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Broken Promises

Jul 25, 2019 | 0 comments

On Top SSF (For Romance I x Totilas x Jazz)

Oh, yeah. My promise to update this journal every Monday hasn’t worked out the way I planned.  Sorry about that. I’ll make up for it with a LONG entry!


SSF Update

It’s been a REALLY busy breeding and foaling season. We have one foal in Holland, three in Indiana, six on the ground at SSF, and one still due in the next couple weeks.  Gaudi has booked way more mares than I had anticipated this year. There’s this new woman in my life, Ms. Ava Tolman Low. And, my mares have been less cooperative than I had hoped in the rebreeding department.


Gaudi SSF


I haven’t asked other stallion owners how their breedings are going, but, given the number of new dressage stallions available this year and its being Gaudi’s second year on the continent, I expected a drop from the 70 mares he got last year. Well, including a few mares from last year that didn’t take and my mares, Mr. Gaudi is up to 93 bookings so far! That’s a crazy number for a North American stallion. We are thrilled, and we are also extremely thankful for the positive response he’s received. As you’ve probably seen on social media, Gaudi’s first North American foal crop is outrageously good. I’ve personally seen about a dozen of the foals in person, and they all range from very nice to especially nice. He is consistently producing tractable foals who are people oriented, great walks, great use of the hindleg, a strong uphill tendency, especially in movement, suppleness, and really correct conformation. It’s hard not to be super pleased about what he’s producing. The height and head shape of the foals seems to be determined more by the dam than Gaudi, but, overall, he’s creating a fantastic group of up-and-coming riding types that seem athletic, smart, and trainable. It will be really interesting to see how they develop over the next few years. The horses from Gaudi’s mareline seem to get better and better as they develop, so I’m optimistic that he is going to have a significantly positive impact on breeding in North America.


Last year, we collected for a breeder in October, so if you’re still thinking about breeding your mare, we’re still collecting. His semen quality is excellent. And, we also have proven frozen semen available for Canada, with the same unconditional LFG as our fresh cooled contract.


2019 SSF Foals


Thanks so much to those of you who follow and believe in our program. We only have one foal still available. 

Outrageous SSF (Gaudi SSF x Gazania x Bon Bravour)

Reggie is a powerful, supple, big-bodied guy with an in-your-pocket personality. SOLD


Osei SSF (Hiro T x Emaldine OMHG x Atleet)

You’ve probably seen the short video clip of this future superstar on FB. Phenomenal DHH stallion prospect. SOLD half ownership


Oserenia SSF (For Ferrero x Hyacintia x Charmeur)

This filly is in Holland, so I’ve only seen pictures, but I’m pretty happy to have a filly out of Hyacintia, especially by a stallion with such a phenomenal mother line. We’re hanging onto this girl.


Overdrive SSF (Gaudi x Felicites SSF x Rousseau)

What a special colt! If I had seen him in person before he was sold, I probably would have hung onto him as a stallion prospect. Gorgeous type, extremely good mover, great character. SOLD


Olicites SSF (Gaudi x Felicites SSF x Rousseau)

Again, delighted to have a filly of this quality to keep for our program. Felicites SSF is one of the most beautiful mares we have produced.  I’m delighted she’s in my friend KC Dunn’s program, but I’m equally delighted to have an Orchis granddaughter from her to keep for us. This filly is so elegant and refined. She’s just beautiful.


Olympites SSF (Secret x D’Orites SSF x Donatelli)

Good thing this filly was sold before she was born, or she probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere, and Carol would have all the more reason to ask me, “And, just where are we putting all these horses you’re keeping?” Tessa is conformationally perfect. Long lined, great balance, super front, and a very powerful hindleg. SOLD


Obi-Wan SSF (Gaudi x Werites SSF x Freestyle)

Obi is the farm favorite because he’s so damn sweet.  He just loves people. And, we love him. Very fancy modern type with tons of suspension and lift in his movement. SOLD


Ocho SSF (Gaudi x BoWendy x Sir Sinclair)

This guy is so pretty I was just sure he was a filly when he was born…but, no. Eight boys in a row for BoWendy. Given that BoWendy is now a prestatie mare with her first two sons kicking ass in sport, including the new Grand Prix horse, Godot SSF, who was just listed in the talent pool for the 2020 Olympics for Team Canada, it’s really time this mare gave us a filly. Ocho is a very fancy mover, as are all BoWendy babies.  I don’t think he’s going to be super tall, so if anyone out there is interested in a very special, probably smaller dressage partner, let me know. Ocho is the only baby not sold right now.


On Top SSF (For Romance I x Galearites SSF x Totilas)

No need to tell you anything about this boy. He’s mine.


Oliscia SSF (Gaudi x Carpe Diem SSF x Farrington)

I had no intention of keeping this filly. As a matter of fact, when I did my customary FB post when she was born, I was thinking we’d probably have a few inquiries and I’d sell her.  Well, Carol came out to the barn about a few minutes after I did my post, and said, 


“We’re keeping this one.” 


