Stallion Owner Spotlight: Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses, Inc.

Welcome back for the next installment of our North American Stallion Owner Spotlight! We’re here to help breeders, buyers, mare owners, and equestrians alike get a behind-the-scenes look into the WSNA stallion owners. Better knowing and understanding the passions and backgrounds of our stallion owners helps breeders and owners, regardless of size or skill, better connect and get more involved with our ever-growing North American warmblood industry.

Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses, Inc. got its official start nearly a decade ago; however, owner and founder Ryan Pedigo kicked off his equestrian career long before that time. Now, Ryan’s operation produces 20 – 25 foals a year, some of which have been planned years in advance, and actively stands eight stallions for the 2023 breeding season. Read on to the end to find links to his standing stallions where you can learn more about each stallion and inquire for your 2023 breeding contract!

Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses, Inc.

owner of ryan pedigo sport horses
Founder and owner of Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses and one of his homebred mares, Wymsey.
young ryan pedigo
A young Ryan Pedigo on one of his grandparent’s horses, a quarter horse named Luke. Ryan started his equestrian competition career at a young age!

Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses may have only been officially founded in 2014, however, Ryan’s excitement for horses and equestrian life started long before that, at the ripe age of five years old. “My love and passion began very early in my life. My grandparents owned a farm in Bend, Oregon, where they bred and raised Trakehner sport horses. From 5 to 13 years old, I spent every summer with my grandmother on her farm. She taught me a lot about horses, horsemanship skills, and how to foal out a mare. When I was 14 years old, I went to live with my grandparents and my dad on their farm full-time, which is when I learned more about foaling/breeding, and when I began my official horse showing career.” 

Ryan says that this was one of the most influential periods of his life, and at just 16 years old, he returned to southern California, where he began his showing and training career under the watchful and experienced eye of renowned hunter rider and trainer Ron Kennedy. This mentor relationship soon turned into a successful training business partnership, with Ryan starting his own separate breeding program, then known as Ryan Pedigo Hanoverians. His partnership with Kennedy ended in 2014, at which point Ryan headed back north, to Riverside, California, where his breeding program and business evolved to become Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses, Inc., the established and well-known operation it is today. 

The Ryan Pedigo Sport Horse Influence – The Influences Behind the Name

ryan pedigo on Timmy
Every successful breeder’s dreams start with a pony! Pictured here is Ryan on Timmy, the pony.

The Pedigo name is associated not only with success in the show ring, but with quality North American stallions and broodstock as well. Every breeder has that one horse that really helped propel their passion into greater ambition. For Ryan, it was his grandparents’ Trakehner Stallion Adler. His grandparents purchased Adler from NATA director Frank LaSelle in 1980. “When I was 6 years old, I remember my grandmother taking me to Griffith Park in Los Angeles to watch Adler show under dressage rider Gwen Stockabran. I remember Adler winning many classes, and I remember my grandmother interacting with other breeders looking to breed to him. I remember thinking someday I want to own a stallion just like Adler, he was such a kind stallion. He produced very good sport horses, and later during my time on my grandma’s farms, I had many special memories about Adler, especially the one when my grandmother allowed me to ride him.”

The first Pedigo Sport Horse cross was a very special bloodline, one that is still present in Ryan’s breeding program. He tells us “The pairing was to a phenomenal hunter who I started and campaigned successfully over 15 years, Wolfe. This special horse earned over 300 show championships and cultivated tens of thousands of wins, breed awards, zone championships, USEF, and USHJA Awards. Six months after this special hunter arrived at my barn, I began buying related breeding stock from this breeder and importing them to my program in California. This first breeding cross I made, which is still one of my active creations to this day, was sired by my Hanoverian foundation hunter sire Sam Steele by sire Sherlock Holmes, and the crossed mare line sire Wellesley / by sire World Cup IV x Match X x Feiner Stern x Trapper.”

What does Ryan have to say about the industry?

Ryan’s dedication to the North American warmblood industry is obvious. He supports North American, and International registries alike, as he believes they have all helped develop and evolve, and continue to contribute to the growth and progress seen in the sport horse world. When it comes to being a stallion owner, the job obviously has its challenges and rewards.

North American warmblood breeder
As a North American warmblood breeder, Ryan has bred, raised, and shown numerous horses foaled at his Riverside property by his own stallions and out of his own broodmares. Here he is with one of his homebred offspring, Song Bird.

When asked what some of his biggest challenges as a stallion owner are, Ryan has this to say: “As a stallion owner, I feel it’s our role to be extremely supportive and understanding of the mare owners, their questions, and concerns. In many cases, before the mare owner knows what their concerns are, I feel that it’s my role to think ahead to be as proactive as possible through the breeding process. The biggest challenge may be to understand what the mare owner’s past experience has been with breeding the subject mare(s), typically, this is best for the stallion owner to understand and in making the mare owner comfortable with the process.” 

Of course, the rewards of promoting, competing, and standing quality North American stallions are why stallion owners do what they do. “The most rewarding part of being a stallion owner is the pride I take in my stallions, I love them, and I have unshakable confidence in my stallion’s quality, performance in sport, and in breeding. Many of my stallions have already had long successful careers in show jumping divisions in Europe, although my two youngest, PF’s Comme il la Fait and PF’s Galant du Mesnil had two years of campaigning prior to importing to the US. It’s very rewarding hearing from happy mare owners, receiving foal announcements and horse show results, and meeting my personal breeding program’s yearly goals. My stallions have earned their accolades and I am always very proud of them. This is what it’s all about for me.”

ryan petigo sport horses foal creylen
Creylen, a Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses foal from his breeding program.

Every breeding program looks to their favorite, most desired bloodlines and types for conformation, temperament, and success, whether in sport or offspring with careers in the show ring. Ryan says that some of his favorite bloodlines are those that are already strong in his own breeding program. By selecting bloodlines that showcase Olympic and International veterans, World Cup showjumping members, and other successful sport horses, he seeks out older, more established bloodlines as well as the new up-and-comers. “The combination of the old and new modernizes the pedigrees as a whole for both my stallion and broodmare selections.”

