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December 23, 2008

Topic: Huge Congrats to Jim Koford!!!

Jim Koford has just been awarded the Anne L. Barlow Ramsay Annual Grant from the Dressage foundation. It’s a grant for American-bred horses and American riders to train/show in Europe and be the face of American breeding. So, of course, we have someone else to congratulate….Shirley McQuillan and her R.Johnson son, Rhett, out of one of her super Dutch Harness mares! I don’t know all the specifics, but the horse/rider combination has to be at the FEI level and showing potential for international competition. As this grant won’t cover all of the expenses, Jim’s fan club is organizing a fund drive, so stay tuned for more information. There are few riders in this country that have done as much for small breeders as Jim Koford. I’m hoping that many of you will join me in doing what we can to give Jim the kind of support he’s shown us. When I find out where you can get more information, I’ll post it. Jim deserves our support, so check back for more info. Go, Jim! Go, Shirley and American breeders who breed the type of horses they love and can believe in!

December 10, 2008

Topic: Where the Heck Does Time Go and the Direction of the KWPN

Michaela is going to be 18 on Saturday, and my Dad is going to be 90. It just doesn’t seem possible. The year Michaela was born is the year Carol and I established Shooting Star Farm–we met in June of 1989; engaged in November; married in February of 1990; pregnant in March; bought our first farm in April…and the rest, as they say, is history.

For those of you who don’t subscribe to In de Strengen, here are the lists of the predominant sires of young stallions going to the first round of selections:


Indoctro 16
Cardento and Cartano 13
Indorado 12
Chin Chin 10
Concorde (what, is he 100 now?) 9
Padinus (dead for how long?) 9


Johnson 21
Sandreo 20
UB-40 16
United 14
Krack C 11
Flemmingh 10
Painted Black 10
Sandro Hit 10
Santano 10
Florencio 9
Scandic 9
Tuschinski 9

That’s 40 horses in the Sandro Hit family–there could be more once we see the list of the stallions with one or two offspring–and 25 Krack C…76 Flemmingh line!!!! The Jazz family influence is down to a paltry 37. Again, this does not count the stallions that have fewer sons being presented. Question: Doesn’t the survival of a species depend upon the diversity of the gene pool?

I don’t know the jumper pedigrees off the top of my head as well as I know the dressage pedigrees, but it appears that we’re developing more pedigree diversity in the KWPN jumper breeding than we are in the dressage. As I’ve said in the past, it’s necessary for us to use German blood to maintain both the temperament and aptitude for dressage in our breeding, but I’m not sure such dependence on Sandro Hit blood is the place to get it. He is a super progenitor of type and flashy movement, but, given the number of foals he’s produced, we’re not seeing many of his offspring make it much past the lower levels. This being said, I, too, have introduced some of his blood through Serano Gold and Santano. Orchis is in foal to Serano Gold and our mare in Holland (GV, you need to let me know what’s going on…) is Santano x Biotop x Roemer, out of Orchis’s mareline. I’m not ready to breed every mare I own to the line, however.

Flemmingh I’ve come to like more and more over the years. Few stallions produce the suppleness or the ridability of the Flemminghs. Yet, again, 76 sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons being presented is a HUGE number. Maybe it’s a bubble year.

What do I think we should be approving? From the KWPN population, modern type stallions with good bone, out of strongly producing Gelders marelines…and more stallions with really good TB blood up close. From the German dressage population, we’ve always had better luck with Holsteiner and Trakehner blood than Hanoverian or Oldenburg. I don’t see this changing. As much as I like the D and R lines, they don’t produce consistently on the Dutch marebase. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the Dutch marebaae is exactly what the Sandro Hit sons need to produce upper level horses….maybe it’s just my concern over the KWPN’s obsession with type that has me nervous. Always interesting to think about!

My current breeding picks:

UB-40 for all my dressage mares, except Orchis–Orchis I’ve booked to Rousseau. I’m totally in love with my UB-40 x Havidoff colt; I want more of them. This will be the first year that I’ve ever bred this many mares to a single stallion that we don’t either currently own or lease. I think it will be five or six mares…As far as Orchis, I really toyed with Ampere for her, and even made arrangements to buy the frozen directly from Holland. But, by the time you buy it by the dose, pay for the shipping, go through a couple of cycles, why breed to a Rousseau son via frozen when you can get Rousseau himself, fresh cooled semen, and a live foal/money back guarantee? Plus, the folks at Hassler Dressage were more than generous in accomodating Orchis. My only hold out for the dressage mares is that I want to breed someone to Alexandro P. Have not figured out the best match for him yet. As far as my one jumper mare, my contacts in Holland are really pushing Chello III. I haven’t seen him in person, but I love the look and the pedigree.

Got to run. Bad weather on the way.

November 19, 2008

Topic: Catching Up

I am finally catching up on my life…just in time for Crucible auditions! Yes, tomorrow, I hold auditions for the winter show at Keene High. Then, I’m taking a break–no theatre for me in the spring or summer. Crucible is a show to which I’m really looking forward, however. I’ve taught it for nearly 20 years; played John Proctor in college; plus, have seen the movie countless times. I don’t think I’ve ever approached a show knowing so much about the script before hand. Should be fun….and as stress-free as a production can be. (knock on wood)

Of course, what have I been doing with three and four extra nights per week at home alone? Breeding picks!!!! Here’s my short list of stallion picks:

a DeNiro son
Alexandro P

It looks as if I may also end up with a couple doses of both Zeoliet and Kennedy–will have to decide what to do with those…

What do you all think of Jazz now ranked as the top producer of dressage horses? Yes! Yes! As you know, I’ve been on the Jazz bandwagon from the beginning. Love the fact that, across all breeds, he’s the leading producer of dressage horses. And, better yet, he’s going to hold this ranking for many years to come; his offspring are just now hitting the FEI ranks. I’m not blind to the fact that the Jazz blood comes with its issues, but I’m pleased to see its inherent talent being realized.

So, Stallion Show or Annual Meeting? I can’t do both.

November 6, 2008

Topic: Update

First, as many of you have heard, Donatelli died last Saturday. Sad news, indeed, not only for Jim Koford and the Tolmans, but, also, for Dreamscape Farm. Jennifer and her family have come to love Donatelli as much as we did. Thank you to those of you who have left messages and sent emails of condolence–although I have yet to respond to any of you, I do appreciate your kind thoughts.

Second, as many of you also know, my musical adaptation of Dracula opens tonight. Once I get through this weekend, I’m hoping to be both more accessible and better rested. This is a HUGE production with hundreds of light and sound cues, major choreography pieces, etc., etc. As exciting as it is to create work like this, it’s exhausting as well. It will be nice to get back to just running the farm and teaching.

Third, to those of you who have been interested in Alexandro P frozen semen for next year, I am in contact with the van Manen stallion station about importing doses for the US and Canada. If you are still interested, drop me an email and let me know how many mares you’d like to breed to him. He is the highest scoring Gelders stallion in history–Koss x Satelliet. He is currently doing really well under saddle. I am also hoping to have Zuidenwind, the 007 x Jazz horse that just won the PAVO cup.

Fourth, a friend and client in Florida is in severe financial difficulty and has a number of gorgeous Donatelli and Freestyle offspring for sale–I think she has horses from yearlings to six year olds. She breeds beautiful horses and gives them the very best of care. A couple of them will have had some ground work, and one or two may be started under saddle, but, for the most part, they are all unbroken. Please contact me if you have any interest, and I will get you contact information.

Fifth, the economy is affecting us all–two horse I sold on terms have come back to me this week. One is a coming three year old Contango x Vincent x Elcaro gelding, and the other is a Johnson x Volkmar coming three year old filly. My plan is to keep them over the winter and then send them to Jim to start and sell, but if you’re interested before I invest money and time, the prices will be cheaper.

Sixth, if you haven’t noticed on our sales page, we have two horses in Holland for sale as well–I had selected both as potential stallion candidates, but am not going to pursue that path with them. Both will make super talented geldings. One is a Jazz x Cabochon, and the other is a Burggraaf x Zeoliet. Both out of super performance marelines. Prices can be negotiable if you pay for import.

Again, thanks to all of you who have been so kind as to contact me about Donatelli. Life with horses always has its joys and tragedies.

October 12, 2008

Topic: Finally Some Video Footage and A Silly Colt

Thanks to Martha Haley, I have some video footage of “Stevie” posted on youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nxr3fC7BEKc It’s good footage. The jumps are far enough away and she jumps them so easily that they don’t look as if they’re at the top of the standards, but they are. I’ve also adjusted her blurb on the sales page. This is a nice mare. More than once, I’ve had to stop myself from planning possible breeding matches for her…someone else needs to be doing that!

“Leo”, our UB-40 colt that just placed in the top five, has had the audacity to deglove his face from about four inches above the nostrils down. Yuck. (knock on wood) it is healing well, but he keeps rubbing out stitches and we keep having to sew them back in. At least the edges are healing sufficiently so that we are having less and less to stitch each time. I don’t know how he did it. He was eating his grain, then, all of a sudden, he started banging on the side of his stall with his front foot. I hollered to him to knock it off, and he stopped. About two minutes later, he started banging again. There he was, banging to get my attention so I could see the six inches of skin and flesh peeled back over his upper lip. Smart boy. The minute I saw it, he backed up and stopped banging, then just waited for me to take action. I am way too attached to this colt for my own good. Reminds me of Merijane Malouin’s story about trying to buy a really super Ferro mare from an old farmer. He just shook his head and said, “No. I’m too old, and she’s too pretty.” For my money, this is the best, and most beautiful, colt we’ve bred. Every time he sticks his head over his half door for me to put salve on his stitches, I get those little tell-tale chills up and down my spine and a smile on my face. I was talking to Michaela about him the other day. It came her turn in the conversation, and all she said was,

“Uh. Oh.”

I’m sunk. Of course, the minute he starts acting studdy, I’ll probably be over my infatuation and have to nail the little bastard, but, for now, he’s not going anywhere.

October 5, 2008

Topic: SSF Has a Good Showing in the KWPN-NA Top Five

Nice to see the SSF suffix three times in the top five! Aerosmith SSF (Iroko x Pass the Glass xx) is the top three-year-old jumper mare in North America!!! DaVinci SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff) is in the top five dressage foals of 2008. And, congratulations to Jan Downs-Barrett; her Rousseau x Zilena SSF x Iroko colt is the number two dressage colt of 2008. Got to be psyched about these results!

Isn’t it interesting that an Iroko mare is the top jumper and an Iroko mare produced the #2 dressage foal? Isn’t it more interesting that Carol and I breed dressage horses, yet this is the second time in recent years that we’ve had the top jumper…Rocco SSF (Idocus x Elcaro) and, now, Aerosmith SSF. Hmmm. What’s up with that? Here’s what I think: We select for athleticism first, mareline/pedigree second, movement third, and temperament fourth. Type is a distant fifth in our selection criteria. This means that there will be many years when our horses won’t appear in the top five–we got lucky this year; both Leo and Stevie are phenomenal “type” representatives of their particular breeding directions. As always, I’m over-the-top excited to have our horses do so well in the final standings–it makes the whole year of vet bills, breeding disappointments, and manure-fork-induced carpel-tunnel syndrome worthwhile. But, keuring results mean nothing if my horses don’t get sport results as well.

That being said, Werites SSF (Freestyle x Jazz) is the second highest qualifier out of 80 horses for the first level BLM finals. Plus, she’s also qualified at second level. Now, that’s exciting! Keep your fingers crossed that she’s on her game come the last weekend of October.

Many congratulations to our fellow KWPN breeders. This year’s top five lists read like an “Old Home Day” program of North American breeders. It’s exciting to see so many friends doing so well.

***thoughts on the KWPN Paardendaagen still coming–I’m in the middle of adapting Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the stage–we’re doing a musical adaptation at Keene High. Opens 10/31 and runs through 11/8…promises to be an interesting show!

September 9, 2008

Topic: New England Keuring

A great day for Shooting Star Farm!

DaVinci SSF, “Leo”, (UB-40 x Havidoff x Ramiro) was first premium, top dressage baby, and high point young dressage horse. The jury’s comments were: “Beautiful, well developed colt with a very good rectangular frame and much charisma–he moves with much power and expression and has particularly good use of his hind leg.”

Aerosmith SSF, “Stevie”, (Iroko x Pass the Glass xx x Pretense xx) received scores of 80’s and 85’s on her jumping, became ster, and the was the only ster mare at the keuring to go keur eligible. The jury praised her for her power, technique, and scope–and comformationally for her correctness and quality of bone. Nothing to complain about here!

The Pineland facility is gorgeous and the weather was ideal. Kathy Hickerson took second and third in the dressage foals with her Schroeder x Flemmingh and her Rascalino x Goodtimes. Kathy also presented a super Chin Chin colt to take first in the jumper foals. Debbie Malcomson also received a first premium with her Chin Chin x Nimmerdor colt. We were sans Janko, so all of us got more exercise than we had planned! All and all, we had a great time.

September 4, 2008

Topic: Trying to Catch Up

Did summer go by quickly or what? With college visits for Michaela, breeding season, writing and acting in a play, and a quick trip to Holland, I’m feeling as if I barely had a summer! All good things, though–all of my own choosing.

Pregnant mares:

UB-40 x Havidoff (Oleander)
UB-40 x Contango (ZaVita SSF)
UB-40 x Pass the Glass xx (LaLiscia)
Serano Gold x Jazz (Orchis)
Serano Gold x Morgan (Linda)
Farrington x Elcaro (LaVita)

Donatelli x nice TB mare whose pedigree I don’t know off the top of my head. (Prize)….this mare is for sale, in foal to Donatelli, for the price of a Donatelli stud fee. She’s currently located in Raleigh, NC. She’s a young, very good looking mare. Should produce a fancy hunter baby with Donatelli.

