Monday, April 30, 2018

Opportunities for British 5-, 6-, & 7-Year-Olds


Calling all elite 5, 6 & 7 year old horses
The Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show (13 - 17 June) is holding young horse classes in their schedule for 2018. The classes, for five, six and seven year olds, will act as viewing opportunities for the Senior Selectors to spot potential combinations for selection for the World Young Dressage Horse Championships in Ermelo (NED), 2 - 5 August.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Foundation Friday: Lord

This is the sixth installment of Warmblood Stallions of North America’s Foundation Friday. Each Friday we will be featuring a foundation sire - one who has been influential in the development of warmblood breeds. We pull from the incredible archive of The Horse Magazine, published by Chris Hector of Australia. Thank you, Chris, for permission to draw on your expertise! 

Foundation Sire: Lord
1.68 m 
Breeder: Heinrich Schuldt

Lord played an instrumental role in shaping the Holsteiner horse of today. The progeny he sired were a wide variety of types, depending on the dam’s breed. This led to some excellent examples of Holsteiners and Thoroughbred-types.

Lord is described thus in The Holsteiner Horse:
"Elegant stud stallion demonstrating the features of the international Thoroughbred horse. Great charisma and good lines. Head could be more attractive, expressive eye, long, classic riding horse neck. Very good conformation of shoulder / withers / croup. Legs too fine for a stud stallion, very long pasterns, tapered joints in the foreleg and rather straight hind legs with not very pronounced hocks. Excellent action. Extraordinary jumping ability. Outstanding own performance. Top-class eventing horse of international character."

The book, written by Dr Thomas Nissen, Gabriele Pochhammer, Donata von Preußen and Joachim Tietz, notes that "while the first two generations of his pedigree are dominated by the two most significant Thoroughbred stallions stationed in Holstein - Ladykiller xx and Cottage Son xx - the sires of the next generations were pure-bred Holsteiner without any Thoroughbred blood. This may explain why Lord didn’t sire uniform offspring. Some of his offspring were elegant and Thoroughbred-like types, others were often sturdy with coarse heads and slightly short-legged."

His first crop produced the international showjumper Livius, who won the 1980 German Showjumping Derby under Peter Luther, and then team medals at the 1981 European Championships, the World Championships of 1982 and the 1984 Olympic Games.
Other successful competitors by Lord include Luguna (K. Huck), Lafeyette (H. Schmidt), Actrice (C. O. Nagel), Lusius (E. Gundel) and Pedro, who competed at the World Championships in Dublin with Thomas Frühmann, Loyal 9 (P. Nagel-Tornau) and many more. Successful sire sons include Lantaan in Holstein, and the sadly short-lived Lord Liberty in Oldenburg.

In all, Lord sired more than 60 stallion sons, and his progeny won more than €3,000,000.

To read the entire article, with pedigree and more offspring details, on the Horse Magazine website, click here

There are several stallion descendants of Lord in North America. Click on the following links to read about each of the ones on

Thursday, April 26, 2018

British-Bred World Double Young Horse Champion Woodlander Farouche Retires from Competition for Now

Woodlander Farouche, the British-bred mare that was twice world champion as a young horse, has been retired from competition for now after two years of unsuccessful attempts to restore the 12-year-old to top form following an injury two years ago.

Read the full story: click here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New Judges and Locations Announced for 2018 USEA Young Event Horse Championships

USEA has posted news about the 2018 Young Event Horse East and West Coast Championships, including dates, locations, and judges.

Tamie Smith and MB MaiStein in the 2017 YEH West Coast 4-Year-Old Championships. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

"The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the dates, locations, and judges for the 2018 Young Event Horse (YEH) East and West Coast Championships.

"The YEH East Coast Championships will be held Thursday-Friday, October 18-19 at Fair Hill International in Elkton, Md. The YEH West Coast Championships will move to a new location this year at the Fresno County Horse Park in Fresno, Calif. on Sunday, October 21.
"The YEH Championship judges on both coasts this year will be Lucinda Green (GBR), Sally Ike (USA), and Chris Ryan (IRL). Lucinda Green and Sally Ike will judge the dressage and jumping phases and Chris Ryan will judge conformation. ..."

