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Jan 1, 2004 | 0 comments

December 29, 2004

Topic: Pregnant Mares

Today, I spent an hour or so with my blacksmith out in the pasture
trimming hooves. We didn’t tackle any of the coming two year olds, because my
back went out on Christmas day, and I didn’t really feel like having to
wrestle. I know that many of you, dutifully, go out and groom and coddle
your youngsters on a daily basis…well, our youngsters rough it 24-7. I try
to keep grain in my pocket so that I can give them a treat while
defrosting the waterers or fixing the fence, but, normally, trims, shots, and
deworming are the only times they are handled. We do teach them to lead, usually
before they outweigh me (this is becoming an increasingly generous time
frame…), but, unless they’re going to a keuring, our youngsters are left
to be horses in the herd.
So, days with the blacksmith are not for the faint of heart or
cardio-vascularly unfit. Today, we concentrated only on the mares; so, other than the
ever-questioning Hierarch mare, Oladaula, we had little incident.

side note: When Oladaula was four and a half months old and recently
imported from Holland, she was introduced to my now-retired blacksmith, Mark
Hayward. I told Mark that I thought we might have some difficulty with this
filly. He just laughed at me. Oladaula was tiny–pretty little
face…..45 minutes later, we picked up her first front foot. In her defense, two
months later when Mark walked back into the barn and opened her stall door,
she immediately picked up her front left foot. She’s smart, but you want
to make sure that you’re seriously committed to your actions if you’re
about to do something new. My now-retired vet, Dr. Grass (this isn’t a
theme; Oladaula did not cause these two men to move on to ventures other than
Dutch Warmbloods), gave Oladaula her first shots. On the first injection,
with me holding the halter and lead, she jumped into the air. On the
second injection, she reached past me and bit him. Again, smart horse–but not
for the faint of heart.

Back to the topic: pregnant mares. By the first of April, we’ll have
four foals on the ground (knock on wood). I’m less apprehensive about this
post-Christmas than I was pre-Christmas, because my loving and lovely wife
gave me two foaling cameras under the tree! Yes, I will be monitoring my
girls in the comfort of my own bed, instead of fitfully sleeping on hay
bales in the barn aisle. Of course, now I need to figure out how to get these
cameras to broadcast to a website, so that I can keep an eye on the girls
all day while I’m at school…isn’t it good to know that all of your
tax money is going to such diligent teachers as Mr. Tolman–Mr. Tolman who is
more concerned about ten impending foalings than he is about your lazy-ass
teenager who didn’t get his or her homework done and has probably
already gotten stoned on the bus on the way to school. Not totally serious
there, but, you have to know, parents don’t really have a clue what goes on
with their teenagers. I actually love to teach, and would only be checking
the foaling cameras sporadically….after I make sure that your child is
adequately bludgeoned with well-thought-out lesson plan…..

I keep getting off topic. Surprise. The only point I want to make is
that I love my mares. Thea would live in your pocket. Kirona has the
prettiest eyes of any living creature. Bea (Facet) is Bea–to know her is to
learn to love her. Oladaula keeps looking at me as if to say, “Did you
schedule this? Was I aware of this? Scot, his ass is touching my belly when he
works on my back feet–didn’t we talk about this the last time?” Pioen
keeps picking up her back feet when we try to pick up her front feet, just
to tell us that she prefers to have those feet worked on and not these
feet. All the time, I keep thinking about the Donatelli, Contango, Iroko, and
Sir Sinclair babies bouncing around in the furry bellies, oblivious to the
below freezing temperatures until their mothers take a drink of winter
water. I love to watch the sporadic rolling and kicking that occurs when
those first swallows of ice-cold water course through the digestive system and
somehow send surprise shivers to the babies within.

Scot’s breeding picks, as of this post Christmas day, in December of 2004:

-have to have another Contango, set on the Roemer, want Donatelli’s
temperament and ridability for all my horses, hard to argue with the success
we’ve had using Freestyle on our mares….WBNA is going to have some
incredible offerings on frozen and some new stallions. I need more mares.

December 22, 2004

Topic: That Time of Year

The movie, A River Runs Through It, ends with the line, “I am haunted by
waters.” My family’s story is going to end with the line, “I am
haunted by breeding picks.”

This whole Roemer situation has thrown a delightful wrench into works–but
I’ve figured out that one. The bigger problem is that I have family
members who think that they should have some voice in these decisions.
I don’t know how these people became so disillusioned. For one thing, both
my wife and daughter are entirely too sensible to be making these decisions.
They don’t agonize enough. They don’t study the conformation shots,
videos, linear score sheets, offspring reports, etc. They don’t search
the internet for pictures of offspring and any stray word ever written about
a particular stallion. How can they possibly think that they are
qualified to be making such weighty decisions? So, then, why do I listen to them?
Do you think it’s possible that they just throw out their opinions to
torment me? To cast some shadow of doubt on the certainty of my genetic
matching genius? Am I so insecure in my decision process that I can let my
family members sway me? Yes.

Michaela’s picks:

(prefaced by, “If someone else told you that he or she had some of the
best mares in the country, including the highest indexed dressage mare,
would you tell this person to breed to someone else’s stallion or to breed
these great mares to his or her own stallion to promote him with the best
offspring possible?”) –see, way too sensible.

All mares go to Donatelli except for the one that you decide to use for

Carol’s picks:

(prefaced by, “Do we really have to talk about this again?”)

We know Freestyle works on Orchis; why do anything else? We know Contango
works on LaVita; why do anything else? We own Donatelli and don’t have
to pay for the breedings; why do anything else?

Keagan’s picks:

(prefaced by, “OK. Now which stallion can we breed to and get the most
money for the baby? And do I get some of the money?”)

Since he doesn’t get any of the money, he’s not interested in having
an opinion……this is the kind of family member I need!

December 17, 2004

Topic: Roemer!!!!

We all have those horses that take on a magical, bigger than life,
god-like quality. Roemer has always been one of the horses for me. When I first
started breeding Dutch Warmbloods, I forced Carol and the two kids, still
in diapers, to make the pilgrimage to Iron Spring Farm, just to stand in the
barn with Roemer. It was intimidating as hell. Here Carol and I were,
after a six hour car ride with one kid getting car sick, driving in the Volvo
family wagon into ISF. We didn’t look like horse people; hell, we
hardly looked like people–we were two new parents who hadn’t slept a night
through in three years and who smelled like regurgitated Happy Meals. Like
everyone else, I’d seen the ads and watched the videos, and was just sure
that not even my left thumbnail was worthy of being in the presence of
Roemer and his famous rider/owner, Mary Alice Malone. In those days, for me,
calling farms like ISF to schedule a visit was as nerve-wracking as asking
out a girl when I was in high school. Nonetheless, I was determined, and,
once Carol realized how nervous I was, she was adamant,

“They’re just people and horses. “

With that, holding a pre-walking Keagan on her hip, she walked into the
barn, and I followed with the vomit-girl held as far away from me
as I could without giving Michaela a detachment disorder. Long story
short, although we were greeted cautiously (I can’t blame them,
honestly–I know how we looked…and smelled), we did have our audience
with Roemer. Mary Alice even had him do his very silly carrot trick for us.
And, I was forever hooked.

For the next couple of years (now remember, this is before the days of the
internet), I tried to convince all of my horse friends to give me a dollar
each so I could save enough money for the $4,000. stud fee. Of course, I
didn’t know 4000 horse people at that point in time, so it was a doomed
effort from the beginning! Years went by, and I just never got around to
getting it together enough to breed to him. Then,
while riding on a bus during an NA/WPN annual meeting, during which we
were to spend part of the day at ISF, I believe, we received the
sad news that Roemer had died. It was my birthday. I was enormously sad.

It wasn’t long after that that I decided I had to have one of the Roemer
Breyer horses. For some reason, I hadn’t bought one when they first
came out. Discontinued. Could I find one in any toy store or tack shop in
New England? No. Years more go by, and a friend of mine asks me if there is
anything I’d like her to shop for on ebay…..

“Yes! I want a Roemer! Can you find me a Roemer?”

Roemer is now our only Breyer horse that lives in the china hutch–the
rest are on Michaela’s shelves in her room or abandoned somewhere
in the recesses of Keagan’s closet. My Roemer, however, is in his
rightful place with the wedding china and my Aunt Essie’s antique,
miniature tea cup collection. He is staring out the window among the
crystal wine glasses at Donatelli’s huge neck sash which he received at the
AHS inspection this year. Roemer thinks it’s his; I haven’t told him

So, today, I read Stephanie Severen’s post on the WBNA forum about ISF
offering Roemer semen to the public for the first time in nearly a
decade. What do I do? Of course. Immediately. I go to
www.ironspringfarm.com and check it out. Minutes later, I’ve sent an email to Meghan.
Before lunch, today, December 17th and it’s not Christmas or my birthday,
I secure a breeding to Roemer….

So long as men can breathe and eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to…..me!!!!!

Sorry. I’m an English teacher. If this foal were to be born in the S
year, I’d call him or her Shakespeare. I’m going to have to come up
with some dream-come-true name starting with a B. “Boemer” doesn’t
quite have the sound to it that I’m looking for.

Cool, huh?

December 15, 2004

Topic: Can’t stop thinking about those breeding picks!!!