Keuring prep: We’re taking DaVinci SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff) and Aerosmith SSF (Iroko x Pass the Glass xx). “Leo” is the most handsome colt we’ve ever bred, but he keeps going through funky growth spurts–not sure if the jury will see enough movment to make him one of the top foals in the country. He should easily be a first premium, however. “Stevie” is just recovering from absesses in both hind feet–she’s a bit wired from her stall rest, but, provided we don’t have relapse between now and Monday, she could be one of the top jumping mares in North America this year. This mare is SCOPEY in a big way. Man, can she jump! Conformationally, she could be a little longer in her neck, but her length of muscling and power are extraordinary. She came back from Joe and Patty Forrest’s with higher praise than any horse we’ve ever sent them. We’ll see.

Werites SSF (Freestyle x Orchis) continues her winning ways! At her second show, Raleigh this past weekend, she took her second high point award at first level. At second level, the number of 8’s and 9’s she received were balanced out by three 1’s and a 0….storm blowing in, lawn chair blowing over next to the ring…at any rate, she still managed to score close to 70 and won the class. The judges were blown away by her–phenomenal comments.

Michaela and I just returned from four days in Holland–saw the finals of the PAVO Cup and Ian Trophy, as well as the finals of the top dressage and jumping mares and dressage foals. Lots to talk about, but will have to save that journal entry for a bit later. Let me just say, as much as I loved the dressage mares, if I could have had my pick of any of the top mares, I would have chosen from the jumpers.

Huge congrats to Jan Downs-Barrett on breeding the reserve champion dressage foal at the ISF keuring!!! Rousseau x Iroko x Freestyle! Jan purchased the dam and granddam of this colt from SSF. She’s been diligently educating her eye and paying her dues in the warmblood breeding world. I’m totally proud of her and psyched that she did so well at this year’s keuring. Way to go, Jan!

July 25, 2008

Topic: My Most Recent Project

As all of you who read this journal regularly know, my degrees are all in theatre. I just teach English and breed horses because I can’t stop myself. Below, I’m posting the poster and press release for my current show. I’m always happy to share my writing, so if any of you can’t make the show and want to read a copy of the script, drop me an email and I’ll send a copy. If you do live close enough to attend, I hope you will. It’s a good show.

Press Release for Stand Up

The Edge Ensemble presents Stand Up–the premier of an original comedy by Scot Tolman. Tolman’s comedy is a hilarious, yet biting, expose on dieting and the societal controls over self image. Directed by Kim Dupuis, who most recently directed the hugely successful Six Nights in the Black Belt, Stand Up features Tolman in the title role, as well as the talents of Dakota Benedetto, Aaron Howland, Joe Kharouf, Carrie Kidd, Dan Payson, Jeff Petrovitch, and Michaela Tolman.

The Edge was co-founded by Dupuis and Tolman in 1990, and has produced 15 shows over the last 18 years, including Laughing Wild, The Woman in Black, and, more recently, Talking With. The Edge’s production of Stand Up marks the beginning of a new era. Dupuis has taken the helm as Artistic Director and plans not only a production of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, Seascape, this fall, but also a three show season for 2009. Buoyed by Managing Director, Don Primrose, and Ensemble Members Molly McMillan, Dakota Benedetto, Susie Ericson-West, Vaughn West, and Lindsay Bartlett, Dupuis and Tolman see The Edge finally evolving into Keene’s professional theatre company. As always, The Edge Ensemble’s mission is to produce professional quality theatre that resonates with heart and truth, while at the same time to foster not only the artistic growth of our ensemble members, but also the artistic growth of our community.

Stand Up opens at Heberton Hall, next to the Keene Public Library, at 7:30, Friday, August 8th, and runs August 9th, 14th, 15th, and 16th. Tickets are available by calling 352-5657 and at the door.

This production deals with adult situations and contains strong language.

July 21, 2008

Topic: Is This Summer Vacation or Is Someone Playing a Nasty Trick on Me?

I need to go back to school to get a break! Holy crap, we’ve been busy. The day after I got out of school for the summer, the kids and I did a road trip to visit Meghan at Iron Spring Farm, see the stallions, and pick up Princess (ZaVita SSF) from her two months with Angela Sasso. A day later, Michaela and I headed to Boston to catch a flight to Holland for my friend Rigtje’s wedding (last minute/spend the money on tickets because I really wanted to be at the wedding kind of self-guilt trip decision), but they wouldn’t let me on the plane…Did you know that Holland has a law forbidding anyone entrance to the country if his or her passport expires within three months of the dates of the trip? My passport expires in August. I didn’t know about this law. The Northwest representatives said it is the customer’s responsibility to be informed about the rules and regulations of the country he or she is visiting…this was just before the same representative hung up on me because of the expletives I expressed when I found out it was going to cost an additional $250. per ticket to use our non-refundable tickets at another time. Well, furious and denied entry to Holland, Michaela and I came home. I took the opportunity to spend the weekend finishing the play I was supposed to have had done by the first of June–reasonable, since it was going (and did go) into rehearsal at the end of the first week of July. Two days later, the whole family leaves for our week in California. We did a tour of Santa Cruz, San Fransisco, some Redwoods, Stanford for Michaela, and had lunch with Debbie Harrison after a wonderful tour of her horses.. After eight days in California, we return and, days, begin our college selection tour of the Eastern Seaboard, nights, rehearsal for the script I finished just before we left. Of course, LaVita was at day 21 on the day returned and if a full blown heat, so I also did a hurried trip to Kathy Hickerson’s for a couple doses of Farrington. Needless to say, I need a vacation from my vacation.

On the horse front, we’re at three UB-40 pregnancies, two Serano Gold, a possible Farrington (should know by the end of the week), and a possible Donatelli. Both ET embryos failed to survive in the recip mares, so I’m feeling a huge hole in my wallet…HUGE. Our total loss for the two years that we’ve attempted ET (including frozen semen, transport of said semen, vet bills, transport of horses, board on recip mares, etc.) is closing in on $18,000. Over the two years, that’s five embryos out of six flushes, none of which stuck in the recip mares–one year using a recip herd–one year using my own recips. It makes me sick to my stomach. If we do it again, I’m sending the mare to Peterson and Smith in Ocala. By the time I finally get a succesful ET, I would have been better off buying another broodmare and importing her.

On a more positive note, it’s been really fun to visit some horse farms during the past month. ISF is always wonderful. UB-40 has matured into a gorgeous creature. I’m really pleased to have more of his foals coming next year. Kathy Hickerson has the best crop of foals I’ve seen at her place. Her Schroeder fillies are lovely and the Rascalino filly a knock out, but my favorite is the Chin Chin colt. I need to breed to that horse. Saw Navarrone working the Grand Prix with Colleen. He’s developed tremendously. He looks good. Super character. Our visit with Debbie Harrison was a real treat. She has nearly 70 horses right now!!! 70! She’s crazier than I am! My favorite foals were, of course, her Donatelli babies. I would take any number of her mares home with me. I don’t think I can mention my favorite ones, because Debbie has to sell some horses, and I’d like to see one of those girls make her way to New Hampshire…But, after our recent ET fiasco, I don’t the cash to be buying any horses. Nonetheless, it was great to see a breeder who is so unconcerned with type but completely concerned with soundness and sport potential. I jump up on my soapbox and say again that we have to maintain some of the Gelders blood in our horses if we want the KWPN horse to continue to be one of the top sport horses in the world. Modern type for the sake of type alone is going to get us in trouble. I’ll even venture to offer a specific example here: pasterns. Look at the pasterns on a number of popular KWPN stallions right now–especially the hind pasterns. They’re long and overly horizontal. Combine this with sickle hocks and the overly short hamstring we’re seeing again and again in the modern KWPN type, and we’re breeding for a hind leg construction that is not going to hold up to the pressures of upper level competition and training. That’s one of the most notable things in Debbie’s breeding program; her mares have correct hind legs, bordering on slightly straight. There are no long, sloping, hind pasterns in Debbie’s herd.

Of course, I say all this and am a flag-waving Jazz fan, sickle hocks to the extreme and produces sickle hocks–a flag-waving UB-40 fan, short hamstring and produces short hamstrings…but my mares all have Gelders blood within two or three generations. And, I’m also doing a lot of outcrossing to German stallions. Think in generations. We can’t be breeding bad hind leg to bad hind leg, regardless of how fancy the type and keuring movement are.

Oh, well. You’ve escaped nearly a month of my having a tirade about something! I hope this post finds all of you with your mares settled, your barns full of hay, and your wallets bulging!

ps. If you’re in the area, come see my play! It opens August 8th and runs two weekends. It’s a comedy about dieting and societal control of the impressions of fat people and body image. Biting. Funny. Raw. Tickets at 603 352 5657.

June 23, 2008

Topic: Crazy Couple of Weeks and More News

If you have more trouble than normal getting a hold of me during the next couple of weeks, try my cell phone 603 209 3243. We’re doing a fast trip to Pennsylvania for Michaela to interview at Swarthmore and pick up Princess (our Contango x LaVita mare) from Angela Sasso; almost immediately after, Michaela and I take off until Monday for a wedding; we leave Tuesday for a family vacation. The farm will be aptly manned (womaned, in this case), but there may be days that I’m away from email and returning telephone calls.

Gerard Vervoorn continues to do us proud as the main protector of our favorite mareline. Acacia (UB-40 x Havidoff x Roemer) recently took top mare honors at her keuring in Holland. 85 for movement; 90 for conformation. Would love to see her go on and take top mare honors at the Horse Days in August!

We have another Serano Gold pregnancy. Linda, our gorgeous, 20 + year old Morgan mare who just produced this awesome Polansky colt is now in foal to Serano Gold. I know. Uncanny kind of breeding year for us. (Knock on wood about a thousand times) We’re six for six on first cycle conceptions, fresh and frozen. Of course, keep your fingers crossed that the Farrington x Werites embryo is still in the recip mare….should find out about that today…also, still trying for one more embryo out of Werites and still have to preg check LaVita. I have two more mares that I’m contemplating breeding, but, we could have eight foals coming already…probably shouldn’t have more mares foaling than stalls…

June 19, 2008

Topic: A Picture Like This Makes It All Worthwhile

When I see one of my horses looking as good as this, all of the breeding traumas, vet bills, fencing dilemmas, and nasty mud seasons are worth it. Harmony of conformation supporting harmony of movement, power, incredible hindleg, and, most importantly, attitude. This is Werites SSF in her very first dressage test, first level-test three, on her way to a 77% and high point of the day. Nice to be able to share the joys of breeding, as well as the pain.

June 19, 2008

Topic: News from our top Mareline

Nadine (Partout x Roemer) and Hans Peter Minderhoud just placed second in the Olympic Selection Trials to secure a spot on the Dutch team! Nadine and Orchis are both out of the KWPN’s #1 producing dressage mare, Charites. Congrats to Gerard Vervoorn for maintaining such an incredible breeding program. With any luck, we’ll be adding three more members of this famous family to our breeding program with our 2009 foal crop: Farrington x Werites SSF, __________ x Werites SSF, and…Serano Gold x Orchis–I booked Orchis to Farrington, but, on her nine day heat, tossed in a dose of Serano Gold because, one, I can’t stand to see a heat cycle go by without attempting to breed this mare, and, two, with the price of liquid nitrogen these days, I don’t want to keep my tank cold for the next 10 to 12 months for two or three doses of frozen. Well, (knock on wood) there’s a big, healthy- looking 16 day embryo there this morning.

Since we’re talking about this mareline, I’ve now seen D’Orites SSF (Donatelli x Orchis) begin to move. This is a top notch filly–tons of power and sit–electric hind leg–lift–balance. Dynamite filly. I wasn’t planning on taking babies to the keuring this year, but between D’Orites and Mr. DaVinci (UB-40 x Havidoff), the SSF crew may just have to make the trek to either Pineland or ISF.

June 16, 2008

Topic: Update on Sales and Breeding

Congrats to Stephane Sitzberger on the purchase of Bailar SSF (Royal Prince x Jazz x Amor). Bailar should be a super addition to Steph’s breeding program; this filly’s maternal aunt, Sisther de Jeu, is Edward Gal’s up and coming Grand Prix star. Super mare line.

Since Bailar is going to Steph, Carol and I will hang on to the Diamond Hit x Havidoff filly for a bit.

I just spoke with Joe Forrest to get an update on Stevie, Aerosmith SSF (Iroko x Pass the Glass). He says she’s a smart girl and really coming along–athletic and VERY good through the free jumping chute…there’s a surprise! Stevie is my favorite of all the Iroko’s we’ve had. She’s now at $20,000.

Last night during chores, Carol and I had a conversation about Eddie, Degas SSF, our Polansky Morgan cross. I told her that I think his price is at the top of the range for a Dutch x Morgan weanling, and maybe we need to be flexible about it. Well, I was told in no uncertain terms that we would not only NOT lower the price, but that if he doesn’t sell, we will keep him for her. Oh, my. The only comments or input Carol has had about pricing horses over the last 18 years is that I price them too low and offer people too generous terms. She’s never actually come out with a mandate on a horse. She’s never asked me to keep a horse for her. There’s definitely something special about this colt.

