December 7, 2012
Topic: End of the Year Inventory/Taking Stock
Before I begin the meat of this journal entry, I want to thank those of you who have had conversations with me recently about the KWPN-NA and, in particular, my role. It makes sense for me to be especially thoughtful and purposeful in what I post about our organization, one, because I care so much that it continues to grow and prosper and, two, similarly to what I’m doing in this journal entry about our breeding program, I want to honestly evaluate and identify not only the motivations behind my writing, but also the objectives I hope to achieve. A former BOD member has sent me a lengthy email, I’m in the middle of a couple conversations with other people with a vested interest, and a few individual breeders have voiced additional concerns. I want to put it all together into something cohesive. I will use nothing without permission, so, please, don’t hesitate to contact me--at the same time, I think we need a forum in which the conversation can be open--but directed and focused a bit. Since this journal is so widely read, it could be a good place without weathering the static of a Facebook or public forum thread.
On to the topic at hand:
One of the most important tools at a breeder’s disposal is a realistic evaluation of your “inventory”. The close of one year and beginning of another is as good a time as any to really take stock of your breeding program, its goals, and, most importantly, how the strengths and weaknesses of your inventory contribute or detract from your goals. Let me start by clearly identifying the goals for our program:
1. To establish a breeding program that lasts for generations and has a positive impact on
the world of Dutch breeding.
2. To breed athletes with the physical and mental talent to reach the upper levels of sport.
3. To produce and keep two or three horses specifically for Michaela and me to ride and
Our current inventory:
-Orchis (Jazz x Roemer) keur, well on her way to preferent and prestatie, highest ranked KWPN dressage-breeding mare outside of Holland
-Werites SSF (Freestyle x Jazz x Roemer) ster-eligible and top mare in New England, 2006, and highest points in the country that year, but not eligible for top 5 or the National Champion spot (or, more importantly to me, the Gert van der Veen Award) because she is Register A, sport predicate, keur-eligible, schooled all Grand Prix movements except for one tempis, shipping injury ended her performance career
-D’Orites SSF (Donatelli x Jazz x Roemer) ster, keur-eligible, reserve champion dressage mare, 2012, just started under saddle, scheduled for IBOP in 2013, Michaela’s riding horse
-Felicites SSF (Rousseau x Jazz x Roemer) will be presented for ster in 2013
-Galearites SSF (Totilas x Jazz x Roemer) first Totilas foal in North America-no keuring
-Honorites SSF (Totilas x Jazz x Roemer) 1st premium and top foal in New England, 2012
-BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Ulft) foalbook mare because she was born blind in one eye, but out of one of the best-producing marelines in Holland, will be a preferent and prestatie mare eventually, our best mover
-ZaVita SSF (Contango x Elcaro x Belisar) top ster mare in New England, 2007, will earn her sport predicate in 2013 and be represented for keur, currently being subjected to my fumbling attempts at riding dressage
-Mistral (Vincent x El Corona x Lector) keur-eligible and preferent, dam of approved son and a son selected for the 3rd ring--leased with KC Dunn
-Elisica SSF (UB-40 x Pass the Glass xx x Pretense xx) studbook mare/ster-eligible, 70/70, will perform her IBOP to complete her ster predicate in 2013.
-Hamina SSF (Lyjanero x Nimmerdor x Lord) weanling filly, co-owned with Zaz Putnam--the beginnings of our jumper-breeding program
-Godot SSF (UB-40 x Sir Sinclair x Jazz) yearling gelding I’m keeping for a riding horse
-Gazania (Bon Bravour x Santano x Biotop) yearling filly, niece to Orchis, part of the beginnings of our dressage-breeding program in Holland
-Hyacintia (Charmeur x Santano x Biotop) weanling filly, niece to Orchis, also part of the beginnings of our dressage-breeding program in Holland
-Hanerina SSF (Lyjanero x Indoctro x Purioso) weanling filly, co-owned with Rigtje Passchier, the beginnings of our jumper-breeding program in Holland
Don Tango B x Vincent x El Corona
Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Roemer
UB-40 x Sir Sinclair x Jazz
In our tank:
6 doses Chagall (Jazz x DeNiro)
1 dose Wynton (Jazz x Matador)
1 dose Lyjanero (Landos x Casall)
4 or 5 doses Donatelli (Donnerhall x Pik Bube)
5 doses Santano (Sandro Hit x Silvano N)
1 dose Voyager...German Riding pony and I have no idea of his pedigree
1 breeding to ________--which I’m not naming yet because it’s the subject of my next column in Warmbloods Today
Recently Sold but Still at the Farm:
-Horatio SSF (UB-40 x Freestlye x Jazz)
-Fleur SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff x Ramiro)
...given the fact that we sold half our horses in the late summer and fall of 2010 when I got sick, that’s a lot of horses! Given my obsession with pedigrees and marelines, it’s a really satifisying list.
Observations/Thoughts (no particular order here--just my brain jumping from thought to thought, as it is wont to do):
-it would be difficult to find a stronger base of dressage-breeding mares
-we’ve had great keuring success and horses from our marelines are doing really well in competition internationally, but we don’t have enough offspring directly from our program out in sport
-8 of the 12 mares/fillies are out of the same line.
-7 of the 12 have Jazz in the immediate pedigree
-only 3 mares have no Jazz at all
-as our younger mares start producing, we’re going to have to sell more fillies than I’m going to want to
-type-wise, many of our mares need more bone and more length to the body
-I hope the Vincent mare produces a colt, and a GOOD colt at that--had I seen pictures and videos of Don Tango B foals before I bred this mare, I would have probably used a different stallion. That being said, I never would have bred her to Welt Hit II, and that cross produced two top horses.
