email Scot tolmanc@gmail.com

Tolman's Table
Farewell Cookbook
(and thoughts on life)

available for $12.00

Tons of great "Scot" recipes, bits of poetry, and Tolman family stories

Drop me a check at:
PO Box 589
Spofford, NH 03462

December 8, 2011

Topic:

If I had dictating software that I could use in my car, you folks would have more frequent journal entries!  Thanks for your concerns, all is absolutely great--just haven't had a chance to sit down and do a journal entry.  Michaela complained yesterday, as were were having our daily telephone conversation, "I need to talk to you when you're not driving, so you can concentrate.  It's been weeks."  That's my life.  Coffee, chores, shower, Starbucks, school, Starbucks, drive, ride, drive, Starbucks, chores, shower, bed.  Repeat Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Sundays, Carol and I normally get breakfast together first, and there's no school involved.  

To add to my already busy week, we just held Hamlet auditions this week!!!  This is the most exciting theatre production I've been a part of.  Hamlet (deconstructed and electrified).  Will fill you all in as it progresses--doesn't open until the third week of March, so you've got plenty of time to make your plans to travel to NH! Seriously, I don't know if it's the post-cancer thing or my post-50 decision not to do anything that I don't have fun doing, but I'm having a blast. The artist in me is absolutely burgeoning.  At any rate, I've got a production team in place for this show you'd be hard put to find in professional theatre.  Plus, our Hamlet, though only a junior in high school, is a piano maestro.  My whole concept revolves around transforming much of Hamlet's poetry into something more accessible for a contemporary high school audience, so Hamlet is a song writer...original music, deconstructionism in the adaptation, super talent at every level of the team, excited and talented cast...I'm telling you; you want to see this show.

But, if you're a regular reader of my journal, you're probably more interested in horsey news.  Hmmm.  Not a lot to tell you. Let's see:

-I have three mares who (knock on wood) appear still to be pregnant. 

-Between Jane's depth of knowledge and Princess's opinions on the training process, I'm becoming more and more humble each time I ride.  

-No word on the KWPN-NA BOD deal.  

-Have reserved a table at the Stallion Show--there's a whole pack of SSF family, friends, and fans arriving Thursday noon and leaving Sunday noon. 

-Unfortunately, I don't think we'll have time to get up to Wim Cazemier's to see my new Bon Bravour filly.  Hopefully, I get to see her in the flesh before she heads to Ermelo as one of the top mares of 2014!

-Am planning on bringing in my own shipment of frozen from Holland this year.  There's one horse in particular I'm REALLY hoping to get...

-Carol and changed our 22nd anniversary plans, and are headed to Rome for the week instead of Florida--am I going to see any dressage horses in Rome? Probably going to be forced to endure some incredible cuisine and ingest copious bottles of red wine.  I'll just have to deal.

Before I forget, the Tolman family is donating/catering a benefit for the Edge Ensemble Theatre Company in Keene, NH, in January.  There are 48 seats available, at $55. each.  It's the opening night of the The Edge's production of Driving Miss Daisy.  We Tolmans are bringing back our restaurant, Tolman's Table, for one evening.  The menu includes our Cream of Carrot Soup, Popovers, Tolman's house salad, Cinnamon-rubbed Pork Tenderloin, Maple Walnut Chicken, Curried Eggplant, Bourbon Bread Pudding, and Baked Indian Pudding...could be a fun night.  If you're interested in a seat, let me know and I'll get you the contact information.  I think the night is Friday, January 13th.  48 tickets should sell out fairly quickly.  

So,there you go.  I finally get a night off from riding, school work, and auditions, and you get a journal entry.  I promise this won't be the last entry before the holidays hit us.

October 15, 2011

Topic:  Donatelli Frozen 

We have six doses of Donatelli frozen that we're selling to the highest bidder as a benefit for Jim Koford and Rhett.  Let me know if you're interested.  

October 14, 2011

Topic:  Good Things

Today, I discovered that the half-pass is my favorite dressage movement to ride. It's a beautiful movement to watch; when done correctly, it's a beautiful movement to ride.  I think Princess and I got three or four steps of the half-pass to the left today that were good.  That's enough. Those few steps can sustain me for quite a while. 

I had my one-year-post-cancer CAT scan last Saturday.  Tuesday, I received the word that I am cancer-free two times in a row.  For those of you who have not endured the task that is cancer, you can't know the relief this news imparts. 

The KWPN-NA just sent out a newsletter asking for 'letters of interest" for the Board of Directors.  After 21+ years in the organization, for the first time, I'm ready to submit mine.  If you have any interest in having my voice on the BOD, let me know.  If you have concerns about my being on the BOD, as well, let me know. In Holland, the KWPN is an organization that responds and adjusts in response to its membership.  There's no reason we can't have the same cause and effect relationship in North America.

One of my favorite daily activities is to open my email and find a question from someone who wants my opinion on a potential breeding, a mareline in Holland, or a horse to buy.  However, currently, I have 75 public high school seniors who are demanding/needing much of my time, but, please know, I'm always happy to answer your questions.  Just give me a few days to get to it.  Tomorrow, it's the weekend!  I'll catch up on my equine correspondence.

October 5, 2011

Topic: Trying to Half-halt My Life!

I need to sit back, get my ass under me, and take a deep breath. My goodness, things have been crazy. The opportunity to have three to four lessons a week with Jane Hannigan is, without a doubt, the highlight of my many years of riding, but it comes with a price: depending on traffic, four to five hours of my time three to four times each week. My poor horses aren't getting supper until 7:30 or 8:00 pm at least two or three days per week. With all the rain and mud we've had, let me tell you they're ready to come in! No complaints, though--it's an amazing time in my life right now.

As soon as the next issue of Warmbloods Today comes out, I'll post some new pictures of Mazey and Sammy, our two foals from this year. Warmbloods Today has started a new feature that asks a breeder to talk about the "best" horse he or she has ever produced. In the next issue, our Totilas x Orchis filly, Galearites SSF (Mazey), is featured. We needed some good photos, so I enlisted the help of Jenna Leigh Teti. If you haven't heard of Jenna, you need to check out her website: www.jennaleighteti.com She does amazing work. At any rate, the magazine, understandably, wants the photos to appear in print before I start using them. This is a really special filly.

We've started a new program on our Sales Page, "Designer Foals". This is the result of a few serendipitous events. One, our friends, Clark and Richard Moss, wanted a sport pony foal out of our Donatelli mare, D'Orites SSF. Two, someone approached me and asked if I would breed BoWendy specifically for her. Three, my year of health-induced reflection has left me wanting to focus more on riding than on breeding. And, four, our two foals this year are the best two I've ever bred--I'm not feeling the need to produce any more horses specifically for me or for our breeding program. So, Michaela gets Werites (Freestyle x Orchis) to use to practice her breeding skills and eventually produce a filly to start her own breeding program, and Keagan gets Felicites (Rousseau x Orchis) for his. I'm going to keep trying for a stallion prospect out of Orchis. That leaves a number of really high quality mares that I don't need to be breeding every year. The concept is that you contact me and reserve a mare--we talk about what you want in a resulting foal--I do the research and start suggesting stallions--we talk some more and decide. So, BoWendy is already reserved for the 2012 breeding season, but I've got three other mares available: D'Orites SSF (Donatelli x Orchis), Eliscia SSF (UB-40 x LaLiscia(best TB sport blood available anywhere)), and the new Daula mare, Eyeful Daula (Zuidenwind x Osmium x Pion x Doruto). Let me know if you're interested.

September 2, 2011

Topic: What have I been up to?

Yes, the picture below is not photo-shopped; that's actually me on a my horse.  Just got back from my second ride.  Technically, I don't think I'm supposed to be riding for another couple of weeks, but I've had all the down time I can take.  It's an hour and a half drive, one-way, to Jane Hannigan's, but I'm committed to doing it two or three times per week. I am going to ride my own horses, and, since I'm not getting any younger, there's no time like the present to get my ass in gear.

We recently had the pleasure of a visit from David Donnelly, who is a new dressage trainer in New England.  It's the first time in a long time we've taken the opportunity to put the mares and foals in the stallion paddock and move them.  Holy shit.  I feel as if the horse gods have taken pity on me because of my recent health issues and blessed me with the best two foals we've ever had.  I'm seriously bummed that we can't make it to a keuring this year.  You folks will be blown away by these babies.

Mr. Keagan Tolman is officially moved into his dorm at UNH, and has begun classes in his pre-vet track.  He's loving it!  I'm both really proud of him and super excited for him.

Ms. Michaela Tolman has had an amazing summer working in a stem cell lab at Wesleyan, and, after a short three weeks home, heads back to school tomorrow morning.  

After two years of living in a construction zone, our house is finally finished!!!!  It's really lovely.  I still need to paint a ceiling downstairs in the basement, but all of the primary living spaces are done. Keagan has complained a bit because Chloe, the Havanese, carries her food, one piece at a time, into the living room and eats it on the new carpet, but he, the human child, isn't allowed to  eat anywhere near it.  I wish he would just realize that he's more trainable than the dog, but that's not how he sees it.

We have unexpectedly added a new horse to our mix...a new Daula mare.  She's a two-year-old Zuidenwind x Osmium x Pion x Doruto.  Thank you, Martyna, for making this happen.  

I've been back to school almost every day this week getting my room set up and starting lesson plans.  Can't wait to be teaching again!  Each year seems to get more and more exciting to start. I'd only planned on being at Keene High for five years or so, but this will be my ninth.  

I'm going to close for now.  You can thank KC Dunn for this entry--the good doctor called me last night to check up on me.  She says she gets worried about me when I disappear!  Will try to be better about posting this fall.  I'd love to show off my babies and my remodeling efforts, so take that as an invitation to stop by.

August 4, 2011

Topic:  Bon Bravour!!

Excited to see the sire of our new filly in Holland do so well in the Young Horse Championships at Verden today. 

July 19, 2011

Topic:  Werites Pregnant!!!

For those of you who have followed the Werites saga, you know how relieved and excited we are to have her finally pregnant.  After the multiple failed ET attempts, the career-ending injury caused by a shipping company I will not name yet, six months at New Bolton center, and then another four months of stall rest and hand walking, she has now embarked on her new career:  producer of super-star dressage horses!  Many, many thanks to Meghan DeGaray and ISF...and UB-40... for coming through for us once again.  Should be an exciting foal crop next year!  

Pregnancies so far:

Lyjanero x Indoctro x Purioso x Nimmerdor
Voyager x Donatelli x Jazz x Roemer
Totilas x Jazz x Roemer x Eros
UB-40 x Freestyle x Jazz x Roemer

Pending:

Alexandro P x Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Ulft
Lyjanero x Nimmerdor x Lord x Rebel I Z
Sir Sinclair x Houston x Architect x Mont Blanc


July 18, 2011

Topic:  Steffen Was Robbed

OK.  You folks all know that there's not a more enthusiastic Totilas fan in the world than I.  However, at Aachen this weekend, Steffan Peters and Ravel were robbed.  I've just watched the Fsreestyle of each Rath and Peters twice; I can't believe that Totilas out-scored Ravel.  The degree of technical difficulty, the relaxation, the consistency and rhythm...it's just a shame.  In the Grand Prix and in the Special, I can put Totilas first.  But, especially in the Special, how the hell did Ravel's amazingly relaxed and correct test end up fifth?  I'm saying this, and, at the same time, hate to take anything away from Parcival and Adelinda, but I've seen them be much better than they were this weekend.  Steffan and Ravel were robbed at Aachen.  

So, a rant.  What else would you expect from me after all these years?  Regardless of how I feel about the judging at Aachen, I'm still pretty psyched to know that Jazz, Contango, and, now, Totilas, make up a significant portion of my breeding program! If I had bred to Damon Hill this year, you could have called me prophetic...he was on my short list.  Maybe Donnerhall blood is Donnerhall blood, though.  Time will tell.


July 10, 2011

Topic:  Summer at SSF

As you probably already have guessed, my writing plans haven't materialized this summer.  After a year of surgery and chemo-induced inactivity, all I want to do is be outside working around the barn, my garden, and my many flower beds.  Since I'm still not allowed to lift more than about 10 pounds until September, I hired a former student to work with me 40 hours a week to get the place in shape and accomplish a number of projects that I've had in the works for years but haven't finished. Things are looking really beautiful--so beautiful that I'm having difficulty leaving the property, unless it's to run to Keene to buy more plants or more supplies for the construction/remodelling.  All my day lilies should be in bloom by mid-week--if you're a flower enthusiast, it would be a great week to stop by and do a barn and garden tour.

News on the horse front:

For those of you who do not follow Facebook, Orchis is now day 25 with, hopefully, a single Totilas baby. She had twins in separate horns; my vet attempted to pinch one and popped it on top of the other; all of the uterus manipulation caused Orchis to go off her grain and get really lethargic for a day or so; at day 22, we could only find one embryo...keep you fingers and toes crossed!

Dior is pregnant with Clark and Richard Moss's Voyager foal.  This will probably be the cutest baby we've had on the farm!  