Speaking of Carol and horses, I have to tell you all that I’m really proud of her. As you may remember, earlier in the year, in partial trade for our super Donatelli x Orchis colt from last year, we took an older Morgan mare, Doc Davis Jul. We’re putting in a new dressage ring, and Carol is determined to be riding with Michaela and me. This has been one of the best matches in horse and rider history. Carol loves this mare; the mare loves Carol. She rides her almost every day she’s home–taking off by herself on the back roads and trails. Carol has learned how to do all of the tacking up, grooming, everything. She can’t quite get the mare to canter for her…but Michaela and I aren’t too anxious for Carol to be traveling that fast around the woods of Spofford anyways! So, if Mr. Degas SSF doesn’t sell, I think the whole family will be pretty psyched to see Carol on him in three or four years. Right now, Carol is talking about finding some riding camps to which she can take Jul and learn how to jump….I’m in trouble…

On the breeding front, LaVita is not pregnant to Riverman after all. As always, thanks to Meghan and the rest of the staff at ISF for always being so accomodating and helpful. It was late on a Friday morning when I realized LaVita needed semen for the weekend…Meghan made it happen. Since I had a bit of time to plan this time, I just ordered a shipment of Merlin. I’ve always loved this horse and bought a breeding to him in the Hanoverian auction. Keep your fingers crossed for a cooperative Queen.

Big news!!!! We got a Farrington x Werites SSF(Freestyle x Jazz)embryo on Friday, and it’s in our leased recip mare!!! So cool. Let’s hope it’s still there at the 15 day check. Because we have another recip mare already cycling with Werites, we’re going for one more…but I’m not telling you all my stallion pick. It’s an experiment, and one that I’m really excited about. If we’re successful, I’ll tell you in the spring when I post a picture of the resulting foal.

Preg checks this week on two mares bred to Serano Gold. I think my timing was late on one and perfect on the other, so we’ll see.

June 9, 2008

Topic: Finally, Pictures!

I’ve probably told you all this before, but, when the kids were little, our neighbors used to take pictures of them to give us because we took so few ourselves. As you know, I’m no better with the horses. Leo, our UB-40 x Havidoff colt, is really gorgeous, but he’s in that funky, furry, growthy stage when no pictures do him justice. Eddie, our Polansky x Morgan boy, does not take a bad picture. He’s just got that “look at me” kind of expression on him for almost every shot. Ms. Dior, aka, “Hot Girl”, isn’t interested in anyone getting too close with a camera. Overall, Carol and I are really pleased with our foals this year. Unfortunately, we only have one to sell right now, so I’m going to have to go through the herd and decide who leaves this year–someone has to pay the bills. I keep vascillating on the sale of Aerosmith SSF (Iroko x Pass the Glass xx). She’s really coming into herself and is super athletic through the jumping chute. I’d love to still own her come keuring time. Bailar SSF (Royal Prince x Jazz) is also growing really well and gives us the R line, Prince Thatch, and a van Helvoirt mareline–plus, due to her eye injury as a foal, she’s probably going to produce foals that sell for a lot more than she herself can. Then there’s Buttercup SSF (Diamond Hit x Havidoff x Ramiro)…I keep reading about the Diamond Hit offspring doing really well in Europe–this is a super talented filly–hate to have her genetic potential leave my program. Oh, well. I’ll keep buying those lottery tickets!

On the breeding front, we’ve added a Riverman ISF pregnancy. I’ve got LaVita on Regumate this year, so keep your fingers crossed that she holds on to this pregnancy. Could be an absolutely super foal. This gives us three UB-40’s and a Riverman ISF coming so far. Will start scanning for Serano Gold pregnancies next week. Am hoping for a successful flush of a Farrington x Freestyle x Jazz embryo on Thursday or Friday. Only one embryo developing in Oleander (knock on wood), so I’m hoping for a chestnut filly with a white stripe on her face–would love to have a Weigelia look-alike. Think we’re going to try one more breeding to Farrington on Werites after this flush. I could have a lot of babies I don’t want to sell next year!

Keagan’s Pictures: Degas SSF has a white star and three white feet; Dior doesn’t have a white hair on her body.

June 8, 2008

Topic: Keagan SSF

Since I’ve posted the Michaela pictures, I’ve had a number of emails asking about Keagan SSF. Here’s my favorite shot of him from his first year wrestling. After surviving the rigor of wrestling season, he’s gotten a little cocky about his strength and new moves…fortunately, we’re in significantly different weight classes, so I still have an advantage!

New picks of equine babies coming with the next post.

June 5, 2008

Topic: Ups and Downs

Bad news first, because that’s the way I prefer to receive it when given the option: We had to put down our Donatelli x Neostan colt yesterday. He was just too dismature with too many issues. Very sad. He was a beautiful colt.

Good news: Keagan SSF took the digital camera out into the broodmare pasture today and got some great shots of the babies. Once I get a chance to sort through them, I’ll post a bunch. Most of the pictures are of his favorite, Eddie, the Polansky x Morgan colt–he is so fancy; we all love him. But, there are a couple good shots of a certain, beefy Leo (UB-40 x Havidoff) and a really special chestnut filly out of Orchis.

More good news: We’re three for three on first cycle breedings to UB-40. We are now expecting a UB-40 x Contango, UB-40 x Pass the Glass xx, and UB-40 x Havidoff. I’m pretty sure there’s a twin in Oleander, our Havidoff mare, but we’ll deal with that in a week or so if it’s still there. She ovulated a second follicle three or four days after the first one. Says a lot for the quality of UB’s semen.

This week, I’m breeding two mares with Serano Gold frozen; will let you know how it works out in a couple of weeks. LaVita will preg checked Sunday for her Riverman ISF breeding. Haven’t heard for sure, but Werites SSF should have ovulated and been inseminated by now with our one dose of Farrington frozen. She had two follicles coming along and we have two recip mares cycling with her. Keep your fingers crossed. We still have breedings to Farrington and Merlin to use, plus, I’d like to have another Donatelli filly. We’re shooting for seven or eight foals next year…could be a lot of sleepless nights!

May 28, 2008

Topic: News from Our Real Breeding Program…Michaela SSF

It’s been an exciting, and nerve-wracking, spring Crew season for the Tolman family. As proud as we are of Michaela’s many scholastic, intellectual, and community service achievements, I think Carol and I are most thrilled by her successes in Crew. We Tolmans are not genetically predisposed for this sport (tall, long-legged, lean), but we’re scrappers and we don’t give up. What Michaela has lacked in height, she’s made up for in power and technique. For the final three meets of the season, Michaela was put into the stroke position (brains of the boat, first seat in front of the coxswain), and she took her boat to the New England Championship! Quotation from exetercrew.com:

The girls third boat, rowing in the Alfred J. Stanley, had (from bow to cox) Paige Wilson ’09, Katherine Burd ’10, Anne Preston ’09, Stephanie Anklin ’08, Aida Conroy ’09, Nellie Peyton ’10, Sam Reckford ’09, Michaela Tolman ’09, and Bhargavi Puppala ’09. Despite the anxiety in the Stanley going into NEIRAs, the boat rowed a very comfortable morning heat, quickly taking a length lead over St. Paul’s by the halfway mark and quickly opening the margin to a length of open water by the finish. In the afternoon final, the Stanley was a few seats down behind St. Paul’s and Andover after the start. Once the boat settled, the deficit deteriorated, and the eight quickly pulled even in their steady base rate. During the middle 500, the boat gained a half-length lead over Andover, which increased to open water by the sprint. In the end, the boat finished just under 5 seconds ahead of Andover and totally undefeated for the season.

May 28, 2008

Topic: More Dior

What a funny filly. I put Orchis’s hay in the stall this morning, which sent Dior into flight around the stall. When she got to the pile of hay flakes, she stopped, put her nose on them, then backed up a couple steps and leapt into the air over them. She decided that was fun enough, so she came back, jumped on top of the hay, and got all four feet balanced on the top flake…didn’t take too long before Orchis’s hay was becoming Orchis’s bedding. Definitely a rip-your-heart-out kind of filly.

Thanks to all of you who have sent congrats, good wishes, and Thyroidism stories. Just a heads up to those of you who have your mares on SMZs longterm: evidently, there is evidence that prolonged use of SMZs can interfere with Iodine absorption and contribute to Thyroidism…I’m waiting to hear more so I can pass on the research-based source of this info.

On the breeding front, Carol and I are excited to have two UB-40 pregnancies so far! Both ZaVita SSF and LaLiscia are now in foal. We bred Oleander back to UB on Wednesday and LaVita to Riverman ISF on Saturday. Werites SSF and her two recipient mares should be finished with their P and E regimen today, so keep your fingers crossed that our dose of Farrington frozen gives us at least one successful embryo.

May 27, 2008

Topic: D’Orites SSF

“D’Or” or “Dior” is French for “Golden”; “ites” is the suffix we use for this mareline. So, even though the name looks a little odd, it literally means “Golden Child of the Charites Line”. I like it–especially for light chestnut filly. We’ll call her Dior.

My research on Thyroidism in foals has been both scary and illuminating. The typical Thyroid syndrome foal dies within 10 days. Yeah. Imagine the panic when I first read that. This filly, however, exhibits no signs of Thyroidism other than the goiter, or enlarged Thyroid gland. This may shrink as she develops and ingests iodine on her own, or it may just appear to shrink as she grows and it does not. Regardless, it’s a blemish we’re probably going to have to live with. The way I see it, as long as she is alive, I have nothing to complain about. As far as causes, here’s a quotation from Kathy St. Martin:

“It is strongy suggested/believed that hypothroidism is directly related to high nitrate levels in the mare’s feed/water during gestation. Nitrates actively compete for iodine utilization in the thyroid gland and affect iodine metabolism.”

Since we’ve been breeding and foaling out horses on this property for eight years and this is the first instance of any nutritional influence affecting our foals, I’ve been a bit perplexed. My only thought is that our mares have had access to the pond on our property, and they may have ingested high levels of nitrates by drinking from it. But, why would this affect only Orchis? And, why this year? Not one to take chances with my herd, the mares and foals are now in a different paddock–one that doesn’t have access to the pond.

Back to Dior herself, what a cool filly! She is smart and hot, like all Orchis babies, but she’s built just like Donatelli, from the construction of her hindleg to the tips of her pointy ears–if she weren’t chestnut, it would be difficult to believe that Orchis had any influence at all.

May 25, 2008

Topic: She’s finally here!

Yup. 2:30 this morning. After the most bizarre pregnancy and prefoaling activity in SSF history, Orchis delivered a chestnut, Donatelli filly. (no name yet) 337 days. No mummified twin. Nothing really abnormal other than the filly has an enlarged thyroid and the placenta was unusually light in weight. From what I understand, we need to monitor her temperature closely over the next couple of days, because the enlarged thyroid causes the foal not to be able to regulate her body temperature normally. Hypothyroidism in the foal is most often caused by too little or too much Iodine in the mare’s diet. All of our mares are on Strategy, grass hay from fertilized fields, and have free access to a mineralized salt block, so it seems odd to me that too little or too much Iodine is the cause. Who knows. My best guess is that Orchis did have a slight Placentitis going on–not sure if the two-plus months of meds had some effect on the thyroid or not. Anybody have any ideas? This filly doesn’t present any other classic signs other than the enlarged thyroid: no limb or joint deformities, no severe overbite or underbite, no difficulty in nursing or coordination….regardless, she is strong, active, and very much her mother’s daughter! So, I guess it’s same to say (knock on wood) that the Tolman’s have a Donatelli x Jazz x Roemer filly to add to the breeding program and Scot gets to end his two months of foal watch!

May 24, 2008

Topic: Alexandro P

Huge congratulations to the Peters family. Alexandro P (formally, Antonio P) is now a KWPN approved Gelders stallion! Some of you may remember that Carol and I had agreed to buy Alexandro/Antonio, but Mr. Peters could not part with him–a decision we supported and certainly understand. Well, we are delighted to report that Alexandro received the following dressage scores: walk 7, trot 9, canter 9, talent for dressage 8.5!!! The jury touted him as one of the best Gelders stallion of all time….So, Scot’s eye for dressage horses continues to be good–the Tolman’s luck for buying young stock that finally gets approved, not so good. Nonetheless, we are really excited to offer frozen semen from this exceptional horse for the 2009 breeding season. And, more importantly, we are thrilled for the Peters family, whom we are happy to call friends.

May 17, 2008

Topic: New Baby…not Orchis’s

It’s a weird ass foaling year. First, we’ve been dealing with whatever Orchis has going on for two and a half months. Second, Oleander goes 360 something days. Third, we have a Polansky x MORGAN colt that is one of the best movers we’ve ever produced. Now, we have a Donatelli x Neostan colt born almost two weeks early with absolutely no sign of his impending birth. Carol and I were watching a movie and having a couple drinks, just catching up on the week since we don’t see each other until Friday night. A little after midnight, I decided to switch on the upstairs TV/monitor for the foaling stalls to continue my obsession with checking Orchis four or five times a night. Purely on a whim, I switched the monitor to Tiastan’s stall, knowing she was nearly two weeks out and not exhibiting any signs of foaling. There he was. The entire placenta was attached to him, and, from the looks of it, the placenta, it was a red bag delivery. So, of course, my first thought was oxygen deprivation, but he wasn’t manifesting any of the classic signs of a dummy foal or even a slow foal. In the first hour, I dosed him with 200 cc of colostrum. He was up on his own and looking for more. He was nursing on his own when I checked him at 5 am. As protocol, I do an IGG on all foals, so the vet is scheduled for later this morning. I’m thinking this could have had a much different outcome. Knock on wood, we have yet another boy this year! Dylan SSF (Donatelli x Neostan x Belisar) out of the top Dutch mareline in the world–he’s a dark bay with two hind whites, no white on his very handsome dished face. Once he gets his two-week-early legs under control, he’s going to be a big boy. He’ll make somebody an elegant dressage partner.

May 16, 2008

Topic: Painful Reminder

I was scheduled to bring Bandito SSF (Donatelli x Hierarch) to the Canadian border this afternoon to meet his new owner, Siri Ingebrigtsen, and transfer him to her trailer. Well, yesterday afternoon her husband called to say she had been kicked in the face by a horse and was currently undergoing major reconstructive surgery.

