Sunday, March 31, 2019

What to Look for in a Young Event Horse

The US Eventing Association held its Educational Symposium at The Grand Oaks Resort in February, and provided reports on their website. On the third day, the focus was the Young Event Horse program, with clinicians Marilyn Payne, Christian Schacht, and Maxime Livio. In this report, Livio, a rider for the French team, described what he was looking for in a young horse with eventing potential. Jump quality was last on the list; the most important element was breeding.

Click here to read the full article.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Choosing a Stallion for Your Mare

A recent British article has twelve tips for choosing a stallion for your mare. It's a sensible list. Even experienced breeders might find something new to think about. For non-British readers, it's always interesting to see the same issues approached in a slightly different cultural context. 

Read "12 tips to help you choose the right stallion for your mare" on HORSE&

Of course, in North America, we recommend choosing your stallion from among the awesome ones listed on Click here to view our Stallion Gallery!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Is the Stallion's Age Important for Fertility?

According to Dr. Ryan Ferris, in a podcast on, a stallion's fertility usually peaks around 12 to 15 years of age, and drops a bit after that, and again after age 20. Horses are individuals, of course, and any given stallion may have excellent-quality semen even at an advanced age - another might have poorer-quality semen when young.

The podcast is part of's series "Get Ready for Equine Breeding Season!" from their Ask TheHorse Live Q&A program. Click here to learn more, and to listen to an excerpt from the podcast.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Are American Breeders "Hysterical"? The Reaction to WFFS

by Anna Goebel
Warmblood Stallions of North America

Have American breeders been “hysterical” in their reaction to Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome? I’ve seen that word used twice by Europeans in the last month to describe how American breeders reacted to WFFS. 

The first instance was on Facebook in response to a news item I posted on February 22. The news was that 15% of the samples tested by Labogen in 2018 were positive for WFFS. Labogen is the testing lab that is licensed to perform that test in Europe, and has substantial numbers behind its result. Lars Le was one of the first to respond, posting “…this is not a real number.” He then stated that the reaction to WFFS was “Totally out of proportion panicing [sic] by american breeders”. Later in the same thread he told American breeder Kathy St Martin, “You are hysterical,” when she explained why the financial concerns of American breeders do not constitute panicking, nor is it unreasonable that American breeders are frustrated with European stallion owners and organizations who will not test, or refuse to provide full disclosure that will enable breeders to make informed decisions. 

The financial issues with WFFS are not only that foals born with the disease, who are in a terrible condition, suffer and have to be euthanized within a day or two. It’s also the likelihood that WFFS may cause mares to abort if the unborn foal has the defect. There are not data on the total financial loss to breeders from WFFS, but it be may be extensive.

Mr. Le went on to accuse everyone in the thread of "bullshitting", and specifically accused Mary Nuttall of lying about having an affected foal born on her farm, calling it “fake news.” All his comments in that thread were irrational, sloppy as to facts, and overall did not compel much respect. His accusations that American breeder reactions were "totally out of proportion" and "hysterical" were, well, a bit hysterical.

The second instance was more serious, since the author of the statement was Werner Schade, head of the German Hanoverian Verband. He was interviewed by Christopher Hector for while he was in Australia conducting Hanoverian inspections. In the article he discusses WFFS and how it affects the income of owners whose stallions have positive test results. His response is, “That hurts, all the big boys, but for me, how this problem was dealt with was a little bit hysterical.” It’s not clear exactly what he meant by “how this problem was dealt with,” but his feeling seems to be that the demand for information and facts among breeders is unreasonable. He feels it’s an overreaction “because we don’t have so many verified cases of this disease and we don’t have data on possible abortions.” 

Dr. Schade is addressing the two separate issues of WFFS: 1) the humanitarian one that foals born with the disease suffer and die, and 2) the financial one that there are likely to be hidden casualties of WFFS, based on the mathematical probabilities predictable with recessive traits, and these probably have been causing breeders significant financial losses. His comment seems to apply to both issues. 

