November 16, 2007
Topic: Shows Over!
I’m including a picture from my most recent show, Little Shop of
Horrors, as proof that I have a good excuse for not writing much
lately. We began auditions and rehearsals the second week of
September; the show closed last weekend. I’m just starting to come up
for air. When I’m directing a show, I leave school, run home and do
chores, grab supper, then head back to rehearsal or performance.
Doesn’t leave much time for writing. Doesn’t leave much time for
News on the Donatelli front: He has a broken rib. Yup. It’s rare in
horses; so, of course, my horse does it. It really explains his sucky
performance at Devon, however. Just before Devon, Donatelli had
jumped out of his paddock. He hit a hole on landing and took a spill.
He was a little off for a couple of days, but Jim couldn’t pin point
any particular lameness, so he kept working him lightly. By Devon,
things really fell to pieces. Good news for you breeders out there,
Donatelli has been xrayed, scanned, blocked, flexed, and otherwise
tested in all body parts–only to reveal nothing but a perfectly sound
horse. That’s saying a lot for a 13 year old Grand Prix horse that
has never been injected. Still, the vets couldn’t pin point the
source of the lameness…until the bone scan. That’s when they found
the broken rib. Evidently, as I said above, horses break ribs so
infrequently that most vets don’t know the clinical manifestations.
Since we now know them, let me share them with you: lameness that
appears to move from limb to limb; loss of muscling in the top line;
overall affect of depression and apathy. The healing process takes
close to four months…with no girth and not rider. So, the good news
is that Donatelli has been examined within an inch of his life and the
only thing wrong with him is an injury that will heal. The bad news
is that poor Jim is going to be a bit behind in his competition plans!
Breeding picks: Haven’t given it a moment’s thought….yeah, right!
It’s another reason that I don’t have time to write; I spend any spare
moment research stallions. My candidates so far this year:
Krack C (have 2 free doses coming to replace last year’s crap)
Of course, I say I’m only going to breed three mares this year–we’ll
see. What I really want is a top TB stallion approved KWPN.
October 17, 2007
Topic: The Ups and Downs of Breeding
We had a rough weekend at Shooting Star Farm. Our Zeoliet x Volkmar
filly colicked really badly, and had to be put down. The poor girl
didn’t get the best breaks in life. It’s her dam, Kirona, that we
lost during this filly’s foaling. Sometimes, I think that human
intervention isn’t always for the best. In nature, this filly
wouldn’t have been born in the first place. Granted, she had five and
a half really good months, playing with the other babies, hanging out
with the herd; however, I can’t help but wonder if I shouldn’t have
let nature just take its course earlier.
I don’t mean this to sound “hard” or insensitive. In fact, it’s just
the opposite. How many times do we humans interfere with what is
really best for our horses? If left to natural selection, tell me
that a fancy, dressage-bred horse is going to rise to the top? It’s
much more likely that some hardy, rat tailed Appaloosa, with a short
neck, no croup, and a “Don’t mess with me” attitude would be having
his way with my herd of dressage queens. What did horses do before
fly sheets, bug zappers, and sprays? How many horses would
voluntarily make an appointment with Dr. Johnson to come out for
spring shots? I’m not saying that all we do is bad–it’s certainly
makes sense to try and eradicate rabies or West NIle by vaccinating
our horses. What I’m saying is that horses survived for millions of
years without us. Sometimes we need to let nature take its course,
for the sake of the horse. Charona probably should have died with her
mom, back in April. Instead, she went through 12 hours of agony.
October 11, 2007
Topic: Snakes, Keurings, and “Where the Hell are Dutch Horses Headed?”
For a moment, let us harken back to a journal entry of a couple years ago, “Cuddles”.
Keagan’s three and a half foot Ball Python is, thankfully, no longer a member
of the family. But…guess what greeted me when I came home from school two
days ago…Michaela’s Siamese cat, Nelly, with a still-writhing snake in her mouth.
We’re not talking out on the deck, at the door, or in the driveway; we’re talking
my walking through the mud room and into my computer space to find the Siamese
fiend and her wriggling prey. Nelly does not go outside—she is an indoor as an
indoor cat can be. She found this snake in my house. My reaction?
Burn down the fucking house. My second reaction? Call the local Super 8
and find out the weekly rates. My more rational reaction, “Oh, shit. I’m color blind.
What if she leaves this half-alive, green snake on the red carpet covering my
computer area—I’ll never know it’s there until I step on it.” I barely slept that night.
I kept imagining the cat bounding onto my bed in the middle of the night with a
snake in her mouth. How did it get into the house? No fricking clue. Carol and
the kids are home this weekend; they’ll have to investigate. As for me, I’m not going
into any basement corners, cellar hideaways, or earthy areas in the basement. I
bought a bottle of bourbon, and have spent the 30 minutes before I have to be in
bed making sure that I sleep.
Keurings. So interesting. Here I go off on how I think specialization is really
working in the KWPN system and an Aram x Emilion is the top dressage gelding.
An Ulft x Silvio is second. As much as I adore both Katie Kuhn and Karin Jimenez,
these are not horses that were bred to be dressage horses; they’re accidents.
Dressage accidents, that is. I know that both of these breeders put decades of
thought into their decisions, but I can’t believe that either one thought she was
breeding a dressage horse out of her combination. Each was following her
gut, and breeding what she thought was a good match for a sport horse.
Again, these are two really intelligent and thoughtful breeders—they used jumper
pedigrees that resulted in the production of the top two dressage geldings
in the country. There’s a lesson here.
I still believe in specialization, but I want to define it for myself.
Katie and Karin both, basically, have jumper breeding programs, though both
cross out to stallions such as Jazz, Rhodium, Krack C, and, I guess we’ll put
him the same category, Ulft.. They are both nearly annually at the top of the
keuring rankings. They are selecting the stallion that they think is best for the
mare in question. They are producing horses that the KWPN representatives
are telling us are the best in our country. Some years, Katie scores with her
Indoctro crosses. Karin has scored repeatedly with her Idocus crosses.
Do you see what I’m getting at here? There is no KWPN specialization in their
choices; there is individual breeder specialization in their choices.
I have a dressage breeding program. In terms of the KWPN keuring system,
it’s a fairly successful one; we have our share of top horses, year after year.
My breeding choices over the past few years have gravitated heavily to
German lines—purposefully away from KWPN stallions: Donatelli, Freestyle,
Contango, Iroko—two of these are KWPN approved, but they’re still German
stallions. I know what my mares need, and I go looking for it.
Therein lies the secret to specialization: Specialize within your own
breeding program. Have a goal. Have a picture of the perfect horse in your head.
