Thursday, September 27, 2018

Find Your Next Champion at the Dressage at Devon Breed Show

September 18, 2018 (Devon, PA) – Dressage at Devon (DAD) ( hosts the largest open breed show in the world, with top breeders bringing their colts, fillies, stallions and mares to compete.

“This year’s scheduling changes to the breed show will not only benefit our competitors, it will allow equestrians in all disciplines, as well as performance competitors, to view future champions in the Dixon Oval,” said Melanie Sloyer, Chair of the Breed Division at Dressage at Devon.

“The breeders at Dressage at Devon have been breeding top quality horses for years, if not decades,” added Sloyer. “Many go on to top dressage levels. But many others find their niche in hunters, jumpers and all other equestrian disciplines.”

And the best of the best will compete on Thursday. Championship classes include:

Grand Championship - Champion and Reserve from classes 212 & 218

USDF Current Year Foal Final

USDF Filly Final USDF Colt/Geldings Final

USDF Mare Final

USDF Stallion Final

USDFBC Three-year-old Materiale Championship

USDFBC 4-5 year old Materiale Championship

 Don’t forget to take a break to walk in the Fall Festival, featuring great food and shopping that appeals to the whole family - equestrians and non-equestrians alike. From jewelry to art, clothing to saddles, there are boutique-style shops that appeal to everyone!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Dressage at Devon Breed Show: Day 1

Foal Champion Branley Ash Nautilus

Devon, PA – The largest open breed show in the world is taking place at Dressage at Devon from September 25 – September 27. 

More than 20 breeds of horses and ponies of all shapes and sizes were in the ring Tuesday competing for the best of their breed. They were judged on movement, conformation and general impression.

Many of the breeds were rare, even endangered, and all have a rich history. For instance, said Adrienne Morella, whose horse took home the blue in the Shagya Arabian class, "The Shagya Arabian is a relatively rare breed, and brings the history of a Desert Arabian; great hardiness and toughness, endurance, ease of keeping and inborn friendliness and combines it with the requirements of the modern riding horse.”

For the first time, Dressage at Devon, also held classes just for ponies, who are classified into breeds just as their larger peers. “We were very pleased with the response to our new pony classes. Ponies were always allowed in the breed classes but this provided a new opportunity for pony breeders and owners,” said Melanie Sloyer, Chair of the Breed Division.

Classes included Pony Fillies of the current year, Pony Colts/Geldings of the current year, in addition to yearlings, two-year-olds, plus four-year-old classes. The Pony Foal Championship was won by Branley Ash Nautilus (by the German Riding Pony stallion FS Numero Uno out of Georgina/Dornik B), a Weser-Ems a foal of the current year, owned by Samantha Kidd of Carthage, NC, and bred by Christine Baker.

“The pony classes were fun addition to the show,” said Natalie DiBeradinis, General Manager and Breeding Manager for Hilltop Farm, Inc. (Colera, MD). “It was nice to have pony classes because it’s harder for the ponies to compete against the horses. We brought ponies that we wouldn’t normally bring. And we’re happy that they did so well.” #ponypower

The Dressage at Devon Breed Show continues through September 27.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Foundation Sire: Farn

Here is the next installment of Warmblood Stallions of North America’s Foundation Friday.  Every other 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!

1959 – 1984
169 cm
Breeder: M. Thormählen

Farn was born in Holstein and descends from the Achill or "F" line that began in 1877. Next to the Ethelbert line, it is the oldest Holsteiner stallion line. Farn himself left only a few offspring in Holstein, and his description in the official Holstein stallion book is less than glowing: "Somewhat unharmonious stallion with a lovely head carriage. Built slightly ‘downhill’, good shoulder, flat back, heavily padded loin. Heavy bone, weak pasterns. Good mover."

However, he impressed the visitors from Holland, the NWP committee members who purchased him, hoping his daughters would upgrade Dutch breeding – and he eventually became one of the great stallions of the Dutch Warmbloods.

