It’s the warmblood breeding debate of the century. Importing young horses from overseas or buying here in N.A., importing European stallion semen for breeding, or choosing a stallion standing here – we just don’t have the same options here in North America, right? Wrong! 30 years ago, this argument may have carried weight, but boy, has the North American Sport Horse market come a long, long way since then. Now more than ever, supporting North American warmblood breeders has become exponentially more advantageous in the show ring and breeding barn, but additionally, our options as breeders have grown astronomically.
So why is it important to shop locally when discussing warmblood breeding in North America? What are the concerns that seem to hold breeders and competitors back? More importantly, what are the incredible advantages of nurturing our thriving warmblood breeder community right here in North America? Let’s dive in!
Supporting North American Warmblood Breeders – The History of Success
We all know the import of traditional warmbloods from Europe to North America has been taking place for decades. Still, the establishment of reputable, organized warmblood breed registries on this continent didn’t start gaining traction until the 1970’s. KWPN-NA was established in 1983, the Oldenburg Registry of North America/ISR was also founded in 1983, while registries like the American Hanoverian Society took up roots in 1978, and the American Trakehner Association kicked off its start in 1975. There have been several others that have had fits and starts in trying to gain a toe hold in the North American market. Of course, there are several others, but it’s hard to imagine that back then, these organizations started as offshoots of their foundational European registries. Driven by breeders ready to nurture, breed, and incorporate the impactful history, breed standards, and quality stock that their European counterparts had been cultivating for centuries.
In some cases, only a handful of organizing members and less than 100 breeders and horse owners decided to jump in head first to not only continue the registry’s high expectations for their broodstock but to ensure the qualities they grew to love and rely on would continue and be enjoyed by equestrians everywhere. Imagine the blood, sweat, hard work, tears, and steadfast determination that went into growing this small pool of imported, old-world bloodlines into the warmblood industry we know and love today. That’s a lot of dedication! Now, nearly 50 years later, with the addition of new and reorganized registries, standards, and operating practices, the accessibility for North American breeders to continue breeding high-quality, talented, exceptional animals has been made possible by not only the founders of these North American breed registries but the breeders who have been powering on for literal decades by carrying the proverbial torch.
Why Breed to a North American Stallion?
Don’t be mistaken – the selection of stallions only available internationally are some of the greatest, most talented, and most prolific horses of our current time. Most North American breeders see and recognize the influence these European bloodlines offer. Still, we’d be remiss if we didn’t recognize not only the established, competitive and successful stallions right here at home. Breeding “locally,” however, opens up your options for shipping availability, and believe it or not, thanks to the dedication and hard work of North American stallion owners, some of those highly sought-after international bloodlines can be found much closer than overseas. It is also important to consider that more and more European stallions are offering fewer and fewer straws per dose for frozen semen shipments – a fact that can negatively impact a breeding program’s bottom line and can make settling your mare a more arduous task.
Along with shipping options and availability, utilizing a North American stallion for your breeding program also opens the door to a more cohesive and open relationship with your stallion owners and fellow breeders. These working relationships help network, and further breeding enterprises as your program progresses. Of course, the added benefits of helping expand the warmblood footprint and helping North America further its foothold in the international competition arena are another great reason to breed to North American stallions. More accessibility, options, and opportunity to help share our love for the industry! Expanding the industry means more people have the chance to be involved, and with greater numbers, we can all have a greater impact on our industry’s future. If we hope to continue to have high quality stallions available for fresh cooled option, it behooves us to support those North American stallion owners, as well!
Looking for some assistance in how to choose the perfect warmblood stallion? Check out our article here, with some great tips to help you decide who to use in your breeding program. Be sure to check out our gallery of incredible N.A. stallions at Warmblood Stallions of North America.
2023 marks the 40th Anniversary of KWPN-NA.
Join the celebration at the 2023 KWPN-NA Annual General Meeting!
If you are a member of the registry (or wish to become one), be sure to mark your calendars for March 9-11, 2023 at Sonnenberg Farm in Sherwood, Oregon. More information will be forthcoming from the registry, so in the meantime, you can get caught up on the 2022 year end Keuring Tour results and other important news by visiting the following links. Bookmark the link below for quick access to KWPN-NA news:
If you are interested in sponsoring the KWPN-NA Annual General Meeting this year, you can be sure that there will be lots of extra advertising and promotion in line with this major milestone.
Click here for more information and to sign up as a sponsor!
2022 KWPN-NA Keuring Tour Results
Learn more about the Keuring Top 10’s here, where you will also find information about the North American Champions for each Keuring class. This will undoubtedly help you in your research as you think long and hard about your breeding choices for next year!
KWPN-NA Stallion Directory
Last but certainly not least, follow the link here to access the complete list of licensed and activated KWPN-NA stallions. As time draws near, be on the lookout for the annual Stallion Service Auction! This popular auction is a great way to get signed up for many of the popular and top-producing stallions, while also supporting registry initiatives, such as membership support, performance awards, Keuring tour, and educational events.
