/NE
I rode my mare today. This may not be a big deal for many of you who actually get to ride on a regular basis, but it's a big deal for me. I've had her back in training for two months to get some muscle on her body before she has to start carrying my bulk around the ring and trails. It was good. Once I get back from Florida next week, I'll be riding a couple times a week, then bring her home. Pretty exciting to finally be in a place in which I can actually be riding a horse that I bred for me to ride.
We've had super response to the idea of a New England support group of Dutch breeders/riders. One, I agree completely with Dayna Gant's suggestion that this be a quarterly meeting. We're going to count our May meeting as our spring meeting. Two, since we have so many people interested in doing this, I've taken the liberty of beginning the organization of the summer meeting...Ms. Faith Fessenden has agreed to come to New England for a weekend, with her video tapes of all the foundation Dutch sires, and do a presentation for us. Hopefully, while she's here, she can talk us through a couple of IBOPs as well. This is a huge treat for New England members. Faith has a video collection that doesn't exist anywhere else. It's amazing to see the horses that are the basis for what we're breeding today--it's a weekend not to be missed. Have had a couple of people offer their farms for our get-togethers, as well as a number of people offer to cook, bring refreshments, etc. I'm excited. This could be a really helpful, educational, and entertaining enterprise. Am going to try to get a list of addresses from the KWPN-NA office to make sure we don't leave anyone out.
The Tolman family has a couple of other big news items to share, but not yet. Will keep you posted.
March 3, 2010
Topic: First Idea
OK. I told you that things would get dangerous around here once I recouped from mega-stretch of theatre. I've had a couple of ideas kicking around for a bit--now seems as good a time as any to mention the first idea: I want to start the first regional support group for KWPN-NA members. It's an idea that I've floated at national meetings and among friends, but never actually done anything about doing it.
What I envision:
A monthly or bimonthly get-together at the farm of a New England breeder/owner/rider/trainer--since my primary interest is in breeding, that's more my focus. I'm willing to host the first one, or all of them for that matter, but that would defeat the purpose.
At these meetings, we talk Dutch horses; talk marketing strategies for the region--maybe some group advertising or sales tours; educate other breeders in bloodlines, linear scoring, etc.; organize the annual New England keuring; bring in a jury member, or board member, or breeder from Holland who is willing to talk to us and be part of the educational process; drink wine and eat good food; see each other's horses; do some hands on analysis of conformation and movement...and on and on.
There is no hidden motive, intention, or desire to usurp or undermine the KWPN-NA--just the opposite, in fact. I'd like to see every region eventually have a regional support group. New England could be a model--other regions can learn from our mistakes. I'm not thinking there's any membership fee or anything. This is purely to promote Dutch horses and their breeders/owners/riders in New England.
So, my place, Saturday afternoon, May 1st. I'll organize a program for the day, we'll look at some horses, and over dinner(my new kitchen should be done by then...) and wine, talk about the possibilities of starting this group, the KWPN-NA/NE.
I'm going to try and get a mailing list from the office for New England and New York, so I can reach more people, but if you're interested and know you'd like to come, let me know. Worst case scenario, you to see a couple of cool horses, have me cook for you, and get a glass of wine to boot!
February 18, 2010
Topic: Some Photo Treats and an Oversight
Here are some pictures, taken by Francois LaChance of Totilas and of the Florencio x Jazz, out of the Wendy line.
Oversight: I didn't mention Apache (UB-40 x Krack C)--LOVE this horse. He is hot, hot, hot, but, oh, my god, can he move, bend, sit, exude ability. I'm competely crazy about his foals, too.
February 17, 2010
Topic: Stallion Show 2010, final thoughts
Before I get to the Stallion Show thoughts, I have to acknowledge the incredible 20 years Carol and I've spent together. Today is our anniversary. There can be few people more in love or better suited to one another. Shooting Star farm is, indeed, a place where dreams come true.
So, final thoughts about the Stallion Show 2010:
-The KWPN-NA has asked me to write a piece for the membership, so I'm going to save some comments and analysis for that article
-It will be difficult for other studbooks to catch up with the degree of talent we're producing.
-My picks for the Championship Ring would have been as follows:
Oscar x Corleone
Uphill x Vincent
Florencio x Jazz
Winningmood x Oscar
Winningmood x Contango
Uphill x Rhodium
This, obviously, would have been even more of a van Norel year had I been judging.