At the time Farn was brought to Holland, the old agricultural horse was being transformed into the modern sporting model, but the farmers were still wary of the lighter types of Trakehner and Thoroughbred horses that were to play such a vital role – Farn with his Holsteiner heritage and substance was more their sort of horse. However, the lighter stallions gained popularity and the breeders in the north lost interest in Farn. Jacob Melissen takes up the story in his1994/95 edition of The Leading Stallions of the Netherlands:

“In the South however, the heavy stallion was received enthusiastically. Southern breeders had been almost overshooting their mark, when trying to generate a fine riding-horse with intensive use of Thoroughbred blood, which had resulted in loss of size, and funny necks. They wanted to restore volume and bone. Farn broke the service records. In 1979 he was offered 236 mares. In 1978 he had been awarded the ‘keur’ predicate; in 1991, he was declared ‘preferent’, seven years after his death. He left eleven approved sons, 123 ‘ster’, 31 ‘keur’, 14 ‘preferent’ and 6 ‘prestatie’ mares.”

Farn was the sire of several notable international showjumpers, including Odin N, Black and White, Design and Olympus. Aside from Nimmerdor, Farn sired a number of stallion sons, including: Fanfare, Felix, Garant (ex Flipper), Safari, Telstar and Uddel. By the end of his breeding career, Farn was the sire of 13 approved sons.

To read the entire article, with pedigree and more offspring details, on the Horse Magazine website, click here.
There are several stallion descendants of Farn in North America. Click on the following links to read about each of the ones on

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Don't Miss Dressage at Devon Horse Show!

September 25th through 30th. 

Includes the largest open breed show in the world Tuesday through Thursday.

Stenagers Welina, Grand Champion of the Devon breed show in 2016. She is a 2009 Danish Warmblood mare by Wilkens out of Stenagers Santana/Sandro Hit. She was bred by Bjarne & May-Britt Cristensen and owned by Nancy Radtke.

  • 23 breeds represented in the Individual Breed Classes (including rare and endangered breeds) on Tuesday followed by the Parade of Breeds 
Wednesday and Thursday
  • The babies are out. See this year's foals (with their moms) plus older equines and pick your favorite for the Filly Championship, the Colt Championship, Foal Championship, Stallion Championship and Mare Champion
  • Meet your next champion at the Grand Championships on Thursday (look for the green tag on their bridle indicating that they are a sale prospect
Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Together for the first time! Special exhibitions by Governor General's Horse Guard, the longest running cavalry unit in Canada and First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, the oldest running cavalry unit in the US – authentic 18th century uniforms and special exhibitions based on actual cavalry maneuvers. Plus officers from area mounted troops. 
  • Friday – Start of the performance division and Ladies Hat Day - Friday with judging mid-day. All ladies with hats (no baseball caps please) will be admitted free. Great prizes!
  • Magnificent Freestyles will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Watch the Grand Prix Musical Freestyle Saturday night 
  • Friday – Sunday Dressage with the Experts will begin on Friday and continue throughout the weekend.
  • Saturday Adult Amateurs - have a conversation with Lisa Schmidt, founder of Adult Amateur Dressage Access. Saturday, 9:30 in the picnic area behind The Pub
  • And speaking of The Pub, a large screen tv will be available for all customers.
  • Sunday Dressage Explorers - activities for kids all day Sunday. Plus a meet n' greed with the Cavalry members and mounted police
  • Sunday morning - Bring your leashed (no retractable leashes), under-control pet to the Blessing of the Animals, 11:00 am on Sunday in the Dixon Oval.
For more information, go to 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Losses from (W)FFS

An important question has come up in the discussion of (Warmblood) Fragile Foal Syndrome. It seems to be the case that not all foals positive for FFS are carried all the way to term. I think this is important because when you're evaluating the importance of FFS, it's good to keep in mind that many of the losses that breeders sustain due to FFS are hidden.

The question has come up because there is a discrepancy between the number of foals that we would expect to see and the number that are actually born with the disease. So how much do we know about the numbers? 

I found some information about foals registered in Germany in 2012, so we can use that as an example to run some numbers. According to a German brochure on the horse industry, 39,000 foals were registered in Germany in that year. We have to assume there were more breedings than that, but we can use 39,000 as the number of breedings, because we know there were at least that many.