Know the strengths and weaknesses of your mares inside and out. Think about
your breeding choices in generations, not in how fast you can sell the foal from
a currently hot stallion. If we do this, it is not we who will be following the
directive of the KWPN, but the KWPN which will be following the directive of the
intelligent and thoughtful breeders.
September 23, 2007
Topic: Some More Thoughts on the New England Keuring
Now that I’ve actually had 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep
(it was a tough week before the keuring) I think my brain can handle a more
in depth narrative about some of my thoughts in conjunction with what I saw
-specialization is here to stay, and…it should be here to stay. I know that’s
not going to be a popular statement for some of you to read, but I’ve come
to believe it. I’ve been asked to write an article for the 2008 edition of a North
American stallion directory, so I’ll hold most of my comments for that.
-our new jury member/representative from the KWPN is a positive addition.
In particular, he’s really, really critical of conformation. We need this. For too
many years, I’ve seen horses with questionable conformation rewarded simply
because of their ability to move or the ability to jump. Soundness and
correctness have to be the basic tenets in the selection of our breeding stock.
Exceptions can be made if the use of the conformation, even if it is not ideal,
is functional in sport. For example, ZaVita SSF, my Contango mare, is too short
in the neck; however, when she moves, she uses her neck correctly and it does
not interfere with her as a sport horse.
-there were 27 horses presented at the New England keuring; ten received
-going into the keuring, I’d expected LaVita’s earning her preferent status to be
the highlight of the day for me. That’s not how it turned out, however. My highlight
was watching our Donatelli colt go and then hearing the comments from the jury
about him. I think Bart used the word, “elegant”, three times in his description.
The words, “we really like,” preceeded the description of Georgie’s rectangular
frame, the length of his neck, the position of his neck, and his use of his body in
movement. He could use a little more power in his movement. Also, as is typical
with many Jazz grandchildren, he is a little light in bone. Those two negatives
aside, it was a nice moment for me. There are so many stallions du jour, that it’s
really nice to have my belief in what Donatelli can produce rewarded. Of course
Orchis had something to do with the equation, but, anyone who saw this colt go
could see that she is not the only influence. It’s a good cross (thank you,
Michaela Tolman, for insisting on it). Now I’ll continue to believe that the full
sibling in utero is a chestnut filly!
September 22, 2007
Topic: New England Keuring
First, let me apologize for not having complete information for you all,
but I was so busy handling horses that I didn’t get to see many horses
actually go. Second, it was a great day!
Kathy Hickerson had high point adult horse with her Farrington x Goodtimes
mare that was re-presented for ster. The mare is super powerful and really
well connected through the top line. She has her sport predicate all ready,
so she becomes a keur mare. Pineland Farm had two first premium foals,
but, honestly, I don’t know which ones…at the time, I was way too preoccupied
with a certain Donatelli x Jazz colt. Debbie Malcolmson had a first premium
foal and a first premium yearling, both out of her good Nimmerdor mare
(who, by the way, is in foal to Chin Chin–that’s enough to make me want to
start breeding jumpers!). Armani, by Rousseau, was a first premium two
year old gelding. Ade Lente W, a horse that I bred in partnership with
Alicia Winter, was top two year old and high point young horse–she is
Freestyle out of Alicia’s phenomenal Cabochon mare that she imported
as a foal through us. Kathy and Rick also had a first premium Navarone colt.
And, I think there was a successful dressage IBOP for Karen Grande’s
Zeoliet x Ferro mare and Jumper IBOP for Monica Sakurai’s
Tisolde (Natal- Nimmerdor) mare.
Our horses held their own. Georgie, Cervantes SSF (Donatelli x Jazz),
was high point foal–we were called back to come in for high point young
horse, but they hadn’t seen Ade Lente W yet…we happily went back to our
stall, given that Ade Lente was the one to receive that ribbon. Princess,
ZaVita SSF (Contango x Elcaro) was the top three year old mare–becoming ster–
and, best of all, making her mother Preferent. Yes, LaVita is a new
PREFERENT mare! Very cool. So, it was a good day for SSF.
A couple general comments: Faith Fessenden did a super job narrating
the day. She spent 80% of her time in the audience explaining what was
going on and answering questions for our 80+ guests. I overheard a
number of spectators comment about how helpful her narration was to
their understanding and appreciation of the day. Dayna Gant and her crew
made the day run like clockwork. Dayna’s facility is really pretty, and her
new indoor just fabulous. Bart Henstra gets my vote. He’s an excellent
horseman–super eye–seems to promote a logical and practical application
of the keuring process to breeding and sport–tough as hell on conformation.
I think he’s an excellent choice for North American breeders.
September 21, 2007
Topic: Day Before the Keuring and Some Congrats
First, I want to take a minute to congratulate some fellow breeders on
their recent successes. Merijane Malouin’s foundation mare, Harmony,
has become the first North American bred mare to receive both her
preferent and prestatie predicates. There is no higher dream for a
breeder than to see his or her mare achieve such recognition. It
makes me proud for American breeders of Dutch horses and really
pleased for my friend, Merijane. Huge kudos to Harmony, her breeder,
and to Merijane for putting in the time, money, and effort to get her
horses to keurings and into sport.
Another recent North American bred success is Waterloo, the OO7 x Jazz
gelding that recently swept away the competition last weekend in
Lexington. Congrats to Willy Arts and Seigi Belz-Fry. Further,
Waterloo was also a top ten weanling. It’s always nice to receive
proof that your system works! Congrats to Willy and Seigi.
On to the keuring! Believe it or not, I’m the least nervous I have
ever been going into a keuring. Thanks to a crowd of friends who have
taken pity on me due to my missing children and crazy schedule, my
horses are actually, clipped, bathed, buffed, and pulled–Carol and I
do have to load them into the trailer, get them to the keuring, and
pick a few tails, but that’s it. I should probably knock on wood here
(knock on wood)–they are horses, after all; I could get home from
school today and find one cast, a shoe pulled off, and a mare with no
tail because a baby is so bored at being in the barn all day…but,
no. I’m not going to think that way. My new motto for the year is
“I’m fricking positive!”