For KWPN-NA Stallion Owners:
The stallion activations for 2023 need to get sent in as soon as possible, especially if you want your stallion to be advertised in the 2023 Handbook. Follow the links below for activation information and forms:
For mare owners, planning out the perfect match usually takes hours…days…even weeks of careful consideration and deliberation. Whether you’re going into next year’s breeding season with one mare or twenty in your herd, knowing how to choose a warmblood stallion that compliments them, improves on your program, and fits in your budget can be a tall order.
Don’t fret! Warmblood Stallions of North America is here to help. WSNA has the absolute pleasure of working hand in hand with North American stallion owners and registries to help North American breeders strive to produce top-quality offspring. We’ve put together a Warmblood Stallion Shopping FAQ to help narrow down your list of potential candidates. Choosing a great stallion is supposed to be the first fun step!
How to Choose a Warmblood Stallion
It’s fall, registries are wrapping up their inspections, 95% of this year’s foals are on the ground, and for those mare owners interested in continuing an active breeding program, the time for stallion selection is now. Maybe you were waiting to see how a stallion’s foal crop turned out for this year, or perhaps you were waiting to see if that particular stallion is actually being imported like you heard – perhaps you’re waiting for holiday breeding specials; one thing is for certain – we recommend starting your selection process sooner rather than later. We’ve put together some helpful tips below to help you consider your stallion selection options.
Set Reasonable Goals and Expectations
Are you looking for your next AA competition horse? Are you breeding to sell? Do you have the expectation of producing your next top-level competition animal? What areas of improvement does your mare need? Consider factors like a stallion’s competition records (if that’s your goal), and be sure to research the careers and accomplishments of the offspring of your stallion of choice. There are fantastic forums across the web that have open and very informative discussions regarding stallion selection. Be sure to jump in and ask!
Also, consider up-and-coming, younger, less-proven stallions. There are so many exciting young stallions bred right here in North America, producing incredible offspring. Those big names are absolutely impressive, and if that’s in your budget, go get ‘em! But don’t overlook more financially sound options right here; they’re climbing the ranks and doing great things.
Ask Stallion Owners!
If you have your heart set on a stallion, reach out and ask the important questions. Remember, stallion owners want your foals to excel, too. The owners of stallions you’ll find on Warmblood Stallions of North America are here to make sure they’re helping mare owners create the next generation of great riding companions and competition animals. Let them know your goals, and ask them honestly their opinion on your proposed match. You’ll find most stallion owners are open to discussion, and in many cases, if they don’t think their stallion is the right fit, they’ll point you in a more appropriate direction. Ask about confirmed pregnancy rates, foal disposition, semen evaluation, etc., as these are factors that can directly impact your out-of-pocket expenses if your mare isn’t settling. Remember that you are establishing a working relationship with both the stallion owner/manager, and you want that connection to be a successful one.
While stallion owners are usually more than gracious with their time and resources, it’s important to keep in mind that they don’t have all the answers all the time. Be respectful of their time – remember TIME ZONES -, and ensure you’ve asked the appropriate questions before you book.
Stallion Availability and Limited Breedings
Let’s be honest – if your goal is breeding to a top-level competition stallion, collection and shipping schedules can get tricky amid a heavy competition schedule. This doesn’t mean you should forgo these choices! It just means you’ll need to plan accordingly. In many cases, stallions in heavy competition are only available with frozen semen. Some stallion owners only collect on certain days of the week, some only have collection availability during certain months during breeding season. One of the incredible benefits of breeding to North American stallions is that your options for fresh cooled semen availability increase. This can be a huge advantage in both cost and access to vets or reproduction facilities able to accommodate your plans. This brings up if you are opting to use frozen semen, go with a reproduction clinic that is familiar with and has a good success rate with frozen semen.
Inquire about shipment orders. If the stallion is popular, what happens if you’re the third person in line? Is there going to be adequate availability? What happens if there isn’t sufficient semen? Again, this shouldn’t necessarily stop you from choosing that stallion, but it will require more detailed planning on your part. If any of these scheduling restraints don’t quite fit with your planning, you’ve got plenty of other great options when you choose a warmblood stallion.
When Should I Book a Breeding for Next Year?
Many stallion owners offer early booking discounts. We recommend booking sooner rather than later. From breeding availability to show schedules, stud fee increases, and holiday specials, narrowing down your selection and being in contact with stallion owners should be a top priority. This can also help secure a spot in a stallion’s breeding book for next year if they have a limited number of breedings available. This can be especially important if you’re interested in a more popular stallion.
As heavy show season winds down, awards and the plan for next year’s show schedule will start to impact stallion availability. Keep in mind that many stallion owners now offer holiday breeding specials, holiday discounts, and reduced breeding fees before the new year rings in.
