September 21, 2001
Topic: Where Have I Been?
I think I’m making progress and saying something new, then I come back and read my journal entry from two months ago and realize that it and the answer to the email to which I just replied has surprisingly similar themes. I must live on a soapbox.
I’ve stopped writing in this journal for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that DBNA (www.dutchbreedersna.com (now that’s blatant self-promotion…some of you just got that.)) has taken much more of my time than I’d ever thought possible. The secondary reason is that my work for magazines and personal projects is taking much of my writing time. The tertiary reason is that probably the most compelling: I’ve had a number of negative responses to this journal from stallion owners and fellow breeders. I’ve had stallion owners in Holland and North America email me and say, that as a stallion owner it is inappropriate for me to make comments about other stallion owner’s stallions. Well, too bad. Technically, I’m not a stallion owner. I’m a stallion holder, and I only stand stallions that I believe in. I don’t purposefully go out and trash someone’s stallion. I write what I observer and believe. This is one voice.
My last trip to Holland was a blast. Actually, the one night in Paris was really the blast, the rest of the trip was good! Everyone on the trip is buying a horse–even the two people who weren’t buying a horse. It started as a filly trip for DBNA, but soon turned into a mare trip. Here’s the list of the horses that I expect to be imported:
-Ferro x Havidoff x Doruto ster mare, in foal to a son of Lord Crusador
-Voltaire x Burggraaf x Amor ster mare, in foal to Heartbreaker
-Krack C x Balzflug x Doruto yearling filly
-Dream of Glory x Havidoff x Doruto weanling filly
-Voltaire x Damiro x Amor weanling filly
the next two are up in the air, so if you’re interested in a really nice
-Heartbreaker x Burggraaf x Amor weanling filly
-Welt Hit II x Iglesias x Rinaldo weanling filly
Plus, there are so many more. I think that I am now co-owner of an Ekstein x Voltaire x Burggraaf stallion prospect. There’s a keur mare that I’m willing to beg, borrow and steal to have….and an Oscar filly that has stolen my heart. So many horses, so little money. (I’m taking donations. Make checks out to “Scot Tolman’s Intense Desire to Buy Just One More Mare” Foundation, and mail to PO Box 589, Spofford, NH 03462)
OK, but what horses thrilled me? Cabochon. Without a doubt, he is the most electric horse you have ever seen. He’s older and was sick at the end of last year, so he’s a bit ribby, but, MAN!!! That horse can move. Oscar, Cabochonís stable mate. This is a young Wolfgang x Nabuur son that will prove to be one of the KWPN future dressage producing super stars. We saw nearly a dozen of his foals, and all of them had lovely temperaments and phenomenal movement. A Gribaldi x Krack C x Balzflug filly. Wow. She is the best mover I have ever seen, bar none. I still don’t like Gribaldi enough to sell my first born for this filly, but she’s unbelievable. The Ekstein colt that I may now co-own. He’s from a purely jumping pedigree, but his dam is a dressage mare, and this boy can move. Charites. I felt like I was paying homage to a national monument. Charites is the mare that is ranked number one on the KWPN’s index of top dressage mares by index. She’s also the dam of our mare, Orchis. She’s almost as thrilling as Cabochon, but the tingle in my gut is not quite as electric–it’s a bit more regal.
“So, Scot, after your last trip to Holland, how have your breeding choices for next year changed?”
“That’s a really good question, Scot. I’d have to say substantially.”
“Could you elaborate on that a bit, Scot?”
“That’s what I thought you would say.”
May 30, 2001
Topic: Where Have I Been?
I’m really hoping that you folks haven’t abandoned me here! Since I started DBNA, my life has been consumed with either it or Carol’s doctorate. Why, in God’s name, did I ever let myself get this DBNA idea in the same year that my wife was finishing her dissertation and doctoral graduation I do not know. Just luck, I guess…well, we’re not divorced, and breeding in North America has never been better. But, if you really want to find out about DBNA, you need to go to www.dutchbreedersna.com.