Realistically, I think we’ll come home with a new ster mare, a first
premium colt, and LaVita having earned her preferent status. Princess
(aka ZaVita SSF) is definitely ster quality–whether or not she’ll be
keur eligible, I don’t know. Georgie, the Donatelli x Orchis colt, is
too gorgeous not to get a first premium ribbon–even if he piddles
around on his forehand, does his pony trot, and I have to move him
into the hunter book at the last minute. I’m just sure once this colt
is under saddle he’s going to be even better than Donatelli. Most
importantly, LaVita, my pride and joy and OCD soul mate, has, I think,
a super shot at coming home a preferent mare. That will be the
highlight of the keuring for me. She is still the horse that sends
goose bumps up and down my spine when I see her move. This week,
Maryanne Hamshaw came up to look at babies; so we put LaVita and Cara,
her Freestyle filly, into the stallion paddock to free lunge
them–holy shit! Even at 14, no work, and having had 7 foals, LaVita
puts on a show. She drops down behind and becomes just electric. I
have no other horse that has the combination of power and supplemess
that she has.
Oh, well. Enough of my rambling for today. Again, congrats to
Merijane, Willy, and Seigi; it’s nice to see fellow Dutch breeders be
recognized. Wish us luck at the keuring, and let’s hope I haven’t
jimxed myself by posting my predictions!
September 5, 2007
Topic: Tolman Update
Tonight is the first night of my new life…seriously. On Friday, Keagan left for his
first year at Northfield Mount Hermon; Michaela left today to return to Exeter; after
getting the kids off to their respective schools, Carol is back on the road teaching
the world to read. This leaves me, 17 horses, five dogs, god-knows-how-many cats,
a new pig (Polka), the three goats, a parrot, two sheep, eight Guinea hens, a few
dozen assorted chickens, nine White Pekin ducks that were put into my truck with
a free bag of grain at the feed store, four matronly Toulouse and their adopted
Canadian friend, a fish tank with fewer fish each day (thanks to the quickly growing
Trout that Keagan caught from the pond and put into his tank), and….no fricking snake.
Can you imagine me alone in this house if Keagan had left me with his snake?
I’d be sleeping in my classroom at school and coming home twice a day to feed the horses.
So, what exactly am I going to do with myself now that I am not the human taxi, meal
fixer, constant homework nagger, and dishwashing slave? Write more journal
I’m in the middle of pre-keuring second guessing. ZaVita (Contango x LaVita),
aka, Princess, is looking really good. She has some kind of hive or bug bite
or allergy situation so that she’s all lumpy, but her movement and conformation
are looking super. Georgie, our Donatelli x Orchis colt, is really beautiful to
behold, but, unless there is a supernova, land mine hidden in the keuring ring,
or some other loud and electric force of nature spurring him on , I doubt he’ll
move beyond the efficiency of his pony trot.
Donatelli just scored a 71 plus in the Grand Prix at the Labor of Love dressage
show. He received a 9 on his extended canter and 8’s on all of his passage work.
He and Jim have another show in Lexington, KY, in a couple of weeks, then it’s on
to Devon. At which, I actually get to be this year! Carol happens to be working in
Pennsylvania that week, so I’m driving down and she’s catching a quick flight from
Pittsburg to Philly. Yes, Scot and Carol Tolman at a national horse event together…
doesn’t happen very often.onatelli had a really good breeding season with super
high conception rates. It takes me forever to get around to billing people and
compiling paperwork, so I don’t know exactly how many pregnancies, but it was
a good year. Dr. Debbie Harrison, alone, bred 16 mares to Donatelli!
This is her third year breeding to him—must say something about the quality
of what he’s producing.
One more Donatelli tidbit: Jim took Donatelli to a Stefan (sp?) Peters clinic a
few weeks ago. Mr. Peters comments to the audience at the clinic were that
“this is an international horse, and I will disappointed not to see him at Gladstone
next year.” Knock on wood; rabbit, rabbit, rabbit; throw salt over my shoulder and
turn around three times…I don’t really care if Donatelli ever goes to another show,
but I’d love to see Jim Koford get the kind of recognition he deserves.
On the breeding season here, my only luck with frozen semen is the Polansky
pregnancy in Keagan’s Morgan mare…LaVita lost her Jazz pregnancy…
the Havidoff mare is in foal to UB-40…everyone else is in foal to Donatelli.
Gerard Vervoorn was named KWPN breeder of the year! This is super exciting
news for my program, since Orchis, Werites, Guido, our Santano filly, Georgie,
Tiastan, and two more Donatelli foals in 2008 all come out of his family’s mare line.
Gerard has two horses from his program currently at Grand Prix, one of which is the
fantastic mare, Nadine, ridden by Hans Peter Mindenhoud (sp?)—Nadine was most
recently a member of the Dutch GOLD MEDAL WINNING team at Turin!!! Nadine is a
Partout mare born to Charites the year before Orchis. Congratulations to Gerard!
Well, I’m sure that I have more to say, but, at least, this is a start.
August 15, 2007
Topic: Congrats to ISF!
Huge congrats to our friends at ISF on the addition of the KWPN stallion,
Riverman, to the ISF line-up. Riverman is an excellent breeding stallion who,
due to the over-zealous push towards specialization, has not had as many
mares in Holland as he deserved. The Riverman offspring I have seen are
long lined, well developed, supple horses with very good movement and balance.
Pedigree wise, I’m particulary fond of the inbreeding of Furioso; Riverman goes
to Furioso through both Voltaire and Purioso. In Riverman, North American
breeders a really interesting stallion for the 2008 breeding season. He is truly
a sport horse.
July 20, 2007
Topic: The Human Taxi
If I could telepathically send journal entries to my email account while driving,
it wouldn’t have been so long since the last entry. Life has been crazy.
What can I say? I always find it odd that we Americans take pride in how
busy we are. Basically, our busy schedules keep us from thinking.
Sometimes, this is a good thing–other times, it’s merely a means of avoidance.
In short, the end of school was crazy for me; then we went straight into Carol’s
50th birthday season, which included an RV trip to Colorado so she and the kids
could climb a 13,000 foot peak (I stayed in the camper and drank Margaritas…);
now, I have two kids without driver’s licenses but with jobs in towns that are a
half an hour away from the farm in different directions. When they’re both working
on the same day, that’s four hours in the car for me, just dropping them off and
picking them up. There’s my sad story. Basically, life is really good. I’m not
complaining as much as I’m giving you an opportunity to commiserate. In a
month and a week, both kids will be away at school, Carol will be on the road
working, and I’ll be home alone with the 16 horses, countless members of the
feline, bovine, caprine, and poultry families, and a certain spoiled Havanese
puppy who refuses to house train.
On to an SSF update:
-we have pregnancies. LaVita is in foal to Jazz; Orchis to Donatelli;
Ombria to UB-40; Tiastan to Donatelli (I know; you don’t know about this mare yet);
and Linda, Keagan’s Morgan mare, to Polansky…I tried Polansky on nearly everyone.