-we really need an influx of both TB blood and D line
-I’m happy with the amount of Trak in the program
-almost happy with the amount of C line in the program--wish D’Olympic were available--that would give us both D and C lines.
-F line belongs in small doses, and from the right F line stallions
-we could use an influx of supple--Orchis tends to produce some tension in the topline. It seems to go away under-saddle, but it would be better if it were mitigated in the gene pool
-if Orchis produces a colt and he’s a stallion prospect, who the hell would I breed him to in my own program? Sir Sinclair x Orchis makes him inappropriate for all but one mare.
-for that matter, any stallion prospect out of Orchis or one of her daughters would be much more of a benefit to other people’s programs than our own
-stallion prospects out of our fillies in Holland could be bred to anything in our program...
-I need to tally our keuring results--we must be a least a Silver Breeder
-Michaela and I are riding homebred horses!!!
-I need to immerse myself in jumper pedigrees so can I approach breeding the two Lyjanero fillies with the same depth of knowledge I approach the dressage mares
-I’m going to have to sell BoWendy’s foal, colt or filly, and one other horse if I plan on paying bills next year.
-Santano blood gives me Sandro Hit blood in the third and fourth generations, which is where I want it
-need to talk to Tina again about DeLuxe for this year
-how badly do I still want to try for a Totilas son?
-realistically, we’re probably breeding Orchis, BoWendy, Werites, Eliscia, and Felicites this year. Orchis is already booked; really need fresh cooled for the other four
-we need to import a stallion
-not sure why fresh cooled can’t be shipped regularly from Europe--they do it for Briar and a couple other stallions at that farm
Way losing focus.
December 1, 2012
Topic: Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!
December 1st already. Unbelievable. Christmas is a little more than three weeks away, and the Stallion Show is less than two months away! Michaela and I have our flights booked and our table in the VIP section. Actually, it’s two tables. We’ll be joined by the Jansen family (breeders of Wynton, Bretton Woods, and Chagall), Loucky Hagens (breeder of Citango), Barb Funk, Janet Stack, our good friend Cynthia Richards, and one of my oldest friends (length of time, not actual age) and co-owner of our Lyjanero x Indoctro filly, Rigtje Passchier. Carol has decided not to go, so we have one seat open. The tables cost 2600 Euro each, split by six--so the cost is about 435 Euro/person, but it includes your tickets for all the events, primo seating, wine, beer, coffee, some snacks, and incredible company. Promises to be a good time, so if you’re interested in the one seat, let me know.
I didn’t make the Barisone clinic. Huge disappointment. Carol and I spent the night before in the Emergency Room. Epeploic Apendagitis... the nurses were prepping me for an appendectomy, but the bloodwork all came back normal. CT scan at midnight revealed the above condition. Don’t ask me to explain it. The nurses had never heard of it. Nonetheless, it presents with severe abdominal pain and nausea--just as if your appendix were about to burst. Fortunately, it was not my appendix, but, unfortunately, the pain lasts for a 7 to 10 days. Benign condition.
Good news for those of you who have missed “Scot Rants” and my unasked-for opinions on the KWPN-NA, KWPN, and specific Dutch stallions...I’m back! My year on the Members’ Committee is finished! It was, indeed, an insightful time, and I have lots to share with you. It seems to me that I can effect change in our organization more quickly and more efficiently through my work outside the KWPN-NA--keep in mind, that I love this organization, and I am a supporter and believer in the Dutch system. For now, if you have any contact with one of our board members, please support the Members’ Committee recommendation that Roy Maher be placed on our board. He is the right person at the right time to help our organization.
Orchis has her date for 2013. Contract signed and faxed; credit card charged....
November 15, 2012
Topic: Brave or Stupid ... Maybe Both
Tomorrow afternoon, Carol and I load Princess into the trailer and drive to Burlington, VT. We’re spending the weekend at Lizzie Austin’s Michael Barisone Clinic. Yup. It will be the first time in 20 years I’ve ridden in public. (GV, I can see you shaking your head--just stop reading now.) Are we ready for this? Absolutely not. Am I going to do it anyways? Yup.
We started working with Sharon McCusker about a month ago--two lessons, so far. Sharon is a really lovely woman and a good instructor. After working on our own since May with no instruction, there are some “holes”, let us say. Princess has always been a little screwy in the connection, but I had exacerbated her issue. Sharon has us quickly back on track. Of course, after a year with Jane Hannigan and now over year of carrying my bulk around for four or five 45 minute sessions per week, Princess not only knows more than I do, she’s also fitter than I am. The mare looks amazing. Her gaits are developing really beautifully. She’s sleek and shiny. Great musculature. Unfortunately, she’s also capable of bigger and more powerful “discussions” with me about my aids and the requests indicated by those aids. It will be an interesting weekend with Michael. Hopefully, there’s no video-taping. The last thing I want is youtube footage of me on Princess going viral. I think I’m going to have to confiscate all cell phones and recording devices before my ride times.
We’ve recently had two chances to sell Godot SSF, aka, Sammy (UB-40 x BoWendy). I didn’t realize that I just couldn’t sell him until I was faced with doing it. For my money, he is the best mover we’ve ever produced; he has an incredible temperament; he’s going to be really muscular and broad...I’m keeping him for me. Plus, he and Mazey, our first Totilas, were the first two foals born after my whole cancer and chemo ordeal. I’m just way too attached. Many of you know that my philosophy has always been, without fail, if someone offers you decent money for a horse, you take it--horses are way too fragile and break way too easily. So, now we have Orchis, her five daughters, Princess, and Sammy all as keepers. Not good. Somebody has to pay the hay bill. I’ve recently updated the sales page with Eliscia SSF and Horatio SSF, plus promised Carol that any new boys born that couldn’t be used on our own mares as a potential stallion are automatically for sale. Feels Faustian to me.
