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Farm Updates and Thoughts on the SSF KWPN-NA Summer Seminar

Jul 9, 2018 | 0 comments

Farm Updates/Breeding


There was a time when I used to post my ever-changing breeding decisions every few days. It’s come to my attention that some people actually enjoyed witnessing my frustrations and fickleness.  Sick. Sick people enjoying my pain. But, it has been a long time since I’ve posted a list of where we’re at and to whom we’re breeding, so here goes:


Confirmed in Foal for 2019:


Gaudi x Felicites SSF x Rousseau (ET)

Gaudi x Gazania x Bon Bravour (already reserved)

Glo E x Kalliope SSF x Heir to the Throne (reserved for Ava Tolman Low)

Secret x D’Orites SSF x Donatelli

For Ferrero x Hyacintia x Charmeur

Don Olymbrio x Eliscia SSF x UB-40

Daily Diamond x Karenina x Governor (ET)


Bred but not Confirmed:


Gaudi x Werites SSF x Freestyle


Still to Breed:


Roven xx x Galearites SSF x Totilas (ET)

Jaleet x ZaVita SSF x Contango

Gaudi x BoWendy x Sir Sinclair

Gaudi x Carpe Diem SSF x Farrington


Obviously, four decisions could still change…


I had purchased Springbank II for Galearites, but I’m holding off on using a WFFS carrier at least for this season. I want to see how things shake out with the German studbooks.  Personally, I think I’ve evolved to a place at which I’m OK using a carrier stallion, as long as I know the mare is N/N. I just want to wait a bit and see how it all plays out.


When Keagan attended the Cazemier Equine Center’s Open House, his charge was to decide which mare out of our program is the best fit for Jaleet.  He chose ZaVita SSF, so that decision is also set.


My guess is I’ll be so tired of breeding by the time we rebreed BoWendy and Carpe (neither has foaled yet) that I’m going to want it to be easy.  Can’t get much easier than fresh cooled from Gaudi.


All in all, should be a really interesting collection of foals.


Farm Updates/Sales


We have sold three out of four of the foals that were available this year, the Vitalis x Bon Bravour, the UB-40 x Bon Bravour, and the Don Olymbrio x UB-40. I haven’t really begun marketing the Don Olymbrio x Contango yet–he’s adorable, and, maybe, the best mover of the year, but he needs a little time to come into himself. I’m retaining the Belantis x Donatelli and the Borsalino x Totilas fillies for our program. We will have a Don Tango B x Farrington colt or filly available soon, and, hopefully, we won’t have a Governor x Sir Sinclair colt at all!  BoWendy has given us six colts in a row…her 2018 baby is for sale if it’s a boy–not going anywhere if it’s a girl.


After watching the three yearlings this weekend at the Seminar, I’ve decided to take Marcus Aurelius SSF (Roven xx x Orchis x Jazz) off the sales list. Yes, he’s a carrier for WFFS, but he’s also Orchis’s last colt and last chance at an approved stallion. He’s got enough special going on that I think we should hang on to him a bit and see how the whole WFFS shebang winds up.


We currently have interest in both the other yearlings.  We’ll see what happens.


SSF KWPN-NA Summer Seminar


I’m not sure where to begin talking about this past weekend. It was special. The sense of community, the cohesiveness and openness of the group, the laughter, the sharing of information, the quality presentations, the horses, and the thoughtful conversations about everything from breeding, to frozen semen sales, to WFFS, to the politics and policies of both the KWPN and the KWPN-NA, all combined to make a really special weekend. I’m not sure that I’m completely ready to process everything just yet, nor am I sure that how or what I’m going to process is as important as the fact the meeting happened in the first place, but I’ll try.


Including presenters, we had a total of just over 40 people in attendance. I think that’s a good number for a first effort. Although the goal was to service the New England region, people came from as far away as Texas, Indiana, and Maryland to attend. We started the weekend with a really comfortable social gathering on Friday. More people joined us Saturday morning for the lecture-oriented presentations and showing of SSF horses, and then even more people joined for the afternoon to see Wim Cazemier’s Dutch Harness Horse demonstration and Eiren Crawford’s FEI freestyle on Godot SSF. We followed the outside presentations with another social time. And, then, we ended the weekend with barn chores and brunch on Sunday, with a half dozen people eventually ending up on the boat with Carol and going for a swim in the middle of Lake Spofford. I didn’t attend this final event, but I’ve seen pictures….and I’ve been warned, “what happened in Spofford stays in Spofford.”