Another great way to obtain budget-friendly breedings is through breed registry stallion service auctions. You can obtain breedings to top-level stallions for a great price – please just keep in mind that stallion owners donate those breeding fees to the registry, and it’s important to be kind, patient, and understanding when scheduling your shipments.
Breed Registries and Breeding Fees
The final big consideration we have to go over is breed registry and budget! Is your mare registered, and is she eligible for the registries your preferred stallion is licensed? You’ll want to select from stallions who not only complement your mare but a match whose offspring can be registered if you have an interest in competition, breeding, or reselling later in the future. It’s also recommended that, as a mare owner, you research the registries you’re interested in supporting and confirm that the relationship and support between registry and breeder is a two-way street. From inspection fees, registration acceptance, education, marketing opportunities, inspection locations, and annual fees, all North American registries have different preferences, inspection staff, office administrators, and operating processes, including the breeds, stallions, and conformation qualities they look for when registering breeding stock. Each of these aspects, individually and combined, make for a varying experience that can drastically change your breeding outcome (at least on paper, if not in the marketability of your program’s offspring). Be sure to firm up your breeding objective (conformation, movement, temperament, discipline, breeding/performance, etc.), then align with a breeding registry that complements (and legitimizes) your breeding efforts accordingly.
Of course, budget is always a high priority, which is why things like booking sooner rather than later and checking out those pre-new-year deals can help. But factoring in your access to good reproduction vets and facilities, shipping and collection fees, and the actual stud fee are going to be critical for a judicious and financial checklist mare owners will want to keep in mind.
Finding the Right Stallion for Your Mare
We get it! There’s a lot to process when you’re picking out a stallion for your mare. At the end of the day, do your research, ask around, ask other breeders, stallion owners, and competitors. Consider your access to reproductive care and your ability to breed with fresh cooled, or frozen semen, and keep your options open! In the meantime, check out our selection of North American Stallions on our website, and get next year’s breeding season planned!
Please join Ryan Pedigo, of Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses, Inc., in celebrating the addition of 3 new exciting stallions to his growing lineup of hunter and show jumping stallions:
PF’s Ucalido, PF’s Comme Il l’a Fait, and PF’s Catch!
With an emphasis on development of bloodlines through a carefully chosen breeding program, Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses is a full service breeding operation focused on bolstering the North American breeders’ access to world class and Olympic bloodlines.
In celebration of these new and exciting stallions, Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses is extending a very attractive early season breeding special for the month of December:
60% off of any PF stallion’s fresh cooled contracts if contract is signed and booking fee of $300 is paid by December 31, 2022. Collection and Shipping fees are in addition to the fresh cooled contract fee. Due at the time of service, the remaining fresh cooled contract fee, collection, and shipping fees are due prior to shipping the fresh cooled breeding.
For more information about each of these new stallions, as well as the full roster of top notch stallions at Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses, follow the links below:
Udarco Van Overis – Calido I – Calypso II
Comme Il Faut – Cassini I – Chamonix
Colman – Calido – Caletto I
Arriving Spring 2023!
Diarado – Chacco-Blue – Landadel
Chacco Blue #1 x Diamant de Semilly # 2 WBFSH Sires
Charleston – Nerrado – Contender
First Class – Combining phenomenal jumping talent, scope & style
Connor – Singulord Joter – Acodetto I
Imported World Class Stallion From Olympic Bloodlines
Cornet Obolensky – Baloubet du Rouet – Jalisco B
Note from the Editor: Artie and Joanna are a story of inspiration! Not often do we see a horse rise to FEI levels under one partnership, let alone as a stallion climbing those grueling ranks with his beloved owner. We think this speaks volumes for his character and resilience, despite the challenges he faced after his early success in the breed classes. Enjoy reading about it from Artie’s biggest fan, his owner/rider/partner-for-life Joanna Gray-Randle.
Royal Tourmalet SPF – 2011 Hanoverian Stallion
(Royal Prince – Armin – Futuro)
Written by Joanna Gray-Randle
“Artie” and I share a very special bond.
My parents tell me that from the very first time I saw a horse at age two, I was smitten. I was fortunate to grow up in the horse-friendly community of Thousand Oaks, California and spent my childhood riding in the hills, swimming my horse in the stream-fed ponds and jumping any obstacle in my path. My horsey activities included hunter/jumper shows, gymkhana, dressage, eventing, driving, riding in parades, and even taking my horse for a dip in the Pacific Ocean.
My passion for horses was not to be denied, and I have happily embraced my career as a trainer, clinician, coach, and judge. Recently I posted a photo on Facebook of a 17-year-old me galloping a racehorse. Someone commented, “Is there anything you haven’t done involving horses?” That question started me reflecting on the journey I have been taking with my wonderful Hanoverian stallion, Royal Tourmalet SPF.
