KER: Watching Broodmare Weight in Late Pregnancy

Kentucky Equine Research has been looking at the growing rate of obesity in horses, and have a couple of articles that address this problem.

Overweight Broodmares

One of the recent findings is that overweight in mares in late gestation is linked to several major issues – for the mare, the foal, and the breeding program. For example, the foal is predisposed to developing metabolic diseases later in life. More research is being done, but

“The data already available to us show alterations in development of foals born to overweight broodmares.”

Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., researcher

Read the full article here.

Body Weight Perceptions Among Hunter Judges

A second recent article addressing obesity is “Body Weight Perceptions of Horses by Show Judges,” that looked at Hunter judges and how the body weight of a horse being judged affected their scoring decisions. They surveyed 211 show hunter judges to find out if they could identify different weight categories from thin to obese.

“The data show that not only are judges less able to identify average—and therefore healthy—horses, but average horses incorrectly viewed as thin receive harsher penalties than overweight and obese horses.”

The perception of weight in Hunter Breeding classes was not specifically addressed, but has certainly been a cause for concern.

Read the full article here.

Photo: Guilhermegarcia90 / CC BY-SA (

Orbetello, Oldenburg Stallion


Orbetello Oldenburg stallion

Orbetello is a 2003, 16.2 stallion bred for performance in international show jumping at the highest level. Orbetello is the embodiment of impeccable character, intelligence and work ethic. During his Oldenburg stallion licensing in Vechta, he scored the highest free-jumping score to date, received the honor of the 1c Premium designation and placed third among all stallions. At 4, during his 70-Day Stallion Test in Munster-Handorf, Orbetello earned the exceptional overall score of 121.988 (106.63 for dressage and 131.72 for jumping).

Orbetello’s sire, the BWP Ambassador Orlando, produces jumpers and breed champions. Heartbreaker, also in his sire line, is a Keur stallion and a leader on the Dutch and Belgian jumping indexes, generating numerous upper-level jumpers (including the 2006 Belgian Stallion Selection Champion Dulf Van Den Bisschop). He also sired High Level Devil Z, the record-breaking (€145,000) foal at France’s 2021 Fences Elite Foal Auction. His sire line includes Darco, voted Best Sire in the World for
four consecutive years. Nimmerdor, the KWPN Sire of the Century, is also on Orbetello’s sire line.

On Orbetello’s damline, the Holsteiner mare Landkind descends from Landgraf I by Ladykiller xx, regarded as the most influential Thoroughbred stallion in German sport horse/ jumping history. He sired the famous Holsteiners Landgraf and Lord Landgraf I.
Landkind’s damline traces to the Selle Francais Cor de la Bryere, known as the Reserve Stallion of the Century, second only to Landgraf I.

Orbetello proved his willing temperament and rideability excelling with international riders. With Margie Engle (USA), he earned the Winter Equestrian Festival 8-Year-Old Jumper circuit championship, then enjoyed success at 1.50-1.60m with Federico Sztyrle (ARG), Brianne Goutal (USA) and Paul O’Shea (IRL).

For more information about Orbetello, please click here.

WorldOfShowjumping: Interview with Joris de Brabander

Quotations from article used with kind permission of WorldOfShowjumping.

Levis de Muze, bred by Joris Brabander, Stal de Muze
Photo copyright © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Used with permission.

Joris de Brabander, whose Stal de Muze is a powerhouse of jumper breeding, was interviewed by He has built an incredibly successful business, starting in the 1980s, and the article is in-depth and interesting.

Mr. de Brabander talks about the effects of modern technology (embryo transfer and ICSI – intracytoplasmic sperm injection) on breeding, offering opinions based on decades of making breeding decisions. He was one of the pioneer users of embryo transfer, but feels the emphasis today is solely on the genetics, and is missing something.

“Those that buy into good genes might know the names of the horses, but the majority don’t really know their background and history.”

“Genetics are very important, but there is so much more to breeding.”

—Joris de Brabander

He discusses auctions, the importance of feel in evaluating a horse’s top qualities, and much more.

Of the breeding program he and his wife built: “The results make me happy, and the fact that we can live from something we like to do: being with horses.”

Please click here to read the full article on

NA Stallion Sport Test 2021 Results

Hanoverian Ibiza sons convinced at the NA Stallion Sport Tests

by Dr. Ludwig Christmann, Hanoverian Verband

Anna Goebel for Warmblood Stallions of North America at the 2019 Stallion Sport Test.

After a one-year break due to Corona, it was a compelling necessity to offer sport tests for stallions for breeders in the USA and Canada again this year. The proven locations Pollyrich Farm in California and Hilltop Farm on the East Coast in the US state of Maryland were once again available for this purpose. Eight stallions were presented at Pollyrich Farm, five dressage and three show jumping stallions. The best result with a final score of 8.75 was achieved by the Hanoverian Ibiza/De Niro son Influencer EDI, bred by Thomas Heuer, Bienenbüttel, and purchased by Exclusive Dressage Imports at the licensing in Verden. His outstanding walk was awarded the highest score of 10.0. He was followed by Bon Coeur/ Freudenprinz son Bodo, bred by Franz-Josef Scharafin, Viersen, with a score of 8.6 from the same owner. The three other dressage stallions had KWPN papers and were by Toto Junior and twice by Bordeaux. They also achieved final scores of over 8, so this was a small but high quality dressage group. 

