Stallion Owner Spotlight: David Burke of Pangaea Farms

David with Harvard

A Breeding Visionary with a Heart of Gold

For over four decades, David Burke of Pangaea Farms in New Brunswick, Canada, has been a stalwart in the world of warmblood breeding. His journey is a testament to his dedication and holistic approach to breeding and business. Beyond the accolades and successes, what sets David apart is his genuine commitment to both the horses he breeds and the people he works with. Read on to learn more about David and his special stallions!

A Passion Born from Humble Beginnings

David with the RCMP Black Horse Troop (2016)

David’s love for horses has been a lifelong affair. Growing up in a modest and large family, owning a horse seemed like an unattainable dream. After David’s father passed when David was young, David’s desire to get involved with horses seemed like an impossibility. His mother would say “you can get a horse when you’re old enough to get yourself a horse and gun“. Not to be dismayed, David’s steadfast determination knew no bounds. He set his sights on joining the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), a career path that would ultimately lead to him realizing his equestrian dreams.

After joining the RCMP and completing his training, David finally bought his first horse—a pregnant Appaloosa mare. Little did he know that this would be the spark that ignited a lifelong passion for breeding and equestrian sport. David completed his training with the RCMP Musical Ride, went on to buy his first Hanoverian cross mare in 1976, then was voted the #1 ride in the RCMP Musical Ride in 1978. From there, David devoted himself to his passion: warmblood breeding and the future of the warmblood sporthorse.

Mattgold
Matrose x Duft II

A Legacy of Breeding Excellence

David’s journey in horse breeding began in earnest in 1980 when he acquired the purebred Hanoverian stallion, Mattgold (Matrose x Duft II). Impressively, David & Mattgold were chosen by the German Verband and American Hanoverian Society to represent the breed at the World Equitana in Louisville, KY, in 1966. Much to the audience’s astonishment and excitement, David & Mattgold presented an electrifying long-reining demonstration to music that was particularly thrilling when David and Mattgold performed their final movement at the extended canter from one end of the arena to the other, complete with flying change. For David, this was just the beginning.

Sandro’s Heir
Sandro Hit x Castro

David continued to invest in top-quality stallions and mares, often making trips to Europe himself to handpick the best of the best. Notable acquisitions include Rodero (Rabino x Diadem), Sandro’s Heir (Sandro Hit x Castro), Harvard (Hohenstein x Cardinal), Dannebrog (Don Schufro x Brentano II), Vilancio (Vitalis x Lancet), Feinrich (Fuerst Heinrich x Sir Donnerhall I) and, most recently, Florent (Floriscount/Desperados FRH/Wolkentanz).

Rodero
Rabino x Diadem

Modern breeders alight in his eye for quality and focus on breeding potential derived from pedigree, performance, and breeding soundness, the last of which is an attribute not consistently available to mare owners seeking viable breeding options for their mares.

Each of these stallion’s acquisition stories carry their own “origin” stories. However, David laughs fondly remembering how he purchased Sandro’s Heir at the GOV stallion auction, whereby he lost service on his phone and didn’t even know he had won (nor how much he had paid) when they kept bidding on his behalf. Sandro’s Heir went on to compete through Grand Prix dressage, and has an enduring legacy at Pangaea Farm through a super-producing retained daughter, with many more of his descendants competing and breeding today.

Harvard
Hohenstein x Cardinal
David with Mattgold (1996)

David’s approach to breeding is rooted in a deep sense of responsibility.

David recognizes the importance of preserving bloodlines and providing exceptional service to North American breeders. His stallions are known for their excellent semen quality, ensuring enduring quality through shipment and producing top sporthorse prospects that achieve accolades of distinction and top rankings year after year. As the caretakers of his stallions’ lives and legacies, David dedicates himself to ensuring their ultimate comfort, fitness, and future every day, and in every situation, without fail.

A Business Built on Trust and Transparency

David Burke’s success is not just a result of his exceptional breeding program but also his strong commitment to business principles. He firmly believes in treating his clients with the respect they deserve. Transparency is a cornerstone of his operations.