As most of you know, I’ve already changed my mind fourteen and a half
times about who I’m breeding to whom. With our first foal due at the end
of February, I only have a couple more months before I have to know….
here’s where I’m at right now:

Contango x Thea Vita SSF
Sandreo or another Sandro Hit son x Oladaula
Donatelli x Kirona
Donatelli x Facet
00 Seven x Orchis
Guido x LaLiscia
Special D x Pioendaula

December 10, 2004

Topic: NA/WPN; part 2

I am a great believer in fortune cookies, newspaper horoscopes, and dogs
that seem to be speaking to me from passing cars. At the moment, all of my
normal behavorial barometers are indicating that I am confusing people.
(As a public high school teacher, I should be use to this!) Much of my life
is lived cerebrally–by the time thoughts or words actually appear on paper
or tumult onto the pavement near my feet, I have processed, mused, and,
often, made significant life changes. Of course, naively, I always assume
that the entire process is transparent; consequently, eliminating the need
for me to explain my actions/directions/reactions. Granted, there have been
those moments of misjudgement and extreme reactiveness which have resulted
in particulary fiery journal postings; for the most part, though, the
really regrettable posts have been deleted in the early morning hours before
anyone would have had the chance to read my rantings. Currently, the messages
from the mobile mutts, soundless barks within bubbles of motorized glass
and steel careening past me on icy highways, seem to indicate perceived
betrayals or innapropriate inferences from whence I write and speak. So, let
me say this: As much as one can have a “relationship” with an
organization, I feel especially committed to mine with the NA/WPN. I believe in
the keuring system; both Gert and Jacques have been hugely influential in my
breeding decisions. I believe in education and that the NA/WPN has a
responsibility and obligation to reach out and “touch” its members–I also
believe that I’ve played an integral role in both developing and
implementing many of the educational initiatives within and without the NA/WPN. I
also believe that the restructuring of the organization which is about to
take place is best for all of us. What I don’t believe is that any input
is going to change anything about the way the NA/WPN is going to look in a
year. So, consequently, I don’t feel a need to participate in the
process. This is not written with anger, disappointment, or distrust–it’s
coming purely from the core “American” in me, who grew up in a state with
the motto, “Live Free or Die.” This doesn’t leave much room for no

I also stand corrected. It seems that we have never been “members” of
the NA/WPN; we’ve always been “subscribers”. As is plainly evident,
this semantic distinction has not stopped me from voicing my opinion all
these years….I thought I was a member making a difference. Now, I know
that I was a subscriber making a difference.

What I am most thankful for are the number of friends I’ve made over the
years in this organization. Annual meetings, stallion shows, farm visits,
and keurings are some of my very favorite and most cherished memories.

For those of you who are really confused by my ramblings in these last two
journal entries, confusion is not always a bad place to be.

December 4, 2004

Topic: the NA/WPN

Change is almost always difficult for people. Uncertainties tend to
bring out all of the insecurities and defenses in the best of us. As a
person who has worked doggedly over the last decade to promote and
better the NA/WPN, I have to say that I’m OK with the new management and
committees which have been put in place for our transition. My only
hesitation is purely ideological; I believe in membership driven
organizations and we may not be a membership much longer. Legally, it’s
quite possible that we will be a subscribership. In the real world,
this probably doesn’t make much difference–nobody really cares as long
as his or her services are not interrupted. In the ideal world,
however, the concept of membership means that if one of us chooses to
have a voice, it must be heard–it means that the organization exists
for us because of us. In a subscribership, you’re most likely out of
luck if you have a complaint; you just don’t renew your subscription.
The true strength of any organization that exists for the betterment of
an ideal, whether it be breeding horses or creating theatre, rests in
the support, vision, and commitment of its membership. Whether it be a
semantic issue or not, I will be disappointed if we become a
subscribership. However, regardless of this decision, I’m not worried
about the future of the organization. Please don’t see/read only the
negative in the next couple of sentences; that’s not how they are
intended. Simply, there has to be a balance to everything–the
positives will outweigh the negatives of this transition–but that
doesn’t mean that the negatives shouldn’t be voiced. You see, the
NA/WPN is the flagship satellite of the KWPN; we are too important
strategically and publicly to be allowed to stray or fail. The KWPN has
and is putting into place the people that its management knows will get
the job done in the way that the KWPN wants the job done. There will be
no friction. There will be no dissension. We will transition smoothly
into a good little organization that behaves itself and does what it is
told. Although we are all going to hear differently, now is not the
time for voices–now is the time to be quiet. Now is the time to
recognize that voices will make no difference, and, perhaps, should make
no difference. The success of the NA/WPN really lies in the breeding
philosophy of the KWPN–that is all that is important. The organization
we’re going to see by next December will not really be that different.
Some people will have new titles, but, basically, the NA/WPN will be a
model for the many envisioned KWPN satellites around the world–the
first McDonald’s franchise in the system. Regardless, there will be
those of us who continue to offer educational opportunities and support
for our subscribers/members simply because we believe in the Dutch

Speaking of education, I hope that everyone will order a copy of the
2004 keuring video. We owe a debt of gratitude to Don and Katie Kuhn
for the work that went into creating this educational tool. It will be
an invaluable help to many of us.

November 20, 2004

Topic: This is America

After the reactions I received from my last couple of journal entries,
especially in regards to President Bush and Ms. Rice, I’m thinking that my
unposted comparison between European and American polictical philosphies
should have been posted, because it explains some of the progression I’ve
been going through philosophically. Here’s an excerpt from it:

Topic: The KWPN System in Reference to the NA/WPN’s Latest
“Translated Tidbit”

That may be the longest title I’ve ever given a journal entry. I know
this is off topic, but I have to tell you that I still get so depressed
every time I allow myself to think about Bush still being President.
Yesterday, the Keene Sentinel had an interesting opinion piece on its editorial
page. The piece is titled, “Rival Vision: The European Dream”. I’m
sure that you get it; the American Dream vs. the European Dream. Since I
teach American literature and the inherent effects of the American Dream on
literature and thought, the article especially hits home for me. The basic
contention of the article is that European goals center more closely around
solidifying the strength of the system, first, rather than the
individual–that the different “states” of Europe have modeled the European Union,
somewhat, after the United States, but they’re purpose is not
independence as much as joint strength and stability–that world issues are dealt
with through negotiations and political sanctions, based in the united
strength of common thought and common purpose–as the wealth of the whole grows,
so will the wealth of the individual. Versus, American goals focus much
more on the individual and what each person/company/political party can usurp
or ingest for individual fulfillment and individual wealth–that the
American philosphy is geared more to the use of force in international situations
of unrest–that, by creating strong individuals, we create a strong
society. If we need any proof of the future, just look at the imbalance between
the Euro and the dollar right now. I’m not saying that I want to move to
Europe–but I am saying that the contrast between the two philosophies is
pointed–and, the fact that we now have George Bush in the White House for
another four years can only polarize the differences. What does this mean
to the horse breeding/buying world….do you think the Dollar is going to
strengthen against the Euro any time soon? Have you looked at the costs
associated with importing a horse, lately? Have any of you realized how much
more expensive frozen semen is becoming?

In re-reading my post of November 18th, I will admit that I was ungracious
to Ms. Rice. There is no need for me to be this impolite on top of my
frequently reiterated opinions; I have asked my webmaster/nephew to remove
the offensive alliteration. Nonetheless, this is America; it is one of our
basic rights that we, as citizens, enjoy free speech. If there are those
of you who are going to make your breeding and buying decisions, based on
my personal political philosophies, so be it. That is your right. But, put
the shoe on the other foot; how would you feel if I were to require every
mare owner or horse purchaser to fill out an inventory of political,
religious, and moral values and beliefs before he or she were allowed to breed or
buy at or from Shooting Star Farm? Would that be fair? Would that be
legal? I don’t expect to have to agree with everything for which you stand or
in which you believe, in order for you to share in the successes and
opportunites of my horse dream–but I do expect to be able to have a
conversation with you about more than horses without it leading to spite.

November 18, 2004

Topic: Random Thoughts and Rantings

You’re all lucky that my last entry was never sent to my
nephew/webmaster for posting–it’s a political rant, comparing the
American and European systems, then bridging to the European
breeders’ departure from
political intelligence to breeding selection inconsistencies….yeah;
really light stuff.

So, the Kennedy x Ubis wins the stallion testing with huge scores in
dressage and embarassing scores in jumping. Plus, the Dutch “wunderkind”
young horse rider, who gave Sandreo a hind leg, Florencio a trot, and made
Rubels six inces taller and 12 inches shorter in length, now has agreed to
train Uptown. Prediction: Uptown wins everything going in the next two or
three years; he breeds upwards of 200-300 mares a year(I’d put the number
higher, but with Ferro as his grandsire, he’s too closely related to too
large a percentage of the population to breed many more than this); his
foal report is adequate, but makes remarks about foals that could be longer
lined and have a lighter poll connection; his offspring do consistently well
in keurings; the balloon starts to descend as fewer offspring do well in
young horse competitions than expected; Uptown himself is imported to the US
because Dutch people stop breeding so much; he has a couple of amazing
seasons in North America (the cycle starts again–think rounds of “Row, Row,
Row Your Boat”); out of the thousands of offspring on the ground, one or
two make it to FEI level….what are you going to do. Perhaps, Kennedy will
make a surprising comeback and be in the next Olympics–maybe all those
Ubis offspring that did so well at keurings two decades ago will find finally
their place in sport in “horse heaven”, sending horsey angels back to
ride shotgun on their great nieces and nephews. The bottom line is that
this horse is going to have a huge impact on breeding in both Holland and
North America–let’s hope I’m wrong.

Think about how long it takes for the breeding and buying decisions we
make to really prove themselves out. We bought LaVita, as a “I’m not
neurotic; you just haven’t given me enough to eat” gangly yearling, in
1994; we bought Oladaula, as a “if you touch my ears, I’ll fly myself back
to Holland myself” weanling, in 1996; we bought Orchis, “fences are
meant to crash through–why don’t the other horses like me” two year old,
in 1998. We’re talking about a decade’s worth of trial and
error/breeding discovery.