First, please keep Siri and her family in your thoughts. I’ve received word that she came through the surgery beautifully, and there is no brain damage. Second, never take for granted how much damage a horse can do. Those of us who handle horses everyday, and have done so for much of our lives, are often the most in danger of unexpected accidents. Siri is an experienced horsewoman–she knows what she’s doing. In this situation, from what I can gather, two horses were loose and got into the wrong barn, Siri came around a corner just as one of the horses kicked at the other horse–she got both hind feet in the face–broke her upper and lower jaws, eye socket, nose, both cheekbones…

My heart goes out to Siri and her family. It’s a freak accident, but it could happen to any of us.

May 8, 2008

Topic: Update on Orchis

Well, folks. We’ve hit 320 days from the Donatelli breeding and 341 from the Freestyle. The mare is as big as a house. I’ve stopped all Regumate and am down to my last couple of days of SMZs–not planning on buying another bottle unless someone tells me I really should. At this point in time, Orchis is no more bagged up than her neice, Tiastan, who is due two days before her. At the end of February, I never would have guessed I’d still have a pregnant mare at the end of the first week of May. Still holding out for that liver chestnut Donatelli filly! By the way, I know I’ll get a chestnut next year…I just booked Orchis to Farrington.

May 6, 2008

Topic: Welcome, Degas SSF!

Our Polansky x Linda baby is here, safe and sound (knock on wood). The birth alarm went of at 11:15 pm–false alarm I watched the mare on the monitor for a bit, and she was obviously just sleeping. Foolishly, I thought that is she was sleeping in this position, she wouldn’t be foaling tonight, so I didn’t reset the alarm. When I awoke at 4:15 and checked the monitor, there he was–already up and walking around, looking for a drink.

Degas SSF, aka, Eddie (Polansky x Fairfield’s Fortune x Funquest Talstar). I’m bumming that this Polansky frozen only worked on our Morgan mare–it would have been a super cross on our Dutch girls. This colt is really modern and leggy; gorgeous, well-set shoulder and nice lifted neck set; long lines; really hingey poll connection. He’s a little down on his hind pasterns, but they’re long pasterns! He’s a bright chestnut with a tiny star and some white on all four feet. Too bad the Morgan association hasn’t started its half-Morgan registry–Mr. Eddie would be a perfect candidate for one of its founding stallions!

Orchis really looks as if she could go any day…I’ll keep you posted!

May 1, 2008

Topic: Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit.

I know, I know! I’m a bad journal keeper these days! There are also about a half dozen or so questions for my Q and A link that I’ve answered privately, but haven’t posted. It’s this job thing–teaching–it just gets in the way of my real life.

On the Orchis front, no news is good news. I’ve had her off the Banamine for a little over three weeks; Regumate is down to 4 cc am and pm; SMZs still constant. Her bag fluctuates between so full it looks as if it’s going to start dripping milk and relaxed enough that the ends of the udders aren’t full. She’s HUGE! Much bigger and much more bagged than Keagan’s Morgan mare who is due in three days. We’re now 334 days from the Freestyle breeding and 313 days from the Donatelli breeding. There still is no (and never has been any) discharge whatsoever. My vet swears it’s not Placentitis. I’m really thinking that there’s a mummified twin. Time will tell. Again, I appreciate all of your emails and kind thoughts. Keep your fingers crossed for that healthy, chestnut Donatelli filly…

Speaking of Mr. Donatelli, Jennifer Arnoldt just emailed me that Donatelli went to his first rated hunter show…he won his hack class and placed second out of 90 horses in his first-ever over fences class. He’s an amazing boy. I can’t tell you how pleased I am that Jennifer and Armin bought him–we couldn’t ask for a better home.

On the sale’s front, I’m upping the prices on the only two horses we have listed:

Aerosmith, aka, Stevie, (Iroko x Pass the Glass xx) is leaving this weekend to be backed. I’ll keep her price at 15K for the first month, but the price goes to 20K the moment I write the check for the second month of training. This is a big, athletic mare who’s going to make someone a super sport horse or breeding mare. If she doesn’t sell in the next couple of months, I’m going to breed her to Zurich. Though we don’t breed jumpers, this Berlin son is one of my favorite young stallions in Holland. Once I heard that he’s now available frozen in North America, I almost pulled Stevie off the market completely, but someone has to pay the hay bill.

Bandito (Donatelli x Hierarch) is now a really fancy looking two year old. He got loose this morning when I turned him out (yes, he’s a bit hot still!) and the movement and self-carriage of this colt take your breath away. Siri and Roberta, you both have expressed serious interest–I’ll keep him at 10K for you either of you until I get better video footage to you, but, for anyone else, he’s now at 15K. This is a colt that’s going to be a 50K four year old and an even more expensive upper level horse.

The only foals for sale this year will be the Polansky x Morgan cross and, if it’s a boy, the Donatelli x Tiastan. Our UB-40 x Havidoff colt, Mr. Leo, DaVinci SSF, isn’t going anywhere until I see how he grows. I don’t think we’ve ever had a colt with quite so much presence.

Congratulations to Kim Scudder on the purchase of one of our favorite boys, Cervantes SSF, aka, Georgie, (Donatelli x Orchis). This is the colt that was top foal in New England last year. We were looking for the right horse for Carol to make use of our new dressage ring (in which she’ll spend five minutes before taking off through the woods to explore the many roads and paths of our local state park) and Kim was looking for a baby to become her next FEI horse–as fate would have it–Kim’s older Morgan mare, Doc Davis Jul (by the immortal Big Bend Doc Davis!!!) is now Carol’s riding horse and Georgie is in a new show home. So, although I had no plans to sell Georgie until I determined for certain that he wasn’t a stallion candidate, the opportunity to place him in a great home with a serious rider seemed best for all concerned. Plus, I learned a new Margarita recipe out of the deal…

So, now that Carol is riding on a regular basis, LaVita has had to deal with my fat ass bumping around in the saddle. Poor girl.

Current breeding picks:

Orchis x no idea
LaVita x Merlin
Werites x Farrington (ET)
Tiastan x Serano Gold
ZaVita SSF x UB-40
Oleander x UB-40
LaLiscia x UB-40

April 18, 2008

RE: A Fated Day

April 18th was my brother, Gary’s, birthday. He would have been 47 this year. He was killed in a snowmobile accident when he was 28. It’s also Zeoliet’s birthday, the day we found out we were pregnant with Michaela, and the day that we signed the contract on our first farm. It’s also the day that Orchis is 342 days from her Krack C breeding; 321 days from her Freestyle breeding; and 300 days from her Donatelli breeding. Through the drugs and all, Ms. Orchis is completely bagged at this point in time, fully distended in the vulva, and quite relaxed at the base of the tail. A lovely, fat spider has built a web in the lens of my foal watch camera, so, all night long, I get to see a big fat blob with thin, hairy legs spinning more threads to her web–covering a big, fat, chestnut blob with hairy legs, rubbing her ass on the hayrack. This is what my life has come to.

April 10, 2008

Topic: Good thing I keep this journal…

I’ve been trying to figure out what I did with my six doses of Polansky frozen. We donated two to KWPN-NA stallion auction last year; I stupidly thawed two doses instead of one when breeding Keagan’s mare; that leaves two doses. Went back in my 2007 journal and found out that I used one of them on Orchis…she ovulated over the weekend, before I could get the Krack C and too quickly to get fresh cooled from Rousseau. So, on 4/22, she was bred to Polansky; 5/13 to Krack C; 6/3 to Freestyle; 6/24 to Donatelli. That means there’s still one dose of Polansky that is unaccounted for. Orchis, however, is now 355 days from the Polansky breeding; 334 from the Krack C; 313 from the Freestyle; and 292 from the Donatelli. After taking my vet’s advise and stopping the SMZs and the Banamine, she began bagging up quickly. Thanks to the Karin and Carlos Jimenez for putting up with my frequent and frantic calls…Orchis is back on the SMZs and is down to 2cc of Banamine twice a day, and the Regumate, of course. Her bagging has calmed down a bit, but is still quite pronounced in the mornings. She’s really elongated in the vulva and relaxed at the base of the tail. Tuesday, as I put her on the cross ties for the blacksmith (I’ve finally found a new blacksmith, and a really good one.), the baby began moving in the most exaggerated fashion I’ve ever seen in a mare. This baby was causing Orchis’s whole abdomen to wave and bounce. So, the saga continues.

April 4, 2008

Topic: Interesting Tidbit

I just received this news piece from my friend, Tami Johnson. For those of us who do most of our own breeding work, this could be an interesting precedent.

Breeder Wins Case Against State Veterinary Board Thursday, April 03, 2008

On July 15, 2004, Bonnie Cady, Tennessee Walking Horse breeder and trainer of The Horse Hub, Shelbyville, Tenn., was served with a court order for practicing veterinary medicine without a license. A breeder and trainer for over 20 years and graduate of Colorado State University’s breeding program, Cady has stood several stallions, collected semen, artificially inseminated, flushed, administered hormones and antibiotics to encourage inception and ultrasounded mares owned by her and other customers. All activities many consider “normal” for a breeding manager to practice.

However, according to Tennessee law the definition of practicing veterinary medicine includes “the use of any manual or mechanical procedure for artificial insemination, for testing for pregnancy, or for correcting sterility or infertility or to render advice or recommendation with regard to any of the above.”

The Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners ruled that Cady had engaged in the unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine and assessed a penalty of $17,000; $1,000 for each year Cady allegedly practiced unlicensed veterinary medicine.

Cady made an appeal in March 2005 to the Davidson County Chancery Court and petitioned the Board to determine the validity of the laws regarding licensed veterinary practice. The Court determined that the established laws, when incorporated verbatim, were “overbroad and thus, invalid.” Since Cady had not diagnosed or treated an animal for disease or bodily injury and had not treated or diagnosed for sterility or infertility in an animal, the Court decided that inducing and confirming a pregnancy in an animal does not violated the laws of licensed veterinary practice.

At the end of 2007, the Court ruled in favor of Cady and the Legislature was amended so the “practice of veterinary medicine does not include artificial insemination of livestock, including horses. Such artificial insemination is now deemed an accepted livestock management practice.”

April 2, 2008

Topic: UB-40 x Havidoff

Well, Carol and I are completely smitten. Leo is fast becoming a farm favorite. He has one of the most beautiful faces of any baby we’ve had–slight dish face, big expressive eyes, curvy ears. He’s also really bold–he’ll come right up to you in the stall and check you out. I’ve had my hands all over him, and, so far, he’s a really easy baby. I’m used to some hot foals, and he’s not one. His movement mechanism is pretty exciting. His first impulse seems to be to sit down in the hind end and lift in the front. He’s super well balanced. A nice foal.

Update on Orchis: My vet had me take her off the SMZs and Banamine (she’s been on 14 SMZs, 5 cc of Banamine, and 10 cc of Regumate twice a day for a month). Still wants her on the Regumate. She’s huge. Keep you fingers crossed.

Really exciting news…our new dressage ring is almost done. We’ve set it down in the woods, surrounded by stonewalls–it’s going to be really beautiful. If any fellow New Englanders have suggestions for the most functional top layer of footing for outside rings, drop me an email. We need to let the base sit for a bit, but I’m going to have to make the final decision on footing soon.

I’m completely psyched by the latest KWPN/NA stallion approval mandates. Am planning a more thorough journal entry on the subject soon.

Last weekend to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream, if anyone is in the area. It may be the most often produced Shakespearean play, but our production is visually gorgeous and really funny.

Have to get to bed. Never enough hours in the day. “Oh, what fools these mortals be.”

March 31, 2008

Topic: DaVinci SSF!

Finally, a foal! Welcome, DaVinci SSF, aka “Leo”. He arrived yesterday on day 361…I don’t remember ever having a mare go this far over due. Carol and I are both really pleased with this cross, UB-40 x Havidoff x Ramiro. Leo is leggy, really modern with a beautifully long and well-set shoulder. His poll connection is SO long and pretty. Bay with a big white star and one, hind, white fetlock–Carol’s favorite color and my favorite markings (a little white on the face and one white foot). We really couldn’t be more pleased. This is a colt with lots of presense and personality. His mom will go right back to UB-40.

I’ll get some pictures once we can get him outside.

March 24, 2008

Topic: Orchis Update and Foal Watch

Again, thanks to those of you who have called or emailed to ask about Orchis and offer support. She’s is progressively bagging up a little bigger during the night; she’s absolutely huge and quite uncomfortable; the twice a day dosing syringe of molasses, SMZs, and Banamine have made her a bit grouchy to touch; and, she’s rubbing he ass on every bucket, tree, and fence post she can find. Really, if I were just observing her behavior, I’d say we’re headed into a normal foaling within the next couple of weeks. I guess we’ll know when we know.

Our Havidoff x Ramiro mare, Oleander, is now 354 days…she has finally started to bag a bit. Hopefully, I’ll have some exciting news in the next few days!

We do have two of the cutest Nubian doe kids we’ve had. For those of you who don’t know this, I have an affinity for really beautiful, well bred Nubian goats. I don’t do anything with them except milk them and look at them, but they crack me up. These are the first kids out of an exciting new buck that I bought from the Kastdemur’s (top Nubian breeder in the country–maybe the world) program. I’ll try to get some pictures posted of the twins, JoJo and Janet.