Shooting Star Farm is having a great pregnancy year so far, knock on wood. We have a Hierarch pregnancy to Melody, our Sambuco x Purioso mare; a Freestyle pregnancy to Orchis, our Jazz x Roemer mare (who would have been ranked one of the top index mares in Holland if she were still there….her mother, Charites, just ranked as the top dressage mare in Holland, and her sister, grandmother, and niece all ranked in the top forty!!! Amazing.); and a Zeoliet pregnancy to Oladaula (Hierarch x Michelangelo) who our vet said would not get pregnant this year because of her really inflamed and odd uterus. Oladaula had a dummy foal that only lived two days. I had planned on breeding her to Madeleine Austinís stallion, Owillie, but, once my vet said not to bother even trying to breed her, I just stuck extra Zeoliet semen into her when she was in heat. Plus, speaking of the top Dutch dressage mares, Oladaula also had three relatives in the top fifty! I’ve decided that I’m doing ET with LaVita this year so I can ride her. I’m going with Iroko. I’m absolutely crazy about this horse. There are few horses with his balance or raw athleticism. He doesn’t have much movement from the shoulder, but his use of the hind leg is extraordinary. He’s also one of the easiest stallions I’ve ever had to handle on a daily basis. The other two mares we have still to foal will be bred to Jazz and Freestyle. Pioendaula (Pion x Michelangelo) to Jazz and Kessel (Volkmar x Rechter) to Freestyle. I’m also in the process of “acquiring” a couple more mares for our program, so you never know just how many babies will be popping out at SSF next year.
You’re getting the nutshell version of what’s been happening the last few months. The details are either too painful to recall or too many to mention…
February 21, 2001
Topic: Paranoia, Prescience, and Pregnancies
OK. Those of you who followed the LaVita(Elcaro x Belisar) saga last
year know that I had her palpated on the average of every 15 days just
to make sure she still had that baby Vincent inside of her…of course,
I did use three different vets, so they didn’t know how often the poor
mare was violated. Well, I’ve been better this year. She was scanned
at 15 days, rechecked at 21 days, at 45 days, and, now, one more time at
6 and 1/2 months. Baby Contango is huge and chestnut. (kidding–my vet
is good, but he can’t palp for color–I’m just convinced that LaVita’s
recessive chestnut gene is going to pair with Contango’s recessive
chestnut and produce a huge, light brownish-pinky yellow, colt with a
big nose. Not that this is all bad; I’ve seen these Contango’s under
saddle at four and five years old…whew! I’m hoping this is a keeper
for me!) My nervousness is justified, however. Ms. V was forced to
keep a very large and greedy Vincent filly by her side significantly
longer than usual so the filly could be shown at our keuring. Plus, Ms.V
was given all of a month to get back under saddle for her IBOP. Once
she figured out that, yes, it is OK for a dressage horse to have both
ends of her body off the ground at the same time for the purpose of
jumping, things went well. But, her brain was a bit fried by the time
we weaned Ms. Thea Vita and made our new, keur predicate notch in our
girth. Ms. V, Sr. has been much slower to regain her
plumper-than-probably-necessary pregnancy profile. I will worry no
Orchis (Jazz x Roemer) is another story. (I’m a bit terrified at the
thought of a “U” name in this mare line–still better than the “D” year
will be.) This is her first foal, and I was pretty convinced that she
should be palpated one more time. Dr. Grass just stared at me rather
blankly and said, “I’ll go into her if you want, but what do you think
is causing her belly to drop to the level of her hocks?” I feed well;
what can I say. This is Zeoliet filly–bay–very little
white–excellent mover–future SSF broodmare deluxe.
Oladaula (Hierarch x Michelangelo) doesn’t leave much to the
imagination. One, she gets pregnant just by having Zeoliet collected
within 200 yards of her, and, two, she’s either very pregnant or had a
terrible time digesting the watermelon seeds my kids threw into the
manure pile. On another note: If you haven’t been following the
progress of DBNA (Dutch Breeders of North America)
www.dutchbreedersna.com—Oladaula’s sire, Hierarch, is arriving in
March!!!! (We may need to establish a Daula support line for people to
fully understand these horses, but they’re worth it.)
Oladaula’s having a Zeoliet colt this year–he’ll look just like the
Zeoliet filly that Meg Cotter bought in one of my weak, “Oh, my God, we
don’t have enough money to move.” moments last year. Except a bit
Pioendaula (Pion x Michelangelo) is safely distanced from me in
Holland. I did see her while I was at the Hengstkeuring, and she seems
safely in foal to Cabochon…knock on wood…it’s hard on me not having
one of my mares in my own field where I can properly obsess over her.
