Friday, September 22, 2017

Article: Interview with Hanoverian breeder Axel Windeler

A new article from the horse magazine is of interest to breeders. It's an interview with a very successful Hanoverian breeder, Axel Windeler, breeder of the 5-year-old champion of the World Young Dressage Horse championships in Ermelo this year. Don Martillo (Don Juan de Hus/Benetton Dream) is the product of a four-generation breeding program. What I'm loving about this is that Axel Windeler says he started out by making the exact same mistake many American breeders made when starting out with sport horse breeding: 

“I started breeding in 1977. I bought a riding horse, but she was not good, so I tried to breed…”
Always a great idea…
“Not a great idea ..."
To read the full article, click here.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Video from Hyperion Stud LLC

Hyperion Stud, LLC produced a lovely video of their farm, which was released this summer. The first in a series, this one introduces the guiding principles behind Hyperion. A beautiful farm, with stunning horses, Hyperion is well-filmed here, and the video is lovely to watch.

Watch the video on Hyperion's home page here: HyperionStudLLC (scroll down)

or click here to watch it on YouTube.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Successful Stallions in the Young Horse Championships Day 2

We'd like to send special congratulations to Hilltop Farm and also to Patricia Becker and Dr. Anne Ramsay for their results in Friday's competition at the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships. Hilltop's Qredit (Quarterback-Dream Rubina, Dream of Glory) was ridden by Michael Bragdell, and Patty Becker rode Dr. Ramsay's home-bred Oldenburg stallion Freedom (Feuri-Windjammer, Walk on Top). The two shared second place in the Intermediate II test. Finery, owned by Anne Howard, took third in the 6-Year-Old Preliminary test.

Here is the full report on the day's results:

Wayne, Ill. - Aug. 25, 2017 - To begin the second day of competition at the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, Cesar Parra of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, came away with a win in the Intermediate II, which was the first test for the Developing Grand Prix division. Parra earned a 69.561 percent aboard his and Martha Sosnoff's 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding Fashion Designer OLD (Faustinus-Forst-Design, De Niro). 
Bred by Heike Kind in Germany, the gelding won the 5-Year-Old Young Horse National Championship in 2013 with Nadine Buberl. He returned to Lamplight in 2016 with Parra to earn the reserve championship title in the Developing Prix St. Georges division. This year, the pair excelled in the Intermediate II test with highlights that included the trot half-passes, the canter pirouettes, and the piaffe and passage tour. 

Patricia Becker of Wadsworth, Illinois, and Michael Bragdell of Colora, Maryland, tied for second place in the Intermediate II test with a score of 67.325 percent. Becker competed Dr. Anne Ramsay's 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion Freedom (Feuri-Windjammer, Walk on Top). Bragdell rode Qredit Hilltop (Quarterback-Dream Rubina, Dream of Glory), a 9-year-old Oldenburg stallion owned by Hilltop Farms, Inc. 

In the 6-year-old division, Andrea Woodard traveled from Wellington, Florida, to top the leaderboard with a score of 7.9 on her Oldenburg mare Ravenna (Sir Donnerhall I-Romanze, Blue Hors Romanov). Ravenna was bred in Germany by Britta Luebbers and Woodard bought her as a 3-year-old. The pair received a trot score of 8.5 from the judges who rewarded the gait's cadence, and the judges gave an 8.0 for their general impression. 

Werner Van Der Brande, who lives in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, followed closely behind in second place during the 6-Year-Old Preliminary test with a 7.8 aboard Flyby FLF (Falsterbo-Whirliegirl, Wonderland), a Hanoverian stallion owned by Linda Sommers. Michael Bragdell earned the yellow ribbon with a 7.6 on Anne Howard's Oldenburg stallion, Finery (Furstenball-Sonetta, Diamond HIT).

The Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships continues Saturday, Aug. 26 with three championship titles being crowned: the Developing Prix St. Georges National Championship, and the 4-Year-Old and 5-Year-Old Young Horse National Championships.

For results and starting times, visit For more information about Lamplight Equestrian Center, visit Live streaming will be available on the USEF Network. 


Patricia Becker - Intermediate II Test second place tie 

On Freedom:
"Freedom is a horse I've had since he was 3 and I rode him as a 5-year-old here. He's a wonderful horse to ride and is a stallion, and he can sometimes act like a stallion! As he's developed he puts his game face on more whenever we go in the ring. That's what he did today, but the mistakes were very small. I was very pleased with him and his effort and focus today. I love Lamplight - it's super close to me so I love to compete here."