Eventually, I gave up and threw it in the Morgan mare–she got pregnant.
-this year’s foals are cool. Cervantes (aka, Georgie) is the most elegant and
modern type foal that Orchis has produced. Of course, he’s also fairly laid back,
thanks to Donatelli–I have not seen him move. At any rate, he’s going to the
New England keuring; so, hopefully, he can move. Carpe Diem, the Farrington
filly, is downright gorgeous. I’d like to see her have a longer front leg, but she’s a
brick shit house–she can really move. She’s not going to the keuring because
her mom, LaLiscia, is headed home to Alabama. Charona, our Zeoliet x Volkmar
orphan, is probably the friendliest of all the babies. She’s true in type to the double
Abgar in her pedigree, but she’s got all kinds of power–sport horse through and through.
Our prettiest baby of the year is Cara Vita, Freestyle x LaVita. This little girl is a huge
mover and has an angel face. Her only drawback is that I think she’s going to be small.
-Princess (ZaVita (Contango x LaVita)) has just returned from being backed.
She’s looking really lovely. Having her in work has really strengthened her topline.
She’s headed to the New England keuring to, hopefully, give her mother her third
ster offspring and take her preferent! Keep your fingers crossed!
-Werites (Freestyle x Orchis) continues to add to her legions of fans in North Carolina.
Jim Koford says that she may be the horse of his lifetime. She’s super talented
and super focused.
-Speaking of this mareline, Orchis’s breeding index continues to climb higher and
higher–not only due to her famous mom, Charites, but, now, also due to her sister
Nadine, who has been named to the Dutch Olympic team. Nadine is really coming
into her own at Grand Prix, under Hans Peter Minderhoud. Check out the results at
eurodressage.com. Hopefully, in a few years, Ms. Werites will be able to add to the
sport accomplishments of these famous mares.
Oops. Have to go. Keagan has just relinquished the latest and last Harry Potter
book to me. I’m dying to read it. No more writing until I’ve finished!
May 7, 2007
Topic: Life with Horses
It’s taken me a while to write this entry. I’ve started three different
times, but just haven’t been ready. We lost our
good mare, Kirona, on April 24th. Somehow, during the 45 minutes that I
wasn’t looking, she cast herself in her
stall as she began to foal and ruptured through the vaginal floor, so that
her colon and bowel were coming out with
the baby. On top of this, the baby was upside down with her head turned
back. Long story short, we saved the
Zeoliet filly, but could not save the mare. I know, given the number of
foals we’ve produced over the last 18 or 19
years, that the law of averages is against us–I can only be thankful that
we have not had more tragedies during
I think it’s ironic that we often have to make some of the most difficult
decisions of our lives while grief is still fresh
upon us. Just when you really need the world to stop for a minute and give
you a break, you’re forced into action,
planning, deciding, numbly going through the motions of being alive.
Perhaps, it’s the pyschological equivalent of
your foot being asleep; though you can’t feel the floor anymore, you walk
on, hoping that the numb, tingling
appendage you used to call your leg continues to support you. I’m not
trying to equate the loss of a horse to the
loss of a person, but loss is loss. As the mare lay on the ground with her
bowel, colon, and uterus bulging out, the
decision to stop her pain was not difficult; it was the right thing to do.
But, suddenly, supporting a still-wet filly as
she stands for the first time and simultaneously watch as the drugs quietly
release her dam to a quieter place, I find
myself detached, as if I were in a movie watching my own life. The man
playing Scot guides the hands of a helpful
neighbor around the chest of the wobbly filly. He then walks to the head
of the dying mare and speaks to her.
Quietly. Briefly. The veterinarian who has just administered the
euthansia drugs is visibly shaken, and strokes the
mare’s head with an unsteady hand. The man playing Scot stands and watches
as the breaths that fill the old mare’s
lungs slow. There is silence. The detachment begins to spin away and I
feel as if I am spiraling back into the
moment. The neighbor helps me guide the still-wet filly into the barn and
into her mother’s empty stall. Within
moments, I am in the house, calling for a nurse mare, calling for a
backhoe, calling Mary Ann to see if I can get into
the Cheshire Horse a little early for milk replacer.
Life goes on. There’s not too much time for detachment, nor should there
I’ve told my children repeatedly that if I die (I can’t bring myself to say
“when”, they’re to bury me in my manure pile.
I want to decompose and then be spread on fields in spring. Our ultimate
worth is what we give back to those we
April 20, 2007
Topic: Long Time No Post…
Do you remember when you were a kid, and you used to think, “I can’t wait
until I’m a grown up so I can do what I
want to do when I want to do it”? Me, too. Doesn’t quite work out that
way, though, does it! I’ve got lots to catch
you all up on.
First, huge condolences to Mary Alice Malone and ISF. The loss of Contango
is a loss for all of us in the breeding
community. He will go down in the history of Dutch breeding as one of the
great ones. Carol and I had just decided
that we had to have another Contango baby for 2008. Fortunately, ISF has
stockpiled a good supply of his frozen
Second, if you haven’t noticed on our sales page, Guido is sold!
Congratulations to Eileen Halloran, of Brooline, NH,
on the purchase of this really special boy. I’m psyched that he’s moving
closer to home so I get to see him grow up
and become a show horse.
Third, I’ve barely spoken about this year’s babies. Both Georgie
(Cervantes) and Carpy (Carpe Diem) are doing super
well. We’ve had very few visitors this rainy, nasty spring, but those
folks who have stopped by have been blown
away by both of the foals.
Fourth, breeding, breeding, breeding! My mares are not cooperating in
their heat cycles. So far, no one has been
bred to the stallion on whom I had planned. That being said, I’m excited
about the breedings that have taken place.
ZaVita x UB-40
Oleander x UB-40
Orchis x Polansky
I ordered Krack C for Orchis–it was supposed to arrive last week…major
bummer. I decided to go with Rousseau
because of the quality of the cross with Orchis’s mother (stallion son sent
on to Ermelo) and for the fresh cooled
semen option, because we are headed out of town for the weekend, and I was
fairly certain Ms. Orchis would ovulate
on Saturday. She ovulated last night between night chores and 9:00, when I
did my before-going-to-bed scan.
Fortunately, I had the Polansky in my tank. Keep your fingers crossed.
Fifth, I’m not sure if the rest of you in New England have noticed, but
there is this big, bright, warm, shiny thing in
the sky. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to take the scuba gear off the
March 31, 2007
Topic: Carpe Diem SSF
Trish Smith, my apologies for not calling you, but I can’t find your phone
number or email address.