March 17, 2008

Topic: Thanks for the Thoughts

You guys are great. I really appreciate the number of emails I’ve received with suggestions and good wishes for Orchis. Just to clarify, I realize the improbability of a mare maintaining a pregnancy once the cervix has been compromised. But, a few years ago (before I was doing my own breeding work), our vet inseminated an outside mare over the course of five cycles, proclaiming her not pregnant by the end of the season. The next spring, she delivered a healthy Iroko colt, consistent with the dates of the second breeding. So, I know first hand that it can happen. Update on Orchis: I’ve kept her on the meds and will do so until something resolves itself. She seems to be slightly full in front of her bag in the mornings, but, after having been out all day, she has no fullness. There has been no discharge from the vulva of any kind. Overall, she seems less bloated in her belly. I’m really hoping that it is Placentitis and we caught it in time. I’ve also read that mares will behave this way if one twin dies and begins to mummify. All we can do is what we’re doing. Knock on wood, we’ll have a positive outcome from all this.

Have I done a breeding picks update in the last week? I’m really slipping!

Orchis to Serano Gold
Werites to Farrington
ZaVita, Tiastan, and Oleander to UB-40 (and maybe two Morgan mares)
LaVita to Merlin

March 14, 2008

Topic: Orchis

It’s always something on a breeding farm. As most of you know, Orchis (Jazz x Roemer) is our best mare; her dam, Charites, is number one on the dressage index in Holland; her sister, Exquis Nadine (Partout x Roemer), is a gold medal member of the Dutch team and just won the Dutch Team selection competiton in Zevenaar. Well, Orchis foaled on March 22nd last year. We bred her with Krack C on her 30 day heat. We bred her on her next heat with Krack C. On her third breeding, we used Freestyle. At the end of June, we finally bred her to Donatelli and she took–bred June 23; due May 30th. She’s huge. About two weeks ago, she started filling up in front of her udder and developing just a bit of a bag. Twins or placentitis? It was a single ovulation, and I did the insemination and follow up scans myself. No evidence of a twin at 21 days. I had the vet come out. By means of the speculum, he determined that she was presenting as a normal foaling. He palpated–very lively, good-sized foal. He scanned and found an eye. Upon measuring it, he determined that the foal was approx. 265 days. He can’t tell if there’s a second foal there or not. There is no thickening of the placenta. Later, he calls me and says that he has done more research and the eye measurement makes the foal closer to 300 days, not 265. Still not sure of what’s going on I put Orchis on Regumate, Banamine, and SMZ’s twice a day. Within days, all of the fullness in her bag goes away. This morning, about two weeks after beginning the drugs, the fullness in front of the udder has started again. So, with all of this information, what would you be thinking is happening? My guess is that it’s twins that I missed, but that doesn’t explain the size of the foal and the size of the eye–though I understand this is a difficult measurement to get. It could be placentitis. We don’t have a Fescue issue (knock on wood). Could I have missed the fact that Orchis actually took on one of the Krack C breedings, and she is actually about to go full term on a Krack C baby? If she took on either the late April breeding, she would most likely be beginning to bag up. Time will tell. If you have any words of wisdom, send them my way.

If you didn’t see this on Eurodressage, here’s the link:

Got to love it!

March 3, 2008

Topic: Big News!

Congratulations to Jennifer and Armin Arnoldt, from Dreamscape Farm, on the purchase of one of my favorite stallions, Donatelli. After having nearly five months off from his broken rib episode, Jim and I decided to retire Donatelli. Hoping for the best possible retirement home for much loved boy, I contacted my friend and fellow horse collector, Jennifer Arnoldt! With the success of the Florestan line crossed on Donatelli mares and the quality of both Donatelli and Freestyle’s temperaments, Dreamscape Farm is going to be the place to go for the North American market. Check out Jennifer’s site; I know she’s going to offer a discounted breeding fee for Donatelli for his first month as part of the Dreamscape Farm lineup. www.dreamscapefarm.com

February 26, 2008

Topic: My Breeding Picks

After all this stallion show discussion, I somehow forgot to talk about my current picks for the SSF girls–I think we’re breeding eight this year.

Short Listed:

Serano Gold

Long Listed:


I’ve had some interest in Citango frozen, but for next year, not this—if there are not enough people interested now, then I’ll wait and import him for 2009. I have more pictures of him and his foals to post, but haven’t gotten around to organizing it. If I’m not bringing in frozen, then I won’t do a special shipment for a few doses of Jazz. So, realistically, that leaves only Rousseau, Facet, Quaterback, and Wynton on my long list.

It’s Winter Break for me, so I’m off to North Carolina for a couple of days to see friends and my horses. If you’ve emailed me and I haven’t returned it, let me know; I think I’ve finally caught up.

February 15, 2008

Topic: Ridability

For those of you who don’t know my wife, before she met me, her exposure to horses had been on a trail ride at a Dude Ranch. Well, on Sunday, we will have been married for 18 years. I don’t think she quite knew what it meant when I said, “I have horses.” If she had fully understood that she would spend the better part of two decades cleaning out stalls and listening to me prattle on about bloodlines, stallion picks, and dressage, she might not have been so willing to accept a diamond with her blueberry muffin at the Swanzey Diner all those years ago.

Carol is a person of action. For her 50th birthday, she and the kids climbed a 14,000 foot mountain. She skis. She runs. She’s always in a good mood with a positive attitude. Very little gets her down. The kids and I say that at the end of the world, it will be Mommy and the cockroaches. She makes us smile.

Well, not growing up with horses, riding hasn’t come so naturally to Carol. When you’re a kid and you fall off, it’s just not that big of a deal. When you start riding in your 30’s, you have a career and kids and you fall off, it’s a bigger deal. She has always wanted to be able to just jump on, race off through the woods on her trusty horse, constantly at a gallop, and then jump something really big on her way back home. When I used to do lessons, Carol rode frequently–that is, until, as she recounts it, I told her to hold her stomach in one too many times. She replied, “I’ve had two kids in three years–it’s your fault I can’t hold in my stomach anymore.” That’s not how I remember it. But, perhaps, the better part of valour is to agree. Yesterday, Carol sent me a really fun email with a link (I’ll have Joe post the link underneath this entry.) to the kind of riding she wants to be doing in our new dressage ring, which we’re all really excited about.


I’m thinking that the KWPN-NA may want to institute yet another breeding direction: the half quarter horse. There’s a post on ewarmbloods continuing the conversation about Jazz (the Amor in Jazz) and the best crosses to produce horses appropriate for the American amateur market, which is, after all, 90+% of the market for warmbloods in North America. Maybe, just maybe, right in our own backyards, we have the perfect cross! Of course, the KWPN will have to redefine type, but they do that rapidly as it is, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Short, wide, ridable, with a pretty face. There’s a market here.

February 15, 2008

Topic: Feedback Always Welcome

Amid the flurry of positive responses I get to my journal, it’s nice to get a balance once in a while.

“I’ve been reading your journal for a while and find it quite entertaining. You seem to have mastered the art of sounding like you know what you’re talking about even when you don’t. Maybe you should consider a career in cold reading.”

I take this feedback as a reminder that I don’t know everything. What’s expressed in my journal is my opinion. I’m sure that I’m wrong about many things. It’s probably more helpful to be specific in telling me where I’ve gone astray, but, nonetheless, feedback is always welcome.

February 13, 2008

Topic: More on Jazz

A number of people have asked for more information on Jazz and his offspring. Since Jazz is my favorite stallion to talk about, I don’t mind obliging. Let it be said before I begin, however, that I can’t approach any conversation about Jazz without bias. He’s in the first couple of generations of three of my mares; it is almost always my intention to breed more Jazz into my program; and, with my kids, wife, and a silent friend, I own a pretty spectacular Jazz x Cabochon two year old stallion prospect in Holland. This being said, you all have to know how particular and critical I am about the horses in my breeding program.

Jazz is definitely not for everyone. His offspring can be hot, sensitive, and spooky. At the same time, they are also talented, smart, and focused under saddle. Jazz hails from the van Helvoirt’s breeding program. No recent dressage breeder in Holland has produced so many approved stallions, high selling auction foals, or top keuring mares. Van Helvoirt may not have the highest ranked mareline in Holland, but he’s got a whole collection of extremely high ranked marelines. His breeding program is so well respected that he had one of the top selling foals at five or six foal auctions last year, bringing in a total of somewhere near 200,000 Euro. How many breeders can even dream of generating that much income for their foals? So, the point is, Jazz was not created out of a void: He was bred to be what he is and produce what he does.

As a producer, it’s hard to argue with the number of young horses in the PAVO cup, approved sons, top keuring daughters, daughters producing approved stallions—both the champion and reserve champions last year were out of Jazz mares, and, now, horses coming out at Grand Prix. And, at 17, Jazz himself is still on the Dutch A team, with one of his sons on the A team with him and one or two on the B team. His son, Premier, trained to Grand Prix by his rider/owner, was just the high scoring Grand Prix horse at Zwolle. (I’ve got a Zwolle entry in the works: The Death of Zwolle as a Stallion Show—perhaps that title is a little dramatic…) Since Premier is a gelding, he was not proclaimed the champion—a horse that scored significantly under him was. Back to the point, Jazz offspring reliably perform and produce.

Pedigree wise, the double Amor, mixed with a dose of Farn through Ulster/Nimmerdor, in Jazz is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you can count on movement, long lines, and incredible talent. On the other hand, you will occasionally get pieces of the Amor temperament. There are many stories about Amor. One, he is the only Dutch stallion to have a stature erected in his honor. The breeders think this is just; the riders want to tear it down. Two, I have been at a major breeding farm during breeding season. An absolutely gorgeous, typey, conformationally superior mare was ripping apart the breeding stocks. The technician turned to me and said, “Amor.” Three, crossed with the right blood, ie., Doruto, Amor worked magic in the pedigree. Somehow, it works for me. Jazz. Tuschinski. UB-40 has double Amor, double Farn, double Abgar, double Furioso, and double Pericles.

As far as the Jazz sons and grandsons available, individual mares are going to dictate which one is the best choice. I recently answered a post on ewarmbloods that you might as well breed to Jazz himself, since he’s readily and affordably available, but that doesn’t mean that he’s any more right for every mare than are his sons and grandsons. VDL’s Jazz son, Westpoint, is a leggy, modern, elegant horse—according to his foal report, he needs a mare with a good canter. Wynton is gorgeous—he could well prove to be one of the top Jazz sons, but we don’t know that yet because he has no foals on the ground and his mareline doesn’t give us a lot to go on. Olivi offspring are beautiful types and beautiful movers. The dose of Abgar in his mareline is very valuable, but Abgar was another one of the horses whose offspring the Dutch riders had to learn how to ride—they are tough horses that will go forever, once you have earned their respect. Ride them as if you are the only brain involved in the equation and it’s a different story. In any Jazz son pedigree, you have to be careful of bone—some say the light bone he passes on comes from Pericles—some say from Furioso. I think Pericles. Pericles is the same reason that Ferro can produce not enough bone. Although, UB-40 is double Pericles, and, from what I’ve seen so far, he produces more bone the he himself has. The Jazz grandsons are not as readily available to us via frozen, but, in Holland, they are proving to be top producers. Citango has produced some top foals; Vivaldi’s foals are really well liked. You’ve all ready about how successful the UB-40’s were at the stallion show.

He’s not a perfect stallion. There is no perfect horse. Jazz is very sickle hocked and he toes out in front—he also can produce these traits. I saw someone post that he can produce a low set neck; this I haven’t seen. As a matter of fact, I’ve found the opposite to be true. If I had his production linear score sheet in front of me, I could tell you definitely. I don’t.

So, that’s more on Jazz.

February 11, 2008

Topic: KWPN Stallion Show 2008, final thoughts

The process of transcribing all of my notes has consumed me over the past week. At times, I’ve felt a bit indulgent; other times, too harsh; once or twice, politically careful. Again, the caveat: Just because it’s in print doesn’t mean that it’s fact. These are my opinions, based on my set of experiences and particular likes, dislikes, and prejudices. I’m human, and, therefore, often wrong.

My guess is that the KWPN will tout this stallion show as a testament to the positive effects of specialization. For the jumpers, I’ll agree. Conformation, type, overall balance, quality of the canter…all solidly improving. There are fewer jumper bred horses that are going to work in a dressage pedigree, however, because the necksets and downhill builds of some of the jumpers will take generations to adjust. This is an issue in that dressage breeders must frequently look for infusions of jumper blood to maintain balance, power, and the quality of the canter. This is becoming more difficult. As far as the effects of specialization on dressage horses, I have mixed feelings. We are breeding really beautiful horses–never have I been to the stallion show and seen so many beautiful fronts and lovely models with good suppleness–but type is trumping movement, in particular, the use of the hindleg. Unfortunately, the stallion lines that are still producing the movement are also producing hot. I think we dressage breeders need to concentrate on maintaining some older, non-Amor blood in our broodmares. The good Gelders marelines are producing correct movement three and four generations out. We need to breed to some of the older stallions while we still can, especially if our mares have much foreign blood or HOT blood close up.

We North Americans are not as bad off as we sometimes lead ourselves to believe. One, we have ready access to the stallions that produced the champion and reserve champion of the stallion show, Rousseau and UB-40. Two, we’re not the only ones being swayed by huge movement and flashy riding at the lower levels. Our Dutch counterparts are buying into the “popular” stallions hook, line, and sinker. We may be better off in that these stallions are only available to us via frozen semen. Three, we have a some really strong, non-Amor, Gelderlander marelines. If you are a KWPN-NA dressage breeder and really want to preserve the quality of the Dutch dressage horse, buy a filly from Debbie Harrison before her old mares stop producing. Four, we have an abundance of F1 breeding products in our population–never underestimate the positive influence of a solid TB pedigree in the mareline, especially once that TB blood hits the third and fourth generations.

I’m going to save my thoughts on how attending the stallion show and reflecting through these journal entries have affected the breeding decisions and selection processes for us at SSF. Having both Michaela and Carol with me at the stallion show is proving to be insightful and exciting. We will have a much more “team-based” approach to the continual refining of our program.

