Breeder’s Corner: Catherine Kirschenmann on NASST

Hot Topics Straight from the Breeder’s Mind

Catherine Kirschenmann

Pinnacle Warmbloods
Owings Mills, MD, USA

Catherine Kirschenmann is a budding breeder at her developing farm Pinnacle Warmbloods, just north of Baltimore, MD, USA. Catherine also owns and operates Inner Balance Therapy (equine sport therapy). She is currently developing a warmblood stallion prospect and breeds 1-3 quality jumper and dressage foals a year, while still managing a foxhunting farm, handling all breeding aspects, and starting young horses. Catherine is a dedicated leader to the sporthorse and warmblood breeding community, most notably in her support of the Young Horse Show series and in her capacity as a Board member for the not-for-profit United States Sport Horse Breeders Association (USSHBA).

2023 North American Stallion Sport Test

It is that time of year again! We’ve arrived at the end of the 2023 breeding and showing season. The time for end of year championships, final registry inspections, breeder’s awards, and, of course, the heavily anticipated North American Stallion Sport Test, the testing ground for young stallions to complete their campaign for registry licensing for a growing list of highly regarded warmblood registries.

Conveniently, there is a West Coast and East Coast option to support the complexity of North American logistics and distance. The West Coast test is hosted by Pollyrich Farms near Santa Barbara, CA, and the East Coast is hosted by Hilltop Farm in Colora, MD. Both facilities boast top notch grounds and accommodations meticulously designed to support the needs of traveling young stallions, and both facilities are run with top shelf professionalism and organization managed by long-standing industry leaders Edgar Schutte of Eurequine, LLC and Natalie DiBerardinis of Hilltop Farm, Inc.

I have had the pleasure of attending the East Coast testing for the last few years, and this year was another great success. The turnout was high, with spectators selling out the limited offered tickets every day! The number of stallions being shown was comparable to past years, with several dressage and jumpers looking to be judged. 

It is always fun to have a mix of stallions who are in their second year of the testing alongside the stallions who are trying to complete their first year. It seems to me, the stallions every year, as a whole,  are coming more and more prepared. Owners are realizing how crucial it is to have a great trainer/rider and proper development prior to the testing so the stallion can truly show off its best attributes.

The final day is test rider day. It is always telling as the stallions are tired from the week and are asked to perform for a new rider and be given one last chance for the judges to see any last requests of performance. The test riders at the East Coast event were spectacular, showing patience, tact, and humility in all their rides. Their comments after each one were great remarks with positive notes and looking toward the future of the stallion with any critique.

Hilltop Farm is a first-class facility, as anyone knows who has been there. They host a perfectly planned event and make the experience positive for owners, breeders, spectators, judges, riders, and the horses themselves.  The connections you make at the NASST are incomparable. I know I can make my small breeding world a little bigger every year I get to attend.

Similar to the state of the European breeding industry, North America needs this testing for the future of the sport horse and the future of breeding as a whole. We are lucky to have such great venues and judging to bolster our stamp in the sport horse breeding world and compete on the global stage. Additionally, we are fortunate for the education and guidance we receive from top industry leaders from many registries and walks of life. It is an invaluable experience for all involved.

Cheers to next year’s North American Stallion Sport Test!

~ Catherine Kirschenmann, Pinnacle Warmbloods

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