Michael Bragdell - Intermediate II Test second place tie 

On Qredit Hilltop:
"Of all my horses, I think Qredit holds a special place for me and Jane MacElree
who owns him and Hilltop Farm. He has grown up on the farm since he was a weanling. I showed him as a yearling at Devon and he won in-hand. Through the years I've developed him, so to be here with these fierce competitors, Cesar and Patricia, it's a nice group to be in. I'm really proud of him." 

Michael Bragdell - 6-Year-Old Preliminary Test third place 

On his test:
"I was quite thrilled with my horse. He is owned by Ann Howard and she trusted me to train and show him. I got him last spring and I think he is super talented and has progressed well. In the test, he gave his all. I have to give credit to my coach, Morten Thomsen, who has helped us along the way and has really made a big difference in the training." 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Day 1 Results at Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships

Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF. Photo: Emma Miller/Phelps Media Group

Wayne, Ill. - Aug. 24, 2017 - The first divisions of the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships took to the ring on a beautiful day at the Lamplight Equestrian Center Thursday, Aug. 24. 

The 4-year-old division kicked off the opening day of the national championships and Alice Tarjan of Frenchtown, New Jersey, dominated the class placing first and second in the preliminary test. Tarjan rode her black Hanoverian mare, Serenade MF (Sir Donnerhall-Duet MF, Don Principe), bred by Maryanna Haymon, to the win with a score of 8.44. She followed close behind with her German-bred Oldenburg mare, Fairouz (Franziskus-Diva, Don Frederico) on a score of 8.06. Rounding out the top three was Kimberly Dougherty on her Oldenburg mare Celebration (Coer D'Amour-Rhythm-N-Blues, Rosenthal) with a 7.99. 

The judges awarded Serenade MF high marks for her expressive, uphill trot, ground-covering walk and active canter. Their general impression was a positive one as they recognized the mare's trainable qualities and forward gaits. Tarjan's other mount, Fairouz, was rewarded for her light-footed, active trot, which the judges believed to be the main highlight. Her clear, rhythmic walk, as well as overall rideability and obedience, earned her high marks to slide into second place.

Alyssa Doverspike and her Hanoverian gelding, Darius 555 (Don Darius-Barcelona, Boss) made the three-day trip from Wildomar, California, well worth it after winning Thursday's 5-year-old preliminary test with a 7.76. Doverspike is a full time groom for her trainers David Wightman and Kathleen Raine of Adventure Farms and she attributes her success to knowing Darius' personality inside and out as she is very hands-on in his daily care. The pair earned the highest mark of 8.8 for their walk from the judges who were pleased with his clear rhythm and shoulder freedom. 

Angela Jackson of Henderson, Kentucky, and Craig Stanley of Madera, California, tied for second place in the 5-year-old preliminary test with a score of 7.72. Jackson rode Julie Cook's Hanoverian gelding Sandeman (Sir Donnerhall I-Flora, Florencio I). Stanley returned to Lamplight Equestrian Center on his homebred KWPN gelding Habanero CWS (Idocus-Caliente DG, OO Seven) as the pair won the 4-Year-Old Young Horse National Championship in 2016.

During the Developing Prix St. Georges division, Carly Taylor-Smith saved the best for last and rode Nikki Taylor-Smith's 7-year-old Oldenburg gelding Rosalut NHF (Rosenthal-Legacy, Salut) to win with a 70.439 percent. The pair has had success throughout their young horse career as they won the 4-Year-Old Young Horse National Championship in 2014 and the 5-Year-Old Young Horse National Championship in 2015.

Nora Batchelder of Williston, Florida, earned a 69.298 percent and placed second on her 8-year-old Hanoverian mare Fifi MLW (Fidertanz-Wolkenstanza MLW, Wolkentanz I). Endel Ots rounded out the top three aboard Max Ot's 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Lucky Strike (Lord Laurie-Heidi, His Highness) with a score of 68.597 percent.

For results and starting times, visit For more information about Lamplight Equestrian Center, visit Live streaming will be available on the USEF Network. The Developing Grand Prix division will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 25.

Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championship Results

4-Year-Old Preliminary Test:

1. Alice Tarjan / Serenade MF / 8.44
2. Alice Tarjan / Fairouz / 8.06
3. Kimberly Dougherty / Celebration / 7.99
4. Carlos Santos / Inferno M / 7.88
5. Michael Bragdell / SenSation HW / 7.64
6. Michael Bragdell / Debonair MF / 7.5

5-Year-Old Preliminary Test:

1. Alyssa Doverspike / Darius 555 / 7.76
2. Angela Jackson / Sandeman / 7.72
2. Craig Stanley / Habanero CWS / 7.72
4. Birthe Laufer / Furstentusch N / 7.66
5. Judy Kelly / Quintess / 7.6
6. David Wightman / Hotshot / 7.48

Prix St. Georges Test:

1. Carly Taylor-Smith / Rosalut NHF / 70.439
2. Nora Batchelder / Fifi MLW / 69.298
3. Endel Ots / Lucky Strike / 68.597
4. Anna Stovall / Frankie / 68.421
5. Nora Batchelder / Faro SQF / 68.246
6. Kelli Mardell / Hemmingway / 67.588


Alice Tarjan - 4-Year-Old Preliminary Test winner
On Serenade:
"I bought her as a foal. As a yearling, she was so tiny and had a hunter way of going, but she got better and better after I returned from Florida this year. By the time Devon rolled around, I was convinced she was a really super horse. Serenade has no weaknesses other than the fact that she cribs. She has a super walk, trot and canter. She never tells you that she doesn't want to play ball. You can trail ride her or put a kid on her and walk around with a cotton lead rope wherever you want. That horse is the whole package." 

On her tests:
"Serenade didn't feel as great when we got here Tuesday. She's not spooky but she gets a little backed-off and behind the leg, which messes with the connection. Yesterday it was still a little bit of an issue, so I was hoping by today she would be settled. I got on her today and the warm-up felt great. She understands her job in the ring. She's young, but the balance is coming along. I was really pleased with her. She's very rideable and trainable. My other horse, Fairouz, is a really solid horse too. The right canter needs a lot of development. We just need a little bit more time to be able to show it." 

Craig Stanley -5-Year-Old Preliminary Test second place tie
On Habanero CWS:
"It's special to be able to come here - this is my sixth time and to be here on a homebred is even more special. I thought he did really well today. He was with me. He was my first foal out of Caliente DG, who competed here for 3 years herself. I'm really happy I could make it with her first baby."

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Leatherdale Farms' Stunning Oldenburg Stallion Fairbanks Produces Quality Progeny

Union, Ky. - Aug. 22, 2017 - Since moving to the United States in December 2015, the reception for the Leatherdale Farms' stallions has been incredibly exciting. One of the stallions, Fairbanks, a stunning 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion, has rejuvenated many breeders' interest in producing high quality sport horses in the United States. 

From some of the world's most sought after bloodlines, Fairbanks (Flemmingh-SPS Identify, Inselfurst) was the champion of the 2009 Oldenburg Stallion Licensing in Vechta, Germany. Fairbanks demonstrated elegant movement, explosive jumping capabilities and a charming temperament with a desire to please. 

"Fairbanks has three beautiful and very elegant gaits with a lot of presence," explained Dr. Barbara Schmidt, D.V.M., of Bridlewood Farm. "When you see him move, it's pretty incredible."

Fairbanks passed his 30-Day Test with flying colors and he came in third place with a score of 8.74. He earned a 9.25 in rideability and scored 8.75 for jumping in a pool of 49 stallions, some of which included Bundeschampionate winners, licensing champions and top-priced stallions from around the world. 

Continuing his success, Fairbanks was the only stallion to earn a score over 100 in both jumping and dressage in his 70-Day Test and his 100-Day Test in 2011. He showcased his confidence, talented rhythm and athleticism under saddle. Since then, Fairbanks has succeeded at the most advanced levels. 

"Fairbanks is very exciting. He is a stallion that has very good gaits and a wonderful temperament, which he has had since he was a youngster in Germany," explained Holly Simensen, the North American Director of the Oldenburg Horse Breeders' Society. "During his licensing, he was quite cooperative and showed  himself off very well. I think we are now seeing his personality and grounded mind through his offspring as I have not seen one yet that has been the slightest bit silly. His offspring have been very focused, balanced and know where their bodies are." 

Quality Offspring

Fassbender CF (Fairbanks- SPS De Lovely, Dormello, Rubinstein). Owned by Nancy Holowesko.
In 2011, Fairbanks presented his first outstanding foal crop and his progeny are expressive with long lines, beautiful heads and necks and outstanding movement. At the 2011 Oldenburg licensing, Fairbanks was awarded the 1c-Premium due to his exceptional Stallion Test results, impressive foals and his overall development as a top breeding stallion. 

"I believe Fairbanks added type and overall athletic ability to my SPS Dormello mare, De Lovely," Nancy Holowesko explained about her 2017 Fairbanks colt. "The quality of conformation is excellent, and he has three solid gaits. We were very happy with the colt and bred back to Fairbanks!" 