Ryan lists Diarado, Diamant de Semilly, Chacco Blue, Colman, Calido, Caletto I, Connor, Singulord Joter, Acodetto, Cornet Obolensky, Baloubet du Rouet, Udarco Van Overis, Calypso II, Comme il Faut, Cassini I, Contender, Uriko, Million Dollar, Quick Star, Hermantico, Tygo, Cabardino, Rio Grande, Viva Voltaire, Futurist, Sam Steele, Wellesley, and Merlin, to name just a few of the bloodlines that he feels are incredibly important to his breeding program and to the overall North American warmblood industry.

north american warmblood stallion owner
North American warmblood stallion owner and founder Ryan Pedigo, riding and showing one of his homebred offspring, Senator.

How does Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses choose its mares and stallions for its program?

When choosing a stallion prospect, Ryan walked us through his requirements and the most important factors he considers.

“I have certain bloodlines in mind to cross with my mare band, my breeding program has been built around their lineage. It’s important that the stallion I choose to be crossed with my mare is fitting to each breeding season’s goals for each specific stallion/mare cross, this includes looking ahead 10 years in my breeding program. When considering a stallion prospect two years and younger, pedigree is very important, evaluate movement, athletic ability, confirm correctness, confirm good feet, a compact build for my bloodline, the ability to evaluate the sire and dams’ performance, any half or full siblings to get an idea of how I can expect this youngster to develop, a detailed pre-purchase exam.

For a stallion prospect three years and older, pedigree and pre-licensing results are important, evaluate free movement, free jumping, working under saddle, confirm good feet, a compact build for my bloodline, the ability to evaluate both the sire and dams’ performance, any half or full siblings to anticipate the continued development of this stallion prospect. It’s important to me that the stallions have good temperaments, granted they are stallions, but they should have decent manners.”

mare and stallion prospects
Ryan pays special attention to the dam’s line when he chooses both mare and stallion prospects. Pictured here is one of his program’s special mares, Balina.

Ryan’s checklist for broodmares has a few different requirements and an important perspective on dam lines and pedigree. “I have certain goals with specific bloodlines for my breeding program that I am looking for in a mare’s pedigree. With a stallion, the dam’s portion of the pedigree holds much more importance in my decision-making process – the sire’s as well, but the dam’s presence is much more significant to me. For a broodmare prospect two years and younger, I evaluate the mare’s movement, and athletic ability, confirm correctness, confirm good feet, more of a compact build is preferred, and the ability to evaluate full and half-siblings to see how they have developed so I know how to anticipate the mare’s development. Gathering information through a pre-purchase exam is important to me, as I need to know what issues the mare has, if any. It’s my responsibility to know what I am allowing into my breeding program. “

When considering a mare three years old and up, I expect to see this mare’s movement, to free jump, work under saddle, confirm correctness, confirm good feet, more of a compact build is preferred, the ability to evaluate full and half-siblings, if not possible to evaluate the dam’s sibling’s offspring to see how they have developed, my mares must have a good temperament as their traits are passed onto their offspring, good and bad.” Ryan’s commitment to his breeding program can be seen in his sire’s offspring, not just in the breeding barn but in the show ring as well. 

ryan pedigo sport horses broodmares
Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses’ broodmares are carefully selected or retained by using a strict set of program parameters. Certain bloodlines, willingness, conformation and other factors all come into play when selecting the perfect broodstock. Pictured here is Crystaline.

Ryan Pedigo as a Stallion Owner and Equestrian

hunter jumper circuits
With plenty of ribbons under his belt, Ryan continues to show and train. With a nice list of clients training and competing, he’s still very active in the hunter/jumper circuits.

His love for horses has always been a constant in his life, ever since meeting his grandparent’s horses at just one year old. He says his love and dedication to his horses has had an incredibly positive impact on his life. “My homebreds have brought many special people together, into my life, and lifelong friendships into my life. My horses have brought so much joy to my life, they have both humbled me and brought me much success keeping me reaching to be a better horseman, breeder, rider, and human. I owe them so much.” Ryan is still riding and competing, and his training business is still going strong. With over 27 years riding in the hunter/jumper ring, and over 200 horses started under his belt, Ryan continues to compete and coach. “I love to teach. There is much reward in connecting the horse and rider through the training process.”

diamo blue colt
When foaling season comes around, seeing the product of years of planning take bloom is one of the best feelings! Pictured here is Dolce, a Diamo Blue colt bred by Ryan.
stallion owner
Being a stallion owner and breeder has its challenges and rewards. For Ryan, watching his stallion’s offspring, and the foals he produces on his farm grow and succeed is just one of the great things about being in the industry.

As all North American breeders know, each stallion owner differs not only in the variety of bloodlines and conformational types of horses they stand, breed for, and compete but also in their program goals, operational policies, and day-to-day management. When asked what sets Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses apart from other breeders, Ryan said this: “What I feel sets me apart from other stallion owners is my personal goals and vision for my breeding program, that they are my own goals. I feel that all breeders deserve recognition. For me, many of my stallion bands’ lineage is the only of its kind in the US at this time. My continued vision is to continually evolve my breeding program/bloodlines ahead of time, the focus being 10 to 20 years out from today. These are decisions that I am making, and I am not competitive with other breeders. My only and number one goal is to continue developing my breeding program/bloodline to produce top sport horses and stand my stallions to outside breeders. I feel that it’s a very possible goal of mine to produce future Olympic horses from the bloodlines that I have so carefully selected for my program.”