In 2009, after a relocation from California to New York and my need for spinal fusion surgery, I “retired” from horses. But then came a stallion lovingly nicknamed “Artie”, phonetically derived from his name’s acronym “R.T.”. Healed from surgery, and bored to tears, I started circulating my resumé to let local equestrians know I was available for clinics and lessons. In 2011, one such clinic I taught was at Sandpiper Farms in Riverhead, New York. Owned by Gina Leslie, Sandpiper Farms is a boutique breeding operation with a few boarders.
After the clinic, Gina took me around to introduce me to her small herd of broodmares. I was immediately struck by the quality of AHS Main Studbook mare Adira (by Armin). Adira was heavily in foal to Royal Prince and about two months away from foaling. I left the farm that day asking to be contacted when the foal was born, because who doesn’t want to see babies, right? I was in no way in the market for a foal.
Two months later, I was happy to receive the call that the foal was here and drove out to see him the next day. He was so beautifully put together, friendly, and had fantastic markings. In the months that followed, I thought a lot about the bay colt with bling; I also found my status as a non-horse owner depressing. While at Lincoln Center watching a production of War Horse, I was overcome with emotion when the puppet foal Joey came on stage. I emailed Gina the moment I got home from the play, and a short time later, purchased the bay colt. The lovely 2011 Hanoverian colt entered my life, and I named him Royal Tourmalet SPF, his barn name would be “Artie”.
You see, to answer the earlier question, something I hadn’t done with horses was to raise a foal of my own. I had raised clients’ foals, and had started my own 2-year-old, but never one as young as my new Hanoverian. Upon buying Artie, I uttered into the universe that I would like to be able to compete him as a 4-year-old stallion and earn qualifying scores for the U.S. National Young Horse Dressage Championships.
Silly me, I forgot to make any goals beyond that, except perhaps that I’m hoping Artie will be my “century ride” someday.
The years passed and I could not be prouder of my young stallion’s accomplishments, he was definitely an over-achiever. I was even more amazed by his temperament as he is just so incredibly kind and sweet. Don’t get me wrong, he is all boy and can be mischievous. If you are dilly-dallying, he’ll find ways to get your attention, such as hunting for treats, putting the reins in his mouth, or picking up chairs, tables, saddle racks, horse vacuums, trashcans, etc. Every day he greets me by whinnying and nickering and eager to get to work. He is the joy of my life.
We began competitive life by attending breed shows. In my opinion, there isn’t a more perfect way to introduce your future competition horse to a life of showing. In his very first show as a yearling, he won everything. I went with the attitude that it was about getting show mileage and the results didn’t matter, but it turned out to be a very fun day. I continued to show Artie in his 2-year-old and 3-year-old years, mainly for exposure and experience, but we earned some very nice accolades in the process.
In 2015, the 4-year-old Royal Tourmalet SPF earned numerous year-end awards and brought home impressive results from big competitions. The pinnacle was winning the 2015 Dressage at Devon, Dr. Robert Miller Memorial Perpetual Trophy for being the highest scoring American-bred stallion. He was also named 2015 Born in the USA Champion Stallion. To earn such prestigious awards at America’s premiere breed show was just overwhelming. I was incredibly proud and overcome with emotion accepting these awards. The judge from his very first show saw promise in a yearling Artie; it was wonderful to have that promise fulfilled as a mature stallion.
Competing Artie as a 4-year-old, he earned scores above 80% in Open Training Level Dressage; in Materiale; and, in the DSHB Mature Stallion division. We also achieved that long held goal of earning qualifying scores for the Young Horse Championships. He did it all, and now I really needed to set more goals.
Then the unthinkable happened in 2016 when Artie suffered a life-threatening stable injury. All that mattered to me was saving his life; and emergency surgery, a month in intensive care, a year layup, a second surgery, another year layup became our reality. In a true testament to Artie’s incredible temperament, he took his new situation in stride and allowed us to help him heal. I cannot say enough good things about the veterinarians and farriers that moved heaven and earth to help my special stallion. The hoof that was nearly removed remains scarred for life, but you could never tell that this amazing horse was at death’s door for many months.
In addition to my spinal surgery, I had four shoulder surgeries and other medical issues that kept me out of riding for many years. As I returned to riding Artie, it rehabbed us both, and reminded me of when I was riding my then four-year-old stallion all over New England. Over time, Artie’s strength and flexibility returned and I asked the expert eye of Olympic Judge Gary Rockwell to watch him. Mr. Rockwell’s assessment was “he’s perfect.” That evaluation provided me the confidence to develop Artie to my newly established goal of obtaining his Stallion Sports Requirements at Prix St. Georges.
To say I agonized over this goal would be an understatement.
Regular check-ins with my Coach confirmed that Artie and I were on the right track. In May of 2022, we entered our first FEI class, and tied for first place. We then won our next Prix St Georges class. In two competitions we earned the five required scores and placings for any additional Stallion Approvals we may seek. I admit that I ride quite conservatively in my tests but that is because I know how far Artie has come, and how devastating his injury was.
Artie is the most balanced horse I have ever owned, both mentally and physically. We are a perfect fit, and it is made even more special by the fact that he came into my life as a youngster. He continues to take my breath away and make me smile.
