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 F├╝rst.
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.