Werites did not take to Wynton, but that may have been my fault since I screwed up with the straws.  At any rate, as usual, I had to breed over the fourth of July holiday, and, as usual, Meghan and ISF saved the day for me.  We bred Werites to UB-40, on a really good cycle.  Would love to have this mare pregnant.

Speaking of UB-40, we have a super special UB-40 x Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Ulft colt, Godot SSF, who was born on the 28th.  He's a full brother to Franco SSF, who was my favorite baby of last year.  "Sammy" is one of the smartest, funniest babies we've had.  Carol and I are both already completely in love with him.  Keagan promises pictures soon.

I don't normally breed on the foal heat, but BoWendy had a good cycle and her uterus looked great, so I inseminated with my only dose of  Alexandro P on Friday.  Would LOVE a filly from this cross...

More big news for SSF:  We just bought a new filly!  Gazania (Bon Bravour x Santano x Biotop x Roemer), bred by my friend, and one of Holland's most respected breeders, the ever-cheerful and humble Mr. Gerard Vervoorn.  I'd post a picture of her, but I haven't seen one yet.  Bertolonia, Gazania's dam, received an 85 for movement and a 90 for conformation at her studbook inspection, and went keur eligible.  Of course, this is the famous Charites line, so Gazania is a great great niece of Orchis's. For those of you who have followed the KWPN stallion competitions and the Belgian young horse classes, you'll recognize Bon Bravour as the Painted Black x Chronos son who has won almost every class he's been in over the last couple of years.  I really wanted a non-Jazz-bred addition to our program.  Plus, the heavy percentage of really high quality Trak. blood in this filly (Gribaldi, Chronos, Biotop) is a huge added bonus. At present, the plan is to leave Gazania in Holland at least until she can be bred for the first time.  We'll see. I hate to have my mares where I can't see them every day. Of course, since I haven't seen this filly to begin with, maybe it doesn't matter!

So, I think that's all my news for now.  Oops, not quite:  the latest addition to our Nubian breeding program arrives on Tuesday, Blossom-Thyme Trend Setter!  He's going to live with Michaela at Wesleyan until he's needed for his "duties" this fall.  I'm really looking forward to crossing him with my Kastdemur's Prince Carnaval daughters...Carol pretends she doesn't know about this.  She's not as much of a goat fan as I am.  Here's a picture of Trend Setter when he was one week old.

June 21, 2011

Topic:  Too Much Time on My Hands

A good friend of mine sent me an email this weekend.  She said, "Since you can’t lift more than a gallon of milk I hope that means you will write lots of journal entries." Well, since I've got three months of down time after the hernia surgery and I'm not in a chemo fog, I'd really like to work on a substantial piece of writing. One, I've had a novel in my head for years, Johnny Be Good; it's kind of a Tom Robbins/Vonnegut take on a school shooting. It's got great characters, a super plot, and lots of sex. Two, I've been wanting to go through my past journal entries, pull out the ones I think can work in a collection of stories called, Funny Farm, then add a through line to turn the whole thing into a kind of humorous history of my family that turns into a transcendental/existential microcosm for the importance of life choices. Three, I'm directing Hamlet next spring, and have already lost a couple nights sleep because I can't stop thinking about my concept.  I need to do some major work on the text (sorry, if you're a Shakespeare purist, but high school students need more than words to hang with a two hour performance--even when they're timeless words.  The issue is vocabulary:  If someone can't understand 20% of the words he or she is hearing, it renders the text indecipherable--today's high school students have shifted their reading habits so significantly that their vocabulary has really suffered.  This affects comprehension. As a matter of fact, a poor vocabulary is the largest contributor to comprehension issues across the board. This isn't only due to the students themselves, but to the parents, as well.  At this point in time, most parents and grandparents are TV generation people.  We've also lost the benefit of the vocabulary kids learned in church.  The depth and breadth of a kid's vocabulary are due to a variety of factors, but the largest is the parental influence.) Nonetheless, I'm obsessed with this project. The disappointing thing about it is that I'll put in months of work, and the show will run for three or four nights in the middle of March and be done.  Four, I have an idea for a new play that would be fun to work on but super controversial.  It deals with a real life situation of a openly-gay kid who was in the beginnings of a relationship with a not-openly-gay jock.  The story has the makings of a Scarlet Letter kind of conflict, internal vs. external guilt, and the effects on the two people in the relationship.  It would be really exciting to work on, but it's obviously based on a real-life event, and the graphic scenes involved would make it inappropriate for a high school audience--at least in school.  There's not much that would shock or surprise a contemporary high school student, but there are some things that I believe are inappropriate for school presentations.  This would have to be a professional piece. Five, I'll probably get a new idea tomorrow or later today, and that will split my focus even more.  The long and the short of this is you'll probably get more frequent journal entries because I can't decide on which writing project I want to focus.  Any preferences?  What would you be most interested in reading?  Maybe I could start a link from the journal with some of my writing--not sure if any of you would be interested in that or not, but I've written four or five plays so far, two of which are probably publishable, but I've never looked into how to start this process. It's one of the biggest problems with having a creative brain--it's a lot more fun to work on the art than it is to promote the art. Carol wants me to write a book to document the writing process I use with my students.  This project could actually turn into income, given our connections in educational publishing, but, again, as much as I love teaching and the change I see in kids' writing due to my efforts, can you imagine me sitting down and documenting it? I'll need a ghost writer for that project. The journal format works well for me because it's short pieces of writing, I tend to get lots of feedback on a regular basis from a wide variety of people, and I'm writing about primarily horses, my passion.  Maybe if I start multiple links, one for each of my current projects, I could write a little on each of them when I'm feeling like it.  You folks could shout at me when you like or don't like something, and, in the end, I might finish another writing project.  Or, do you want me to stick to just horses and my particular sense of humor about the whole thing? I'd really appreciate some thoughts on this, so give me a shout.

June 20, 2011

Topic:  Happy Birthday to My Favorite Wife!

Yes, we are at the apex of Carol's "birthday season".  My wife has more capacity for celebrating life than anyone else I know.  June 1st begins the season, similar to the inciting incident in a plot graph. We have the rising action of the weeks leading up to the 20th; climax at 12:01 am...(last night, as I'm lying in bed, Carol comes upstairs at the appointed hour and announces, "Guess what? It's my birthday!"  The final ten days of the month take us through the falling action and the denouement.  As Carol got into bed three minutes after her actual birthday had begun, I asked,

"Is there anything we have to do tomorrow?  What's on the schedule?"

"We have to eat cake!" 

Honestly, I think that's the real reason for having a birthday season instead of just a birthday:  Cake.  She's a funny woman.  I can just be thankful that she's put up with me all these years.  

If you're not on Facebook and haven't seen the picture, here's one wall in Carol's surprise Steven Tyler Shrine/birthday bathroom make-over.  

June 19, 2011

Topic:  Happy Father's Day

I can only hope that my father has passed down the genetic material to me and through me to be passed on for generations.  He's going to be 93 in December.  He's still the primary care-taker for my demented mother. He's still one of the funniest, wittiest people I know.  We have our political and religious differences, and always will, but even when he hasn't understood my decisions and actions over the years, he's supported me. I'm 51, and my dad still calls me every day to check in. Even this week, with me just out of hernia surgery and him with no driver's license, he's insisting there must be something he can do to help out.  In my children I see his sense of independence, his stubbornness, and elements of his sense of humor. Both kids have his shoulders and overall physical strength. It will be interesting to see the Carroll G. Tolman, Sr, influence on the next generation of my family.

On the breeding front, keep you fingers crossed for another Totilas pregnancy!  On the 13th, we bred D'Orites SSF to Voyager.  On the 15th, we bred Werites SSF to Wynton and Orchis to Totilas.  All good cycles.  I bred just pre-ovulation on two follicles with the Totilas.  Bred between ovulations of two follicles with the Wynton.  And, bred just pre-ovulation on a huge follicle with the Voyager.  My only screw up was with the Wynton frozen.  For some reason, I missed cutting the second end off one of the straws, and didn't realize it until after I'd already removed the pipette, etc.  So, Werites received four straws of Wynton instead of the prescribed five. We'll see what happens.

Congratulations to Meg Cotter, KC Dunn, and Sean and Melissa Hardy.  These folks all bought a pregnant mare from us last year during my pre-surgery and chemo dispersal.  Meg is delighted with her Uphill x Contango colt; KC says her Uphill x Havidoff is the biggest foal they've ever had; and Sean and Melissa seem to be completely in love with LaVita's UB-40 filly.

Next up for us is BoWendy's foaling.  She's due on the 25th with another UB-40 baby.  I'm really hoping for a filly to keep.  

Ms. Mazey, our Totilas phenom is shedding out the darkest chestnut I've ever seen.  She's going to be almost black. Not sure where this comes from--Kostolany? Orchis has produced a bay, two dark brown/bays, two blacks, a darkish chestnut,and now this color.  As you can see from the pictures, Mazey was born a normal and definite chestnut color.  We'll see what happens.  This filly continues to absolutely delight everyone who meets her.  She's so personable and friendly, yet, at the same time, completely sassy and expressive.  Hope we have another one just like her in the Orchis oven!

June 15, 2011

Topic:  The Menagerie

I'm hoping my barnyard is not an allegory in the making.  If things turn out for me as they did in Orwell's Animal Farm, I at the beginning of some serious trouble.  The hens have begun tunneling.  Granted, the bare, well-picked ground of their wire pen has some semblance of a Nazi detention center, and the odor inside the coop (because one Caleb Hansel, my chicken-house-cleaner, has been too involved in after-school activities to clean out the house) is creating its own kind of gas chamber--yet, there are no forced showers, no lack of high quality layer mash, nor have I forced any of them to wear little pink triangles.  Yet, these cackling matrons are systematically tunneling under the fence into my perennials.  The sheep are obese.  Never have I had animals that make more annoying sounds than these sheep.  Food keeps them quiet.  However, now it's not enough to feed them.  Oh, no.  I have to feed them what they want to eat.  If the hay is not second cut, sweet, and fine in texture, they look at it, look at me, and begin BLAAAAATing. Is this a microcosm of American consumerism or what?  GIIIIVE me SUUUGar or IIIIII'm going to SCRREEEEEAAAAAMMM!!!  Baja, the Nubian diva, is a devout and radical feminist.  It is the man's job to care for the children; hence, I feed Jesus and Pablo. She will have nothing to do with them. "You will handle my udders with the utmost care or you will find my foot in the bucket and you will be covered with milk. And, Scot, did I mention that the water bucket is hanging six inches to low, so I shit in it to prove a point." We're also dealing with "short guy syndrome."  Studly, our borrowed teaser pony stallion, now that we have four mares in heat, is convinced he is 1500 pounds and 17 hands high.  Talk about attitude.  There's definitely a Napoleonic complex going on. Not to be outdone, the two yearling fillies, Ms. P (Felicites SSF) and Fleur SSF, must have been listening to too much Gansta Rap or playing too many violent video games.  They're destroying everything.  Three mornings in a row, I've gone out to do morning chores and found their free-standing hay rack tipped over, moved across the pasture, or tangled in the electric fence.  I think they just enjoy seeing adults get pissed off.  Let me tell you, this morning I tied that sucker down and it ain't going nowhere. 

So, should I be worried about these not-so-subtle signs I'm observing among the animals? I teach literature, after all; there some anarchistic undertones to the barnyard themes I've been witnessing. If the rabbits all decide to pull a Watership Down and find a new warren, then I know it's time to take things seriously.

ps.  Send fertile thoughts our way; we're breeding Orchis and Werites tonight!

June 8, 2011

Topic:  Is any foal worth $152,000?

I understand wanting a piece of the magic that is Totilas.  I understand it well enough that I risked about $8,000. to buy and import three doses of frozen from a stallion with no foals on the ground.  But, would I pay $152,000., plus auction fees and commissions, for a three month old colt?  Maybe.  If I had it.  The woman who bought the Totilas colt in the recent Vechta auction obviously has the money to spend.  And, from as much as one can tell from the pictures and video footage, this is a lovely colt.  He's modern, elegant, well-put-together, and a decent mover.  Does he radiate "special"?  Not to me.  So, in this instance, I wouldn't spend the kind of money I don't have for this particular colt.  Here's the logical progression of this questioning:  "Scot, is your Totilas foal worth $152,000?"

Doesn't matter.  For one thing, she's everything I wanted, and she's not for sale.  For a second thing, no one's offered me $152,000., so I've not had to make that decision!

I will tell you, barn blindness aside, she's a better foal than the colt in the Vechta auction.  And, if she weren't already mine, I'd have to figure out a way to make her mine.

June 3, 2011

Topic:  Life is Good

Carol's home for a day and a half this week.  We're having cocktail hour.  The music is blaring.  The guinea hens are making an absolute racket in the tree outside the new kitchen, due to the rhythmic insistence of the compact Dell stereo system sitting next to the window closest to them.  It's a good night.  There's something about feeling happy enough to mumble through the verses of country songs you kind of know, then sing the chorus as if you've been singing the whole song. 