My breeding program has been in existence for 15 years, and
I’m just now starting to get some kind of a clue as to what I’m doing.
And, I’m sure that this clue won’t last long–one of my horses is
bound to enlighten me to a completely new world of information, doubt,
paranoia, and wonder that I have yet to visualize or obsess over. If I breed to
the wrong stallion, I live with that decision for at least the next decade
of my life. I don’t know about you, but, at 44, I’m thinking that I don’t want to
be wasting too many decades. I’m finding it more crucial
than ever to solidy delineate my goals for my breeding program. What do I
want my horses to look like? What do I want my horses to act like? Am I
breeding for stallion prospects, riding horses, keuring horses, lawn
ornaments, or what? I know this; I don’t like to be licked–so, now lickers. I
also don’t like to be bitten–so, no biters (are we getting the idea that
I have an oral fixation?). I like my horses to be personable and
funny–neurotic is OK(it’s a concept that I can not easily separate from
myself…)–weird is borderline–standoffish is out. As mentioned before, my
horses have to have asses bigger than mine. Those are the important things.
Pretty is as pretty does–I have a big head, short legs, and not as much
suspension as one would think ideal–so I have to make some allowances for my
horses. I wish they would eat less, but, then, I wish that I would eat
less. Thank god they don’t drink wine.

Anyone wondering what’s up with the NA/WPN? Susan is gone. Mary leaves
in December. That leaves us with Willy, Chris, and Allison, on the board,
and Sylvia and Darlene, in the office. Feels like we’re in for a major
shift–it would be nice if we, as a membership, were given some indication
of what’s going on or asked for some input.

Colin Powell, the Bush administration’s only voice of reason, resigned.
Condoleezza is our new representative to the world. So much for
bipartisan politics. (I hope no Republicans read this journal…if they did, they
probably don’t anymore!) Do you think that if I start a write-in campaign
for Hillary, now, I can change anything?

How well do you think Andalusian stallions will cross on my Dutch mares?

November 4, 2004

Topic: Mud Sale

OK. Make me an offer. Any horse–any price. The only catches are that
they have to all be gone before I wake up in the morning and someone has to
get my truck out of the mud, so I can get to school on time.

My day started with a call from my 86 year old father that the ten
broodmares out to pasture at his place were all running up the road. Go ahead;
tell me the replacement cost of Orchis, Oladaula, LaVita, Pioendaula, Thea
Vita, Kirona, Facet, a beloved Connemara, an ancient Morgan, and a nearly
crippled Selle Francais mare who has lived with us for years. Of course,
it’s 6:30 in the morning; I’ve just dressed in a suit jacket and tie for a
funeral after school; and, I’ve screamed for the kids to get out of bed
for the 738th time since 5:45. Add to this that my parents and runaway
horses are half an hour away from me on one of the major commuter routes to
Keene. I make the necessary calls to let school know I’m going to be late.
The phone rings.

“We have your horses in a paddock at your aunt’s house.”

Now, this is a mixed blessing; I know all the horses are safe, but I have
to deal with my aunt. This is the same woman whom I, immediately before
running into my house, locking the door, and hiding under my bed , called a
bitch when I was five years old. This is the same woman who used to scream
at me when I was caught in one of her horses’ stalls currying and picking
feet because my parents were too poor to buy me my own horse. This is the
same woman who still calls me, “Scottie”. The next phone call was not
an easy call to make.

“Barb, I’m so sorry. I’ll be right down after school and trailer my
mares out of there.”

“Well, I’m not moving ‘em anywhere.”

“No, no,no. I’m not asking you to. If their OK there in the paddock
until I get home from school, I’ll make a couple trips and bring them all

“Well, this isn’t the first time they’ve been out. They’ve been
out two or three times before this.”

“Um. I don’t think so. I think someone would have told me if they
had been running around the neighborhood before this.”

“Well, it took a policeman, two families from down the road, and the
Rice’s Ice man who stopped his truck in the road to block ‘em to get ‘em
all in.”

“Thank you so much.”

“I didn’t do anything. I just looked out and saw ‘em in my paddock.”

“I’ll be down right after school and get them.”

So, I skipped the funeral, ran home, hooked up the trailer, moved horses
around so I could accomodate the ten mares, picked up Michaela, and headed
for my aunt’s. The rain begins. I think about Bush winning. It rains
harder. I think that the only thing worse than Bush winning is Bush winning
and not getting to finish his term so that Cheney becomes President.
It’s dark by now. I’m dark by now. I decide that my four horse trailer is
only going to make two trips with nine pregnant mares and one who gave all
of her embryos to three ungrateful recipient mares. Connemaras are small.
Morgans bend. Four hours later, we get all of the mares home. It’s
still raining. Bush is still President. And I back into my fence with my
trailer. Fine. It’s now after 8pm, and I have to start chores. So, I
unhook the trailer and back the truck to the barn to drop hay. I don’t fall
off the ladder; I don’t run over the duck; I don’t even miss the truck
when throwing the bales down into it. Well, have I mentioned that it is
still raining? Have I mentioned mud? Have I mentioned that Morgans bend?
Well, while driving my truck out back to throw hay along the fence, the truck
starts spinning and sliding in the mud. The Morgan gelding, whom I’ve
relocated to the wild in order to move the yearlings into his paddock so
that the 10 mares can move into the yearling pasture, decides to play
“deer in the headlights” and freezes as my sliding truck is careening toward
him. Somehow, I manage to move backwards and sidewards at the same time,
in order to avoid this idiot horse/deer, only to find myself on top of the
half sunken pre-firewood logs that a particularly slothful student swore he
would cut and stack two years ago.

This is where my story ends. This is the point at which I realized that
it is necessary to start a new career. This is the time in my life when I
realized that I am no longer interested in breeding horses–I’m interested
in sunny beaches, scantily clad serving people of various ethnicities, and
exotic drinks with little umbrellas in them. Please take all of the
horses; leave a check under the door. The dogs bark all night anyways,
so I won’t notice a thing.

October 19, 2004

Topic: Do we dare start the breeding choices discussion for 2005?

Come on! I know that I’m not the only person already thinking about
this–we’re already getting two or three emails or calls a day asking about
Donatelli and Coromino for 2005. We’ve already started getting bookings to
Donatelli. So, I know that I’m not the only one. What are you thinking?
Here’s what I’m thinking….we’re only breeding one mare out this year, so I
have to focus all of my annual breeding pick frustration/delight/obsession
on poor Orchis! Everyone else is being bred either to Donatelli, Coromino,
or Guido. Yup. I’m doing a test run, whether he eventually gets approved
or not. We’re going to present him Oldenburg and/or Westfalen as well, so I
figure we’ll get registerable offspring one way or another. If he gets
licensed in late 2005, then we get a first crop on the ground for early
2006. I’d like to breed him to about a dozen mares. So, if you live in New
England, like Guido, have a mare that could produce a Dutch registerable
foal, and are willing to bring the resulting foal to an offspring
inspection, then let me know. Test crop year breedings are free. If I have
to transported semen, then you’ll have to pay the shipping and supplies, but
no collection fee. I’d like to get his test mares bred before he heads south
for training–late spring or early summer.

Back to Orchis. So, to whom would you breed a Jazz x Roemer x Eros mare
with a dressage index of 176? Want to know my top choices? Thought you’d
never ask! Judgement, Patijn, Special D, Don Shufro, or Contango. Am I all
over the place or what? I love Judgement and what I’ve seen of Judgement
babies; I want one. If you look at the number of doubles in the potential
pedigree: 2x Purioso/Furioso, 2x Nimmerdor, 3x Amor!!! Could be
interesting. Could also be frightening. I’m also crazy about this Patijn
horse. Yes, he’s a Tuigpaard, but what a Tuigpaard! No longer do we live
in the era of huge honkin’ heads, Roman noses, and hollowed out backs–this
horse is gorgeous, flashy, powerful, and LIFTED. If all else failed, I could
always throw a double bridle on the sucker and show in the local saddle seat
division! How cool would that be?!?! Of course, my next three choices are
all fairly predictable and dressage-safe..but no where near as fun to think
about as Judgement or Patijn. What would you do?

October 11, 2004

Topic: Passing on the Legacy

There are times when I know that I exhibit good parenting skills. And,
there are times when I wish someone would have highlighted and double
asterisked a section in the manual….

**Scot, you are going to have difficulty with this aspect of parenting**

I’ve told my children from the beginning that I refuse to accept that
there is even a possibility that I may have toiled and troubled to build this
breeding program for naught. At some point in time in the succeeding
generations, the chemical mix on some yet undiscovered chromosomal thread is
going to find just the right ratio of insanity to create another “true
breeder”. I want that future Tolman to have the equine gene pool that he or
she has been born to manipulate and emblazon readily at hand. So, I cajole;
I bribe; I downright and overtly manipulate my children into taking an
interest in our breeding program.

Both Michaela and Keagan have an experimental foundation
mare–Michaela’s is her Connemara, Sibby, and Keagan’s is his Morgan, Linda. Both
(children and mares) have produced some respectable offspring. Well, today,
Keagan’s first foal, Vizzini, (now a two year old) left for his new home.
Of course, the timing didn’t work out that I could be home (a real job
continues to get in the way of my real life…), so Keagan and Michaela had to
handle the farm end of things without me. Keagan was at this colt’s
birth–he toweled him off and named him–he taught him to lead and to pick up
his feet. How do you prepare your kids for the business side of such an
emotional occupation as horse breeding? The first time I called home to
check on things, Keagan couldn’t even talk yet. The second time, the sadness
in his voice made in almost impossible for me to talk. The third time I
called, Michaela told me that she had made Keagan a chocolate chip sign on a
plate that spelled out “I’m sorry you’re so sad” inside a
chocolate chip heart. Keagan kept it for a few minutes, then brought it back out
to her. He’d changed rearranged the chips in the heart into “I love

So, what do I do? Buy the horse back, commiserate with more chocolate, or
hug him and let him be sad for a while? Of course, if he has progressed
rapidly through the normal stages of grief, then I am probably the Devil’s
man, by now, and should be poised for both physical and verbal assault upon
my return home.