One of Ryan’s favorite horse-related memories includes his first stallion, Sam Steele. “One of my favorite memories from my past was the first time that I saw my first Hanoverian Stallion, Sam Steele, for the first time while I was visiting the breeding farm where I had purchased him. The seller had asked if I would like to see Sam Steele jump around the course that they had set up in the indoor arena, of course, I said yes. This sealed the deal with my purchase of Sam Steele as I saw him jump a 4-foot course on a loose rein effortlessly – a very special memory.”

Ryan has one final piece of advice for new breeders: The piece of advice that I would like to give new breeders is that the mares/dams play such great importance in the breeding process, buying or leasing the best quality mare you can find I feel is a very important piece of the breeding top stock.

Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses Testimonials:

“My name is Miss Linny J..I was recommended to Ryan by W Charlot Farms. Such generosity! Ryan was a lifesaver; I made a very bad decision buying a mare on my own off of a social media site. The mare was a disaster!! When I spoke to Ryan over the phone.. I knew I was in good hands, so knowledgeable and comforting, my mare was not breedable! This was not Ryan’s issue to fix.. but he did he found me a quality mare to breed with one of his wonderful stallions. I now have the most gorgeous Diamo filly I am in love! My original mare is retired now where she belongs – I don’t know what I would have done without Ryan’s support and guidance!!”

– Linny J

“We are Kelly and Jay. We have been showing horses for 25 years now. We met Ryan at the Capital Challenge Horse Show many years ago now, and we were very impressed with him as a rider and horseman. Following the show, we moved all five of our Dutch mares to Ryan for training, he has assisted us thru successfully breeding our mares to his Diamo Blue by ET. Now coming three years old, the four Diamo fillies are heading to the show ring this season. We have high hopes for them!! We can’t say enough good things about Ryan.. his businesses, from training to breeding, to my riding, we could never be anywhere else.”

– Kelly and Jay

“We are the Miller Family. Our family knows that every time we go to visit Ryan that we leave with at least one new horse, and recently breeding’s to Ryan European Imported Stallions. We have never met such an outstanding person as Ryan, with such vast knowledge, kindness, and patience!! We have never felt pressured but only supported! Now we are the proud buyers of 10 young prospects, we have never experienced a US breeding program like Ryan’s, what a hard worker he is, a stand apart and a class act business he operates. Between our young prospect(s) to our purchased breedings, we are the proud owners of 20 Ryan Pedigo Bred Horses. We are proud to be a part of the PF band!”

– The Miller Family!

“What a website! My daughter and I own and operate an advertising company on the east coast – we fancy ourselves as well-educated amateur riders! We have never come across such a classy well-done website with such accessibility to such detailed information. This is a US Sport Horse Legacy! And the story is presented beautifully! We consider Ryan a dear friend and trust him with unlimited confidence!! Ryan helped my daughter and I select four mares for our small east coast private breeding program. Now we have eight Diamo Blue offspring, Scott Stewart is eager to show these quality youngster’s in the hunter breeding classes this show season. Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses is highly recommended!”

Beth and Kera

“Ryan taught me an important life lesson. Bad experience after bad experience in breeding made me feel that brute force was the only solution to getting my mare bred! Throwing good money after bad. I came across Ryan’s website. I thought this must be located in Germany I had never seen such a large quality breeding program in the US! This is when it began.. Ryan’s thoughtful approach to my demands stopped to make me think about my approach with him and others I knew Ryan was my guy at this point now, seven years later and six breeding seasons.. putting into words how professional and the upstanding person Ryan is …  He is the best!! What a special individual and professional he is!! He runs a tight ship!! Check Ryan’s breeding program out!”

Carrie

“Hello, my name is Kathy Maie Bailey. Well, the breeding process is not for the faint of heart. My family has been breeding Hanoverians for over 20 years, and we have had many losses over the years. We met Ryan at a horse where I was showing my adult armature hunter, my husband and I watched Ryan from a distance ride his homebreds to win after win, interacting with his clients who won many classes on Ryan’s homebreds. We could not resist walking up to meet him at this point HE is the most down-to-earth, knowledgeable, classy individual. The rest is history now we have been his training and breeding client for over 10 years now, from training, breeding, to horsemanship Ryan is a very talented individual. We could not be happier and are expecting our fifth Diamo foal this year this making eight Diamo Blue foals that we bred thru Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses, Ryan has made this a very successful business for my husband and me.”

– Kathy Bailey

“I came across Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses’ website last summer, becoming obsessed with making a visit to see this program and to meet its creator and owner, Ryan Pedigo. To say I had a good experience is an understatement! I was blown away by the magnitude of this sport horse breeding operation! Ryan’s newly imported stallions had just arrived absolutely impressive and kept racing thru my thoughts Ryan kindly spent much time showing me his horses and understanding my mare and my goals for the to-come offspring. Ryan spoke in detail about other very successful US stallion owners, Edgar, Maggie, Rhonda, and Meg. I was impressed with his commitment to meeting my goals and not just selling me a breeding. I left with a broodmare in foal to Diamo Blue, two young prospects, and I have been back to breed to Ryan’s stallions now three breeding seasons later!”

– Betty Williamson

“Many have lived thru this same terror throughout this business! My heart was shattered into a million pieces, but this baggage was not Ryan’s. But he took it on .. my experience with Ryan was life-changing for me! My mare had just given birth to a stillborn Diamo Blue foal who I bred in Canada I was devastated. I called Ryan to see about breeding my champion mare back to Diamo, Ryan told me .. you know I feel your pain .. that breeding horses is very tough when situations like this take place to try to be in a space to understand that although this was a very unfair situation .. there is a reason why this beautiful foal did not have the opportunity of life .. there is so much we will never understand from such sad situations. Ryan then proceeded to give me one of his Diamo Blue foals from this foaling season. He touched my life and my soul now, this beautiful Diamo Blue colt is beginning his baby green hunter career with Peter my hunter trainer. Ryan is a special guy!”

–  Sally and Don

The Stallions of Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses, Inc.