Keags graduated on Sunday.  We had an amazing party, filled with fun, friends, love, and almost $300 of Chinese food.  The night before we had the C-section that freed Keagan, Carol and I ate at the China Something.  I swear that that experience somehow nutritionally/hormonally/psychologically convinced the unborn Keagan that the way "to the light" is through Chinese food.  Through his four years at Northfield Mt. Hermon, he spent most of his weekly allowance on lo mein, pork fried rice, and sesame chicken, sold out of the trunk of an old Buick in the parking lot of the dorm next to his.  If I'd thought of it, I'd have found the Chinese family who catered to the late-night indulgences of Keagan and his NMH ilk, and had them cater his graduation party out of their car.  

We're all more and more in love with Ms. Mazey.  She's not perfect, but, damn, she's close.

Tornadoes missed us.  So sorry for the deaths an hour south of us.  Snakes and tornadoes are two of the main reasons I love living in New England--we don't get either.  Let's hope this is an anomaly. 

School's almost out.  I have my last surgery on the 16th of this month.  Four weeks of recovery, and it will have been nearly a year since I've been allowed on a horse.  Although my Contango mare may be thankful for this, I'm not.  At the same time, I'm completely thankful that things have turned out so positive for my overall health and future well-being.  Time.

It's about time for me to get my act together and breed some mares.  Will be a late foal crop next year.

No keuring for us this year.  The New England keuring is on my second day of school.  Can't miss the second day of school.  So, no Totilas foal going to a keuring in North America this year.  Also have a three-year-old mare to take, but will have to wait.  Oh, well.  That means two years in a row we give the other New England breeders a break in the competition!

Am having an absolute blast in my gardens this year.  Things are going to be so pretty around here in a few weeks.  Company is always welcome.  I'll cook.

May 24, 2011

Topic:  Hard to Change My Mind Once the Shipment's on the Way


Hopefully, you've noticed; I've kept most of my annual breeding pick waffling out of my journal this year.  This doesn't mean that the same degree of waffling hasn't been occurring, however. Just ask poor Judy Yancey, who has had to deal with my sometimes daily change of plans.  Stallions in the SSF tank this year:

Totilas
Wynton
Alexandro P
Voyager

That's right!  Voyager, the German Riding Pony.  My good friend, Clark, has decided that he'd rather take a pony foal out of D'Orites SSF (Donatelli x Orchis) and let us keep her for the program.  I'm not going to argue--Dior is a really special mare. So, the last two doses of Voyager in the USA are headed my way.  Should be an adorable and really fancy baby!

The arrival of Mazey confirmed Carol's and my certainty that Totilas is the only cross for Orchis over the next few years.  We have the chestnut filly--now we need the black colt.

My area of most waffling has been among Voice, Bretton Woods, and Charmeur.  In the end, thinking about future generations of our breeding program and my favorite young stallions at the Stallion Show this year, I went with Wynton.  It will put Jazz in the third and fourth generations of any of the mares I use it on, but that's OK with me.  Right now, I'm breeding specifically for mares to keep for the program and future crosses to Totilas sons.  

I want an Alexandro P baby.  I still haven't decided if I'll use him this year or next, but we're going to get one.

If frozen doesn't go as well for us as it has over the past couple of years, then we'll have to quickly re-evaluate and decide what fresh-cooled options can work.  I'm always happy to use UB-40.  Keagan has said he really wants an Idocus baby. Carol thinks we should breed everyone to Donatelli (we already own the frozen; his babies are easy to handle;they're pretty and talented;and they sell well--"Don't you like having fewer horses on the farm, Scot? Isn't it much more manageable?"). Michaela hasn't expressed her opinion on fresh-cooled options, but you can be sure she has one!

May 20, 2011


Topic:  Must Have Done Something Right

Happy day before Rapture!  By the time some of you read this, the earthquakes will be jolting the earth from its orbit and you'll be joining me on a different path than the 200,000 who are expected to meet God tomorrow. Another opportunity for reflection, that's how I look at it.

Well, much to my heart's insistent panging, Ms. Michaela Tolman is not coming home for the summer; she's working in a neuroscience lab, playing with mouse brains and stem cells, and working in restaurant, playing with customers' brains and pasta shells.  But, much to my heart's delight, she's found a little farm next to campus on which she's started a garden, renovated a chicken coop, and set up a goat pen.  Yes, part of my laying flock and the newest additions to SSF, Jesus (with the Spanish pronunciation) and Pablo, our newborn Nubian bucklings, are moving to Middletown, CT.  You can take the girl out of the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the girl.  There's something enormously comforting in this.

In addition, Mr. Keagan Tolman is graduating from Northfield Mount Hermon next weekend, and he's then headed to UNH as an Equine Science major, in preparation for a second degree in veterinary medicine.  Who would have thunk it?  Keags has always been the family member to get the dewormer into the dogs, capture the wild kittens in the hayloft, and cut open Lavita's Caslick's--it's a perfect career path for him, even if he doesn't end up as obsessed with heat cycles and follicle size as I am.  

So, on Rapture's eve, I'm toasting the universe and thanking the many gods in whom I'd like to believe for family, health, and a certain Totilas filly.  

May 10, 2011

Topic:  Mazey, at day three

I've already posted these on Facebook, but for those of you who aren't as addicted as I am, these photos should probably be here as well.  

I like this filly better and better.  Definitely a cross we'll repeat as long as we can afford it.

Thanks to Keagan Tolman for the photos.

May 9, 2011

Topic:  New England Dutch Breeders Group

You know I'm feeling better when I start organizing things again!  Let's not drop the initiative we started last year with the New England Dutch breeders' meetings.  I'd like to have another meeting in June sometime, and make plans for a late summer New England Farm Tour weekend.  Loucky sent me an email talking about the farm tour she and her breeders' group are co-sponsoring with another breeders' group, and it got me thinking...we hold this over two days, mainly so someone can host a party on the one night we're together.  If you'd like to be on the email list for this group, for this or other events, send an email to newenglanddutchbreeders@gmail.com, and I'll set up a mailing list.  It's probably a good idea to start a Facebook page, as well.  Anyone interested in doing that?  

May 6, 2011

Topic:  Hmmm....

OK, Totilas detractors, I want to know when Edward and Nicole sneaked onto my farm over the last three days and used their alleged "training device" on my filly.  All I can say is Mazey must be a really smart girl, and/or it must be a really effective "training device". 

May 5, 2011

Topic:  Miss Mazey

OK.  Today really is May 5th, right?  I've been flooded with emails of congrats, questions, and confusion over the incorrect date I put on my original birth announcement. 

Thanks so much for all the good wishes.  This filly is a dream come true for me.  Her nickname is Mazey.  Galearites is a bit of handle for a barn name.  (for those of you not on FB, Galearis Orchis Spectabilis is a really pretty, wild orchid--one of its names is Orchid of the heavenly spirits) Mazey is short for Amazon and Amazing.  She is a big, solid girl.  My vet was at the farm yesterday to do a check-over of Orchis and Mazey, and she couldn't believe Mazey was two weeks early and not even 24 hours old.  She's power-house. 

So, objectively, for those of you interested in first-hand observations about what Totilas brings to the breeding equation, here's what I think:  A lot.  Orchis has now had seven foals from four different stallions.  She consistently lightens type, lightens bone, produces a distinct head, adds some knee action, adds quickness in the hindleg, strengthens the loin connection, and narrows the hoof.  She's inconsistent in affecting height, temperament, and shape and length of the neck.  Of course, Mazey is only 37 hours old and I haven't even turned her out yet, but I'll give you my initial impressions.  Totilas gave her bone, more natural muscle development, really super balance, more length of leg, a more sloping croup, a little more length in the head, and a little less length in the neck.  Movement?  We'll see.  This filly is not really uphill in her conformation, but she transfers weight onto her hind quarters really easily.  She's a little longer in the hind leg than the rest of Orchis's foals, but she's got more length and phenomenal angles in her shoulder and forearm construction.

Subjectively, I'm so in love with this filly it hurts.  I don't want anyone else to touch her or interact with her.  I wouldn't even let my vet's new vet tech take a picture of her yesterday. I am both obsessed and, most likely, possessed. There is an overall quality, balance, and intelligence about her that separates her from other foals we've produced.  Am I projecting?  Am I being barn blind?  Am I so enthralled with Totilas that I can't evaluate this foal effectively? Probably all of the above. I fully realize that I'm being unrealistically gushy about a day and a half old filly.  Too bad.  Maybe once I see her move, I'll change my mind and say, "So, so.  Average filly. Second premium."  Right now, I'm feeling that it was a seriously good move to take the Totilas risk, and I'll do it again.

May 3, 2011

Topic:  North America's got its first Totilas foal!!!

Galearites SSF (Totilas x Orchis) was born tonight, at 8:30.  She's a HUGE chestnut filly with four white feet and tiny white star.  This is by far Orchis's biggest foal and foal with the most bone.  Fancy, fancy girl!

April 25, 2011

Topic:  Day 317

Yup.  Orchis is bagged up like a Jersey cow and at day 317.  It would be nice if she'd hold out for at least another week, but she's got me nervous enough that the foaling camera is on, and I'm doing night checks. Can't wait!  But, I will wait.  Would much prefer that this Totilas baby is all cooked and ready to rock and roll before he or she shows up at SSF.

If you don't regularly read Warmbloods Today, grab a copy of the current issue and either buy it or stand in the tack shop and read my column.  It's one of my favorites.

Orchis may not foal tonight, but our woolly, rotund Finn Sheep ewe, Rose, should pop before morning.  Every time she blaaaahhhttts, her tail lifts out, and I swear she's going to do a projectile delivery.  

Congratulations are in order for Kathy Palumbo and Adonis SSF (Donatelli x Volkmar x Rechter)!  Kathy was just granted a $1000. NEDA scholarship to continue their training.  Way to go! I've got some video footage and pictures to post in the near future.

Keep your fingers crossed for a healthy Totilas x Orchis baby.  Anyone want to hazard a guess as to color and sex?

April 24, 2011

Topic: Easter

Christians and non-Christians alike, happy day to give thanks for the family and friends you have in your lives.  This week, I was "blessed" with the news that my post-chemo CT scan and blood work came back with the best possible result, cancer-free.  The good doctors of Mass General will monitor me over the next five years, but their efforts to-date have born the best possible fruit.  Thanks to all of you who have kept me and mine in your thoughts, prayers, and actions.  The last nine months have proven the most illuminating and productive of my fifty-one years.  My goal is to approach the second half of my life with more specific goals and a more thankful and positive attitude for not only the family and friends that stood by me, but also for the little things that make life so incredible, such as chestnut mares, sunrises, and the distant blue of horizons not yet reached.

April 15, 2011
 
Topic:  Site Update and Some Potentially BIG News
 
Since I still don't have permission to be back at work, I've spent some of my bored-to-tears time sending updated information to Joe for the site.  Check out the "mares" page; it's got a lot of new info.  My goal tomorrow is to work on the homepage and turn the "stallions" link into a reference spot for the boys we're using in our program.
 
Well, this is not breaking news yet, but we North American KWPN breeders could be in for a SIGNIFICANT stallion addtion to our breeding pool.  Let me tell you, if this actually comes to pass, we're going to be thrilled--however, breeders in Holland are going to be majorly pissed off! If it goes through, it will be big enough news that you'll read about it someplace else first, I'm sure. Keep you eyes and ears open over the next month or so.

April 12, 2011

Topic:  And the SSF Jumper Program Begins!

The mare we leased in Holland is pregnant on the first try!  Let's hope this is a good omen for our budding jumper program.  She is a keur mare, out of a top, sport and keuring producing mareline, Indoctro x Purioso x Nimmerdor.  The mare we're leasing in the USA is also a keur mare, Nimmerdor x Lord x Rebel I Z, also out of a phenomenal sport and keuring mareline.  I will update our mares page with pedigrees, pictures, and more info. soon.

The jumper stallion I'm so crazy about?  Lyjanero.  He is Landos x Casall x Carthago.  He was reserve champion of this year's Holsteiner Stallion Show.  I walked past his stall, caught his eye, and suddenly found myself in the stall with him.  The horse radiates calm and intelligence.  I was sold on him before I knew his pedigree or saw him jump.  He has no foals on the ground.  I'm going completely on my gut about this horse.  If I had the mula to own him, I would own him.  You can see the footage of him youtube, but it doesn't do him justice.  As you know, I really haven't wanted to share much info. about him because I'm not particularly interested in the feedback.  I've told two people about him since returning from Holland and Germany in February.  One of them loves him and one of them doesn't.  The person who doesn't is a close friend and someone whose opinion I sincerely respect, but my reaction to her was anything but pleasant--and I continue to be embarrassed about it.  I don't seem to have much of a filter these days.  So, if you don't like him, "tawk amongst yourselves--I'm a bit verklempt."

April 8, 2011

Topic:  The Countdown Begins!

Caslisk is opened, and Orchis has started to bag.  She tends to bag early, so I'm not freaked out about it...yet.  She's 340 days on May 17th.  Knock on wood, she almost always goes  around 340 days.  Seeing all the pictures of the Totilas foals has got me more and more excited about this cross.  Over the next three years, I'm hoping for one colt and two fillies--not that that's much to ask!