(phone rings–it’s Keagan–during my last conversation with Michaela, we
talked briefly about doing something special tonight to help Keagan get
his mind off things)

“Scot Tolman.”

“It’s Keagan Tolman.”

“Hey, buddy. What’s up?”

“Well, how about we go miniature golfing (slight pause for my reaction;
I don’t have one yet), get Chinese food, and exchange our movies?”


From the sound of his response, I have, somehow, been spared the
aforementioned tactical assault maneuvers I had anticipated. My guess is that I
have the especially well developed processing skills of a thirteen year old
daughter to thank for this. Perhaps, there are more lessons inherent in this
situation than I can immediately identify or predict.

October 9, 2004

Topic: Nature

At the moment, I have Emerson, Miller, and Durang pinging through my
head; so, if it is horses you want to read about, then, perhaps, this is
an entry to skip.

I have spent the last 48 hours communing with nature, returning home to
the daily grind, driving children to their various activities, buying
bourbon, and watching a love story with Carol and Michaela. First, I
met an extraordinary man. Extraordinary in that he is so ordinary, but,
due to his passion and commitment, has changed the world. Second, all
300 pounds of me walked on cables between trees and swung from ropes in
and amongst 17 other people. Third, life
returned–fortunately–unexpectedly. Fourth, I was touched by love,
possibility, and personal acceptance. Yes, it has been a busy couple
of days.

My days are packed so full of
things/expectations/jobs/responsibilities/avoidances that I rarely take
the time to reflect and think. (The last time that I had a period of
months to think, DBNA was born….that left me with 20,000. in credit
card debt–perhaps, I should stop thinking…) Nonetheless, I am
emotionally and angrily coming to the conclusion that I don’t even get
the chance to be a real thinker, because, really, I don’t have the time.
I’m too busy to be me.

I’m about to start a unit on Transcendentalism this week. Emerson is
one of the greatest thinkers to ever inhabit the planet. The concept of
a transparent eyeball could transfix me for nearly the rest of my life.
The image of mankind walking through nature as both a part of it and
viewing it at the same time transcends convention and moves me to peace
and never ending thought. It allows me to end Laughing Wild with,
“Breathe. Just Breathe.” It allows the tears to run down my face in
front of 28 uninterested high school students when John Proctor rips the
warrant and sees some good in himself. There is a bigger picture, and
we are part of it. I will pass out soul cups this week and guardedly
smile at the confusion. I will allow myself to accept the initiates
into free thought on their own terms instead of mine. I will drive my
truck home and water the horses, before I drive to the four cross
country matches in which my children are participating in the next seven
days (tell me, even if you don’t know us personally, you must have
gathered that my children are not predisposed to the genetic possibility
of winning any of these cross country matches–they are predisposed,
genetically, to finish the race, however; and, perhaps, that’s the
point.) I will return home and shovel shit, before I re-bed the stalls
for more shit to replace the shit I’ve just shoveled out. I will hug
and congratulate my children for persistence, good humor, and resolve.
I will somehow get to bed in time for the entire cycle to start again.
I will probably not have time for great thoughts.

Does it matter? There are people who have eradicated Polio in their
lifetime; does it matter that I shovel shit? Or, are we back to the
breeders are dreamers conversation? It could be that my children will
transcend the business of shoveling shit, and be able to shovel shit and
think at the same time. Maybe, just maybe, Keagan becomes the
transparent eyeball while he is pushing the wheelbarrow to the top of
our manure pile. Perhaps, Michaela is able to study the pattern of her
Morgan’s shit shredding strategy and land on a cure for stall weaving.
Or, more likely, I will laugh as often as I can and pass into the valley
of shadows, hoping that the string of brief but incredible moments of
each day can somehow gel for me into real thought.

October 6, 2004

Topic: NA/WPN Top Ten

Whoo Hoo!!!! Horses we bred or imported made the top ten EIGHT times.
Oh, my god! Doing the happy dance! It’s a week night; I have to get up at
4 am; must celebrate, nonetheless! Thea is in the top five for moment;
Guido went number two in the country for two year old stallion prospects
(I’m OK. Really. Gert always said that you breed to the second place horse,
not the first–this is a really positive omen.); Alicia Winter scored on
the top ten THREE times with T.Lente for keur mare IBOP and IBOP movement
and the DG Bar Cup; Jenn T’s Tudaula was number one mare on the continent
for conformation; and, Amy Skelton also hit the top ten THREE times–twice
with Sioux in the ster mare categories and once for Nischmiran for jumping
in the IBOP. Cool, cool, cool! All I can say, is that you all should be
taking me to Holland to help you pick you pick out your horses!!!! Can you
say Grolsch? Can you say Jagermeister?

OK. It is my website; I get to brag on my own website. Now for the
commentary….those of you out there who always bitch about jumper pedigrees not
getting a fair shot really need to look at the top ten. The top horse in
many of the categories is a jumping bred horse. Look at the Orame x
Nimmerdor foal that went number one. Look at the Judgement foals. Even look at
the riding classes. What do you see? Jumper pedigrees. And, now for my
rant: We need jumper pedigrees in our dressage breeding. Specialization may
be the fastest method of obtaining the desired type, but, by god, it’s
not the fastest method of obtaining a balanced, tractable sport horse
athlete. Since I believe in effecting change from within systems rather than
from without, I’ll stick with infusing jumper pedigrees on my dressage
horses, even if I fly in the face of conventional practice. Congratulations to
all my friends out there who did so sell in this year’s keurings, Don and
Katie, Judy Reggio, Siegi, ISF, DG Bar, Karin and Carlos, Heike Albert, my
wine drinking buddy Tia Shurecht, Debby Harrison, Didi Carpenter, Barbara
Kuzell and Susan Duncan, Sani Lieb, and, of course, the New England
contingent. It has been a good year for Dutch horses in North America.

October 1, 2004

Topic: Dreamers

Recently, a post on the wwwarmblood forum, in the long line of responses
to the discussion about fairness in the keuring system, called breeders
dreamers. The intended connotation is not positive. Well, I say,
breeders are the dreamers, and you’re probably riding one of our dreams.

Who really takes the risks in the horse world? Is it the buyer of the
under-saddle, three or four year old, on which he or she has already
whittled down the price because the horse has three white socks instead
of four and the breeder really needs to pay the hay bill? Is it the
trainer who makes a general statement about all Dutch horses being hot,
all Hanoverians being heavy, and Oldenburgs having crooked front legs,
so we’re only looking because the client insists that you know what
you’re talking about? Is it the client who travels to Europe and
complains the whole time about the food, the driving, the temperature,
the hotels, and the fact that your plane was late; yet, still buys a
horse from one of your contacts but refuses to pay your commission
because you didn’t pay enough attention to her wanna be Yuppie-white-ass
needs? (sorry, that example was reaching, but it really happened…)

The point is that you are riding my horse. Yes. I am the breeder who
dreamed that horse. You may have bought him; you may have continued
training him; however, I dreamed him. I created the horse that became
your partner. I’m the person who really took the risks. I shelled out
the money for that mare that I really couldn’t afford. I researched and
planned and dreamed and visualized all the possible combinations with
all the possible stallions, until I picked just the right one that would
produce the horse that the next Moses would ride through the proverbial
parted Red Sea. I choked on all of those vet bills to finally get that
mare that I really couldn’t afford pregnant. I slept in the barn for
the two weeks before the mare that I really couldn’t afford was due and
the two weeks after she was due, until she finally foaled. I doused the
umbilicus; I steadied his first steps; I held him for his first visit
with the farrier; I taught him to lead…I loved this horse before he
was conceived, let alone when he was three or four years old, under
saddle, and with three white socks instead of four.

Sure, breeders are dreamers. That’s what they are supposed to be.
That’s what they have to be. If we weren’t, all horses would be black
or pinto, with evenly distributed white, and come with an instruction
manual for the push buttons that so many buyers think are automatically

September 20, 2004

Topic: New England Keuring Results

Team New England proved that its efforts at pulling together the owners
and breeders in New England for a phenomenally successful 2003 keuring was,
indeed, NOT a fluke. We had a brilliant keuring at Madeleine Austin’s
gorgeous facility, Imajica. The weekend was perfect (by New England
standards–our foreign and western jury members never quite made the adjustment from
the 97 degree temps in Louisiana to the brisk and breezy 50’s of
Vermont…). Madeleine and her staff were gracious and well-prepared hosts. The
facility is so beautiful; it is surrounded by these layers of different
colored hills and mountains–the greens and blues of the landscape and sky,
combined with the whites and fall colors adorning the outdoor venues, created
a spectacular keuring site. Of course, what is a keuring without a party?
Winter Warmbloods, once again, outdid themselves in preparing the
evening’s dinner–we were treated to particularly nice aged cheeses and an
array of antipasti. But, my favorite was probably either the sliced beef with
capers and lemon or the bitter greens with freshly grated parmesan and
pomegranate. Carol would disagree completely and choose the eight pound
multi-layered chocolate cake…..Of course, there are those that would disagree
with both of us and tell you that they would have been perfectly satisfied
to stand around my bowl of Green Punch and forget about eating anything.
(Had I thought of it earlier, I would have made Orange Punch!) Madeline
Austin and Kathy Hickerson both have somehow come to the conclusion that my
punch is not safe for the sane keuring attendee to drink–the rest of us
enjoyed it immensely. And, the next morning, I didn’t notice anyone having
difficulty making his or her way to the particulary nice coffee and bagels,
provided by Amy Skelton and Co. OK. OK. You probably want to hear about
the horses, right? Well, we have to mention Clark Moss’s decorations, Jenn
Tousignant’s lunch, and Heather Merrill’s sense of detail in
organizing name signs, stall signs, schedules, etc., etc.–the success of the
keuring was definitely a team effort and fun for all.