PF’s Catch

Colman x Caletto I

PF’s Chardo

Holsteiner approved son of Colman

PF’s Christer

Holsteiner approved son of Colman

PF’s Comme il l’a Fait

Newly Imported son of Comme il Faut x Cassini I x Chamonix

PF’s Diamo Blue

Chacco Blue #1 x Diamant de Semilly # 2 WBFSH Sires

PF’s Galant du Mesnil

Olympic Pedigree – Cornet Obolensky x Baloubet du Rouet

PF’s Ucalido

Newly Imported son of Udarco van Overis x Calido I x Calypso II

Stallion Owner Spotlight: Avalon Equine

Welcome to the first installment of our North American stallion owner spotlight! Getting a better look into the history, passion, and ambitions of the men and women working to progress the industry and help breeders understand the drive that cultivates warmblood breeding here in North America.

Avalon Equine got its start almost four decades ago and now their breeding program is one of several programs making North American Warmblood breeding the power house it is today. With around 15 foals a year, their operation is considered one of the more successful mid-sized operations in the United States.

Avalon Equine

Avalon Equine owners
Avalon Equine owners Kathy St. Martin and Jos Mottershead of Avalon Equine and Equine-reproduction.com.

Avalon Equine got its start almost four decades ago, when Kathy St. Martin was on the hunt for an amateur dressage prospect. Through the course of time, Avalon Equine has become one of the top producers of quality warmblood broodstock in the U.S. after decades of hard work and the cultivation of a breeding program that caters to prolific domestic and international bloodlines. Now, Kathy St. Martin and her husband Jos Mottershead have created quite the legacy in Avalon Equine. Their breeding operation is producing a modest number of foals each year, with a variety of licensed stallions and proven broodmares in their program. Their stallions’ offspring are proving themselves in the showring and in the breeding barn. 

Avalon Equine owners, Kathy and Jos, are members of the large equestrian governing bodies in the U.S.(USDF, USEA, etc.), but they also personally offer education on equine reproduction through their equine reproduction business (equine-reproduction.com), and have been known to work directly with mare owners and their veterinarians to brainstorm and work through ideas to troubleshoot and optimize their success.

How did Avalon Equine get started?

Kathy says “My father was in the military, so there was never an opportunity to own a horse until he retired. But, I did anything and everything I could to be around horses wherever we lived.” It wasn’t until over a decade later that Kathy started her venture into warmblood breeding. My second horse was an Anglo-Arab that a lot of my broodmares will actually trace back to. I bought her with babysitting money when I was 15 and she was 2. She became my endurance racing mare. I did my 2nd to last 50 mile race on her when I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter and I did my last race on her when my daughter was 16 and the mare was 24. She lived to be 34.

Oldenburg stallion Ideal
Kathy standing with her Anglo-Arab mare, and first warmblood foal, Idealise by Oldenburg stallion Ideal.

Kathy tells us that same Anglo-Arab mare was the first cross she made. The first time was to an Arabian stallion her uncle owned – he was actually the one who supported her and got her her very first horse. She bred her later to Ideal (Inschallah x Pamela/Zeus) for her first Warmblood cross.

What started as an amateur trying to find the perfect dressage prospect has since turned into an incredible story of dedication and passion for North American breeders.

Ideal filly
Kahlua and Ideal filly Idealise.
Tor of Glastonbury
After a visit to Glastonbury over two decades ago, Kathy and Jos found inspiration for the Avalon Equine farm name after soaking in the view of the Tor of Glastonbury.

How did Avalon Equine get its name?

When Jos and Kathy made the decision to combine their breeding farms, it was time to come up with a new barn name. “We came up with the name after visiting Glastonbury.  Glastonbury Tor is a hill near Glastonbury in the English county of Somerset, topped by the roofless St Michael’s Tower, a Grade I listed building. The entire site is managed by the National Trust and has been designated a scheduled monument. The Tor is mentioned in Celtic mythology, particularly in myths linked to King Arthur, and has several other enduring mythological and spiritual associations.” Avalon Equine seemed a fitting new namesake, and as such, the foals they produce on the farm all receive the d’Avalon naming convention.

What does Kathy have to say about the industry?

Mannhattan from Avalon Equine
Mannhattan from Avalon Equine, and Kathy, almost 30 years ago!

While the top priority for Kathy is producing well rounded, conformationally correct foals in her own breeding program, she and Jos strive to offer a variety of licensed stallions to mare owners to help nurture the warmblood breeding industry here at home. 

How and why do you support the registries you do?

I’m all about customer service. If I’m going to work with a registry, I want to know that they are supportive of American breeders. Since I originally got into warmbloods almost 40 years ago, the registries have certainly evolved, morphed and changed directions over the years. But, at the end of the day, the registries I prefer working with are the ones that are easy to work with, have inspections all over the country for our mare owners and have the same requirements and goals that I believe in.

When asked what the most challenging thing about being a stallion owner is, she has this to say: “Trying to ensure that I am proactive in making sure our customers and clients are taken care of. Dealing with living, breathing animals means there are times when they aren’t on the same page with what you are needing or wanting on a particular day.

How does Avalon Equine choose their mares and stallions for their program?

Every breeding program is different, from desirable traits and temperament, to show records and conformation. Kathy has some pretty specific desirables and we think most people can see where those fall into their program.

Initially, pedigree. They HAVE to have a desirable pedigree that will appeal to the North American market. Once they are on the ground, what their conformation is like, what their gaits are like and if they lean dressage or jumping. And, of course, temperament. If it’s the most perfectly conformed, perfectly bred stallion, but has a horrible temperament, he’s gelded. I can go much further on a less than perfectly conformed horse that has a spectacular, willing temperament than one that is perfect, but is not a nice animal to work with. The same standards apply to our broodmares.”

Avalon Equine told us they love the Furioso line, and how they treasure the versatility and all around quality that pedigree brings to their program. Kathy says some of her favorite dream crosses would include combinations that include old bloodlines like the old Inschallah, Furioso II and Zeus combinations, as they were always known for their versatility, athleticism and talent. She said she would be inclined to try to breed a combination of those pedigrees, only with a more modern “twist”.