-Totilas: Holy shit, what can I say? I expected to be blown away by this horse, but, still, I'm not sure how to process what I saw. His overall athleticism is astounding. More astounding, however, is his temperament. Those of you who have ridiculed the studfee and the would-be breeders in his first, unproven year at stud, get over yourselves. I maintain, if there is a way that I can breed either Orchis or Werites to this horse, I will find the means to do it. If the resulting foal looks like Totilas, he or she will have a shortish, thickish neck; fairly square conformation; and a shorter than is currently desirable front leg. Word to the KWPN, if you're promoting the success of Totilas as being an example of the finest Dutch breeding, you need to take a look at what your touting as the "best" type for a dressage horse. This horse has the combination of brain and athleticism that says, "Oh, you want my front leg a little higher? No problem. And, you'd like me to sit just a little more in the piaffe? I can do that for you. What? That pirouette wasn't tight enough for you? How about this one?" I've seen Edward Gal ride for a number of years, and I haven't always been a fan. Sometimes, his horses come out like "dressage on steroids". Totilas is more extreme than any other horse I've seen Edward ride, but it's all giving and talent--nothing looks hyped up or forced. Is the whole package a little over the top? Maybe. But, Totilas and Edward Gal have redefined what it means to be a top dressage combination.
-Parzival: I've now seen all three of the KWPN's top dressage horses up close and personal. Parzival exemplifies the type the studbook is prescribing. His training is SO correct. You've never seen more correct collected work than what this horse and rider combination achieves. Are his gaits as expressive and as extreme as Totilas's? No. But he's equally as cool. It's taken him longer to settle down into being a consistent performer--the last time I saw him, at Zwolle a couple years ago, he backed around the ring and into the judges box. He was Mr. Calm, Cool, and Collected this time. Very collected. Love this horse.
-Voice: This DeNiro son has been one of my favorites for years. He's grown so much and developed so much muscle that I didn't recognize him. He was brilliant, and blew away the under-muscled, sickly looking Vivaldi.
-Vivaldi: Again, I have to say that those of in North America who got burnt by the owners of Vivaldi, actually have been done a favor. This is not a horse you want in the gene pool. He does have some expressive movement, but he is so unhealthy looking. I'm not a vet, but there's something not right about this horse. His movement is certainly expressive, but that's where it ends for me.
-Citango: This horse looks better and better every time I see him. He's going to make it all the way to Grand Prix. There is frozen available from him, but no one was interested the last time I offered it. His one son at the Stallion Show looked really good. I was surprised they didn't accept him. Could have been the Iglesias damline.
-Ampere: This poor horse looked over-used and frazzled. I'm still a fan of Ampere, but my guess is that his management has not put the horse's welfare first. Word is that he performed at 14 Stallion Exhibitions in Germany last year, plus bred a ton of mares. The money must be enticing, but it's a shame to exhaust and fry such a special horse.
-Alexandro P: This horse is still one of my favorites. He looked tired and didn't move as well as I've seen him in the past, but his tact, balance, and overall self-carriage was still outstanding. It will be fun to see his second foal crop since his first was so well received. I've heard of some top notch dressage mares, from some very famous trainers and breeders, that are expecting Alexandro P babies this spring.
-Bordeaux: He looks good. I specifically asked an authority figure about the OCD issue and the class C xrays, and was told that it's not OCD, but OC. That KWPN is recommending that he be bred to elite mares. Again, he looked really good.
-As I mentioned when I started this series of entries, I'm just not comfortable commenting on the jumpers. It's not my area of interest and I didn't see enough of them to make a fair observation. That being said, for you jumper breeders out there, a friend of mine from Holland has volunteered to take questions about the jumpers and jumper breeding, and supply the answers through my journal. He is obsessed with jumpers and jumper breeding. So, if anyone wants to forward a question about a horse in the selection or a stallion in general, I'll forward it to Holland and post the answer.
So, I'm off to take a hot tub with my wife. If I haven't talked about a horse one of you is particularly interested in, let me know and I'll post more. My nephew and web-guru is off to Cancun next week, so this will most likely be the last post this month.