October 16, 2012
Topic: Lots of Top Fives for SSF!
The KWPN-NA Top Five is absolutely besprinkled with Shooting Star Farm horses and their offspring this year. D’Orites SSF and Carpe Diem SSF tied for Reserve Champion dressage mare. Stephanie Sitzberger had a National Champion Freestyle x Bailar SSF two-year-old and a high placing yearling, Alexandro P x Bailar SSF. Steph bought Bailar SSF (Royal Prince x Oisther x Jazz) from us as weanling or yearling. Plus, Meg Cotter’s Gideon (Uphill x Nanette x Contango) also made the top five. Meg bought Nanette in foal with Gideon. Love being part of making people’s dreams come true!
September 22, 2012
Topic: Keuring Success!
As always, my favorite part of any keuring is having my friends and family share in my crazy passion for Dutch horses. I love how excited Carol gets about her favorites and the fact that Michaela could already take over the whole operation. Special thanks to Cynthia Richards for her friendship and her willingness to be part of the crazy adventure.
What an amazing day we had! SSF horses did really well:
Carpe Diem SSF (Farrington x Pass the Glass xx), whom we sold to Susan Wildman, was high point of the adult dressage horses, ster, and keur eligible. She looks fabulous. Thanks to Sue and Colleen for doing such good things with Cara.
D'Orites SSF (Donatelli x Jazz) surprised the hell out of me. As I was watching her come around the far end of the arena as she started her free movement, I thought, "Hmmm. This mare is moving really well and looking the best I've ever seen her." She picked a good day to shine. She became ster, keur eligible, and I'm pretty sure she had the highest points for movement. More exciting still, Dior now starts her sport career, and Michaela is going to ride her IBOP for keur next year!
Honorites SSF (Totilas x Jazz) took the high point young dressage horse honors. She was first premium and first in the ringing order of a good-sized class of all first premium foals.
Horatio SSF (UB-40 x Freestyle) was first premium and first in the ringing order of the younger foals.
All and all, a super day to end up with both the high score adult dressage horse and the high score young dressage horse. Bodes well for the future of our breeding program, don't you think?
Eliscia SSF (UB-40 x Pass the Glass xx) had a tough day. She has severe separation anxiety and works herself into an absolute tizzy. She went down twice in the ring. Even so, she made studbook, her conformation score was one of the highest of the day, and the jury asked us to bring her back next year when they can see her more relaxed.
The keuring itself was really enjoyable. Jenn Tousignant sponsored lunch, with the help of Alicia Winter and Jean Conlan-Speck, fed us delicious pulled pork, coleslaw, and apple and bleu cheese salad. Debbie Malcomson provided us with loads of breakfast goodies. Kathy Hickerson and Phil and Orintha Silva were gracious and accommodating hosts. The jury told us that the overall quality of the New England horses was the highest they had seen so far this year!
September 10, 2012
Topic: Pre-Keuring Waffling
As usual, as I alluded in the last journal entry, I've spent the better part of the summer entering, scratching, and generally waffling about which horses to take the keuring. In the end, I'm taking more than a trailer-full. We have a four-horse, head-to-head, which converts into three box stalls for mares and babies. Well, we're bringing two mares and babies, one mare for ster with a baby, and a three-year-old mare...that's seven horses squeezed into my trailer. I think I've figured out a system to make it work, especially since the keuring is, thankfully, within about an hour from us. Of course, two of the mares have never been in a trailer, nor any of the foals--so that gives us two pros and five newbies. It could be a really interesting ride.
So, my keuring predictions: two first premium foals, one may be high enough to score really well nationally; one definite ster mare and one probable ster mare--I'm not sure if we'll get a keur eligible or not. We'll see.
One more pregnancy to report: UB-40 x BoWendy on the way--full sibling to two outrageous colts. Hopefully, this one is a bay filly. Consequently, I'm taking BoWendy off the market. Thanks to those of you who have inquired. I do need to sell one of my UB-40 colts, however--either BoWendy's yearling or this year's out of Werites.
August 8, 2012
Topic: Finally a Pregnancy!
Scanned Orchis this morning; we have a Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Roemer baby due around the first of July, 2013. Should be a really modern, pretty, fancy-moving bay. After four fillies in a row, maybe we'll get another Orchis son. Will scan three more mares on Saturday morning. Hopefully, Orchis will not be the only one pregnant this year.
I've been having some of the best rides of my life on Princess the last couple of weeks. Things seem to be really clicking (knock on wood). Thanks to Melinda Johnson for making the trek over to work with me last week.
We've entered four horses for the keuring this year, but not sure how many we'll actually take. Both D'Orites SSF (Donatelli x Jazz) and Eliscia SSF (UB-40 x Pass the Glass xx) need to complete their studbook/ster inspection. Dior has a foal on her, however, and I'm not sure we're going to have time to get a keuring-appropriate topline on her. We've entered two foals, Honorites SSF (Totilas x Jazz) and Horatio SSF (UB-40 x Freestyle x Jazz), but now that Orchis is finally pregnant, I'm not sure I want to trailer her anywhere. Oh, well. Plenty of time to think about it. "Lily", the UB-40 three-year-old is pretty amazing, as is the "Petey", the UB-40 weanling. As good as ISF always is to us, I'd like to get at least these two UB offspring to a keuring.