A great memory Kathy shared about one of their program’s foundation stallions was when Mannhattan was at his 100 day test. “When Mannhattan was going through the 100 Day stallion performance test, they kept raising the free jump to the point that the stallion director yelled at me if I was okay with them going higher. I nodded and they put the rail up to just shy of the top of the standards. Mannhattan breezed over it.

Mannhattan Oldenburg
Avalon Equine foundation stallion, Mannhattan, Oldenburg, soaring over jumps at 11 years old.

The Avalon Equine stance on North American warmblood registries.

Kathy and Jos have been involved with a handful of N.A. registries over the last several decades, so they’ve seen progress in real time. “I think that we have imported some really spectacular stallions that have moved our breeding programs forward in North America. I think that the horses we are breeding now are so much better than they were even ten years ago.

Challenges are still present, as with every industry. When asked about obstacles she has seen most recently, Kathy has this to say: “I think that we sometimes see with mare owners that if it stands in their own backyard, it’s not as good as something that’s in Europe. We don’t have the warmblood “machine” that we see in Europe. Young horse auctions are still viewed with skepticism here. We don’t have the unified voice that you see with breeders in Europe. And of course, our stallion licensing/performance testing is challenging.

When it comes to superior service, Kathy says this of Avalon Equine: “I think that we offer not only really good quality stallions, but we are also able to help and guide mare owners that may be having some challenges getting their mares pregnant as we also specialize in equine reproduction. And I think that we strive to be approachable and easy to work with.

Of course there is still the debate on whether importing international stallion semen is more beneficial than shopping here at home, and Kathy has an insightful opinion on that dynamic. “North American stallion owners have a vested interest in mare owners producing a good quality foal and seeing that foal reach its best potential. We tend to be supportive of our mare owners and most offer a live foal guarantee. With the price of frozen semen reaching the prices of fresh cooled and with the breeding doses resulting in fewer and fewer straws, it’s becoming more and more difficult getting pregnancies at a reasonable value. Way back when I was first breeding warmbloods, the price of frozen semen was usually less than $500 for a breeding dose and it usually was at least 8 straws per dose. That’s a reasonable price vs. risk. I WANT my mare owners to be successful and get pregnancies, preferably on the first collection!

oldenburg stallion mannhattan
Avalon Equine stallion Mannhattan as a 4 year old.

Kathy’s final word of advice when diving in to your warmblood breeding program? Just follow and believe in your own goals and dreams. And support others! We always figure that we are all in this together and if our clients are successful, that means so are we! She recommends breeding for what YOU as a mare owner or breeder would like to own and ride – that’s the ticket!

Avalon Equine Testimonials:

“Kathy and her team are amazing!  We had some delays with shipping due to COVID and she was very understanding and worked with us to make it work.  When we got our mare to her she took excellent care of her and got her bred right away and on the first try!  Very professional.  Very easy to talk to and work with.  Great communication.   Very pleased with everything!!”

– Kristin Waterman

“Wonderful people and so very helpful. They offer advice and truly care to make the breeding process, for the mare owner, go very smoothly.”

– Marie Emery

The Stallions at Avalon Equine

If you’d like to check out the current Avalon Equine stallions, browse and click through the links below:

Apiro Stallion

Apiro

Apiro (Argentinus / Pilot / Cyrus)

Baatesh

An athletic and blood option for warmblood breeders!

Belafonte d’Avalon

Power in a small package!

Colorado Skrødstrup

Incredible athleticism with the added bonus of color!

Dracula d’Avalon

Talent, temperament and beauty!

ES Black Tie

Exceptional Dressage Bred Stallion Excelled in the Hunter Arena!

ES Toronto

Imported Celle Stallion!

Gladiator d’Avalon

Stunning Eventing Stallion in a gold wrapper!

Legaczy

Exceptional hunter stallion!

Mannhattan

A dual purpose stallion producing offspring in all disciplines!

Pax Asgard af Pegasus

Quality Knabstrupper Few Spot – Guaranteed colored foal!

Sarkozy

Brilliantly bred imported dressage stallion!

Sempatico

Stunning Homozygous Pinto Warmblood Stallion!

Silver Creek’s Validation

Vallado / Lansing / Capitol I

Vindication S

Outstanding Jumper stallion with good competition results!

North American Stallion Sport Test (NASST)

We at WarmbloodBreeding.com and WarmbloodStallionsNA.com are firm believers in the future of warmblood sporthorse breeding here on North American soil. We have seen this industry grow leaps and bounds over the last twenty years, with stallion owners bringing in top European bloodlines, and passionate industry leaders establishing notable exhibition opportunities based on internationally acceptable procedures and scoring. The North American Stallion Sport Test exemplifies these efforts, allowing for testing and licensing of North American stallions based on European qualification standards, hosted by professional establishments accommodating geographical dispersion.

Read on for further insight on the tests from test rider Jessica Wisdom, and long-time spectator and mare owner Susanne Manz. Then join the discussion by commenting below!

It should come as no surprise that we are BIG fans of the dedicated efforts put forth by the North American Stallion Sport Test team to ensure that there is a legitimate and respectable testing process in place for North American stallions that rises to the standard of our European counterparts. Due to the efforts of the NASST team and the dedication of stallion owners raising qualifiable stallions in North America, this testing has grown in size and quality of participants every year, with two testing locations each year (one on each coast). You can find more information about this testing, including the results of historical tests, at https://www.stallionsporttest.com/, or follow on Facebook @nastallionsporttest.

Warmblood Stallions of North America is a proud sponsor of the North American Stallion Sport Test, providing advertising certificates to stallions completing the test each year. It can be tough for a young, freshly-approved stallion to get visibility to mare owners in their early years. By providing these stallion owners with a leg up on their advertising budget and exposure, we work towards our mission to support the Warmblood Breeding industry in North America by supporting North American stallion owners, registries, and discerning equestrians in their quest to create and source top warmblood sporthorses here in North America.