Thank you to all of you who sent me suggestions or had people contact me about a jumper mare.  I think I've found exactly what I'm looking for, and will fill you in, including the name of the stallion, once things are finalized.

A few of you have emailed asking about my breeding picks for the year. Normally, as you regular readers know, I'm blather and blather/waffle and waffle on and on for months about my breeding picks.  This year, I've tried to be dutiful in not doing that.  Since the decisions are made and I've already begun mentioning them on the updated Mares' page, there's no reason not to list them here.

Orchis (Jazz x Roemer) to Totilas
Werites SSF (Freestyle x Jazz) to Voice
BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz) to Wynton
D'Orites SSF (Donatelli x Jazz) to Charmeur

And, since I unexpectedly ended up with four doses of my jumper boy, that becomes my birthday present instead of the Bretton Woods.

There have been a huge number of hits on the new KWPN Breeding Discussion Blog, but, for some reason, I've received more emails with comments than comments on the blog itself.  Not sure if people are having difficulty posting or if people are feeling intimidated to express their opinions in public.  I've done some more work on the set up of the blog, and can add anyone as an author so you can start your own threads.  Let me know if you want to be an author.  My purpose in establishing the blog was not to monopolize the conversation--I'd much prefer to have a whole slew of people starting threads--I just don't want them to be anonymous.

March 31, 2011

Topic:  Fated Frozen: Anyone got a jumper mare they want to part with?

I have officially sent my frozen semen contract to Ms. Yancey, so no more waffling this year.  My only dilemma is what to do with the three doses of my secret jumper stallion, because I chickened out and went with dressage stallions for my girls. If anyone knows of a super jumper mare for lease or extremely reasonable purchase, keep me in mind!  You never know, though--maybe the frozen from the dressage stallions won't work, and I'll be glad that I've got Mr. Phenomenal in my tank.  Fate has already stepped in here.  I'd decided against using him on my dressage mares and to be content with the mare I've leased in Holland being bred to him, but three doses were sent from Europe with another shipment just because we had inquired...so I've got three doses of him coming to NH. I'll take it as a sign that I need a jumper mare.  I can say this openly because Carol doesn't read my journal...she's thinking the low number of horses on the farm should be a permanent thing.  Silly woman.

March 20, 2011

And Spring begins!  We get to celebrate in a couple of ways:  One, I am done with chemo!!!!  Two, semen was just ordered for the jumper mare we've leased in Holland, and she will be inseminated tomorrow. Nice to start our "springen" program on the first day of Spring...get it? Will write more when I'm feeling a little better.  The good news is that this is the last time I have to go through this cycle; by Wednesday, I should be climbing out of the chemo nastiness and headed back to life.

March 9, 2011

Topic:  Ms. Werites SSF

Werites hasn't been turned out with another horse or in anything other than a tiny in and out since June 4th of last year.  This is she thinking it's time to be running around with the herd.  To her credit, she's finally up to hand-walking 15 minutes a day.

March 9, 2011

Topic:  This is what mud looks like before it's mud...

March 9, 2011

Topic:  Dressage?

I'm setting May 1st as my date to be able to start riding again--last chemo treatment is next Thursday!!!  Think my dressage ring is going to be ready?

March 9, 2011

Topic:  Tick Control on Winter Break

Keagan has been in a digital photography class, so one of his birthday gifts was a fancy digital camera.  Hopefully, we'll all reap the benefits of this giftee--especially when foaling season hits!  I love this shot of the Guinea Hens.  They're our natural tick predators al
spring, summer, and fall, but the winter is a bit confounding for these hardy birds.

March 5, 2011

Topic:  Can't Help But Taunt Y'all Just a Bit...

OK.  I can't get this jumper stallion that I fell in love with out of my mind.  I'm so in love with him that I'm actually going to say to hell with specialization this year and breed him to two of my dressage mares....oh, yes, Scot has gone off the deep end.  This is, of course, contingent upon my being able to get his frozen here.  The jumper mare we leased in Holland to breed to him will be bred in a few weeks.  I'm going to start breeding here early in April, so let's hope some good quality frozen is coming way none too soon!  I won't be able to hide his identity forever, but, right now, I just don't want to share; I want to keep him all to myself, or....I guess I want to torment you guys.  That's just not like me--must be the chemo drugs.  For some reason, I'm just as excited about breeding to him as I am to Totilas. This is major preoccupation going on here.  I've made my entire family sit and watch his video repeatedly.

Another development this week is that I received my latest oil on porcelain from Richard and Clark Moss for my "horse" wall in my new kitchen. It's of LaVita.  It made me so sad that I sold her that I've decided I have to do an ET with ZaVita this year.  Have to have another Vita line baby coming along. You'd think I'd learned my lesson.  Carol is already got her arms crossed and saying, "Why don't we just throw away the money.  It would be faster."

You know, if I've learned anything from my experiences over the last eight months is that life is too damn short not to do exactly what you want to be doing.  That's just the way it is.

March 2, 2011

Topic:  Cool Footage

Here's a link to Mo Swanson's trip to the Stallion Show with Emmy de Jeu.  There's some great footage of Edward Gal warming up Voice (I was at the other end of the warm-up ring watching Edward and Voice and didn't even know Mo was about 60 feet away from me videoing them...), footage of Emmy's super mare, Asther de Jeu (x Contango), footage of Emmy's three-year-old Voice colt under saddle, and few surprises! Glad there was no sound with the face shot, Mo!  I think I would have peed myself.

http://www.youtube.com/user/emmydejeu#p/a/f/0/h-9wwyqy8pE

It's only been viewed 58 times so far, and it's really worth watching. Interesting to note that Emmy posted footage from Bretton Woods and from Charmeur at the Ahler's Stallion Show--the BW footage has been viewed over 9,000 times; the Charmeur 3600.   There are going to be a lot of Bretton Wood's babies out there in a couple of years.

February 28, 2011

Topic:  KWPN Breeding Discussion Forum

I've wanted to do this for a while--finally got around to it today. The address is: http://kwpnbreedingdiscussionforum.blogspot.com/  Enjoy!

February 23, 2011

Topic:  Follow up on some emails

I've had a number of calls and emails regarding some of the stallions I've mentioned.  Again, I'm happy to give you what information I can. The following three, in particular, people seem to want more information on:  Voice, Bretton Woods, and Charmeur.  At the risk of being redundant, here goes:

Voice (De Niro x Rohdiamant x Doruto x Amor)

I've been trying to get frozen semen from this boy for years.  He's not bred that many mares in Holland for some reason.  Now that he's with Edward Gal, my guess is that this is changing.  It's changed enough that we have access to his frozen in North America this year, so that's good enough for me.  You've probably all seen the video of Edward and Voice doing a clinic in den Bosch.  The horse has a stellar temperament.  I've seen him repeatedly, and he's always low-key, focused, and working.  The offspring I've seen are quite rectangular, even a little long; have super use of the hind leg; but, across the board, could be leggier.  Some of you have asked why is dam is only a studbook mare--can't tell you--don't know.  Maybe she just didn't make ster.  When a horse is out of a mareline as good as this one, having a studbook dam doesn't bother me, however. My only breeding recommendation to you on Voice is that you need a mare with a good length of leg or who produces a good length of leg.

Bretton Woods (Johnson x De Niro x Romancier x Troublemaker xx)

This is one of the most beautiful horses you'll ever see.  The more I think about him, the more I want to breed someone to him, but I just don't have enough mares this year.  Again, he is REALLY tall--at five, he's close to 18 hands.  But, he's elegant and light in his type.  The horse is a little slow in the use of his hind leg, but he's really responsive to the rider's leg and shows all kinds of ability for collected work.  He does have the issue of the OC in one stifle and one fetlock, I believe.  His owner swears that it's really slight, and you would need a microscope to see it on the films.  In type, because he's so tall, he's a little square, rather than rectangular.  My concern with breeding is that Johnson doesn't produce a consistent type, and Bretton Woods's dam produced a 3/4 brother, Chagall, who is completely different than BW.  Still, I'm really tempted to breed someone to him.  He has over 100 foals coming in Holland this year; plus, from the sounds of German and Dutch breders, he's going to have many hundreds coming in 2012.  I guess we'll know soon enough how he produces. He was not accepted by the KWPN as a two year old, but, again, I think that had to do with how tall he is.

Charmeur (Florencio x Jazz x Ulft x Amor)

As you all know, here's a pedigree for me.  This is the horse I was so excited to see at the Stallion Show last year, and he was at the top of my list this year.  Under saddle, he is absolutely spectactular--the epitome of the modern KWPN dressage horse in trot and canter.  Under tack, you notice that he has a long head--in person, in his stall, you're taken aback by his head.  Those of you who rate pretty faces high in your breeding selection are going to want to think about this choice.  Calling his head "noble", as his dam's is described in his stallion report, is an understatement.  In type, he's also heavier when standing in front of you than when you see him undersaddle.  He's going to be a big, solid boy.  He's really leggy and uphill in his conformation--his neck is fine, not stellar--he could be a little more rectangular.  He bred 230 or 260 mares last year, before he was approved, so Dutch breeders have some high hopes for him.  My concerns with him are that he's going to produce heavy if not bred right; he may well reproduce his noggin; and other stallions out of this mareline have not gone on to be very good producers.  Charmeur is a completely different type than his cousins, however.

So thats what I know, for what it's worth...For those of you who have asked more more detailed thoughts on Sandro Hit, I'm working on it. Still want to do a post on the influence on Krack C and his ever-decreasing sport index, as well.

February 17, 2011

Topic:  Celebration!  And then some horse talk

Carol and I have been married for 21 years today.  Amazing!  I still remember the incredible headache I got during our wedding and reception, because I was smiling so much.  Couldn't stop.  It's been and continues to be a wonderful adventure of love and life.

Here's a short cautionary tale:  If at all possible, see a horse up close and personal before you decide to breed to him.  Standing beside a horse and actually putting your hands on him gives you information you cannot get from video footage, seeing the horse at a Stallion Show from 20 yards away, or researching his pedigree. Seeing a horse in his stall, without a rider influencing the shape of the neck or a bridle changing the face gives you a completely different perspective. Having someone stand up the horse in front of you so you can evaluate his conformaton is an invaluable tool.  I was fortunate enough this year to get within 10 feet of every stallion I'm considering for my mares. Some of these stallions I did not get to see until Tuesday, so even though I've just spent fourteen days seeing horses in Holland and Germany, I didn't really get all of the information I needed to make my breeding decisions until the very end of my trip.  And, believe it or not, I'm now done talking about the stallions I'm using this year. I'll let you all know once I have pregnancies!

On that note, I fell in love with a jumper stallion on this trip. That's right; we don't breed jumpers.  Well, we do now.  My friend, Reggie (Rigtje), and I have just leased a mare in Holland to breed to him.  Not telling you who.  Can't stop thinking about this horse--don't think breeding jumpers in the USA makes any sense for a number of reasons--so I'm starting a jumper program in Holland.  I haven't been this blown away by a jumper stallion since I saw Judgement free jump at his KWPN-NA approval.  Totally hooked.  We'll see.  We all know I'm crazy.  Carol thought I was kidding when I emailed the family about what I was doing.  She should have known better!

I've had tons of responses to my recent journal entries.  Thanks.  I'm happy to answer any specific questions, so don't hesitate to drop me a note if you want my observations of a particular horse or want further explanation for something I've said.

February 14, 2011

Topic:  German Horses

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Hope you’re as lucky as I am to have someone you love in your life.

This has been a fascinating trip.  For one, Judy did all the planning and most of the talking; all I had to do was program Yoda (our GPS), drive where Yoda told us to drive, and then stand back and look at multitudes of German-bred horses.  For two (if that can even be an introductory element), the German breeding goal is markedly different than the KWPN breeding goal, and it clearly manifests itself in the horses.  My years of trips to Holland, keurings, stallion shows, annual meetings, and research of KWPN pedigrees has given me certain prejudices and advantages when looking at horses--and I had to be careful not to completely dismiss a horse just because his hind leg doesn’t carry and lift the way a “Dutch” hind leg carries and lifts. I also had to be careful not to immediately dismiss a horse because he is either by Sandro Hit or has Sandro Hit as a dam’s sire.  If I had dismissed a horse for this reason, I would have been looking at fewer than half the number of horses!  We think we have a problem with too much JFFK--the Germans have created the same situation in trying to avoid too much DWR by using so much S.  There’s a lesson in this.