Fairbanks is registered GOV and ARS and is now located at Bridlewood Hanoverians in Union, Kentucky. Currently, his older offspring are beginning their under saddle careers with exceptional expectations.

"Fairbanks is uncomplicated in temperament, which he passes along to his young offspring who are very rideable and versatile," said Dr. Schmidt. 

On July 4, a colt by Fairbanks was born in Ocala, Florida, at Prosperity Farms. Owned by international Grand Prix dressage rider Jane Cleveland, Film Star (Fairbanks-Rodeo Queen) has long legs, a beautiful neck and gorgeous head. At his inspection, Film Star was awarded Premium Foal and Foal of Distinction by the Oldenburg Horse Breeders' Society. 

"I competed his dam, Rodeo Queen, up through Grand Prix, including the Intermediate I Championships at Gladstone in 2012 and we were also on the inaugural Nations Cup bronze medal team that year, and retired her last year to breed her," Cleveland explained. "She is one of my very favorite horses and I especially wanted a foal from her. I've also long wanted to be a breeder, so this was my chance." 

2017 Colt Film Star (Fairbanks-Rodeo Queen, Rotspon). Owned by Jane Cleveland.

"She was a very forward, powerful horse to ride - not for the faint of heart, so I was looking for a lighter, more modern type for her," she continued. "As it happens, I was at the Oldenburg Stallion Licensing in 2009 when Fairbanks won and I didn't forget him. He was the favorite of the judges and the crowd. 

"My colt, Film Star, is very uphill and is quite agile," Cleveland concluded. "He is reactive, but not afraid, and he looks to have a good mind!"

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Mare's Aging Reproductive System

Kentucky Equine Research has released another informative article about how age affects fertility in mares:

Mare, mare, quite contrary, how do your follicles grow?
Perhaps more importantly, how does the growth of follicles—the small sac on the ovary from which an egg is released—change with each passing year of a mare’s reproductive career? This and other questions related to the aging equine reproductive tract were recently asked by a group of specialists*. Their goal was to better understand how age affects the fertility of broodmares.
“Aside from embryo transfer, highly valuable mares can only produce one foal each year. Having an improved understanding of how ageing impacts the reproductive system will permit owners to continue breeding their mares longer,” explained Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., who works for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).
Like other organ systems, such as the gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal systems, age negatively affects certain features and functions of the reproductive system. For example, in the aforementioned study, the research team relayed the following:
  • Reproductive ageing in mares is associated with decreased fertility;
  • Causes of age-related decreases in fertility include delayed uterine clearance, reduced oocyte (egg) quality, and a higher rate of early embryonic death;
  • Ageing mares can begin to have longer intervals between estrous cycles. In some cases, this could be due to abnormal ovulation during the diestrous phase of the estrous cycle; and
  • The number of antral or “resting” follicles, an indicator of follicular reserve, decreases as mares age. Once the supply of resting follicles depletes, ovarian failure ensues.
To read the full article from Kentucky Equine Research, click here.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dressage at Devon Hosts Largest Open Breed Show in the World

Devon, PA (August 10, 2017) – Dressage at Devon (, taking place September 26 to October 1, features the largest open breed show in the world and takes place during the first three days of the show (September 26 to 28). The Breed Show features the future stars of the dressage world, from colts and fillies born this year and young horses up to 3 years of age.  Horses age 4 and older are shown in hand and under saddle as well.
 “We are very proud to be able to continue to host the largest open breed show in the world,” said Melanie Sloyer, Chair of the Breed Show. “In addition to our age-based classes, our popular Individual Breed Classes showcases more than 20 breeds with a wide variety some lesser known and rare breeds seldom seen in other venues. Plus this year we are happy to welcome the Dales Pony.”
Breeds in the 2017 line up include:
  • Akhal-Teke
  • American Saddlebred
  • Andalusian
  • Appaloosa
  • Arabian
    • Purebred Arabian
    • Half Arabian
  • Dales Pony
  • Danish Warmblood
  • Drum Horse
  • Friesian
  • Georgian Grande
  • Haflinger
  • Hanovarian
  • Iberian Horse
  • Irish Draught Horse
  • ISR-Oldenburg
  • Knabstrupper
  • Lipizzan
  • Lusitano
  • Oldenburg (GOV)
  • Paint Horse
  • Thoroughbred
For more information, or to enter, visit
About Dressage at Devon
Dressage at Devon ( has been a premier North American Equestrian event since its founding in 1975.  It combines world-class dressage competition and the world’s largest open breed show with the international Fall Festival show and special activities for the entire family.  The six-day event attracts hundreds of riders from around the world and thousands of spectators.  Dressage at Devon is a 501(c) (3) PA non-profit organization, benefitting equine education.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Healthy Stallion Management - By Jos Mottershead

One of the best aspects of the Avalon Equine website is that they generously share their expertise in breeding, and they have a lot to share. A recent introduction is the website's blog, which is written in rotation by both of the farm's owners as well as the farm manager. We're highlighting one interesting blog post written by Jos Mottershead, who has years of experience with stallions - collecting and freezing semen at farms around the continent - as well as teaching courses in equine reproduction. 