I’m happier with this mare every time I see her. If this growing foal
is what I’m hoping, she’s a grey filly with Cabochon movement and Daula
sensibility. If it goes the other way, Daula movement and Cabochon
sensibility, I’ll deal. But it’s a filly. I have it from a reliable
I would be obsessing over Dynamite (Voltaire x Ramiro), but she’s also
safely out of my obsessing range. Mike and Elli Wesson bought her just
after I had bred her to Zeoliet last year. Of course, Dynamite hadn’t
carried a pregnancy in four years….this one is due the first week of
March! It seems that every year I manage to have a horse due during the
annual meeting; fortunately, I don’t have to be on foal watch for this
one! Again, this is a filly. Bay this time. Four white feet. Small
I’m not making any claims to the sexes, colors, or general personalities
of the boarder mares we have foaling here. It looks like I may also
have a new Volkmar x Rechter mare in foal to Metall–that’s a filly.
How do I know all of these things? I read minds–horse minds usually,
but human minds don’t escape me that often either. I’d relax about all
of this heightened sensitivity and sensory prowess if I didn’t drink so
damn much coffee. Instead, it often turns into paranoia rather than
Next year’s picks:
(I’ve resisted committing or acknowledging, but here goes…)
Category 1: If I have enough money after starting DBNA
Oladaula Diamond Hit
Orchis Rhodes Scholar
Pioendaula Diamond Hit or Soccaron or Jazz
Kessel Hierarch or Freestyle
Category 2: If I don’t have enough money after starting DBNA
Pioendaula Diamond Hit or Soccaron or Jazz
Kessel Hierarch or Freestyle
February 6, 2001
Topic: Hengstkeuring 2001
Before I begin any philosophical discussions about the decisions of the
stallion selection committee and the effects those decisions will
eventually have on the breeding population, let me just say, “What a
blast!” I had the best time I think I’ve ever had while in Holland.
The show, as usual, was incredibley well organized and presented; the
demonstrations and clinics were superb; Americans and Dutch alike were
in high spirits; and, the Select Sale was really fun.
More specifically, I’m at best cautious in regards to the direction in
which the stallion selection committee seems to be taking us. As many
of you know, my background is in the arts, and it is from an artistic
standpoint that I approach breeding. On one hand, a primary reason that
I support the Na/WPN and the KWPN so whole heartedly is that the Dutch
system has such strict standards and so many checks and balances for the
approval of its breeding stock. On the other hand, I’ve always believed
that the powers that be have recognized true talent and that special
spark that make a breeding stallion a breeding stallion. I’m going out
on a limb here(unusual, I know…), but I think that too strict
adherence to the linear score sheet will undermine the continued success
of the Dutch Warmblood in international competition.
It is a damn shame, in my humble opinion, that one horse in particular
was overlooked: Krack C x Dior. I was sitting with a number of top
KWPN breeders when this horse was shown in hand on Saturday morning. He
is spectacular. Heads nodded. A murmur of excitement went through the
crowd. We turned to each other and voiced that we had just seen the
champion of the 2001 Hengstkeuring. He was not accepted for the third
ring. I suspect that he turned out in his front legs slightly. I also
suspect that one of the particular traits that the stallion selection
committee is working on improving in the breeding population is any
deviation in the straightness of forelimbs. From a strictly scientific
standpoint, if this is the case, the Krack C x Dior should not have been
sent on. But, to quote a friend who wishes to remain nameless, the KWPN
stallion selection committee needs to recognize “that we are breeding
horses and not tulips.”
Horse breeding is an art that should and can make use of scientifically
collected data. When we allow the science to control art completely,
however, we begin to enter the realm of robotics rather than flesh.
As I move into specific horses, please understand that my hengstkeuring
catalogue is in the luggage that remains in limbo land somewhere between
Amsterdam and Boston…following thoughts are not in any particular
1. I thought the Ferro’s were the best collection of Ferro’s that I
remember. I continue to believe that they are difficult under saddle
for the first few years and, therefore, not an especially good choice
for an amateur, but Ferro continues to produce an good horse that has
more than sufficient dressage aptitude and adequate jumping ability. My
biggest concern with Ferro is that many of his offspring are quite
old-fashioned in type. Even though he has an large number of approved
sons, I think we’ll find that his mares make a larger contribution to
the overall breeding picture than his sons.
2. In type, the Gribaldi’s are the prettiest horses you’ve ever seen.
My concern remains that there is not enough power in the hind end.
Every one is beautiful, however, and no stallion is producing more
3. Every Concorde can jump. There is no doubt that Concorde deserved
his newly acquired preferent status.