Thank you to Jessica and Susanne for their contributions to this article! If you get the opportunity to attend the tests yourself, you will not want to miss it!

Jessica Wisdom with Galaxy Coeur, East Coast NASST Champion 2022 (PC: Stacey Lynn Photography)

View from the Saddle

Test Rider’s Perspective

By Jessica Wisdom

It is always a treat to be the test rider for the NASST. It gives me the opportunity to “preview” the new generation of stallions available fresh to North American breeders. Having done this for several years now, I’ve also learned a ton, both for the judges brought in to evaluate the stallions and from the stallions themselves as trends evolve and bloodlines mature over the generations. The current format puts the onus on the stallion owner to adequately prepare, condition and train their young stallions for the age-related requirements and expectations of the test. It is vital that both stallion owners and observers understand that the stallions are expected to perform within their discipline at the level indicated by their age regardless of current occupation or other extraneous circumstances. Though small exceptions might be made to accommodate extremely late foal dates, excessive growth, etc, on the whole, the curriculum is relatively set and stallions that struggle to perform their tests will receive lower scores regardless of pedigree and/or quality. Conversely, stallions that are fit and well prepared are more likely to have opportunities for a higher score range.

As the test rider, I can add that any stallion that is nicely light to the aids, tractable and adjustable will create better opportunity for higher rideability scores than one that is resistant to the rider. Light hearted freshness or honest startles are well tolerated as we are all horsemen and they are, after all, young horses, but dangerous outbursts or clear resistances are less forgiven and do affect the scores regardless of the quality of said stallion. Remember also that the test rider is directed to some degree by the judging panel – we, as a jury, discuss what we would like to explore in my short time on each stallion’s back; what we would like to see improved or tested or just to confirm they are as spectacular as they appear under their daily rider.

North American breeders are very fortunate to have the opportunity to present young stallions for licensing with multiple registries in one location and to be able to maintain influence over their development and presentation during the process. It is an increase in responsibility for prospective stallion owners, but allows for a more level playing field overall. I feel very fortunate to play a role in the process.

Susanne Manz with Evelina MDH (Everdale – Prado – Sandro Hit – Contender) winning her 4-year-old maiden mare class at Devon. Evelina MDH was third in the Championships and is expecting her first foal by Asgard’s Ibiza this Spring!

View from the Stands

Mare Owner’s Perspective

By Susanne Manz

I was lucky to get a ticket to the NASST held at Hilltop Farm, Inc. in Colora, Maryland on October 12-14, 2022. Tickets were scarce with only 20 spectator seats sold.  This was simply because the venue couldn’t accommodate more people.  With 18 stallions each accompanied by owners, riders, and grooms there were a lot of people there already.  There was also a slew of officials including judges, discipline experts, guest riders, vets, and registry representatives.  The event was well organized by the Hilltop team.   Full disclosure, I do have 3 horses right now living at Hilltop Farm and I love to visit the farm regularly.  It was amazing to see the transformation of the facility to accommodate 18 guest stallions in addition to the normal Hilltop stallion lineup.  There was a lot of testosterone in the main barn!  A tent was put up outside of the barn for delicious lunches for competitors and spectators.  

The NASST is a big and important event for breeders in North America.  It is nice to see it continuing with more stallions each year.   It was great to see so many quality stallions presented.  Many of them were bred and raised in NA.  Stallions came from far and wide including Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, and Canada!  It takes a great deal of time, effort, and money to present a stallion for testing.  I congratulate all the stallion owners that made such a big commitment to prepare and present their beloved stallions for testing.    

It is nice to see opportunities for stallion owners to get their stallions tested and get some good visibility.  Obviously, we don’t have the numbers of stallions seeking approval as they do in Europe.  And the great distances stallions need to travel adds difficulty and expense for stallion owners.  I hope to see the NAAST continue to grow but there will need to be some long term thought about bigger or more venues for testing.   I did not get to see the West Coast NASST in person but hope to do so someday. 

I am a firm believer that performance testing is essential for demonstrating capability, movement, rideability, heath, soundness, and longevity.  As a mare owner, I want to breed sound and healthy athletes with long-lasting careers.  So, performance tests and competition results are critical factors in the stallions that I choose for my mares.    As much as possible, I also like to observe stallions up close and in person before I use them for my mares.  I feel you can learn a lot about a stallion’s temperament and rideability by seeing them up close and in normal activities in their stall, grooming, and training.  I want to see the stallion’s legs and hooves up close and from different angles.  I like seeing stallions go through a rigorous performance test and, even better, a long-term performance career.  So, attending the NASST was a great opportunity for me.

There was quite a bit of variation in how stallions were presented.  Some stallions were presented with a high level of professionalism equal to anything seen in Europe.  Other stallions were presented by less experienced riders, and it showed in the performance of the stallions.  This is where the guest rider had a big impact on my impression of the stallion.  Both guest riders (one for dressage and one for jumping) were amazing.  In some cases, there was very little difference in the performance of the stallion under their normal rider and the guest rider.  In other cases, there was a dramatic difference.  In many cases, the stallion looked much better under the guest rider, Jessica Wisdom. 

Stallions are required to complete an age-appropriate test.  As a mare owner, I want to see the capability of the stallion to perform that test.  But it is not just about who performed the test best on that day.  I want to see how the stallion copes with the process, with stress, and the unfamiliar.  I want to see how they improve over the three days of testing and from year to year.  There were varying levels of fitness and some stallions seemed less fit and were obviously tired on the last day.  And other stallions gradually relaxed and performed best on the last day.  It was also nice to see the stallions up close and from the front and back to assess conformation, hooves, straightness.  Mare owners don’t always get to see stallion legs and hooves up close and from multiple viewpoints.