We can calculate how many breedings would have resulted in FFS/FFS foals. Here's the math:

We know that approximately 10% of the warmblood breeding population in Germany are carriers of FFS. We don't have an exact percentage, but it's about 10%, and it hasn't changed much since 2012. FFS was not tested for in 2012, so it was not a factor in breeding decisions. So the chance of breeding a carrier to a carrier was random, not influenced by knowledge of FFS. With over 39,000 breedings, small variations would even out, so it would have been very close to what we would expect from the math: approximately 1% (10% chance for the stallion to be a carrier, times 10% chance for the mare = 1%). In other words, approximately 1 in every 100 breedings would have been carrier to carrier. Of those, the chance of a FFS/FFS foal is 25%, and 25% times 1% = .0025 or 1 in 400. That's solid for the percentage of affected foals we could have expected in Germany in 2012.

Using 39,000 as the number of breedings, if we multiply that times the .0025 we get 97.5. So approximately 100 of those breedings would have produced foals that were FFS/FFS. That means one of two things: either there were around 100 foals born in Germany in 2012 that had to be euthanized due to the symptoms we're familiar with for FFS - or something else happened to those foals. Those are the only two options. Either that many were born and died, or that many were bred but didn't reach term.

We'll probably never know what percentage of those were born and euthanized, and what percentage were resorbed or aborted or never conceived. It seems hard to believe that 100 foals could have been born and died a horrific death each year in Germany - plus others in other countries - and no one noticed or commented on it. It's more likely that the large majority never reached term.

But we do know that approximately 100 breedings were lost to FFS in Germany in 2012 alone.

Many breed registries and large breeding operations around the world are wrestling with the issues around FFS. As they calculate the importance of FFS to breeders, they may be thinking, "We have almost never seen a dead FFS foal. It's tough for the breeder this happens to, but it's just not that big a deal." If decisions are being made on that basis, they're likely to be wrong, since it's not the full story. The full story is not just a handful of dead foals. From the math, the dead foals are just the tip of the iceberg. The losses are much greater than that.

It's hard to calculate the monetary loss. There's a big difference in associated costs between a mare not conceiving, and a mare carrying a FFS/FFS foal to term only to have the foal put down after birth. But it's time to start factoring in these "hidden" losses due to FFS.

[W]FFS Affects All Breeds, Not Just Warmbloods

Practical Horse Genetics just posted a new article on their website that will be of interest to all breeders, especially those who use Thoroughbreds. It's an update on Fragile Foal Syndrome, which came to prominence in the spring of 2018 and was thought to be a genetic problem just among warmblood horses. It is now clear that FFS occurs in many breeds, not just warmbloods. It is still called Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome, although many are now dropping the "Warmblood" and going with FFS.

Practical Horse Genetics is an Australian company, but the information applies to breeders around the world. Their point is that the FFS gene has been found in Thoroughbreds, and that "all evidence suggests it's been in Thoroughbreds for several hundred years." Since the Thoroughbred has been used a great deal in the development of other breeds, all breeders should be aware, and test their mares accordingly.

The article also addresses the question of why there haven't been very many reports of Thoroughbred or other foals being born with symptoms of FFS.

Click here to read the full article.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Science Supports Slow, Steady Weaning of Foals

Who practices slow weaning of foals? It's not a common practice among sport horse breeders. It's harder to manage for most breeders, but it might be worth considering. A recent article on the Kentucky Equine Research website reports that standard weaning - abruptly at 4 to 6 months of age - creates quite a few negative results for foals.

KER presents a summary here, with details of the results.

Read the original article here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Dressage at Devon Contest Winners Announced

Warmblood Stallions of North America is sending tickets for Dressage at Devon to four lucky winners! Four winners were drawn for the contest, held by Warmblood Stallions of North America, with a prize of two general admission tickets to Dressage at Devon, a $120 value. Dressage at Devon will be held September 25–30. Tickets are for all six days of the show, including three days of the largest breed show in the world, followed by world-class dressage competition on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Following are the four winners. Congratulations to all, and have a wonderful time at the show!

Megan Connolly and her sister Miare have been thinking about going to Dressage at Devon, and winning a pair of tickets sealed their plans for 2018. They're excited to be going, especially since Dressage at Devon has a newly-added Pony Breed Division. The Connolly sisters, along with their parents, are breeders of German Riding Ponies at their Connaught Green Farms. They were thrilled this year when their 3-year-old, CGF Mischief Managed, won his class and division and then was named the Young Pony Champion at the National Dressage Pony Cup. Says Megan, "I think the breed show will be the highlight for us but of course the shopping and simply the experience of being there will be amazing." 