I have often said that “Artie owes me nothing and gives me everything”, and that remains true. As long as he is happy in his training, we will continue.
Royal Tourmalet is producing lovely foals with uphill builds, strong toplines, powerful hind ends, pure gaits, and wonderful temperaments. I am looking forward to seeing more of his offspring in the competition arena soon.
Many years ago, when we first opened our restaurant, Dino Houpis, our mentor supplied by the Service Core of Retired Entrepreneurs said to me,
“If you knew everything right now that you’re going to know a year from now, you wouldn’t be opening a restaurant.”
If asked, that’s exactly the advice I would give to a non-horse person planning on marrying a horse person: If you knew everything right now you’re going to know in a year, you wouldn’t be marrying this person.
When Carol and I first met, I had one horse. She had been riding at a dude ranch twice. Between our engagement and our wedding, we had two horses. Almost thirty-three years later, I don’t really know how many horses we have. Somewhere between 30 and 40? The good thing is that Carol also does not know how many horses we have! Of course, we’re leaving for the Netherlands next week. By the end of the day on Tuesday, after we visit our horses in Nuis, she’s going to have a better idea, because I’m pretty sure she can count…unfortunately. It’s not that I purposefully try to hide horses from her. I don’t. I just sometimes say things like, “Gee, that foal in the Prinsjesdag Auction is pretty cool. Maybe I’ll bid on him.” And, I do. And, I buy him. And, I tell her I bought him…if she asks. If she doesn’t ask, well, I usually remember to tell her. Usually. Of course, the horses in our backyard are a little more difficult to slide by her because, as I mentioned, she can count.
I can’t tell you how many times a woman is here looking at horses, and will casually mention something like, “my husband doesn’t know I’m here,” or “I’m going to give you cash because I don’t want this to show up in the checking account statement,” or “don’t post this on Facebook–I need to find the right time to tell my boyfriend.” Please, don’t take this as sexist. It’s just that the vast majority of horse buyers in North America are women.
Reread the last paragraph. I am male. I am guilty of the same horse-addicted scheming. On this continent, there are just way fewer men duping their non-horse wives than there are women duping their non-horse husbands. And, in fairness, a person of higher moral character might try to dissuade these women from making such a purchase. Not me. I understand. I also need an intervention or to attend an HHA meeting (Horse Hoarders Anonymous).
One friend bought a filly from us two years ago. I saw her recently. I asked her if she had told her husband yet. She replied,
“Telling Joe (using a pseudonym to protect the innocent) is on a need-to-know basis, and he doesn’t need to know yet.”
It is an addiction. We are addicts. There is no way a non-horse person can fully comprehend the depths of our addiction until the lights have gone out because the money for the utility bill went to a new bridle with a jeweled browband and a new Sprenger bit. OK. That’s a bad example. We’re not going to let the lights go out. If we did, we’d be doing horse chores in the dark and we also couldn’t use the new grooming vacuum. Ramen. That’s a better example. Our spouses won’t realize the depths of our addiction until they’re eating their fourth or fifth supper featuring some creative Ramen dish because we scrimped on groceries for the new bridle with the jeweled browband and Sprenger bit.
A young horsewoman and her fiancé came to look at our mares a couple months ago to make an in utero purchase. The fiancé is a non-horse person with a capital NON. At one point in time, he said to me,
“I’d like to have a better grasp on the financial implications of horses. When do you make money?”
I smiled politely while trying to contain my amusement, gave Carol a look indicating she was the better person to have this conversation, walked off with the young woman to look at the mares, and left Carol to converse with the fiancé. Later, we waved as they pulled out of the driveway. After the car made the turn by the beaver pond and started up the hill out of sight, Carol turned to me and said,
“He has no clue what he’s in for.”
Not at all to make light of addictions other than ours, again, unless you know what it’s like to need a fix, be it Jim Beam, a Marlboro Red, some illicit drug, cliff diving, or chocolate, you can’t really understand the Dopamine rush that comes with buying a horse, nor the Serotonin release once you do. So, I guess what I’m saying is horse people should marry addicts if they want to be understood. No. Kidding. LOL. Seriously. That would be stupid. We can’t marry addicts. There’s too much risk that they will be dealing badly with their own addictions and not be able to financially support ours.
There are other aspects of being a non-horse-person spouse to a horse person that the potential spouse/already-legally-bound spouse doesn’t grasp immediately. For one, did you know not everyone likes the smell of horses permeating every piece of clothing you own and every piece of furniture you sit on? Isn’t that nearly beyond comprehension? What could be more soothing to the soul than the smell of a horse?
Carol has a rule that barn clothes, and especially barn shoes, stay downstairs, in the mud room. (She even had a shower installed in the laundry area adjacent to the mud room for some strange reason). Although I would prefer not to change my clothes twelve times a day, I am willing to make this accommodation to maintain a happy marriage.