Cross your fingers that I find at least a couple more pregnancies on Saturday.
July 24, 2012
Topic: What a Summer!
And here I thought I’d have all kinds of time to write this summer. Hasn’t happened. Looks as if it’s been a month since I posted a journal entry…the skinny:
End of May, after my latest round of CAT scans, blood work and colonoscopy (all of which were perfect, by the way), the stress of the situation took out my back in a big way. It took a full month before I could stand up straight without pain. Ridiculous. I lost almost a month of riding.
Last day of school, June 22nd. My back was finally better and I was going to ride the next morning. Well, while taking one mare out of our middle paddock, a second mare that was halfway across the paddock came at the gate at a full gallop. She never stopped. She hit me full force, went over the top of me, and wedged the metal gate up over my legs. No one was home. I couldn’t get the gate of my legs, so I was pinned on the ground, and three horses were running wildly around the barnyard. Finally, figured out that if I took a rock and dug through the gravel, I could dig a hole under my legs and get out. Nothing was broken, but my legs were seriously cut up, the bottom rung of the gate wedged through the muscle of my right calf all the way to the bone--still don’t have any feeling in a section of lower calf--and I had a couple bruised ribs. Needless to say, I lost a couple more weeks of riding. Fun stuff.
Finally, I’ve been back riding for about three weeks. The bright side of the situation is that the break was really good for Princess; she’s been phenomenal. Another bright side is that before I could start riding again, I spent about ten days long-lining here. This has also made a huge difference. After riding with constant instruction for nine months, Princess and I are really beginning to develop our own plan and system. Feels good.
On the breeding front…news isn’t so good.
Orchis lost her Totilas pregnancy. I’ve got a shipment of fresh-cooled coming for her today. Keep you fingers crossed. Thank you, Meghan and ISF, for always being so accommodating and supportive.
Have used Chagall three times with no success yet. The semen looks great, but I’m not getting pregnancies.
Werites is not pregnant on the first try with Bordeaux, even though my timing was impeccable--inseminated within an hour of ovulation on one side and two hours of ovulation on a second follicle.
Good news is that Mistral is pregnant to Don Tango B and both outside mares I’ve bred for people with frozen are pregnant.
Michaela wants to try one more time with Bordeaux. I’m really hung up on a Chagall x Eliscia cross, but think I need to switch to fresh-cooled. DeLuxe and ISF stallions are my picks.
Carol is really stumping for us to keep our numbers down, so here some options for anyone who is interested:
Fleur SSF (UB x Havidoff), really tall and lovely two-year-old filly. I think she’s already sold, but, if not, she’s available.
Felicites SSF (Rousseau x Orchis), fancy Orchis daughter, also two-years-old. Again, I think she’s also sold already, but, if not, she’s the only Orchis daughter we’ve ever sold.
Godot SSF (UB x Sir Sinclair x Jazz), yearling gelding. I think he’s the fanciest mover we’ve every produced.
BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Ulft). This mare is an outrageous mover. She’s only foal book since she was born blind in one eye, but she’s out of the Wendy line (same as Charmeur, Zhivago, and multiple top mares in Holland). $7500 open--more if I get her pregnant. She’s always taken first try with fresh cooled, but I’m on my second year with frozen with no luck.
Maybe Horatio SSF (UB out of Werites). This is super colt and I think a stallion prospect. If someone comes along and guarantees me they’ll get him into sport, then I’ll consider selling him.
Got to run. More later.
June 22, 2012
The fertility gods are at work! A lot can happen between a 14 day old embryo and four healthy feet on the ground, but, as of this morning, we have both a Don Tango B x Vincent and our third Totilas x Orchis on the way! LaVita is also back for breeding and I've confirmed her in foal to Contango. So far this year, I'm three for four on the first cylce with frozen. Bred two more mares this week, and have three more outside mares and two more of my own to breed in the next ten days...wish me luck!
June 8, 2012
Topic: Magic Day? New Additions! Volunteers?
I came home during my prep block today and bred Orchis with our last dose of Totilas. Keep you fingers crossed. Later in the afternoon, Patty from Equine Medical Services, in Columbia, Missouri, emailed me that Dr. Foss had bred Mistral to Don Tango B at 9:40...exactly the same time I bred Orchis, except an hour earlier, given the time difference. How weird is that? Let's hope the fertility fairy didn't take the day off.
Welcome, Horatio SSF (UB-40 x Werites SSF)! This colt is so nice that we had our other UB-40 stallion prospect gelded today. We're calling him "Petey", after my student who played Horatio in our recent production of Hamlet. He looks just like Jazz. No lie. Almost a carbon copy. Really vertical neck-set, super modern type, leggy, sickle hocks, chestnut, and no white...in the normal places. Petey has two white belly spots and three white paint drips, one below and just behind the saddle area on his left, on the front of his front left leg under the knee, and one about two-thirds the way up his cannon on the outside of his hind right. Did I mention that he can move? He can move. The picture below makes his ears look a little big, but they're not--they're really shapely and pretty, actually. Petey is definitely an exciting addition to the herd.
Carol has a new favorite in the barn, Nora (Honorites SSF), this year's Totilas filly. The girl is a character. She's a on-the-go kind of girl with definite opinions. She, too, can really move. She absolutely refuses to take a good picture. Although we were able to get some shots for registration, there's nothing good enough to put on the internet. I'll keep trying.