To read the full article, by Kate Lokey, with details about the judges, changes for 2018, qualifications, and more, click here.


In a related article, read about seven horses who are graduates of the Young Event Horse Program and are about to compete in the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. The YEH Program was designed to identify young event horses with upper-level potential, and it seems to be doing that. Click here.

The Hunter Breeding Handlers Rule

The new rule for Hunter Breeding Handlers is causing a lot of discussion and disagreement on social media. Here is how the new rule is described in the press release issued by the USHJA:
  • Hunter Breeding Handlers - HU 188.4 (Tracking No. 183-17): This rule change states that at Premier and National rated competitions, a handler may not exhibit more than one horse in each of the Hunter Breeding classes listed in HU 189 or HU 190. Further it requires that at these competitions the same handler must present the horse in all phases of the class and horses will be lined up in the order of preference for a final judging opportunity. The rule change states that at Regional I and II rated competitions, a handler may exhibit multiple horses.
Source link:

Please feel free to comment below. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Sixteen Thoroughbreds to Compete in North America's Toughest Three-Day Event

Press release from the Retired Racehorse Project
There are 16 Thoroughbreds among the 56 horses currently slated to contest the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, held April 26-29 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
All but one of the Thoroughbreds were bred to race, and 12 of them had starts at the track. You can read full biographies of all the Thoroughbreds here, but some of the more notable competitors include:
▪ AP Prime, ridden by Leah Lang-Gluscic: 2005 Kentucky-bred gelding (Aptitude—Czarina Kate, The Prime Minister). Earned $20,175 in 31 starts (2-4-5) and was placed via a listing from CANTER Illinois.
▪ Donner (racing name: Smart Gorky), ridden by Lynn Symansky: 2003 New York-bred gelding (Gorky Park—Smart Jane, Smarten). Earned $2,870 in 6 starts (0-0-0). Named Eventing Horse of the Year for 2017 by The Chronicle of the Horse; member of the U.S. team for the 2014 World Equestrian Games.
▪ Kelecyn Cognac (racing name: Heir Pegasus), ridden by Waylon Roberts: 2003 Australian-bred gelding (Fusaichi Pegasus—Dreamland, Sadler’s Wells). Earned $1,991 in 10 starts (0-1-0).
▪ More Inspiration, ridden by Holly Jacks-Smither: 2005 Ontario-bred gelding (Inspired Prospect—Gentle Buck, Buckley Boy). Earned $55,560 in 28 starts (4-2-2).
▪ Steady Eddie (racing name: Big Jet), ridden by Boyd Martin: 2003 New Zealand-bred gelding (Jetball—Tuonela, Chief’s Crown). Earned $19,852 in 36 starts (7-2-3).
▪ Tsunami (racing name: Tsu Tsu Ro), ridden by Sally Cousins: 1999 Pennsylvania-bred mare (Roanoke—Tsu Tsu Slew, Tsunami Slew). Earned $35,170 in 24 starts (3-2-4). Cousins and Tsunami have already completed this event four times, with their highest placing being 14th in 2012.
The event is designated as a "four-star" Concours Complet International (CCI) by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body of horse sports. A four-star ranking is the highest level of difficulty—there are only six of these events held annually in the world, and Land Rover Kentucky is the only one in North America.
Retired Racehorse Project will be at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, providing coverage of the Thoroughbreds competing and operating a booth in the trade fair with information about the Thoroughbred Makeover.
We'll also be holding two Thoroughbred Makeover Preview demonstrations, featuring several horses who will be back at the Horse Park in October to compete for the title of America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred. One of the Makeover hopefuls is Cozmic One, the first foal out of Zenyatta, recently retired from racing and starting a new career under the guidance of three-time Thoroughbred Makeover Show Jumping Champion Isabela de Sousa.
You can find RRP's entire schedule of events at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event here. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates from the competition.

Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds and build the bridges to second careers. It publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, maintains the Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, manages the online Bloodline Brag, and presents programs at major horse expos across the country. Visit RRP online at

Articles from Kentucky Equine Research

Kentucky Equine Research has a number of articles in their archives that provide helpful information for breeders. They recently recommended these for spring reading. 

Happy Spring!

Foundation Sire: Contender

This is the fifth installment of Warmblood Stallions of North America’s Foundation Friday. Each Friday we will be featuring a foundation sire - one who has been influential in the development of warmblood breeds. We pull from the incredible archive of The Horse Magazine, published by Chris Hector of Australia. Thank you, Chris, for permission to draw on your expertise! 

Contender died in January 2014, just short of his 30th birthday, but not before he proved himself to be the most influential son of Calypso II and one of the greatest of the stallions to descend from Cor de la Bryère.

Foundation Sire: Contender 
1984 – 2014 
171 cm Brown 
Breeder: Niko Detlef, Westfehmarn

Here is his description in The Holsteiner Horse by Dr. Thomas Nissen, Gabriele Pochhammer, Donata von Preußen and Joachim Tietz:

“An important stud stallion with fantastic lines. Great expression and charm. All in all, a stud stallion of exceptional class: first class conformation with very well-balanced paces and good rhythm, whereby he could have had a more ground covering walk and a more pronounced flank. Outstanding jumping ability, as could be expected, considering his genes. Very good style and technique.”

Contender won the 1987 Adelheidsdorf stallion performance test with a jumping index of 146.6. He went on to be the 1-b main premium vice-champion in Oldenburg based on his excellent first crop of foals.

Contender was, in his time, one of the most sought-after stallions in Germany. He has produced 127 approved sons and 59 state premium mares, including Rionda who won the Elite Mare Show at Rastede in 1993. As of 2006, in Holstein, Oldenburg, Hannover and Rhineland, Contender had produced 782 registered mares, 498 successful offspring in the sport.

During his first three years at stud in Oldenburg he produced an impressive number of foals that went on to international careers. Contender then returned to Holstein and was stationed at Hans-Jürgen Köhncke’s stud at Badenhof. It was Mr. Köhncke who bred the three-time Hamburg Derby winner, Collin. Still, it took a while for the breeders to appreciate Contender. His first foals in Holstein weren’t as spectacular as the ones in Oldenburg, and it gradually became apparent that Contender worked best with mares with a high proportion of Thoroughbred blood. The success of his offspring made him so sought-after that in 2000 the Holsteiner Board decided to limit the use of Contender to registered Holsteiner mares.

Contender dominated German breeding values for many years and produced a number of top stallions, including Contendro (premium stallion in the approval of 1999, and winner of the performance test at Adelheidsdorf the following year).

Contender’s influence spreads throughout Germany with his two sons Cordobes I and II, acquired by the Westfalien stud at Warendorf. Cordobes I was the winner of his performance test in 1998 – scoring almost exactly the same jumping score as his celebrated sire: 146.29!

His son Canabis Z is another successful sire who now stands at the Nijhof stud in Holland after commencing his sport and breeding career at Zangersheide. He competed at an international level with Manuel Fernandez Saro from 2003 to 2009 with moderate success. Their best win was a Grand Prix at Vejer de la Frontera but it was a pretty ordinary line-up of jumpers. His breeding career has been limited but he has produced an impressive group of progeny: Cabreado Z and Daniel Deusser (their best a win in a 1.55 class at Lyon*****), Zoltan and Gerfried Puck (3rd  in a 1.45 class at Reifnitz), Caesar and Andre Thieme (their best in 2012 was a 3 rd  in a 1.45 class at Neustadt- Dosse, although they did win a Grand Prix at Thermal** back in 2010). The most promising of Canabis’ offspring is Cadjanine Z, ridden by Gregory Wathelet at the London Games, and who started the 2014 season in great style, carrying Rodrigo Pessoa to a 1.45 and a Grand Prix win at Wellington.

On the 2014 WBFSH standings, Contender is in 20th place, largely due to the efforts of Ludger Beerbaum and Chiara. As one of the "big three" stallions in Holstein, Contender was limited to a book of 350 mares a year – and each year over 700 applications were received!

To read the entire article, with pedigree and more offspring details, on the Horse Magazine website, click here

There are several stallion descendants of Contender in North America. Click on the following links to read about each of these on

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hyperion Stud April Newsletter

Hyperion Stud has a lot planned for 2018! 

"We have a lot going on in the first part of this year from foals being born to our sport horses getting prepared for the long season ahead. We continue to have an exceptional group of sales horses available both in the USA and Europe. Our stallions are getting ready for the breeding season and we’re already breeding back mares who have had their foals. The young horses are about to come out of the fields and start their sport careers and we have welcomed several new staff members to the Team. "

Breeders might want to make a note for 2019, when Hyperion's stallion, Can't Touch This HS, will be offered to breeders. "Can’t Touch This HS (v.Casall/Canturo/Lord stamm 776), was approved by the OL Studbook in Germany not long after his approval in Mecklenberg. Next stop is the Swedish Studbook approvals in Sweden early next year. We look forward to offering him to breeders starting in 2019."

To read Hyperion's April newsletter, click here.

To learn about Hyperion stallions on, click the names below:

Chin Quidam VDL

Cicera's Icewater

Dakota VDL


HH Himself

HH Radco

HH Rebozo


Last Man Standing



Plutot de Beaufour



Victor E

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Study of Sport-Horse Breeding, from Dressage Today

Article Review

Dressage Today magazine recently started a series on sport horse breeding. The first article, by Karen M. Brittle, was published online on March 7, 2018. As they describe the series, "Dressage Today will highlight 11 of the world’s top dressage horses from the FEI world-ranking list, taking a close look at their pedigrees and associated breed registries." The first thing to be aware of is that the series is not really about sport horse breeding, but more specifically about breeding warmbloods, and the focus is almost entirely dressage horses.

This first article primarily sets the definitions for the rest of the series, and brings non-breeders up to speed with breeding history and terminology, so it's not of as much interest to experienced breeders - but I did learn a couple of things.

The article includes a section on warmblood history, which is interesting in part because it's from a British perspective. They interviewed Celia and John Clarke of the UK. There's also information on how registries operate, and a bit about branding (hot-branding is still done in the US, but is now illegal in Germany and Holland).

The eleven horses the series will be following are: Desperados, Showtime FRH, Don Johnson FRH, Lorenzo, Atterupgaards Cassidy, Mister X, Verdades, Nip Tuch, Cosmo 59, Emilio 107, and Weihegold OLD.

Read the Dressage Today article here.

Young Hanoverian Jumper Results and Bloodlines

The German Hanoverian Verband has invested in the development of jumper bloodlines over the last twenty years, with the Hanoverian Jumper Breeding Program. Here is their press release with the results of the most recent Hanoverian Free-Jumper competition.

Hans-Henning von der Decken, President of the Verband, congratulates the winner oft he Hanoverian Free-Jumper competition: Valery (right) and Coolberry PJ. Photo: Tammo Ernst

VERDEN. It was the 22nd time that young Hanoverian horses competed in the free-jumping competitions of the Hanoverian Jumper Breeding Program in Verden. Coolberry PJ by Colman/Quidam de Revel became best three-year-old jumper. The Viscount/Stakkato-daughter Valery headed the field of four-year-olds. The pedigrees featured many internationally well-known stallion names. “There are ... many excellent show jumping lines in Hanover,” said Jörg Münzner. He judged the 50 three-year-olds and 23 four-year-olds in four divisions with Thomas Schönig.

The three-year-old Coolberry PJ by Colman/Quidam de Revel (breeder and exhibitor: Pferdezucht Dr. Jacobs GbR, Bierbergen) scored 27, the highest mark of the day. Her dam, St.Pr.St. Queensberry, had also already earned a high placement at the free jumping competition and is meanwhile successfully competing at the advanced level.  This performance was rewarded with a special prize, a free breeding voucher of Klosterhof Medingen for the young show jumping stallion Karajan. Coolberry PJ showed up in the third division. Pferdezucht Dr. Jacobs GbR had already celebrated a victory in the second division: Ladylike PJ by Numero Uno/Silvio scored 26.4 points. A Colestus/Clinton-son (breeder and exhibitor: Marius Rittstieg, Seeburg) won this division with a final score of 26.

Three horses dominated the age group born in 2014. The Viscount/Stakkato-daughter Valery (breeder and exhibitor: Eckhard Kordes, Velpke) scored a class victory with 26.2 points. The breeder was rewarded with a voucher by the Celle State Stud for the state stud stallion and Stakkato-Prize-winner Viscerado. The four-year-olds were pretty close together, with only shades deciding on victory. Two mares were nominated vice champion. Hanoverian premium candidate Celebration by Commissario/Silvo (breeder and exhibitor: Peter Mahler, Neuhaus/Oste) and Everton PJ by Embassy/Light On (breeder and exhibitor: Pferdezucht Dr. Jacobs GbR, Bierbergen) finished second. "Scope was finally the decisive factor,“ said Jörg Münzner.

For all results and more information, click on:

Foundation Sire: Nimmerdor

This is the fourth installment of Warmblood Stallions of North America’s Foundation Friday. Each Friday we will be featuring a foundation sire - one who has been influential in the development of warmblood breeds. As with most of those articles, we pull from the incredible archive of The Horse Magazine, published by Chris Hector of Australia. Thank you, Chris, for permission to draw on your expertise!

Foundation Sire: Nimmerdor
1972 – 2003
168 cm
Breeder: J. A. Dijkstra

Wiepke van de Lageweg bought Nimmerdor at a stallion show as a two-year-old, for the (then) considerable sum of 25,000 florins. With that purchase, Wiepke went from a humble a cattle dealer to one of the future keeper of Nimmerdor, who was voted “the stallion of the 20th century” in the Netherlands in the year 2000.

At his performance test in 1975, Nimmerdor starred in the jumping, but even then required a rider who took charge, and only scored a 7 for character because of this attitude. He started jumping with Bert Romp, and went on to an international career with Albert Voorn, competing in Berlin, Paris, Goteborg, Dortmund and London. He was selected for the Los Angeles Olympics, but his owner, Wiepke van der Lageweg, decided he should stay home and concentrate on his breeding activities.

Albert Voorn comments: “Even now, after all those years, there is hardly a day that I don’t think of Nimmerdor. He was one of the most talented horses I ever rode. His carefulness combined with his great abilities and scope [are] seldom seen in a horse. It is a pity that I wasn’t able to ride this super talent, Nimmerdor, when my own talents and experiences had grown, like they have now. I had him at the start of my career while still being rather inexperienced. If I’d had him now, he would be very hard to beat I’m sure! I am fully aware that his owner, Wiepke van der Lageweg, was also the proud owner of the last Olympic Champion, Jus de Pommes, but Nimmerdor was the better horse, no doubt!” (quote from the tribute to Nimmerdor by Claartje van Andel in the June 2003 issue of Breeding News)

As a sire, Nimmerdor has been equally successful. Even before he retired from the competition arena, his progeny were starting to make their way through the ranks. Nimmerdor was ranked 29th on the World Breeding Federation ranking for the period 1992/2001 based on a staggering 42 international level jumpers.  At the time of his death he left 18 approved sons, and 37 approved grandsons. His son Aram was the sire of 2000 Olympic gold medalist De Sjiem, and two stallion sons – Faram and Graham. Nimmerdor represents one of the most influential "founding" sires of the Dutch Warmblood, the imported Holsteiner Farn. At the 2008 Olympic Games, the individual gold medal went to Canada’s Eric Lemaze riding Hickstead – by the Nimmerdor son, Hamlet.

In the survey of the world’s top 75 jumping sires that appears in the French publication, Monneron 2007-2008, compiled by Bernard le Courtois, Nimmerdor is represented by two sons. Heartbreaker (out of a Silvano mare) is 11th with 19 CSI winners, while Goodtimes, ranks 65th with five winners.

On the KWPN 2015/16 breeding values, Nimmerdor is in 22nd place on the list of stallions with a reliability of 90%+, with a breeding value of 136 (98%). He has produced 1694 progeny that have reached the age of four, for 554 competitors – 32.703%. On the 2016/17 rankings, Nimmerdor is up to 19th place with a jumping value of 135. He scores 107 for conformation, 105 for free movement and 107 for free jumping. 1695 progeny over four, with 554 competitors (32.68%).

Nimmerdor died at the age of 31 in April 2003.


To read the entire article, with pedigree and more offspring details, on the Horse Magazine website, click here

There are several stallion descendants of Nimmerdor in North America. Click on the following links to read about each of the ones on

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Rising Star Granite, by Silver Twist

Granite (aka Olde Amerikana), by Silver Twist

Susan Church, of Saturday Night Farms, and owner of the Anglo-Trakhener stallion Silver Twist, reports a rising young star by Silver Twist: 

Granite schooling
Granite (aka Olde Amerikana) is a 2010 gelding out of Akwa by Grannus. He was bred by Diane Denby, and was raised, trained and shown by Wendy Smith until April, 2018. Granite has been quite successful despite his owner's professional schedule, with wins in the jumpers on the AAA circuit and at WEF. His new owner is Julie Coles, who won her first class with him at WEF.

Silver Twist is a 1999 stallion by Abdullah out of a Good Twist xx mare. Abdullah was bred in Canada and earned individual Silver in the 1984 Olympic Games and was inducted into the Showjumping Hall of Fame. Good Twist (sire of Gem Twist) was an incredible show jumping competitor and sire as well, giving Silver Twist an enviable pedigree on both sides.

Silver Twist in 2017, age 18

To read more about Silver Twist, click here

News from Kent Island Sporthorses

Kent Island Sporthorses reports:

Elite stallion Donavan
Donavan, (Hanoverian Grand Prix stallion) 1985- 2016, is still siring lovely new foals via frozen semen. In 2017, a  lovely bay filly, Daria, earned all 8s at her Westfalen inspection, putting her into reserve position. Daria is out of an approved Thoroughbred, Takeachanceandcall, and was bred by Jill Costello in OKlahoma. She is bred back to Donavan for 2018 foal. A Donavan daughter, Dinah (Donavan x TB mare), just had a handsome buckskin colt, also bred by Jill Costello. He is by Cremello Thoroughbred stallion Goldmaker. Donavan's longtime owner, Wendy Costello, was thrilled to  meet a gorgeous filly by Donavan at her Hanoverian inspection in Tryon, North Carolina, in 2017, bred by Ellen Ziemer. Donavan's 2017 son Don Ferro KIS, out of Damiana (Idocus),  is being reserved for training by Top Grand Prix competitor JJ Tate. He was bred by Wendy Costello at her own Kent Island Sporthorses, in Maryland.  

KIS also now owns a home-bred Donavan daughter, Doha Day, out of the lovely approved Ona Rainy Day xx. Dodie is a lower level dressage mare who is being bred to Wild Dance very soon. The news of other successful Donavans continues to warm our hearts. Linda Byrd's Danika is competing now at Prix St. Georges. Duesenjaeger, '99, aka Pilot, a successful 3rd level dressage horse, and KIS's first-born, is now pursuing a second career as a favorite riding horse for Elizabeth Bronstein, who also lets him dabble in some jumping. Many Donavan horses have proven themselves to be competent jumpers: D'Aktion, Divine, Digby, Davy Crockett, Drachen Herz (approved stallion son) to name a few. We enjoy so much hearing from owners of Donavan foals that have had their horses since they were foals, having either bred them themselves, or purchased them right after weaning: DJ, (Brenda Schulte), Don Noir (Terry Blair), Donnache (Dee Hermann).

Happily KIS also has good news regarding our Oldenburg  Rosall '03 (Rosario/Rubinstein ), who also changed careers and has become a very successful Hunter for Katie Parnell Robinson. Like Donavan, he continues to sire  striking, modern, successful dressage and jumping foals via frozen semen. Rosalie KIS, out of a Brentano II mare, is winning in dressage's lower levels right now after winning/placing in hand at Devon for several years. Royall KIS, out of a Rolls Royce mare, is an eventer. Raven is also doing well in eventing. 

It is especially rewarding when we hear of Rosall offspring out of Donavan mares, like Dee Wylie Hermann's lovely young mare, Raigan, out of Donavan mare Faith. We look forward to the success of the Rosall foal out of Dakairi, by Donavan x Atlanta (Aktion), bred by Beth Jennings Connecticut and expected in 2019. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Almost All Horses Today Are Descendants of Arabian and Central Asian Stallions

Are you interested in the history of breeding? You don't have to go as far back as you might think. In an article published last summer on the website Seeker, author Jen Viegas states that new genetic analysis reveals how heavily humans have shaped the modern horse by selective breeding. 

Not only that, the research is showing that the huge breed variations that we see today don't go back further than about 1300. "Horse domestication goes back more than 5000 years, so the fact that most horses today descend from lineages dating to just 700 years ago shows how intense breeding from that time onward has greatly affected these majestic mammals."

The modern horse ancestors came from the Middle East or Central Asia. With few exceptions, "all modern horse breeds included in the study clustered into a 700-year-old haplogroup. It mostly originated from the Original Arabian lineage of horses from the Arabian Peninsula and the Turkoman horse lineage from the steppes, or grasslands, of Central Asia."

To read the article, click here.

British Viewpoint: 12 Stallions for 2018

Interested in the perspective of British breeders? From Horse & Hound magazine in Britain comes a list of twelve "super stallions" for consideration in 2018. 

First on the Horse & Hound list is Dream Boy (Vivaldi x Ferro), 10-year-old KWPN stallion who has just begun competing in Grand Prix dressage under Hans Peter Minderhoud of Holland. The list also includes several stallions who are standing in the UK, as well as other European stallions. There's a broad variety within this list of twelve, including jumpers, dressage sires, and eventers. They range in age from 3 on up, and include Murka's Gem (Good Twist x Noble Jay), clone of Gem Twist.

For the full list, click here to read the Horse & Hound article.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Protecting the Newborn Foal's Immunity

This article was released by Uckele Health & Nutrition
9 April 2018

In that critical window of the first 12 hours after birth, you can maximize the foal's chance of thriving. 

Foaling season is upon us and everyone realizes the lifesaving importance of the mare’s colostrum in transferring disease-protecting antibodies to the new foal, but the colostrum does much more than this.

For example, the mare’s colostrum contains a hexasaccharide that inhibits gram negative organisms, prevents biofilm formation and can even help reverse antibiotic resistance. PRPs in colostrum are small strings of amino acids, "proline rich peptides". Previously known as transfer factors, PRPs don't actually transfer immunity; they enhance it.

Colostrum contains a host of immune system targeting cytokines and growth factors that stimulate the bone marrow. Colostrum is also rich in fat, protein in general, and has a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals.

The mare's body is programmed to short-change its own nutrition in favor of providing adequate nutrients in the colostrum and milk, but it can't manufacture deficient nutrients out of the air. Current dietary recommendations also may not always be sufficient for highest quality milk.

It has been shown that supplementation for the last 4 weeks of pregnancy with vitamin E at 2500 IU/day (over 3X the current recommendation for late pregnancy in a 500 kg mare) resulted in higher vitamin E levels in the mares, milk and foals, as well as higher antibody levels in milk and the foal's blood.

The window of opportunity for foals to consume adequate colostrum is only about 12 hours. The colostrum provides antibodies against bacteria in the environment where the mare has been living, as well as her past exposures and vaccinations. It also helps jump start the foal's own ability to form antibodies. Colostrum is gone after 24 hours and the foal's own immune system needs to start working.

Very young foals are capable of mounting an immune response and producing antibodies but have weaker abilities in their Th1 response. Specifically this means they have trouble identifying, targeting and destroying cells that have been invaded by organisms.  This is what makes them susceptible to infections that adults easily resist, such as Rhodoccus equi.

Recent research has found that the ability to mount these sophisticated immune responses to R. equi is greatly enhanced if the foal is vaccinated by the oral route rather than injection. It had previously been found that antibody titers in young foals were higher when the oral route was used for vaccination.

The intestinal tract is home to an extensive network of immune system cells, the GALT (gut associated lymphoid tissue). When an infection tries to enter the body by this avenue, the local immune system cells both deal with it at that level and also send out information to the immune system throughout the body, priming it to defend against the infection.

It is well known that the immune system of the GALT is also stimulated by substances that do not cause active infections. With the knowledge that foals respond best to immune challenges through the intestinal tract, this becomes and easy and appealing way to efficiently promote normal immunity in the young foal.

Even though foals lose the ability to absorb large antibody molecules (immunoglobins) in less than a day, colostrum and milk retain many immunity promoting and supporting ingredients such as growth factors, L-glutamine and Lactoferrin. Colostrum and bioactive Whey Protein are concentrated sources. Probiotic bacteria and plant components such as Mannanoligosaccharides, Arabinogalactan and Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) naturally promote a robust immune system. Vitamins B5, B1 and B12 support the high metabolic activity of immune system cells.

Combating the infectious challenges of the world is a formidable task for young foals, with the first few weeks of life being the most dangerous. In that critical window of the first 12 hours after birth, you can maximize the foal's chance of thriving by supporting high quality colostrum and making sure the foal ingests it. Beyond that, gentle support of the immune system via the oral route shows the most promise as an effective strategy.


Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya®, offers formulas to support the newborn foal. 

Liquid E 50 supports immune cells while they are working to destroy invading organisms, becoming incorporated directly into the structure of the cell membranes to protect from damaging free radicals that can weaken cells and tissues.

Colostimune provides potent immune support for foals and adult horses. Convenient paste supplies nutrients, protein and amino acids most often deficient in the newborn and growing foal. Also contains immune supporting fibers and beneficial gut bacteria.
Permission to reprint this article is granted, provided credit is given to Uckele Health & Nutrition, who appreciates being notified of publication.

About Dr. Kellon
Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience.  Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal.

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, is an innovation-driven health company committed to making people and their animals healthier.  On the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years, Uckele formulates and manufactures a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Sternlicht Withdrawn From Hilltop Farm 2018 Lineup

Hilltop Farm has just announced the withdrawal of Sternlicht from their 2018 lineup, due to the discovery that he is a carrier for Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome. There has already been a lot of discussion among breeders about this situation, and more clarification is needed. 

But one thing is clear: this is a level of integrity on the part of Hilltop Farm that is beyond admirable. "Transparency" is a buzzword, but this is what it really looks like; I'm so impressed. Not only that, the owner of a foal born with WFFS took time to post on Facebook about her experience, so that others could be aware. My hat is off to both.

Click here to read an article on about Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome

Here is Hilltop Farm's announcement:

Hilltop Farm has always been committed to not only offering the highest caliber stallions to our breeders, but also to supporting the education, overall development, and integrity of the sport horse breeding industry.  In response to an owner's request to breed a mare that was a known carrier of Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome (WFFS), all the Hilltop-owned stallions recently underwent genetic testing.  All the tested stallions were negative except for Sternlicht who tested positive as a carrier of WFFS.

With recessive genetic disorders like Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome (WFFS), two copies of a recessive gene must be present for the horse to exhibit signs of the recessive defect. Horses with only one copy of the defective gene are considered "carriers" and do not have any symptoms associated with WFFS.  A foal can only be affected with symptoms if the foal inherits the disease from both parents, and in four years of breeding Sternlicht we know of no cases of WFFS affected foals.  Current estimates are that between 6% and 11% of the Warmblood population are carriers of WFFS, but testing is not common and to-date there has been an overall lack of discussion about the disease or testing.  Hilltop Farm will be encouraging all breeders to test their breeding stock to make informed decisions.

Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome is an inherited systemic connective tissue disorder that is found in Warmblood horses. Foals can have extreme skin fragility that lacks tensile strength and is often characterized by tearing or ulceration from normal contact with surroundings. Limb joints are extremely lax, affected foals cannot stand normally, and they must be euthanized soon after birth. 

Sternlicht has many outstanding traits that make him a valuable contributor for sport horse breeding.  With the state of genetic testing in its infancy, the sport horse industry has not yet had an open discussion on recessive traits like WFFS.  Other breeds and registries are far ahead of us in dealing with similar situations related to recessive traits and genetic testing. Time is needed for education about WFFS, discussions on the use of genetic testing and how it will influence our breeding decisions going forward, and the role and position of the warmblood registries in these circumstances.  Consequently, we have chosen to remove Sternlicht from this year's stallion roster as we investigate the ramifications of this and other similar situations related to recessive traits and genetic testing. 

We hope that by coming forward and openly announcing this discovery, we can be a positive catalyst for how we as an industry move forward.  Questions regarding Sternlicht or Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome should be directed to Natalie DiBerardinis, Hilltop Farm's Managing Director, at 410-658-9898