My goal in this entry lies more in trying to identify bloodlines or particular horses that can be useful to my program and/or the KWPN population as a whole, so I’m not going to Sandro Hit bash or trash horses I didn’t like.  The people here have been wonderful, the countryside is beautiful, and the company has been great.  We’ve seen a population of happy, rideable horses, with strong conformation and especially pretty faces.   And, that’s the breeding goal of at least Oldenburg, as far as I can tell.  They want their horses, first, sound; second, rideable and easy to handle/amateur-friendly; third, pretty; and, fourth, talented.  In general, the horses are a bit heavier in type than our population, especially the Hanoverians.  At one stop, I thought the yearlings I was looking at were really big for their age, then I realized how close I was standing to them--my progressive lenses were causing me to look at them with the computer screen mode--they were significantly magnified.  When I took my glasses off, they were still big, but not as big as they had been 30 seconds before. Also, in general, these horses don’t have the quickness of the hind leg of our population or the bending of the joints in the hind end.  Again, speaking generally, these horses do have better temperaments, nicer shoulders, and prettier fronts. Totilas may well be a better cross on this population than the KWPN population.  We won’t know this for some time, but my prediction is that the T line is going to be huge for the Germans.

It’s going to take me some time to process all I’ve seen and to come to any solid recommendations for KWPN breeders when it comes to using German blood, but I think I’m in about the same place as I started: The use a combination of the D line and certain stallions from the C line in Holstein are the best for the Dutch breeding population. There are a couple of stallions from the Florestan line that I also like, but both of them are strongly bred to Donnerhall, as well.  In particular, I really like Furstenball.  He’s a Furst Heinrich son, out of a Donnerhall mare, so he’s double Donnerhall close up.  Trakhener blood is always going to be important for Dutch breeding, but I’m more and more convinced that most of us don’t know how to access it well.

Of course, keep in mind that these observations are based on a week in Germany, in a two hour radius of Vechta.  This was a small percentage of the German stallions that we saw; however, we did visit some of the biggest stallion stations of the region. I’m not professing to be an expert on German horses.  I made the trip because I wanted to further educate my own eye and to further inform my decisions regarding my own breeding program.  A few people have asked me to comment on specific horses, and I’m willing to do that privately, but, again, I’m not really interested in expounding on horses whose pedigrees and offspring I’m not as familiar with as I am with the Dutch.

For what it’s worth.

February 10, 2011

Topic:  Stallion Show 2011, part four

As usual, I spent a good deal of my time during the Stallion Show next
to the warm-up ring.  During almost all of the dressage competitions,
demonstrations, presentations, and awards, you can find me running
(relative term here) back and forth between the main arena and the
warm-up.  Given the choice of watching a horse attempting to perform
in front of 5000 people or watching him warm-up in a small area,
crowded with other horses and few spectators, I choose the latter.  It
gives me a chance to see the horse’s character and more of the rider’s
training/preparation techniques.

Alexandro P (Koss x Satelliet)

You all know how much I like this horse, and he did not disappoint me
this year.  His first foal crop was so successful that he had over
half of the Gelders foals at the finals in Ermelo, including the
champion.  He himself is developing beautifully--he’s really
lengthening out in his frame.  Under saddle, he won the Gelders
division of the stallion competition with really high scores,
including a 9 for his canter.  He is a powerful horse that lifts in
the wither and truly carries himself.  In hand, during the
presentation of Koss as new preferent stallion, Alexandro P was
brilliant.  I’m using him on our Bowendy mare this year.

Apache (UB-40 x Krack C)

This is another horse that blows me away.  He’s not an easy ride, but,
goodness, can he move and use his body.  He’s amazing.  His offspring
are also amazing.  I contacted his owner for frozen semen, and he has
been frozen for export.  However, in my next email, I clarified if he
had been frozen by the same people as Gribaldi, Krack C, and Vivaldi,
I wasn’t interested and I told him why I wasn‘t interested.  He didn’t
return my second email…

Zhivago (Krack C x Jazz)

This is also a really lovely horse with tons of talent for dressage.
His foals have been disappointing, but he’s one of my favorites.

Westpoint (Jazz x Michelangelo)

I’ve never seen this horse look better.  He’s grown into a real
powerhouse dressage horse.  Tall, strong, and really talented.  His
foals have been too inconsistent for many breeders, so it’s probably
better to buy one you like rather than breed to him--but he’s really
developed into a super horse.

Wynton (Jazz x Matador)

I’m liking this horse more and more.  As you read in yesterday’s
entry, his offspring really appealed to me.  He’s super consistent in
what he produces--excellent hindleg, good  depth of muscling, strong
ability to sit, and strong ability to adjust within each gait.  His
horses could be a little longer-lined and a little leggier, but, to
me, his sons were by far the most consistent in type and movement of
any other stallion.  He looked a little tired/over-worked to me on
Friday, but I understand he did a brilliant presentation for the KWPN
college on Wednesday.  He’s already showing FEI and playing with
piaffe and passage.  Talented boy. Wish I had a mare to breed to him
this year.

Voice (De Niro x Rohdiamant x Doruto x Amor)

Here’s another of my favorite horses.  I saw him in person for the
first time at Zwolle, who knows how many years ago.  At the time, I
stood by the warm-up and had a conversation with Ms. Bartels about
him.  Super brain.   Super talent.  Really consistent and willing to
work.  I was really impressed.  Of course, the pedigree is beyond
reproach; Bria line with the D and R lines on top--perfect.  Now that
Voice is at this point in his training and with Edward Gal, he’s going
to become an international force.  People will notice him.  So, as I
announced a few days ago, his owners have finally agreed to freeze him
for export.  Right now, he’s my choice for Werites this year.  My only
hesitation is using frozen semen on her after all she’s gone through,
but I like this horse well enough that I’m going to try one dose
before switching to fresh cooled.

Johnson (Jazz x Flemmingh)

Hmmm.  He looked good.  Stronger in his work.  You can’t help but like
him--he’s supple, powerful, and seems to have a really good character.
For me, he’s way too inconsistent in what he produces, however.
We’ve bred to him once, and the resulting filly turned out to be the
most modern foal our Kirona mare produced for us.  That being said, I
don’t think I’ve seen two Johnsons that look alike.  And, for as good
as he can be with his hindleg, he needs a mare with a strong and quick
hindleg.

Overall, the quality of dressage horses was quite strong this year.  I
didn’t agree with all of the decisions the jury made, but then who
ever does?  It’s clear that we need some non-JFFK blood, and they’re
selecting horses they think will be interesting to breeders.  At the
same time, the best horses seem to have a lot of JFFK blood, so it’s
difficult not to select them.  I have some thoughts on the over-use of
Krack C blood I’d like to explore in the near future, but I don’t
really want to muddy this information with that.

Another couple of horses worth mentioning before I close my Stallion
Show 2011 notes are Cizandro and Deodoor (I think this is the
one--forgot to write down his number.  These are both Tuigpaard
stallions.

Cizandro ( Waldemar x Manno x Renovo x Proloog)

He was selected last year and is newly approved.  Wow.  The selection
process of the Tuigpaarden has produced super modern, leggy, amazing
horses.  Makes me want to breed them! This boy is just such an amazing
mover, and such a showman.  Just loved him.

Deodoor (Wokda HBC x Balmorals x Harald x Rentmeester)

I hope I have the right horse here.  He’s a gorgeous light chestnut
with tons of white and an even lighter mane and tail.  He was named
champion of the Tuigpaarden three-year-olds.  Again, the breeding
direction of these horses is producing amazing results.  Modern,
leggy, phenomenal movers.  Really makes me want one.

Let me know if I missed something or someone.  My next entries are
going to concentrate on the German horses and stallion stations we’ve
visited and are still visiting.  I’m back in Holland from the 12th
through the 16th, so I may have a few more notes for you by the time I
get back.

February 9, 2011

Topic:  Stallion Show 2011, part three

I missed one!  Thanks to Jenn Tousignant for pointing out my omission.

#397 Florencio x Rohdiamant x Rousseau (x Romadour II) x Angelo xx

This horse was the most interesting horse in the Select Sale as far as
I was concerned going in to the Stallion Show.  The pedigree is really
interesting, having produced Bordeaux, the champion from two years
ago, and U II, the Jazz son with Guenter Seidel. Plus, it’s free of
JFFK, which makes and interesting outcross pedigree. However, I didn’t
like him in person as much as I wanted to.  He’s a nice type, but a
little heavy.  He has a + canter.  Overall, though, I’d like to see
him stronger behind and with more bone in the hind leg--he seems a bit
fine for a horse his size. In the end, he’s probably still a good
consideration for a JFFK mare with a good hind leg and who’s not too
heavy.

Dressage Stallions approved in 2010 (keep in mind two of these boys
are five years old now, have been under saddle longer, and I‘ve seen
them more times):

Bon Bravour (Painted Black x Chronos x Linards x Souvenir)

On paper,  other than the fact it is an outcross pedigree with some
Trak. blood, this horse is completely uninteresting to me.  However,
he’s really the only Painted Black son I’ve seen that I really like.
In movement, he is supple and light; there’s good power, but it’s
elastic, not electric.  In type, he’s really pretty, modern, and
long-lined.  His hind leg construction leaves some to be desired, he’s
quite sickle-hocked, and it’s more pronounced because he’s so long
from the hock to the hip and short proportionately in the cannon.
Nonetheless, he ends up being a horse I’m interested in enough to
follow over the next couple years to see what he produces.  As a
matter of fact, there’s a certain mare, whose first foal I’m supposed
to have first option on, that happens to be bred to Bon Bravour.  The
breeder is much more knowledgeable and experienced than I am (but,
perhaps, not as charming), so I’ll trust he’s made a good decision…

Bretton Woods (Johnson x De Niro x Romancier x Troublemaker xx)

A lot of people are crazy about this horse.  You have to know that he
is BIG.  He’s also one of those horses you can literally feel the
piaffe and passage in his movement already.  The pedigree is super
interesting; his dam is the highest ranked mare in Holland now on the
breeding index.  His breeders are lovely people, whom I met for the
first time this year.  They also bred Chagall, the recently approved
Jazz son, and Wynton.  There’s not much not to like about Bretton
Woods.  I saw him when he was not selected as a two-year-old and liked
him then.  He’s gone on to win or place in the top two or three of
every young horse competition he’s entered.  People love him.  He does
have OC (not OCD, but OC) in one stifle--I’ve been told this is not a
concern; it’s merely a flattening of the bone; there are no chips.
I’ll leave that piece of the equation up to you.  He needs a mare with
a strong hind leg--he could be quicker.  My biggest issue is that I
wouldn’t know what type of mare to put him on.  I’m going to have to
wait until I see other people’s successes and failures, because
there’s nothing in my normally intuitive gut to point me in a
direction.

Cachet L (Jazz x Ferro x Nimmerdor x Alme)

Here’s an interesting horse out of a super mareline.  He’s HOT,
though, and I mean HOT.  I spoke with a number of people who really
like him, especially because he’s with such a top stable and
rider--they feel he’s going to have a really successful sport career,
and is a horse to watch for the future.  My guess is that they’re
right.  He’s built to be an upper level horse.  A lot of power.  A lot
of ability to adjust within the gaits.  I like him, but I think he’s a
little hot for my mares.

Cadans (Sir Donnerhall x Pion x Elcaro x Ferro)

I don’t have much to say about this horse.  He’s small, plain, and
uninteresting. With one exception, I don’t like the Sandro Hit blood
on KWPN horses.  I’ve just seen a slew of Sandro Hit sons and
grandsons in Germany--he works on that population.  He doesn’t work on
ours.

Carlton Hill VDL (Uphill x Vincent x Zebulon x Symphonie)

This horse will be interesting for many North American breeders.  He’s
going to be able to be crossed on a number of different types of
mares; he’s well balanced and strong in his movement; and, since he’s
a VDL horse, we can count on receiving quality frozen semen.  From
what I’ve been told, his character is also very good.  He’s not that
big, so that would be my only hesitation--he needs a bigger mare, but
he’s a super outcross horse for all of our JFFK blood.

Chagall D+R (Jazz x De Niro x Romancier x Troublemaker xx)

This horse is out of the same mare as Bretton Woods.  As a breeding
horse, my guess is he’ll be more consistent.  Right now, he’s not as
developed as he might be--he needs more power and more masculinity,
but he’s really correct in his type and movement, plus he brings the
genetics from the mareline.  He’ll work on a much bigger variety of
mares than his big brother.  Not everyone I spoke to was crazy about
him, but if he is promoted successfully, he will be a good breeding
stallion.

Charmeur (Florencio x Jazz x Ulft x Amor)

Terrible horse.  Forget him. I’ve already arranged to take all of the
frozen semen so you folks don’t have to worry about making the mistake
of breeding to him…oh, my god.  I love this horse.  He was my favorite
from the Stallion Show last year, and he’s only gotten better.  This
is the same mareline as our mare, Bowendy; it’s van Helvoirt’s best
line, having produced Zhivago, Zuidenwind, two or three champion
three-year-old mares, tons of top auction babies, and really good
sport horses.  Charmeur himself is uphill, powerful, expressive, and
long-lined.  Again, there’s not need to inquire about frozen, I’ve
already made arrangements for it all to be shipped to my tank.

Charmingmood (Winningmood x Contango x Belfalas xx x B. Raimond)

I liked this horse much better last year than this.  He’s strong and
balanced enough under saddle, but not especially expressive or
interesting.  Pedigree-wise, he’s a super outcross on paper, and he
may well develop into a good dressage horse.  However, there are more
interesting horses right now, so I’m going to wait a bit and see what
he produces.