I just finished my column for the next issue of Warmbloods Today. Since this issue has a "Born in the USA" theme, my editor asked me to respond to some of the criticism and comments from my last column, concerning Sweden's decision to only allow Swedish-bred horses to qualify for Verden, so I did. Check it out.
There's a possibility that Carol and I will bring in another KWPN-approved stallion for the 2013 breeding season. I'm not convinced I want to stand another stallion, but I am sure we need more fresh-cooled options in North America. Will keep you posted.
I'm looking for a couple of volunteers. One of my charges on the Membership Committee is to take over the content of the Enewsletter that is supposed to come out monthly. I've got some great ideas, but I can't possibly gather all of the info, I'd like to see us have available on a monthly basis. Anyone interested in taking on one category and collating info? Here are the regular categories I'm thinking of including: Monthly breeder interview (breeders from Holland and North America--I'm planning on doing this one), mares confirmed in foal, KWPN-NA horses in the news, what breeders in Holland are talking about (I'm hoping Loucky will take this on), an ongoing mare indices for KWPN-NA mares (each month we add a few more mares as members request where their mare is at on her particular index), and a couple of other ideas. The point is to have items that people can't get anywhere else, so more people read the Enewsletter. Let me know if you're interested in taking on one piece of the puzzle I'm trying to put together.
May 28, 2012
Topic: Nice Surprise!
Katie Kuhn called today with really good news. Pamina VDL (Nimmerdor x Lord), the mare we leased from Katie last year to breed to Lyjanero, but who didn't take, evidently did take! We've got another Lyjanero baby on the way for 2012!
May 25, 2012
Topic: Slightly Revised Breeding Picks and Some Thoughts in General
Those of you who follow my journal regularly know that my breeding picks tend to be in flux right up until the moment I thaw the semen. Well, why be any different this year? I just bought two doses of Don Tango. So, now in the tank or about to be in the tank, we have: 10 doses Chagall, 2 doses Don Tango, 1 dose Wynton, 1 dose Totilas, a few doses of Donatelli, 2 doses of Bordeaux, 2 doses of Lyjanero, and 1 dose of Voyager. This is the most frozen we've ever had on hand at the beginning of the breeding season. Here are today's thoughts:
Chagall x Eliscia SSF (UB-40 x Pass the Glass xx)
Chagall x BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz)
Wynton x Oegelia SSF (Ferro x Elan xx)
Bordeaux x Werites SSF (Freestyle x Jazz)
Don Tango x Mistral (Vincent x El Corona)
Totilas x Orchis (Jazz x Roemer)
The quandries: Who the hell to use if I have to go with fresh-cooled on one of the mares and who to use on Orchis if our last dose of Totilas doesn't work.
Any Dutch breeder in North America is in kind of a pickle if he or she needs/prefers to use fresh-cooled semen. We only have seven KWPN-approved dressage stallions available for fresh-cooled semen. Seven. UB-40 is the youngest, and he's already 11. Sir Sinclair is 13. Rousseau 14. The others are between 16 and into their 20s. If the Dutch philosophy is to breed to the newly approved stallions to most quickly improve the genetics of the population, we're sorely behind the ball. Of course, older stallions certainly have their place and value, but, regardless, our breeding options here are limited. Unfortunately, the solution to this isn't as simple as import more stallions. One, our breeding base is way too small to support the number of interesting stallions that many of us would like to see here; two, the really good young stallions are so expensive that few of us can afford to buy, import, promote, and train one; three, due to the fickle nature of breeders and the often-ugly influence of social media on a stallion's reputation, it's a thankless proposition to import and rep a stallion even if you have the money and the inclination. Some people blame that KWPN-NA for not approving more stallions. Hmmm. You want a studbook with really high standards so that your horses carry that stamp, yet you want this same organization to lower its standards so we have more stallions to breed to. The problem here become apparent fairly quickly. Make use of Register A and breed to a German stallion. OK. I've done that. We've even owned and/or promoted a couple German stallions. Bottom line: They're not Dutch. It's great to bring in some outside blood for a generation, but the next generation you really need to go back to a KWPN approved stallion. It's a problem.
The Orchis dilemma. Hopefully, there's no issue and this year's dose of Totilas will be just as effective as the last two years' doses--nonetheless, I feel as if I've got to have a plan in the works. My dry shipper will be leaving Judy Yancey's next Wednesday or Thursday. Should I have Judy include another couple doses of someone who will work for Orchis? I'm not opposed to doubling on the Jazz if it's back a ways, but Wynton, Chagall, and Don Tango are a little too close for comfort. The Bordeaux is Michaela's for Werites, and Orchis will have to be rebred before we know if we need the second dose. My friend Cynthia has dibs on the Donatelli frozen. As much as I love our Lyjanero filly in Holland, I'm not sure it's worth taking that risk on Orchis, especially now that she's 16. Maybe Contango? It's certainly a niche, Jazz x Contango/Contango x Jazz, but I've already bred to Contango a bunch...That settles it; I'm sending off this journal entry and heading back to Judy's site to shop for more frozen!
May 14, 2012
Topic: New Babies, Holland, and More!
Most important news first: Our first two foals have arrived!