The horses. Well, one of the highlights of the day for me is the demo
Elisabeth Austin performed on the approved stallion, Hierarch. When we
imported Hierarch, nearly four years ago, he was a stressed, out of shape wreck.
Madeleine and Elisabeth have transformed this stallion back into the
superstar that he was born to be. He looks amazing.

Another highlight for me is the success of my friends and clients. In the
star/studbook mare class, the top four horses were either imported by us
for friends and clients or bred by us. Jenn Tousignant’s Krack C x
Balzflug mare, Tudaula, went star, keur eligible, and high point adult horse for
conformation–Jacques Verkerk made the announcement that this was the
highest scoring mare of the keuring tour to date. Amy Skelton’s Zeoliet x
Goodtimes mare went star, keur eligible, and was high point adult horse for
movement. Amy’s other mare, Nischmiran, Concorde x Calvados, completed her
IBOP successfully to become a keur mare. Alicia Winter’s Cabochon x
Farrington mare performed a super successful IBOP and became a keur mare.
Clark Moss’s powerful Ferro x Havidoff mare presented her lovely Freestyle
filly to also fullfill her final requirement to become a keur mare. The
success of my friends, and the fact that I could have some small part in
that success for them, really made this a special keuring.

Our own horses did well. ZaVita SSF, Contango x Elcaro, (better known
as “Princess”) received a first premium and was the highest placed foal
in New England. Thea Vita SSF, Vincent x Elcaro (regular readers will
remember Thea as the “Bubble Baby”), scored very high for movement and
became a new star mare–I’m especially pleased with this because this puts
LaVita only one star offspring away from her preferent status. The highlight
of our day was the fact that Verito SSF, Jazz x Freestyle x Roemer, went
first premium, was high point young horse in New England, and was asked by
the jury to return next year to be presented for licensing. It is, perhaps,
my proudest moment as a breeder, and I’m stupidly emotional about it.
“Guido” was phenomenal. Janko said to run him was” like he was
climbing into the air.” It was wonderful moment–Carol, Keagan, and all of my
New England horse friends were there and cheering–the only sadness in the
moment was the Michaela couldn’t be there. She has worked daily with me
to prepare the horses for the keuring, and missed the first keuring of her
lifetime. Unfortunately, her eighth grade trip to DC conflicted with the
keuring. Overall, I feel that I should give thanks to the gods of fortune
for the family, friends, and horses with which I have been blessed.

August 23, 2004

Topic: Keuring Obsessions

You know, I thought I was finally going to have a keuring year during
which I was going to remain calm, collected, and unemotional about my
horses and the jury’s reaction to my horses. Not going to happen. You
might as well call me, Scot “Barn Blind” Tolman. In particular, my
Contango filly can do no wrong and Guido is one of the most beautiful
horses I have ever seen. A recent visitor took a couple photos of him;
we’ll see how they come out–I may be able to post them.

Princess (ZaVita: Contango x Elcaro) is huge, leggy, and so nice. Of
course, she and her siblings seem to think they are jumpers and not
dressage horses. Her half brother by Idocus, Rocco SSF, was the top
jumper gelding in the 2002 keuring year. Her half sister by Vincent,
Thea Vita SSF, just free jumped for the first time this week, and our
trainer called to say that she jumps just as well as her brother. Not
to be out done, Ms. Contango filly, when asked to show off her movement
for my friend, Jenn T, proceeded to jog to the stone wall and drop
combination at the edge of our upper yard and handily negotiate the
whole thing in one easy leap. When Susan Duncan saw Rocco free jump at
the ISF keuring two years ago, she told me then that the jump came from
LaVita. I, of course, disagreed and said that the jump came from
Idocus. Given the fact that we have three different foals who can all
jump out of three different dressage stallions, LaVita may have
something to do with it. At any rate, if the jury thinks that Ms.
Princess is anything but a top ten, first premium foal, they are
clearly mistaken and need additional counsel.

On to my new stallion, Verito SSF. Guido is so cool that I almost
can’t stand it. Michaela and I put him on the cross ties tonight before
working him and just ran our hands over him in a kind of disbelief that
we have something like him in the barn. There is no turning back now.
I destined for major keuring stress. Michaela and I half decided that,
if LaVita isn’t in foal (just bred to Donatelli) again, we would go
ahead and breed her to Guido to see what he throws. Goat breeders
always toss a cool young buck into the doe pen for “clean up”
service…we have two open mares still–I’ll bet Guido wouldn’t mind a
bit. Of course, those of us who handle him on a daily basis probably
would. Imagine a randy teenager being given free sexual access to a
couple hot older women. He’d be impossible to live with. He’d also
probably get his head bashed in by a well placed hoof. Hmmm. Too bad
we couldn’t bring that kind of discipline into a high school. Those of
you who have not been witness to the overt displays of physical
attention frequently seen in any American high school hallway can have
no appreciation for the need of a well timed hoof to the head. My kids
have already been fore-warned that public humiliation works both ways…

August 17, 2004

Topic: Coromino!!!

Some times things just fall into place. I have liked this stallion ever
since I paid a visit to GW Ranch a couple years ago. I could not get him
off my mind. Perfect type, perfect temperament, and talented to boot. I
have told Heike repeatedly how much I like him, and I have sent a number of
people to him when I thought our stallions were not the right match. As a
matter of fact, whenever someone asks me about jumper stallions in North
America other than Iroko, Judgement and Coromino are always the first two
names to come out of my mouth. Well, the timing was right–Heike said, yes,
and now we have a new stallion in the Shooting Star Farm line-up. I am
completely excited. Of course, we breed dressage horses, so…..Mr. Coromino
will be moving in with his new brother, Donatelli, and be pointed at the FEI
ring with Jim Koford.

Lots more details and thoughts to follow. And, have no fear, fellow Dutch
horse enthusiasts; Coromino fits into our Dutch breeding program. He may be
an Oldenburg approved stallion, but think about the influence that the
horses in his pedigree have had on Dutch breeding: Cor de la Bryere,
Ramiro, Alme….not too shabby! Plus, Coromino has already passed the
endoscopy and radiograph requirements for the KWPN. His Dutch foals will be
Register A only briefly, because (mark my words) this horse is going to be a
dressage super star on top of his success as a young jumper.

August 12, 2004

Topic: Foal Auctions and Speculation

It is my firm belief that the future of any studbook is in the people who
are willing to take the educated risks of buying top foals as future
stallion prospects, top sport horses, and future top mares. Carol and I
have built our program on this theory. If our only goal were to improve our
program, then I’d stay quiet and never toss out these group purchase ideas.
However, I really believe that the future of the North American sport horse
lies in group effort and established communication lines among breeders.
There is nothing more exciting to me than a number of people all committed
to and excited about the same thing. DBNA proved that we can make a
difference, and quickly at that. WBNA is moving more slowly–largely due to
the fact that Susan Duncan and I have had to pull back our energies(not to
mention our finances) and not devote 2/3rds of our waking hours to the
existence of the organization. Nonetheless, the concept is strong, and I
believe that, in the long run, WBNA is going to accomplish more than DBNA.
Getting back to the intent of this entry, however, a super colt is available
in the Borculo auction, and I hate to lose an opportunity to get some people
together to buy him. Carol and I can buy this colt ourselves, and we will
if no one else is interested, but that’s not the way I’d like to see it go.
Call it a state stud–a common breeding pool–a breeder’s co-op–I don’t
know. The concept of a group of people risking a little on a regular basis
for the benefit of all is much more attractive than one or two people
playing the martyr constantly. We know that the government is not going to
support top sport horse breeding. We know that no one studbook is going to
take the political or legal risk of backing a pool of stallion prospects.
We also know that two or three extremely wealthy individuals can not be
expected to always be thinking about the good of all. The real future lies
in the average breeders banding together. As always, I’m idealistic enough
to believe that any breeder with any sense of vision must see this and must
be willing to be part of it. OK. Scot on his soap box. What did you expect?
If you email me, I’ll give you the specifics on this colt. He’s all purpose
bred–he’s out of a great mareline. He probably won’t have a fancy enough
trot to be super expensive at the auction. It’s an opportunity to bring a
sport horse stallion prospect to North America. If nothing else, we sell
him, and he makes someone a super, super sport horse.

August 4, 2004

Topic: Keuring Prep and Final Breeding Picks….

OK. Now that Donatelli is safely approved AHS, I can move on to my annual
keuring preparation obsession. We’re presenting four horses this year:
Thea Vita SSF for studbook/ster, Verito SSF for premium grading and
stallion prospect evaluation, and our Contango and Iroko fillies for premium

Thea is already with Zaz Putnam, so SSF can have a horse in the first
season of the DG Bar Cup!!!! I’m really excited about this program, and
intend to have at least one horse a year participating. As far as studbook or
star, it is a close call. Thea could be bigger, her left front deviates
slightly out from the fetlock joint, and she needs more development in the
topline. However, she has super scope and reach to her movement, good use of
the hind leg and lift through the wither, and really modern
type–especially given her pedigree. We’ll see how she is looking and moving after two
months with Zaz. As far as training and riding, you could not ask for a
nicer mare. Michaela is hinting strongly that Thea needs to come out of the
breeding band and become her personal dressage horse.