Chippendale (Lord Leatherdale x Negro x Landadel x Ulster)

Again, you can see that this is an outcross pedigree for the most
part.  He’s nice enough.  He’s little.  He seems to be sensible and
rideable.  I’d breed to his daddy.

Cupido (Daddy Cool x Jazz x Ulft x Sultan)

Here’s a COOL horse!  And he is cool.  They didn’t show him under
saddle because he had some kind of minor tendon injury, but he was
brilliant in hand.  He’s a super modern type, and he’s developed a lot
since last year.  Great movment, great type, really fluid and powerful
through the body.  I’d love to breed to this horse.

Astrix (Obelisk x Olivi x Fruhling x Aram)
and
Connaisseur (Con Amore x Donnerhall x Legat x Abba)

Somehow, I missed these two.  I’ve seen video footage of Connaisseur
and I really like him and his pedigree for Dutch breeding, but I
didn’t get to see  him in person.  Sorry about that.  A couple of you
have emailed asking for more info.  Can’t help you.

February 8, 2011

Topic:  Life is Complete

Today, I scratched Totilas's withers, and he thought it would be a good idea if I stayed next to him for about another three days.  So did I, but our tour guide had other ideas. I'm never washing my right hand again, nor cleaning under my fingernails.

February 7, 2011

Topic:  Stallion Show 2011, part two

In this next section, I’m listing each of the horses that were
selected for the testing.  I have notes on every single dressage horse
presented, so if you’re interested in a particular horse or offspring
of a particular stallion I don’t mention, give me a shout and I’ll
include more at the end.

#376 Citango x Gribaldi x Pion x Amor

I’m really pleased that they took this horse.  For one thing, he’s a
nice horse.  Secondly, Citango has been sold to a young rider in
Germany, so I doubt he will do much more breeding.  It’s unfortunate
that more people did not use this stallion while he was available.  He
produced really good sport types with excellent balance and
self-carriage.  This particular colt is out of the same mareline  as
the approved stallion, Tuschinski.  He is incredibly uphill and modern
in type and leggy, but he could have a slightly longer neck.  In
movement, he was very good, quite uphill.  I would have liked to have
seen better bending in the hindleg.

#377 Contango x Jazz x Ulft x Statuar

Having just said that Citango (Contango x Jazz) was sold to Germany,
and with the success of Tango (Jazz x Contango), it certainly makes
sense that the KWPN continues to try to convince its breeders to use
more Contango blood.  Contango’s index is high and getting higher.  He
produces sport horses, but the types are not necessarily pretty or
especially modern.  This colt is not as good as Citango in my opinion.
He is extremely sickle-hocked, but a very nice type.  He looks much
like Citango, but not as good of a mover.  His dam also produced the
up and coming dressage horse, Vontango B, and she is a keur sport mare
herself.  So, this is interesting; however, the rest of the mareline
isn’t special.

#390 Dream Catcher (Day Dream x Rubinstein) x Montecristo x Clavecimbel x Ramiro

Here is an example of a pedigree with no Jazz, Flemmingh, Ferro, or
Krack C (JFFK from now on).  The horse is a really nice type and a
good mover.  The hindleg could be quicker, but he is a good horse.
His dam also produced the approved stallion, Vivaldo, by Polansky.  My
only hesitation with this horse is that I’m not really a Montecristo
fan,  plus this mareline has Clavecimbel through both Montecristo and
as the sire of Heidebloem, the granddam. For me, Montecristo produces
rather slab-sided, stiff horses.  Although this Dream Catcher son
seems to be a good horse, he has some Montecristo in his overall look.
That being said, the absence of JFFK makes it important to give him a
chance. Plus, one of our more important outcrosses is the Donnerhall
line.

#404 Hotline x Michelangelo x Farn x Erball xx

This colt is UB-40’s little brother, and I mentioned him already in
part one.  He is a beautiful horse with an especially nice type,
strong mareline, and excellent outcross pedigree.  He does have a
longer hindleg than I would like, and although a lovely mover, he does
not have the strong use of the hindleg or bending of his big brother.
He toes out in the front.

So, to continue, briefly, with what I started in part one, he toes out
enough that it would be an issue in a studbook inspection for one of
our mares.  My biggest problem with this is the lack of consistency in
the KWPN policy. Personally, I don’t mind a bit if a horse turns out
or toes in a little.  As a matter of fact, I think sometimes it’s a
sign of a better athlete.  I would prefer that we select based more on
athleticism than on absolute straightness of the limbs--of course,
serious deviations can not be acceptable.  My bigger issue is the
mixed message the inconsistency in the selecction process sends to
breeders.  A mare is going to produce a fraction of the horses a
stallion will produce. If we’re concerned about any slight deviation,
shouldn’t it be even more important for the boys than the girls?

As an added bonus for me on this horse, I attended the Schockemohle
Stallion Show yesterday, and got to see Hotline under saddle.  The
horse appears to have an exceptional brain.  Honestly, as a type or as
a mover, he didn’t blow me away, but I liked him.  He has good bending
of the joints in the hind end, but could use more power.  He has a
nice depth of muscling, due in part, of course, to his training, but
also to his basic conformation.  I can see how the owners of
Kilucienne (mom to UB and #404) would use Hotline--he’s going to
produce a good brain and a nice type.  She’s going to add some power
and quickness. Why #404 doesn’t have better bending in his hind end, I
don’t know.  The Hotline offspring I’ve seen previously don’t really
either, but Hotline himself does, as do the horses I’ve seen from this
mareline.  In the end, this is a colt that should have been approved,
and he should work as a good outcross stallion for the JFFK
horses--we’ll see what kind of hind leg he produces.  I wouldn’t have
put him in the championship ring, however.

#407 Jazz x Ferro x Sultan x Doruto

This is a cool horse, a real sport horse type.  Blue Hors bought him
at some point during the weekend.  He really doesn’t seem like a Jazz
to me in type--he’s deeper bodied, more rectangular, and heavier than
most Jazz offspring.  He’s also not really Ferro in type, but more so
than Jazz.  He does seem pretty hot, however. At any rate, he’s a good
mover, really well balanced and powerful, and out of a phenomenal
mareline, the Bria stamm.  He’s not a horse that the KWPN really needs
in pedigree, so maybe it’s a good thing that Blue Hors bought him.

#421 Johnson x Ulft x Akteur x Makelaar

For some reason, I don’t have this horse marked as selected in my
program, but I’m pretty sure he was.  If not, my apologies for getting
you too excited.  Nice horse.  He was a double star for me and one
that I was sure would be in the championship ring.  ++ mover;
excellent hind leg; can really sit.  He may be a little heavy in type,
but he looks more like Johnson than any of his offspring that I’ve
seen.  He’s out of the same mareline as the Burggraaf horse on which
Aikiko Yamazaki is learning how to ride Grand Prix and as the
stallion, Caritas, by Vanitas, who was one of my favorites when I
first started breeding KWPN horses.

#428 Krack C x Rousseau x Donnerhall x CHARITES !!!!! X Roemer

OK.  This horse was the star of the show for me.  He’s really one of
my favorites I’ve seen at any of the Stallion Shows I’ve attended over
the last 15 years; I totally fell in love.  Of course, he’s out of my
mareline, so that helps--but, beyond that, he’s really
beautiful--pretty, pretty face and neck--exactly the type I like--he
looks like three of the horses in my barn, his Aunt Orchis and his
cousins, Werites and Felicites (who is a double cousin since she‘s by
Rousseau).  In movement,  he blew me away.  Supple, powerful, one of
the most incredible trots you’ve ever seen--he could have a slightly
better canter, but I am in love and admittedly in denial about any
short-comings this horse may have.  Hopefully, the owners will give
him a little more time to mature before they put him through the
testing.  In my experience, this mareline produces horses that really
need until their four and five year old years to start coming into
their own.  This horse will have a better chance of making through the
testing if he can wait until the Fall.  He ended up
third-place-should-have-been-second in the championship ring.

#452 Negro x Don Gregory x Rubinstein x Matador

This is going to sound harsh, but here goes:  he looks like a cart
horse.  Weak loin connection, flat topline, up and down hocks…kind of
made me think of what a Negro x Saddlebred cross would look like.  I’m
sure he was selected for his pedigree, which is interesting as far as
the sires in the mareline are concerned, but there’s not much
information on the mares in the marline--this could be that the owners
couldn’t provide it or the KWPN couldn’t substantiate it since they’re
all German--I don’t know.  The granddam has produced the NRPS approved
stallion Don Ruto, also by Don Gregory.  Regardless, this is not a
horse I would have selected based on conformation and movement alone.

#459 Painted Black x Montecristo x Ulft x Voltaire

Nothing to write home about.  Looks like most of the Painted Black
offspring I’ve seen--nice enough type, but could be more supple.
Doesn’t have enough bending in the hind end joints for me.  Has some
of the slab-sided qualities from the Montecristo.  Not a special
mareline. Again, he’s got potential as an outcross; otherwise, I can’t
imagine he would have been selected.

#507 Tango x San Remo x Michelangelo x Amor

It’s going to seem from my comments that I didn’t like this horse, but
I do.  He’s big; very strong and long-lined; nice type.  But, he’s
lacking scope in his movement, has a straightish shoulder which seems
to be contributing to the lack of expression in his front leg, is
quite close behind, and has a really short walk.  Plus, the mareline
isn’t one I’m jumping up and down about.  Still, I like him.  My guess
he was accepted because he’s the only Tango son, and Tango is doing so
well at the moment it would be a shame not to at least give one of his
sons a chance.  I don’t know.

#512 Tuschinski x Tango x Fair Play x Architect

The Tuschinski boys!!  I’m not sure if I’ve ever written about my
visit to Tuschinski’s breeder’s farm--what mares!  They’re all a bit
on the small side, but you have never seen a line of mares with a
better hindleg--bar none.  Both of the Tuschinski sons have done their
ancestors proud in that department.  The mareline on this first son
doesn’t overly thrill me, though it is interesting to see Tango as a
dam’s sire.  This colt is a ++ mover, great bending of the joints, +++
hindleg.  He could be a little longer-lined overall.

#514 Tuschinski x Jestset D x Ulft x Lector

I’m MUCH happier with this mareline; there are much better-producing
dressage stallions and the first three generations of mares are pref,
keur pref prest, keur prest.  This colt is also a ++ mover with a +++
hindleg.  He’s also a longer-lined, bigger horse.  He was selected for
the championship round.

#517 Ufo (Metall x El Corona) x Jazz x Ferro x Variant

OK horse.  Very Ferro in type--of course, he is double Ferro.  Not
especially supple.  I was surprised he was selected.

#519 United x Sir Sinclair x Olivi x Visioen (no clue.  Faith?)

This horse was one of my least favorites of the entire selection.
Ihave no idea why they took him.  He’s long in the hind leg, he
doesn’t sit at all, long in the back, has a nice enough trot, but is
stiff and lateral in the canter.  Again, the jury has way more
information about the horses and their pedigrees than I do--they must
have had a reason.

#526 Valdez (Houston x Jazz) x Voltaire x Eros x Valkenier (again, Faith?)

This horse was a favorite of the crowd and out of a REALLY good
mother, keur pref prest.  I thought the older blood in this horse came
through in his type.  He’s a really good mover, well balanced, solid
conformation, uphill, big, and bends in his joints well.  The jury is
out for me,though; something just didn‘t click for me--I need to see
him as he matures.  He made the championship ring.

#527 Valdez x Krack C x Inspekteur x El Corona

This is the little brother of the UB-40 son, Apache.  He’s an
absolutely beautiful horse, moi type, could bend more in the hind leg.
I haven’t looked at the Select Sale prices, but he was in it.

OK.  The Vivaldi’s.  There were five of them; four were accepted.  The
one with the best mareline was not, the Vivaldi x Gribaldi x Cadmus xx
x Hurricane, the same mareline as the Grand Prix horse, Kingston, the
approved stallion, Mondriaan, champion after champion mare, and sport
horse after sport horse.  As a matter of fact, the sport results of
the offspring from this mareline were so many that they filled the
first page and took up half of another.  Moving on, everyone was
talking about the Vivaldi’s.  Even when we got to Germany, the German
breeders who had just been to den Bosch were talking about the
Vivaldi’s.  The first one to come out was the Vivaldi x Gribaldi that
was not eventually selected.  When I saw him, I wrote in my book:
“Now I have seen one good Vivaldi.”  By the end of them, I can say I
saw two “double-star-in-the-Tolman-rating-system” horses and one I
liked.  Nonetheless, I will maintain that he is an iffy stallion to
breed to.  More often than not, he produces a horse that holds its
head up in the air, drops its back, flings its legs, and doesn’t
effectively use its topline.  For some reason, this doesn’t seem to
bother other people as much as it does me.  Last year, I think three
Vivaldi’s were sent on to the testing, but none of them made it--too
stiff in the topline.  This year, he’s got four more shots at getting
an approved son.

