Thursday, December 21, 2017

Zenyatta’s First Offspring to Start Second Career in Show Jumping

A career in show jumping probably wasn’t what his connections were dreaming about when Cozmic One was foaled in 2012. But the first foal of superstar racehorse Zenyatta (by leading sire and multiple graded stakes winner Bernardini) never found success on the track – he earned just $5,770 in five starts, never finishing better than fourth.

So now Cozmic One will embark on a new career in the hunter/jumper ring. Three-time Thoroughbred Makeover Show Jumping Champion Isabela de Sousa, 16, of Lexington, KY, and her family’s De Sousa Stables acquired the now-gelded 5-year-old from owners and breeders Jerry and Ann Moss and de Sousa plans to compete him at the 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover, held Oct. 4-7 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.

“When we were looking for a horse [for the Makeover] last year, we thought of him and contacted his connections and they weren't ready to retire him from racing at the time,” said de Sousa.  “A couple months ago, my dad spoke to his connections during the yearling sales in Kentucky and inquired about him, and they called us saying he would be available. We're very excited about him, not only because he’s out of Zenyatta, but also because our first Bernardini baby [2015 Makeover mount Dewey Square] was amazing too.”

Thoroughbreds are a family passion for the de Sousas. Sergio, Isabela’s father, is managing partner of Hidden Brook Farm in Paris, KY, and her mother, Dr. Karen Wolfsdorf, is a veterinarian at the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute’s McGee Fertility Center. Isabela and her sister Nathalie help retrain off-track Thoroughbreds on the family farm, with a focus on the hunter/jumper ring.

The family announced the acquisition of Cozmic One on their farm’s Facebook page on Dec. 19 -- the post garnered hundreds of reactions and shares in the first 24 hours, and the story was immediately picked up by the racing press.

Isabela de Sousa took the reaction in stride. “It's been pretty overwhelming, but it just shows how many people like Zenyatta,” she said. “It would be great to see all those followers join RRP so they can continue cheering for horses they liked at the track.”

For now, “Coz” is enjoying some time off. De Sousa thinks he’ll make a great show jumper or hunter, or maybe an equitation horse, but plans to wait and see what the horse seems best suited for.

“He's a really good-looking horse. He's tall, dark and handsome. He's got nice movement and he's got a great eye,” she said. “We just thought we'd give him a shot and see what happens!”

Thoroughbred Makeover links:

Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) works to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in the marketplace and inspiring equestrians to provide the training that secures their futures. RRP offers online directories, educational resources, and publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine

News From Kent Island Sporthorses

Kent island Sporthorses wishes all breeders, owners, riders and trainers the happiest of holidays and the most joyful, healthy New Year!

KIS News from 2017:

Elite Hanoverian stallion Donavan's 2016 daughter Daria scored all 8s at her Westfalen inspection in Oklahoma, standing her second overall. Daria was bred by Jill Costello, the daughter of KIS owners Wendy and Marty Costello, and is out of Takeachanceandcall, a lovely Thoroughbred mare. She has been sold to a rider on the east coast. A full sibling is expected in the spring of 2018: Daria's dam has been bred back to Donavan, to the delight of the Westfalen registry.

Pik Pik, by Donavan, with dam Destiny.
Photo by Alicia Frese.
We got word from Ellen Ziemer that her Donavan filly, “Pik Pik,” will be in the AHS directory in 2018. Pik Pik is out of a lovely premium Oldenburg mare, Destiny (by Don Principe out of Pikalo, a star award mare by Pikor), who was high award mare at her Hanoverian inspection in Tryon, North Carolina.

Doha Day came home in 2017! Doha Day, by Donavan, was out of Wendy's first mare, a Thoroughbred called Ona Rainy Day, and Wendy had always hoped to buy her back. She says, "Ona Rainy Day was also the dam of my very first foal, Duesenjager, aka Pilot. I had also bought Pilot back and rode him for a while," before finding him a loving home. "I wanted those bloodlines to work with one more time." Doha Day, born in 2003, will be bred to Wild Dance, standing in California with Edgar Schutte, in 2018.

Rosall, a 2003 stallion by Rosario, is a blue-ribbon-winning hunter, and sire of dressage, hunter, and eventing performance horses. In recent news: Rosalie KIS, by Rosall and out of a Brentano II mare, has won many placings in-hand and under saddle at Dressage at Devon, most recently in the 2017 Materiale class, and is now showing in Illinois. Her young sibling, Royal Roulette KIS, out of Royal Princess OBX, has just been started under saddle. Rosall stood at KIS for several years and was ridden by FEI rider JJ Tate. Frozen semen is available from KIS. Visit Rosall’s page on, with video and more offspring photos - click here. You can also contact Wendy directly from that page using the built-in email form.
Don Ferro KIS, with breeder Wendy Costello.
His dam is Damiano by Idocus. Marty Costello photo.