I’ve held off on this announcement because I wasn’t sure that we were
headed for a happy ending, but (knock on wood) things have turned around.
Wednesday morning, the 28th, between my 4:30 and 5:30 am foal check,
LaLiscia delivered a really special Farrington filly. Unfortunately, it
was a red bag delivery, and the filly suffered some oxygen deprivation–her
IGG was fine, but she was having difficulty getting up on her own, so I was
in the barn every couple hours making sure that she was up and eating.
Just when the filly started to really come around, the old mare spiked a
temp of 105. We immediately started flushing her, got her on antibiotics,
and started iceing her feet because she had really hot hoofs and killer
pulse. I’ll never complain about mud again (don’t hold me to this?; we
couldn’t get LaLiscia’s feet cool enough to make me happy, so, yesterday, I
put her and the filly out in a section of the barnyard that is a
combination of melting snow and mud–three hours later, her feet were COLD.
This morning, her feet are COLD. Mom and filly both seem to be out of the
woods (again, knock on wood).
The filly! Well, she makes poor Georgie, our beloved Donatelli x Jazz
colt, look like a pony foal! She’s huge! Leggy, leggy, leggy. This old
mare really produces well. Of course the filly is chestnut; that’s a given
with two chestnut parents. She has Farrington’s front, the mare’s
incredibly long and well placed shoulder and wither, the mares length of
leg, and Farrington’s hindend. This is a cool filly. I can’t wait to see
her really start moving. I’m pretty psyched by her–I’m also pretty
psyched that we now have two fillies out of LaLiscia.
If you’re in the neighborhood, drop by and see our first two foals.
They’re completely different, but they’re both really special foals.
March 23, 2007
Topic: Cervantes SSF
Finally, Orchis decided it was time to share her Donatelli clone with us!
Michaela and I have been up almost every hour
since Orchis’s due date of March 15th. Last night, while I was at
rehearsal, Michaela, home on break from Exeter, did
her first solo delivery. Cervantes, “George”, was supposed to be a filly,
but I think we’ll let him hang around for a while
anyway. I can’t wait to get him outside to see him move! Donatelli x Jazz
x Roemer–three Grand Prix stallions in a
row–should be a dressage horse, huh?
March 16, 2007
As you know, I came home from Holland with a filly on the brain. Well, for
my birthday this week, my family gave me
an international phone card…so I could call and make the arrangements to
buy my birthday present. I hesitated for
a day (this is an expensive filly), but finally decided that life is short
and few horses send chills up and down my
spine anymore. What could I do? I made the deal.
Bertolonia is a niece to Orchis, out of Orchis’s half sister, Tiarella, by
Biotop. Santano (Sandro Hit x Silvano N) x
Biotop x Roemer. This puts three Grand Prix dressage stallions in the
immediate pedigree of a filly out of the top-
producing and highest indexed KPWN dressage mareline. Santano was last
year’s PAVO cup winner. Tiarella is a
ster mare and, from what I’ve seen so far, one of the best producing
daughters of the famous Charites. For me, this
saturates our breeding program with this incredible mareline: Orchis (keur
and one foal away from preferent),
Werites (keur eligible), and, now, Bertolonia. If I can get a filly or two
from each of these mares, then my breeding
program reaches a depth that I’ve only dreamed of.
In type, Bertolonia is very much like Werites, perhaps a little more
rectangular as a yearling than Werites was. In
temperament, she has the quickness and pizzazz of Orchis. In movement,
we’re talking power, elegance, knee,
reach, and lift. As Gert van der Veen always said, “On a good horse, you
need only one step of the hindleg to know
the quality of the horse. Then you turn around and say, first premium.”
For my breeding program, not only does
Bertolonia continue to saturate my dressage breeding with Grand Prix horses
and the top mareline, she also brings
Sandro Hit, back a couple generations (which is the location I think he’s
going to be most helpful to dressage
breeding), and Biotop (who was one of my favorite international horses–I
have always been a Reiner Klimke fan), a
horse with a really interesting Russian Trakehner pedigree. For Dutch
breeding, you must use Trakehner and
So, I guess you can tell that I’m psyched! For two years, I’ve been
looking for a riding horse for me–that budget is
now blown. What are you going to do? Hopefully, my grandchildren and
great grandchildren will thank me.
arch 15, 2007
Topic: Thinking in Generations, Part 2
I joined Kathy Hickerson and her group on Monday. Again, Kathy puts out a
newsletter, so I’m going to defer most
of the details of this portion of the trip to Kathy–I was a guest. I do
need to say that I’m not sure I’ll ever travel
around Holland and Germany again without John Cleese, however.
“Bear right; beaver left.”
Kathy has a GPS Tom Tom device–incredible. Before I buy one, I’m going to
wait until the “adult” version is created.
I think I want Jack Black on mine:
“What the f___ were you thinking, you stupid idiot? I said, turn right!”
Or, Mr. Rogers:
“Now children, there were better choices than to take the second right on
the round about–you might as well keep
driving around in silly little circles going round and round like a lost
choo choo train.”
Or, maybe, Marilyn Monroe: (read the following in a sexy, breathy voice)
“Hey, big boy. You carry the bags, and I’ll meet you in your room.”
At any rate, our first stop was a quick tour of VDL and to pick up Janko
for some horse shopping. For those of you
who have not been to VDL, it’s really worth the trip. For one thing, their
collection of jumper-bred broodmares is
second to none in the world; seventy of the best bred and most athletic
mares to be found anywhere. It’s also always
a real treat to see so many famous stallions in one place. It was my first
time seeing Chin Chin in the flesh–cool
horse. I’ve seen some of his offspring and have liked them all–now I know
why. Other than Chin Chin and the
band of 70 broodmares, my favorites were Southwind (Baloubet du Rouet x
Ahorn) and three of VDL’s young
stallions that were just selected for Ermelo: (in order of my preference)
Indoctro x Galoubet, Chin Chin x Ircolando,
and the Cassini x Linaro.
I’ll leave the specifics of the horse shopping aspect of the trip to
Kathy’s newsletter. I have to mention the Krack C x
Lord gelding who’s moving to California, though. What a good horse. Lord
is one of the most under-rated stallions
in breeding–we just don’t see enough of his influence in KWPN horses. He
brings a strength, athleticism, and a
super brain. Combine this with the movement of Krack C, and you get a
dressage power house. I would have
brought him home if one of Kathy’s client’s hadn’t bought him.