The financial issues need more study, but they almost certainly do exist. In recessive traits, there is a simple mathematical formula to determine what percentage of affected offspring will be born with the defect if no one is aware of what individual breeding animals are carriers. It starts with the basic fact that if you breed carrier to carrier you indisputably have a 25% chance of an affected foal, so you can accurately project numbers in a large population if you know the percentage of carriers in the population. It became clear that fewer WFFS foals were born than expected. The reasons have not been studied systematically, but it's a reasonable hypothesis that fetuses with WFFS are lost at some stage before birth - especially since that has been documented extensively with similar mutations including in people. The loss for breeders is likely substantial. Dr. Schade's claim, concerning Londonderry and Don Frederico, that "... if there had been a high rate of abortions then we would know that, the breeders would tell us" is interesting, but short on actual facts - and rather missing the point. Since we know the formula is correct, the missing live births have to be explained. You can't dismiss the financial risk with anecdotal evidence - nor should you call people "hysterical" for exercising a very reasonable caution.

The humanitarian issue is the one which definitely produced some hysteria. Hysteria is defined as “deriving from or affected by uncontrolled extreme emotion.” When breeders learned that an affected foal was fragile to the point of skin tearing and ligaments coming apart, many were indeed affected by extreme emotion. That would be a normal reaction for anyone with the ability to picture how painful that would be and what a cruel thing to inflict on a newborn foal. Frankly, I would have a hard time understanding someone who was not affected by that mental image. I am aware that there are many people in the world with no ability for empathy, and many who believe it's good to repress the empathy they have, but I find it unfortunate when their work involves animals.

American breeders, on the whole, are in breeding because they love horses. They tend to have an emotional bond with their horses, and that’s important to them. It’s a good thing, because there’s not a lot of money in breeding in America. If they weren’t in it for the love of the horse, the satisfaction in producing the best quality they can, and the joy they get from a happy, healthy foal, they wouldn't be in it at all. It's also a good thing because many of them have the ability to recognize suffering and believe it matters. They are less likely than breeders who are in it purely as a business to ignore or tolerate unnecessary suffering. Humane treatment of animals is a concept which most of human history has ignored - but it's gaining traction and will be recognized as one of the hallmarks of true civilization.

Many reactions to WFFS and posts on Facebook and other social media at first were certainly also "uncontrolled," as people vented their gut feelings and reactions to what they initially knew. 

After the initial shock of hearing about the live birth of a foal affected by WFFS, however, American breeders got organized on social media to learn all about WFFS and share facts. Guided by one Facebook group in particular, they established knowledge and understanding as the top priorities. They found experts in the field, heard first-hand experiences, learned a lot about genetics and the warmblood breeding pool, and learned more about the history of WFFS. They acquired solid facts, and then encouraged each other to make rational decisions based on a good understanding of all the complexities involved. 

Pretty much the opposite of hysteria. 

What developed was the consensus that one should never breed a carrier of WFFS to another carrier. It’s the same conclusion reached by many other breeders (of different species) who have been faced with how to handle a damaging or lethal genetic defect, and there’s a reason for this: it’s the middle ground that is manageable, sensible, and humane - while avoiding constricting the gene pool even further. It has become the “best practice” for handling this type of defect, across breeds and species.

More importantly, what developed alongside this was the conviction that breeders have a right to make the decision that allows them to not breed carrier to carrier. Each breeder has the right to decide that they don’t ever want to risk having a foal affected by WFFS, that that is horrible enough that they choose to guarantee that no foal of theirs will ever suffer it, and that they themselves never want to witness the birth of a WFFS foal. They also have the right to decide whether they can take the financial risk that comes from breeding carrier to carrier.

When breeders are faced with a decision with both humanitarian and financial consequences, demanding full information from stallion owners is not a “hysterical” reaction, but in fact the only responsible one. A breeder has a right to run his or her own breeding operation on humane principles, and not give in to pressure from anyone who finds an inhumane outcome (the birth of an affected foal) totally ok if it only happens occasionally. It's also more than reasonable to make conservative decisions when facing financial risk. The mares and the mare owners are, after all, the ones who have to deal with the consequences.

That means that each breeder has the right to ask for, to demand, full transparency from stallion owners about a stallion's WFFS status. That demand could certainly cause some financial hardship for some stallion owners. That’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t justify any attempts to block mare owners' access to full information to make the decisions that are theirs to make. 

While there was initially some hysteria in the reactions to WFFS, it was a normal and human reaction to the news of a genetic defect with pretty horrific consequences. That was soon replaced by the work of acquiring facts and information, and building consensus based on knowledge. Breeders in America and elsewhere can be proud that they reacted quickly to prioritize facts and information, became well-informed, and that they are standing up for what they believe is right for themselves, their mares, and their breeding programs.

For an FAQ about Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome, click here.

Monday, March 25, 2019

How Fertile is a Mare's First Ovulation After Anestrus?