#534 Vivaldi x Havidoff x Recruut x Aktion

This ended up being my second favorite horse of the whole show, and he
should have been named champion--he was reserve to the Zizi Top sold
in the Select Sale.  He’s a really well-developed horse with a
spectacular front and super movement.  I love the mareline.  He’s my
favorite color, liver chestnut with some bling. He is a little
fine-boned (not as bad as his daddy, however), and he does hold his
head up a little more stiffly than is ideal, but it’s a tough
environment for these boys, so I’ll give him and his genetic make-up
the benefit of the doubt.  He also dips in the loins a bit, which may
inadvertently make him a little more oozy through the topline, like a
Flemmingh.  It will be really interesting to see how this horse
develops.

#537 Vivaldi x Farrington x Ulster x Eclatant

This horse is pretty enough, but he was stiff in the topline and
didn’t have the quality of bending or hind leg of the other two I’ve
mentioned so far.  He is also really wide behind and demonstrated a
tougher kind of personality than the rest of the Vivaldi’s--he was a
little pricky, but then you’ve got triple Nimmerdor in this pedigree.
For a jumper, I could be excited about that--I‘d be counting on top
conformation and soundness with a hell of an aptitude for jumping.
For a dressage horse…not so sure Nimmerdor’s the horse I’d want three
times in the pedigree, even though it is back a ways.

#543 Vivaldi x Havidoff x Ferro x Heidelberg

This horse was also selected for the championship ring.  To me, he’s a
really striking, tall, modern-type, black horse that has a long hind
leg, needs to bend more in his hind end, holds his head up stiffly
when he moves, and doesn’t really use his topline.  But, I liked him.

#544 Vivaldi x Ferro x Baleful x Blanc Rivage xx

This is maybe the “prettiest” of the Vivaldi’s, but he is fine-boned,
stiff in the topline, holds his head up, and sinks his back down.  He
was in the Select Sale.

#554 WestPoint x Cabochon x Corleone x Le Faquin xx

This horse’s grandmother is the Macbeth mare that produced last year’s
champion, by Oscar.  The Westpoint offspring are really inconsistent
for me.  Many are stiff without much movement.  This one is good one.
He’s a good type, a good mover--maybe a little long in the hind leg,
but still powerful with good bending.  There’s something a little
funky about he neck connection into the wither and shoulder, but,
overall, I liked this horse well enough.

The Wyntons.  These were the horses I was most looking forward to
seeing this year.  I liked them better than anyone else I talked to.
To me, they showed really good depth of muscling, had excellent
balance and self-carriage, and adjusted within their gaits really
well.  They all seemed like young FEI horses.  Not especially flashy.
Good, good use of the hind leg and bending of the joints.  A bit
spooky.  Maybe more than a bit. Overall, I thought they were the most
consistent in type, movement, and dressage potential of any group this
year.  My favorite was the Wynton x Flemmingh; everyone else I talked
to liked the Wynton x Ramiro.

#569 Wynton x Ramiro x Pion x Papillon

See above.  He’s out of the same mareline as the approved stallion,
Houston. I liked this horse.  I liked him even better in hand during
the third ring.

#578 Wynton x Flemmingh x Cabochon x Lector

This was my third favorite horse of the show.  I would have put him
into the championship group.  Super horse.  Supple, athletic, a little
longer-lined than the rest of the group.  If I were to take home a
horse from this year’s show for my breeding program, this is the horse
I’d pick.  So, if the Hoogeslag family happens upon this poor
teacher/horse farmer’s overly-opinionated writings and really wants to
send their boy to the USA, give me a shout.

#586 Zizi Top x Kennedy x Astronaut (Le Mexico x Roodnootnel) x Nepal

Kind of fitting that the last selected horse in the catalogue is our
boy of discussion, huh?  I’m just not sure what else to say; he’s a
nice horse, maybe even a really nice horse. Here are my notes
verbatim:  “(no star) ++ type, beautiful horse, much more modern than
I expected, taller, Ferro hocks, uphill, supple, could bend more and
use his hind leg better.” Unless I’m missing something, the mareline
appears to be obviously off track for a breeding stallion. He does
have a keur sport dam, but we’re talking Astronaut and Nepal in the
immediate pedigree.  Then there’s the fact that Astronoaut and the
great granddam, to whom he was crossed, are half-siblings.  Again,
maybe this is a typo.  I’m in Germany and have to pay for internet
access, so I haven’t gone on line to dig deeper into this pedigree.
Hell, maybe I should be celebrating and saying, “Yeah!!!  The KWPN is
finally recognizing the need for the older lines!!”  I just wish I
recognized these particular older lines.  Faith?  The Roodnootnel mare
who is the dam of the half-siblings is a keur pref prest mare.  That’s
nice.  As you can tell, I’m baffled and know not what to make of this.

That’s it for this year’s boys.  I’ll try to cover the newly approved
boys and my favorites from the show in the next entry.  Then, we’re
moving on to some observations about some German horses…

February 6, 2011

Topic:  Stallion Show 2011, part one

This Year’s Version of My Annual Caveat:

All views expressed in these entries are purely my own and only intended as being informational for those people interested in my opinion.  I do not currently stand a stallion, nor do I receive any compensation for promoting anyone else’s stallion.  This is my 11th or 12th year keeping this online journal--my goals for maintaining it after this many years remain the same:  education and conversation about KWPN horses.

Organizationally, let’s start with some overall impressions and observations--then we’ll move on to each of the dressage horses selected to go on to the testing and individual standouts of already approved stallions (especially the newly approved)-- then I’ll close with some thoughts about the direction of the KWPN’s  breeding goal. As in the past couple of years, I really don’t count myself qualified or interested enough to do any commentary on the jumping stallions. We arrived during the last group of jumping stallions to be free jumped; I only saw the rest of them in hand or on video; due to specialization within the KWPN and my general lack of interest in jumpers, I’ve completely dropped the ball on following the bloodlines or performance results of the current sires.

Our studbook is constantly evolving; this is a good thing.  Let us not forget that the KWPN and the KWPN-NA are member-driven organizations, however.  When politics or personalities begin to dictate to a membership, or become complacent and isolated, rather than support and guide it, the membership must have the where-with-all to voice its concerns.  There are few constructive forums for this process. Granted, this journal isn’t as effective as it could be because it is obviously one-sided, but, for me, it is a starting point.  That being said, one of my goals this year is to start a blog link that allows conversation and direct responses and questions.  I have some strong opinions about this year’s stallion show, and it would be great to both field questions and have further discussion with other breeders in both North America and the Netherlands.

Overall, there were some really interesting dressage horses presented and selected.  The move to select horses with diverse pedigrees, regardless of lack of movement or some conformational issues, makes sense, but it’s also a little worrisome.  I am pleased to see a lot of Ulft, Furioso, Amor, and Farn blood in the pedigrees.  These are foundation stallions for us, and we need to make sure they remain as a strong base note to pedigrees--other than Ulft, I don’t really want to see these horses too close, but their presence brings comfort to my need for not throwing out the baby with the bathwater, as it were.

The championship ring really surprised me.  For one thing, I thought they only selected one offspring per stallion, and we had two Vivaldi’s; for another I don’t remember any sons of a foreign sire being selected previously, yet UB-40’s little half-brother, Hotline x Michelangelo, was included.  Thirdly, not only is he by a non-KWPN stallion, he also had some really obvious front leg deviation(he toes out) that would have knocked one of our mares out of the ster category and into studbook.  I’m not sure I get this.  Same as Ampere when he was made champion--he had an incredible stallion show process and moved amazingly well, but he toes in severely in the front legs--again, if he were a mare, enough so to knock him out of ster. It seems this is not a heritable trait for Ampere, but did the KWPN jury know that when he was selected champion? And lastly, throughout the stallion show this year, they jury mentioned mareline, mareline, mareline for horse after horse, after horse.  It seemed really important to them, as it should be to all of us, but two of the marelines of the stallions selected for the championship ring are uninteresting enough for a different horse not even to make it to the second or third ring, let alone be proclaimed “Champion”.  The juxtaposition of how both aware and how unaware the KWPN stallion jury, and the powers-that-be behind the jury, is of the “statements” it makes baffles me.  It kind of feels as if they think “the breeders will understand what we want to see, but they won’t notice the decisions we make for the political and financial benefit of the KWPN.”  These gentlemen are in a no-win situation; somebody is going to bitch at them for something.  Plus, they have WAY more information about these stallions than to which I have access, so my observations may be trite.  Nonetheless, I’m a KWPN breeder, sitting with other KWPN breeders, and we’re having these conversations.  I just think the more information they could put forward for us to understand their decisions the better it would be for the organization and for the breeders.  Right now, the message I got is this:  You can breed a really pretty horse out of a sub-par mareline, but as long as you put him in the Select Sale and he is pretty enough to bring a lot of money, he could be champion of the Stallion Show.  One more issue on this subject…let’s hope we have a better percentage of stallions from the championship ring making it through the testing this year.  Out of last year’s group, only two eventually became approved stallions, Carlton Hill VDL (Uphill x Vincent) and Charmeur (Florencio x Jazz). Unfortunately, this is more the norm than an aberration.

More to come...

February 5, 2011

Topic:   First News from Holland!

OK.  I don't know what was up with the champion selection of the dressage horses, but all I can say is he was in the Select Sale and just sold to Blue Hors for 150,000. Euro.  Not only would I not have put him in the championship ring, he didn't even get a star in my rating system, and I picked five out of the seven horses that made it to this round.  Oh, well.  My notes quickly:  #586 Zizi Top x Kennedy x Astronaut x Nepal (The Nepal mare is a half-sister to the Astronaut horse...unless that's a typo in the book)  So we have double Ferro and a really uninteresting mareline with almost no reliability in its index.  Horse is a ++ type, beautiful, much more modern than I would have expected from the pedigree, Ferro hocks, uphill, supple.  He's a nice horse.  A really pretty gelding, due mainly to the totally uninteresting and unproven mareline.  Plus, does the KWPN really need a double Ferro for the breeding population?  Maybe Blue Hors does.

Great news:  If he freezes well and passes all of the necessary testing, North American breeders are going to have access to VOICE frozen by the end of March!!!  I'm so excited about this.  It's one of my yearly late winter/early spring rituals to email his manager and ask for frozen. Well, thanks to Mo Swanson and Emmy de Jeu, Judy Yancey is going to have the exclusive on him.  For those of you who don't know him, go to youtube and search for the clinic Edward Gal did on him yesterday in den Bosch.  This horse is DeNiro x Rohdiamant x Doruto x Amor, out of the Barbria line.  I'm crazy about him and what he produces.  Amazing mind.  Amazing temperament. Ideal conformation and pedigree.  Much, much talent for dressage.  He is one of those answers that already exists for KWPN breeders to the too much Jazz/Ferro/Flemmingh/Krack C blood.

More great news:  I had a super conversation with he lovely young woman who has taken over all of the KWPN breeding indices, values, reporting of data, etc. (thank you, Loucky!), and she is willing and excited to help me try to create the mare indices for North American KWPN mares.  I've been hounding people for years to make this happen so that we have some sense of our marebase and the pedigree and breeding value of the horses that are here.  We're not sure how reliable the information will be until we can truly access all sport and offspring information, but we can start.  I need to talk to some folks in the KWPN-NA office to get started, but this sounds as if it's finally going to happen.  If the ladies in the office are too busy or under too much stress to pull together the information, Ms. Arts is willing to work with me on a mare by mare basis to start compiling the list.  Stay tuned--I may create a downloadable form for people to get me information, then put together the information and get it to Holland.  This is something I'm excited to be doing for North American breeders.

More detailed news coming about the Stallion Show, but a couple quick thoughts:

-Go Orchis's mareline!!!  The Krack C x Rousseau x Donnerhall x Roemer was my absolute favorite horse, plus he became third in the championship ring...and he should have been second.

-I'm going to have to eat my words and bury my pride over my annoyance with the owners of Vivaldi.  Two of his sons, in particular, were spectacular this year.  The rest of them still held their heads up in the air, sank down their backs, and didn't move through the topline. But, two were really nice, and the Vivaldi x Havidoff x Aktion should have been the champion of the dressage horses.

January 28, 2011

Topic:  Love to Get Pictures from Happy Owners

Here's a shot Meg Cotter just sent me of her and Nanette (Contango x Amor), in foal to Uphill.  Meg bought Nanette during our summer health-induced dispersal.  They certainly look like a happy couple, huh?  Meg is planning on starting her own small KWPN breeding program. It would be hard to start with a better mare.  Meg has also become part of the family, so Carol, the kids, and I all wish her years and years of breeding success and many shared keurings for generations to come.

For those of you who don't already subscribe to or only occasionally pick up a copy of Warmbloods Today, I'm putting a plug out there for my March column.  It's one of my favorites.  It's based around the hypothetical scenario of mares picking their own mates.

Have I mentioned any breeding picks for this year yet?  What is the matter with me?  Short list of stallions (pre-visit to Holland and Germany):

Totilas
Ferro
Wynton
Charmeur

And, it goes without saying at SSF, UB-40 is my fresh-cooled back up plan across the board.

January 26, 2011

Topic: Scot’s going to rant for a minute or two...