When David tells you something, you can trust that it will be exactly as promised.

David showcasing highly-awarded Dannebrog filly

His long-term vision extends beyond individual transactions. David has built strong relationships with vendors to ensure the seamless delivery of services, including shippers and logistics providers. He understands that the horse breeding industry relies on trust and reliability. David believes that the breeding industry (and horse industry overall) is truly a “long game”, whereby focusing on the big picture of customer service and sound breeding practices are of the utmost importance, and that a myopic view on business and “wins” does not sustain a business, nor does it adequately support his stallions and mare owners.

For David, honesty and integrity are uncompromising principles. He believes that stallion owners exist at the pleasure of mare owners, to ensure a viable offspring and deliver service based on respect and reliability. David says “breeding is a stressful thing – when mare owners call, they are always stressed to the nines, so I need to consider that when handling the interaction“. As a breeder himself, David knows and fully understands how challenging it is to be on the mare side of the equation, with so many factors outside of the mare owner’s control. He strives to be “straight-forward, honest and sincere”, to a fault.

A Man with a Heart of Gold

What truly sets David Burke apart is his deep sense of compassion and generosity. He has donated stallion services to numerous fundraisers and believes in supporting causes that are important to his friends and family. When faced with challenging situations, David is quick to lend a helping hand, not just for personal gain but because he genuinely cares about the well-being of others.

David with Vilancio

In the world of horse breeding, where competition can be fierce, David stands out for his commitment to the future of the sporthorse. He refuses to push his young horses prematurely, ensuring their mental and physical well-being, and focusing on their longevity in sport and breeding. He prioritizes temperament, rideability, and fundamental soundness over flashy movements, recognizing the need for amateur-friendly, high-performance horses in North America.

David’s guiding principle regarding competition:
“I compete on behalf of the horses, not for myself. I strive to give them the opportunity to demonstrate their fitness as a breeding stallion and producer of the next generation of top sporthorses fit for the modern and ambitious rider.”

A Visionary for the Future

Florent
Floriscount – Desperados FRH – Wolkentanz

David Burke’s journey in the world of horse breeding is a testament to his unwavering commitment, dedication, and vision. His legacy is not just a string of successful stallions and mares but a thriving community of breeders and enthusiasts who appreciate his transparency, integrity, and genuine love for the horses. As he continues to expand his breeding program, we can expect nothing less than excellence from David Burke and his remarkable stallions. David has developed a string of stallions that can check a variety of boxes, which is undoubtedly an asset to his client mare owners. Oftentimes, when a mare is not appreciative of the calendar or logistical considerations, David is able to provide a stallion to fulfill their needs, whether it be a swap on a stallion in his own roster, or to support a breeding outcome in place of an outside candidate.

His dedication to the horses and the breed is a reminder that true success in any field is not just about personal achievement but about nurturing a passion that transcends relationships and enriches the lives of all involved. David Burke is not just a breeder; he is a guardian of his stallions’ legacies and a passionate leader driving the future of warmblood breeding in North America.

Be sure to follow Pangaea Farms on social media, where you can keep up with the stallions and get real time offspring updates.

Testimonials:

David is “so helpful, so willing to talk strategy with me. He is super helpful about looking into the mares, looking into the stallion, really explaining to me what he thought were the pros and cons. He is very practical about it all (economics and marketability).” Kate has this to say about working with David: ” The process that he has in place is clear, straight-forward. There is just no drama. I love working with him because he is so clear about why this stallion adds value. He is so honest about what he thinks would work for your mare and why.

Kate Dressel of BlackWatch Stables

Jennifer has been breeding to Pangaea Farm stallions since her first time breeding with Harvard in 2010. David “tries really hard, especially with the semen shipments. If something goes wrong, he has personal contacts at FedEx and will work hard to get you the shipment on time.” David “goes to bat for you as a mare owner, more than normal, and really accommodates his clients and their mares. There’s a feeling of partnership when working with David. It helps that he is also a very giving person and enjoys building personal relationships with his clients.

Jennifer DesRoche of Signature Sporthorses
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