KIS lost their elite stallion Donavan in November of 2016, due to the infirmities of old age - he was 31 - but his influence will continue via frozen semen. His 2017 colt, Don Ferro KIS, was born in March and is out of Damiano by Idocus/Olympic Ferro. Don Ferro KIS is co-owned by FEI rider JJ Tate, who rode both parents!

If you’d like a Donavan youngster for your own, Kent Island Sporthorses offers Democracy KIS, who is showing and training well under Ben Albright Dressage.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Monitor Broodmare Health for Breeding Success

Did you know that within days of conception, the embryo foal already has a functional circulatory system and organ systems before it even leaves the oviduct? That's from a report by Kentucky Equine Research, published on their website in November. Here's an excerpt:

Fetal foals gain about 1 lb (0.45 kg) a day during the last 90 days of gestation. Sure, that’s impressive, but consider for a moment that in a split second, a single sperm fertilizes a single egg to produce a single cell with a complete set of DNA. That one cell immediately begins dividing, forming a multi-celled embryo with a functional circulatory system, rudimentary organ systems, and placenta before even leaving the oviduct and entering the uterus.

To read the full article on the KER website, click here.

For more articles from our breeder knowledge base, click here.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Interview With Dr. Roland Ramsauer on The Horse Magazine

The early days of the Oldenburg Society: the 1940 Oldenburg stallion Fürst.
Chris Hector, publisher of The Horse Magazine, has interviewed probably hundreds of people in the equestrian community worldwide, but he says this interview - Roland Ramsauer and the Oldenburg Horse - "might just be the best breeding interview that I have ever done." 

In the article, he says, "Roland Ramsauer, at the age of 73, shows no sign of slowing down, and continues to help shape the destiny of one of Germany’s most successful studs: Sprehe." Ramsauer says be believes Sprehe is "number three of the top breeding stations."

This article should be of special interest to breeders in the US who remember Roland Ramsauer as part of the International Sporthorse Registry/Oldenburg NA team. As the key expert in ISR/Oldenburg inspections for many years, with his own way of doing things, he was influential in the development of sport horse breeding here in the US as well.

One of the most interesting aspects of this article is the changes Ramsauer has seen in several decades of involvement. One is that thirty years ago a breeder would always ask what breed a stallion was. "Today nobody asks. They all ask what is the stallion doing, they only look to the pedigree;" they don't care what the brand is.

Another very interesting change is that in the early days, the great majority of breeders in Germany were farmers "who lived on what they made from their farms." The typical model in Germany at that time was that a farmer would raise a few horses as one part of the farming operation. Their background was a knowledge of animal husbandry and breeding, and they applied it to the horse breeding operation. Today most breeders come from a profession - doctor, engineer, etc. - which provides their income. They don't start out with a farming background, and "they normally have nothing to do with horses.

This is an interesting change, and interesting to compare to North America, where I believe we have gone in the opposite direction. We certainly had some sport horse breeders who came from a farm background, or who had experience breeding a different type of horse, like Arabians or Friesians. But we also had from the beginning quite a few breeders who were drawn to sport horse breeding, even though they had no animal husbandry background. They love the horses, and are professionals whose "real" job supported their "horse habit." 

Today in North America, we have sport horse breeders with 50 years of breeding experience. Many of our experienced breeders have been in it longer than some of the German breeders. An interesting thought.

There's a lot more, with stories about Furioso II, discussions of influential stallions, and of how Roland Ramsauer became the Oldenburg Society's breeding director based on his breeding knowledge - of cattle!

To read the full article, click here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The New Avalon Equine Ad for 2018 is Here!

Are you among the followers of Avalon Equine who can't wait to see what they're up to next? Wait no longer - the new Avalon Equine ad has been released and it doesn't disappoint!

Avalon Equine has made a name for themselves in the world of breeding, primarily through their rock-solid commitment to honest dealings and quality horses. Their stallion lineup is impressive. For 2018 it includes not only their own range of excellent stallions, but several outside stallions as well, including the stallions of Silver Creek Farms.