How fertile is a mare's first ovulation following anestrus? That was one of the questions addressed during a panel discussion at the 2018 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention - and the responses differed significantly. If you have early-cycled your mare, what was your experience?

Read the article here, on

Friday, March 22, 2019

How Recipient Mares Affect Foals

Does the recipient mare in an embryo transfer situation affect the foal? Yes, but we have surprisingly little information about exactly how. has a recent article that examines the studies available. Most of the studies were looking specifically at the size of the recipient mare, but a couple of other study results were mentioned.

To read the article, click here.

Foundation Sire: Caprimond

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: Jürgen Hanke, Hameln 

As of the 2016 Hanoverian Stallion Yearbook, Caprimond produced 375 competitors with winnings of €345,183. 316 dressage competitors, 35 at S level or above. His FN dressage rating is 124 (0.98) as against a jumping index of 51 (0.94). His Hanoverian dressage value is 141 and 79 for jumping, and once again, a massive 175 for type, including 198 for the head. Sadly because the top list only lists stallions that are "activated" for the new season, Caprimond - despite having the value of 175 - was replaced at the head of the 2014 list for riding horse type by Fürst Nymphenburg, who has a breeding value of 158 for type. It would have been nice to have had Caprimond’s unbroken record of leading the type standings from the first stallion book in 1999 until his death in 2014…
In the 2018 Hanoverian Stallion book, he has 381 competitors winning €356,192. His breeding value for type is still a massive 173 (number one on the Hanoverian top list for 2018 is Fürstenball with 167). He has a dressage value of 139 and a jumping value of 78. On the 2018 FN values for dressage sires of young horse competitors, he scores 120, and for sires of open competition horses, 121.
Caprimond was also the perfect schoolmaster for the Wahler children. At age 14, Theresa Wahler achieved her first S-level victory with him and one year later 12-year old Christoph Wahler presented the stallion in a show at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen. Caprimond also helped the children’s mother, Ingrid Wahler, rehabilitate and get her confidence back in the saddle after her riding accident a few years ago.
Caprimond was named elite stallion in 1995 and Trakehner Stallion of the Year 1998. Licensed offspring include Soulman, Inselmond, Sponeck, Catani K, Canaster I, Classic Touch, Solo Man, Tanzmeister, Contucci CWS, Campari Pur, and Caprigold.
His most famous offspring include the late Hohenstein, the Trakehner Stallion of the Year 2002; French Grand Prix team horse Noble Dream (Marc Boblet); and double European Young Riders Champion horse, then Grand Prix star at the 2017 European Championships, Atterupgaards Cassidy (Cathrine Dufour).
He has produced six dressage horses with winnings of more than €10,000, the most successful of these, Clinten 3, with €26,046. This is obviously a German total and ignores the Danish-bred Cassidy, who has won €165,380 since October 1, 2014.

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

IgG Levels in Foals

"Foals depend on antibodies they acquire from colostrum to fend off pathogenic assaults. In fact, the immune status of foals can be gauged by measuring the amount of IgG in serum, but at what age are IgG levels at their peak?"

This is the beginning of an article by Kentucky Equine Research about the importance of immunoglobulins in foals, especially immunoglobulin G (IgG), and when the levels peak. 

To read the article, click here.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Colostrum for Better Sperm?

According to a recently-released article on the Kentucky Equine Research site, the first milk of donkeys has an interesting effect on sperm. In studies in Spain, jenny "colostrum can be added to semen extenders to improve a multitude of semen characteristics after semen samples have been frozen and then thawed." This has not been studied in horses, but still, this study is showing interesting results, and is bound to lead to more research. 

Click here for an interesting read: A New Use for Colostrum

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Looking at the Future of the Hanoverian

Remi Vigneron (Viscount/Lanthan), first stallion to be licensed in Australia. Photo: Roslyn Neave

The Horse Magazine has posted an article by Christopher Hector that covers several topics that relate to Hanoverian horses and what the future of the Hanoverian looks like. The article reflects an interview with Werner Schade, the head of the German Hanoverian Verband. The Horse Magazine is based in Australia, and the two spoke during an inspection tour in Australia conducted by Werner Schade, US-based Volker Ehlers, and Australia-based Kevin Lewis.

The article starts with a look at Hanoverian breeding in Australia, and it's interesting to see what Australia produces, what bloodlines are being used, and how flattering Dr. Schade is in his evaluations of Australian breeding and how it fits into the international breeding community.