I can see someone finding it charming early in the relationship if you show up to a date with hay in your hair. It’s probably not as charming a couple years in when that same hay falls out of your hair and into the eggs you’re cooking for breakfast without your noticing it. Kind of the same as when I joke about spending most of the summer with my arm up a horse’s ass and a green-brown stain circumnavigating my upper right bicep. It’s funny to talk about, but not so funny to jump into the car because we’re late for a dinner reservation and I didn’t have time to shower. I don’t even notice anymore. The older I get, the less I care or want to notice.
Floris, my new stallion, is boarded 45 minutes away from us until the new barn/indoor is completed. Many days I change into my riding clothes before leaving the house, which means if I have to do an errand on the way there or back, I’m going to be the large man with riding breeches and Hoka sandals walking into the grocery store or Tractor Supply. Maybe this is a common sight in Wellington or some places in Southern California. In Keene, New Hampshire, or Bellows Falls, Vermont, I’m a large man in sandals and very tight-fitting pants that may or may not have been washed since the last time I rode. Just in case, I have a line ready to use for some distracted cashier or fellow shopper, “Keep your eyes up here, buddy. It will be better for both of us.”
On one of our first dates, Carol and I went to the movies. At one point she turned to me and sniffed. “What’s that smell?” I replied, “Home.” I still had my barn shoes on.
Another aspect of being married to a horse-person spouse is the company he or she keeps. Early in our marriage, Carol said to me, “As much as I love them, the problem with hanging out with most horse people is all they want to talk about is horses.” As riveting as I find conversations about pedigrees, genetics, conformation, training methods, semen shipping, etc, even I get a little glassy eyed after the third or fourth hour. Carol doesn’t last that long. One night, we had some horse people over for dinner. A couple hours into the conversation, the observant husband that I am, I realized Carol was no longer in the room. She had gone to bed. Yes, we’re still married. But, back to my point, after all the vet bills, horse disasters, endless horse-related conversations, days-long horse events, and 30-plus years of foal watches, shit shoveling, and dealing with an obsessed husband, I’m not sure how.
One year, at the KWPN Stallion Show, long before we had our ringside table, we stood by the rail at C and watched hours of low-level dressage tests. I was so busy studying the horses and thinking about breeding picks and the future of our program I didn’t realize until about two hours in that Carol was teaching herself how to tie and untie the laces of her shoes with her opposing toes. She must love me.
Marriage is hard enough without being married to a horse person. Throughout the years, Carol has developed an incredibly good and accurate eye for quality. She loves the physical exercise of cleaning stalls and unloading hay. She loves every baby we breed. Every time I say it’s time to cut down on the number of horses, Carol responds with a relieved sigh, and says,
“Good. Let’s do it.”
Then, I start naming the horses that can go…
“No. What are you thinking? We can’t sell her.”
I say another name.
“What? Absolutely not. I love her. She can’t go either.”
Needless to say, I’m not the only one to blame for us having somewhere between 30 and 40 horses. My non-horse spouse almost always gets the final say. As a matter of fact, at Carol’s insistence, we have an air conditioner in the barn for the mares and babies, but Scot is not allowed one in the house.
So, I guess that’s my final warning to you non-horse people considering marrying a horse person: The addiction is contagious. Horses become part of your life. You’re not marrying a person–you’re marrying a life that is full of pain, a seemingly never-ending drain on your finances, and just enough joy to make it all worthwhile.
Scot Tolman is the owner, with his wife Carol, of Shooting Star Farm, a family-run, Platinum Level breeding farm with the KWPN-NA. Scot, and Shooting Star Farm, have been written up in several equine publications, here and in Europe. As a writer, Scot has been published most notably in Warmbloods Today magazine (no longer published), and he maintains Scot’s Journal on the Shooting Star Farm website.
Scot stands three Dutch Warmblood stallions, including Floris, his riding horse. Click to view their Stallion Profiles on WarmbloodStallionsNA.com:
Top Character and New Pedigree for North America
The most popular dressage stallion in North America!
World-class expression and athleticism!
Written by BethAnne Bort
The American Hanoverian Society is known for outstanding educational opportunities, and the 2022 Hanoverian Breed Seminar at Dressage at Devon, hosted by the AHS Education Committee, was another great opportunity to provide North American breeders and enthusiasts with top instruction and comradery! The course was taught by Dr. Ludwig Christmann, the former Director of International Affairs, Development, and Education at the Hanoverian Verband in Germany. Dr. Christmann is recognized as a global expert on the Hanoverian breed, an experienced mare and foal inspection judge, and is a former judge at Dressage at Devon.