What strikes me about the difference between this meeting and other KWPN-NA or KWPN meetings I’ve attended was the willingness of the presenters and the participants to share their personal stories. Perhaps, the social hours helped this–maybe, it was due to the presentations happening in our living room, instead of behind a lecture with a microphone, so it was comfortable and close–nonetheless, people interacted in a positive and educational manner. Yes, there were some challenges made to information and some strong opinions that weren’t popular, but none of this dented the positivity and cohesiveness of the vibe. Each of the presenters was able to convey their journey to and within the world of the KWPN horse. We had people talking to people, sharing information, all genuinely interested in improving our knowledge bases and seeing both the KWPN-NA and KWPN remain successful.


Another thing that strikes me about the meeting is the number of younger people who attended.  Almost half of the attendees were in their mid 30s or younger. I think this is an important factor not to be overlooked. The only way we survive as an organization is to bring in the next generation of breeders, riders, trainers, and owners. I’m not sure what the reasons are for this significant percentage of younger members, or even there is a reason other than serendipity, but I have to consider some factors: the lower cost of attending, the convenience of a more local meeting, the lessening of the intimidation factor of a “national” meeting, my own kids having started the Young KWPN-NA a couple years ago, or just that Tolmans throw a good party…I don’t know. Regardless, I’m super pleased to have had so many younger people attend.


I don’t really want to go into the content of all the presentations. For one thing, I didn’t get permission from the presenters to share their presentations–for another, anything I say is going to have my bias/interpretation attached to it. One of the loveliest things about this weekend is how organic and genuine all the sharing of information seemed.  I don’t want to diminish any of the thoughts or personal insights participants were able to gather this weekend. Also, we’ve already received an invitation to “take this show on the road” and potentially do another Seminar in Florida this fall, and KC Dunn has decided to organize a similar meeting in Indiana next summer.


All of this being said, In fairness to those of you who couldn’t attend, I’d like to give at least a description of what you missed:


Dirk Willem Rosie started with his personal story of how he became involved with Dutch horses and the KWPN. He divided his presentation into Past, Present, and Future. He took us through an extensive history of both the evolution of the Dutch horse and the evolution of the KWPN and its rise to prominence. He then took us through the current happenings within the KWPN structurally and in the breeding population, as well as discussing Warmblood breeding in general and the emergence and revitalization of other studbooks.  And, finally, he ended with the challenges facing the KWPN as an organization and the challenges facing us as breeders. His presentation lasted at least an hour and a half, and people were completely engaged throughout. There were multiple spirited conversations that occurred within the time period. There were great conversations. For me, the “Future” component was especially thought provoking.


Emmy de Jeu brought her ability to both charm people and hold them accountable. She started with her personal story, which, although I knew most of it previously, I still found really touching. And, then, she moved on to an honest discussion/presentation about breeding and selling horses. She brought both heart and real-world experience to the participants. The KWPN has no better ambassador than Emmy.


Wim Cazemier’s passion for the Dutch Harness horse is completely contagious.  I swear half the people in attendance had decided to buy one by the time he was finished.  He started with a presentation of pictures of the important stallions in the history of the DHH, tracing the development over the course of their existence to the modern DHH, then ended his lecture portion with videos of the 2018 Champion DHH and Eebert, this year’s winner of the Oregon Trophy.  Bill and Erin Duffy were kind enough to bring their four-year-old mare, Jovi, for Wim to drive, and we all went down to the ring and Wim talked about training a DHH and gave a demonstration. Wim is a real horseman. It was a treat to watch him work.


Eiren Crawford and Godot SSF ended our day of presentations. And, I have to tell you, it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Eiren has taken Sammy from a being happy, talented, youngster, to being a happy, impressive, international-caliber dressage partner.  She talked to us about working with Sammy, took us through her warm up, then debuted an FEI freestyle choreographed, for the surprise benefit of one Carol Tolman, to Aerosmith songs. They are an impressive partnership aiming for next year’s PanAm Games in Peru, as part of the Canadian team.  It was amazing.


So, in the end, new friendships were made, new memories created, lots of information shared, and I think virtually everyone left with an overwhelmingly positive feeling about the weekend. It was special.


(Photos courtesy of our participants and presenters)