In this post, Jos discusses three options for keeping stallions that look to patterns in the wild for reference, with the goal being an emotionally healthy horse. As he says in the first paragraph, "they need to be managed as horses, not some Pariah of Society."

It's an interesting article, and recommended reading for anyone who comes into contact with stallions.

Click here to go to the Avalon Equine blog page.

Click here for this specific article

Friday, August 4, 2017

Assisted Repro Tech Not as Dangerous for Horses as Other Species

Kentucky Equine Research has published an article about ART in horses - embryo transfer, etc. - that reports on a study of the risks. The KER article title is "Assisted Reproductive Technologies Safe in Horses," but what the article actually says is not quite so reassuring. It states that fetal and placental abnormalities occur in many species, including humans, cows, and sheep; and that horses "seem relatively immune" from the negative effects.

The article goes on to describe a study with 30 Quarter Horse mares that were divided into three groups by technique used. That means only 10 mares were used for each technique. No abnormalities were observed for the test groups.

I'm curious to know if any breeders reading this blog have used ET and experienced any problems. Please leave comments.

To read the full KER article click here.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Casall Retires on a Win

thm photo of Casall's final win.

"Casall finished his illustrious career on home – Holstein – soil, winning the five star Grand Prix of Hamburg and was immediately retired…"

Read the newly updated article on Casall on, in their Great Stallions series. The Great Stallions archive is a tremendous resource for breeders, with detailed articles on the foundation sires of all the European warmblood breeds. The article on Casall spans his career, and has been updated to describe his final win and retirement. 

Other new topics on include Andrew Nicholson's views on cross country schooling causing accidents; and a tribute to François Robichon de la Guéinière, the Greatest of the Old Masters of dressage.

Click here to read about Casall.

Friday, July 7, 2017

eurodressage: Danish Horses Selected for 2017 World Young Horse Championships

07/09/2017. The dressage news website eurodressage has reported that the Danish Equestrian Federation and Danish Warmblood and Trakehner Society have announced that the young horses have been selected to represent Denmark have been chosen for the 2017 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses.

For the full article click here.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

News from Dressage at Devon

Fall in Love with Dressage at Devon this Fall

Devon, PA – Dressage at Devon brings horse breeders, riders, and enthusiasts together from all over the world to watch and compete in this ancient equestrian discipline. This year, Dressage at Devon will take place on September 26 through October 1, 2017 at the historic Devon Horse Show Grounds in Devon PA. There is something for everyone here – from exciting equine performances, to gourmet food and charming outdoor cafes, to more than 90 vendors offering exclusive apparel, fine arts, jewelry and antiques – for equestrians and non-equestrians alike.
Here are just a few of the highlights of 2017:
New in the Breed Show
New this year is a Dales Pony class, sponsored by the DAD Committee. One of the United Kingdom’s native mountain and moorland pony breeds, the Dales Pony is known for its strength, hardiness, stamina, courage, intelligence and good disposition but population numbers are low. It is considered “critical” by Rare Breeds Survival Trust and “threatened” by the Livestock Conservancy.
The Breed Show will also feature a Thoroughbred Class, sponsored by Jenn Sauder, in addition to more than 20 other breeds.
The 2017 prize list is available at
The competitor’s tent received a great reception last year and so it’s back for 2017, sponsored by Devoucoux, a top-of-the-line custom-make saddle brand, originating in the Basque Village of Sare in 1985.
The Next Generation
DAD is committed to providing opportunities for young riders. The categories include Children ages 12-14, Juniors age 14-18, and Young Riders age 16-21. Junior and Young Rider tests take place on Friday and Saturday, with their wonderful Freestyles on Sunday. The Junior and Young Riders classes are Qualifiers for the North American Junior and Young Riders Championships. Additionally, there is the Children’s Team Test on Saturday and the Children’s Individual Test on Sunday.  These riders represent the future of dressage.
Sunday Sunday Sunday!
After much success at Dressage Explorers’ Day last year, this year will feature new and expanded activities for young horse lovers throughout the day on Sunday, October 1st.. A few highlights include:
  • Selfie Scavenger Hunt. Take a photo at our special spots, bring the photos to the Gift Shop and receive a DAD gift.
  • Stick Horse Competition. Ride down the centerline in the Dixon Oval on your favorite steed. Bring your own or make one with us.
  • Equine Jeopardy
  • And more!
Volunteer at DAD
It is not uncommon for volunteers to come year after year to enjoy the show and the camaraderie. But more hands are always better. To volunteer for one or multiple shifts, sign up at under Volunteers. If you have questions, email
About Dressage at Devon 
Dressage at Devon ( has been a premier North American Equestrian event since its founding in 1975.  It combines world-class dressage competition and the world’s largest open breed show with the international Fall Festival show and special activities for the entire family.  The six-day event attracts hundreds of riders from around the world and thousands of spectators.  Dressage at Devon is a 501(c) (3) PA non-profit organization, benefitting equine education.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