Karen Barbour and her husband have a small farm just outside Southern Pines, North Carolina. "I am active-duty military, and my husband is a first responder who I imported from Germany! I ride primarily in hunters and dressage. We have a small Hanoverian breeding operation, with the goal to produce two or three foals per year." 

Winner Mary Procopio won't be able to make the trip to Devon this year, but she has passed her tickets on to friends. Mary breeds top-quality Haflinger sport horses at New Horizons Farm in Michigan. She is the owner of Haflinger stallion Stellar TVR, who completed the North American Stallion Testing with excellent scores, and who was reserve Grand Champion at the 2017 National Dressage Pony Cup DSHB championships.. Attending Devon in her stead are Jennie and Chelsea Deephouse of Pennsylvania, a mother-and-daughter team. 
Jennie breeds Haflinger sport horses at Dreamfield Manor Farm in Pennsylvania. She owns the Haflinger stallions Next Level GHJ, who is showing successfully in dressage at recognized shows with rider Chelsea Deephouse; and A Black Tie Affair NW HRZN, who has been shown successfully at halter and under saddle at Haflinger breed shows.

Jeri and Andy Matheny own and operate Wind Ridge Farm. LLC. Based out of north central Kentucky, Jeri Fuller-Matheny is an accomplished rider and trainer, and wife to her favorite farrier - who won the Amateur Handler class at Devon last year! She has competed at the upper levels of eventing as well as dressage. Jeri is currently working on her USDF Silver medal with their Elite Hanoverian mare, Whimzical Princess. "Whim," who has ranked in the top 6 nationally through USDF, is the equine matriarch of the farm and is the beginning of their Hanoverian breeding program. Jeri also has a young up-and-coming 2-year-old colt, affectionately known as Moose in the barn. 

Jeri is excited to be going. "Dressage at Devon is always a favorite for all dressage enthusiasts. It's the nostalgic atmosphere, the friends, the best of the best coming together to show off their best from their program. We have shown at Devon the last couple of years, but had decided to sit this year out with the horses. How nice to return as 'horsemen of leisure' and enjoy the shopping. A little mare shopping, maybe ??"

Congratulations and enjoy the show!

Care of the Mare and Foal at Weaning

From Uckele Health & Nutrition
By Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist

With feral horses, by the time weaning occurs naturally both mare and foal are more than ready for it. When we hasten the process artificially, there is inevitable stress.

Foals depend on their dams for basic survival needs of nutrition and protection from predators or even other horses. The dam also gives the foal its social status in the band. Mares fulfill these functions because of the extremely powerful drive of their instincts and hormones.

Interfering with this bond predictably causes anxiety, even anguish. This means poor appetite, vocalizing, pacing (or running if room allows), poor concentration and diminished awareness of people, other animals, even physical barriers. In the worst-case scenario, they may be a danger both to themselves and others.

A variety of methods are used, from gradual lengthening of periods apart to abrupt complete separation. When separation is final, mare and foal should not be able to see or hear each other. Foals do best either housed in individual stalls or pastured in a group of familiar peers with at least one quiet and tolerant adult baby sitter.

Mares are more likely than foals to end up being stall confined or put in with a group of unfamiliar horses after weaning. Their stress levels can therefore be higher, and some individuals may benefit from supplementation geared to help balance these reactions such as Valerian root, thiamine, magnesium and taurine.

Behavioral manifestations of stress in foals are best handled by management of their environment, keeping them with familiar companions, a stabilizing adult, and confined in an area with sturdy and safe fencing. However, there are still often problems with the babies going off feed. Maintaining adequate nutrition that is without excessive calories is also an issue for mares that need to decrease milk production, but often are pregnant.

The solution to this problem begins before weaning. Both the mares and foals have extremely high requirements for protein and minerals compared to adults that are not growing, lactating or pregnant. They require a diet denser in protein and minerals per calorie.

The easiest way to achieve this is to provide needed calories with a well-balanced adult type concentrate and forage, then to supplement with a high protein and mineral supplement that can be adjusted to the needs of the stage of growth, pregnancy or lactation.