Clark and Richard Moss are the proud owners of super chic Voyager x Donatelli x Jazz colt. He's a fancy chestnut of the most modern type imaginable; cute, cute head; little star and two hind whites. Clark has named him Vuitton. His farm name is Louie. D'Orites SSF is a great first-time mom. Louie made his debut at 12:30 am on the 9th--just ahead of his aunt, Honorites SSF (Totilas x Jazz x Roemer), who arrived at 8:30 am on the 10th. Yup. Another chestnut Totilas x Orchis filly. The gods are kind...and deaf. I specifically ordered a black colt, but couldn't be more happy with Miss Nora. I swear she's more jack rabbit than foal. What a character! She looks a great deal like her older sister, Mazey, but maybe a little smaller and more movement. What's really fun is to see how strong this mareline is--when both foals are out together, a Totilas x Jazz and a Voyager x Donatelli, you can clearly see the family resemblance. I've posted a couple pictures of Louie on FB for Clark and Richard, but all attempts to get a decent picture of Nora have failed.
We have a new filly in Holland: Hyacintia (Charmeur x Santano x Biotop). On our visit to my friend Gerard Vervoorn's farm in April, Carol and I absolutely fell in love with a week old chestnut filly out of our favorite mare. If she has to be sold, she has to be sold to us! Fancy, fancy filly. I'll post a picture below. We also finally had the opportunity to see Gazania, our Bon Bravour x Santano x Biotop yearling filly. As you can tell, she's also out of our favorite mare. Gazania lives at Wim Casemier's place and teaching her tuigpaarden pasture mates how a real horse moves. She, too, is a really lovely filly. Long lined, lovely mover, really pretty. If all of this news weren't exciting enough, Carol and I, along with our friends Rigtje Passchier and Sjoerd Vallenga, went to Bart Henstra's stable to see our Lyjanero x Indoctro filly, Hanerina SSF. Dynamite filly! Powerful, leggy, gorgeous front. Can't wait to see her jump! Yes, indeed, we have quite a collection of fillies across the Atlantic. Exciting stuff. As I posted on Facebook the other day, we have suddenly found ourselves with 15 broodmares/broodmare prospects. If Werites has a filly, that will make 16. Craziness! Someone is going to have to go to help pay this year's hay bill....
Ten doses of Chagall D and R frozen semen are on the way to SSF! Pretty exciting! Here are the current breeding picks:
Totilas x Orchis. I've been so tempted to try Contango on Orchis, but the Totilas cross on her is so good I 'm going for it one more time.
Bordeaux x Werites SSF (Freestyle x Jazz x Roemer)
Chagall x Oegelia SSF (Ferro x Elan xx x Wachmeester)
Chagall x BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Ulft)
Chagall x Eliscia SSF (UB-40 x Pass the Glass xx x Pretense xx)
Chagall x Mistral (Vincent x El Corona x Lector x Doruto)
D'Orites SSF, our Donatell x Orchis mare, is becoming Michaela's riding mare after she weans this foal. I'm thrilled. What could be better than watching a product from my personal breeding program compete on product of my equine breeding program? Not much!
OK. More news and happenings to tell you about, but have to get away from this computer for a while. Hope all is well with all of you. I'm both relieved and pleased to report that my latest CT scan and blood work came back clean. Whew.
Here's a picture for you: Two horse-crazy men and an incredible filly.
April 9, 2012
Topic: This is what my foals are going to look like next year...
April 7, 2012
Topic: Bordeaux it is!
Carol and I told Michaela in early November that we were giving her this year to breed Werites to start her own breeding program. For Christmas, she received a certificate good for two doses of frozen semen from the stallion of her choice. In true Tolman fashion, the girl began researching immediately, including a trip to the Stallion Show. Believe it or not, I really stayed out of it; however, some time in February, I reached my pick for Werites. I asked Michaela if she wanted to know, and she gave me an emphatic, "No!" When she got to her top three (Uphill, Connaisseur. and Bordeaux) and my boy was included, I was delighted. When she finally made her pick, I was even more delighted. My breeding program is safe in her hands; we chose the same stallion: Bordeaux. Good choice, and well done, Michaela!
March 30, 2012
Topic: Life is Good
Hey, everyone! Thanks for the emails, FB messages, and texts--yes, the KWPN-NA's Members' Committee has taken a "bite" out of my journal. It just doesn't feel appropriate to me to be snarky and officially represent the organization. It's only a year. Things will change.
So, Carol and I are off to Holland at the end of next week. We're only spending a few days so that we can see two horses we own but have never seen...one yearling filly, Bon Bravour x Santano x Biotop, and one new born jumper filly, Lyjanero x Indoctro x Puriso! Carol has to stay in the hotel room for at least one of the days and work toward a publication deadline--so I will have at least one full day to get in as much horse trouble as I can find. Two people have asked me to look for specific prospects. If you need/want/are even thinking about a new horse from Holland, let me know before next Thursday. I have plans to visit a number of friends, breeders, and contacts. I'm taking my dry shipper as luggage...I'm also hoping to negotiate something interesting for North American breeders...
I think Cynthia Richards is the only journal reader who came to see Hamlet, Electrified and Deconstructed. I have to tell you that it was the most artistically fulfilling show I've ever done. It was a cathartic evening of theatre. I hope there's an opportunity to do it on a larger scale than KHS.
If you have not watched the video comparison between Edward Gal and Matthias Rath on Totilas, you should. If for nothing else, it will change you as a rider. I've had the best rides of my life the past two lessons. Forget that it's Totilas, and just concentrate on the use of the aids from these two riders. It's absolutely illuminating.
I don't remember what I posted last for breeding picks, but here's where we're at now:
Totilas x Jazz x Roemer
Chagall x UB-40 x Pass the Glass xx
Chagall x Sir Sinclair x Jazz
Wynton x Ferro x Elan xx
? x Freestyle x Jazz (Michaela has, of yet, not made up her mind about Werites)
OK. I've put off doing this for a long time, but we've given up, so I can finally speak. The Werites saga:
-Werites is picked up by Elite Horse transport from Judy Yancey's place in Florida. The transport people call Judy while she is at the grocery store with her elderly mother. She is 15 minutes away. They don't wait for her, but take the horse without a signature.