Near the end of the day, we stopped at Jos Koerhuis’s place to see the two
colts I keep in Holland. Yes. Yes. The
Burggraaf x Zeoliet is a really modern jumper type, with extremely good
movement. Whether he’s fancy enough to
become an approved stallion or not, I don’t know. I’m also fairly sure
that the KWPN won’t be interested in the
pedigree, even though his full sister was one of the top jumper mares of
her year and just produced a Darco son that
sold for big money at auction. We’ll see. He’s a good colt. Bravour, the
Jazz x Cabochon, is another story. Other
than my new filly…we didn’t see a horse in Holland or Germany with better
movement than this colt. He’s different
than many Jazz sons, in that he’s broader with more bone–probably the
Cabochon influence–really top
conformation. And, not that this really matters in the long run, he has a
spectacular, chiseled, stallion-like head.
It’s gorgeous. He’s really the whole package: conformation, movement,
pedigree, and “looks”. We’ll see. A lot can
happen between now and the fall of 2008. But, it surely would be fun to
have a Jazz x Cabochon stallion
contributing to North American breeding programs.
March 7, 2007
Topic: Thinking in Generations, Part 1
What a great trip! I have so much to write about that it will most likely
be fodder for a number of journal entries,
rather than one. To start with, six out of my ten days were spent with
Kathy Hickerson’s group, so I’m going to
leave most of the details of those days to Kathy and her newlsetter–let me
just repeat what became my mantra: “I
was just being friendly.” Don’t believe any rumors of the myriad
relationships in which these fun, but delusional,
people had me engaged. I also promised Silvia Monas that I would do an
article in the next KWPN-NA newsletter on
the Zwolle Stallion show, so I’ll leave most of that for later, as well.
On to what I can talk about!
I started in Amsterdam, and it’s not what you think. My friend from grad
school, Rigtje (I call her, Reggie) lives in
Amsterdam, and I often visit her when I go to Holland. We’ve known each
other for 20 years; she’s one of my
favorite people. Anyways, basically, we got really drunk and walked around
Amsterdam in the middle of the night,
laughing, trying to avoid the canals, and talking about our lives and
loves. Before our escapades in Amsterdam, we
saw some really good horses, however.
Our first stop was at the breeder of Tuschinski, the approved Krack C x
Pion x Amor son. What a mare line! We saw
Tuschinski’s dam, granddam, half sisters, three-quarter sisters, nieces,
nephews, and cousins. My favorite of the
bunch is his three-quarter sister (I don’t remember her name), Vivaldi
(Krack C x Jazz) x Pion x Amor–what an
exceptional filly. The van Straalings have three Vivaldi’s out of the
mareline–super types, really leggy, really uphill
and up-headed. They could be a little more rectangular, but every one of
them can really move. This breeder
doubles the Amor in the pedigree. Many people have told him that he is
crazy to do this, but the result, in this
mareline, seems to work. The horses are electric in their hindlegs–though
hot in temperament, they were also
tractable. Later in the trip, I saw a few Tuschinski offspring; I liked
them, as well. It seems that Tuschinski is
producing a longer-lined, taller horse than himself. The height must come
from the Krack C, because most of the
mares in his pedigree, though long-lined, are not that tall. The van
Staalings also have two Gribaldi and two Koss
mares out of the mare line. The Gribaldi mares are, as you would expect,
longer-lined and more supple mares, but
the Kosses could really move.
Next on that Saturday, Reggie and I paid homage to Holland’s granddam of
dressage mares, Charites. For those of
you who do not recognize the name, this is Orchis’s dam. She is the oldest
living mare in the KWPN’s most
celebrated dressage mare line. It truly is like visiting royalty. (And, I
found out later the real secret behind Coby van
Baalen’s marriage to her husband; it involves this mare line,,,) I’m not
going to go into great detail about this visit–
it’s kind of like teaching poetry for me: the resonance that this breeding
program creates in me is something I can’t
really explain without leaving myself way too fragile and vulnerable. I can
teach poets that don’t really touch me in
my core, but the ones that reorder my very consciousness, don’t belong in
my classroom. I visit Vervoorn’s stable
and see generations of decisions and good horsemanship. It inspires me, and
makes me want to only share the
secrets I learn with my own children, the future guardians of my branch of
this mareline. Histrionic? Scot’s gone off
the deep end? Maybe. Just maybe. But, next week when I blow out my
birthday candles, I may be getting my wish,
in the form of a really special Santano x Biotop x Roemer filly.
On Sunday, Reggie and I journeyed to the far reaches of southeastern
Holland, Stokkum, and spent a few hours with
the Peters family, with whom Reggie and I have become friends over the past
couple of years. The Peters were the
Breeders of the Year a couple of years ago in the Gelderlander division.
They are lovely people who really love their
horses. Again, this generational passion for horses is rooted in a top
mare, Itilde, by Satelliet. Itilde was the UTV
champion in her day, and she has gone on to produce UTV champions, top
riding horses, and the exceptional Koss
son, Antonio P. My favorite of the Peters family horses is by a stallion
whose offspring I don’t normally like, Negro.
However, as in any good breeding program, the breeder recognizes the
stallions that best compliment his or her
mares–in this case, a combination of Negro, Koss, and Cabochon seem to the
ticket. Of course, when asked my
opinion for breeding picks for both Itilde and Negro daughter, I readily
voiced Jazz and Vivaldi, respectively. With
much amusement and nodding of heads, Mr. Peters had Reggie translate to me
that those were his picks, too, and
those are the planned breedings for this year. I think I know where I’ll
be shopping for a new Jazz filly in 2008!
more to come…
February 21, 2007
Topic: Off to Holland and Germany
Yes. It’s true. Scot’s taking a little vacation. I’d planned on
attending the KPWN-NA Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, because, for the
first time ever, it falls during my winter break from school, but, given
the massive flooding that is predicted over the next 30 years due to
global warming, I figure Austin is going to be around longer than most of
the Netherlands; I might as well spend as much time there now before I
have to boat from horse farm to horse farm. Seriously, one of Al Gore’s
trainees presented a slide show on global warming at Keene High the other
day…the hell with dressage types vs. jumper types; I’m thinking the the
KWPN may want to move its specialization model to webbed-feet and a dorsal
No shopping! That’s my motto for this trip. I plan to catch up with my
friend, Rigtje; hopefully, get my friend Johan to buy me a beer at Zwolle;
spend some time with the Peters family; check in on my two stallion
prospects; visit a number of breeders with whom I’ve been in contact and
from whom I’ve bought horses; see Kathy Hickerson’s cool, new Sandro Hit
stallion in Germany (and watch Kathy spend HER money on a new mare!); and,
the rest of the time, hang out and talk horses. Sound like fun?