New Knowledge of a Prehistoric Horse Relative

Here's an interesting article on a New Zealand website about a strange relative of the prehistoric horse. The Ice Age mammal lived in South America, and its bones have been a real puzzle! DNA analysis has now placed the animal in the same group as horses, rhinos and tapirs. Macrauchenia patachonica was a pretty big critter, much bigger than prehistoric horses, but the weird thing is that it breathed from the upper part of its face. If a horse could do that, it could stick its whole muzzle in the water tank and still breathe! Above is an artist's drawing of what the animal might have looked like.

I try to limit my posts to topics of specific interest to breeders, but I find it fascinating that your horse, far back in its pedigree, is a distant cousin to this strange animal.

To read the whole article, click here.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Breeding for Amateurs or Breeding for Professionals?

Christopher Hector looks at some interesting new research…

A new article from The Horse Magazine in Australia (thm), in which new research is analyzed concerning whether there is a difference in breeding for the professional or the amateur market. 

"As long as I have been writing about Sporthorse breeding, this question has been one of the ongoing sources of debate. ...

"Dr Anne Ricard, a researcher with the French Institute for Horses and Equitation at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research backs up the view that there is no conflict between breeding horses for the amateur and the elite markets. ..."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

eurodressage Reports on the Oldenburg Foal Championship in Lodbergen

According to the eurodressage report, the top-scoring foal at the Lodbergen Foal Championship won for his extravagant movements and strong general impression. The colt is by For Romance, whose offspring overall did very well.

Click here to read the full story.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New from KER: Seasons May Affect Semen Quality

Kentucky Equine Research has an interesting article about how day length and season were shown to affect semen quality.

"Artificial lighting to increase the photoperiod (day length) helps advance the breeding season in mares to produce foals early in the calendar year. In stallions, semen quality also changes based on season and photoperiod. ..." 

To read the full article by Kentucky Equine Research, click here.

Friday, June 9, 2017

New Article: Quabri de l’Isle by Chris Hector at thm

Photo by Rebecca Ashton, used with permission

Anyone interested in French show-jumping bloodlines might want to read about the lineage of Cuabri de l'Isle in the recent article by Chris Hector on Chris, author of The Making of the Modern Warmblood, has an extensive knowledge of bloodlines, after covering the topic for years for his magazine. The Horse Magazine, based in Australia, has given him connections with breeders and competitors all over the world. Click here to read the article.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mare, Foal Nutrition Impacts Lifelong Health

Kentucky Equine Research has released information about the long-term effects of how you feed mares during pregnancy.

Problems associated with excess body condition are well known among horsemen and include insulin resistance, laminitis, osteoarthritis, and exercise intolerance. Recent research also shows that the health of offspring of overweight mares may also be compromised.
Studies show, for example, that excess maternal nutrition during pregnancy can alter glucose and lipid (fat) metabolism in foals until 160 days of age, and another study reported a higher incidence of osteochondrosis (OC) in foals born to dams that were fed concentrates during gestation rather than forage only.
A more recent study* on broodmare nutrition during the last trimester of gestation and subsequent foal health revealed the following:
Growth of foals from 6 to 24 months of age was not affected by maternal diet;
Maternal undernutrition appeared to affect bone growth as foals from dams fed forage only had narrower cannon bones than foals from dams fed forage and barley;
Seven yearlings (29% of included yearlings) were diagnosed with OC lesions, but no difference in OC based on maternal nutrition was identified; and
The testicles of yearlings from forage-fed dams were less mature than those from broodmares fed both forage and barley.
“This research also found that when yearlings were overfed between 19 and 24 months of age, up to approximately 135% of NRC energy requirements, overfeeding negatively affected yearlings from mares fed barley and forage more than yearlings from broodmares fed only forage,” explained Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).
Specifically, decreased insulin sensitivity and enhanced insulin levels suggestive of insulin dysregulationwere observed in yearlings from mares fed both barley and forage but not yearlings from forage-only mares.