Look for 25% protein from milk and high-quality vegetable sources with guaranteed lysine and methionine levels. There should be a balanced, high potency mineral profile with 5 to 6% calcium and 500 ppm copper. Unlike supplements for adults, a moderate level of iron inclusion is advisable for this age group. Fat soluble and full spectrum B vitamins complete the support package. Because this nutrition is in a concentrated form they are more likely to eat it all.

Weaning is no fun. Reduce physical dangers by careful management of the environment and nutritional calming support as needed. Deal with dietary shortfalls caused by poor appetite with the use of a concentrated protein and mineral supplement that is more likely to be completely consumed.

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. Uckele Health & Nutrition offers formulas for the mare and weanling.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Foundation Sire: Casall

Here is the next installment of Warmblood Stallions of North America’s Foundation Friday.  Every other 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!

167 cm
Breeder: Wilfried Thomann

When Caretino died in 2011, there was already a Caretino son ready to take his place – Casall. Casall appeared in young horse classes with Rolf-Göran Bengstsson in the 2006/2007 seasons, and then in 2008 won his first Grand Prix – at Aarhus two star – and the pair were away on an illustrious career that has seen them win and place at all the world’s premier showjumping competitions.

In 2010 he won the Grand Prix of Rotterdam and Falsterbo. In 2011he was first in the Hamburg and Monte Carlo legs of the Global Champions Tour and the World Cup jumping in Lyon. In 2013, he was 2nd at three big Grand Prix: Lyon, Ommen and Zurich and fourth at the European Championships in Herning.

In 2014, he won the four-star Grand Prix of Basel and Antwerp. In 2015, he placed in a string of five-star Grand Prix – firsts at Rome and London, second at Cannes and Goteborg, and thirds at Doha and Hamburg. In 2016 success continued with wins in three 5-star Grand Prix – Doha, Valkenswaard and Paris.

Casall finished his illustrious career on home – Holstein – soil, winning the five-star Grand Prix of Hamburg and was immediately retired. Even with his jumping career in full swing, Casall was in demand as a breeding stallion. In 2009, his son Catch It became champion stallion of the Holsteiner approval and sold for a record €450000 to Denmark. Casall has produced nine stallion sons in Holstein and had the champion mare at the Elmshorn anniversary show in 2008.

Casall’s breeding values are impressive, with 140 points he heads the Holstein breeding values for 2015/16. On the 2014 WBFSH rankings, Casall was in 14th place, on the 2015 standings he had moved to 9th, and on the 2016 rankings, is in 4th, behind Diamant de Semilly, For Pleasure and Cornet Obolensky! He has points from 52 international competitors – the most from the 2016 No 1 showjumper, Chesall Zimequest.

His offspring are starting to make their mark on the show jumping circuit. Powerplay (out of a Limbus mare) had an extraordinary season in 2013: ridden by Eric Lamaze, he was second in a 1.60 class at Calgary, with Pius Schwizer, he was second in a 1.60 at Paris***** and the pair were in the Swiss Nations Cup team. Then there is CT (Claudio) who has won its first Grand Prix with Hugo Simon at Linz. Ludger Beerbaum has taken over the ride on Casello (Carolus I) from the Swede, Douglas Lindelow who rode the gelding into 8th at the Las Vegas World Cup final of 2015. Ludger and Casello were 2nd in the Stuttgart Grand Prix of 2015, and 10th in a 1.50 class at Bordeaux in February of 2016.

The stallion, Cassallo Z (Carthago) was ninth at the World Cup Qualifier in Zurich in January 2016 with Piergiorgio Bucci.

To read the entire article, with pedigree and more offspring details, on the Horse Magazine website, click here.
There are several stallion descendants of Casall in North America. Click on the following links to read about each of the ones on

Monday, September 3, 2018

Foals: How Much Growth is Too Much

A recent question in the Kentucky Equine Research Q&A concerned how to best feed a 2-month-old colt that was growing fast. A previous warmblood foal had developed contracted tendons, perhaps due to too-rapid growth, so the foal raiser wanted to avoid that problem with the colt. The concern was that the colt might not get all the nutrients he needs if the feed was cut back. KER's answer addresses several aspects of the situation, and provides good guidelines and goals.

One point made was that "Lactation is a demanding stage of life and requires much higher digestible energy than maintenance, gestation, and most performance endeavors."

Read the full response here.