In recent years, however, they've also become recognized for their creative farm ads. Innovative, dramatic, and often a bit risqué, the ads reflect the owners' unusual style. Kathy St. Martin and Jos Mottershead seem determined to meet the challenges of the horse business with a sense of humor and a dash of daring.


Please feel free to leave a comment in the section below. :-)

Click the links below to learn more about each of the Avalon stallions on

Belafonte d'Avalon
Colorado Skrødstrup
Dracula d'Avalon
Hertog Jan v.d. Paddensteeg
Silver Creek's Validation
Smoke Tree's Poetry In Motion
ES Toronto

To find out about the Avalon Breeding Specials for Thanksgiving, click here! (starting on Thanksgiving Day)

One of the wonderful things Kathy St. Martin and Jos Mottershead have done over the years is found the LegUp Equestrian Aid Foundation, to help horse people in need. To learn more, go to

WBFSH Stallion Rankings for 2017 Released

The World Breeders Federation for Sport Horses published their list of top breeding stallions for 2017. In dressage, De Niro (who died just last month) was the top-ranked sire, with Sandro Hit second (up from 3rd in 2016). Chacco Blue was first for jumpers, a big leap from 8th in 2016, while Diamant de Semilly went from 1st to second. Contendro was top sire among eventers, with Jaguar Mail moving up from 4th to 2nd.

I invite you to use the new Search feature on to see which North American stallions have any of these top stallions in their pedigrees. I started with the top two sires in dressage and show jumping and found these stallions in North America:

  • We have a wonderful son of De Niro in North America: the Elite stallion Devon Heir.
  • Sternlicht is an exemplary grandson of Sandro Hit.
  • For a show jumping son of Diamant de Semilly, check out Daxibus Normandy.
  • Cornet Obolensky's is well-represented by grandson Coronet d'Honneur.

Please post in the comments below any other stallions you find on by these top sires!

Click here to search on

Click here to see the top ten results, and you can also download a PDF with the full results from that page.

For the eurodressage story on the passing of De Niro, click here.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

From Tish Quirk: Just The Best Retires, Legacy Continues

Just Remember, by Just The Best
Just Remember, as a promising foal.
News from Tish Quirk:

Just Remember, sired by Just The Best, had a very successful year in 2017. She was Best Young Horse at nearly every show she attended. With light showing she earned the Pacific Horseshows Association Hunter Breeding Horse of the Year title. She completed her year by winning the most prestigious Hunter Breeding title offered: Best Young Horse (west coast) at the Sallie B. Wheeler National Championship, where she was also named Top Dutch Horse.

Just Remember is bred and owned by Tish. She carries the genes of her famous grand sire, Best of Luck and his legendary sire Lucky Boy xx. Her dam, Carina, is the full sister of Hunter superstar, Rumba, who ruled the Hunter Derby world including his victory in the inaugural $100,000 Hunter Derby Finals.

Just The Best continues his reign as
king of his world as his heirs
continue the breeding duties.
A note of poignancy was added to the success, as Tish Quirk announced this year that she would be retiring Just The Best, her well-known son of Best of Luck by Lucky Boy. Just The Best has spent close to three decades passing on his impressive heritage. As Tish posted on her Facebook page, “Just The Best is happy and healthy and fully enjoying his life. As he approaches age 27, I have decided that it is time for him to retire from the breeding program. He has sired so many fabulous horses that have brought success and joy to their owners and he has given me exceptional stallion sons to continue the great legacy of Lucky Boy and Best of Luck. The Just The Best son, All The Best, has his breeding licenses and will continue the legendary line along with More Than Luck and More Like It.

All The Best and More Like It have both earned multiple breeding licenses and join proven senior stallion, More Than Luck, in the currently active breeding program.

To learn more about Just The Best, click here.

To learn more about Tish’s other stallions that carry on the legacy of Best Of Luck and Lucky Boy, click on these links:

All The Best, by Just The Best.
More Than Luck, by Best Of Luck.
More Like It, by More Than Luck.

To visit Tish Quirk’s website, go to

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Belgian Breeder André Leemans on The Horse Magazine

Chris Hector, who publishes the online magazine The Horse Magazine, has recently posted an article about André Leemans, a Belgian breeder of jumpers who has been very successful. His recent star is the young Elite stallion Iron Man. The topic was interesting, as Leemans spoke of his original foundation mare and everything he built from that.

I almost didn't get past the beginning, however: Chris Hector's first paragraph, where he says, "It annoys me when I read articles about ‘breeders’ and when I get to the end of the article, I’ve heard lots of self-promotion but I discover there is not one single product of this ‘breeder’s’ program that has done anything of real note."