*For references click through to the full article.

For the full article and references, click here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

RPSI and Westfalen Join Forces

Cornet d'Amour, by Cornet Obolensky
Excellent brands need fans worldwide. Westfalen horses and ponies are well known all over the world, with famous stallions such as Florestan I, Pilot and Cornet Obolensky, and superstars in sport like Damon Hill and Comme il Faut. In North America, the RPSI registry has been inspecting, branding and registering warmbloods and ponies since 1995, and offering the most extensive inspection tour available. Beginning in 2017, the RPSI and Westfalen Verband will join forces to develop a worldwide breeders’ association, inviting more breeders to become a part of the famous horse breed Westfalen. 

The new Westfalen NA/RPSI brings new opportunities for breeders, while keeping the same wealth of experience and expertise from stud book director Otto Schalter, and the same great customer service and breeder-centered marketing programs from the RPSI office. The 2017 inspection tour will remain the most extensive in North America - reaching practically every corner of the USA and many parts of Canada, as well as offering some private on-farm inspections from Dr. Andrea Sieg. 

As before with the RPSI, Westfalen NA passports will be produced in Germany and are WBFSH sanctioned, but now the breed-name will be Westfalen. All foals and horses receiving passports will also be DNA typed and microchipped, and all foals will be issued a complementary USEF lifetime number. The Westfalen NA / RPSI will continue to inspect Warmblood mares/stallions from other accepted WB breeding organizations, as well as TB's, Arabians, Anglo and Shagya Arabs. As before, German Riding Ponies, KDR’s, Haflingers and Knabstruppers will also be eligible for inspection and registration.

The RPSI will continue to proudly support all the Zweibrücker and Deutsche Sportpferd horses and ponies registered with the RPSI over the past 20 years with our great awards programs, as well as ownership changes and duplicate passport requests. And we're looking forward to celebrating our N.A.-bred Westfalens with a superb awards program as well.

Now foals registered with the Westfalen NA/RPSI will receive the esteemed W brand of our parent organization, proudly carrying the mark of quality and market-appeal! The Westfalen Verband (Westfälisches Pferdestammbuch e.V.) has been promoting breeding excellence for well over 100 years, developing bloodstock that excels in show jumping, dressage and eventing. What better representative of the breed than 2016 World Cup Champion Corbinian with rider Steve Guerdat, or Ravel under Steffen Peters! The RPSI is looking forward to implementing new programs and promoting NA-bred Westfalen horses just as effectively as their German-speaking cousins!

Top genetics are at your fingertips, along with access to the expertise and Old-World symbol of excellence in breeding that is the Westfalen trademark. With legendary sport horses serving as cornerstones of the breed, and a thoroughly modern, forward-thinking office, registry and marketing team parading the grand traditions into the future of sporthorse breeding - there's no better place for your breeding program to call home than the Westfalen NA/RPSI! Contact the Westfalen NA/RPSI office at 1-605-669-2200.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Editorial: Concerning the Ban of Animal-For-Sale Ads on Facebook

The recent decision of Facebook to enforce its ban on animal for-sale ads will have far-reaching consequences. It's unclear what Facebook's motivation is. Perhaps they don't want to be facilitating the ugly trade in animals that happens all over the world. That would be very unusual, since Facebook has not been very active in discouraging so many other forms of heinous human activity. Are they banning posts about bestiality? If they have humanitarian motives, you'd think that would be a much higher priority. I don't believe they ban pedophilia or other forms of human-to-human abuse either. Why For-Sale ads, especially since there are many legitimate ones?

The ban will undoubtedly affect many types of groups that depend on Facebook, including rescues - and certainly sport horse breeders. It has already affected a number of breeder groups and pages. Groups that included "Sales" or "For Sale" in the name have already changed names, and tried to remove all words that might trigger FB to delete them. Whether that is effective, and for how long, remains to be seen.

I believe that this is an important wake-up call, whether you are selling horses or other animals, or stallion services, or training services - basically, if you are depending on FB in any way. Breeders have come to depend on the social media giant to connect with potential buyers for the youngsters their breeding programs produce.