One of our fillies, Zilena SSF (Iroko x Freestyle x Nimmerdor), will be
presented with her dam at ISF. The kids and I just stopped by Jan
Downs-Barrett’s farm on our way home from Hilltop to see this girl. We sold
Tilena, the dam, to Jan with the agreement that we would take the first foal.
This is a super nice filly–I’d like to see a little more reach in the
front leg in some of her movement, but she has all the power, balance, and tact
of those fancy Iroko dressage horses. Congrats also to the
Downs-Barretts; my guess is that Tilena will be one of the top mares in the country this
year. I am definitely pleased to have a filly from this mareline for our

The other filly which we have decided to present is ZaVita SSF (Contango x
LaVita)–better known as Princess….LaVita is the goddess of the farm; it
only seems right that this very special filly be a princess. (You do not
need to ridicule me; my family already takes care of that–LaVita and her
offspring can do no wrong). I had decided not to present Princess because
she has not shown that much movement, plus she could be slightly more modern
in type. Well, we took LaVita to my former vet for frozen semen work over
the weekend. Rene, my vet, loved the filly and wanted to see her move. I
told her that I loved the filly, too, but that she didn’t seem to have
much movement. Wrong. Holy shit. She is butt high right now and slightly
out behind, but talk about lift and power. Of course, now that I have
decided to do the late entry fee and take her to the New England keuring,
she’ll probably stop growing in the wither completely and be a good six
inches butt high by the time we get there!

OK. Here is my real obsession: Guido. I hated this colt when he was
born–ugly–knock kneed–hot–difficult–no movement. As I have probably
mentioned before, Carol and Michaela were in complete disagreement with me from
the beginning. Well, for exactly one week, which happened to coincide
with our infamous trip to the ISF keuring, Guido looked fabulous–he went
number one in the country. Brought him home, and within minutes he looked like
a cross between a llama and a sick goat. U-necked, stopped growing, got
ribby and hairy, was impossible to deal with–I decided that he was
definitely a gelding and put him on the list of boys to undergo the knife before
snow flew….at the last minute, just before Guido was about to get the TQ,
Carol subtley slid in her comment of, “I think the jury really liked him.
What do we have to lose by keeping him another year and seeing how he
turns out?” For those of you who know Carol, she rarely offers an opinion on
the horses or contradicts any of my breeding or selection decisions. She
may make a few comments about my barn cleaning skills…but she defers to
me in virtually all horse decisions. So, OK, we didn’t geld him. Well,
spring rolls around, and, as we do with all of the coming two year old
colts, it became time to remove Guido from the herd (just what I would have
needed, a llama x LaVita cross…). I was still not overly impressed with the
boy, but I put him into the “you are an inside horse” routine. I
hacked off his mane, got his feet under control, and had a few of those “you
can not be serious–I am the human, you are the horse” discussions. Well,
long story short, I am now completely barn blind and in love with this
horse. He is smart, beautiful, and the best mover we have bred. His bone is
a little fine, which is common from what I understand for Jazz
grandchildren; he could be a bit taller–at the moment, he is 15.3–but, the forms for
stallion prospect evaluation rate the horse in four categories, pedigree,
type, movement, and conformation–I have no doubt that he far exceeds the
minimum requirements in three out of the four–keep your fingers crossed that
fine boned doesn’t knock him out of consideration.

OK. I know that you are all dying to know who is finally bred to
whom….well, maybe you don’t obsess over my breeding picks as much as I obsess
over my breeding picks…

LaVita was just covered with Jazz (if there is a god….please, please,
Facet and Kirona are in foal to Donatelli
Oladaula is in foal to Sir Sinclair
Pioendaula is in foal to Contango
Thea Vita, C’est Glory Days, and LaLiscia are in foal to Iroko
T. Lente has just been bred to…..sorry, Alicia! Can’t give it away
yet! We have a deal going with Alicia Winter to get a foal from her very
fancy Cabochon mare. Now, since the frozen semen of Special D was not
successful, who would you pick if you had the following priorities:
1. Get the mare pregnant
2. Improve the topline slightly
3. Lengthen the front leg.

August 3, 2004

Topic: Donatelli

Whew. That’s all I really have to say. Donatelli is now approved AHS,
in addition to the Hanoverian Verband, Oldenberg Verband, Westfalen, and
Rheinland. I have to tell you that these inspections make me nervous as
hell. In this case, you would think that a stallion already approved by the
parent organization in Europe, already successful at FEI level dressage, and
already successful as a sire would have no worries about being approved by
an American affiliate….this has not been my experience, however.
Nonetheless, Donatelli showed brilliantly under saddle and was approved.

Since Donatelli doesn’t live with us, I don’t get to spend a lot of
time with him or even see him often. As a matter of fact, the Hilltop
inspection was the first time that Carol and the kids had seen him in person and
spent time with him. Even Keagan, our non-horse 11 year old, was hugging
him and giving him kisses by the end of the weekend. This stallion is
quiet, perfectly mannered, and super, super talented. Under saddle, he is
light, correct, and always willing to work. As I was watching him go during the
inspection, I thought to myself, I could give a shit whether anyone else
likes this horse or not; he’s exactly the type and temperament for which
we need to be breeding. Now, I’m just wishing that we had bred more
mares to him this year.

As far as the inspection itself, from the point of view of a Dutch
breeder, it was certainly interesting. The Hanoverian selection process has
produced a much different horse than have we in the Dutch system. The horses I
saw could all move sufficiently and jump sufficiently. There were no stars
in either direction, but there were no flops in either direction either.
There was not a consistent type presented, but there were also no horses
significantly off type. The horses I saw were all general purpose, good,
solid riding horses. In the Dutch system, I’m used to the seeing a jumper
absolutely take my breath away, or a dressage-bred horse that sends shivers
up and down my spine. I’m also apt to grimace when I see that same
jumper move and that same dressage-bred horse attempt to make his or her way
through the jump chute. I really don’t mean for this last observation to
carry any judgment one way or the other–it was just obvious and
interesting that we have gone in different directions.

The most interesting point of the weekend, however, was hearing a stallion
owner say that she had been asked to represent her horse next year for the
new Hanoverian Hunter studbook….hmmm. I wonder where they got that
idea? It will certainly be interesting to see if a prototype of our own system
has been snagged for use in the AHS. This is great news for Hunter
breeders, but let’s give credit where credit is due.

June 22, 2004

Topic: NA/WPN

Here is an organization with which I have had such a love/hate
relationship over the years that I have to look at it as a marriage of sorts.
Initially, I came into the organization niave, gullible, and ravenous for
information. As time went on, my disillusionment with keuring placements,
structural politics and elitism, and the financial burden of being an active,
breeding member took their toll. Eventually, I grew up, toughened up, and began
to realize the benefits of the KWPN system within the NA/WPN. As many of
you know, I’ve devoted countless hours and energies to promoting and
improving the communication efforts, educational programs, and awards programs
of the NA/WPN. With the announcement of Dr. Giddens’ retirement, I am
left…cautious, yet, hopeful. We have done good work over the past few
years to bring this organization to its members. I see that continuing. Carol
and I have recently become members of the AHS, in order to present
Donatelli at the Hilltop inspection on August 1st. Yesterday, we received a
great package of information and AHS publications. Upon perusal, it became
immensely clear to me that the AHS is a much more member driven organization
than is the NA/WPN. True, the AHS has approximately 2100 members to our
1400, but it works with a similar amount of money and doesn’t produce
exponentially more foals per year than do we. The biggest difference I see is
the member involvement. Hopefully, as the NA/WPN transitions to new
leadership, we will not lose momentum in empowering our membership to become more
active and take more ownership in the direction of the NA/WPN.

June 19, 2004

Topic: So Many Things

If you only knew how many journal entries I’ve started over the last
couple of months, but have never sent them to my webmaster for posting,
because they were too depressing! Fortunately, God invented summer vacation and
rum, so I think I’m finally in a place to write. So much has gone on in
the past couple of months. My truck accident on the way home from the
annual meeting seemed to start a whole series of “crashes”. We had the
septic Farrington filly–she recovered, but came home from Tufts with a broken
foot, which looks like it may never be completely weight-bearing again; our
Pion mare delivered a premie Freestyle colt whom we had to lift to his
feet so he could nurse every hour to two hours, day and night, for over a
week; then this colt went septic, also–we couldn’t afford to send another
colt to Tufts, so we treated him at home–daily flushes–antibiotics–and
continued 24 hour assistance with nursing…of course, Carol travels three
weeks out of four, so Michaela and I were on going into the last quarter of
school dog-tired, but “Booger” finally began to come around ; in the
middle of this, Carol calls at 2:30 in the morning from a hospital in Northern
NH–she has a kidney blockage and has to be rushed to Dartmouth-Hitchcock
in Lebanon–we then spend a couple days of surgery and trips back and forth
to the hospital; somewhere in here, my 80 year old mother, who is suffering
from dementia and prestroke activity, takes a major fall in the middle of
the night and is so covered with black and blues that she looked like she
had been beat up; we have almost a week of no trauma, then LaVita had her
incredible Contango filly…who refused to nurse for the first 14 hours…so,
once again, Michaela and I were on feeding shifts–this time, every half
hour–we stuffed that filly so full of colostrum that there was no way she
was going septic on us. Of course, through all of this, I was still
teaching full time, the kids were still going to school full time, our 30 horses
were still shitting and eating full time, Carol was still on the road for
three out of four weeks, and Donatelli and Iroko were needing to be shipped
to between 10 and 20 mares a week. Are you tired just reading about all
this? Me, too!

So, this is the reason you folks haven’t had any new journal entries to
read for a while. Sorry about that. Now for some good news updates:

Go Orchis…..