February 15, 2010
Topic: Stallion Show, part six
Before I start this entry, I have a correction to make. A friend of mine in Holland emailed to tell me that the horse I was so confused about having been accepted, 485, Johnson x Sultan x Fresco, was, indeed, not accepted. This is a good thing! Sorry to have confused anyone. If anyone else notices any discrepancies, please let me know.
1:00: Offspring of Oscar, Uphill, Krack C, Tuschinski, and United: 528, 621, 624, and 630:
This was, by far, the most exciting group of young dressage stallions of the stallion show. It contained two of the six in the championship ring, and, possibly, it should have contained three of the six. And...HUGE NEWS FLASH!! VDL is making Uphill frozen semen available for North American breeders for THIS breeding season.
Here's a quotation from my 2001 journal:
"Oscar, Cabochonís stable mate. This is a young Wolfgang x Nabuur son that will prove to be one of the KWPN future dressage producing super stars. We saw nearly a dozen of his foals, and all of them had lovely temperaments and phenomenal movement."
I have believed in this horse from the beginning, and have been on the look out for an Oscar son or daughter to import for years. Well, this year, not only does he sire the champion of the Stallion Show, but he's the damsire of the reserve champion and grandsire of another in the final six. Had there been no politics at play, four or five out of the six would have had Oscar blood in the first couple generations of their pedigrees.
528 Oscar x Corleone x LeFaquin xx Marco Polo: The full brother of this horse was aangewezen last year. Word is that van Norel decided not to send him to the testing because he knew that the full brother was the better horse, and he didn't want to jeopardize this horse getting approved. For my money, this horse is the epitome of KWPN breeding. He's gorgeous; powerful; phenomenal hind leg; unbelievable bending of the joints; supple; super type; super conformation; three super gaits. The mare line is beset with sport horses. The pedigree is a really interesting blend of all-rounders that specialize in dressage. You've got 34% TB blood, combined with the best foundation Trakehner blood in Dutch breeding, the Holsteiner C line, and good old Dutch Gelders breeding. This horse was the clear favorite of both the crowd and the jury, and rightfully became champion of the dressage horses.
The Uphills absolutely rocked the house. The Uphill x Rhodium and the Uphill x Vincent were the two best. ALL of the Uphills were taken to the third ring, but only three were aangewezen. It certainly looked like a clear statement from the Stallion Selection Committee that breeders are to take this stallion seriously.
621 Uphill x Rhodium x Cabochon x Zeoliet: Powerful horse; great conformation; elegant; substantial bone; gorgeous leg technique. This horse received a double star in my grading system, and would have been among the top horses had I been picking the top six.
624 Uphill x Havidoff x Apollonius xx x Pretendent: Again, here's pure van Norel breeding for you--six generations of it. Really nice type; beautiful model; easy, lifted canter; could have a little more power.
630 Uphill x Vincent x Zebulon x Symfonie: This horse was bred by the Laarakkers family, and is owned by our beloved VDL!!! Which means, we'll have frozen semen from this horse next year. This is an absolutely gorgeous horse; lifted; supple; powerful. It was a toss up for me until I saw him in the ring at the same time with the Oscar x Corleone which one I really liked better. Those of you who have followed my journal for years and years, know that Vincent is one of my favorite stallions. I can't tell you how excited I am to have access to him this close up in a pedigree. There is no other horse that can produce quite the same degree of power and suppleness in his offspring. I'll be anxiously awaiting the foals from this horse.
1:45: Offspring of Vivaldi: 654, 659, and 661:
If I had been organizing this little shindig called the Stallion Show and had I known ahead of time how disappointing this next group of horses was going to be, I would have switched the order and put my best group last. That, alas, was not the case. Those of us in North America who have fallen prey to the crappy frozen semen from Vivaldi can actually be thankful. Here's a stallion that has produced hundreds and hundreds of foals over the last couple or years. His foals have been champions of keuring after keuring. He had ten sons selected for den Bosch. Few stallions have received the kind of hype that he has. All for naught, as far as I'm concerned.
Here's an overall description of the Vivaldis: They epitomize the modern dressage "type", but have no power, are excessively fine boned, and, most troubling of all, are really stiff and weak in their topline connections and sometimes quite low in the back--they do not come through their backs or use their bodies well. They tend to be a little out behind. This may be an off-the-wall comment, but I've got to say that many of them almost seem sickly. They don't present as robust, solid, long-lasting athletes. For my money, there was one good one out of ten, the Vivaldi x Donnerhall. And, this horse looked a lot more like a Donnerhall than a Vivaldi.
654 Vivaldi x Farrington x Orthos x Marco Polo: Nice shoulder; fits the above description; nice type; lacks power; doesn't use body well.
659 Vivaldi x Montecristo x Casanova x Rinaldo: One of the more elegant Vivaldis; actually one of the better movers, as well. Could be more powerful. Better bending of the joints.
661 Vivaldi x Donnerhall x Hemmingway x Zuidhorn: Had the most bone and most strength of any of the Vivaldis; moved with more power; good bending; moved uphill, but built with a shorter front leg; an average canter; Donnerhall head and body shape. I was surprised to see him selected for the Championship Ring.
My guess is that so many people have bred to Vivaldi and the KWPN has given him so much hype as the perfect type, rewarding him with wins at many stallion competitions, giving his young horses the championship at so many keurings, that it would have been embarassing not to have a Vivaldi in the Championship Ring. Perhaps, there is a place for Vivaldi in Dutch breeding, and now we've learned a lesson about which mares to use with him. We'll see. I've certainly been wrong before. I don't want him in my breeding program.
February 12, 2010
Topic: Stallion Show 2010, part five
11:15: The offspring of Jazz, Johnson, Vic, and Westpoint: aagewezen are 471, 474, 485, 487, and 678
471 Jazz x De Niro x Romancier x Troublemaker xx: This is a horse I'm really excited about. For one thing, Jazz and D line stallions are a major equation in my own breeding lines; for another, he's an ideal type for a breeding stallion. Modern, uphill in both movement and conformation; lot of blood; really a beautiful riding horse. If I'm being really critical, I could ask for a little more power. The mareline is not spectacular, but it looks as if his dam is spectacular. She scored 9, 8.5, and 9 on her gaits, is elite preferent, and has produced one elite mare and three second ring stallions. This horse sold well in the Select Sale, but is probably worth more.
474 Jazz x Ferro x Nimmerdor x H.Alme Z: Cironnn L is a really charming, bay Jazz son. Although I really liked him, he didn't do as much for me as the Jazz x DeNiro. To be honest, I was in the minority on this one. A number of people thought he should have made the championship ring. Not I. He's beautiful; good mover with especially excellent leg technique; could be more uphill, however. Overall, I thought he was a nice, nice type and nice horse.
485 Johnson x Sultan x Fresco x Amor: I'm surprised this horse was accepted. I didn't like him. He doesn't really lift in his movement, and his back drops off significantly behind the wither. Plus, it's double Sultan, which not a line I would double. The mareline is interesting--the KWPN stallion, Dublin, comes out of this line a couple generations back. The dam is a prestatie mare, so that alone may make him worth a try. She's produced two aangewezen stallions, three 2nd ring stallions, one keur mare, three star, and one prok. Again, a mare like this deserves to have her sons considered regardless of what one person thinks about an individual son. He could produce really well. So far, I've not been too impressed with the Johnson sons. They seem a little heavy, but still immature. The movement isn't as powerful as I would like, and it's not always lifted at the wither. Perhaps they just mature late, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Time will tell, but, as of right now, I don't think he's producing as well as many people had hoped. That being said, the following horse was the best of the Johnsons:
487 Johnson x Gribaldi x Variant x Uniform: This Johnson did have decent lift in the wither. He's supple in the back, but holds his neck a little stiffly; a good mover; beautiful front. He made the championship ring. I would not have put him there. He did place 6th out of 6. My guess is he in the grouping because the selection committee wanted at least one horse from the Select Sale in the championship ring. He sold fairly cheaply in the sale--much more cheaply than the Winningmood x Contango who should have been in the championship ring--of course, since he was a wildcard, the jury could not have known he was in the Select Sale. And, if the Winningmood were in the championship ring, that would have made four van Norel horses out of the six...but, we'll discuss this further at the end of these entries.
678 Westpoint x Matterhorn x Indoctro x Saluut: How's this for interesting breeding for a dressage horse? This horse is owned jointly by van Norel, VDL, and Jespers. Beautiful horse; very much a blood type; quite sickle-hocked (and for me to mention it, since sickle-hocks don't bother me, it means he's quite sickle-hocked); elegant; really a lovely and correct mover--fluid. His dam received low scores for movement in her IBOP. The pedigree is mixed jumping and dressage. I'd still breed to this horse. I think we could very well look back on this selection as a wise choice by some really smart breeders who think in multiple generations, rather than just the next generation. Interesting horse which many people thought would not be accepted.
February 10, 2010
Topic: Stallion Show 2010, part four
10:40 Offspring of Lord Leatherdale, Winnngmood, Gribaldi, and Painted Black: 513, 683, 684, 535, and 536
513 Lord Leatherdale x Negro x Landadel x Ulster: I'm a huge fan of Lord Leatherdale offspring, but I wasn't crazy about this one. Super type; little hocky; looks Saddlebred-ish--holds his neck up and back; beautiful front. To his credit, he was much more attractive on Saturday when he was presented in hand. The mareline is not one that I would be really excited about, however--though there have been a couple strong sport horses out of it.
516 Lord Leatherdale x Houston x Democraat x Wisconsin: This horse was not accepted, but I liked him much better than 513. Really harmonious in his conformation and movement; supple; super suspension; good hindle...also, out of the same mareline as Ravel. The stallion selection committee sees these horses over a period of months, plus sees their mothers and knows their lines better than I do--there must have been a reason they didn't accept him, but I thought he was by far the better horse of the two Lord Leatherdales.
683 Winningmood x Contango x Belfalas xx x B.Raimond: This was one of my favorite horses of the whole show--I think he should have been in the championship ring. He became one of the wildcards for the Select Sale, and may have been the highest selling dressage horse--definitely higher than the Johnson x Gribaldi that was in the championship ring. Van Norel's horses rocked the stallion show. I'll talk more about that later. This horse was really harmonious in body and movement; lovely bending of the joints; supple and active; beautiful front; expressive, excellent front leg--again, one of my five favorite horses of the stallion show.
684 Winningmood x Oscar x Adonius (Appollonius x Maykel, NRPS stallion out of a super mareline) x Cabochon: This horse went reserve champion of the stallion show and is pure van Norel breeding for five generations. Again, I'll talk more about this later. Really strong, uphill horse--in movement and conformation; leggy; could be a little more supple; GOOD hindleg; nice type; looks like a real breeding animal. His dam's IBOP scores were 9,9, and 8 for gaits. Another one of my favorites from the stallion show--he clearly belonged in the championship ring.
535 Painted Black x Crosby (Capitol I x Landgraf I) x Capriccio (Cor de la Bryere x Consul) x Macbeth I (Marlon xx x Fasching): Here's some new/old blood for dressage breeding in the Netherlands. Not one of my favorite horses. I didn't really care for either of the Painted Blacks, but both were accepted. This horse is a nice type; good enough and supple mover; good hindleg; narrow in his body. His dam is a sport mare who has produced one other 2nd ring stallion, a ster mare, and a prok mare--but that's it.
536 Painted Black x Goodtimes x Burggraaf x G.Ramiro Z: Similar type to the other Painted Black; nice enough; good uphill conformation; stiff in the canter; also narrow in the body. This horse comes out of a more proven mareline; it also produced the approved stallion, Nourejev, by Cocktail.
Overall, the Painted Blacks just don't do much for me. Nice types. Good enough movers. Painted Black himself looked FABULOUS under Hans Peter. Anky was in Florida, so Hans Peter had the ride during the Gribaldi tribute. I've never seen the horse looks so good. It was the first time that I thought, "Wow. Maybe he should have approved, afterall." He looked incredible.
February 10, 2010
Topic: Stallion Show, part three
9:05: Offspring of San Schufro, Sandreo, Sandro Hit, Santano, Serano Gold, and Valeron
...one horse was accepted from this group. In general, and, again, this is my opinion and my observation, the Sandro Hit line is not crossing as well with the KWPN population as some had hoped. There are, of course, exceptions. It seems the opinion of many people with whom I spoke that Sir Donnerhall may be the best Sandro Hit son (his offspring are in the next group). I'm going to disagree with that and say that Serano Gold is the better producer, but, since he hasn't been promoted/marketed/competed with as much money behind him, he's not going to get the hype that Sir Donnerhall gets. Also, Serano Gold's mareline is much more proven than Sir Donnerhall's. All of this being said, I liked the Sir Donnerhall's better than I thought I would.
580 Serano Gold x Michelangelo x Oldenburg x Lucky Boy xx: This is a lovely horse out of a predicate heavy mareline. He simply radiates quality. Good hindleg; good mover; could have a little more power; beautiful front; really lovely model. This is a horse I would breed to, and I'm really bummed that I lost my two Serano Gold pregnancies last year.
9:40: Offspring of Sir donnerhall, Negro, Rhodium, Special D, Uptown
From this group, three horses are aangewezen: 581, 582, and 633
581: Sir Donnerhall x Polansky x Jazz x Leraar (Solaris xx x Zagreb): The Leraar in the pedigree is interesting in that it is really old breeding. Leraar was an F1 product out of some of the foundation Gelders stock. "Chakakahn" is a pretty, black horse, but really unhappy to be part of the festivities. Well-developed; quick hindleg, but needs more power and lift; good model; good front; crappy attitude. We saw this horse repeatedly because he was in the Select Sale--I never saw him have a happy moment.
582: Sir Donnerhall x Pion x Elcaro x Ferro: Notice the reverse breeding--older sires near the front of the pedigree. Really nice type; pretty horse; nice self-carriage; walk is quite short at times. Interesting that the mother's highest score in her IBOP is an 8 for her walk. This horse is out of the same dam as the Sandreo son, Adamo.
633 Uptown x Jazz x Ferro x Variant: Out of the same mareline as Negro. This horse has a good model; is powerful; needs more expression; short in the reach of the front leg; good hindleg. Looks as if he is going to be a heavy boy.
10:20 Pause! I'll be back, too.
February 9, 2010
Topic: Stallion Show 2010; part 2
8:35: Offspring of Vittorio, Citango, Flemmingh, Florencio, Rubiquil, Scandic
Four horses were accepted from this group: numbers 451, 453, 548, 578
451 Flemmingh x Fruhling x Wellington x Amor: This boy is a REALLY pretty type and out of the Mora line, which is a strong performance and keuring line. As pretty as he is, and as supple as he is in the topline, he doesn't have as much lateral balance as I'd like, which causes him to fling his legs a little bit--he also has a bit of underneck development going on. Still he is a lovely mover to watch.
453 Florencio x Jazz x Ulft x Amor: OK. Here's one of the horses that convinced me I had to go to the Stallion Show this year. He's out of the Wendy line, and bred by Huub van Helvoirt. This is, perhaps, the most consistent keuring and sport producing mareline currently in Holland. Zhivago is out of this line, as is the champion dressage mare of Holland the year before last, and the top selling foals at Borculo the last couple of years. It's a fabulous mareline. Fortunately, thanks to Loucky Hagens, Carol and I have a mare from this line. Anyways, what a horse! He placed third in the championship ring. Absolutely beautiful type; uphill in conformation and in use of his body; outrageous mover; could have a bit more bone in the hindleg. He became a little tense in his walk from time to time, but he's a horse that I would have been happy to bring home and introduce to a number of my girls.
548 Rubiquil x Don Romantic x Neostan x Clavecimbel: I'm kind of suprised that "Captain Jack" was aagewezen. He seems like a solid choice for a sport horse, but just not really special. His dam received 7s and 6.5s on her IBOP and is only prok; his granddam is a foalbook mare with no production record; his great granddam has produced one Z2 horse. The horse himself has nice model; he's supple; has good presence; he's a good enough mover--I'd like to see more tact; he has a beautiful topline. My only thought is that Rubiquil is such a solid citizen and has proven to produce so well that the KWPN wants a son of his approved.
578 Scandic x Silvano N x Flemmingh x Wellington: This boy has one hell of good hindleg. He's so quick and handy that you'd almost think he cut be a cutting horse. Overall, I'd like to see him longer-lined, but he has a beautiful loin connection; is really supple; and has a lot of power. If he develops a little more, he could be quite interesting as a sire.
Have to go grade some papers before I go to bed--more tomorrow.
February 9, 2010
Topic: Stallion Show 2010, part one
First, you can all blame Faith Fessenden for my not posting earlier--she mentioned this great book she was reading(The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo); I saw it at the airport, bought it, and couldn't put it down or do anything else until I finished it. Disturbing book...I barely slept last night due to the content and my absurd propensity for suspension of disbelief, but SO engaging.
Second, as I do every year, this entry needs to start with a caveat: I'm a guy who loves Dutch horses and has been breeding them for 20 years. The following statements are just my opinions and my observations. I have no ongoing affilliation with any stallion owners, nor do I currently stand any stallions. Although, of course, I'm interested in promoting my own program so I can pay my hay bill, my over-riding objective is to support the growth and foster the education of Dutch breeding in North America. I have always believed that we become better individual breeders by improving the bigger picture. If you're not interested in my opinion, don't read this. If you want to make a comment or have a question, send it to me, email@example.com, and I'll do my best to answer in subsequent journal entries.
So, on with it! I've been trying to remember just how many times I've been to the Stallion Show, but I can't. I think my first year was the year of the O stallions. And, although I haven't gone every year since(nor written about it every time), I must have gone at least eight times. That being said, this was the best Stallion Show I've attended in the past 12 years. In trying to organize my thoughts in approaching these next few journal entries, I've decided to not give you my overall-impression-generalizations in way of introduction, but, instead, start with the first group of dressage stallions presented and take it group by group--then come back at the end and do more of a summation. Since dressage is my primary focus, I'm going to ignore the jumpers until after I've gone through the dressage-bred horses.
8 am: Offspring of Daddy Cool, Dancier, Dutch Dormello DDH, Lauries Cursador xx, Son de Niro, and Valdez
Of this group, three are aangewezen/selected to go to the 70 Days Test, numbers 421, 499, and 588.
421 Daddy Cool x Jazz x Ulft x Sultan: This was the first horse out of the shoot, so to speak, and, for me, he really sets the tone for the quality and athleticism of the dressage horses this year. Super type; phenomenal hind leg; uphill/carrying in movement--especially in the canter; big walk; overall, a little short coupled and could have had a smoother neck, wither, shoulder connection--but really athletic and out of a sport and prestatie mareline. He went way more cheaply than I would have thought in the Select Sale
499 Lauries Crusador xx x Wittenger x Smaragd x Eisenherz I: I didn't like this horse. For me all the Lauries Crusador's are stiff in the back and don't come across the topline in their movement. He is a beautiful type and conformation model, but he doesn't use his body well. He's a classic example of a horse that has the "perfect" dressage-type, uphill conformation, but doesn't have the overall athleticism. I will take a shorter front leg and a supple, carrying loin connection over perfect type any day. I don't think that Lauries Crusador will ever be an important sire in Dutch breeding. We need the Thoroughbred blood, so I guess it's worth a try, but not for my breeding program.
588 Son de Niro x Ulster x Lorenz x Pastrocio xx: Again, here was a horse out of a sport and prestatie mareline. His dam, the famous mare, Dolly, also produced an aangewezen son last year by Johnson. This horse is cat-like supple; powerful; great hindleg; perhaps, a little over developed and long in the pasterns. I loved the way this horse used his body, though. He could have been a little more carrying in his movement, but, oh, my god, he was supple. In the end, I think he is probably more of a sport horse than a stallion, but I was pleased that the stallion committee is giving him a chance.
next group in a bit
February 1, 2010
Topic: Would you pay 5000 Euro to breed to Totilas?
Hot news today: Totilas to be available via frozen semen at three Dutch stallion stations...at between 5000 and 5500 Euro, to pre-approved mares.
Already the boards are beginning to buzz with the nay-sayers and the would-be breeders. Would I breed to this horse at this price? Unequivocally, yes.
One, I love the pedigree. I don't want to breed to Gribaldi himself, but I love Kostolany and I love what the line produces a couple of generations out. Glendale was put on the watch list, but his mareline is one of the best in Holland and he, himself, was a kind, workmanlike dressage horse. Akteur is, perhaps, one of the most important horses to have in a sport horse pedigree. Pericles xx brings TB blood that has proven itself over and over again.