Some marketing specialists have encouraged breeders and trainers and other equestrian small businesses to build their marketing plan around Facebook. We have come to think of Facebook as our friend. We enjoy it as a happy, social place - and we tend to forget an important thing: Facebook was not started as an altruistic venture, and it has never been. Facebook is not your friend. It is a private company and doesn't make decisions based on your best interests. It makes decisions based on Facebook's own best interests, period. Not only that, but it will never share its whole decision-making process with you. Facebook will publish "a" reason - and it may sound convincing - but FB has a pretty poor record when it comes to completely transparency. The only thing you know for sure is that a decision that Facebook makes is a decision that Facebook feels is good for Facebook's bottom line.

From a professional marketing standpoint, I believe the best approach for any business is to build your business around your own website - and to use Facebook for what it's good at: announcing current news, connecting with others, sharing knowledge - and driving traffic to your own website. Your website should be the core of your business. Facebook is so easy to use (mostly) that it's tempting to have your business "live" there. But there are huge advantages to your own website.

  • You own your website: you control it, no one can tell you what you can and cannot post. 
  • Your website can become a useful reference and an archive and a gallery of all your business history. It's much easier to have all your foal photos on one page for people to see, for example, and easy to add it to your menu so people know just where to go. It takes a lot of work to organize photos on Facebook in a way that works for other people to find what they're looking for.
  • Your website is where people look for you. For stallions, the number 1 place breeders look online is the stallion's own website. (Reference: Scroll about half-way down the page.) I suspect the same is true of farms and other businesses like training.
  • You can post your sale horses on your own site, and on a sales site, and then promote the listing on Facebook without violating their policy.
Centering your business on your own website, and using Facebook just for the "social" part of your marketing plan, is your safest option - and very likely your most effective one too.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ten USEA Young Event Horse Graduates to Compete at the 2017 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event


As the countdown to the 2017 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event ticks on, 10 USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) graduates are gearing up to compete in one of the most prestigious events in the world. The YEH program is designed to identify the up-and-coming superstars of the sport. The series offers classes for 4- and 5-year-olds where judges evaluate their suitability for the highest levels of eventing, and now years later we have a successful pool of gradutes who have made it.

Click here to read the full article by Shelby Allen of and meet the alumni...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Thoughts on Young Horses from Johannes Westendarp

Johannes and one of his Bundeschamp stars, Wolkentanz. Photo: Roslyn Neave

Here are some thoughts on breeding, training, and young horse classes from German young horse specialist Johannes Westendarp, in a new article by Christopher Hector. 

"Johannes Westendarp was a breath of fresh air at DJWTS! His message in his young dressage horse clinic? Make them comfortable and confident and Johannes should know, he has produced some real stars..."
Read the entire article in the latest issue of The Horse Magazine. Click here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Transferring Immunity: Mare Colostrum Studied

A new article on the Kentucky Equine Research website looks at some deeper research into colostrum. Turns out that colostrum - like many things in our bodies - is more complex than we thought, and does more than one thing.

"When horse owners hear the word 'colostrum,' many think of the immunity-building, infection-fighting immunoglobulin G (IgG)—a protein found in the mare’s first milk. According to a recent study, however, colostrum has several elements that benefit foals. ..."

Click here to read the full article, with reference link to recently-published research done in Italy.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Dressage at Devon Announces 2017 Dates: Reserved Tickets on Sale

Devon, PA – Dressage at Devon is preparing for another exciting show to take place September 26 through October 1, 2017 at the Devon Horse Show and County Fair Grounds in Devon, PA. Reserved tickets are now available online at
This six-day event features the largest open breed show in the country. The ever-popular performance division features top horses and riders from around the world. Measuring nearly 18 acres, the facility includes two lighted outdoor arenas and five covered grandstands with individual and box seating for more than 3,000 spectators. The site also provides warm-up areas with permanent barns capable of stabling approximately 900 horses.
A tree-lined path hosts a wide variety of products for the horse, the rider, and the spectator. At the Festival Area Shops at Dressage at Devon, you’ll find everything from riding apparel to tack and fine art, jewelry, antiques, pottery, and Dressage at Devon souvenirs.
Reserved seating tickets are for the entire day and include general admission. Reserved tickets are not sold for specific events, exhibitions or classes. The Grand Prix 3 Day reserved seat ticket package option is $66 and reserves an assigned seat for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Seat location may be different each day.) For more information about reserved seating, please visit under the Tickets tab.
About Dressage at Devon
Dressage at Devon ( has been the premier North American Equestrian event since it’s founding by the Delaware Valley Combined Training Association in 1975, and became a separate organization in 2006. It combines world-class dressage competition and the world’s largest open breed show with the international Fall Festival show and special activities for the entire family. The six-day event attracts hundreds of horses from around the world and thousands of spectators. Dressage at Devon is a 501(c) (3) PA non-profit organization, benefiting equine education.