February 10, 2008

Topic: KWPN Stallion Show 2008, Part Five

On to the horses presented undersaddle! These are in no particular order; I’m just going through my notes. Carol and I stood by the warm up ring to watch many of these horses–if you ever get to the stallion show, it’s really worth missing some of the presentations to stand and watch the horses before they go into a stadium surrounded by thousands of people, noise, flashing lights, speakers, etc.

Gribaldi: (Kostolany x Ibikus) Gribaldi is looking a little old to me. He’s a beautiful horse, and has certainly contributed to KWPN breeding, but I think he’s at the end of his competitive career. The last few times I’ve seen him, he’s been kind of lackluster.

Special D: (Metall x Zandigo) This boy is looking really good. He’s a powerful horse with a superior ability for collection. Type wise, he’s matured into a fairly heavy horse–it’s easy to see his Gelderlander roots. Some of his offspring are just outstanding; he seems to transmit his ability for collection. Some of his offspring look a bit like Friesians, however.

Scandic: (Solos Carex x Amiral) I can’t believe the difference a year with a different rider has made with this horse. The last time I saw him, he was wringing his tail, grinding his teeth, and resisting throughout his body. This time, he looked super. The horse has incredible tact and balance. I’m not crazy about his neck or his front legs, but he’s really looking like an upper level horse.

Florencio: (Florestan x Weltmeyer) I’ve seen Florencio five or six times. This is the best I’ve seen him look. He’s still much slower and longer in the hind leg than I would ideally like, but he looks great. For breeding, I don’t think he’s as consistent as Freestyle–Freestyle has a better motherline. Enough top breeders are using him for me to pay attention, however. If I were to breed to him, I’d want a big, longlined mare with very good hindle construction and use, and especially strong pasterns. Florencio is expressive in front and has an especially beautiful canter.

Jazz: (Cocktail x Ulster) What can I say? The older he gets, the more consistent he gets. He doesn’t have quite the brilliance of his younger days, but he’s still got it.

Krack C: (Flemmingh x Beaujolais) Carol and I were at the side of the warm up area for the entire time that the riders were warming up Krack and all of his sons for his retirement ceremony. What a treat. Krack is as supple and as expressive as ever. He doesn’t look like a horse that needs to be retired. How often do you get to watch a major breeding stallion and six or seven of his children all under saddle in the same ring? It was really fun to contrast and compare. Without fail, the horses are supple and elastic. The type and the movement varies, however. Some of the Kracks are tall and really longlined; some are more compact with shorter necks. They seem to have a beautiful poll connection and a good length of front leg. Some have weaker loin connections than others–some have a longer hind leg than others.

Trento B: (Krack C x Ramiro) This horse is really impressive undersaddle. He is big, longlined, elegant, excellent in his bending, powerful–he’s a little long in the hind leg, but he uses it really well. It’s easy to see why so many people have bred to him; he’s gorgeous. But, again, I don’t think he’s going to be anywhere near the kind of producer that his father and brothers are–especially Tuschinski.

Tuschinski: (Krack C x Pion) Wow. Wow. Wow. I think Carol was ready to slap me I was gushing so much about this horse. His lateral work gave me chills. He is a magic horse. Tuschinski is another stallion with double Amor in the pedigree, however. I spoke with the very talented young woman who rides him, and complimented her on her riding. She thanked me and responded, “He makes it not so easy.” He is hot. Not just hot, but HOT, HOT. It will be interesting to see if his sons and daughters are as hot. I don’t think they will be–but, I wouldn’t breed him to a mare with much Amor or Farn close up. And, as I said earlier, even though Tuschinski himself could be a little longer lined and a little bigger overall, his offspring seem to be.

Zhivago (Krack C x Jazz x Ulft x Amor) This horse was reserve champion last year to the Rousseau x Jazz. He’s a gorgeous type. He was really quite tense (three and a half year old stallion undersaddle amid all the chaos of the Stallion Show), so I don’t think we saw him at his best. His movement is still outstanding, but he wasn’t bending in the hindleg as much as last year, and he was less supple. I’ll be most interested in his foal report–he’s gorgeous.

Webster (Krack C x Ulft x Able Albert xx) Smallish. Lovely bending. Really expressive. Needs more power.

Velazquez (Krack C x Alasca x Ramiro x Ladykiller xx) Super type. Needs more power. Would make a nice gelding.

United (Krack C x Partout x Sultan x Amor) This is my second or third favorite Krack C son. I’ve really liked Vivaldi, but, due to his recent colic surgery, he wasn’t at the stallion show. United is an absolutely beautiful horse. He’s longer lined than Tuschinski, but doesn’t have quite the power in the hind leg. He’s super expressive and has excellent bending, with an obvious natural ability for piaffe and passage–you can just feel upper level movements in his gaits. If I can’t get Tuschinski frozen, then I would happily take United.

Citango (Contango x Jazz x Zuidhorn) Citango is USA bred and born. He was by bred by Loucky Hagens-Groosman, in Virginia. The Brinkman’s bought him after seeing as a foal at the 2002 keuring. Susan Duncan was at that keuring; she called me with a report, and I clearly remember her saying that Loucky had bred a super colt–incredible presence–one of the first foals she had ever seen that made her think he was a stallion prospect. Lo and behold…Citango! This is a good horse. He place third in his division against, I think, Johnson and the Polansky son, Vivaldo. Citango had better tact and carrying power than either of the other two, but he’s not quite as expressive in his movement. Like all Contango’s, he is super in the bridle. Powerful. Tact, tact, and more tact. He moves as if he were controlled by a metronome. I liked him well enough to ask if I can make arrangements to bring his frozen to North America. So, check out our frozen semen link in the next few days–I’ll post pictures, his foal report, and pricing. In breeding, he is going to improve hindleg use and bending, add substance, improve carrying power, balance, and tact. I think his best crosses are going to be modern type mares with a longer front leg. Super character. Drop me an email if you’re interested in trying Citango this year; I’m trying to gauge how much frozen to bring in.

Dreamcatcher: (Day Dream x Rubinstein x Pik Bube) Nice and uphill lovely type. Wings in the front. Good bending, but throws his front legs. Could be more supple laterally. Really good jump in the canter. Needs a longlined mare.

Johnson: (Jazz x Flemmingh x Sultan) He’s a horse that climbs into the air when he canters. He is really longlined and SO UPHILL! Super expressive in the front leg. Great bending. Supple. He’s just a gorgeous horse. In breeding, he needs a mare with a quick and correct hind leg, in particular, strong pasterns that are not too long. He also needs a mare that is not too thick in the throatlatch.

Maestro: (Contango x Joost x Abgar) I don’t know much about this horse–he was just approved on his competition record. Excellent piaffe and passage. Wears the bridle like all the Contangos. Just a super dressage horse. Will need a longer lined, modern type mare. Really fun to have the Joost x Abgar so close up.

Undigo: (Sandro Hit x Jazz x Orthos) Smallish horse, but lovely. Super tact. Could have more power. Could be more supple laterally.

Valdez: (Houston x Jazz x Nabuur) Moves a bit like a pony. Beautiful type. Uphill. Needs more scope in the movement. Supple. Could have more tact.

Valeron: (Sandro Hit x Houston x Zevenster) Supple. Beautiful. HOT. Gorgeous horse. Lovely bending.

Vivaldo: (Polansky x Montecristo x Clavecimbel) Lot of front leg without much behind. Little flat in front leg. Really consistent. Good dressage horse–would make a nice gelding.

Washington: (Rhodium x Jetset D x Purioso) Turns out in front. Nice bending. Excellent hindleg. Excellent model. Super tact. Nicest Rhodium I’ve seen. Short in the walk.

Westenwind: (Flemmingh x Contango x Ulft) I really like this horse. He’s a bit weak in the loin connection, but I saw him in the championship round a couple years ago, and thought then that he’d make a super dressage horse. He’s a horse that I’d like to ride.

Westpoint: (Jazz x Michelangelo x Le Mexico) Beautiful front. Elegant. Maturing and filling out–he seems taller and longer lined than the last time I saw him. Beautiful horse.

Winningmood (Prado x Donnerwind x Rheinblick) This stallion is the latest addition to the van Norel breeding program. He is a big, strong horse with loads of power. He could be more supple. Has an absolutely super walk. I see him as an especially good cross on the van Norel mares with Appollonius close up.

Wynton: (Jazz x Matador II x Rubinstein) Here’s one of the horses I was most excited to see at the stallion show. As a whole, I am just crazy about him. My gushing to Carol about Wynton was only surpassed by my gushing about Tuschinski. He is an excellent model–gorgeous conformation. Super tact and balance. He could be a little longer lined and a little cleaner in the throatlatch. His hind leg, though quick enough if you’re used to looking at German horses, doesn’t have quite the electricity of some of the other Jazz sons. In breeding, he is a gamble for people in that his mareline is not well proven or well known, even though the stallions in the mareline are super interesting. I would use him on mares with long lines, proven marelines, and good hindlegs. A number of people have asked me to comment on his temperament, since the KWPN has suggested he needs a mare with an uncomplicated character. Undersaddle, he was really well behaved, focused, and seemingly relaxed. I did not see him being handled on the ground, and that is the issue the KWPN has with him. My guess, from having raised a fair number of Jazz-bred horses, is that he’s a bit like an ADHD kid–he needs the bit in his mouth and the many stimuli from a rider on his back to really focus. He’s a really beautiful horse. I think he’s going to be a good sire, too. But, like any stallion, he’s not going to work on every mare.

Zanzibar: (Special D x Pretendent x Sovereign Bill xx) I like this horse better than Special D himself. He is a better type, more elastic, and, yet, keeps all of the power and ability for collection from his dad. Really lovely horse.

Zardando: (Tango x Gribaldi x Contango) Really like this horse–of course, Tango is by Jazz, there’s some good quality Trakehner close up, and then Contango–my kind of pedigree. Super type. Could be a little more electric in his movement. Another one that I would like to ride.

Zenon: (Rousseau x Whinny Jackson x Darwin) Supple. Good bending. Small. Flat in the front leg. Supple. Needs more power.

Ziesto: (Lancet x Clavecimbel x Vanitas) Really interesting blood to keep alive in Dutch breeding. Lancet is going to work better in this generation. This is nice dressage horse. Long lined. Super cantere. Super model. Could bend a little better in the hind leg.

Zjengis Khan: (Rousseau x Rubinstein x Donnerhall) The name fits this horse. He is huge, plain, and quite ordinary. He is powerful, but not a stallion type. I can’t imagine that he will attract many mares.

Pay Bas: (Cabochon x Zeoliet) This gelding was presented as part of a past PAVO cup winner exhibition. What an exciting horse! Lovely bending, round, such SIT! I just loved this horse.

ENOUGH FOR NOW!!! I’ll try to put together some closing thoughts in the next couple of days.

February 8, 2008

Topic: KWPN Stallion Show 2008. part four

I am excited and appreciative about the number of thank you emails and further questions I’ve been receiving in response to these last few journal entries. It may take me a bit to get to all of the questions, but, again, never hesitate to drop me an email–it helps me know what you want me to be talking about, and I appreciate knowing that my thoughts and writings spur discussion and reflection. One of my favorite things about attending the Stallion Show is spending time with other people who are as passionate and knowledgeable about breeding as I am–much to Carol’s eventual dismay (Carol’s take on her first trip to Holland will have to be handled in a separate journal entry…), I am capable of talking breeding from sunrise to well past sunset on a number of consecutive days. On to the dressage-bred stallions presented at den Bosch! (I’ll cover the coming three year olds in this entry and horses presented under saddle in the next)

It’s a bit difficult to start talking about these young stallion without making a couple of admissions first. One, I’m a movement mechanism freak–in my heart and soul as a breeder, it’s the most important consideration. Two, I’m not sure that I always have my priorities in order. My head, and Carol’s head AND heart and soul, believes that, in the selection process, temperament and ridability should trump a horse’s ability to use his body. That’s not saying that the weight of considering the quality of movment doesn’t remain really high; it’s just saying that given a choice between two horses, one who does not have quite the physical talent of the other but has a better brain, you select the one with the better brain, because more people will be able to ride him and, if the gene pool holds true, his offspring. For Carol, there is no agony in making this choice. For me, it creates kind of a ripping feeling in my gut. Segway: I love Jazz and his influence on KWPN dressage breeding.

We arrived Friday morning in time to see the second or third horse be presented. I don’t remember exactly what group was being presented (the young stallions are presented in family groupings, ie., Ferro sons and grandsons, Krack C’s, etc.–if there are not enough for a group, then the grouping is called diverse KWPN sires or diverse outside stallions), but there were only two or three even mildly interesting stallions in the first couple of groups. Then, the Jazz sons started. I liked every one–their type is consistent–the movement mechanism consistent–the hind leg is quick and the wither lifted. Jazz makes dressage horses. And, he makes sons and daughters who produce dressage horses. I maintain that no stallion is going to have a bigger or more lasting, positive impact on Dutch dressage breeding than Jazz. Since we had the opportunity to see Jazz himself (I asked Carol to genuflect as he passed) and a number of his sons under saddle, I’ll have more to say in the next journal entry.

I’m going to separate the UB-40 discussion from the Jazz. The UB-40 sons were the best movers of all the dressage stallions presented, over all, and the best types. And, to be fair to Carol’s side of the conversation, other than a couple of the jumper stallions, they were the most difficult to handle. I had three separate conversations with very knowledgeable Dutch dressage breeders–they all said that their UB-40 offspring were some of their “most sensitive” horses, but they also ALL said that they would breed to him again and wished that he had not been sold to the USA. For my money, the UB-40 sons were the best young dressage stallions presented. They will breed true in type and movement. They gave me chills up and down my spine. Would I want to ride one of them? No. Will I breed to him? Yes.