A welcome dinner at the host hotel kicked off the breed seminar with almost 40 lucky participants and a strong team of organizers and volunteers. It was wonderful to hear the excitement and joy as friends reconnected and there was a definite air of enthusiasm and delight over new connections being made. Adding to the excitement was the Eurequine swag bags, which included an amazing vest donated by our sponsor, Schneider’s, with embroidered AHS, ARS, and sponsor logos! There was also literature about the Breeder’s Choice iSperm instrument and ABT 360 Embryo Transfer medias, a dressage horse key chain from Mary’s Tack, some cool Hanoverian and Platinum Performance stickers, a Eurequine notepad set, a colorful and thorough 2022 Hilltop Farm Stallion book, and a number of farm and stallion handouts. We were also so thankful for the Warmblood Stallions of North America for donating DAD tickets and parking passes!
After social time and dinner, Dr. Christmann presented on “Hanoverian Horse History and Breeding Aims”, including an intriguing geographical history of the Hanoverian breed and other European warmblood breeds.
As a special treat, all attendees received a bottle of wine labeled with a custom AHS MARE WINE label, a must-have for breeders during stallion selection or foal watch! Or, as we found out, a great wine to drink while going through our swag bags again later in the evening!
AHS Hanoverian Breed Seminar: Day 1
Day 1 at Dressage at Devon was scheduled for discussions, exhibitions, and clinics while the show prepared for horses to start arriving. Dr. Christmann lectured on Hanoverian conformation ideals and the theory of judging horses. The difference between Individual Breed Classes (“IBC”) and Materiale judging was particularly interesting and a helpful insight for participants.
There was a conformation clinic with three lovely demo mares provided by Kris Schuler (Sonata EMF by Sir Gregory x Bugatti), Paula Byrum (Sundancer BHF by Sternlicht x Renaissance) and Maurine Swanson (Fherrari by Foundation x Royal Prince, pictured below). Breed Seminar participants evaluated the mares against USDF and AHS standards with Dr. Christmann’s expert guidance, using score sheets that highlighted the weighted values and the slight differences between standards and objectives. Understanding the differences in how scores are assigned is critical, and to analyze three different types of mares as a group, each mare with their strengths in different areas, was a real treat.
A handler’s clinic was expertly presented by Rebecca Arnold, who owns Singletree Farm in Southwest, Virginia. Becca discussed the techniques and skills needed to present each horse to their best abilities. Of note was Becca’s recommendation for breeders to teach their foals to stand still with the handler in front of them. This stance is often used for things like vet and farrier work, which may cause some foals to associate that handling technique with tension. Practicing this standing technique will get the foals confident in the handler in front of them – and hopefully standing still also! As an accomplished breeder herself, Becca encouraged the group to have confidence in handling their horses and to consider learning opportunities where they can handle or support showing activities themselves. Becca’s energy and passion was infectious, and members walked away from the session feeling empowered, appreciated, and indebted to the role our professional handlers hold in our industry.
Hygain presented on their equine nutrition, and they sponsored one month of free grain for the first 30 participants, including a custom feeding strategy developed with their equine nutritionists. There are a few ways to a breeder’s heart, and free grain is definitely one of them! The presentation discussed the nutritional needs of broodmares, young horses, and performance horses, including ways to reduce OCD and maintain optimum weight with balanced feed and forage strategies. The breed seminar participants were thrilled to learn that Hygain is releasing Broodmare and Foal/Young Horse feeds at the end of October! Many thanks to Hygain Equine Nutritionist Alexis Lorenz and Account Manager Whitney Fernandes for fielding all our questions!
There was an excellent photography class led by Stacey Wendkos that focused on techniques and camera settings for both conformation and action pictures. The discussions for optimizing pictures of black horses and indoor lighting situations were extremely helpful! Let’s face it, we have all struggled with these situations!
Our group dinner at the historical Black Powder Tavern was a huge hit, with everybody selecting raffle prizes and enjoying a fun end to an action-packed day.
AHS Hanoverian Breed Seminar: Day 2
The AHS Breed Seminar had an exciting lineup for Day 2! The breed seminar participants had the honor of watching breed classes while Dr. Christmann provided his own scores and evaluations for each horse in the ring, focusing on conformation and his impression of movement, range of motion, and more. At times, members were spread out around the ring, but with earbuds in place, we were all connected to Dr. Christmann and were building our expertise and understanding throughout the day. There was particular excitement during the Hanoverian IBC class, which was won by an exceptional 2 yo filly Frida Kahlo QC (Franklin x Rosentanz) bred, owned, and shown by Quantico Sporthorses, with an outstanding score of 85.95%. This Hanoverian filly went on to win the Two-Year-Old Fillies class, was DAD Champion Filly, and Reserve Champion Young Horse!
Following the excitement in the ring, the AHS Breed Seminar group did a deep dive with Dr. Christman on the popular D and F lines, then spent time discussing impactful sires such as Sandro Hit and Vivaldi (including their best crosses and promising sons). This was followed by a fantastic Happy Hour Trainer Forum with trainers Jim Koford, Lauren Chumley, Michael Bragdell, and Jocelyn Kraenzle. The group had so much fun talking with the trainers, with focus on bloodlines (including the typical ride and temperament types of different bloodlines) and their ideal horse characteristics. The trainers were well aware of the bloodlines in their barn, and they all agreed that their customer base overwhelmingly needed horses with good characters and trainability.
