A New Year’s Message and Update
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
I love this quotation. What better way to start a new year than bravely? We “accidental tourists” on this spinning blue-green ball in space are too often contained by the opinions of others, societal norms, and personal fears and insecurities. I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I am one for embracing the possibilities that come with the metaphor of a new period of time in which to dare to dream and both to take stock of the life I’ve created and the life I want to live in the limited amount of time I have left on this planet. My family and my horses are the embodiment of my hopes and dreams. On a day-to-day basis, caught up in the minutiae and frustrations of political ridiculousness, sibling quarrels, gained weight, frozen water buckets, and unexpected bills, there are times when I am negligent in fostering the very things that give purpose to my life, but, overall, in the bigger scheme of my life, I dare to dream and I dare to build the life I imagine. For my children I wish the same. Be brave, believe in your capabilities and the innate goodness of people, and never compromise your personal convictions to please someone else. For my friends, clients, and followers of my ramblings, I wish you health, happiness, and the fortitude to believe in yourselves and the strength to build your own lives as you imagine them. Do not fear failures; take heart in them, reflect, learn from them, then let them go. Rejoice in your successes and build upon them. Dare to live the life you imagine.
Reflections on 2020
Building a breeding program is an endeavor that takes either generations or vast amounts of money and/or luck, so it’s of no great surprise to me that 30 years into our program we are just beginning to see the fruits of the work, sacrifices, and decisions made during the formative years of our program. This statement may come as a surprise to some of you. From the outside, given the successes we’ve already accomplished and recognition we’ve received, our results would seem to manifest in more of a sense of satisfaction than I have felt until recently. 2020 was a great year for us: We had one of our best foal crops ever, all of our mares cooperated and became pregnant (knock on wood they stay that way…), Gaudi booked 160 mares, I’ve had a brilliant time riding one of the best horses we’ve ever bred, we’ve had an incredible sales year, and we have a stallion selected for the Second Ring. Of course, I’m always waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop, but, overall, I’m feeling more hopeful about the future of our breeding program than ever.
Nadal SSF (Just Wimphof x Charmeur x Santano)
The pinnacle of any breeding program is producing approved stallions. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have one of our young stallions selected for the KWPN approval process. At this point in time, it doesn’t even matter if he makes it all the way to full approval–I’m just delighted that we have taken this step in our program. Last year, sitting at the First Ring selection in Ermelo, I allowed myself to realize that we are producing horses good enough to hold their own against the best in our studbook. When I watched the live feed of Nadal in the ring, then heard Bert Rutten say, “tweede bezichtiging”, it was a dream come true. Not counting those damn chickens before they hatch. I’m not, by nature, an optimist. Carol is always saying to me, “the glass is half full”–my automatic response is, “what glass?”. I realize we are a LONG way from having an approved stallion out of our program, but, at least, we’re moving in the right direction. That’s good enough for me. For now.
Gaudi SSF and Jaleet SSF
What a phenomenal response we’ve had to our early breeding special. Between the two of them, Gaudi and Jaleet have already booked nearly 60 mares for 2021. Let me extend a huge thank you to those of you who believe in our boys. Gaudi is clearly proving himself as one of the top-producing stallions available in North America, and Jaleet is going to get a chance to continue his success as a DHH sire, as well as to begin his career as a dressage sire.
2021 Foals Update
If you want an SSF baby, it is looking as if you’re going to have to plan in advance…
*SOLD indicates that someone is already making payments on his or her future baby
**RESERVED indicates that someone has committed to buying or taken first option on the foal
Jovian x Totilas x Jazz NOT FOR SALE
Gaudi x Donatelli x Jazz SOLD
D’Avie x Bon Bravour x Santano NOT FOR SALE
Gaudi x Freestyle x Jazz SOLD
Gaudi x Atleet x Manno RESERVED
Gaudi x Sir Sinclair x Jazz RESERVED
Jaleet x Michigan’s Heir to the Throne AVAILABLE
Fynch Hatton x Charmeur x Santano NOT FOR SALE
Fynch Hatton x Franklin x Santano FOAL AUCTION IF NOT SOLD FIRST
Breeding Plans 2021/Foals 2022
Those of you who have followed my journal over the last 30 years know NOTHING is set in stone until the semen is in the mare, but here is where we’re at so far:
DiMaggio Black x Totilas x Jazz NOT FOR SALE
Vivino x Donatelli x Jazz RESERVED
Jaleet x Bon Bravour x Santano RESERVED
Le Formidable x Borsalino x Totilas COLT AVAILABLE
Gaudi x Belantis x Donatelli AVAILABLE
Jaleet x Michigan’s Heir to the Throne AVAILABLE
Filly SOLD from one of the following:
Gaudi x Freestyle x Jazz COLT AVAILABLE
Gaudi x Atleet x Manno COLT OPTION RESERVED
Gaudi x Sir Sinclair x Jazz COLT AVAILABLE
As of last year, Michaela has started making the stallion selection for the mares in Holland. I give her a short list, and she makes the final decision. My short list? Hmm. Great question! Guess I better get started on that…
Well, as you can see above since I’m using him on Galearites SSF, I’m obsessed with DiMaggio Black right now, so he’s on the short list. Jovian. Still obsessed with him. We’ll have to see how the Fynch Hatton babies look. Hmm. That’s it so far! Usually I have the benefit of seeing all of the young stallions at the First Ring, then again at the Stallion Show, as well as seeing all of the younger approved stallions. Not so this year. As much as I appreciate the availability of the live feed, it’s not the same. Some horses look better in person, some look better on the screen. My many trips to Europe have been invaluable in building our program. I’ve always been jealous of jury members–not because of their decision-making status, but more the fact that they get to see so many horses. You can be an armchair/laptop critic all you want, but you can’t really develop an eye without seeing thousands of horses in the flesh. One trip to the Stallion Show or Horse Days, and you can literally see hundreds of horses within a few days. At any rate, I’m going to have to do a different kind of research this year before I submit my short list to Dr. Michaela Tolman.
New Training Facility
Who thought this was a good idea? We’ve already spent the excavating budget, and we’re nowhere near done with the excavation. On the brighter side of the process, I’ve been working with an Amish construction company to plan the layout, and that’s going well. I’m super excited about the possibilities. And, they promise they can have everything done in time for SSF to host the New England keuring this year. Fingers, toes, and hooves crossed.
Let the Future Be Bright
As I sit here typing and mulling over the future of SSF, my goals, the political climate, who Shakespeare really was, and life in general, I am allowing myself to feel content. And hopeful. Given the inner workings of my brain and my propensity for overthinking everything, this isn’t a bad way to start the year.