You Have Been Warned

Scot Tolman Thoughts on Breeding

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:

Floris SSF

Top Character and New Pedigree for North America

Gaudi SSF

The most popular dressage stallion in North America!

Jaleet SSF

World-class expression and athleticism!

Three Days of World-Class Education with the American Hanoverian Society: Dressage at Devon

We at WarmbloodBreeding.com and Warmblood Stallions of North America believe in giving back to the North American warmblood breeding industry through sponsorship of key North American breeding exhibitions, including the prestigious Dressage at Devon. This year, we sponsored the Born in the USA awards at Devon, but were unable to attend the show ourselves. We are thankful to members of the American Hanoverian Society for attending on our behalf, and BethAnne Bort for providing us with this complete synopsis of their three day breeding seminar on-site at Devon, a wonderful educational opportunity for breeders at one of the most iconic venues in North America. We truly love seeing North American warmblood registries put on such supportive and educational events for their members and the broader breeding industry!

Written by BethAnne Bort

AHS Swag Bag Content

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!

AHS Mare Wine Gift
Jessica Stallings & Lee Farino modeling Schneider’s Vests with sponsor logos

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.

Rebecca Arnold handling Maurine Swanson’s homebred mare Fherrari (Foundation x Royal Prince)
Photo Credit: BethAnne Bort

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 equine nutrition class with goodies and handouts

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

Frida Kahlo QC (Franklin x Rosentanz) bred by Quantico Sporthorses, pictured at Dressage at Devon
Photo credit: Emma Miller/Phelps Media Group

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!

Class lecture of D and F lines

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

Dr. Christmann evaluating horses with the class listening through headphones and airpods

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.

2022 Foals Available from Hyperion Stud

“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
STAMM 242
Premium/ Championship

2022 Holsteiner Colt
Cash and Carry / Athene IV / Cayado / Concorde
STAMM 776
Premium/ Championship

2022 Holsteiner Filly
Uriko / Diemenna HS / Connor / Carlos
STAMM 776
Premium

2022 Holsteiner Colt
Colore / Elyssa / Calido / Acorado
STAMM 776
Premium

2022 KWPN Filly
For Treasure / Illumination / Connor / Cardento

2022 Holsteiner Colt
Uriko / Freyja / My Lord Carthago / Casall
STAMM 474a
Premium

2022 Holsteiner Colt
Cicera’s Icewater / Carraleena / Calato  / Cantus
STAMM 241

2022 Holsteiner Colt
Chin Quidam VDL / Vision / Cassini / Heraldik xx
STAMM 474a

2022 Holsteiner Filly
Vigado / Festa / Corrado / Quinar
STAMM 741
Premium

Get in Touch

Hyperion Stud, LLC
4997 Sandy Branch Rd.
Barboursville, VA 22923
Telephone: 434-973-7700
Fax: 434-973-7773

Meet Hyperion Stud’s US stallions – Click each one for full details.

Imothep

Olympic Stallion by Indoctro

Dakota

KWPN Approved son of Casall

Cicera’s Icewater

Approved Holsteiner Stallion

Chin Quidam VDL

Approved son of Chin Chin

Can’t Touch This

Powerhouse Pedigree

Cool Jazz HS

Holsteiner approved son of Colman