-I get a call from Jimmy Welsh, Elite Horse Transport, that Werites, in transport, had a slight knick on one of her hind tendons.
-a little later, I find out that she's been taken to New Bolton
-still later, I find out that a vet had been called roadside. He recommended that the mare be taken immediately to New Bolton. Elite Transport did not do this. Jane Hannigan, obsessed with the situation because she had arranged the transport, found someone in the middle of the night to take the mare to New Bolton.
-whatever accident, to this day, we have not been informed as to what happened, caused the tendon injury, happened in the early afternoon. The mare did not get to New Bolton until 8 am the next morning.
-the New Bolton vets tell me that the "slight nick" is one tendon sliced half way through and the other ruptured. They tell me that the prognosis for full recovery is 50/50--the prognosis that she can ever be ridden again is under 10%--do I want to put her down.
-I call Jimmy Welsh. He says his insurance will cover the vet costs.
-I call New Bolton and tell them to try and save the mare.
-Werites was at New Bolton from June 5th to sometime late in the fall. The total bill was within a few dollars of $30,000.
-Welsh's insurance refused to pay the claim because of the circumstances of the injury, which we were not, and are still not, aware of.
-Welsh became really difficult to reach
-we hired a lawyer to deal with the insurance company.
-we hired another lawyer who prepared a case against Elite Horse Transport
-we tried unsuccessfully to serve Jimmy Welsh
-we hired a private investigator to serve him.
-he evaded all of our attempts, but communicated to other people that he had been served by our lawyers.
-he filed bankruptcy.
-since he had never been served, the judge threw out our claims.
-long story short, even though we had a horse in transport with no authorizing signature and a clear onus of responsibility for the injury on the shipper, we lost the value of an international quality mare schooling all the Grand Prix movements, plus $30,000. in vet costs, plus almost $10,000. in legal fees, plus the cost of the original shipping.
I am a believer in fate, so maybe Werites will produce foals that bring great joy and success to our lives. Maybe Michaela will pick just the right stallion for her that she establishes a mareline that will last for generations. All I know, is that Carol and I are out $40,000. of hard-earned cash, not even thinking about the loss of value of the mare, because a shipper didn't take responsibility for crippling our horse. It sucks.
Yes, I'm angry. Yes, I feel cheated by Jimmy Welsh. But, what are you going to do? I just had a brilliant artistic experience; I'm surrounded by the love of an incredible family; I'm riding better than I've ever ridden in my life; I'm still cancer-free. So, life is good. Jimmy Welsh sucks, but life is good.
March 6, 2012
Topic: March Updates
I apologize yet again for being so delinquent in posting in my journal. Facebook has such an immediate gratification factor that I find myself posting and checking news there more frequently than I’d anticipated. Unfortunately, my journal has suffered.
Carolyn de Roo-Kooiman, from President Dressage Stables, just sent me links to some recent footage of three of their stallions:
Chagall D and R (Jazz x DeNiro)
Dark President (Wynton x Ramiro)
President’s Jack Sparrow (Johnson x Wolkentanz II)
Also, if you haven’t been to vimeo.com, it’s worth the trip. Just type KWPN into the search engine and pages of horse videos will pop up. My favorites are the foal inspections.
I’m more and more impressed with Chagall. His first foal was born a few days ago. Although I haven’t seen pictures or footage yet, word is that she’s really special. My guess is that Chagall will have one of the best, if not the best, foal report of the stallions approved in his year. He is the perfect type for a breeding stallion, has a perfect pedigree for a dressage horse, and is out of the number top mare on the KWPN index for mares without offspring in sport. He and his rider are now in training with Edward Gal. Good things are going to happen for this stallion.
I know that Jack Sparrow frozen is also going to be available to North American breeders this year.
Speaking of top mares…Orchis is rocking a breeding index of 192, which puts her in fourth place of all KWPN mares with offspring in sport. Unfortunately, mares in the KWPN-NA database still aren’t included in the KWPN’s database, but that’s not going to stop me from crowing about it! Now, if she’ll just safely deliver that Totilas x Orchis stallion prospect this year, we’ll be in business!
Great news! Our first jumper foal has arrived safely! Hanerina SSF (Lyjanero x Indoctro x Purioso x Nimmerdor) As you may remember, during my trip to Holland and Germany last year, I fell in love with Lyjanero while visiting Sprehe. Bart Henstra hooked me up with a top jumper mare to lease for breeding. She took on the first cover. And, we’ve now begun a jumper breeding program in Holland. My good friend Rigtje and her husband asked if they could be part of this adventure, so they co-own this filly with Carol and me. As soon as I figure out how and remember to download the pictures from Facebook, I’ll post them and the video link to her first time out of the stall. She’s a lovely, long-lined, leggy, dark bay filly, with an incredible face. I like her so much that I’m seriously thinking about using the two doses of Lyjanero we have stored in the USA for my dressage mares.
I’ve put in my order for another foal in Holland this year…I’m hoping for a Charmeur colt, but will be just as happy with a filly.
If you’re in the area between March 21st and 24th, come see my production of Hamlet (electrified and deconstructed)it’s going to be a really interesting theatre experience!
February 14, 2012
Topic: Am I Crazy?
I know; it's a rhetorical question.