Have to brag! SSF Oracle/Orchis (Jazz x Roemer x Eros) has the highest
breeding index for dressage mares in North America. 194! Her dam, Charites,
has the highest breeding index for dressage mares in the Netherlands.
Gotta love it! Of course, I’ll be more excited when she double ovulates
this weekend, we get two Contango x Orchis embryos, and they are successfully
implanted in recipient mares…keep your fingers crossed for us.

Verito SSF (Freestyle x Orchis) aka, “Guido”, will be presented for
evaluation as a stallion prospect at this year’s NA/WPN keuring in
Vermont. This is the first product directly out of our breeding program to be
presented as a stallion prospect. If I had had my way, he would have been
sold as a foal, but Carol and Michaela have been resolute that I was wrong
and that Guido was, indeed, worth keeping for a while. Well, believe it or
not, I am willing to admit when I am wrong. This colt no longer looks
like a U-necked goat with a big head, turkey neck, two-toned feet, and freaky,
super-equine movement. He is thickening, broadening, muscling, and
looking more and more elegant every day–plus, he still has that freaky movement.

In the Breeding Department…..

Donatelli has been so well-received and adored, that we have had to close
his book. Jim Koford is completely smitten by this boy; he calls him
“the real deal.” Donatelli continues to love to work and constantly to be
willing to give beyond that of which he is asked–got to love that in a
competition partner! Jim has taken him to only two shows so far, but both
times Donatelli scored well into the sixties at PSG–pretty exciting for his
first couple of shows. Everything is in place to finish him to Grand Prix.
Jim says that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg of Donatelli’s
talent. I’m excited for Jim and for Donatelli.

Iroko is doing really well. He’s having his highest pregnancy rate of
his whole time here in North America. Plus, we’re seeing more and more
incredible foals out of a wide variety of mares. Keagan’s Morgan mare just
delivered the most beautiful foal of the year at SSF–this filly is SO
pretty. I have one more Iroko foal coming out of the Freestyle x Nimmerdor
mare Jan Downs-Barrett bought–can’t wait!

Pregnancy News…..

We are going to have SO MANY FOALS NEXT YEAR (knock on wood)!!!! Here’s
what we have coming already:

Thea to Iroko
Kirona to Donatelli
Facet to Donatelli
Pion to Contango
Oladaula to Sir Sinclair

Here’s what we’re breeding this weekend:

Double ovulation from Orchis to Contango (ET)
Double ovulation from LaVita to Sandreo (possible ET)
Sibby to Iroko
LaLiscia to Iroko


We’ve had so much interest in our Iroko x Percheron cross that we’re
going to try that again, and, after seeing this year’s filly, I’m sure
that Keagan will want to breed his Morgan mare back to Iroko.

Am I insane? Don’t answer that.

April 9, 2004

Topic: Expensive Lesson to Learn

OK. I have been accused of being a control freak on more than one
occassion. Normally, I protest with minimal persistence, knowing in the very
forefront of my mind that, about some things, I do, indeed, display telling
traits of a freakish need to be in control. Big things don’t bother me,
really–wars, economic trends, religious uprisings, renovations to our house,
bills being paid on time–I’m happy to leave these things to those who
have a stronger inclination than I to wage war, refute the Bible, and pay
overdue electric bills. Taking care of my horses….now that’s a different

“Carol, did you give Oladaula one and a half scoops of grain or two
scoops? She gets two scoops now that she’s foaled.”

“Michaela, does Pioen have WAX or just wax? “

(calling from work on a day when Carol and the kids have the day off)
“It’s 10:00. What do you mean you haven’t been out in the barn yet?
That mare could have started to foal–had trouble–been lying there in her
stall plaintively thinking, Where is Scot? Where is he? And, you’re still
in your pj’s eating cereal and watching Lord of the Rings for the
fifteenth time?”

My family finds my compulsive behavior charming; I’m sure.

Anyways, Oladaula just had our third foal of the year–fifth foaling for
her over the span of her broodmare career. Michaela and I attended the
birth–dried off the early but really strong filly–watched her stand within
minutes–witnessed the placenta detach–cleaned the stall–saw the baby have
the sucking reflex and start to find her way to the udder…and went to
bed. It was late; I had school the next morning; and I told myself that I did
not have to be such a control freak and stay to actually watch this
perfectly healthy filly find an udder. We have never had such a strong, active
foal not learn to nurse on its own–I convinced myself that I was just being
a complete control freak if I were to sit there and wait another hour or
two to actually see this filly nurse. I’m sure you’re guessing the
outcome by now–even though the filly did eventually nurse–she hadn’t nursed
enough early on to ingest sufficient colostrum–by the time she was 30
hours old, she was down in her stall and couldn’t get up. Carol called me
at school, and then called the vet. By the time I got home, the vet had her
on IV fluids and antibiotics–but said that he had little hope for her
unless we took her to intensive care at Tufts. Well, my new truck is not set
up for hauling the gooseneck yet. Do you know how difficult it is to find
someone to immediately haul or let you borrow a rig–especially on a
weekday morning in southwestern New Hampshire? Long story short, we were saved
by great guy, named Scott Lyons. I’d never met him before, but he’s the
friend of a friend. He was there within about 15 minutes with his truck
and trailer. He set us up, helped load the mare and filly, and Carol and I
were on the way to Tufts. Three hours later, the filly is on oxygen,
plasma drip, stomach tube–she’s had an EKG–she has her own nurse 24 hours a
day, in the stall with her and her mother. Seeing her lying on the padded
table, hooked up to machines, having difficulty breathing…we just
didn’t think she was going to make it. Nonetheless, this morning, she’s up
and nursing on her own, and they’ve removed the oxygen. Those double
Doruto genes are tough, man. She’s not out of the woods yet, so keep your
fingers crossed for her–also, keep your fingers crossed for Tufts’ vet
techs…we gave them fair warning about the possible reaction speed of Miss
Oladaula, and that it really is best to tell her what you’re about to do in
order to give her every opportunity to prepare herself–they smiled, amused
at the large man still in his school clothes who had just told them to
explain to the horse what they were going to do before they did it–they
glanced at each other discreetly, finding me humorous and niave, even slightly
inane, I suspect. Well, I don’t think anyone was seriously injured, but
one vet tech in particular now wishes that she had paid a little more heed
to the overgrown schoolboy who talks to his horses as if they could
understand him.

My, wasn’t that a long paragraph! What is the moral of this story?
Don’t go to bed until you are absolutely convinced that your foal is
nursing well. The first payment on this lesson is $2,000. If everything goes
well (knock on wood), the second will be about half that. If it
doesn’t….I may have a really nice double Doruto filly for sale for the price of her
vet bills!

April 2, 2004

Topic: What else…Breeding Choices!

I realize that I have been remiss in posting regularly in my journal, but
life has a way of interfering with my writing. The perfect scenario is
that I somehow end up on an island in the tropics, with access to plentiful
frozen concoctions, served by gorgeous, tanned natives whose entire purpose
in life is to make guests feel welcome and inebriated–this is how I would
really to write. However, realistically, the scenario is more
like….buried in black flies and mud in New Hampshire, 30 horses to feed, 2 kids to
manipulate in order to prevent the inevitable fraticide, and this thing
called a job. No wonder I get nothing written these days! Nonetheless, in
those fleeting moments while waiting for one bucket to fill from the hose, I
get to stare at my VERY pregnant girls and rethink my breeding choices for

LaVita……………ET to Donatelli
Orchis……………ET to Sir Sinclair

March 18, 2004

Topic: Lots of things

Since last we spoke, I’ve attended the NA/WPN Annual Meeting, changed my
breeding decisions thirty or forty times, turned 44, had a brush with fate
and the Gods of Ford, and delivered our first foal of the year. Yeah, it’s been busy.

The Annual Meeting was a not to be missed event, as usual. Willy Arts and
the DeGroots welcomed us with wine, warmth, and wonderful horses. There
can not be another family in North America with such a depth of commitment
to itself and its farm.

Highlights for me:

*The Quadrille, ridden by DG Bar staff and family on DG bar bred and owned
*The presentation of the new Willy Arts Young Rider Scholarship program
*Faith Fessenden’s videos
*Demonstration of the new riding horse classes for young horses
*Success of the Silent Auction
*Detailed analysis of last year’s approved jumping and dressage stallions
*Trento B. Trento B. Trento B.
*An incredible bottle of wine, shared with Tia Shurecht

SSF Breeding Choices as of 11:24 am, EST, 3/18/04

LaVita: Will remain open and go into sport
Oladaula: Donatelli
Orchis: ET with Contango and maybe one with Special D
Pioendaula: Iroko
Kirona: Donatelli
Thea: Iroko (our first foal of the year is really special–we’ll repeat
the cross)

Five minutes from home, on my way from Logan airport after arriving safely
from the Annual Meeting, I am broadsided by an out of control van. The
driver of the van has lost control coming down Chesterfield Hill in very icy
conditions. I can’t get out of the way. The van slams into my
driver’s side door, rips down the entire side of my truck, tears off the back
axle, and drops the entire rear end out of my truck. Somehow, I am not dead.
I thank the Gods of Ford trucks and whatever forces exist in the world that
have allowed me more time with my family and horses. My truck is totaled;
I will buy another Ford F350.

February 7, 2004

Topic: Breeding for the Specialist, Missing the Hengstkeuring, and
Wishing Happy Birthday to Mrs. Duncan (not necessarily in this order)

Gert van der Veen’s breeding choices live on. The champion stallion of
the jumping division at the KWPN Hengstkeuring this year is none other
than a Libero H x Nimmerdor x Marco Polo son–full brother of the
approved stallion Nijinsky–out of the immortal Haifa. Haifa is the
foundation mare of Gert van der Veen’s breeding program. So, the modern
sport horse…nine years of selective breeding, the death of Gert van
der Veen, and KWPN politics separate Nijinsky and this latest colt.
It’s nice to know that not all good sense is lost.

I didn’t get to see this moment in history in person–as much as I would
have liked to. My flight was delayed six hours while we awaited a part
for the pressure system of the DC 10 to be flown to Boston from
Minneapolis. It arrived at approximately 10:30; by 11:15, we were all
on the plane and first in line for departure. All seemed to be going
well. About two hours into our flight, the Captain came over the
announcement system, and told us that we had turned around and were
headed back for Boston: “We can’t make Amsterdam, but I’m pretty sure
we can get back to Boston.” Comforting. It seems that the new part was
not functioning properly, so our airplane could not reach the necessary
height for the mid part of our trip. Our only choice was to drop
altitude and hope to make it back to Boston. By the time we landed and
deplaned, my desire to catch a next day flight to Holland had
significantly diminished. I drove home, crawled into bed with Carol and
Keagan (who assumes that most comfortable bed in the house, mine, can
not contain a solo sleeper), and thanked whatever fate/God/forces of the
universe that two chocolate donuts and vanilla latte were all it took to
get me home. Trust the messages that are sent to you. Eat chocolate.
Fly, only when absolutely necessary.

So, from what I have heard from calls from Holland and from reading on
the internet, Gert lives on, my UB40 colt for which I was willing to
pull a Dr. Faustus, and yet another Kennedy colt which will probably
never be heard from again have all wowed the crowd at the
Brabanthallen. I don’t mean to be facetious or rude about the Kennedy
colt, but, as much as I admire the owners of this colt, his pedigree is
not interesting enough to inspire confidence and, without seeing him, I
can guarantee you that he is hot, a spectacular mover, and genetically
inconsistent for a breeding stallion–this is a sport horse deluxe for
the VERY capable rider, not the horse that should have been champion of
the Hengstkeuring. There has yet to be a Kennedy son remaining after
the 70 days’ test. Again, I have great respect for the owners of this
colt–I will be happy to be wrong.

Intellectually, the KWPN move to specialization makes sense; select for
fewer traits and you make faster progress toward a breeding goal.
However, there are too many intangibles in breeding horses to make a
clean-cut, “don’t look back” distinction between a jumping horse and a
dressage horse. I don’t know that the jumping horse will always need the
dressage horse, but I do know that the dressage horse will always need
the jumper. There is this gait called the canter…..then there’s this
idea of balance….then, maybe I’m being picky here, but there’s this
idea of the vast majority of successful dressage horses in history
having been bred out of jumping lines. Again, I’m always willing to be
wrong–that’s how I learn the most. But, until I start seeing these
specialists as the majority at the upper echelons of dressage, I’m still
going for “balance” and the ability to use the hind end with power and
finesse–given the choice, I’ll breed to Gert’s horse for my dressage
program, before I’ll breed to the Kennedy x Ubis.

BTW, wish my friend, Susan Duncan, the happiest of birthdays. She may
be older than I, but everybody has to have some fault.

January 21, 2004

Topic: Road Trip to Meet Donatelli and Stallion Picks

I just returned from about twenty hours of driving and two hours of
looking at horses…you will all have no trouble believing me when I say that I
spend the entire length of the New Jersey turnpike, northbound, with the
radio off, just thinking about stallion picks for my girls. Had I known that
I would then be spending an additional two hours getting from the George
Washington bridge to Winsor, Connecticut, I might have put the radio on

Donatelli is so beautiful! I had not seen him in person for years. He is
simply elegant, elegant, elegant. He seems to be really well adjusted and
happy in his new surroundings right off the bat. A huge nod to Sharon at
Rigbie Farm CEM Quarantine–she and her staff do a wonderful job with these
incoming stallions. Sharon brought out Donatelli for us, and he simply
posed and allowed himself to fall under my ever critical eye–hard to fault
him. His neck has thickened some with age and his muscling is thicker, but
he’s still so refined and pretty that I’m amazed. What pleased me most
is his temperament–no mouthy stallion behavior–no stallion
trumpeting–just a really alert and an intelligent watchfulness and responsiveness. Jim
Koford was nearly salivating to get out his tack and get on him. However,
the lovely Maryland weather of Monday prevented us from doing little more
than watching Sharon trot him up and down the drive for us. Those of you
in the Southern Pines area can have a peek at Mr. Donatelli after he arrives
to begin work with Jim in mid February.

More to tell about my visit with Meghan and Robert at ISF–quick genuflect
at the shrine of Contango–super Judgement colt….but I have to get to
work creating finals for my ever cheerful and cooperative students!

Today’s picks:

Donatelli x Oladaula
Donatelli x Kirona
Contango x Orchis
Special D x LaVita
Special D x Thea Vita SSF
Iroko x Pioendaula

January 1, 2004

Topic: Goals, Predictions, Breeding Picks

Happy New Year! Tempus fugit. Other than a period of about 14 hours
during the time in which I was turning 26 (this could have had something
to do with being in the midst/throes of graduate school), I’ve always
been enormously excited about new years and new projects. After nearly
a decade and a half of building our breeding program, I think we are
just barely beginning to come into our own. I was listening to the
Diane Reem (sp?) show on NPR the other day; she was chatting with a
guest who has written a book entitled, The New Brain. The conversation
was centering around the advances that we have made in the study of the
brain due to the advances in technology available with which to study
the brain. One question Diane asked was if the brains of gifted
musicians, philosophers, or athletes are different than those of the
normal person. In short, are great people born or made. The guest’s
response was that he had recently spoken with one of the world’s
greatest pianists, and had just asked him how often he practiced. The
response was that the pianist had practiced at least four hours a day
from the time he was eight years old. The implication is that there may
be some predisposition to a particular talent that is inherent in the
DNA, but that diligence and time probably have more to do with eventual
success. The guest then went on to cite a study of successful people in
a wide variety of fields and arts–the one thing that all successful
people have in common is an ability to break things/tasks into smaller
pieces, analyze them, strengthen the weak pieces, and then put it all
back together into a stronger whole. Combine this with the
aforementioned diligence and time…you have to meet success. This is
exactly how I feel about our breeding program. Those of you who have
followed this journal (now going into its fifth year) know that breeding
horses occupies my brain at least four hours a day, and has done so for
as long as I can remember. As long as I don’t give up due to some
idiotic political or market-biased decision made by the studbook
involved…..eventually, my program has to be enormously successful.
Horses rarely disappoint me; people often do.

So, SSF breeding goals for 2004 and beyond:

1. Return to the initial motivation for breeding warmbloods: Breed the
kind of horse I want to ride, but couldn’t afford to buy.

2. Put more focus into getting our horses out into the sport world.

3. (see #1) Ride.

In looking at goal #1, I need to stop being as concerned with the modern
sport horse on which my studbook is so overly focused and begin
concentrating on finding horses WIDE enough for me. This may sound
humorous, but it’s the truth. I want to ride. The horse I ride has got
to have a bigger ass than mine. Now, assuming that I will not be able
to let go of my insatiable need to be awarded first premiums and ster
ratings…..I’m going to have to find the stallions that produce wide
assed offspring, with exceptional movement, and a type within the
parameters of the current goals of the NA/WPN. Contango.

We’ve already started working toward goal #2. SSF Oracle/Orchis (Jazz x
Roemer) is now in North Carolina with Jim Koford; she is on her way to
become Jim’s next superstar. I’ve committed to using Orchis for ET only
indefinitely. Udaulo SSF (Cabochon x Pion) has recently been imported by
Dr. Sara Warner of Florida to become her next FEI project. Thea Vita
SSF (Vincent x Elcaro) will be eventually taken out of the broodmare
band to become Michaela’s young rider horse. Michaela and Thea will
begin training together in the spring. We’re hoping to have one more
foal from her before removing her completely from breeding. We’ve also
been fortunate enough to have some of our breeding products purchased by
people intent on sport careers for their SSF horses. Beth Nabi’s Rocco
SSF (Idocus x Elcaro) is in Florida again this winter with Zaz Putnam.
Rocco has become a great ambassador of our breeding program. Grand Prix
rider, Melinda Johnson, has two of our boys, Udo SSF (Contango x
Elcaro), and Uniko SSF (Zeoliet x Voltaire)–I’ve convinced Melinda to
get both of these boys ready for the new young horse classes in the
keuring system. Karen Grande is now schooling all Grand Prix movements
on one of our earliest imports, Loret (Ichnaz x Duc de Normandie); plus,
Karen has big hopes for Oegelia SSF (Ferro x Weigelia). Urona SSF
(Metall x Volkmar) also has an ambitious and dedicated owner in Helena
Kopcynski. Of course, many of our younger products have also found
super, future sport homes–I’m especially excited for Freddy/Veo SSF
(Zeoliet x Hierarch) and Heather Merrill and for Vuleno SSF (Hierarch x
Sambucco) and Danielle Bachand. The next few years and beyond look
really exciting for SSF horses in the sport world.

To ride or not to ride; it is no longer the question. I’m going to
ride, damn it. Thanks to my partners in decadence (physically temporal,
philosophically inescapable), Jim and Becca, I have an FEI school
mistress. Yes! Ms. Bea and I are finding an unlikely match in each
other–she’s neither impressed or even slightly deterred by the size of
my ass and I’m not intimidated, only slightly amused by her demeanor.
So, now, I’ve decided to up LaVita’s grain in hopes of her producing an
even wider assed Contango colt than I’m anticipating!

Yes, the shape of things to come–who is going to help the SSF breeding
program reach this newest width? Today’s picks:

Contango x LaVita
Contango x Thea Vita
Contango x SSF Oracle/Orchis
Donatelli x Oladaula
Iroko x Pioendaula
Facet x Kirona