It's worth going deeper into the article, for an insight into the German view on Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome. Dr. Schade shares his opinion, and the word "hysterical" is used. Read the article for details.

Dr. Schade also describes his vision for the future of the Hanoverian, which he views as international; as well as a discussion of dressage, jumper and eventer breeding and some of the important bloodlines.

All in all, well worth a read: click here.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Florianus II Receives Crown Predicate from the KWPN-NA

Florianus II, Crown
Photo: Terri Miller

Coatesville, PA--- Iron Spring Farm's Florianus II received the prestigious Crown predicate from the Royal Dutch Warmblood Studbook North America (KWPN-NA). The Crown predicate is awarded to horses based on success in sport. Horses must be within the top 300 (dressage or jumping) in the WBFSH/FEI world rankings. Florinaus II had a long, winning Grand Prix dressage career in both Europe and the United States. In 2007, he achieved a world dressage ranking of 72, out of more than 500 horses.

Before his importation, his notable scores included a 70.450% in the Grand Prix Freestyle at CDI Falsterbo. Once he joined the Iron Spring Farm family, Florianus continued scoring in the 70s in Grand Prix throughout Florida and the East Coast.

Florianus' athletic ability was recognized from an early age. He finished fourth overall in his Stallion Testing in Münster-Handorf, earning a 9.5 on temperament and 9s for character and willingness. From there, he competed in the World Championships for Young Dressage Horses at Verden, before moving on to the small tour classes and Grand Prix.
While his primary job was as a performance horse, he has sired numerous winners in sport, breed shows and keurings. Rhythm & Blues (formerly Florencia B) earned top ribbons in the CDI3* Grand Prix classes in Europe in 2018. Five additional sons and daughters also compete at FEI in Europe. His daughter Kouture was Top Ten in the national KWPN-NA DG Bar Cup for 3-Year-Old Dressage Horses in 2018. Kouture was also successful as a youngster, winning the foal championship at Dressage at Devon in 2015. Another daughter, Floraya ISF, Star, was Reserve Grand Champion, Champion Young Horse and Champion Filly at Dressage at Devon in 2013. She is now a champion jumper.

Around the barn, Florianus is known as a kind, willing stallion. Under saddle, he had an incredible work ethic. His flexibility and scope, along with an outstanding ability to collect, helped him excel in the most difficult movements of passage, piaffe and pirouette.

Florianus represents the best modern sport horse bloodlines. He is sired by the legendary Florestan I, and is out of a States Premium Hanoverian mare by Damenstolz.
For the latest updates, photos and videos, please visit the Iron Spring Farm Facebook page and

About Iron Spring Farm
Top Friesian and KWPN stallions are available to North American breeders as part of Iron Spring Farm's four-decade commitment to the ISF American Advantage. By providing proven bloodlines, along with exceptional service, transparency and impeccable veterinary care, the ISF team helps riders and breeders achieve their sport horse goals. Ongoing expert advice and tools are also available so breeders can develop and market their offspring to the highest level. Iron Spring also offers a select number of talented Friesian and Dutch Warmblood prospects and broodmares for sale. Visit for more information.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Foundation Sire: Cor de la Bryère

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!


169 cm
Breeder: t. Essayan 

Cor de la Bryère is the stallion that revolutionized jumping horse breeding. His name is the one astute breeders like to see, especially on the mare line, for "Corde" tends to give great form over a jump. He was not only a sire himself but a sire of sires. He was a stallion of great vigor, and, as late as 1977, served a full book of 111 mares.
Although best known as a sire of jumping horses, Cor de la Bryère was also the sire of Corlandus, a World Cup Dressage Champion in 1989, and his sons Calypso I and Calypso II have proven useful sires of dressage horses. Former German Olympic team member Chacomo, ridden by Alexandra Simons de Ridder, was by Calypso I, as was Alexandra’s other FEI star, Champus.
In the WBFSH ratings for 1992/2001, Cor de la Bryère is ranked 18th with 28 points-earning progeny, but there are a staggering 20 own sons on the rankings: Calando I, II, IV; Caletto I, II; Calvados I, II; Calypso I, II, III; Cantares, Carneval, Carte d’Or, Casanova, Cavalier Royale, Cinzano, Constant, Contact, Corrado I, Cortez 679, Cosinus. There are also 12 grandsons of Cor de la Bryère in the standings – not to mention important stallions like Carthago and Burggraaf – who are out of Cor de la Bryère mares.
In the French annual review Monneron 2007-2008, Bernard le Courtois has gone through the FEI list of the top 2515 best showjumpers to compile a stallion ranking of the top 75 stallions, based on CSI winners. He finds that, after Almé, Cor de la Bryère is the most influential sire. Corde himself still holds 51st place on the rankings with 6 CSI winners – and that 14 of his sons make up 19% of the 75 best stallions in the world.
The most successful of these sons is Corrado I, who occupies 23rd spot with 11 winners – with four sons of Corrado also featuring in the top 75: Corofino is 30th with 10 representatives, Coriano – 43rd with 7, Indorado – 43rd with 7, and Clinton – 64th with 5.
Cor de la Bryère’s influence is also transmitted via the full brothers Caletto I & II. Although Caletto II does not make the top 75, he is represented by his sons, Caretino (24th with 11 winners) and Calvaro (65th with 5). Caletto I himself is in 65th place with 5 winners and is represented by his son Cantus (30th with 10). Cantus is the sire of Calido I who is in 19th place with 12 winners.
Another Cor de la Bryère son, Calypso II, is well represented on the top 75 through his son Contender, sitting in 5th with 28 representatives.