The Rousseau sons were better than in years past. I know that I’m in the minority, but I have not been a huge Rousseau fan. Seeing the sons that were presented this year probably convinced me to try him. They were both excellent movers–they don’t have the bending or sit of the UB-40’s or Tuschinski’s, but they are lovely movers. The toplines, in particular, are really beautiful. I’d like to see them a little leggier. I’d like to see them a little less developed for their age. I’ve always believed that a three year old should look like a three year old, not a six year or seven year old. I think stallions that mature too quickly often get really heavy and produce really heavy. From seeing some of Rousseau’s older offspring under saddle, I’m not sure that this isn’t going to be true. The characters seem outstanding–that’s a huge plus. The KWPN breeders and the selection committees are certainly enamored with Rousseau. I’m still on the fence, but, for the character and top line conformation alone, I’m willing to give him a try on some of my Jazz-bred mares.

Tuschinski is BY FAR the best producing Krack C son. In time, he’s going to be recognized as a better producer than Krack himself. Type and movement are more consistent in Tuschinski’s mareline, and that really manifests in his offspring. I’m pretty sure we have a new mare in Holland…she will stay there until I get her in foal to Tuschinski. The bending, the gorgeous fronts, the power in the hind end, the quickness of the hind leg…I could go on and on. And, he’s producing longer lined than he is himself–that’s coming from his daddy. Mr. van Straalen made a super breeding decision in putting Krack C on his Pion (double Amor bred) mare.

Trento B is very disappointing as a sire–he is the weakest producer of the Krack C sons. From what I can tell, the types are going to be inconsisent, the tail sets are really high, the necksets are inconsistent, and the movement is just nothing to write home about. This is not saying that Trento B himself is not going to be a great sport horse–I’ll talk about him more later, but he is really impressive undersaddle. I’m just saying that I wouldn’t breed to him. It’s a Ramiro thing. Some Ramiro sons and daughters are superstar sport horses, but not breeding animals. Others, are purely breeding superstars. That’s the way Ramiro blood runs. Trento B is going to be a super sport horse, but not a memorable sire.

The other Krack C grandsons are fairly consistent in type, long lined, good and expressive movers, really supple, but could have more power in the movement and more bending. As incredible a mover as Krack C himself is, I think he still needs a mare with a really strong hind end. That’s probably why the Jazz, Pion, and other Amor bred mares cross so well with him. In the first couple of generations of pedigrees, Krack seems to bring really good riding horse and breeding stock traits. I don’t know why he is not a keur stallion.

San Remo is a mare producer, not a stallion producer. I really like this horse, but, if I bred to him, I’d be praying for a filly. His daughers are just tops. His colts will probably be good sport horses. They are good types, good movers, could have more lift and power in the movement–the W line hind end doesn’t blend well with the Dutch hind end–it’s a difficult mix. I’d like to see longer necks, but the fronts are attractive. The mares I have seen have much more power, have more attractive hind end construction, and seem longer lined. I think San Remo’s place in Dutch breeding is going to be in the third generation in the damline.

The Scandics don’t overly impress me. (Although Scandic himself looks like a different horse under his new rider) They don’t bend enough in the hind leg, they tend to fling their front legs out in front of them, but they have excellent tact and balance. I can see that on the right mares Scandic is going to produce really good sport horses–I can’t tell you what the right mare looks like, however.

Other than the Rousseau’s the Ferro sons and grandsons were not so well received at this stallion show. Ferro continues to bring power and beautiful fronts through the generations, but he can also bring a very light hock and kind of a cart horse movement in the hind leg–it moves like a wheel instead of lifting. Of course, he is an important sire–he has brought great canters, super tact, and beautiful fronts to KWPN dressage breeding, but we have a lot of his blood. At this point in time, it will take very special Ferro sons and grandsons to make much more of an impression at den Bosch–that’s not to say that they won’t.

The van Norel family continues to bring interesting blood into KWPN breeding. The three Uphill sons were all interesting. I know that there are Dutch breeders who don’t like the “old-fashioned” marelines so close, but, if you look at the amount of Gelders blood, in particular, Amor, up close in many of the dressage stallions presented this year, you’ll see that someone in the KWPN selection system is thinking we need it. The Uphills have excellent power in the movement and excellent bending (the picture a few entries below is of Uphill). In type, they could be a little longer lined and a little more supple. As breeding horses, they are excellent, the Uphill x White Star, in particular.

There are a couple of foreign-bred colts worth mentioning. First, fellow New Englander, Ann Kitchel, has bred an outstanding Don Larino x Santander x Rubinstein colt. He’s really gorgeous in type, beautiful front, could bend a bit more and could use more power from the hind leg–but, I can see him crossing well on older style Dutch mares. Second, VDL presented a new Furst Heinrich x Pik Bube x Romadour II son that I like. Again, super stallion type, beautiful front. He may be a bit short through the croup and could use more power and bending, but it will be interesting to see how he crosses on Dutch mares. Third, and most impressive of the foreign stallions is Sir Oldenburg. I’ve already spoken about him a bit, but he’s really worth considering for Dutch mares. His sire, Sion, is by Sultan–Sultan, more importantly Sultan’s mareline, is an important piece of Dutch breeding to preserve. Sir Oldenburg’s dam is by Contender…’nuff said. I’m going to wait to see his first Dutch crosses before I breed to him, but I predict good things.

A foreign-bred horse that I did not care for is the Lauries Crusader xx x Warkant. He’s really beautiful, but he’s particularly long in the hind leg, needs more power, and could be more supple. He brings a nice shoulder and neck and correct legs. I think breeders need to be careful on which mares they use him. He’s one that I’m going to need to see a couple generations back in the pedigree before I’m going to be comfortable.

This entry has gone on and on–sorry about that. Couple other quick comments: Briar does not seem to work on the Dutch mares bred to him so far. The first Florencio’s were also not out of the right type of mare for him. I missed Wednesday, so I didn’t see the Sandro Hit’s, Sandreo’s or Stedinger’s presented, but few of them were accepted. The Sandreo x Pion I quite liked–good use of the hind leg. The Sandro Hit x Florestan from the Select Sale is a super model with flashy movement, but a lot of hock and not enough lift.

Still have a few more general comments to make, but want to get this posted.

February 6, 2008

Topic: KWPN Stallion Show 2008, part 3

In my previous two entries about the stallion show, I’ve tried to highlight the individuals that stood out for me. That being said, remember that the production of one or two outstanding individuals does not a top breeding stallion make. It’s much more important to look at the bigger picture of a stallion’s contribution to the gene pool. So, let’s take a look at the stallions currently having an impact on KWPN breeding. Again, caveat, these are my opinions–I’m just one, horse-crazy guy, sitting at a computer in New Hampshire.

As you know, I’m not a jumper breeder–I don’t profess to have the eye or inclination to have the eye to talk as specifically about jumpers as I do dressage horses. But, for what it’s worth, I’d like to share my observations:

The stallions of VDL, Nijhof, and the Roelofs continue to dominate jumper breeding, as far as I’m concerned.

VDL had nine stallions accepted and their stallions were in the pedigrees of many more. What’ more impressive to me is that VDL breeds many of its stallions; they don’t just go out and by all of them. They have some of the top jumper broodmares in teh world, and they know how to breed horses. Indoctro continues to be a force as a sire, grandsire, and in the dam line. He brings a rectangular, supple horse, with scope and very good technique. My favorite of his sons is still Nassau. Corland, too, is proving to be a stallion for many generations. Although sometimes a bit on the small side, the Corlands are beautiful types, good movers, and very good jumpers. Perhaps the hottest of the VDL stallions is Chin Chin. He will be an influence in KWPN jumper breeding for many years to come. He is well worth the huge studfee. And, of course, Nimmerdor…he is ever present in jumper pedigrees…and, not surprising to me, in many dressage pedigrees.

Nijhof only presented two older stallions this year, both being accepted. But, their stallions, Voltaire, Concorde, Calvados, Burggraaf, Heartbreaker, and Padinus, in particular, appeared in many jumper stallions’ pedigrees. If Voltaire were still alive, he would be nearly 30–still, he had a son in the championship ring for jumpers. That’s impressive. And, Concorde is the sire of Namelus R, who sired the champion of the jumper-bred horses.

Roelofs stallions, Namelus R, Mermus R, Rupert R, Sam R, Odermus R….are almost all based in the Joost x Abgar or Abgar x Joost niche. On this, they have used predominantly Nijhof stallions to create a consistent type, and STRONG propensity for jumping. As the daughters of their stallions have matured and begun producing, crossed with their newer stallions, the Roelof program is getting better and better. That’s exciting breeding.

Another stallion of particular interest is Numero Uno, the Libero H x Lord Calando son. He was awarded the keur predicate this year, and he deserves it. He produces very rectangular horses with much power and scope. Conformationally, I think some of the could be a little longer legged. I also notice a tendency for a bit of drop off behind the wither. But, they are beautiful horses with tons of power and ability. I particulary like the young Numero Uno, Warrant. He is Numero Uno x Nimmerdor x Purioso, and part of the Team Nijhof stable.

From outside pedigrees, it’s hard to ignore the influence of the C line. I think there were more than 20 C line stallions accepted for the second ring, and this isn’t including the Indoctro’s. Almost without fail, these stallions have super conformation and a really solid base. The Contender sons, in particular, are also very good movers. In time, I think we’ll find that the C line will be just as crucial to the KWPN dressage horse as it is to the KWPN jumper horse. This line tends to produce super carrying power and the kind of canter that dressage breeders must come back to frequently.

I’m not as fond of the Lupicors. They are beautiful horses and they can jump–no denying it, but I don’t like the way they use their backs–there’s a stiffness from the base of the neck through the loin connection that bothers me.

That’s my take on the jumpers. Again, for what it’s worth. Dressage conversation is next! Yeah!

February 5, 2008

Topic: The plan for the rest of the Stallion Show entries

Thanks so much for all of the emails of appreciation and further questions; keep ’em coming! I’ll keep a list of the questions and try to get to as many of them as I can once I finish the next couple of segments on the Stallion Show. My plan is move on to more general statements about specialization and specific sire lines of the horses presented this year. Next, I’ll move on to the horses presented under saddle, and try to focus on specific stallions about whom people have asked and/or I’ve been especially interested. Finally, I’ll do a summation and talk about how I’ll use the info. to make my own breeding picks. Sound good? Give me a couple of days to pull it all together. I’ll shoot for a couple new entries before the weekend.

February 5, 2008

Topic: KWPN Stallion Show 2008, part two

First, see caveat at the beginning of part one.

Second, before getting to general observations and analysis, I’m going to continue with observations of individual horses in the selection. Horses to whom I gave one star:

#130 Guidam x Legaat x Garant: Moi type. Super movement. Better jump.

#246 Oklund x Abgar x Wagner: Really good walk. Excellent conformation and type. Supple. SCOPEY. This horse was in the Select Sale.

#256 Padinus x Lux x Farn: I’m a Padinus fan. It’s really too bad that he died so young. I like the Heartbreaker and the Grannus—Padinus himself made the championship ring before the KWPN split jumpers and dressage horses. This colt is much like his father—long lined, elegant, good mover, super jumper.

#287 Quidam de Revel x Nimmerdor x LeMexico: Absolutely beautiful horse. Good mover. Really good jumper. Top mareline.

#340 Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve x Calvados x Burggraaf x Amor: Super type.Super jumper. Needs longer neck.

#357 Tygo x Wolfgang x Legaat: God forbid…an all rounder. Scopey, buthangs over fence a bit too long. Really long lined. Supple. Nice, nice walk.

#470 Ferro x de Niro x Romancier: This horse was not selected. I really liked him. Very good motherline. He is bred by the breeder of Wynton. Looks like an upperlevel horse already. Easy mover. Really nice shape of the movement and excellent bending of the joints. Could have more power in the movement and lift a little more. Ferro hocks.

#477 Flemmingh x Ferro x Donnerhall: This colt sold for 50,000. Euro as a foal. He went on to fourth place in the championship ring. Really smooth conformation. Long lined. Supple. Excellent mover. Very rectangular—a little weak in the loinconnection and not quite as balanced on the corners as I would like. Better in hand. Really quite beautiful.

#503 Jazz x Goodtimes x Nurprimus: Beautiful horse. Super front. Excellent model. Super, super mover. Could bend a little more in the hind leg.

#504 Jazz x Chronos x Linards: Really nice type. Excellent mover. Really uphill. Sickle hocked. Little short in the croup.

#549 Paddox x Mytens xx x Nurprimus: Gorgeous poll connection. Really nicebending of the joints. Could have more power. Absolutely wow in looks.

#581 Rousseau x Ramiro x Amor: Lovely type. Nice top line. Small. Very good mover,but could be quicker with hind leg—lot of hind leg action, but not enough lift. Needs better loin connection, but really gorgeous horse.

#657 Tango x Amor x Godolphin xx: Super type. Very uphill. Good powerin the movement. Beautiful front. Could use more bending in the joints. I don’t thinkthis horse was accepted, but I quite liked him. He is half brother to Faith Fessenden’s very good Farrington mare.

#663 Tolando x Jazz x Amor: Super horse. Excellent hind leg. Not quite as scopeyin the movement as the Rousseau’s. Could be a bit more supple.

#702 Tuschinski x Jetset D x Huzaar: Wow horse. Beautiful type. Nice bending of the joints.

#708 Tuschinski x Naturel x Ulster: Best canter of the Tuschinski’s. Again, super in type and bending. Longer lined than some of the other Tuschinski’s.

#713 UB-40 x Sandro Hit x Ferro: Could have more power, but excellent hind leg.Very modern type. Excellent, excellent bending of the joints. A little short in the hind end. Fine boned. Super, super mover.