While I have respect for some of the amateur owners or less experienced riders that worked so hard to present their stallions, they were not always able to present their stallions in the best light and it reflected in their test scores.  I know it costs more for stallion owners to hire professionals, but in fairness to the stallions and their long-term attractiveness to mare owners, it is important to show them at their very best.  Preparation, fitness, and presentation do make a difference in how the stallions look and perform.  And that makes a difference to mare owners seeking a potential stallion for their mares.

One point of confusion for me was the variation amongst the different registries.   The German registries have been participating in NASST for some time.  So, the NASST complies with the rules of the German FN.  But, at the end, when we heard the scores for each stallion, it was not clear if or which registries approved each stallion.  I think some of the stallion owners were confused as well.  I heard one registry official tell a stallion owner that he had not completed an application and paid the licensing fee to that specific registry, so his stallion was not licensed with them.   Stallion owners need to pay careful attention to the rules of the individual registries from which they are seeking licensing/approval. In the past, KWPN has been a notable absence from the NASST, and it was good to see that they sent registry representatives this year.  KWPN has a different approach and licenses/approves fewer stallions each year. But I think they are hearing the voices of their members about increasing opportunities for NA-bred KWPN stallions. We will have to see how that ends up.     

It was great to watch the event and a wonderful chance to catch up with some friends and fellow mare owners. Thank you to all the stallion owners and riders for letting us see your lovely stallions. As a result, I have some new stallions on my prospective list for my mares. Thanks to all the NASST organizers and officials for making this a successful event.  And thanks to Hilltop Farm for hosting and making the event possible. I hope that other mare owners get to attend future tests. 

Final Thoughts

Scot Tolman Thoughts on Breeding

From the Editor

The end of 2022 comes with a bittersweet end to a beloved chapter.

This year, Scot enlightened us with heart-felt and witty tales of inspiration founded on honesty and realism, giving us all an insight into the rigors, challenges, and rewards of this warmblood breeding industry in North America. There were highs, and there were lows. We joined him every step of the way, empathizing, sympathizing, and reflecting on our own breeding and personal life experiences. Scot wraps up his column with yet another thought-provoking piece addressing a critical (and unaddressed) topic in North American breeding: Breeder Recognition.


Thank you, Scot, for your contributions to our readership this year! We wish you nothing but good luck in your future endeavors.

As I begin my last column for WarmbloodBreeding.com, I’d like, firstly, to thank Anna and Nat for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts over the past year and be part of the inaugural year of this site. Secondly, I’d like to end my tenure writing for this important informational tool by jumping back onto my soapbox to make a plea for more recognition of North American breeders.

There are many reasons North America will have difficulty matching, let alone surpassing, our European counterparts in Warmblood breeding, ie, the sheer size of our countries, the lack of an accredited educational system and certification for trainers, lack of access to people to effectively start young horses, the European “imported” label bias, etc. Many of these things will take generations of purposeful effort to overcome, and some, such as the size of the US and Canada, will never change. One thing we can change with minimal effort and almost no monetary investment nor systemic threat to the financial apparatus that controls much of the Warmblood market in North America is more recognition for our breeders.

During the Dressage at Devon breed show, North America’s most prestigious platform for showcasing our breeding efforts, I received a text from my good friend Judy Reggio, who was in attendance. She was flabbergasted that none of the announcements nor written material mentioned the horses’ breeding, let alone any mention of the breeders.

Let’s imagine for a minute that my occupation is pie baker instead of horse breeder. Someone comes to me and orders a Tolman’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Pie to take to a holiday function. He or she pays a fair price for the pie, brings it to the event, and calls it a Country Crumble Fruit Pie. That’s fine. You paid for the pie; you can change the name. People at the event love this pie. They know the owner of the pie isn’t the baker of the pie, but they don’t care. It’s delicious. They just want to eat it. The person who bought the pie from me doesn’t bother mentioning who did, indeed, create this pie, and who would know that the buyer has changed the name to exclude any reference to me. He or she even leads them to believe that the pie is imported at great cost and prestige. On top of that, this event is being televised for a holiday special, and there are a number of close-ups of the owner and the pie. The credits roll at the end, and the purchaser is listed as contributing this fantastic dessert. Social media goes crazy. “My” pie goes viral. It’s a huge hit. Suddenly, every time this person is invited to a similar event, the host requests another Fruit Crumble Pie. How many lost opportunities are there in this sequence of events for me, the creator of this pie, to get some recognition and garner some well-deserved accolades for my pie-baking business?

I fully realize that a breeder does not “make” the Grand Prix horse, but, on the flip side, there wouldn’t be a Grand Prix horse without a breeder. I also realize the absence of an accredited, progressive program to certify and identify trainers is undoubtedly a bigger issue than not recognizing the breeder. But, damn it, it pisses me off.

At almost any European show, the breeders are recognized both in print and in announcements. Helgstrand and other major stallion owners have contractual arrangements with many top breeders to have first dibs on their foals. Schockemohle regularly holds ceremonies for the

breeders of the top horses at his events. All of the major studbooks call the breeders out to the center of the ring, along with the owners, when their stallions are approved. These may seem like small, inexpensive, seemingly insignificant moments of recognition, but moments like this give a very public face to the importance of the breeders’ contributions to successful horses.

These moments rarely happen in North America. Breeders are left to do their own promotion, post a comment with the breeding on social media when a rider or owner celebrates the success of his or her horse, etc. It gets old. Sometimes, I feel as if I’m the poor farmer in New Hampshire jumping up and down with his hand raised, trying to get anyone’s attention to fight for a little recognition for the decision making that went into creating this special horse. And, after 30-plus years of breeding dressage horses, if I feel this way, I can only imagine how those of you with smaller programs or just starting out feel.