Two, the mare line has already produced more than a dozen approved stallions and countless numbers of sport horses. A particular stallion of note out of this mareline is Topas, the Marco Polo son. He was approved conditionally or not approved at all to begin with, I don't remember the story verbatim, but, out of his first foal crop, eight horses became Grand Prix jumpers. Topas himself was not a conformational model, he was too small, and too square. His offspring were athletes, however. Totilas fits this model for me.
Three, no matter what the KWPN prescribes in type or model, the ultimate goal is success at the upper levels of sport. It's been proven time and time again that horses who reach this level of success are more likely to produce offspring that perform at this level. Totilas has now set two world records. Why isn't he worth the 5000 Euro?
I don't have extra money to burn, but, if Totilas's frozen is available in North America and the owners will consent to book the highest ranked dressage-breeding mare in North America to him, I will find the money to breed Orchis to Totilas. Am I a fool? Probably. But, then again, I breed horses and think/hope/dream that I can make my dreams come true--why wouldn't I breed to Totilas?
January 31, 2010
RE: Off to the Stallion Show!!
Macbeth closed last night, and I'm off to the Stallion Show later this week. I'm not planning on taking my laptop, but will start my annual report once I get back. From what I've heard, the Florencio x Jazz, out of the Wendy line, is going to be one of my favorites. Am interested to see if the Vivaldi's look as good as coming three-year-olds as they did as foals. Have a later flight than usual, so will miss most all of the second ring for the jumpers, but will see the third ring. I'm looking forward to catching up with friends and seeing horses. If the schedule isn't lying...Tortilas is performing on Friday night!!! I'll be glued to the warm-up ring--it's always more interesting to me to see the horses warming up than in the stadium. Plus, there's a tribute to Jazz. Should be an amazing Friday night show.
A few of you have emailed asking me more about Furstenball. I don't really know much other than what I've read and watched on videos. His mareline looks phenomenal. He's about as elastic a horse as I've ever seen on video. LOVE his walk. The double Donnerhall might put off some people, but I'd be happy to have a little more bone and rectangular shape in my mares. There's new footage from the Danish licensing that's really quite good:
January 8, 2010
Topic: Is this a scary sight?
So, if anyone wants to get last minute plane tickets, you can crash on the floor of my hotel room! Should be a fun Stallion Show.
January 5, 2010
Topic: Happy New Year!
And yet another year of foals, breeding picks, and all things horsey ahead of us! What could be better? My only new year's resolution is to get back in the saddle this year. My Scottish Tragedy diet has taken almost 40 pounds of my more than ample frame...about 100 more and I'll be ready to start showing again! Princess, aka, ZaVita SSF (Contango x Elcaro) is off at Roger Poitras's getting some muscle on her so she can start carrying me around the dressage ring and trails come spring. Plus, I'm vowing to take a year off from all theatre productions so that I can devote more time to the horses. Of course, that year off can't start until January 30th, the closing night of Macbeth. I spent much of the holidays memorizing a crap load of iambic pentameter. "The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!" "How now you secret, black, and midnight hags. What is't you do?" I can go on...
In this year off from theatre, I plan on riding some more and writing more, but we all know that's not going to keep me any where near my preferred schedule of insanity. So, I've got a couple ideas up my sleeve for some new horse projects. Yes, this could be dangerous. Live and learn doesn't necessarily mean live and don't revisit ideas that didn't work out as originally conceived. After all, I'm that wonderful and odd combination of farmer, artist, and teacher. Can you think of three personality types more idealistic or resilient? And, combined in the same person? Hell, 'm practically a living, breathing hyperbole? I've got to be growing/creating/shaping something. Of course, on the glass-half-empty side of things, I've got to be worried about the weather, alcoholic, and devoid of self-worth. Who knows? Maybe I'll say "screw it all" and join a monastery. They do make wine and really in monasteries, right?
On the breeding front, thanks to a nice email from Jennifer Hoffman, I remember that I still have a breeding outstanding to Facet--so he gets added to the mix. I'm thinking I'll put him on our Farrington x Pass the Glass xx three year old. I originally purchased the breeding for her mom, but, at 22, I don't think she's going to stay pregnant anymore.
For all of you who kindly nudge me when I get behind on journal entries, watch out! Three weeks from now, with much less to do for an extended period of time, I could be dangerous.