#732 Uphill x White Star x Matcho AA: For breeding purposes, this horse would go into my two star category. I love the pedigree. I think Matcho in Dutch breeding will be super. This horse is a super type for KWPN mares—lighter, pretty, excellent movement and bending. He could have a bit more power and be a little longer lined. He went on to the championship ring. Super type. Supple.

#750 Sion x Contender x Tin Rocco: Sir Oldenburg is already German approved. He is an older stallion that was brought for KWPN approval. He is probably one of the most striking stallions of the entire show—black, four whites, white on the face—has a front that looks as if an artist had created it. Moi, moi type. Loads of presence. Powerful. Could have a quicker hind leg. Since he is older and has years under saddle, he demonstrates superior collection in his movement.

#800 Sure Blade xx x Konigsstuhl xx x Obermaat xx: This is the only TB stallion that I liked. He is really long lined and elegant in type. His movement, though lacking power and suspension, has tons of scope and reach. Absolutely beautiful shoulder. Good cross for warmblood mares.

More to come!

February 4, 2008

Topic: KWPN Stallion Show 2008, part one

No frills; I’m going to get right down to the details. As always, the caveat: What you’re about to read is my opinion; I have no affiliation with the KWPN other than as a longtime breeder and believer; I will simply try to articulate my thoughts on the horses I saw, my thoughts on how specific horses are affecting the KWPN breeding population, and my thoughts on the KWPN and its current direction as a whole. If you don’t want to hear my opinion, there’s a simple solution—stop reading.

Stallions that received two stars from me, regardless of whether or not the were eventually accepted:

-one of the Contender sons; for some reason, I spaced writing down the info.

#212 Namelus R x Mermus R x Zeus: This horse went on to be champion of the jumper types. GORGEOUS conformation and type. Good mover. Supple. Absolutely crazy good jumper. I haven’t been this excited about seeing a horse free jump since I saw Judgement get licensed.

#214 Nassau x Amethist x Recruut: A Wow horse. Loads of charisma. Super type. Beautiful neck wither connection. Really good mover. Super jumper. Could be a little longer lined. Went on to the Championship round.

#307 Rupert R x Odermus R x Corland: Lovely, lovely model. Really scopey. Tidy. Super quick in front.

#538 Olivi x Houston x Planeet: Two times Pion. Beautiful front. Super, super mover. Super model. Could have a little longer neck.

#579 Rousseau x Flemmingh x Amor: You all know by now that this horse went on to become champion of the dressage horses. He deserves it. For breeding, he is my second choice of the dressage horses, but he is more developed and longer lined than my favorite—so, on this day, this horse was the champion. Just a top horse. Really nice top line. Long lined. Supple. Excellent mover. Very beautiful horse to look at.

#699 Tuschinski x Negro x Vincent: Absolutely wow mover. The best of the Tuschinski sons, and they were all super. Most long lined of the Tuschinski sons. Cheeky. Beautiful body, but a bit short in the croup. This horse went on to third place in the championship ring. This is also the horse whose owner bought him back in the Select Sale.

#715 UB-40 x Krack C x Inspekteur: This was my favorite horse of the three year old stallions. Ultra modern in type. Uphill. One of the best movers I have ever seen. Best hind leg and best bending of any horse at the stallion show, other than maybe Tuschinski under saddle. Gorgeous front—the prettiest head and neck you can imagine. Beautiful, beautiful horse. A little short in the muscling of the hind end. Hot. Went on to take second to the Rousseau x Flemmingh in the championship ring. The jury announced that he was the best mover, but he was too young in his development—the Rousseau is much more developed at this point in time.

#817 Koss x Satelliet x Uriant: Champion of the Gelders horses. Elegant. POWERFUL mover. Uphill. Really modern type for a Gelders stallion. Super mover. Real riding horse type. I had the good fortune to be sitting with the Peters family, the breeders of this horse, when he was accepted and went on to become champion Gelders horse. There were many tears and much joy. Mr. Peters is 85 years old and has always dreamed of breeding an approved stallion. It was a beautiful moment.

#874 Patijn x Fabricius x Tourist: I love the Tuigpaarden. I grew up in Morgan country—after years and years of watching people weight shoes, leave their horses in bitting rigs for hours upon hours, etc., etc., it’s so nice to see horses bred to move like this. This Patijn son is so flashy and so athletic it just lifts you right out of your seat. He went on to become champion of the Tuigpaarden.

That’s enough for one night. Much, much more to come.

January 29, 2008

Topic: Off to the Stallion Show!

I’m getting excited and nervous…I hate to fly. Susan Duncan, if the plane goes down, take care of my children and sell the horses you, Jim, and the kids don’t want. I think the ducks will have to move to North Carolina–actually, they’d probably prefer that even if I do make it make it back–will try to make shipping arrangements before I leave. God, I hate to fly.

We’ll have a laptop with us, so I’ll try to post a few updates over the weekend. This is a quick trip for us, leaving on Wednesday, back on Sunday. If anyone wants feedback on a particular stallion’s sons,drop me a quick email and I’ll try to post thoughts for you.

January 23, 2008


Next week is the Stallion Show!!! I feel as if I’m about to get a “fix”. There are a few stallions, in particular, that I’m really excited to see. The one pictured below is one of them…who is he? I’ll give you a hint: a few years ago, I visited a famous Dutch breeder and saw his newly approved stallion. I came home and made the statement that this stallion was going to be important to KWPN dressage breeding. At the time, people really scoffed at me–especially people in Holland. Well, the horse pictured below is a son of this stallion, and this son has two sons selected for den Bosch. This stallion went on to have one of the best foal reports of his year, his daughters have been at the top of the keurings every year, he has had sons selected for the stallion show repeatedly, and, the son pictured, is one of the most exciting young dressage stallions in the KWPN. Who is he?

Some housekeeping stuff:

1. I’ve received a few suggestions for the “favorites” link. Hope to have that up and running soon. Please, let me know if there’s a past entry you think should be highlighted.

2. I’m thinking about hosting both a Q and A section of my journal and a conformation evaluation section. You can participate in either section without being identified. One of the strengths I have to offer fellow Dutch breeders is years of experience and tons of contacts. If I don’t know an answer to a bloodline/stallion/breeding question, I know how to find out. I also have a few trusted people in my life who will be willing to participate in a conformation evaluation. I’ll protect their anonymity, just as I’ll protect the anonymity of people asking questions or sending photos for evaluation. Nearly from the beginning of my involvement with the KWPN-NA and Dutch breeding, I have had a vision for an organization that reaches out and offers educational opportunities in a safe and supportive environment for the betterment of the individual breeder, as well as for the organization itself. In my heart and soul, I am, first, a breeder (ask Michaela about my recent assessment of her semi-formal date…) and, second, an educator. Artist falls in there somewhere, too. Nonetheless, I want to provide an educational opportunity for people who have questions about Dutch horses and breeding. So, if you have a question or want a horse’s conformation evaluated, drop me an email. I will be as honest as I can be–believe it or not, there will be some situations in which I will practice restraint; I’m not going to bash someone else’s stallion.

Current breeding picks:

I know, Meghan. You don’t have to say a thing.

Still want a Jazz son for ZaVita SSF(Contango x Elcaro), Oleander B (Havidoff x Ramiro), and Tiastan (Neostan x Belisar)–hopefully, after the stallion show, I will both have a clearer idea of which one and which ones I can get frozen.

LaVita (Elcaro x Belisar)…I just want her to stay pregnant. My mistake, Judgement is not available fresh cooled this year, but he will be next!!! I’m thinking Donatelli right now.

Orchis (Jazz x Roemer)…I just put a bid on the dose of Rascalino frozen in the NEDA auction. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to go with an R line stallion on her this year–if I don’t win the Rascalino frozen, the choice is still wide open.

Werites SSF(Freestyle x Jazz)…I’m going with Don Schufro. With both Werites and Orchis, the foals aren’t for sale, so I have to breed to something that I want to keep for a long time. The $1500. one straw dose of frozen on an ET with a maiden mare is probably idiotic, but that’s what I “want”–Susan Duncan has also picked out a very nice Gypsy Vanner, just in case I want fresh cooled.

“Stevie” Aerosmith SSF (Iroko x Pass the Glass xx)…I’m going with ISF’s new stallion, Riverman. The TB dam on this mare is inbred to Praefectus, same inbreeding as the Furioso line horses–the Voltaire in Riverman should niche beautifully.

Of course, when I get back from Holland, this list could change completely!

January 3, 2008

Topic: Happy New Year!

Well, we just returned from a week in Key West. Yes, I have had my sunshine fix–my seasonal affect disorder is at bay for the moment! Plus, snow acts as a reflector, exponentially increasing the amount of light during chores, and, given all the snow we have (during the month of December, we received the most snow New Hampshire has had since the weather folks began recording snow falls–it’s a crazy amount of snow, and the winter has only just begun!) I’m getting as much light as I would in late spring. So, lots of light, lots of horses, lots of breeding picks to think about….it’s a great new year!

For you Donatelli fans out there, (knock on wood) he seems to be all healed from his broken rib incident. While he couldn’t ride him, Jim has been working piaffe and half pass in hand, to keep the collection muscles strong . He’s been on Donatelli three times now, and things seem good. I think Jim and Donatelli will be at the stallion gathering in Raleigh this weekend.

Super idea, by the way. I wish some big name farms had signed on to be part of it. It will take an ISF or Hilltop to bring the kind of credibility this venture needs for ongoing success. I realize it’s pie-in-the-sky to even contemplate this, but wouldn’t it be incredible to have an annual USA stallion show, where selection actually occurred as well? We could have one event that brought all the studbooks together–they could each hold their own selection, but all the selections of potential stallion candidates could be held on the same three or four day period of time. We’d have a huge trade show, big name riders and trainers doing demos, all the major farms represented, maybe have the top young horses and mares presented as well, top it off with a big auction….possibly have one reprentative from each selection committee part of the jury to select an overall champion stallion from an championship round….it could happen. I think it would give more credibility to warmblood breeding in North America, as well as more credibility to the selection process itself. The Morgan folks all travel to Oklahoma; don’t the Arabian folks go to Arizona or something? I’d travel, and with horses, for this event.

Breeding picks…Meghan, don’t even start on me. Of course, I’m all over the place. Current thoughts:

Judgement is offered fresh cooled this year. I’ve wanted a Judgement baby for years….Judgement x LaVita (who refuses to stay pregnant)…Judgement x Aerosmith SSF (Iroko x Pass the Glass xx). My biggest problem with this idea? I breed dressage horses. What am I going to do with a jumper foal? As much as I like Judgement, I don’t think he’s going to produce a dressage horse.

Sandro Hit blood. I continue to waffle so much about this line. They are certainly beautiful and certainly doing well at the lower levels. I’d be a lot more comfortable if there were more of them at FEI. I continue to think that Sandro Hit is going to have his best (mind you, I didn’t say biggest) influence in the third or fourth generation. That being said, there are so many nice stallion sons…100 or more, I recently read. I don’t know if this number is accurate or not, but, if it is, that may be reason enough to avoid breeding to any of them.

Register A or KWPN approved stallions. I’m not torn about this: pick the best stallion for each mare; this doesn’t mean that he has to be KWPN approved. Given that the KWPN mare population is not so big in the USA, we’re not going to get the number of frozen options that the German breeders get–why not take advantage of these stallions then?

Jazz. I know many of you think I’m crazy, but I love this horse and I like what he produces even better than Jazz himself. If you look at the current A and B teams representing Holland, there is Jazz and three of his offspring. Historically speaking, there will be no horse more important to Dutch dressage breeding than Jazz. He will outshine Doruto, Ferro, Amor, Cocktail, Flemmingh…all of them. Plus, we have a number of really good sons available. I’m breeding at least two mares to his son, Wynton, this year. Right now, I’m thinking Oleander (Havidoff x Ramiro) and ZaVita SSF (Contango x Elcaro). I’d even consider putting him on Werites SSF (Freestyle x Jazz)–(Susan Duncan, I hope you weren’t drinking coffee while you read that; I’m sure it’s all over your computer by now, and you’re also picking up the phone, first, to call Aaron to tell him to hide my mare and, second, to call me and tell me I’m out of my f—ing mind!)

I want Tuschinsky. I’ll go further than that; I want fresh cooled semen from Tuschinsky for Orchis. This isn’t going to happen. I may be crazy, but I’m not delusional. I’ve got two replacement doses of Krack C coming–I can be more than perfectly happy with Krack himself if the frozen will work. Otherwise, I’m completely stuck for Orchis. She’s foaling a little late, so I’d really prefer fresh cooled–we’ve never gotten her in foal with frozen. Both the Freestyle and Donatelli crosses seem to work really well with her, but, given her ranking on the KWPN index, I’d love to breed her to a super hot, younger stallion, and really go for an outrageous baby. Judy Yancey has me thinking about Quaterback for her. I’ve had suggestions from my friend, Johan, to go with Florencio or Sandreo. I’ve been thinking about Matine’s sire, Silvermoon. Again, I could be really happy with the Krack C if it will work. Maybe I’ll send the Krack C semen to North Carolina for Werites….I don’t know. For breeding stock, I’d love to breed Orchis to a stallion with an idex as high or higher than hers, but that’s nearly impossible. My options become really limited. And, though indexes/indices are certainly important, it’s much more important to find the right stallion for the right mare than it is to breed for just a number. Regardless, her fillies go no where and her colts get to stay with us for at least a couple of years, so I’ve got to find a stallion whose offspring I want to have around and in my program for years to come.

OK. Enough waffling to start the year! Thank you for being a devotee or occassional peruser of my journal. Remember to send in your selections for the “Best Of” link. May all of your resolutions hold, your breeding programs flourish, and your families stay happy and healthy.