4. I’m not overly impressed with either the Welt Hit or the Lancet
offspring. They are correct and attractive, but do not have the kind of
“energy” that I’m looking for.
5. Jazz continues to produce a long-lined elegant horse with excellent
movement. I am drawn to him again and again as a sire. He, too, does
not produce a horse for an amateur, but the offspring are consistently
beautiful in type and particularly good movers.
6. The Montecristo’s were disappointing. They are not supple nor
overly attractive. I really want to like them because I love
Montecristo’s pedigree, but, for my money, I’d breed to Parcival
instead. Parcival is the Koss son (Gelderlander) who was approved last
year. He came back under saddle and was by far the most impressive four
year old presented. Super dressage horse–excellent mover–he is a
future star for the KWPN.
7. Idocus looked phenomenal. There have been posts on the warmblood
board about his conformation and movement, but I don’t know where that’s
coming from. Idocus was clearly the best horse under saddle–he was
brilliant. It made me wish that I had bred to him more often! The KWPN
breeders to whom I’ve spoken were very impressed. I really think
Idocus’s biggest drawback for KWPN breeders is the unpopularity of his
sire, Equador. If he remains in Holland for the breeding season, I’ll
bet he breeds between 150 and 250 mares.
8. Roman Nature is hot!!! There’s no way he should not have beat Negro
in the dressage competiton. Negro was correct, but he looks and moves
like a cart horse. A friend who was with me is convinced that if he
just sat a bit more, the whole picture would change I would be really
impressed. As of now, Roman Nature gets my vote.
9. The two best individual jumpers that I saw were the Paladin and the
Libero H colts. I really liked the Iroko’s, the Calvados colts, the
Heartbreakers, the Landgraf collection, and many of the Nimmerdor sons,
grandsons, and great grandsons. In general, I found the jumpers a
better collection of horses than the dressage colts.
10. Creool was so cool in the highest jumping class. He was the oldest
stallion with the youngest rider, but he rocked!
11. Larino and Peter Geerink make the most elegant jumping combination
you can imagine. It’s just lovely to watch. Larino is Concorde x
Armstrong out of the Terma line. He gets way fewer mares than he
12. We didn’t get to see Anky ride Krack C, but he was still
impressive. Anky has had some kind of surgery and can not ride for
another week, so she chose a very talented young rider to sit Krack for
the demo. He is such a cool horse. I know that I’m in the vast
minority, but I’m not a Flemingh fan–I think he’s weak through the
loins; I don’t like his neck; and I think for the number of offspring
he’s produced he should have more competing at higher levels. His son
blows me away, however. Krack C moves like no horse you have ever
seen! I know that he produces some crooked legs and oddly shaped necks;
I also know that the quality of his semen is atrocious. I’d still breed
to him just for the off chance of capturing some of that magic.
Well, y’all, remember that an opinion is worth just what it cost you!
I’ve got more of them and they cost the same as you paid for these…
January 11, 2001
Topic: Here’s an Idea for You!
We need more options for KWPN stallions in the USA, available via fresh cooled semen and affordable. Agreed? Realistic that one person (meaning the average person like you and me) can afford one of these stallions; I mean, get a really good one? No. Well, what could a dozen of us do? Or 25 of us? Or 50 of us? What if we each contributed the amount we’d spend on one studfee, bought a stallion already being sent to the 70 Days testing at the Select Sale held during the Stallion Show, left him in Holland to compete in the Stallion competitions for a year or two and to breed mares from the bigger mare base so he not only gets a foal report, but also has a chance to get on the indices, make frozen semen available for all of us who contributed, sell frozen semen to others, then import him in a couple of years to stand here?
I realize that the “snafu” possibilities are high, but the biggest risk would be the price of one studfee. The costs of sending the stallion through the testing, training, competing…would be split 25 ways. You’d have to trust one person, or a committee, to select the stallion, bid, and then manage the co-op. I’m getting carried away now, but what if we bought one stallion a year? Think of the possibilities. If you’re part of the co-op, breedings are free. Ten years from now, we could have 5 or 6 stallions from which to choose….If the stallion doesn’t work out, he’s sold as a riding horse.
OK. An idea is only an idea. Don’t get threatened and think that I’m crazy; rest assured that I am, but I’m most dangerous to myself. Basically, I have three weeks to pull together a group of people who are willing to pool resources and really have an effect on the breeding of KWPN horses in the United States. What do you think?
to be continued…