AHS Hanoverian Breed Seminar: Day 3
Day 3 focused on judging the age group and Materiale classes (with Dr. Christmann in our ear), watching the breed division Grand Champion Awards, and watching the Born in the USA Awards. There was a Q&A with American Judge Sue Mandas, who provided additional context to Materiale judging and evolution of the class. Towards the end of the day, the breed seminar enjoyed a group vendor tour, with many vendors providing breed seminar attendees a sizeable discount! The custom boot options were particularly amazing!
Throughout the seminar, the Devon Club provided outstanding lunch and happy hour catering services. The group was especially excited to see our own breed seminar members showing and the cheering section was extra loud for “our” entries!
The AHS Breed Seminar was generously sponsored by an all-star lineup that recognizes the impact of North American breeders and the American Hanoverian Society/American Rhineland Society!
- Schneiders – Industry-leading in horsewear and product innovation.
- HyGain – A leading equine feed and supplement company with an extensive high Performance, Equestrian, Stud and Supplement product range.
- Signature Sporthorses – Located in Sunbury, NC, breeding exceptional Hanoverian and Rhineland sporthorses for over 20 years.
- Eurequine – Standing top stallions available for breeding in North America, ranging from Olympians to Grand Prix superstars with Grand Prix and Olympic offspring of their own.
- Breeder’s Choice – Your source for high quality breeding equipment and supplies for the equine industry.
- Havens Horse Feed USA – Quality feeds designed for high performance, dressage, show jumping, endurance, breeding and leisure horses.
- Platinum Performance – Providing veterinarian-developed supplements that support every aspect of horse health and performance.
- Glacier Ridge Farm – Located just south of Seattle, WA, breeding the finest dressage and jumping athletes with the best temperaments and expressive movement for ambitious riders.
Many thanks to the American Hanoverian Society, the AHS Education Committee, and all the AHS staff, volunteers, sponsors, and donors that made this AHS Breed Seminar so successful. The food was great (including lots of mimosas, wine, coffee, and desserts), the agenda was well planned, and the education was top class. We all left the seminar with a greater understanding of conformation impact on movement, foal and young horse evaluation, stallion ideas for the future, and an expanded network of breeders, trainers, owners, and friends.
Author BethAnne Bort is a dressage and hunter breeder based out of North Carolina. BethAnne has completed the Hanoverian Verband Breed Course in Germany with world renowned expert, Dr. Ludwig Christmann, and is a member of the American Hanoverian Society Fundraising and Stallion Auction Committee. BethAnne also authors the series “Breaking Down the Breeding – Maclay Edition” for The Plaid Horse.
“We had a very exciting crop of foals born in 2022 and look forward to what we think will be a very bright future. Below is a list of foals born both at our Virginia farm and in Europe.”
|2022 Holsteiner Filly|
Imothep / Gina L / Fragnonard xx / Contender
2022 Holsteiner Colt
Cash and Carry / Athene IV / Cayado / Concorde
2022 Holsteiner Filly
Uriko / Diemenna HS / Connor / Carlos
2022 Holsteiner Colt
Colore / Elyssa / Calido / Acorado
2022 KWPN Filly
For Treasure / Illumination / Connor / Cardento
2022 Holsteiner Colt
Uriko / Freyja / My Lord Carthago / Casall
2022 Holsteiner Colt
Cicera’s Icewater / Carraleena / Calato / Cantus
2022 Holsteiner Colt
Chin Quidam VDL / Vision / Cassini / Heraldik xx
2022 Holsteiner Filly
Vigado / Festa / Corrado / Quinar
Get in Touch
Hyperion Stud, LLC
4997 Sandy Branch Rd.
Barboursville, VA 22923
Meet Hyperion Stud’s US stallions – Click each one for full details.
Olympic Stallion by Indoctro
KWPN Approved son of Casall
Approved Holsteiner Stallion
Approved son of Chin Chin
Holsteiner approved son of Colman
Piggy March (née French), a top British eventer, is very involved in bringing along young horses, as well as competing the most advanced ones in her program. In a new interview on Noelle Floyd’s Equestrian Voices, she discusses her approach to starting young horses, what she’s looking for, and what her priorities are.
One of the things she likes to do with her youngsters is hacking out in the countryside, so they get used to the terrain, and what the world is like. “It’s important they see as much of life… as possible, in a happy, confident way….”
Piggy tries to give her young horses a variety of experiences – positive and confidence-building ones – so that they “learn to trust us, as humans; I think that is the most important part of young horses developing.”
What should a trainer bring to the training of the young horse?
“It’s having a respect for them, being as fair and as positive as possible. …Young horses make a lot of mistakes. I think it’s mentally getting your head ‘round: there’s no pressure.”
Listen to the podcast here: