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Jan 1, 2009 | 0 comments

December 19,2009

Topic: Breeding Picks

OK. I think I’ve gone long enough without an update on what I’m thinking about for specific mares for next year. You guys all know that things change right up to the moment I go to the nitrogen tank to thaw the semen, but enough of you seem to be amused by my obsession that it’s worth sharing the current list. We’ll have seven mares to breed this year:

Orchis (Jazz x Roemer) x Don Schufro (this is a confirmed choice–Judy Yancey has convinced me, and I’ve made the committment)
Oleander (Havidoff x Ramiro) x Alexandro P (I already have the frozen for this breeding, as well)
Nanette (Contango x Amor) x UB-40
LaVita (Elcaro x Belisar) x UB-40
BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz) x Wynton or Furstenball
Carpe Diem SSF (Farrington x Pass the Glass xx) x UB-40
Sanette (Jazz x Contango) x Romanov

Longtime friend Jenn Tousignant and I have made a deal on Buttercup SSF (Diamond Hit x Havidoff), so she won’t be in our breeding line-up for next year. Jenn braided her for the keuring, and couldn’t stop thinking about her. We both agree that this is a top performance mare, so I couldn’t be happier to have Cuppie going to Jenn’s program.

On another genetic front, our new Nubian buck,Kastdemur’s Audacious Christian, arrived from California last week. He’s, without a doubt, the nicest boy we’ve had for our little goat herd. We’ll have late kids next year, but they should be beautiful!

Now, if I could get Carol to cooperate, I could satisfy my genetic obsession on all fronts!

December 18, 2009

Topic: Clarification: Bordeaux

I didn’t mean to start a fire-storm by mentioning Bordeaux’s xray report in In de Strengen. A number of you have emailed me for more information. All that I’ve seen is what’s written in his testing report, published in the lastest issue of IdS. My translation could be off–I read it to say that he has class C OCD in his right hock. The stallion selection committee followed that with a sentence that I think translates to the fact that they have the authority to deem this as acceptable even though it normally isn’t. If one of our mainland Dutch breeder peers can either add more to this, let me know and I’ll be happy either to stand corrected or further clarify.

December 11, 2009

Topic: Winter Wonderland…

I’m fast approaching the point at which snow on a postcard will be enough for me. I’ve had my mares in for three days because we haven’t been able to get both them and hay out into the big field. My barn is a mess. A few years ago on a visit to the breeder of Krack C, the girl taking us around the barn proudly stated that they cleaned out eight stalls per day, that way every stall was cleaned out at least once a week so all the stalls stayed “fresh and clean”–her words. Carol comes home tonight. Do you think she’s going to buy,

“But, honey, in Holland they only clean out the stalls once a week. The girls have only been in three days.”

She’s not to going to buy it. I think I’m going to have to use some round pen panels to close off the barnyard and get the girls out of their stalls long enough to clean out the barn this afternoon. Or, maybe I’ll stop and get a couple bottles of really good red wine, then Carol won’t care so much!

So what’s up with the KWPN accepting the radiographs on Bordeaux? Is it due to his phenomenal pedigree that they’re making this exception? Bummer. From a sales and breeding stock persepective, it makes me too nervous to breed to him. I went back to my notes from the Stallion Show last year, and saw that I’d written a comment about not liking his hock construction. Combination of this and the radiographs take him off my list completely. Way too bad…love the pedigree and the mareline. On top of this, Carol just told me about her now-botched plan to buy a bottle of Bordeaux for my stocking, as part of her plan to buy me a breeding to the stallion for under the tree! Don’t I have a wonderful wife? How many wives would get the idea to buy frozen semen for their husband’s Christmas present? I’m thinking about getting her a wood splitter.

Have been looking at the Nijhof’s new Trakehner stallion, Symont. He’s Monteverdi x Kostolany, out of a full sister to Silvermoon, the sire of Matine. Unfortunately, he’s not approved KWPN and he’s not frozen. I like him, though–really well balanced, supple, and a super walk.

Speaking of Stallion Show, any one going this year? I’m waffling. The Euro is so strong against the dollar that it makes for a really expensive four days. Flight, rental car, and hotel will total around $1500. USD. But…I could be persuaded. Hate to miss it.

If you haven’t done so, scroll down to the video link of Alexandro P’s foal inspection. Apache’s (the UB-40 son) is there now as well. SUPER foals! A few of them are really outrageous. Haven’t heard whether or not he’s available frozen, but…there’s a certain favorite stallion of mine standing at ISF that is available…

So, I haven’t known quite how to comment on Jacques Verkerk’s departure from the KWPN. It’s always difficult to make a judgement call when you’re not privy to all of the details and extenuating circumstances. I’d like to say this, however: In my mind, he will always be the first person to hold North American breeders to the same standard as our counterparts in the Netherlands. For this, for his vast knowledge of pedigrees and marelines, and for his willingness to share information with me as a breeder, I have to say, thanks. He made me a better breeder and my program a stronger program.

November 24, 2009

Topic: Happy Thanksgiving!

Can you believe that we’re a month away from Christmas already? I just don’t know where the year’s gone. There’s a lot more going on than I’ll get to in this journal entry, but that’s life…and, in the end, life is good. So, on with the news:

Congrats to Jane and Sibley Hannigan on the purchase of Eros SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff), now known as, Eudamon. It’s every dressage breeder’s fondest hope to have his talented babies end up with top riders. I’m psyched for Jane and psyched for Cruz that he’s going to have every opportunity to go as far as he can in sport.

Our current sales’ list is as follows:

Aerosmith SSF (Iroko x Pass the Glass xx), #1 jumper mare in North America at the end of the 2008 keurings. She’s under saddle, going well, and looking beautiful. She’s been with a young event rider whose life circumstances have changed, so I’m looking for someone to take on this special mare. I’d like to sell her, but I’m also open to lease situations. This mare belongs in sport.

DaVinci SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff), top five as both a weanling and a yearling–he’s now a super elegant gelding, standing in the never-ending mud we’ve seemed to have in New England this year.

In utero foals:

UB-40 x Havidoff x Ramiro
UB-40 x Elcaro x Belisar
UB-40 x Contango x Amor
UB-40 x Diamond Hit x Havidoff
Farrington x Jazz x Contango

We’ve recently had a couple of our client payment plans come to an end, so I’d be psyched to set up payments for someone looking for a horse.

My thoughts on breeding this year:

Judy Yancey is going to have Alexandro P (Koss x Satelliet) available. $750/dose of proven frozen. As I’ve said repeatedly, I think this is a horse that could be important to the North American marebase.

I’m waiting for the price on Bordeaux (United x Gribaldi). Hard to beat the mareline on this horse, but, after seeing recent footage of him under saddle and going back to my notes from the Stallion Show last year, he’s not going to be a horse I spend $1000/dose on until I see what he produces.

Don Schufro has been on my list for years, and I’m kicking myself that I haven’t bred to him before–his frozen is over 2K/dose now. That’s a lot of mula to risk on a dose of frozen.

Google the following: Totilas Gribaldi Breeder. There’s a great interview with the Schuils about they’re breeding program. In particular, they’re really insightful about matching the correct stallion pedigree with your mares’ pedigrees. My favorite piece of the interview is when Mr. Schuil says (this is not a direct quotation, but the basics of what he said), eventually, the KWPN will understand that long front legs are not functional for a sport horse. Amen. (The “amen” is me, not him)

Given the list of top horses who contributed to the KWPN’s #1 position in world dressage breeding, it looks as if all breeders should seriously consider some Trakehner and TB blood for their programs; two Gribaldis and a Partout, Amsterdam and Jazz are the sires of the top horses. Looking at the marelines, you’ll find some strong Gelders breeding not that far removed from the current generation. Jazz is the only sire that was born Dutch. Coincidence? Maybe.

For North American breeders who want fresh cooled semen, UB-40 remains my pick. After you read the pedigrees and types used in the Schuils’ program, look again at UB-40’s pedigree.

Haven’t heard definitely from Kathy or Janko, but I’m still hoping to have Uphill as an option this year. Speaking of Kathy, she has some of the cheapest doses of Lancet available–that horse looks better and better.

More to follow! I promise I won’t go so long before the next entry.

November 15, 2009

Topic: Have You All Given Up?

I have this policy in my English classes: Students are allowed to rewrite essay as often as they want until the end of the given marking period. Well, I have two high-powered AP classes this year who are seriously taking me to task! I can’t remember a year in which I’ve read so many essays so many times! Combine this with my producing one show, acting in and directing another, and now beginning rehearsals for Macbeth, and you get me with no time for personal writing. I promise a lengthy journal entry this week about…

-stallion picks
-horses sold
-trip to the 2010 Stallion Show
-more pictures.

October 7, 2009

Topic: Sylvia, by AR Gurney

If any of you in driving distance to Keene, I’m in a show opening this weekend. Sylvia, by AR Gurney, is the story of a middle-aged couple that is experiencing the difficulties that come along with “empty nest” syndrome, career changes, etc. Greg, the husband (me), finds a stray dog in the park–well, this dog gives his life meaning and he becomes completely enthralled with her, while Kate, the wife, thinks the dog is destroying the marriage. Of course, the “dog” is actually played by an attractive actress…comedy ensues! It’s really a fun, funny, heart-warming kind of show. We open Friday, the 9th, 7:30 pm, at Heberton Hall, next to the Keene Public Library. The show runs this Friday and Saturday, and then again next weekend on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. For out-of-towners, next weekend is Keene’s famous Pumpkin Festival, so be prepared for crowds and difficulties parking, but also more jack-o-lanterns than you’ve ever seen in one location. Reservations at 603 352 5657.

September 25, 2009

Topic: Fun Fact!

I just figured out that Iron Spring Farm’s super mare, Rabiola, is out of the same mareline as Debbie Harrison’s approved Gelders stallion, Ijsselmeer. How interesting is that! ITime and time again, it’s all in the mareline.

September 25, 2009

Topic: Keuring Follow-up

Sorry for the delay in posting a keuring report–I’ve just had a crazy week of school and rehearsals. I’m playing Greg in AR Gurney’s Sylvia. It’s an Edge Ensemble production and it opens the second weekend of October. It’s really funny play about a couple going through midlife stuff. The husband (me) gets a dog (played by an attractive woman) and the wife goes a bit ballistic.

So, the keuring: SSF had a great day. In short, Bunny SSF (Johnson x Volkmar), now owned by Meg Clement, was the only adult horse to receive ster status. Evidently, the office didn’t ship the high point ribbons to New England, so we didn’t receive our high point adult horse award, but we won it. DaVinci SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff) was the only yearling or two year old to receive a first premium, so he’s got a shot at the high point young horse. Eros SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff) went first premium and second in the ringing order in a really strong class of foals. The jury mentioned that they were especially pleased with the top foals in the class and that they were among the best in the country. Buttercup SSF (Diamond Hit x Havidoff) made studbook. Her movement scores were high, but the jury found her too heavy in type and they wanted more length in the front leg, so her conformation score was a 68, instead of the necessary 70 for star. Still, they complimented her use of the hind leg, especially in trot. AdeLente W ( Freestyle x Cabochon) whom we bred with Alicia Winter, owned by Leah Jamieson, won the DG Bar cup and passed her IBOP. So, all in all, a really strong showing for our horses.

The jury was stricter this year than I’ve ever seen. In addition, they also did the best job of explaining themselves and expressing what they are looking for that I’ve seen at a keuring. These are good things as far as I’m concerned. Host, Dayna Gant, did a super job of organizing everything and running the show. We had a huge crowd, which Faith Fessenden entertained and educated the entire day. And, most importantly, the quality of horses, the foals in particular, was really high.

Since the keuring, Kathy Hickerson, Dayna Gant, and I have been emailing about ideas for future New England keurings–Kathy, in particular, has made some super suggestions about a New England keuring website, opportunities for farms and breeders to have more exposure, and some sponsorship ideas. I’ve suggested we in New England become our own small country and host farm tours, sales events, etc. Perhaps we need to establish some kind of forum through which New England breeders can communicate and begin discussing ways to work together to promote the Dutch horse in the land of fall foliage.

Grades close today, so I’ve got to get back to work. Here are a couple pictures from the keuring; I’ve got more to share.

September 13, 2009

Topic: A Treat for You All!

Below, you’ll find a link just sent to me by the Peters family who are the owners and breeders of Alexandro P. The link will take you to a video of his foal inspection!! Better yet, at the same location, you’ll find the foal inspections of Ampere and Zhivago. Of course, I’ve already sat through all three of them. Once you’ve seen them, drop me an email with your comments. These three young stallions are producing really interesting, but quite different, foals. It’s most interesting to me that Alexandro P was bred to the biggest range of mares–riding type, gelders, tuigpaarden, and a couple mares of unknown pedigree. That being said, wait until you see his foals! Wow. As you watch, know that normally the stallion owner saves what he or she thinks are the best foals for the end. Enjoy!

September 12, 2009

Topic: Another Month Goes by So Quickly

The older I get, the faster the days go by. Kind of a scary thought given that I have a BIG birthday coming up in 2010. What are you going to do? Worry about it? Nope. I’m going to breed more horses.

So, one of the major disadvantages of my posting so infrequently is that a lot happens between posts; it forces me into list/blurb mode, rather than well-developed, creative interpretations of life around me. That being said, please, forgive any lack of originality, well-developed imagery, or complete thought in the following:

-since I ordered 5,000 bales of hay without having the money at hand to pay for it…it’s a good thing we had a big sales’ month. Congrats to Meg Clement, of Peterborough, NH, on the purchase of Bunny SSF (Johnson x Volkmar); a dressage rider in Holland on the purchase of Bravour (Jazz x Cabochon); Audrey Maschue, of Loxahatchee, FL, on the purchase of Bonfire SSF (Contango x Vincent), and Lauren Campbell, of Jaffrey, NH, on the acquisition of Aerosmith SSF (Iroko x Pass the Glass xx). Special thanks to Lizzie Austin, Maryann Hamshaw and Cathy Lambert for thinking of us and our breeding program. I’m especially pleased that our horses have found such good homes.

-I’ve upped the price on one of the few horses we have left for sale; Eros SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff), aka, “Cruise”, is now at $15,000. The more I like him, the higher the price is going to go. This is a fancy, fancy boy. If he had two testicles, I’d have his price at 25K, and I have never priced a baby that high in 20 years of breeding. Fortunately, we have a full sibling due in June. This one best be a filly.

-If you know our program and have an interest in babies coming next year, let me know. We’ve already had a couple offers on Orchis’s Rousseau baby, but that one isn’t for sale until I see it. The updated list of expected foals is as follows:

UB-40 x Buttercup SSF x Diamond Hit x Havidoff

UB-40 x Nanette x Contango x Amor

Rousseau x Orchis x Jazz x Roemer

UB-40 x Oleander B x Havidoff x Ramiro

UB-40 x Lavita x Elcaro x Belisar

UB-40 x BoWendy x Sir Sinclair x Jazz

Farrington x Sanette x Jazz x Contango

We had a really good year getting mares in foal; I bred eleven mares and got ten mares pregnant–the eleventh mare hasn‘t been preg-checked yet. One sold, two aren‘t my mares, and one, LaLiscia, just wouldn’t hold her pregnancies.

-Totilas scores a +90%. Holy shit. I’ve not seen this horse in person, only in photos and on youtube.com. What an incredible athlete. Most interesting to me is his breeding and type in terms of what the KWPN is currently promoting. He is Gribaldi x Glendale x Akteur. It would be difficult to find a more “all-rounder” pedigree than this. Gribaldi is one of the leading producers of FEI dressage horses in any studbook; Glendale showed in dressage, but he’s completely bred to be a jumper (Nimmerdor x Marco Polo); Akteur, himself a jumper and one of the best Amor sons, is seen as the damsire of the very successful and popular grand prix jumper, Judgement-ISF, and the very successful and popular, international grand prix dressage horse, Aktion. In type, Totilas is square, short in the front leg, long in the hindleg, heavy in the neck, and, generally, “off-type”. Do we think that our organization needs to, perhaps, weight type less in the keuring process? Just a thought.

-in response to Tineke Bartles recent statement about the success of the Dutch system, hmm. I, as a Dutch breeder, am delighted to see Dutch riders and KWPN horses do so well in the European Championships. However, from my conversations with respected trainers and breeders who are more familiar than I with the training methods employed by some of the proponents, and primary implementers, of this Dutch system, I am somewhat suspect. I’m going to have to take a time-will-tell approach to the whole thing.

-I miss the “Report from the Road”!!! Of course, no one is paid to write this report, and it’s only been due to the dedication of Faith and Jacques that we’ve had this report in the past, but I still miss it. It’s nice to see the list of first premiums, but a little more information would be so greatly appreciated for those of us who can not travel to multiple keurings. That being said, go UB-40!!! As you all know, I’ve been a fan from the beginning and have directly convinced at least a half dozen fellow breeders to try him. I maintain that UB is a stallion who will prove to be a significant, important, and positive influence on Dutch breeding in North America. If it weren’t for the availability of Uphill frozen next year, I’d be breeding the majority of my mares right back to UB in 2010. My four UB-40s are among the best horses we’ve bred, and we’ve bred some top horses.

-speaking of keurings and top horses, I’m going through my usual, pre-keuring stress. If I could freeze-frame my young horses so they look as good one day as the next, I’d be much happier. But, that’s not the case. Such is the gamble in presenting horses that have not fully matured. Leo, DaVinci SSF, (UB-40 x Havidoff) hasn’t gone through an ugly phase yet–he’s due–it will probably happen this week. Cruise, Eros SSF, (UB-40 x Havidoff) is a typical weanling–he looks like a different horse every day. Buttercup SSF (Diamond Hit x Havidoff), is a victim of an owner who has gotten her too fat…Who could that be? I gain weight in my gut and ass; she gains weight in her neck. Things have been crazy enough around here that I didn’t even notice her “bulk” until yesterday. It’s going to be a challenge to slim her down a bit in a week. Oh, well. Her original name was Baroque SSF–she’s going to look the part.

OK. I’m off to deliver forgotten items to a certain junior at NMH. More news coming

August 8, 2009

RE: I know! I know!

Yes, it’s been two months since I’ve posted an entry in my journal…what can I say? Our website was hacked and contracted some nasty porn virus, my house has been full of my teenagers and their friends all summer, and I’ve been doing all my own breeding work on nine mares. But, thank you for the emails of concern and prodding. Knock on wood, we are all doing great and having a fabulous summer. So updates (no particular order):

So psyched to see Orchis’s nephew win the five-year-old consolation finals in Verden yesterday. Karolus van Wittenstein (Krack C x Partout x Roemer) is out of a full sister of Nadine and half sister of Orchis (Jazz x Roemer). I saw this guy presented as a three-year-old at the Stallion show and loved him–I think he’s now approved NRPS.

Also psyched to see Alexandro P’s first foals do so well at the keurings in Holland. THREE fillies qualified for the finals in Ermelo! If you get In de Strengen, the filly on the cover of the last issue is an Alexandro P. I really hope we can get enough interest to bring in some of his very good quality frozen for next year.

Carol, the kids, and I just spent a long weekend in NC with friends, Susan Duncan and Barbara Kuzell. Although we didn’t get to see Werites under-saddle, she looks fabulous. I’m amazed at how much more filled-out she is even since February. This mare really needs to be producing for our breeding program. I’ve got the stallion all picked out…

So far, we have five UB-40’s and one Rousseau coming for next year. Our fabulous, old TB mare, LaLiscia, has been pregnant four times, but hasn’t held them. Sanette, our Jazz x Contango mare had twins, unfortunately our vet pinched both of them. I think she’s back in foal to Donatelli now, but need to confirm. The only mare we’ve had difficulty getting pregnant this year is Bunny SSF, our Johnson x Volkmar three-year-old. I just bred her to Donatelli on Thursday, so we’ll see what happens. With any luck, this is what we have coming for next year:

UB-40 x Contango x Amor (Nanette)
UB-40 x Diamond Hit x Havidoff (Buttercup SSF)
UB-40 x Havidoff x Ramiro (Oleander)
UB-40 x Sir Sinclair x Jazz (Bowendy)
UB-40 x Elcaro x Belisar (LaVita)
Rousseau x Jazz x Roemer (Orchis)
Donatelli x Jazz x Contango (Sanette)
Donatelli x Johnson x Volkmar (Bunny SSF)

I’ve stopped with LaLiscia–she’s just coming out of a nasty bout with cellulitis, so we sewed her shut for the year and will try next spring…she’ll be 22…

We’ve been really happy with our babies this year. EzaVita SSF has already left for her new home. It’s a good thing she sold so quickly because my entire family was WAY attached to this filly. Great Vita-line personality, gorgeous body, super movement. She would never have left this farm if Peggy Halpin hadn’t bought her within a few weeks of her birth.

Eros SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff) is a full brother to our top five in North America colt from lat year. “Cruise” is probably the most exotic horse we’ve bred–he’s just gorgeous. Unfortunately for us, but good for someone else, he only has one testicle–this means he is destined to be a gelding, so he’s for sale. He’s developing in to a dark, liver chestnut with a lighter mane and tail–tons of white–probably sabino.

Eliscia SSF (UB-40 x Pass the Glass xx) is what Carol calls a “sleeper”. This filly is a leggy, tall, modern type in a fairly plain chestnut model…the other babies get all of the attention, but she’s an oozy, supple mover with all kinds of athleticism. Hopefully, she’s the first of many UB-40 fillies that we’ll keep for our breeding program.

Keuring prep is well under way, as you can imagine. I’m going to be really interested to see which of our two three-year-olds the jury likes better. Both Bunny SSF and Buttercup SSF are super movers and good types. Bunny is a bit more uphill and lighter in type–Buttercup is more powerful and “built”. I think both will be ster mares. We’ll see.

Leo, aka, DaVinci SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff), is the fanciest yearling we’ve ever had on the farm. The only things I can fault him for is that he’s a little fine-boned and his walk can get a bit tense. He’s got a gorgeous trot and world-class canter. He’s also the only yearling we’ve ever decided to take to a keuring. If the jury likes him, he’ll stay a stallion for another year. If they don’t, then we’ll implement the testicle-removal process. I truly believe that male horses live a happier life as geldings–but…if Leo is as special as I think he is, both he and our breeding program deserve a little more time and inconvenience.

So, anyone out there get a Vivaldi pregnancy? From what I’ve heard, there is not a single pregnancy from the frozen semen sent to the US, Canada, or England. Not so good.

Congrats to VDL on Westpoint’s winning the six-year-old qualifier at Verden! I think the finals are tomorrow. Keep you fingers crossed for a KWPN victory.

Anyone checking out the foal auctions in Holland? I’ve got my two stallion prospects picked out–now I just need one kid to drop out of school so I can divert tuition money to horse purchases….my god, I think our combined tuition bills are over $90,000 this coming year. I can only hope that my children will remember all the auction foals their beloved father didn’t bid on so they could be “educated”.

I’ll make a great deal for someone who wants to take a really special Contango gelding in training. Our Contango x Vincent three-year-old has all kinds of talent for dressage. He just needs the right rider/trainer. Current sales list:

Aerosmith SSF (Iroko x Pass the Glass xx) four-year-old mare; top jumper prospect

Bonfire SSF (Contano x Vincent) three-year-old gelding; super dressage talent

Bunny SSF (Johnson x Volmanr) three-year-old mare; lovely, modern type for dressage

Eros SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff) weanling colt; exotic, super talented baby

and nine “perennial-eating” geese–best offer

June 7, 2009

Topic: Joyful day for humans–sad day for horses

Michaela’s graduation was spectacular today–she was duly lauded for her talent, tenacity, and generous, giving nature. It was a beautiful day.

On the horse front, things were sadder. LaVita delivered a gorgeous, bay Farrington filly while we were gone, but she was early, not bagged, and it must have been a red bag delivery because the filly didn’t make it. The umblical cord was still attached to the placenta. Those of you who know us know how special LaVita and her babies are to the family, so this is a major loss for us.

On the Vivaldi frozen semen front, no go. So you know, I used a dose and a half on this breeding and was within six hours post ovulation, plus I used the Oxytocin protocol pre and post ovulation.

Our 21 year old TB mare has had early embryonic loss, as well, so our Facet pregnancy is no more. And…no Diamond HIt pregnancy in our Johnson mare. But, knock on wood, we do have a Rousseau pregnancy in Orchis and no UB-40 twins in Nanette. So, the day is not a total wash out, but we’ve had better days at SSF.

RIP, Evita SSF

June 5, 2009

Topic: First Preg Checks and General Craziness

Keagan fans from the Annual Meeting may want to Facebook him and wish him good health…we spent Wednesday night in the hospital, Keagan hooked up to some killer antibiotics and several liters of fluids, me on the next bed worried sick. He’s got a severe case of Mono that really has him down for the count. He’s home now and better, but relegated to the couch and his laptop.

Michaela graduates from Exeter this weekend!!!! She’s already garnered some big awards and cum laude status–I have some prom/human keuring photos to share with you all in a separate entry. She’s definitely going keur elite.

Pregnancies: Yes! We have some. So far, we have….

-UB-40 x Contango x Amor
-UB-40 x Diamond Hit x Havidoff
-Facet x Pass the Glass xx x Pretense xx

I scan for the Rousseau, Diamond Hit, and Vivaldi pregnancies on Sunday night after we get back from Exeter.

From what I’m hearing, I need to be picking out a new stalliion for BoWendy–I’ve heard of 16 Vivaldi breedings–12 of which are far enough along to know that they didn’t take–four haven’t been checked. Doesnt’ look good. Joop van Uytert better be planning some spectacular guarantees with the frozen semen from all of his stallions next year if he expects many North Americans to be buying it. Or, better yet, he may want someone else doing his freezing. Joop is a nice guy and has really special stallions–it’d be good if their frozen semen produced pregnancies outside of the Netherlands, however.

Word is that Uphill is going to be available through VDL next year–that guarantees we’ll get quality semen and FINALLY access to some van Norel blood. Kathy and Katy will probably be the contacts for this.

No one bought any Alexandro P this year, which is really too bad. I’m going to go out on a limb and buy a number of doses and have here for next year. He’s too nice of a horse for us not to be breeding to him.

On a sad note, Alexandro P’s breeder, Herman Peters, 86, passed away last week. He was a horseman through and through. And, he loved Alexandro P. One of his biggest dreams was to breed and own an approved stallion before he died–it’s nice when dreams come true. I only came to know him in the last few years of his life, but he and his family have been warm and generous in their friendship and mutual appreciation for the KWPN horse. Please keep them in your thoughts/prayers/rain dances.

May 25, 2009

Topic: Keuring Prep

I’ve had a couple emails asking when I start my keuring prep. The answer is, now. If I’m planning on presenting a three year old for star/keur-eligible, I’m thinking about it now. I want my mares to be muscled over the top line and fleshy for presentation, so the two girls that I’m planning on presenting this year are already in the barn, on the cross ties and upped in grain. Same with our Iroko mare for her IBOP. We’ll start long-lining and backing/rebacking over the next month. When it comes to babies, there’s nothing to do other than keep them in during the day and out at night in the couple of month before the keuring so they’re not all bleached out. For the studbook or IBOP horses, NOW is the time to be thinking keuring.

Bred Bunny SSF (Johnson x Volkmar) to Diamond Hit this morning. It wasn’t the breeding I was planning on, but Bunny had ovulated on the left and had big follicle ready to go on the right, so I thought it was the best use of our single D.Hit dose. Could be a really exciting baby!

First preg checks tomorrow. Will keep you posted.

May 24, 2009

Topic: Busy Weekend

First, congratulations to Peggy Halpin on the purchase of EzaVita SSF (UB-40 x Contango x Elcaro)! Peggy has decided to start a breeding program and has been looking for the right filly to be her foundation mare–it was love at first scratch for both Peggy and Eza. Carol and I couldnt’ be more pleased that Eza is going to someone as nice as Peggy. This is a special filly.

Second, I’ve bred five mares in under two weeks and have one more to breed tomorrow. If all of these girls take on the first cycle (highly unlikely, I know), it will be a crazy couple of weeks at the end of April/beginning of May next year. So far we’ve done two UB-40s, a Facet, a Rousseau, and a Vivaldi. This last breeding didn’t go quite the way I’d planned it…I got a hold of the first straw and put in the water bath; I broke the second straw trying to get it off the cane; then I dropped the whole cane into the bottom of my tank. So, I had to use the second dose, with an extra straw that I’d already thawed. Now I have two whole straws and a broken straw on the cane at the bottom of my tank. Lovely.

If you haven’t been on the KWPN-NA site and filled out the survey on next year’s annual meeting, please do! I’m hoping we get to have it at the stallion show.

Here’s a link to a really fancy SSF boy: http://www.dressagedaily.com/index.php?option=com_mtree&task=viewlink&link_id=1101&Itemid=335 Freddy is Zeoliet x Oladaula. Heather Merrill bought him as a baby and he has become her dream horse. Unfortunately, due to some health issues, Heather has to sell Freddy. He’s with Jim Koford, just outside of Raliegh. Jim thinks he could be a superstar for the right rider. This is a very talented horse.

Speaking of fancy horses, I am blown away by how well Bunny SSF (Johnson x Volkmar) is suddenly developing. Bunny is the first Johnson baby in North America–she came back to us this winter because her original buyer was having financial difficulty. Well, it took her a bit to settle in and “get a glow on” as it were. We’ve just started conditioning and handling her–she’s absolutely blossoming. Her price will not stay low for long. I’m planning on breeding her to Donatelli tomorrow or the next day–if anyone is interested in a lovely, modern filly with exceptionally nice movement, let me know and I’ll breed her to whomever you want.

May 18, 2009

Topic: Proms are Keurings for Humans

So this is my latest theory: Proms are keurings for humans. What do you think? To illustrate this, I thought I’d include a couple of Keagan’s prom pictures. Handsome, isn’t he? Must take after his mother. Definitely needs a first premium orange boutonniere! You don’t get to see his movement here, but NMH had a great band for prom, and this boy likes to DANCE! I can promise you Jacques and Bart would have seen enough push from behind and an expressive front…and supple–we’re talking loose. I think he’s a keeper.

Speaking of hot offspring, we have some footage of EzaVita SSF (UB-40 x Contango x Elcaro) on youtube.

This is a powerhouse of a filly. Somebody out there must want a prima filly for sport or breeding. If I didn’t have hay bills to pay, I wouldn’t be selling her. Check out the video–ignore the large, bald guy leading the mare. It’s not me.

May 15, 2009

Topic: And Let the Breeding Begin!!!

OK. I’ve spent the last week, every few hours, with my arm in a horse’s rectum. The joys of breeding season! We’ve purposefully held off until the last week to begin breeding so that we won’t have any March or early April foals. The first two mares inseminated are Nanette (Contango x Amor) and Buttercup SSF (Diamond Hit x Havidoff).–both to UB-40. The timing was perfect and, as always, the ISF semen shipping machine was well-oiled and accomodating.

Yup. Two more UB-40s on the way, hopefully…I’m so pleased with the four UB-40s we’ve bred so far that I have no real desire to breed to any other stallion right now. Of course, my two direct Jazz daughters are probalby not the best matches for him, but that leaves A LOT of other mares that could be bred to him. Of course, this would be a year in which I’ve prepurchased some breedings and have a tank full of frozen.

Next week, I should be using my first dose of the Vivaldi frozen. Have heard mixed reports about it so far–two say it looks pretty good under the scope–one that it looks not so good. Haven’t heard of any pregnancies yet. If someone has, let me know. With all of van Uytert’s stallions going to be available via frozen next year, let’s hope this Vivaldi works. After the bad luck with the Krack C frozen, if the Vivaldi doesn’t work, I’ll be really hesitant to buy frozen from these stallions. And, there are some phenomenal stallions in the van Uytert collection. If you haven’t seen the DVD, it’s really worth watching. In particular, the Diarado horse has me wishing I bred jumpers. He’s Diamant de Semilly x Corrado I x Contender x Lord x Ramiro; out of a top, top Holsteiner mareline; his dam received a 10 on her free jumping and is full sister to an approved stallion; plus, Diarado himself is strikingly beautiful, a freaky jumper, and a really decent mover. “Wishing I bred jumpers…” Hmmm. I have quite a talented Iroko x Pass the Glass xx mare in my herd at the moment. Kidding. I’m not breeding Stevie. She has to go to someone’s jumper program or to someone who wants a top jumping prospect. Honestly, if this young stallion were more reasonably priced, I’d try it, but I think he’s 1600/dose. He stands for 1800 Euro in Europe. Crazy for an unproven young stallion, so they must anticipate that he’s going to be popular.

The breeding should continue this week: LaLiscia is due for her 30 day heat and has a date with Facet. Bowendy is due back into heat and has a date with Vivaldi. I’m going to short-cycle both the Jazz girls, Orchis and Sanette, because Orchis is acting hormonally weird and Sanette has a 40 stuck on her right ovary. Orchis is booked to Rousseau; Nanette gets my only dose of Diamond Hit. So, by the end of next week, I should have a permanent ring of shit around my right bicep. The more I palpate, the less often I notice when the sleeve has slid down my arm. Not a good thing.

May 8, 2009

Topic: Name Change

I’m not sure I’ve ever done this once the name has been posted, but my original pick just isn’t special enough for our latest baby. He is now:

Eros SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff x Ramiro)

This is a magical one.

May 6, 2009

Topic: Great News and Sad News at SSF

It’s UB-40 baby number three! Welcome, Exeter SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff x Ramiro). “Crew” is long-lined, tall chestnut colt with a ton of white. I see some similarities between him and DaVinci SSF, aka Leo, his full brother, but Crew is taller and longer-lined than Leo was at birth–plus, the color difference! Let’s hope he does as well at the keuring as his big brother. Hard to be disappointed with such a lovely colt, but, as you may remember, I had ordered a chestnut filly with two hind whites and a thin white stripe on her face, so we could have a mare from this line that would remind us of our first KWPN mare, Weigelia. Well, this boy has much the same kind of front and overall bearing of his great grandmum–he’s just got testicles where the udders were supposed to be. Oh, well. He’s here safe and sound. I woke up at 3:52, looked at the clock and thought about switching on the monitor to check on Oleander, who was at close to 350 days, then the birth alarm went off. By the time I switched on the TV, I could already see the foal’s head moving. By the time I got out to the barn, he was completely out and already banging the ground with his front foot. My mares have been so accomodating this year: Princess foaled during my prep block; Liscia foaled during April vacation; Oleander gets me up 45 minutes early, has her foal up, and passes her placenta all before I have to leave for school. (I’m knocking on wood right now–still one mare to go…).

Sadder news, some time over the winter or early spring, Orchis slipped her pregnancy. I’ve been thinking that she just hasn’t looked big enough to be a week from foaling, but she’s had a little bag and she’s not exactly underweight. I moved Carol’s Morgan mare into the mare herd, and guess who showed a raging heat. Major bummer. I scanned her and found a huge follicle and lots of edema…no foal. To Ms. Orchis’s dismay, she’s out of the barn and back in the herd. I think she may have been maintaining the illusion as long as possible simply for the sake of the extra grain and a cushy stall every night. Horses. What are you going to do?

April 28, 2009

Topic: UB-40 Baby Number Two!!

Welcome Eliscia SSF (UB-40 x Pass the Glass xx). Carol and I are both absolutely delighted with this special filly. She’s light chestnut with a white pastern in front and one spot on her hind right foot, and she has that gorgeous UB-40 head with a connected star stripe and snip. Believe it or not…I’ve even taken pictures already, but I don’t have them downloaded yet. Eliscia is one of the tallest fillies we’ve ever had–really elegant and refined. And, gotta love these half TB blooded foals–run, run, and run some more! This is our third filly from this grand, old mare. I was really hoping for a colt to keep, but am not going to be disappointed with this filly. Eliscia’s arrival does mean that I have to choose between her and her two-year-old sister, Carpe Diem SSF (Farrington x Pass the Glass xx). As you know, the oldest sister, Aerosmith SSF ( by Iroko) did really well in keurings last year. Any of these mares will make a phenomenal base for someone’s breeding program. I’m pretty sure that Elisia is my pick to keep for our program.

The new mares are home. My friend, Cynthia, volunteered to do the drive to Virginia with me last weekend–we had a great trip. The girls were absolutely perfect then entire 10 hour ride home. Of course, two of them within 24 hours of their arrival, and I wasn’t ready to be breeding yet…next cycle. All three mares are really lovely and an incredible addition to our breeding program. Thanks to Loucky Hagens for making this possible. BoWendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Ulft) is one of the best movers we’ve ever had in our program…and we’ve had some good movers. I’m more than excited to see what these girls produce for us.

UB-40 number three should be here any day (knock on wood). We’re anxiously awaiting the full sibling to our top five dressage colt from last year, DaVinci SSF (UB-40 x Havidoff). I’m really hoping for a filly–not to be too particular, but I want a chestnut filly, with a thin white stripe on her face and two, high hind whites…if I get it, then her name is Egelia SSF, for her great grandmother, Wiegelia, who was our very first KWPN mare.

If you’re in the area, don’t hesitate to plan on a visit–SSF has quite the collection of top-notch horses to show off!

April 16, 2009

Topic: It’s almost vacation!!!

LIfe has been crazy! I returned from the Annual Meeting to a show opening, spent a couple days on foal watch, then went right into the last week of the term. I’m just coming to my senses now. I’m way behind on email correspondence, journal postings, and bill paying….this coming week is not a vacation; it’s a blessing.

If you haven’t noticed, there are some pictures of EzaVita SSF on our homepage. This is a very nice filly. She’s all sport horse. She’s demonstrating extraordinary balance and a strong ability to collect. She’s a powerhouse. My favorite part are her ears, however–definitely her grandmother’s influence.

I’m so sorry that I haven’t had the chance to comment more on the Annual Meeting. It was superb. Maybe not the best party meeting I’ve ever been to, but definitely the best educationally. Steffen Peters is a consumate horseman. The highlight of the meeting, for me, was watching him work with Ravel. Keagan was so enamored with how incredible it was that he decided he wants to ride like that….yes, I’ll do whatever is necessary to ensure that my breeding program survives through the generation after generation of my family–I introduced Keagan to the Annual Meeting crowd. He loved them. They loved him. He’s hooked. Mission accomplished. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to talk more about the meeting in a future post. I reintroduced my and Stephen Barkaszi’s idea about the online foal auction sponsored through the KWPN. I think it can happen.

My Vivaldi doses arrive tomorrow. Princess has popped into an early 30 day heat, so she’ll be bred with Vivaldi. I’d planned on using the dose of Diamond Hit that Merijane Malouin generously sold to me, but I didn’t get organized quickly enough to have it here. I scanned her tonight. She’s got a 39 on the right, so we should be looking at Monday or Tuesday. Since I had the ultrasound machine out and since LaVita was acting as if she is in heat, I squeezed her into the stocks and reluctantly started lookiing for a follice…imagine my delight and suprise when her unborn Farrington baby started bouncing against my hand. It was so much fun. Hormones. They’ll drive you crazy.

It looks as if nobody is ordering any Alexandro P through Merijane. This is really too bad. He’s such a good horse. I want to breed someone to him this year, so if any of you are still thinking about it, email me and I’ll see what I can work out.

Loucky Hagens-Groosman sent me a couple new pictures of Citango that I’d like to post, but I don’t have them saved on this laptop. He looks really good. The Jazz x Contango/Contango x Jazz cross is going to be the modern Amor x Doruto/Doruto x Amor. It’s going to hold up for generations to come.

Current breeding picks: I’m really not all over the place. My inventory of semen is set; I just have to decide who to use where. Right now, this is what I’m thinking:

Vivaldi on both Contango mares
UB-40 on LaVita, the Diamond HIt mare, and anyone who doesn’t catch on frozen
Kennedy on the Jazz x Contango and the Sir Sinclair x Jazz
Maybe Diamond Hit on the Havidoff mare again, now that I’m not using it on Princess
Facet on LaLiscia
Rousseau on Orchis
Going Gelders with Lish Winter’s Cabochon mare
Merlin on Cynthia Richard’s Ekstein mare
Am happy enough with my Donatelli babies that I’m wanting to use that on someone.
Alexandro P.
Aerosmith SSF has to be bred to someone if she doesn’t sell. I need someone to go to pay some hay bills, but this mare can live here for life. Jumper smumper…she can probably dressage horse, too. I really wanted to breed her to Chello III, but no semen available.

So, life goes on. Vacations are good. If you’re in New England next week, stop by for dinner and a drink or two.

March 28, 2009

Topic: First Foal of 2009!

Welcome, EzaVita SSF (UB-40 x Contango x Elcaro). Our beloved Princess presented us with a long-lined, elegant, bay filly on Wednesday morning. And, to prove my horses know my schedule, Princess foaled at 9:45 am–during my second block planning period. The foal got up, Princess expelled the placenta, and I was back at school for third block. Perfect timing. Just what I like…mares that foal on my schedule. I’ll throw a “knock on wood” in here because I have four more mares to foal, and there’s not telling what the foaling fates will throw my way now that the first one went so well. At any rate, it’s amazing to see our breeding program in multiple generations. Today, I had Princess and Eza out in the yard. For a moment, LaVita stuck her head over the fence and stood nose to nose with her daughter while her granddaughter was nursing. It was a fun moment for me. Pictures later–I promise.

March 9, 2009

Topic: And then there were more broodmares!

Thanks to the generosity of fellow KWPN breeder and friend, Loucky Hagens-Groosman, we have three new mares joining our breeding program this year. Nanette, keur and one star offspring away from preferent, (Contango x Amor x Persian Path xx); Sanette, ster, (Jazz x Contango x Amor); Bowendy (Sir Sinclair x Jazz x Ulft). It’s rare for me to look at someone else’s breeding program and think that his or her mares are as nice as mine, but Loucky’s are. Loucky purchased her foundation stock from the van Helvoirt family, breeders of many approved stallions, top keuring mares, high selling auction foals, and successful performance horses. So, even in this shaky economy, the opportunity to add mares of this genetic value to our program is something Carol and I decided to go for. Check out our mares page in the next few days; I’ll get full pedigrees, pictures, and descriptions updated ASAP. So, for breeding this year, that gives us one preferent mare, two keur who are one offspring away from preferent, a keur mare, two keur eligible mares, two star mares, three super promising three year olds, and an incredible TB mare who may be the best producer of any of them. For 2010, who’s going to have the kickingest foal crop yet? Oh, yeah.

March 5, 2009

Topic: Some Random Thoughts

Well, I hope birthing tragedies are over for the year. (knock on wood) We lost a ewe and her lambs yesterday. Poor thing. She prolapsed; the vet put it back in and said it was common for sheep just prior to lambing; she prolapsed again, and again; we scheduled a C section; she died before we could get to it. Life on the farm.

To ET or not to ET…I’m back and forth all over the place on this for Werites. It sure would be nice to have a couple of her babies coming along in the program–especially since, barring any unforeseen issues, the mare will most likely be an FEI horse by the time the babies get to approval/keuring age.

Two doses of Kennedy, two doses of Zeoliet, two doses of Vivaldi, an auction breeding to Facet, an unused auction breeding from last year to Merlin, a bank of Donatelli frozen, an already paid for breeding to Rousseau, a breeding to Ijsselmeer, an interest in Ampere, a special attachment to Alexandro P, and a love of UB-40. As you all know, there’s not much I like thinking about more than breeding picks. I’m hoping to breed 10 to 12 mares this year (I’m hoping to have an announcement about some new mares in a couple of days)…here’s where I’m at right now:

My friend Alicia Winter has graciously agreed to lease us her phenomenal Cabochon x Farrington x Amor mare, T.Lente, so we can breed our first Gelders baby–I’ve already arranged a breeding to Ijsselmeer–should be a really exciting baby! Why Ijsselmeer and not Alexandro P? The Gelders gene pool in Holland is getting narrower and narrower–I’d love to be able to broaden it.

I kind of like the idea of Orchis going to Rousseau, and Werites, her daughter, going to a son of Rousseau, Ampere. Plus, I don’t have any Flemmingh in my program, and I’d like some of those long lines and that suppleness. Plus, with the two doses of Kennedy, it’s probably a good year to do a Ferro sons and grandson influence on the Jazz daughters, granddaughters, and great granddaughters in my program. I’m not interested in a direct Ferro x Jazz or Jazz x Ferro cross–no, no, no! But, I think the cross is really interesting a couple generations removed.

UB-40 and Vivaldi on my non-Jazz-bred mares.

Where to put Alexandro P and where to use the Merlin breeding? Any ideas?

To do breed shows this year or not to do breed shows this year? I’ve never taken our horses to breed shows–only keurings or sport. Now that we have such a good series of breed shows in New England, I’m seriously considering trying a couple this year. I think Buttercup SSF, our Diamond Hit x Havidoff mare, is going to be one of the top mares in the country this year. Plus, we should have some really cool babies, what with three UB-40’s, a Serano Gold, and a Farrington coming. Conformationally, it’s almost impossible to fault our Farrington x Pass the Glass xx two year old, Carpe Diem SSF. She could hold her own at a breed show as well. I don’t know. Maybe Mr. Keagn Tolman and Ms. Michaela Tolman need to get some white clothes and start running horses.

Beginning the count down to the first baby of the year! Princess, ZaVita SSF (Contango x Elcaro), is starting to bag and really belly down. I had a dream the other night that she had twins–a fancy, fancy chestnut colt with outrageous movement trotting toward me and an elegant dark filly standing beside her mother. I’m sure there’s only one in there (knock on wood); we’re excited to see if Princess can produce as well as her mother, the Goddess LaVita.

Thanks to Martha Haley, there’s now a short clip of Leo on youtube. Just search for shootingstarfarm314 to find our videos–all two of them. The footage of Leo is from the keuring that Janko missed, so none of us is moving as much as we can–I take that back, Sara Toppin and I are probably running as fast as we can…

Keagan and I are going to the Annual Meeting!!! I’m so excited I can barely stand it. Can’t wait to see Ravel. Can’t wait to see old friends. I haven’t made it to a meeting in years.

March 2, 2009

Topic: New Sport Mare!

Yes, yes! Ms. Werites SSF earned a sport predicate for herself this weekend and a point toward the Prestatie predicate for her mom, Orchis. The mare looks incredible. Of course, this is only her third show and she was in a raging heat (stabled in the same row with four breeding stallions…), so she had a lot on her mind. Her trot work scored mostly 8’s and a few 7’s; she didn’t really see any point in walking while she was working, so those scores are a little low; and, she was a little late in one of her changes, so she insisted on throwing in at least one change in almost every subsequent canter movement, just to prove to herself that she can do them. She has a really intense work ethic. In her three tests, the judges comments were consistently, ” very talented horse–unfortunately she became tense in her canter work.” So, even with raging hormones, self-deprecating canter work, and a couple of “interpretive 3rd level moves” from her pilot, she scored over the requisite 60% in all three tests, earning her sport predicate. That’s all we need from third level. Our next goal is an FEI horse. I think this mare has the mechanics and the drive to go all the way.

In the near future, I’d like to start a discussion about the need for breeders to get out to competitions. Carol and I don’t get to as many dressage shows as we need to–it’s way too easy to become keuring-blind.

On the breeding front, Judy Yancey has offered to get us an ET out of Werites before she returns to Raleigh…sure would LOVE to have some babies from this mare coming up in our program, but we just can’t afford the financial fiascos of our last two years of failed ET work. What do you think of Ampere x Werites?

February 26, 2009

Topic: Sunny Florida!

The vitamin D is seeping into my system, seriously altering my Yankee mood swings. It’s hard not to be in a good mood when it’s sunny and in the seventies. We had a delightful night with long-time friends Richard and Clark Moss–if you haven’t checked out their website, you definitely should; they do the most incredible work: www.eofc.com

Tuesday, Carol and I started the horse portion of our day watching UB-40 work–holy crap this horse looks good. Really supple and forward, so nicely balanced and rhythmic. I’m crazy about him. His ride.r, Alex, (sorry, I don’t know Alex’s last name) does a super job with him. I want to make sure to mention him because it seems he doesn’t like UB getting all the attention…after they were finished working, he brought UB over–I went up to him, patted his neck and said, “What a pretty boy.” Alex immediately said, “Are you talking to me or the horse?” Having been a public school teacher for the better part of the last two decades, I immediately recognized the need for attention, so I patted Alex’s leg with comparable enthusiasm and repeated myself, “What a pretty boy.” He seemed sated. Really, the two of them make a great team. I’m excited to see how the show season goes for them.

After our visit at ISF, we headed to Judy Yancey’s for a tour of her mares and babies. As always, Judy is especially gracious and a wealth of information. She has a brand new Florestan x Abanos filly that Carol and I both were about ready to put in our suitcases. Such a sweet filly–really typey and elegant. For me, this visit was especially nice because Judy is such a good horsewoman–her horses are allowed to be horses. They’re maintained in herds with all kinds of turnout. She’s created a perfect environment for raising healthy, sane horses. Knowing our ET woes from the past couple of years, Judy offered to put her skills to work for us if we want to drop off Werites after the Florida show season…Carol, never one to say much during a “horsey” conversation, immediately made it clear that any more money spent on attempted ETs would have to be cleared with her!

Our last Ocala horse visit was a quick stop at Dagmar Dorsch’s. Dagmar has bred to DBNA, WBNA, and SSF stallions for years–she currently has a collection of 32 Freestyle’s, Donatelli’s, retired broodmares, and rescued TB’s, with a couple of Contango’s and a UB-40 thrown in. The woman loves her horses. She has a whole collection of typey, round, black Donatelli’s that look like perfect hunter types to me–plus a number of really leggy Freestyle and Donatelli’s that are quite capable movers.

Yesterday, as was part of Carol’s and my deal, we spent at the beach…yes, lying on the beach…walking on the beach…in the sun…doing nothing. This is not something I do especially well. Carol had the good sense to allow us to move back to the hotel pool and hot tub for afternoon cocktail hour. At one point in time, Carol looked over at me and said, “Four hours standing beside the ring at the Stallion Show watching dressage. I did that for you, you can lie here a little longer.”

Today, we’re off to Wellington and Palm Beach to see more…HORSES!!!! And friends. My friend Zaz disappears to Florida every winter for about five months, so it will be good to see her and her horses. Have to see Lizzie Austin and Fizzy. And, of course, Jimmy Koford and Werites. Keep your fingers crossed tomorrow and Saturday–I’m really hoping for that sport predicate this weekend!

Oh, one last thing: Imagine my surprise when I logged in to vote for the KWPN-NA special awards to see Scot and Carol Tolman nominated for Breeder or the Year–thank you so much to those of you who nominated us; it is most appreciated. Of course, our fellow nominees, Madeliene Austin and Debbie Harrison, are both friends and super breeders, so it’s a win/win situation for whoever gets the most votes from the membership. Nonetheless, I wanted to say, thanks. Seven years ago, Susan Duncan and I created these awards and found the money to support them–Shooting Star Farm has sponsored the Breeder of the Year from the beginning because I believe in recognizing the people who have the passion and the talent to create the horses we all love so much. It means a lot to me to be nominated, so, again, thanks to those of you who did.

February 22, 2009

Topic: Stallion Show; part six

Off to Florida tomorrow so we can be at the Palm Beach Derby on Friday to see Werites SSF make her third level debut. Knock on wood, she’ll have her sport predicate by this time next week. Jim says he body-clipped her himself…I may have to send my friend, Zaz, over to perform a beauty treatment!

*****please see the caveat at the beginning of part one***************

The van Norel family presented two Uphill sons, the first, Uphill x Darlington x Havidoff and, the second, Uphill x Balzflug x Ulft. Both of these horses are fantastic movers–really exceptional use of the hindleg. I liked the Uphill x Darlington better of the two, but both are super horses. I’ve seen a number of Uphill offspring now, and would breed to him in a heartbeat if he were available here. He throws a great type, great use of the hindleg, and absolutely super bending in the joints. Some of the offspring I’ve seen are a little fine-boned and could use more length over all, but they’re very consistent in their dressage potential. The Uphill x Darlington made the championship round. He’s one of my double asterisks in my stallion show program. He was a little tight in the walk, but a beautiful horse.

Uptown x Gribaldi x Lector: This is the first Uptown three year old I’ve seen. He’s nice. In type and conformation, he reminds a lot of Idocus–round muscle, good hindleg. This horse has a slight dip behind the wither and he paddles slightly on his front left leg. But, a good horse. He was in the Select Sale–don’t remember what he went for.

Van the Man x Flemmingh x Pele: This horse was not aangewezen, but he was one of my favorites. He was the very first horse of the dressage stallions to be presented. When he came out, the Dutch gentleman who was sitting near me and I turned to each other and said, “Moi paard/Nice horse!” at the same time. This horse is a fabulous mover, powerful, balanced, great bending of the joints–electric hindleg. I really liked him. I was really suprised he wasn’t selected. But, from what I can discern, the reason given was that the jury didn’t like the combination of Van the Man with this colt’s damline. Seems odd that he’d get to the second ring if that’s going to be the reason given, don’t you think? Of course, there were a number of times that the reason “pedigree not good enough” was given by the jury for not selecting some of the horses. Why put the breeders and owners through the expense and effort and false hopes if you know ahead of time that the pedigree isn’t good enough? Seems unnecessary and cruel to me. Who knows. Van the Man is (Furst Heinrich x Volturno x Inschallah)–could have been interesting blood. However, as I’ve probably already said a couple of times during these entries, the jury comes to the table with a lot more information than those of us standing by the rail have access to. They must have had a good reason for not taking this colt.

The last dressage colt selected is out of the same dam line as Serano Gold. I was psyched to see this, especially since I have a Serano Gold coming out of Orchis in May (knock on wood, turn around three times and spit over my left shoulder). This colt is Rohdiamant x Diamond HIt x Ex Libris x Grundstein II; Serano Gold is out of the Grundstein II mare. In type, this is a beautiful, beautiful horse–really pretty front–supple, lovely mover. He’s a little long in the hindleg and he could have more power, but bred to the right mares, he could be interesting for Dutch breeders.

Some general thoughts about the dressage horses:

As I said at the beginning of these entries, this was the best group of dressage stallions I’ve seen in a long time at den Bosch. There was only one WOW horse(the UB-40 x Krack C), but that’s good–I’d rather see us breeding consistently excellent horses than a few wow horses. It bodes much better for consistency in all of our programs. There seems to be a lot of Trak. blood in the damlines of the selected stallions, especially through Gribaldi and Partout. This is a good thing. Also, there’s quite a bit of jumper blood in the third and fourth generations of damlines–again, this is a good thing. Overall, I’m encouraged by this year’s stallions.

Next entry, I’ll try to give some highlights of the jumper colts. My favorites were the Indoctro’s, Padinus’s, the Cardento’s, and the Indorado x Lord.

February 18, 2009

Topic: Stallion Show; Part Five

*****see caveat at the beginning of part one*******

Oscar x Corleone x Le Faquin xx: This is a double starred horse for me. Oozy supple, great trot, POWERFUL–he could have a longer front leg, but excellent sport type and should be a really positive influence on the current trend in dressage breeding. This horse is bred and owned by the van Norel family. More to come later on this breeding program.

Painted Black x Chronos x Linards: ++ type; crazy, loose and supple trot; lateral in the canter; needs more power. I’ve not been a Painted Black fan, but this is a nice son of his.

Romanov Blu Hors x Donnerhall x Feiner Stern: Good dressage horse; strong; little passagey behind; nice lift in the front–though need to look at whether or not the horse is truly lifting the wither or just shaping the neck; especially good feet; still see a strong Feiner Stern influence, even though it’s back in the fourth generation.

Sandreo had six sons in the second round. There are few stallions more beautiful in type and conformation than Sandreo. This year, we saw some really good sons from him. He needs a mare with a really strong hindleg, because he does not have one and his offspring do not have especially good hindlegs. My favorite of the Sandreo’s is the Sandreo x Jazz x Wisconsin. All the Sandreo’s look alike–he’s a really consistent producer–this one, Balou, is particularly beautiful. He could have more bending in the joints, but he’s a good mover–I think he ended up third in the championship round. The jury accepted another Sandreo son, Sandreo x Gribaldi x Cadmus xx. This horse is out of Franssen’s famous mareline–same mareline that produced Mondriaan, Nagano, and Leslie Morse’s Burggraaf stallion, whose name escapes me at the moment. Again, this Sandreo son has ++ type, is really pretty and supple, but also really lacks electricity and power from the hind end. In Holland, Sandreo is known to have phenomenal semen, both fresh cooled and frozen. So, if any of you are having difficulty getting your mare in foal, you may want to consider this guy. Just need to make sure your mare has a really strong hind leg.

Scandic x Havidoff x J.Amagun: Already talked about the Scandic’s

OK. I’m trying not to bash any horses, but I’ve got to say how much I dislike the Sir Donnerhalls I’ve seen. To me, they all look as if someone has pieced together two or three horses to make one. I can only say I was relieved that the jury turned down the Sir Donnerhall x Matcho AA son, even though I’m crazy about the Matcho blood.

Sir Sinclair x Royal Dance x Houston: This stallion is perhaps the “prettiest” of all the stallions presented this year–absolutely gorgeous type, head, and neck. ++ on type–very supple. However, as is my ongoing issue with many Sir Sinclair offspring, they don’t sit–they tend to have a long hind leg that doesn’t bend well. This doesn’t have much effect in lower level competition, but, once the horses get to PSG, the work becomes really tough for them. I’m speaking in generalizations here–this is not to say that no Sir Sinclair son or daughter is ever going to be able to do the work required of an upper level dressage horse; I’m just saying that it’s something you want to take into consideration when breeding. I have bred to Sir Sinclair, and would do so again, but I’d be really careful. He consistently brings a lovely type and a super temperament to the table, so there’s certainly a place for him in Dutch breeding.

UB-40 x Houston x Telstar
UB-40 x Krack C x Rechter x Amor

Already talked about the UB-40’s.

United x Jazz x Ulft x Roemer
United x Gribaldi x Donnerhall

Already talked about the United’s.

February 17, 2009

Topic: Stallion Show; part five

February 17th! 19 years ago today, a beautiful woman in a pale pink, Cinderella-style wedding gown had me smiling so much I had a headache. It was a nearly perfect day–I only wish our kids could have been there to share it with us–the dancing was a blast! Love has been kind to us.

*****please see the caveat at the beginning of Stallion Show; part one********

At this point in time, I thought I’d go through my notes in alphabetical order of dressage sires, since that’s how the Hengstenkeuring book is set up. I’m not going to talk about every single horse, even though I have notes on every single horse–I’m just going to mention the ones that are aangewezen or somehow stood out particularly.

Diamond Hit x El Corona
Diamond Hit x Pion

Already wrote about these two

Dutch Dormello x Mendel x Sultan, bred by van Arkel, who is the breeder of Sultan himself. I REALLY liked this horse. He’s a heavier type than many of the horses presented, but a beautiful front, great bone, great lift in the wither, and, something which I always look for, low set knees and hocks. This is a dressage horse. I’m not sure how he’ll reproduce, because I don’t know this pedigree well, but he’s got the substance and the strength to hold up to upper level work.

Beckham: (Flemmingh x Hemmingway x Zuidhorn) The crowd loved this horse. He’s a longlined, scopey mover–very light on his feet. Not as electric as I’d like to see behind and a neck connection that I’d like to take a closer look at, but a supple, lovely horse. Actually, I liked all of the Flemminghs presented this year. VDL presented a Flemmingh x Goodtimes that I thought was going to be accepted–powerful mover, a little awkward in his development at the moment, but a really good horse–but, no go from the jury.

Of the two Gribaldi’s, I like the Gribaldi x Belisar better than the Gribaldi x Negro, but the jury didn’t agree with me. For my tastes the latter did not demonstrate enough bending of the joints, has a pointy hock construction, and is quite slow in the hind leg. Gribaldi is certainly proving himself as a producer of upper level horses, and Negro just became keur, so perhaps it is due to pedigree that the jury selected the colt from the Negro dam; I don’t know. What I do know is that the jury has a lot more information about these horses than any of us watching has. They’ve seen or read the dam report already; they’ve seen these horses at least three times; and they’ve got a fuller knowledge of the pedigrees, the motherlines, and what the particular stallions tend to produce. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to trust every decision they make over my gut, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on their choice of a different Gribaldi than mine!

The Jazz x Goodtimes is an especially good mover. He could be leggier, but has nice conformation and balance overall.

Johnson x Sultan
Johnson x Partout

Already talked about both of these boys.

Not a good year for the Krack C’s–both were long in the hind leg, a bit wide behind, and could have been more rectangular.

Licotus x Alabaster x Goetz: I know almost nothing about the breeding on this horse, so I can only go on what I saw. He’s an easy, supple mover; really beautiful horse/lovely conformation–especially pretty head; not much power–needs more hindleg. Looks like a modern German x TB cross to me–much more supple than the Londonderry horses, however–not as leggy. I liked this horse better in hand than free. He’s really a beautiful model.

LINGH x FERRO x HAVIDOFF x DORUTO!!! Such a cool boy! I gave this boy two stars in my book and a +++ on type. He’s really gorgeous. Could have a bit more power for my tastes, but lovely bending of the joints and an easy, supple mover. He went on to take the reserve championship of the dressage horses. I’d been thinking that the right mares for Lingh would be mares with a strong percentage of TB blood–to make him a little longer lined. But, here we have a combination with triple Farn on the bottom side–that’s a far cry from TB–though it should clearly help control correct conformation and a lovely front. At any rate, this is a gorgeous colt that I was hoping Karin wouldn’t be able to resist–he’s make a lovely addition to North American breeding.

007 x Falco x Roemer. Great breeding on this horse. I’ll wait to see how he produces before making much comment.

February 15, 2009

Topic: Stallion Show; part four

****see caveat at the beginning of part one****

Wynton and Westpoint: I can’t tell you how many people have asked me to talk about these two stallions and my preferences. Even though both of these boys are by Jazz, they are such different horses. Westpoint is leggier and longer-lined–very good movement, but not as much bending in the joints as Wynton. This is the happiest and most relaxed I’ve seen Westpoint. He’s uphill, supple, and seems really willing to work. This is the first time I’ve seen Wynton under Edward Gal, and the horse is absolutely electric. It’s hard to take your eyes of this combination. However, he seemed tense and short in the neck–although his movement technique is phenomenal, he doesn’t lift much through the back and wither. I like both stallions. I think Westpoint will probably cross better on a wider variety of mares, but if Wynton reproduces his technique, no one’s going to care if his babies don’t lift in the front as much as is ideal. So, for both stallions, I’d want a mare with quite a bit of power in the hindend. For Westpoint, I’d want to make sure my mare could really sit and bend in the joints; for Wynton, I’d want to make sure my mare had or produced longer lines and lift through the wither.

Of the W stallions, I really was most impressed by Winningmood. He is Prado x Donnerwind x Rheinblick, and owned by the van Norel family. As a younger horse, I found him a bit too heavy and plain, but he’s maturing into a super sport horse. He’s got tons of power in the hind end–a really strong horse–and gorgeous sitting ability. For some reason, he also looks lighter in type than the last time I saw him. I think he may well end up being the most important dressage sire of the W year. Unfortunately, after Mr. van Norel was so badly burned by the first gentleman who imported frozen semen from Holland, he’s not been willing to freeze any of his stallions for export again. Oscar, Uphill, and Winningmood would be all be welcome contributors to my program. As I said earlier, however, I want to talk in more detail about this breeding program in the wrap up section of these entries.

Rousseau: The Rousseau’s were not well received this year, and, therefore, none were selected for the second round. I didn’t personally see them, so I can only report what a number of different breeders who had been at the first presentation of young stallions told me. Zjengis Khan (Rousseau x Rubinstein x Donnerhall) was at the stallion show this year, however. And, I liked him much better than the other times I’ve seen him. He’s not as powerful as I’d like, but he’s maturing into a much more elegant horse than I’d first thought. I’m still not sure he’s going to be much of a breeding sire, but he’s turning into a lovely dressage horse.

Ziesto: (Lancet x Clavecimbel x Vanitas) This is a nice horse. He’s really powerful, excellent ability for collection, a little flat in the front leg, but great depth of body and very correct in his mechanics. Lancet didn’t consistently cross well on the Dutch mare base, but this a good horse. I’d like to see what his foals look like.

Johnson: (Jazz x Flemmingh x Sultan) This horse looks really good right now. He is much stronger in the hind leg and more muscled than the last time I saw him go. Last year, I was really concerned about how weak he seemed in his pasterns at the canter, but this year he looked great. His trot work is absolutely brilliant. This was his first foal crop to come through the stallion selections. I think he had the highest number of sons presented for the first ring, but only three were taken for den Bosch. Of the three, the Johnson x TCN Partout x Ulster is an absolute knock out. This horse has a very famous grandmother, Dolly (keur pref. prest. and two time UTV champion). He’s a beautiful model, gorgeous conformation; great depth of body; super movement–could be a little more electric in the hind leg–beautiful horse. He was selected for the Championship ring. The other two Johnsons are also lovely horses, but much different in type. The one that was not accepted (Johnson x DeNiro) is a spectacular black horse with a silver tail. Really breathtakingly pretty, but so leggy that he’s more square than rectangular–and he needs more power in the movement, but extremely uphill. The Johnson x Sultan is a nice horse–good mover. Good model. A little plain–doesn’t stand out as one of the superstars of the stallion show.

February 11, 2009

Topic: Stallion Show; part three

****see disclaimer at the top of the first entry*****

Two of my favorite horses were bred by the van Norel family, the Oscar x Corleone and the Uphill x Darlington. I want to mention them now because they’ve left a really positive impression, but I want to talk about them in depth near the end of these entries, because they exemplify a point I’d like to make about breeding and selection for your individual breeding programs.

Vivaldi: I’ve had a number of people email me for more information about his horse. For those of you who don’t know, he’s Krack C x Jazz x Ulft. His frozen semen is supposedly available through Carol at www.superiorequinesires.com There are a number of us taking Vivaldi frozen for our Krack C replacement doses. Vivaldi is one of the most popular breeding stallions in Holland, he has had a huge number of foals take the site champion title at keuring after keuring, and he’s one of the most successful young dressage horses in young horse competition. I’ve seen this horse a couple of times. He’s pretty amazing, but he has some significant weaknesses as well. All three gaits are super–the trot, in particular. I think he just received a 10 on it in den Bosch at the last round of the stallion competition. Type-wise, he’s as modern as modern can be–the epitome of uphill in conformation and movement. And, he seems really tractable undersaddle–cooperative, willing, and talented. What’s not to like so far, huh? For starters, he has a short, poorly shaped, vertical neck that is really unnattractive while being ridden. When not “on the bit”, his neck looks a little better, but it’s far from ideal. I’ve seen a number of his foals, and they don’t seem to have this issue. The foal report is probably a better place to go to check on this trait, however. He is quite slight in bone, especially in the front legs, and he is particularly narrow in his body. If I’m not mistaken, the KWPN approved him with a caveat about his being light in bone. The foals I’ve seen are little fine for my tastes. But, it’s hard to argue with their movement–many of them are spectacular. We’ll have a better idea of what he produces next year because his first crop of sons should be coming through the stallion selection process and his first crop of daughters should be going to the keurings. Although, he bred few mares in his first year–so we may not have a clear picture until we’ve seen a couple year’s worth of his offspring hit the keurings. I would not breed this horse to an especially fine, modern type mare or to a mare that produces foals of that type. I would also not breed him to mare that had much less than an ideal neck–or, at least, a mare that tends to throw a good length of neck. I have two doses to use this year, and, before I went to the stallion show this year, I’d pretty much settled on using him on ZaVita SSF (Contango x Elcaro)–but I don’t think so. She needs a longer neck. ISo, ‘m not sure where to put him. Maybe LaLiscia (Pass the Glass xx x Pretense), but she’s an old lady now–I hate to take the chance with frozen. Maybe the Havidoff x Ramiro mare. I think my best bet may be our Diamond Hit x Havidoff three year old, but using frozen on a maiden mare can also be risky. This is a stallion for longlined Gelders mares or F1 crosses. I know a number of you are really excited about the possibility of having access to Vivaldi, and you should be–but, remember, even the most amazing stallion does not work on every mare.

February 10, 2009

Topic: Stallion Show, Part 2

***see caveat at the beginning of part 1****

Diamond Hit: Someone got the deal of a lifetime in the Select Sale. The aangewezen Diamond Hit x Pion went for 36000 Euro. This was one of my favorite horses of the Stallion Show. Bossanova Hit. He could have had a better walk and he could have been a little less hocky in the trot, but this is a super, super supple mover, really nice type, with a beautiful front and well applied hindleg. Pion in the damline is huge plus for me, as well. If I’d even thought this horse was going go for so little money, I would have figured out a way to get him. I also liked the other Diamond Hit son, out of a Metall x El Corona mare. This horse was a little less typey than the first one, and, perhaps, not quite as good a mover, but still a really good horse–especially in hand. The breeders of Serano Gold also presented a Rohdiamant x Diamond Hit colt that is aangewezen–so that’s three Diamond Hit-bred horses taken this year by the KWPN. The Rohdiamant colt has the predictable slower hindleg of the R line, but also the predictable lovely, supple movement and gorgeous type.

While I’m thinking about it, the Scandic x Havidoff that was accepted is out of the same dam as the approved stallion, Montecristo.

United: This is my new favorite stallion, I think. Krack C x TCN Partout x Sultan x Amor. He showed a really nice collection of four colts in Den Bosch, including the champion dressage colt, Bordeaux, out of a Gribaldi x Donnerhall mare; one I liked even better, a United x Jazz x Ulft x Roemer, out of the full sister of the Grand Prix horse, Parzival; another out of a Gribaldi x Ferro dam (half sister to Painted Black)that was not accepted; and one from an Esteban dam, also not accepted. All of them are good and supple movers–lots of scope to the movement, really good hindleg (perhaps, not so good on the Esteban), and especially “easy” in their movement. Everything looks effortless for them. Bordeaux, the champion of the show, is the scopiest mover of the four and the most longlined, but his neck construction and his slightly pointy hocks would not have made him champion if I were judging. He has a good length of neck, but, in construction, it looks to me as if there is a dip in front of the wither–perhaps, this is no big deal, especially once the horse is muscled through his topline, but it’s a pet peeve of mine; I’m just not a fan of swan necks. I think the United x Jazz is the better horse and will be the better breeding stallion. I watched United himself warm up for quite a while. He’s just amazing. His trot and canter are both outrageous; he has a phenomenal ability to collect; his movement is expressive and powerful; he has really good depth of body–long muscling and strength. If my mares were in Holland, I’d be breeding two or three to him.

Alexandro P: Here’s a super star for you. Not only was he the highest scoring Gelderlander in the history of the KPWN as a three year old, but this guy, as a coming four year old, has the self carriage and balance of a much older horse. He has an absolutely beautiful front–he lifts into the air as he moves. He may be Gelders in pedigree and type, but he’s all dressage horse as far as I’m concerned. They are freezing him for the USA and Canada, so it’s going to be available. I’ve hooked up the Peters family with Merijane Malouin to handle his frozen in the US, so give Merijane a shout if you want a couple doses. I’m definitely breeding a mare to him. The picture below is of me with Mr. Peters, Alexandro P’s owner and breeder, and his daughter Astrid. They’re such nice people, and Alexandro P is a dream come true of them. Aris van Manen, who manages Alexandro P, thinks enough of this stallion to aim him for Verden. Wouldn’t that be cool! A Gelders stallion scoring among the top horses of Verden!

February 10, 2009

Topic: Stallion Show, Part 1

OK. Here we go; my annual disclaimer…The views expressed in this journal are purely mine. At the moment, I’m not standing a stallion, brokering frozen semen, or acting as an agent for any other stallion owners. I’m providing this journal account of my observations at the KWPN Stallion Show purely for educational and discussion purposes. Basically, I’m nothing but a poor farmer/artist, secluded in the wilds of Southwestern New Hampshire, who loves horses–in particular, KWPN horses. Is that melodramtic enough for you? I have notes on every horse presented from midday Thursday through midday Saturday, at which point in time, a bunch of Gelderlander breeders got me drunk, and I stopped paying much attention to anything other than when it was my turn to buy a round of beers. (Did you know the president of the Gelders Assoc. is named Obama?)

General impressions: The dressage horses were better than the jumper stallions this year. The conformation and overall aptitude for jumping was adequate–with the exception of a number of VDL owned and bred horses, there were very few standouts. I saw more conformation issues in the jumpers this year, less consistency of type, and less overall athleticism. This being said, I’m a dressage breeder, not a jumper breeder; it’s possible that I don’t have a sufficiently trained eye to recognize everything I’m supposed to be recognizing when evaluating a jumper. The dressage horses, as a group, were the best group I’ve seen in years. There was more focus on diversity of pedigree, more emphasis on correct conformation, and seemingly more focus on correct movement mechanisms and balance, rather than “a lot of movement.” A Dutch gentleman standing beside me at the warm-up ring made the comment that it’s difficult to find Dutch horses with really, really good hindleg use anymore, but I replied that we’re seeing adequate hindlegs and significantly improved suppleness in the horses–I think there are times when suppleness is more important. As much as I’ve always been a proponent of an excellent hindleg first and foremost, if a horse doesn’t have suppleness, the horse has more difficulty effectively using his or her body for sport. The dressage horses presented this year were, by and large, good sport types–there were some stallions accepted that I would not have taken because the hindlegs are not used as quickly or as well placed under the body as I would like, regardless how supple they are or how interesting their pedigree is, but there were also a number of stallions with an excellent combination of hindleg, balance, strength, and suppleness.

The standouts for me:

Scandic. I’ve never been a huge fan of Scandic’s. Although I’ve always appreciated is innate dressage ability undersaddle, his conformation is less than ideal, and he went through a couple year phase of really tense, tail-wringing performances. Well, two years ago, I think, he was placed with a new rider, and now Scandic is in his first year of Grand Prix. As a matter of fact, he won his first Grand Prix test with a really decent score–low 70’s, I believe. I didn’t watch his actual performance in the main hall, but I did watch him warm up for over half an hour. For a first year Grand Prix horse, he has amazing strength and consistency in the movements, especially in the trot work. His cadence and tact are incredible. On top of all this, you can see that he’s trying really, really hard to do a good job. He literally puts his head down a little bit and puts everything he has into what he’s doing. His walk is his weakest gait. His trot and canter are both really strong. If you’d asked me before the Stallion Show this year if I’d breed to Scandic, I would have given you a resounding, no. After this weekend, I’ve changed my mind. Determining his ideal cross is an issue, however. The offspring I’ve seen have varied greatly in type, movement, size, and overall athleticism. The Scandic sons at Den Bosch this year were out of Ferro, Linaro, and Havidoff dams. The Scandic x Havidoff was accepted. Of the three, he is the most athletic, the best mover, and the best type–he isn’t the best model, though–the Scandic x Linaro is a better conformationally; however, he is slow in the hindleg and needs much more lift in the body. The Scandic x Ferro is a super mover, but he’s quite short legged and needs to be much longer-lined. The Scandic x Havidoff is athletic, a good mover, but lateral in the walk and has a long hind leg. I liked pieces of all three horses, but not the whole horse in any of the three combination. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what kind of mare this stallion needs. I would say he is probably most suitable for leggy, conformationally correct mares, of good rectangular frame. But, then, what stallion doesn’t work on mares like that?

The UB-40’s. By far, this collection of colts was the most consistent in type, correct and expressive movement, good model, and overall attractiveness. I realize that UB-40 himself has had some less than stellar public displays of disobedience undersaddle, but no can deny the quality of his offspring. The UB-40 x Krack C colt, Bamor, should have been the champion of the dressage-bred stallions, but, due to “veterinay reasons”, he wasn’t even asked back for the championship ring. He is heads and shoulders the best combination of movement, conformation, suppleness, and overall dressage ability of all the colts presented this year. I don’t know what this “veterinary reasons” means. What I was was an oozy, cool horse with the power, suppleness and movement mechanism to send chills up and down my spine and hoots of appreciation into the arena. No other horse presented had this much of an effect on me or the crowd. The UB-40 x Houston was also accepted. He, too, is a super horse. His abilities are not quite as extreme as the Bamor, but he’s really good horse. From what I can tell, UB-40 can be bred to a variety of mares and still produce a consistently high quality dressage horse. This year’s group did not seem anywhere near as hot as last year’s group. We’ll see how they do undersaddle. For now, I’m two-feet-firmly-planted on the UB-40 bandwagon.

VDL Stud. When a breeding program has three out of the six horses selected for the championship round, you have to think they’re doing something right. When it comes to conformation and athletic ability, no one has done a better job of selecting jumper-bred horses than the van de Lageweg family. I was psyched to be able to go up to Janko before I left on Saturday and show him what I had written down and circled next to the Indoctro x Nimmerdor’s description in my book: “Best One.” I’m not sure exactly how many aangeweven stallions VDL now has, but it’s got to be close to a dozen.

much more to come…

February 7, 2009

Topic: Having Dinner in Amsterdam

Whew! Lots of news and fun stuff to report from the Stallion Show. I’m visiting friends in Amsterdam for the night, then on a plane all day tomorrow, but will get to a full report in the next couple of days. Some big surprises for me in my likes and dislikes–some really predictable reactions as well. Check back later this week!

February 3, 2009

Topic: Happy New Year!

Greetings to all of you and wishes for the happiest of new years. No resolutions here–just a giving of thanks that my family is healthy and happy, that my mares are furry and round, and that I still have the dreams and sense of humor to start my eleventh year of this journal….a month late!

Exciting news for me: I’ve been asked to be a columnist for a new Warmblood Magazine, Warmbloods Today.


The column is to be a humorous look at warmblood issues and breeding trends. I’m excited! Check out the website. My first column has already been submitted, so it won’t be long before it’s “on the stands.” I’ve seen the mock up of the magazine, and it looks really good.

So much going on on the farm–just haven’t had time to get it into print. Will try to catch up once I return from…the Stallion Show. Oh, yes! Due to school demands and an anticipated drop in farm income due to the ecomony, I wasn’t going to go this year–but can’t stand not being there at least for Friday and Saturday to see the new dressage stallions. So, a fast trip: I leave Wednesday night and return Sunday afternoon. I’ll take notes and begin the annual stallion show journal entries once I return. I’ll take my laptop with me, but I doubt the schedule will give me much time to write while I’m there. The biggest concern right now is whether or not I’m going to be able to rent a car…there are these two speeding tickets from Michaela’s and my trip last August still outstanding. Oh, well. There are always trains and taxis.

This week’s breeding picks:

-Orchis to Rousseau (breeding is booked and paid for–no changing my mind now)

-two doses of Vivaldi will go to the first two mares foaling, ZaVita SSF and LaLiscia

-UB-40 for Oleander, Buttercup SSF (Diamond Hit x Havidoff), Bunny SSF (Johnson x Volkmar), LaVita, and either or both of the mares who don’t get in foal with the Vivaldi

-If Aerosmith SSF hasn’t sold, then she’ll go to Merlin

In Utero Sales Available for $7500 (that’s at least 2500-7500 less than any of the foals will be available for upon birth):

UB-40 x ZaVita SSF x Contango
UB-40 x Oleander x Havidoff (colt option only)
Farrington x LaVita x Elcaro

If anyone wants me to check out specific horses during the stallion show, give me a holler in the next 24 hours.