We are lucky. Or, I should say, Carol and I have created our own luck. We’ve been doing this successfully for a long time, I have a huge social media following, I’m not afraid of self promotion, and we’ve developed a reputation that gets recognition more than the average breeder. This is a war I’ve been waging for over thirty years, however. There is no reason our major North American publications, websites, breed shows, and competitions couldn’t at least mention a horse’s breeding and who is responsible for that breeding. It would cost a little extra ink, a few extra pixels on a computer screen, and one more exhalation of an announcer’s breath. That’s it.

As I said, I’ve been waging this battle for a long time. People have shared all kinds of theories with me about why it isn’t happening, most of these theories going back to the person who is making the money makes sure he or she gets the recognition so the financial cycle continues to be a benefit. I’m not sure that’s true. Although, It’s definitely true that the breeders are not the ones making the money. I think it’s a systemic North American devaluing of what it takes to breed good horses. Nothing more. Just ignorance.

Oh, my goodness. Angry Scot. You’d think after a pie metaphor and all the pie I’ve eaten in the last couple of days because of the holiday I’d be in a better mood.

In fairness, our North American breed organizations do a good job of recognizing breeders in their publications, meetings, and inspections/keurings. The problem is that we are breeders preaching to breeders. We all already know how important the breeder is in the equation that equals a successful horse. The horse-showing and buying population in general doesn’t belong to these organizations and doesn’t have a clue. We need a systemic shift in breeder recognition that gives them a clue.

So, my final plea to you in my final piece: Take action. When you see a post on social media about a successful horse, hell, any horse, post a comment, “Who’s the breeder?” The next time you’re reading a print or online publication that doesn’t mention the breeder, shoot them an email or message, “Could you mention the breeders of the horses you highlight in your magazine/site?” Along with the hefty check you send in for the entry fees for your next horse show, include a note, “It would be great if you include the breeders of the horses in your

program and in your announcements. Baby steps. And, if there’s anything I’ve learned about making systemic change, there are two options, baby steps or all-out war. I’m not advocating the latter. I’m just saying if we breeders don’t initiate change, it won’t happen.

Again, thank you, Anna and Nat, for allowing me the opportunity to be part of the inaugural year of WarmbloodBreeding.com. I appreciate your kindness and enthusiasm. Thank you to all of you who have reached out to me over the last year with your thoughts and comments. Happy to chat anytime, just ask me if I have to pee first. I’m going to have another piece of pie.


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!

Supporting North American Warmblood Breeders

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. 

why breed to a north american stallion
So why breed to a North American stallion? Supporting North American stallion owners helps secure stronger breeding programs locally, gives mare owners easier access and options regarding semen shipping opportunities, helps strengthen our registry programs, and gives competitors and equestrians a bigger gallery to choose from when picking a mount.

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

When and How to Choose a Warmblood Stallion

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! 

choose a warmblood stallion

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. 

stallion shopping
From which stallion to choose, to semen availability, conformation, temperament, registry options, and so much more, stallion shopping can be a huge undertaking. Do your research, ask questions, and get excited for next year’s breeding season!

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!

Ryan Pedigo Sport Horses Celebrates the Addition of 3 Exciting New Stallions with Early Breeding Specials

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:

PF’s Ucalido

Udarco Van Overis – Calido I – Calypso II

Newly Imported!

PF’s Comme Il l’a Fait

Comme Il Faut – Cassini I – Chamonix

Newly Imported!

PF’s Catch

Colman – Calido – Caletto I

Newly Imported!


PF’s Diamo Blue

Diarado – Chacco-Blue – Landadel

Chacco Blue #1 x Diamant de Semilly # 2 WBFSH Sires

PF’s Chardo

Charleston – Nerrado – Contender

First Class – Combining phenomenal jumping talent, scope & style

PF’s Christer

Connor – Singulord Joter – Acodetto I

Imported World Class Stallion From Olympic Bloodlines

PF’s Galant du Mesnil

Cornet Obolensky – Baloubet du Rouet – Jalisco B

Olympic Pedigree

Royal Tourmalet SPF – A Fairytale Partnership

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.

Interested in breeding to Royal Tourmalet SPF? Click here to learn more and inquire about securing a breeding contract for your mare.

Royal Tourmalet SPF – 2011 Hanoverian Stallion
(Royal Prince – Armin – Futuro)

Written by Joanna Gray-Randle
October 2022

Royal Tourmalet SPF
(Royal Prince x Armin) and owner/rider, Joanna Gray-Randle
Photo Credit: Stacey Lynne Photography

“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.

Artie 1-day-old, at his dam’s side
Photo Credit: Gina Leslie

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.

Artie joins the family
Photo Credit: jemgray

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.

Yearling Artie, winning everything
Photo Credit: Suzanne McAndrew

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.

4-year-old Artie, winning Dressage at Devon Born in the USA award
Photo Credit: Meghann Leigh

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.

Artie’s Offspring

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.

For a full list of Royal Tourmalet SPF’s accomplishments and offspring, please visit WarmbloodStallionsNA.com or www.royaltourmaletspf.com.

Royal Madeleine CG
2018 Oldenburg Filly by Royal Tourmalet SPF, o/o Selona ISF
Breeders: Joanna Gray-Randle, Cheval Gris Sport Horses (Round Hill, VA) and Daniela Hofacker, Camelot Warmbloods (Ocala, FL)
Owner: Joanna Gray-Randle, Round Hill, VA
Photo Credit: Stacy Lynne Photography

2021 Champion: USDF All Breed Awards – ISR/Oldenburg NA: Dressage Sport Horse Breeding, Three-Year-Old Fillies
2021 First Place, Dressage at Devon, ISR Oldenburg NA IBC – 80.225%
Royal Jewel LR
2021 Rhinelander Filly by Royal Tourmalet SPF, o/o Diadora VT
Breeder: Lauren Dearlove, Parade Field Farm, Lovettsville, VA
Owner: Shannon McCormick David, Middleburg, VA
Photo Credit: jemgray

2021 Top ARS Foal at her Inspection

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.