Of the three jumping stallions, two finished the test. The U.S.-bred Holsteiner Lakota WT by Liocalyon was presented with sovereignty, scoring a final score of 8.37. The U.S.-bred Hanoverian Escher DFEN finished the test with a final score of 6.7. He is a son of Escudo II out of the Thoroughbred mare Pleasant Tap and is owned and bred by Sarah McCarthy, California. 

At Hilltop Farm in Maryland, 21 stallions competed, twelve in dressage, eight in show jumping, plus a Haflinger was presented in the pony category. Again, the two highest scoring dressage horses had Hanoverian papers and again it was a son of Ibiza that told the highest final score of 8.75. Maximus was his name, bred by Ad Valk, Netherlands, out of the KWPN mare Goldfever by Apache. His owner is the Grand Prix successful American dressage rider Alice Tarjan. Talent, high rideability values and of course very good basic gaits, among which the canter ( score 9.5), stood out, characterize this four-year-old hopeful. The second highest rating with a final score of 8, 35 was told by the Hilltop Farm bred and exhibited Lord Leatherdale/Negro son Louisville HTF. His canter and rideability were outstanding (9.0 each). Final scores above 8.0 were told by the Oldenburg stallions Epic Eastwood by Escolar (8.25), Hanoverian mare line of Nachnahme, Marcario MW by Morricone I(8.25), East Friesian mare line of Cena, and Fellini CF by Finest (8.15), Hanoverian mare line of Goldflamme. Traveling from Canada was Don Index/Sinatra Song son De Nouveau, bred and exhibited by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who scored a final score of 7.2. 

A Hanoverian was also among the top group in the jumping stallions. This was the big-lined five-year- old Clinton I son Copernicus WF, bred in Canada by Windswept Farm in the Greater Toronto Area, which now presented him at Hilltop Farm. His dam, the elite mare Flower Song is by the For Pleasure son Federalist out of a dam by Evergreen. The highest score (9.13) went to Calisto (Coconut Macaroon), a Westphalian stallion already licensed for Hanover, who was also the highest-scoring jumper at his first sport test two years ago. The Belgian warmblood stallion Obi Wan B by Nabab de Reve/Jus de Pomme also shone with a great deal of ability, scoring a final score of 9.05. Another Canadian-bred Hanoverian stallion was the colorful chestnut Beau Balou by Bon Balou/Calypso de Moyon, bred and owned by Louise Masek, Ontario, final score 7.85. This was his second sport test, which means he has now achieved final approval. 

These two sport tests were conducted by the North American Stallion Sport Test LLC, a joint venture of the American Hanoverian Society (AHS) and the Oldenburg Verband, supported by the German Hanoverian Society. The test follows the rules of the FN Sport Test in Germany and was developed in close cooperation with Warendorf. This year there were special challenges, as it would not have been possible for the German judges to enter the country without quarantine. Therefore, an American team of judges, experts and foreign riders was deployed on site, including sporting greats such as Rudi Leone (show jumping) and Olympic rider Charlotte Brehdahl (dressage). The team was in constant contact with the two FN judges Gerd Sickinger and Matthias Granzow in Germany via live stream, video and zoom. The whole event was coordinated and organized by Natalie DiBerardinis, who is a member of the AHS board and director of Hilltop Farm.

theHorse: Housing Stallions With Other Horses

Hesketh, Jerome; A Grey Stallion and an Attendant; National Trust, Lyme Park; discusses best practices for housing stallions, and new research addressing the question.

In their article “Humane Housing Options for Stallions,” they address the issues with the tradition of housing stallions alone.

“Housing stallions has, traditionally, not been very welfare-friendly,” said Silvana Popescu, PhD… “These deprivations [associated with being denied access to a social life with other horses] can have serious consequences on the horse’s mental, physical, and emotional states.”

The article continues with suggestions, from small changes to large, to safely give stallions more opportunities for social interactions.

In “Safe and Sensible Stallion Housing,” reports on studies that show how stallions can benefit from increased contact with other stallions, including increased fertility.

Can Stallions Live With Other Horses? Short podcast excerpt

Humane Housing Options for Stallions

Safe and Sensible Stallion Housing PDF

Image: Stallion Painting by Jerome Hesketh, 1647
National Trust, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Caletto I for Foundation Friday

Enjoy one of Warmblood Stallions of North America’s more popular Foundation Friday posts!  Every other Friday we will be featuring a foundation sire – one who has been influential in the development of warmblood breeds. We pull from the incredible archive of The Horse Magazine, published by Chris Hector of Australia. Thank you, Chris, for permission to draw on your expertise!

175 cm Bay
Breeder: Klaus Martin Both, Herzhorn

Caletto was a “tall, important sire with the smooth topline of a modern riding horse. Good face, rather heavy neck and a thick throat latch. Prominent withers, rather flat through the loin, sharply dropped croup in which the muscle doesn’t carry down well. Strong bone with mild crookedness in front and faults behind, somewhat base narrow. Good trot, absolutely marvelous canter. Extraordinary jumping ability with fantastic form over fences.”