At any rate, if I don’t answer emails or return phone messages for the
next ten days, please forgive me. I’ll write a full report of the Zwolle
stallion show and the farms we visit when I get back.
February 7, 2007
Topic: Happy Birthday, Mrs. Duncan
So, I was addicted to the live feed from the Stallion Show…next best thing
to being there. Plus, with the live feed, I saved the flight, the jet lag,
the second-hand smoke, and the temptation to buy another horse I don’t
need. Although it can’t take the place of seeing the horses in person, the
live feed, combined with the online catalogue, gave a definite impression
of the current breeding trends in the KWPN.
“The year of Rousseau.” Hmmm. I read this on the KWPN-NA site. Don’t get
me wrong here with the comments that are about to pour forth from my finger
tips, because I’m still planning on Rousseau as the fresh cooled option for
LaVita once the dose of Quaterback doesn’t work, but, really? There were
more Rousseau’s sent on to the 70’s Day Test last year than this year.
And, true, it’s amazing to have the champion of the dressage horses be
sired by the same stallion two years in a row, but, as an owner and
breeder, it would make me nervous. What happened to last year’s champion,
the seemingly unnaturally muscular and overly developed Rousseau x
Goodtimes? He’s disappeared off the radar. What happened to all of the
Rousseau sons that were sent on to the testing? One of them was from my
very own mareline…. It gives one pause. Now, this year’s champion is off
to Denmark. We’ll see if any of the other sons referred on will actually
get to the testing. I hope so, because I like Rousseau, and I like that
he’s available to North American breeders, but the combination of his not
competing and his offspring not making to or through the testing makes me
So, my pick for champion would have been the reserve champion, Krack C x
Jazz. Wow. That horse can move. He did seem a little tired and a little
lack luster by the time the Championship round came about, but what a
mover! I’ll also comment that his topline is not as developed or as strong
as the Rousseau x Jazz, but, for my money, he’s a better type and has
better mechanics as an upper level horse. Time will tell.
Jazz sons and grandsons…yes, yes, yes! Got to tell you, it feels kind of
nice to be owning and breeding the highest indexed Jazz daughter in the
world, right here at SSF! That’s right! There’s not another Jazz daughter
any where in the world with a higher dressage index than Miss Orchis
Dorchis. Now, if she’ll just give me that Donatelli filly I want so
much…what I’d really like to do is to send her to Holland and breed her to
Krack C. That’s the cross for her; I’m convinced. We’ll see. I’m pretty
addicted to my breeding program—Orchis could be taking a little flight for
a quickie somewhere in Holland. On top of that, I’m also pretty excited to
have a Jazz x Cabochon stallion prospect proving his lineage at a boarding
facility in Holland!
Back to the Stallion Show: having watched the jumping and dressage
selection, I’ve got to tell you that if I were completely reliant upon the
KWPN to help me with my breeding philosophy, I’d be a little lost. I saw
two horses that blew me away. One, as I just mentioned, is the Krack C x
Jazz; the other, believe it or not, is the champion of the jumpers, the
Berlin out of the mare line of Larino. Could he move? Not really. Was he
a modern type, with long lines and definite rectangular build? Nope. Could
he jump? Shit, yes. I’ve said this year after year when I return from the
stallion show, and I find it interesting that I have the same opinion
having watched a live feed, the KWPN does a significantly better job
breeding jumpers than it does dressage horses.
Enough ranting from Scot. Rough day at SSF—Keagan had almost two hours of
surgery on his hand, and we hit a tree with my truck. Yeah, I’m the
perfect driver to be transporting a surgery patient. Came barrel-assing
home between doctors’ appointments today to make sure the horses had enough
hay while I was stuck in hospital waiting rooms, and, much to my surprise,
there was my 88 year old father coming the other way in our especially icy
and awkward, ? mile driveway. I had the choice of hitting him and my cute,
little, oblivious mother in their new truck or hitting a tree. I went for
Happy birthday, Mrs. Duncan. You inspire me.
January 25, 2007
Topic: Couple Things
One, the Nijhofs have found a supply of Zeoliet’s frozen semen. It is EVA
free, frozen before he became positive. If any of you have any interest in
purchasing a dose or two, let me know–Jeannette may be willing to sell this by the
dose if you go through me.
Two, Guido looks great. If you haven’t checked out our sales page
recently, look at the recent video footage of Jim and Guido. If he were just a little
bigger, he wouldn’t be on the sales’ page.
I’m in the midst of writing another play, so my writing time is devoted to
finishing it. Bear with me! More entertaining journal entries are cooking!
Jim is talking about dropping Donatelli back to PSG for a few shows in
order to qualify for the Pan Am Games…could be exciting. I think Jim’s biggest
motivation is the possibility of riding naked on the beaches of Rio. If Donatelli
understood his hedonistic motives, I’m not sure he’d be so cooperative…
January 19, 2007
Topic: A Few Predictions
It’s the weekend. This means that I get to spend an extra couple of hours
just looking at my horses. Many of you know how important this is to any
of us who really love what we do. Already, whenever I see Orchis or
LaLiscia (they’re the first ones due) drink from the outside waterer first
thing in the morning, I say out loud, “If you kick now, you’re a filly.”
Stupid? Maybe. What the hell; it brings me peace. Orchis and LaLiscia
both have boys. I hope I’m wrong; I want fillies. LaVita has a Freestyle
filly, however. That’s not a good thing, though. I can bring myself to
sell LaVita boys; LaVita girls tend to live here for a while—it’s the eyes.
Kirona, Keagan’s mare, has a boy. Keagan’s email address is
firstname.lastname@example.org. Email him now and make an offer on the unborn Zeoliet
gelding; you could get lucky. This mare produces super sport horses. I
could get lucky; if Keagan falls in love with it without its being sold,
I’m stuck with another horse to feed! Please, email him with an offer!
January 14, 2007
Topic: Uh, Oh…Scot ordered more frozen semen.
Yup. Couldn’t help myself. My poor girls…looks like we’re in for
palpations and scans every six hours. So, in my tank for the start of
breeding season, the Tolman family is going to have at its disposal
Polansky, Hotline, and Quaterback. Of course, I’m cheap and have access to
a really good Grand Prix stallion, so I’m only buying one dose of Hotline
and one dose of Quaterback, but, nonetheless, the dreams have begun!