Moorlands Guinevere (Totilas x Clavecimbel). Given the success of so many inane and pointless reality shows, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that something compels me to follow any forum thread or news story about Totilas. Much to the surprise of many of my students, I am human. At least I can say I’ve never seen an episode of Jersey Shore. Back to the point: Ms. Guinevere. If you’ve been living in a hole and don’t know, Totilas’s first foal has arrived. So far, I’ve read a slew of posts about how cute she is, how touched people are to see Edward looking so “uncle-like” and happy in the photos, and how willing a number of people are to take her home. On the flip side, people have criticized her ears, her color, her legs, and her overall conformation for sport. This is filly, standing on legs that have been contorted inside a uterus for months, who is not even 24 hours old. Are you people stupid? Do you breed hamsters and not horses? Toy poodles? Then someone posted that she was sure she’d heard this was not really Totilas’s first foal. Yeah, I’ll bet those other offspring are out there somewhere with Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate and whatever device some people think created Totilas’s movement. Am I being over-sensitive here because I love this horse and I have a (knock on wood) growing version of him in a certain Jazz x Roemer uterus a few hundred yards from where I’m sitting? Probably.

Speaking of my Totilas addiction, Totilas, the Living Legend, arrived two days ago. It is a GORGEOUS book, but it pissed me off. (I’m not having a bad day, nor am I typically an angry person...unless this is a delayed reaction to the Dexamethazone...but I haven’t had any in 10 days...and that’s normally a more immediate reaction...ask poor Keagan. Deep breath exhaled.) First, I wouldn’t want to be without is book--I don’t know if I ordered it or if it’s a gift from a very good friend. If a second one arrives, then I’ll know. Secondly, it was written before the sale of Totilas, and Edward Gal’s repeated statements throughout the book of how relieved and happy he is with the commitment from the Vissers that Totilas will not be sold render a certain duplicity and superficiality to the book as a whole.

Prepare yourself; now I’m really going to rant.

Then, we have the condescending statement from Hans Peter Minderhoud that top dressage horses can not be bred--top dressage horses are made by a rider. Interestingly enough, the next paragraph contains a quotation from Gal stating how lucky they are to have a training barn full of such talented horses. I don’t know. Maybe I’m back on the Dexamethazone here, but, as a breeder, Mr. Minderhoud’s statement feels like a slap in the face. Makes me pugnacious. I completely agree that a top horse wouldn’t be a top horse without the right rider/trainer situation--it is a huge problem for breeders to get their talented horses with good riders and trainers, but that doesn’t mean the horse didn’t have to come into the situation with some natural abilities and talents that someone thought about once or twice before the horse was lucky enough to have Mr. Minderhoud’s ass in the saddle. I wonder how Vervoorn, the breeder of Minderhoud’s Nadine, feels about this? (That was rhetorical; I know how he feels about Mr. Minderhoud) What about Mr. van Helvoirt, the breeder of Gal’s Sisther de Jeu, Jazz, and a couple dozen more successful FEI horses. For that matter, what about the Schuil’s, the breeders of Totilas himself? There’s a really lovely section of this book dedicated to them and their careful and analytical approach to breeding. They don’t think Totilas was an accident. Who knows, maybe Mr. Minderhoud is French. They don’t believe you can breed a dressage horse either.

OK. I think I’m done ranting. Maybe not.

A rather ironic section of the book is located on pages 128 and 129: Paul Schockemohle’s thoughts on Totilas. “In my view Totilas enchants the world and if there ever was a dream horse, Totilas is it...I also breed horses and in my experience as a breeder I do not believe that Totilas is a random product.” Either he wasn’t given a preview of Mr. Minderhoud’s interview or he already knew he was buying the horse. Or both. But, then, he concludes his interview with this:

“As a breeder, I can well imagine how proud the Schuil family is of their product, but at the same time it would be unwise for any breeder to hope to ever breed a horse like Moorland’sTotilas. This horse is totally exceptional an will always remain the well-known needle in the haystack. I hope that Totilas will be able to pass on his whole essence and all his qualities.”

I’ll bet he does. I’ll bet he does to the tune of about 13 million Euro. Maybe Schockemohle’s words didn’t translate into English effectively or maybe someone cut and pasted his interview badly, but doesn’t it seem incongruous to you that “Totilas is not a random product” and “unwise for any breeder to hope to ever breed a horse like (him)” seem contradictory when juxtaposed? Maybe I just need another Lorazepam. Maybe Mr. Schockemohle didn’t think he would actually own Totilas and be marketing him as a breeding stallion when he made the second statement.

For the pictures alone, the book is worth two or three times the purchase price. It’s really stunning. And, it sheds light on the relationship between Gal and Totilas. At the time of the sale to Schockemohle, I didn’t feel too bad for Gal--he’s a rider--it was a lot of money and as an owner I wouldn’t have turned it down either, but I think he really loved (probably loves) this horse. As with all of us when we get our hearts broken, I hope he can allow himself to take the risk of loving again.

So, I’ve gone on and on today, haven’t I? Well, I’ve tried to keep my health stuff out of my journal. Self-pity is so unattractive. But, enough of you have emailed recently asking about my chemo progress, etc., that it warrants a brief update. I’m fine. I’m really tired of this, but I’m fine. My doctors and I have decided that it’s best I take some time off from teaching to finish the last couple months of my treatments. That’s really tough on me. Yesterday was my last day of school until mid-April. It was the first day of the new semester, and I spent it transitioning with my long-term sub, whom I adore. Still, the excitement of meeting all these new minds only to have to leave them for someone else to play with is tough. I love to teach. It gives me way more than I give it. So, yeah, self-pitying and selfish--really attractive qualities. Overall, my chemo has gone as well as could be expected. It’s a two-week cycle, starting on a Thursday, that absolutely trashes me from Saturday afternoon through early Wednesday, then I start climbing out of it and feel almost back to normal by the next Thursday--just in time to start all over. From what my wonderful nurse, Dena, tells me (I know you’re going to read this--I had to say something nice about you..), my body and brain have handled this whole process better than most people’s do. Fa la la. I have four treatments left: one tomorrow; then the good doctors are allowing me an extra week in my cycle so I can go to the Stallion Show and spend some time with Judy Yancey in Germany; one the day after I return, on Carol’s and my 21st wedding anniversary; then two in March, and I’m done. Of course, done is relative. The last time I was able to work out was August 8th, the day before my surgery. My two decades of weight-lifting, teaching aerobics, and other cardio activities may have brought me into this situation fat-but-physically-fit-and-strong, however, eight months of a major surgery followed by nasty chemicals and inactivity have left me middle-aged and apple-shaped. Judy and I are staying at a lovely German spa, and she has reminded me a couple times about bringing my bathing suit if I’m uncomfortable with being naked around a bunch of other naked people...between the Frankenstein-like scars on by ever-burgeoning abdomen and the transfer of all muscle weight from my shoulders and chest to my ass, I think I’m bringing a wet-suit. Not that that doesn’t conjure some lovely images in itself.

So, in short, I am fine, and thanks for asking. The next couple months are supposed to be he toughest, but I’m surrounded by love, strength, and a clingy Havanese--I’ll get through it and be on the other side in time for my perennials to start poking through their beds and a certain Orchis baby to make his or her own very welcomed appearance.

The next posts should be my annual Stallion Show report!!!

January 14, 2011

Topic:  Kostolany

Just in case some of you haven't seen these pictures, maybe you'll be as convinced as I am that having so many similarities to Kostolany is reason enough to be breeding to Totilas:

http://www.gestuet-haemelschenburg.de/html/ikosto.html

Now that's my idea of a family horse.

January 6, 2011

Topic:  KWPN Direction, cont.

If you haven't seen the link below, check it out.  It's basically a KWPN promotional video of the 2010 Paardendaagen (Horse Days).  What's really interesting is that you get to see snippets of the top dressage and gelders mares and foals.  It is all in Dutch, but most of the horses are captioned with a name and/or pedigree. What I find so interesting about it is comparing the dressage-bred mares and foals to the gelders-bred mares and foals. Could be an interesting conversation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC2nuHQeiVE

OK.  Class C OCD in approved stallions.  To start with, I'm not a person who freaks out over OCD in a horse.  Some horses can have different types/stages of OCD and it never affects them. If a horse is capable of a successful sport career with OCD, then, in my opinion, he or she is a fine candidate for the breeding pool. I'd prefer to know about it, but OCD alone would not stop me from breeding a mare or using a stallion, if the horse has already proven itself in sport.

Here's my issue:  In a young stallion, we don't know how the OCD is going to manifest or affect him as he progresses into more intense training.  Plus, the KWPN and KWPN-NA has beat it into us for so long that we must strive for an OCD-free population that it seems incongruous to me that the Stallion Selection Committee is now allowing Class C OCD in newly approved stallions.  As a breeder, this sends me mixed messages.  As a breeder, I know that a young horse with OCD is going to sell for substantially less money than a young horse with clean x-rays.  As a breeder, I've been taught to trust and respect the "elite" status of mares and the "strict radiographic requirements" for KWPN stallions.  Now, I'm presented with a newly approved stallion that I really like, out of an elite mare, with Class C OCD in one stifle and one fetlock.  So, both parents have passed the strict no-OCD guidelines of the KWPN--the Stallion Selection Committee is telling me that this horse is really talented and should be considered for improving the direction of dressage breeding, but should be bred to mares with clean x-rays.  Do you see why this makes me take a step back and say, "WTF, Mate?"

On one hand, I'm thankful that the KWPN is my studbook because at least I know the OCD status of our approved stallions.  Since Carol and I have regularly bred to outside stallions over the years, we may well have exposed our own breeding program to OCD producers without knowing it. On the other hand, I'd like a statement from the KWPN or KWPN-NA addressing this issue. What's changed that this organization now deems some existence of OCD acceptable?  Does this mean that the elite predicate is also changing? Or, do these stallions bring a pedigree/mareline/talent for sport that is so interesting it's worth the risk?

January 1, 2011

Topic: Dressage Breeding within the KWPN

First, happy new year to all of you. Here’s wishing you a year of health, prosperity, and introspection...and, of course, exciting foals and a fruitful dreams for this year’s matchings.

Second, and to the point, we’ve seen the list of stallions selected for the second round, and we, along with our counterparts in Holland, are concerned about the concentration of Jazz, Ferro, and Krack C/Flemmingh (JFKF). It’s a quandry, we want the stallion selection committee selecting the best potential dressage progenitors--so they do...from what we present them. To quote Wiepke van de Lageweg, “It is not up to the KWPN to lead the breeders; it is up to the breeders to lead the KWPN.”

At last year’s stallion show, we saw the van Norel-bred horses rule. Oscar, Winningmood, and Uphill all had sons in the championship round. These stallions are all non JFKF. Are they the future of the KWPN, however? This I can’t answer. Of the top five horses, I think only two made it through the stallion testing, the Uphill x Vincent and the Florencio x Jazz. As a matter fact, the stallions succeeding in the fall testing, we have a champion, Bretton Woods (Johnson (Jazz x Flemmingh) x De Niro x Romancier), his half brother Jazz x De Niro, a Jazz x Ferro, and a Daddy Cool x Jazz. The Vivaldi wasn’t good enough. With all the Wynton, Vivaldi, Westpoint, and Jazz sons headed to this year’s stallion show, things aren’t going to look much different next year.

What is going to make the difference? The breeders who can see the future. At the moment, I think we’re about to swing a little too heavily to the Trakehner to save us. You all know what a Totilas fan I am, but it’s the Kostolany with the Glendale and Akteur that I’m crazy about. I wish Gribaldi weren’t even in the mix. There’s also a faction of breeders professing that we have to use more jumper blood in the dressage horse. Maybe. I buy the need to maintain the quality of the canter, but you can’t tell me that can’t happen with dressage sires that throw good canters. At this point in time, we’re so far down the specialization path that direct jumper blood will have to be more carefully used than Trakehner blood. We’re already losing the quality of the walk--jumper blood isn’t going to help us there. Other German blood would seem to be an answer, but we continue to look for it in the wrong places. Sandro Hit has been a disaster on KWPN horses. Some of his sons are a little better, but there’s not a standout. I’ve maintained for a while that the SH blood is going to have to be in the third or fourth generation before it’s of much use to KWPN breeders. There’s something funky in the hind end that interferes with collection, and the walks and canters aren’t helping us. The R line is lovely and produces nice temperaments, but we sacrifice the hindleg almost every time. The W line is too heavy. No one’s trying the B horses. So, that really leaves us the Donnerhall sons and grandsons. Personally, the D line combined with some Trakehner and the C line out of Holstein is the direction I think we need.

At the same time, I think there are some foundation KWPN stallions that could be revisited, such as some not-so-popular lines that take us back to Farn, Amor, and Furioso. For years now, breeders of modern horses have pooh poohed the use of Gelders blood in their programs. How close up are we seeing some of the old Gelders and driving lines showing up in top sport horses and some of our newly approved stallions? My point is that we have options; we just have to be willing not to get sucked into trend breeding, but, instead, have a vision and a plan for our own program.

Next up: Is he KWPN doing us a service or a disservice by approving stallions with class C OCD?


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