As you may have just read in one of the descriptions above, my wife is normally the one who tempers my inclination to keep them all…but…after nearly 30 years of marriage, I’ve learned my wife is “almost” always right. This is, perhaps, the most athletic foal we’ve bred. Those of you who have read my journal over the years know how much I appreciate the “right” TB blood in my horses. This filly’s grandmother had the ideal TB pedigree for sport. She produced three keur-eligible mares for us, with all three going either top in the country or reserve at their inspections. This filly’s cousin LeLiscia SSF (Governor x Eliscia SSF x UB-40) was the number one foal in North America a few years ago.  Unfortunately, we lost her in a tragic stall accident. Ms. Jet is even nicer than her cousin, Lishy. 


(Democraat x ZaVita SSF x Contango)

This is the last baby of the year.  He or she should arrive in the next couple weeks. Since this foal is already sold, I’ll probably get the gray filly I’ve been wanting for the last 30 years! 

SSF Breedings for 2020


I’ve had significantly more frustrating breeding years, but I’ve also certainly had easier. Here’s where we’re at and what we’re planning:


Eliscia SSF (UB-40 x Pass the Glass xx) in foal to Gaudi

Gazania (Bon Bravour x Santano) didn’t take to Zack, but in foal to Gaudi

Hyacintia (Charmeur x Santano) in foal to Vivino

Werites SSF (Freestyle x Jazz) in foal to Gaudi

Emaldine OMHG (Atleet x Manno) in foal to Gaudi


T.Lente (Cabochon x Farrington) didn’t take to Alexandro P, trying with Gaudi

D’Orites SSF (Donatelli x Jazz) lost her Secret pregnancy, will try once more with Secret

BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz) didn’t take to Zack, breeding today with Vivino

Galearites SSF (Totilas x Jazz)…bought Vivino for her…still undecided about breeding or riding

Carpe Diem SSF (Farrington x Pass the Glass xx) goes directly back to Gaudi

ZaVita SSF (Contango x Elcaro) to Jaleet


If you see a cross you’re interested in, let me know. We’re not offering reservations on fillies anymore, but happy to take reservations for colts.


On the Subject of Keurings

I’ve been meaning to write an entry about keurings for months. Since we’re a couple weeks away from the keuring entry deadline, now is probably a good time to get a few thoughts out there. 


First, keurings have been instrumental in helping us develop our program–not as instrumental as my frequent trips to Holland, but instrumental, nonetheless. We all need impartial feedback on our programs if we want to breed better and better horses. 


Second, many breeders in Holland appear to be moving away from keurings and relying more on sport results. This, of course, makes sense, since we’re breeding horses for the sport. Sport results are a much better indicator of your breeding program’s success than a keuring. In North America, I think it would be unwise for us to follow suit just yet, however. We don’t have access to the network of young horse trainers, accessible competitions, nor the number of horses to see in the flesh to help develop our eyes. Most North American breeders still need keurings for a number of reasons:  to get that impartial feedback, to see as many horses as possible, and to help market what they’re producing.


All this being said, breeders need to approach keurings with some restraint. Not every horse should go to a keuring. Keurings are designed to improve breeding stock. The jury members in Holland generally have some discussion and directive in what specific traits to look at in the population to improve the breeding stock. Some of our horses are not going to be breeding stock, so you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment by taking them to a keuring. Granted, you will still get valuable feedback, and, if you can accept that feedback and process it dispassionately, then you will be better off for it…but I’ve seen many people over the years really get their feelings hurt, then shun keurings and our organization. If your horse doesn’t do well at a keuring, it doesn’t mean the horse has no potential in sport.  Typically, it means it’s not breeding stock. Or, maybe, the horse is just having a bad day. 


Some specifics:


-be prepared and have your horse prepared.  Horses in Holland usually spend up to three months of consistent, and, often, professional, training. The jury is used to seeing fit horses, with a developed topline, trained to their age-appropriate level. A fat, shiny horse may look pretty, but it’s not as pretty to the jury as a shiny, fit horse.


-it doesn’t matter how your foal does. I love it when our babies do well. We all do.  But, I’ve seen the top foal in North America come back as a three year old and barely make studbook. I’ve seen second premium babies end up in the top ten. Half the score for a foal is age-appropriate development. Half is movement. Personally, I think this is a flaw in the system. I would always weight movement more heavily than development. One of our smallest foals turned into a long-lined, 17.2 four year old gelding who was top five in the country. If I had taken him as a foal, he would have been a low-scoring first premium, maybe second premium. Which brings me to my next point…


-have your own keuring at home. Preselect. Ask someone you trust to come and help you preselect. I traveled almost an hour yesterday to do this for someone. A year can make a big difference, and, especially for an adult horse, the keuring scores last a lifetime. 


-if you know your horse moves better free than undersaddle, don’t do the riding test in the same year. Riding tests happen in the morning, and those movement scores are the scores the jury uses for the horse.  Often, they won’t even allow your horse to do the free movement if they’ve done the riding test first. This is a mistake I’ve made twice. A three year old under saddle rarely has developed the quality of movement it will show free. Conversely, if you know your horse has better balance and better use of the hindleg undersaddle, then do the riding test in the same year as the studbook inspection.


-ask questions of the jury. The members are people. They may be jetlagged, overworked, and not confident of their English, but they want to see you breed better horses, and they are willing to talk to you. Remember, they love horses, too. All horse people like talking about horses.


  1. I have to get my ass outside and feed horses. I’ve already been out to the barn once to scan BoWendy. Maybe she will reward me by ovulating while I’ve been writing this!