If you're a breeder, how do you feel about that statement? He compares it to another statement by Bernard le Courtois (founder of the successful studfarm Brullemail), who made a distinction between stallions and un-castrated males, and adds that "perhaps the same distinction would be between breeders and the owners of horses that produce foals?" I'm a fan of Chris Hector and all his deep knowledge of bloodlines, but I am bit offended by that, since if you're putting in the work to produce the best horses you can, you're already more than an "owner of horses that produce foals." You may not have the kind of success that André Leemans has had - yet - but Leemans didn't in the beginning either. Was he just an "owner of horses that produce foals" when all he had was his first mare?

Please post comments below.

Click here to read the article:

Hanoverian Stallion Licensing: A Critical Eye

The licensing of Hanoverian 2-year-old stallions was recently held in Verden, and eurodressage posted an article yesterday that takes a critical look at the process. Thank you to author Kerstin Aronis for her willingness to address some serious issues in stallion presentation at one of the largest and most prestigious registries in the world.

More than half of the article discusses the relative merits of the top stallions, which is itself interesting reading. But in the final three sections, entitled "Lunging Horror," "Bad Santa," and "Auction Mysteries," Ms. Aronis tackles the issues of how stallions are trained and presented; how the selection process is "terribly biased, unprofessional," and lacking transparency; and several issues with the auction sale itself, from price fixing to rudeness.

I'm not in a position to know about this specific auction, but the German approval process for 2-year-old stallions has been known as an extremely political process for decades, in every registry I know of. This article indicates that if anything that has gotten worse - which, with the economic pressures that breeders and registries face in Europe today, would not be surprising. 

I'm not an expert, but it does seem to me that the Hanoverian Verband has always been driven by competitor (buyer) input. This is a good thing to a degree. If you don't stay in touch with what competitors want, you don't position yourself to provide it. If your foals don't have the qualities people want to pay for, they won't sell at the foal auctions. So the Hanoverian Verband decides what the Hanoverian horse should be, based on what buyers want. 

But what happens when the buyers want foals with flashy front-end movement, perhaps to the detriment of more fundamental qualities? What happens if buyers of 2-year-old stallions want to see a level of development that is not appropriate for a 2-year-old horse? What happens if the Verbands allow bloodlines to die out because they are not popular now? 

My personal opinion is that each Verband has a responsibility for stewardship of the horse, not just a huge marketing engine. The registries have always spoken of abstract ideals, and the mission of directing breeders toward producing the most perfect type for sport. That implies the ability to rise above the current fad or flash in the pan, to rise above decisions that are made purely for greater financial gain. To take a strong position on what the ideals should be that are best for the horse, and best for the sport in the long run.

Click here to read Kerstin Aronis' article, and I invite you to return here and post your thoughts and reactions.

If you're on Facebook and a member of the Warmblood Breeders group, be sure to visit that page as well for some interesting discussion of the article.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Embryo Transfer, Placental Alterations, and the Developing Foal

An interesting new article from Kentucky Equine Research highlights new findings about how a recipient mare can influence the foal she is carrying.

I think if you are a breeder who uses embryo transfer, you're probably pretty savvy about how it works and what you can expect. So maybe you already knew how much a recipient mare can influence the foal - but I didn't. I knew, of course, that after the foal is born, the recipient mare has some influence in teaching the foal, and perhaps the mare's place in the herd might influence how the young horse is treated. But I was surprised to learn how much the recipient mare can influence the foal before birth.

Here's an excerpt:

“We know that the placenta does more than simply nourish the developing foal. The placenta also transmits stimuli from the maternal environment to the fetus. Those stimuli result in placental adaptations in terms of function, size, and shape,” explained Laura Petroski, B.V.M.S., veterinarian for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).

She added, “The genetic makeup of the recipient mare can also influence the genetics of the foal—a process now referred to as epigenetics.”

For the full article, click here to visit the KER website.

Friday, October 20, 2017

New from KER: Horse Water Consumption

Did you know that a 1-month-old foal will drink up to a gallon of water per day as well as more than four gallons of milk? Kentucky Equine Nutrition posted an article this past summer about water consumption in horses, and I was surprised to learn that a foal would consume that much.

It's fact number 5 in the KER article. To read all six, click here for the full article.

To read more articles in our Knowledge Base, chosen to be relevant to breeders, click here.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Require the Preservation of Breeder in Horse Name?

There has been a lot of discussion about making a breeder's farm name or initials part of a horse or pony's name, either as a prefix or suffix. For example, "Breed Famous Farm's Joyous Equine" or "Joyous Equine BFF". Recently, pony breeder Randee Beckman circulated a petition on Facebook to submit a rule request to USEF that requires owners to retain the breeder's prefix or suffix in a horse or pony's name even if they change the name itself. To date, it has gotten several hundred signatures.

There are good reasons to do this. On the face of it, it supports breeders, and the proposed rule is presented as a way for USEF to support breeders. And we all know that breeders don't get nearly the recognition they deserve, and very little support. But there are both practical and philosophical problems with the proposed rule.

The first significant problem is that the proposed rule is too vague, and doesn't take into account the full reality of how breeder identifiers (prefix or suffix) are currently used. At the moment they are in no way standardized. Some breeds or registries (e.g. Welsh Pony & Cob Society of America) put the farm name as a prefix, and have rules governing that usage. According to Randee's recent blog post on, she states that both the Welsh Pony & Cob Society of America and the Virginia Pony Breeders Association have rules against dropping the breeder's prefix - so there are existing regulations that would need to be taken into consideration.

Warmblood and sport horse breeders have a wide range of things they do with prefixes and suffixes, including adding elite status or achievement level to the name, and adding owner farm or breeder farm to either the front or the back. There is an informal tradition that an owner's farm should be a prefix and a breeder's farm should be a suffix - and most use just farm initials - but there is no central clearinghouse for this, or which initials belong to which farm. There are instances where the same initials have been used to identify two or even three different farms. Most breeders don't know the "rules" about what initials go where because there really are none.

In other words, a great deal of standardization would have to take place across breeds and disciplines in order to make this practical and definable.

Second, the breeder identifiers (prefix or suffix) were a breeder-driven effort to bring positive attention to their farms: I don't know its history in all breeds, but in effect the breeders took matters into their own hands and created a way to "stamp" their work. It's the breeder's way of stating that they take pride in what they produce. It's important to many breeders, because it's one of the few ways that breeders can have their name associated with a specific horse. If the identifier is kept, it's actually a pretty clever way for the breeder's name to be associated with the horse and its competitive success, without having to depend on the recognition of others.

It's marketing, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. Breeders should take every opportunity to promote what they produce in a positive way. It's a brilliant marketing idea, but it is marketing. It's self-promotion. Essentially, the proposed rule would force horse and pony owners to do marketing for the breeders.

Breeders themselves have very mixed opinions about that. Some feel that, once a breeder incorporates an identifier into a horse's name, it is seriously rude to remove it. A slap in the face to a breeder who worked hard to create the horse you love. Some breeders have even included in the buying contract that the breeder identifier must be kept. Others feel very strongly that the name is the new owner's, to keep or change however they see fit. They see the proposed rule as a roadblock to the breeder/owner relationship, and possibly something that would deter a potential buyer from buying a horse with an identifier that they had to keep.

The question raised by the proposed rule is: should a horse/pony owner be forced by our national federation to carry a breeder's marketing in their horse or pony's name? There are excellent reasons why a new owner might want to do that. There are really good reasons why they should want to do that. But should they be required to?

Third, no one has talked about enforcement. The proposed rule is unenforceable as it stands. Putting a new rule on the books without a clear idea of how and how it will be enforced is getting ahead of yourself. As a dressage TD of ten years, I believe most people don't recognize the "overhead" that goes into a new rule, or the costs contained in enforcement. That needs to be thought through.

For me, the biggest problem with this proposal is that it's going at it backwards. First, if we want appreciation from owners and buyers and potential buyers, forcing them to keep breeder marketing attached to the horse or pony may be shooting ourselves in the foot. Second, if we want recognition from USEF for what breeders do - for the valuable contribution they make to horse sports - this isn't it. This would be USEF giving breeders the right to market a certain way, not a recognition of their expertise or value to horse sports.

As a group breeders don't enjoy much of that recognition in North America. Many competitors don't think about who breeds the horses they ride, or give much value to the role breeders play in producing talented horses. Our official sport horse organizations, including USEF, don't really give much thought to breeders. It's understandable, since historically the focus of USEF has been competition, and breed shows are a very small part of that, but the result is that our own Federation does not recognize the part breeders play in horse sport.

Our national federation needs to make a conscious effort to educate itself about breeders in the US: the expertise they have, and the challenges they face. USEF needs to ask itself where our competitors' next horses are coming from, whether breeders here can supply them, and what they can do to help. They have a lot of catching up to do.

I think that it should be the official policy of USEF to recognize, encourage, and support breeders. I believe there are excellent reasons for this, and many ways USEF could implement the policy. Many, many ways. When it comes to an individual horse, the main thing necessary is that USEF should make sure that breeder information is included in every registered horse's information, and that the information is readily available. That's the basic requirement, and it's where official recognition of breeders has to start. And breeder information should appear every place that a horse's show records appear. It should be as standard as listing the rider. Every show record should include the breeder.

The proposed rule change seems like a way for USEF to support breeders, but sadly I don't think it really would; the only way it supports breeders is to enforce their right to market a certain way. It doesn't encourage owners to appreciate breeders - perhaps the opposite. Bottom line: it's not an appropriate thing for USEF to regulate - and there are better ways to encourage USEF to recognize breeders.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fundraisers for Kathy St. Martin and Jos Mottershead of Avalon Equine

Kathy St. Martin and Jos Mottershead, owners and operators of Avalon Equine and Equine Reproduction in Wynnewood, Oklahoma have been instrumental in "paying it forward" to the warmblood breeding community for many, many years. They hold free clinics for equine education, spend lots of time helping others including large animal first responders in Oklahoma, founders of Leg-Up Equestrian Assistance Program, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to organize, develop, raise and distribute funds to help equestrians and equines suffering from catastrophic events (but not to themselves although goodness knows they are worthy of help) ... AND they donate a warmblood foal annually to help raise funds. Talk about paying it forward!

Now they need our help.

Jos had a very serious accident leaving him on complete bed rest after serious accident surgery a couple years ago ... depleting all of their resources plus putting them seriously into debt. They felt they could "work through it" but wouldn't ask for help. Then Kathy had a life-threatening situation involving becoming septic from a kidney stone ... that put her in ICU for 5 days just to become strong enough to put in a stint. After weeks of meds, rest and doctors ... she was scheduled to have the stint and kidney stone removed.

Then it really goes downhill ... Jos was seriously hurt moving steel and more emergency rooms, more doctors and more expenses on top of existing medical expenses.

Breandan Filbert and Cindy Neumann, warmblood breeders in the Kansas City, Missouri area, are organizing a silent auction to benefit Kathy and Jos.  Incredible donations are pouring in from across the country.  Breandan and Cindy are currently organizing the donations—please keep an eye on the Facebook page – Kathy & Jos Medical Fundraising ( for upcoming information.  

Friday, September 29, 2017

Day 3 of Dressage at Devon - the Largest Open Breed Show

Devon, PA – Day 3 of Dressage at Devon featured more than 20 individual breed classes including the Alkal-Teke, Hanoverians (2 and under and 3 and older), Haflinger, Andalusian Horse, Dales Pony, Oldenburg (GOV), Paint Horse, Friesian, Danish Warmblood, Knabstrupper, Iberian Horse, ISR Oldenburg, Appaloosa, Irish Draught, Purebred Arabian, Half Arabian, Lusitano, KWPN NA, Drum Horse,  Thoroughbred, American Saddlebred, Lipizzan, Georgian Grande, and PRE. Many of these breeds have shown at Devon for a number of years but, new this year, were the Dales Ponies, sponsored by the Dressage at Devon committee.
The Dales Pony offers a combination of good conformation with energy and ability making them excellent for riding, driving and draft. They are unbeatable at a walk and have the stamina and determination to keep going over long distances according to the Dales Pony Society of America, Inc. Being willing and very clever jumpers, they compete very successfully in Cross Country Trials and performance classes. These ponies are very good at competition driving classes and can do well in dressage.
Kathy Kiesel, Vice President of Facilities for Dressage at Devon, imported Bickerdike Cracker Jack (Canandale Great Expectation x Canadale Black Magic), the winner of the class, from Alberta, Canada in 2002 when he was one of only 60 Dales in North America. He was taught to drive, was her daughter’s mount in lead line, was a therapeutic pony for five years at Quest Therapeutics and, more recently, has been showing at first level and is schooling to third level. Kathy also owns Mighty Max (Raspotnik Conner x Bickerdike Midnight Jazz), the red ribbon winner in the class. She’s a big fan of these sturdy and reliable ponies. Robbie Kankus, CEO of Dressage at Devon, is now the owner of Bickerdike Midnight Jazz who was also entered in the class.
Christine Smith (Wildest Expectations Farm, Stephens City, VA) who handled Jack, Max and Jazz in the class, is now a fan of the breed. “I had a ball,” said Christine, who typically handles horses. “I came out giggling and happy. They had loads of personality but were not aggressive. They were like a toy stuffed animal with personality. I just wanted to hop on them and go for a ride.”
The Dales Pony has been placed on the critically endangered list in Britain but Britain’s royalty is on board with the Queen often riding a Dales and HRH the Prince of Wales is a Patron.
The Performance Division began on Thursday afternoon. Highlights included:
USEF Fourth Level Test of Choice Open GAIG/USDF Q – The blue ribbon went to Silva Martin on Jada W, a 16.1 Warmblood mare, with a score of 69.797. Jada W was bred and is owned by Windurra USA (Unionville, PA). 
The last class of the day was the USEF Fourth Level Test of Choice Open GAIG/USDF Q was won by Meagan Davis on Damocles HLF (Diamond Stud x High Society), owned by Meagan Davis.
Complete results can be found at
The Performance Division continues Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with classes including Intermediaire tests, the FEI Prix St. George, Grand Prix Qualifiers, and Grand Prix Musical Freestyles. Plus, on Sunday, Dressage at Devon’s unique Dressage Explorers program will take place and include a selfie scavenger hunt, equine jeapordy, make your own stick horse and a stick horse competition in the Dixon Oval. Plus, Explorers will have a chance to meet Silva Martin and learn the ins and outs of dressage competition. 
The sun is out and the forecast is great. Join us!
Dressage at Devon takes place September 26 – October 1 at the Devon Horse Show Grounds in Devon, PA. General admission tickets are $10 for ages 13 and above; Kids ages 3-12 are $5, and children under 3 are admitted free. Reserved seating is $26 on Friday, $37 on Saturday and $10 on Sunday. Grand Prix 3-Day reserved seat ticket package is $66 and reserves an assigned seat for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Seat location may be different each day.) Reserved tickets are available online at General admission is available at the door.
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.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Day 2 – Dressage at Devon – Young Horses (and the Sun!) Take Over the Dixon Oval

North American-bred Danae MF (Doctor Wendell MF x EM Rising Star), Grand Champion at Devon

The largest open breed show in the world continued today with 4 and 5 year olds shown in-hand and under saddle in the Materiale classes.
A few highlights include:
The USDFBC Mare Championship went to Andorra ISF (Sir Sinclair x Hivona), a 16.1, bay, 12-year old mare bred by Iron Spring Farm, Inc. (Coatesville, PA) with a score of 81.675.
The USDFBC Stallion Championship went to Sandros Star (Sagnol x Nostalgias Tar), a 16.3 stallion bred by Vicki Bauer and owned by Hannah Salazar (Middleburg, VA) with a score of 77.325.
It’s always great to see younger people entering Dressage. Devon Wallish with Armando SFI took the blue in the Youth Handler class with a score of 83.900.
The Dressage at Devon Grand Champion ribbon went to Danae MF (Doctor Wendell MF x EM Rising Star), a 3-year- old Hanovarian bred by Maryanna Haymon, Marydell Farm, Columbus, NC  and who was no stranger to the winner’s circle.
“It’s been an amazing couple of days,” said Maryanna. When asked about Danae MF, Maryanna said the she’s been a quiet, trusting, affectionate horse from the beginning. She’s a very accomplished 3-year old,” said Haymon, having won, among other honors, the USDF Traveling Trot Perpetual Trophy awarded to the highest scoring dressage Sport Horse In-Hand of all ages and both genders. Danae’s full siblings include Don Pharrell MF (winner of the Yearling Colts/Geldings) and second in the Young Horse Championship as well as other promising youngsters.
Successful breeding “takes a village,” said Maryanna. “It’s a team effort that includes the repro vet, the daily vet, starters, farm help, body workers, trainers, riders and the people at home who make it possible for us to come here.”
Haymon breeds for Grand Prix qualities and can offer regional Grand Prix horses who are “safe, sane, and competitive,” CDI competitors, and then there are those who could make any Olympic team. She says horses bred in the U.S. meet or surpass the caliber of horses bred internationally.
“As a breeder, you can never be satisfied. You can be pleased, you can be happy but if you’re satisfied, you’ll never improve.”
“This is our 26th year at Dressage at Devon and it’s very special to me. (She won a 10th out of 72 in a class her first year and was thrilled.) The volunteers are very supportive, helping to keep us on time and safe and the staff is great. It’s a special place, a special event, and a special experience.”

USDFBC Mare Champion Andorra ISF (Sir Sinclair x Hivona), bred by Iron Spring Farm, Inc.

Complete results can be found at
The breed show continues Wednesday and Thursday four and five year old championships, mature horse championships, stallion and mare championships and the grand championship. Plus Materiale classes, Breeder’s Group, Handler classes and, on Thursday, the Individual Breed classes, from Alkal-Teke to PREUnder the shining sun, colts and fillies entered the Dixon Oval and the Gold Ring, representing the best of the future of dressage. Some handled it well, acting like they had been doing it for years. Others clearly wanted their mother. But all were exceptional, following their handlers (mostly) and showing off their excellent breeding. Here are just a few of the highlights:
The sun is out and the forecast is great. Join us!
Dressage at Devon takes place September 26 – October 1 at the Devon Horse Show Grounds in Devon, PA. General admission tickets are $10 for ages 13 and above; Kids ages 3-12 are $5, and children under 3 are admitted free. Reserved seating is $26 on Friday, $37 on Saturday and $10 on Sunday. Grand Prix 3-Day reserved seat ticket package is $66 and reserves an assigned seat for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Seat location may be different each day.) Reserved tickets are available online at General admission is available at the door.
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.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Day 1 – The Sun is Out, the Forecast is Great and the Babies are the Stars of the Show

Under the shining sun, colts and fillies entered the Dixon Oval and the Gold Ring, representing the best of the future of dressage. Some handled it well, acting like they had been doing it for years. Others clearly wanted their mother. But all were exceptional, following their handlers (mostly) and showing off their excellent breeding. Just a few of the highlights:
Young Horse Championship – Danae MF (Doctor Wendell MF x EM Rising Star MF), bred and owned by Maryanna Hamon (Columbus, NC)
USDFBC East Coast Foal Championship - Fleur de Niro (Furstenball x Dancing Darkness) a black filly bred and owned by Anke Ott Young, New Canaan, CT, with a score of 82.050.
USDFBC East Coast Filly Championship – Kasina ISF (Uno Don Diego x Rabiola) bred and owned by Iron Spring Farm Inc. with a score of 80.675.
USDFBC East Coast Colt and Gelding Championship – Stetson HTF (Sternlicht GGF x Unicum-d, bred and owned by Hilltop Farm Inc. (Colora, MD) with a score of 78.237.
Colt/Gelding Championship – Don Pharrell MF (Doctor Wendell MF x EM Rising Star MF) bred and owned by Maryanna Haymon (Columbus, NC).
USDFBC East Coast Final 3 year old Materiale Championship – Sole Fiore ((Scuderia x Francesa bred by Ferdinand Mayer and owned by Melinda Kelly (Hillard, OH) with a score of 78.150.
Foal Championship – Louisville HTF (Lord Leatherdale x Unicum-d) owned and bred by Hilltop Farm Inc (Colora, MD)
Complete results can be found at
The breed show continues Wednesday and Thursday four and five year old championships, mature horse championships, stallion and mare championships and the grand championship. Plus Materiale classes, Breeder’s Group, Handler classes and, on Thursday, the Individual Breed classes, from Alkal-Teke to PRE.
The sun is out and the forecast is great. Join us!
Dressage at Devon takes place September 26 – October 1 at the Devon Horse Show Grounds in Devon, PA. General admission tickets are $10 for ages 13 and above; Kids ages 3-12 are $5, and children under 3 are admitted free. Reserved seating is $26 on Friday, $37 on Saturday and $10 on Sunday. Grand Prix 3-Day reserved seat ticket package is $66 and reserves an assigned seat for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Seat location may be different each day.) Reserved tickets are available online at General admission is available at the door.
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.

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.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Stress of Weaning Impacts Digestive Health of Foals

Had a stressful day? As taxing as it was, your anxiety was probably nothing compared to the stress foals experience during the weaning process. According to new research, weaning is one of the most stressful events in a horse’s life.

Weaning affects physiological, nutritional, and cognitive-behavioral responses. Regardless of technique, weaning commonly results in:

Increased frequency of vocalizations;
Increased general motor activity during the first few days;
Altered feeding and sleeping patterns;
Irritability, anxiousness, and aggressiveness;
Suspension of normal play behavior;
Elevated glucocorticoid (stress hormone) levels; and
Weight loss, performance decline after weaning, and higher risk of infectious diseases.

“Based on the study by Mach and colleagues, increased circulating stress hormones can negatively impact the gastrointestinal tract of foals during weaning. Specifically, those hormones could alter the intestinal microbiome, potentially allowing for overgrowth of harmful organisms such as Escherichia coli,” explained Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., nutritionist at Kentucky Equine Research (KER).


To read the full article, and related articles, 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."