Two years ago at the Stallion Show, one of my favorites was the Jazz x DeNiro colt, out of the same dam as Bretton Woods. He was in the Select Sale and went for a reasonable price. Many people I spoke to that year commented that he seemed immature both physically and mentally. I thought at the time that someone got a really good buy on a horse that would eventually be a super breeding and competition horse. He went on to complete his 70 Day Testing with good scores, but remarks about his nervousness and tenseness.
This year at the Stallion Show, he was presented again under saddle. Although he was obviously nervous and not very well ridden, he demonstrated really correct gaits, a super ability to shorten and lengthen, and excellent self-carriage. Type-wise, he's my idea of a breeding stallion. He's refined, not too big, and completely balanced and correct in his movement. He does toe out fairly significantly in one front leg, but his xrays are completely clean. When people asked me which stallion I liked, I told them Chagall. Without exception, people scoffed at me...until I had a conversation with Emmy de Jeu.
Emmy and I were chatting, and she said,
"So, Scot. Who do you like?"
"I'm not going to tell you, Emmy. People keep laughing at me when I tell them."
"Come on, Scot. Who do you like?"
"I'm not going to say."
"Chagall. The Jazz x DeNiro."
"I bred four mares to him. I think he's the best young dressage stallion in Holland right now."
Needless to say, I felt both vindicated and delighted that Emmy and I are on the same page about this horse. At any rate, Chagall is currently at Holstud being frozen for export, and I'm planning on bringing in some semen. I'm not mentioning this because I want to market his frozen, but if someone is interested and wants to share the cost of the shipment, I wouldn't complain. The price is 1000 Euros for a breeding, which is three doses. His semen quality is good, but, of course, we don't know about this particular batch just yet. His first foals are due this year.
Let me know if you have any interest.
Breeding Picks for 2012:
Totilas x Orchis (Jazz x Roemer)
Chagall x BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz)
Chagall x Oegelia SSF (Ferro x Elan xx)
Chagall x Eliscia SSF (UB-40 x Pass the Glass xx)
No yet from Michaela for Werites SSF (Freestyle x Jazz)
D'Orites SSF (Donatelli x Jazz) is going into work this year in hopes of her getting her sport predicate.
Happy Valentine's Day, BTW!
February 7, 2012
Topic: General Impressions from Den Bosch
Although I'm uncomfortable talking about specific stallions, I think it's fair to offer some general impressions that might be helpful about the direction of Dutch breeding:
-I had a better time at the Stallion Show this year than I think I've ever had. It was really a good time seeing friends, talking with breeders, and being part of the whole event.
-Jazz, Ferro, and Flemmingh blood continue to dominate many of the pedigrees, and the Selection Committee appears to be going to great lengths to accept stallions from out cross pedigrees.
-The quality of the walk was a determining factor in selecting some stallions. Some really top horses were rejected solely on the weakness of the walk. I'm not sure I agree with this, but I understand the concern.
-Power from behind appears more important than pedigree, type, winging, and obvious stifle issues. What I like about this is the mix of jumper and Gelders pedigrees that were accepted for dressage breeding. What I don't like about this is some conformationally questionable horses were sent through. Since I wasn't privy to all of the information about the stallions, I'm sure there's nothing physically serious wrong with the horses I'm questioning, but it would be nice to have more information about the decision process.
-I thought the jumpers were physically stronger and better balanced than the dressage horses
-There were a few horses that I really, really liked, but no horse made me want to cash in the life insurance policy.
-Prices are so low in Europe that it may hurt us here in North America. I spoke with more than one well-respected breeder with solid mare lines who sold foals for lower prices than their cattle. Of course, the very best horses are always going to bring a top price, but the European economy has certainly taken the bottom out of the horse market in Holland.
-The Select Sale actually had a few really good stallions that I would have been happy to bring home--the prices were unbelievably low. I wish I'd even thought seriously about that possibility beforehand...I would have been motivated to put together a new stallion group for North American breeders.
-Attendance was down. In the decade and a half that I've been attending the Stallion Show, this is the first time I remember seeing a number of empty seats on Friday night.
-The KWPN-NA's Annual Meeting appears to have been a huge success. We talked about doing this years ago--it's great to see it finally happen. Personally, for the learning curve involved, only the Horse Days in August could provide a comparable venue of horses. I think it would be really beneficial to our members and our breeding programs to regularly schedule our Annual Meeting at either the Stallion Show or the Horse Days. I'm planning on proposing this.
-It was 59 degrees F when we left Boston...it was -17 C one night in den Bosch.
I'll post more as I think of it.
February 6, 2012
Topic: A Year-long Commitment
I know some of you thought I'd disappeared, but no such luck! I've been waiting since the end of November for things to finish working out with my BOD application. Due to potential legal issues because of missed dates and miscommunications between the two supervising boards/committees of the KWPN-NA, there will be no new BOD members this year. Consequently, I've been asked to serve a one-year term on the Membership Committee and have accepted. Given this new position, it seems only prudent that I'm judicious in making comments about other people's horses, either positive or negative. If you are a friend, client, or regular reader who has a question, I will happily have a telephone conversation and chat about horses as much as you like. I will also continue to post our farm/family news, breeding picks, and general commentary about issues facing all of us in the horse business. Thanks for understanding . When I have a minute, I will post some general impressions of the Stallion Show.
So, all of this being said, if you're a member of the KWPN-NA and have questions, concerns, or ideas that you would like to share, throw 'em at me. I've taken this position to be part of making our organization stronger. I'd love to hear your thoughts about how we can serve you folks better.