As is so often the case, Caletto is the product of one of those mares that “make” a breeder: Deka. Amazingly all Deka’s foals have competed at the highest level. All but one of her sons went on to become licensed stallions, and her daughter Nathalie is the dam of a KWPN approved stallion, Telstar by Nimmerdor. In 1973, Deka was bred for the first time to Cor de la Bryère, producing Cordeka who with Herbert Blöcker competed successfully in showjumping and eventing competitions. Bred to Cor de la Bryère the following year, Deka produced the first of the three stallion full-brothers, Caletto I, II and III. 

Overall 758 of Caletto I’s progeny went on to compete… Caletto I appears in 65th place on the 2006 Monneron rankings, but he is represented in the top 75 by his son Cantus in 30th.

To read the full article as it was published on The Horse Magazine website – along with full pedigree of Caletto I, click here. The publisher and creator of this incredible resource, Christopher Hector, is the author of The Making of the Warmblood Horse.

Stallion Descendants in North America

Looking for the exciting bloodlines of Caletto I? There are several stallion descendants of his in North America. Click on the following links to read about each of the ones on

GK Calucci

theHorse: Best Practices for Weaning

It’s that time of year again! The time when youngsters are weaned and started on their independent lives and careers. has a new article to help breeders make the transition process as smooth as possible.

“Weaning can be an exciting time for you to introduce your young horse to new things without his dam by his side. You get to watch his personality and intellect develop, while catching a glimpse of his potential for future athletic endeavors. But for the weanling, it might just be one of the most stressful times in his life.”

In consultation with experts, offers important tips to get the best results. Among them, experts seem to agree that foals should not be weaned before four months of age, “to allow the foal ample time to grow and develop a strong immune system before leaving mom’s side.”

Another tip involves an approach that most breeders can accomplish: turn the weanlings out with nonrelated mares. “Adult-weaned” foals showed reduced behavioral issues and physiological stress than foals weaned only with fellow weanlings. 

For more tips from the experts, click here.

Photo: Medena / CC BY-SA (

Eventing Breeding at Tokyo – New Article

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is BoydMartin.jpg
Tsetserleg TSF, by Windfall II, bred by Timothy Holekamp, USA
The Horse Magazine photo

Christopher Hector has just posted a new article about the bloodlines of the eventing horses at the Tokyo Olympics. As always, an interesting article. He points out that 8 of the 25 horses that got through to the Individual final were French-bred. He concludes that “for eventing you should look to Selle Français, Anglo-Arab, Trakehner, and blood, blood, blood.” And the French specialize in three of the four. He goes into detail about the French horses’ bloodlines, especially the Selle Français, but also the Anglo-Arab, and the French Thoroughbred lines.

The main Trakehners mentioned are the US-bred sons of Windfall. He says,

“It would also be remiss not to salute the Trakehner stallion, Windfall II, himself an Olympic eventer (12th at Athens, team bronze) and the sire of two of the eventers in the American Tokyo eventing team, Doug Payne’s Vandiver (Mystic Replica xx) and Boyd Martin’s Tsetserleg TSF (Buddenbrock). I cannot think of another stallion of any breed that has competed in the eventing at a Games and then gone on to sire Olympians.”

Chris Hector details Windfall’s beginnings, bred in Germany and competed by Ingrid Klimke, and goes into detail about his dam, Wundermaedel xx. He mentions that he was sold to the United States and competed successfully by Darren Chiacchia, including at the 2004 Olympics, and retired after 12 seasons.

He doesn’t mention that he is owned by Timothy Holekamp, of New Spring Farm, who is a powerhouse supporter of eventing in the US, and a long-time Trakehner supporter and breeder. He is a founder of the Young Event Horse program, and co-chairs the YEH committee. He has been responsible for improving American eventing, and American competitiveness on the international stage, in many ways. 

Tim Holekamp is himself the breeder of Tsetserleg TSF. Based on Tim’s WBFSH research, Tsetserleg is “the only Olympic eventing horse in history to be son, grandson, and great grandson of national team-member international event horses.”

Windfall is still both sound and fertile at 29 years old. According to Tim, “Windfall is the only horse in the history of our sport to win a CCI**** (old speak [now 5*]) and then go on to become a proven Grand Prix dressage horse (trained by Cheryl Holekamp, who intends to go for the USDF Century Cup award next summer on still-sound Windfall, who will then be 30 years old).”

Windfall certainly did brilliantly in Germany as a young horse, but his status as an Olympian and the sire of Olympians is due to Tim Holekamp, USA.

Read the full article here:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is holekamp-tetona_2021-930x1024.jpg
Tetona, by Windfall II, full sister to Tsetserleg. “Despite being retired from breeding for over a decade, Windfall is the sire (and eleven-years-infertile Thabana *M* is the dam) of the 2021 black filly Tetona, conceived by ICSI.” —Timothy Holekamp
Tim Holekamp photo