So, for the first try of the season, I’m only undecided, and, more
importantly, uncommitted, on one mare, LaLiscia, Trish Smith’s super classy
TB mare that she has so kindly leased to us. Her Iroko filly is
outrageous—we all love her. I’m excited about her Farrington foal, due
mid-March. I’m really tempted to try the new VDL stallion, Harley, on
her—also thinking about Judgement, who is a perennial favorite of mine and
I’ve yet to get a Judgement baby. Though I’m not a jumper breeder, from
the looks of the Iroko filly out of this mare, that’s the direction I
should be heading. Of course, once I see the Farrington foal, I may change
my mind. Ah, the fun of stallion selection—I wouldn’t possibly be happy
this time of year without tormenting myself over the myriad of choices. I
just watched a DVD of Clinton…nice stallion. What to do, what to do.
There’s also Nassau. It took me four years to convince Karin Jimenez to
breed to him—perhaps, I should take my own advice.
There’s an interesting thread about Lingh on the ewarmbloods site. A Dutch
poster made mention that breeders in Holland are glad to have Lingh gone
since he received such a bad foal report. A couple American posters have
taken issue with someone saying this publicly. One of my favorite things
about my many trips to Holland horse shopping and educating myself has been
the public discussion of stallions and their offspring. Since everything
is published and so many of the breeders see the stallions and a large
number of their offspring, how a stallion behaves, produces, and performs
is up for public discussion. This is the way it should be. Open
discussions lead to better education and faster progress toward successful
breeding goals. Personally, I like Lingh; as a sport horse, he’s hard to
beat. And, I think, if he is bred to the right mare, he’s going to produce
a really good sport horse. In my humble and always-willing-to-be-educated
opinion, the right mare for Lingh is a long-lined TB mare with an uphill
build and good movement. There are not too many of those in Holland, so
maybe Lingh will have better foals in North America.
January 3, 2007
Topic: On to the breeding picks for 2007!
Happy new year! I thought that I’d start this year’s journal with my
perennial favorite topic: breeding picks. Meghan, at Iron Spring Farm,
always tells me that she won’t believe who I’m breeding to until I actually
call and order the semen. Funny woman. Little does she know that I’m a
new me. I can make a breeding decision and stick to it….she’s probably
right. So, why don’t we start with Scot’s ever-evolving general breeding
The older and fatter I get, the less I’m concerned with keuring horses and
the more I’m concerned with horses that won’t kill me. This is not to say
that these two objectives must be separate; it’s just to say that easily
induced lethargy is now a quality that I find desirable in a stallion
candidate. Seriously, as much as I’ve always been a fan of the Amor-type
temperament, my sense of appreciation has been tainted by my sense of
self-protection. So, the first tenet of my current breeding philosophy is:
RIDABLE, RIDABLE, RIDABLE.
The longer I’ve been breeding dressage horses, the less particular I’ve
become about specific conformation traits and the more particular I’ve
become about general conformation traits. It doesn’t matter to me if a
horse turns out a bit, has a slightly shorter neck than is perfect, is
flatter in the croup than a modern type, etc., etc. What does matter is
that the horse has overall balance and good length of muscling in a
rectangular frame. I don’t want to see an excessively long hind leg. I
don’t care if the horse doesn’t have the currently prescribed LONG front
leg—I have maintained, and I will continue to maintain, that it is the loin
connection and overall strength of the topline that allows a horse to
transfer weight more easily onto the haunches—a long front leg just makes
it look as if the horse is carrying himself—it doesn’t mean that the horse
actually is. Although I may like the look of a longer front leg in
producing an attractive front, I’m much more concerned with a long
shoulder and a well set neck, both of which tie into a strong topline, than
I am with the length of the front leg. So, tenet number two:
CONFORMATIONAL BALANCE AND GOOD LENGTH OF MUSCLING THAT ALLOW FOR
My warmblood education is in the Dutch system, so I can’t let go of
movement—especially the powerful hindleg for which the KWPN horse is so
well known. This is not to say that every horse has to have
“international” movement. Whenever I see someone advertise a young horse
and the description includes “international movement,” it gives me pause.
My first thought is, oh, a lower level horse—flashy, expensive, never again
to be seen after the young horse classes. Don’t get me wrong, I like
expression and fancy gaits as much as the next person, but I don’t breed
for them. I breed for movement that can be lengthened and shortened;
movement that has rhythm and tact; movement that lifts easily in and out of
gaits. If I have to pick one gait that is most important to me, I choose
the canter. If I have to tell you which is my favorite gait to watch, it’s
the trot. If we’re talking about the gait that probably needs the most
attention from breeders because it’s received the least, it’s the walk.
Tenet number three: DON’T BE BLOWN AWAY BY EXTRAVAGANT GAITS—LOOK AT THE
OVERALL MOVEMENT MECHANISM.
This next tenet in my current breeding philosophy is less than scientific:
OOZY. I want my horses to be oozy—supple, bendable, oozy. LaVita is the
horse I’ve ridden the most in my lifetime. She’s oozy; it’s both an Elcaro
and a Belisar thing. I’m not looking for the weak loin connection,
e-saddle kind of oozy. I’m talking about supple, “cat-like”, OOZY.
Here’s my last requirement, and, be sure, I’ve listed these in order of
importance; this last tenet is purely something that I’d like to see
adjusted in my breeding program: A HEAVIER HORSE. No, this is not an
attempt to adapt to the obesity issue in the United States (though, that’s
not a bad idea…). I just think the modern warmblood is getting too light
and too fine boned. I like a sturdier horse. Tall doesn’t matter to me as
much as solidity. Dressage horses are a cross between ballet dancers and
body builders—we have to maintain some of the mesomorphic qualities if we
expect our horses to develop and maintain muscular strength.
So that’s my list. Recap:
2. Balanced conformation that allows for self-carriage
3. Powerful and correct movement mechanism
5. A more substantial animal.
All of this being said, which stallions am I considering this year? Well,
here’s what I’m thinking. One, I really want a Donatelli filly from
Orchis. If she gives me a filly this year, then Orchis is up in the air.
If not, she goes back to Donatelli. Two, I’ve always wanted to breed
LaVita to Ferro or a Ferro son. Since Ms. LaVita, Queen of the Night and
of my heart, is not exactly dependable with frozen semen…I haven’t felt
wealthy enough to attempt it. Now that Rousseau is in North America, I’m
going to try him on LaVita. Three, Polansky. Judy Yancey was kind enough
to give me a great deal on six doses of Polansky frozen she had hanging
around with no mare on which to use it. Love the pedigree: Kostolany x
Donnerhall x Ulft x Roemer. I saw Polansky at the stallion show the year
he was presented; he was my favorite. He received a good foal report, he’s
with a top rider, he has three approved sons so far, AND he meets all five
of my requirements above. How can I go wrong, huh?