To read the entire article, with pedigree, details of Cor de la Bryère's sons and daughters, on the Horse Magazine website, click here.
There are quite a few stallion descendants of Cor de la Bryère in North America. Click on the following links to read about each of the ones on

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

About Mare's Milk

The folks at Kentucky Equine Research have posted a new nutrition article, this one about the qualities of mare's milk. As they point out, "The significance of the milk is often passed over because, unless we see droplets on the foal’s muzzle or whiskers...." The rest of the article fills in that gap. It looks at the proteins in mare's milk and other elements, in comparison to other animals' milk, like cows and goats. Worth a read.

Read Mare's Milk: A Closer Look

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

In Memoriam: LioCalyon of Wild Turkey Farm

In remembrance of LioCalyon, April 2, 1992 – February 26, 2019


It is with heavy, but full, hearts that we announce the passing of LioCalyon (Liostro x Calypso II x Sacramento Song). He was the cornerstone of Wild Turkey Farm and the horse that inspired Barb to start her breeding program. He put Wild Turkey Farm out there, into the world.

Barb purchased Lio after seeing a VHS tape of him sent by Butch and Lu Thomas.

“I will never forget being in my kitchen in Woodside when Lu had called me and said they were sending me a video of a young stallion that I just had to buy,” Barb recalls. “At that time, I was taking a break from the horses to raise my kids. I got the video and I almost didn’t watch it, but then thought, ‘Why not?’ I remember popping the video in the VHS, and Susie Hutchinson was riding him. I also remember calling Butch and Lu right after that and said, ‘Yes, vet him, buy him.’”

LioCalyon with Mandy Porter
Lio competed for over 10 years with multiple riders: Susie, Lu, Mandy Porter, Guy Thomas, Stevie McCarron, and Barb’s daughter Megan. He loved Spruce Meadows and jumped so well there in the 1.45m–1.50m divisions with Mandy. He took Stevie McCarron Wigley to her first Grand Prix. And when Megan needed a horse to show in Young Riders, it was Lio who filled in.

Lio retired from competition once he seemed to have lost his joie de vivre inside the ring. He came home, first to Woodside, Calif., and then to Oregon when Barb relocated the farm and business, and settled into his new job as breeding stallion. He was the farm mascot, the stallion everyone wanted to see, and he never disappointed. The statue that greets everyone at the top of the drive to the property is Lio, and he will be buried near there to look over the world that he helped to create.

Lio with his statue.

Now, his legacy will continue with his offspring that he never failed to stamp with his likeness.

“Lio’s offspring make me smile as he has stamped them all,” says Barb. “You can go through a field and point out a Lio baby—they all have his look.”

LioCalyon’s frozen semen will continue to be available to breeders. Please contact for more information. And for owners of Lio offspring, we would love to receive updates and photos to remember their sire.

We’ll never forget the special soul that was Lio. Rest in peace, our special friend, and gallop the green fields in heaven—you deserve it.

Fun facts about Lio

  • Lio loved licorice.
  • He was an Elite stallion with the American Holsteiner Horse Association.
  • He produced three approved sons: Peterbilt (BWP Elite Stallion), WT Lillix( AHHA, Oldenburg GOV), and WT Leapfrog (Oldenburg GOV).
  • Lio’s daughter, Dunstan Delphi, jumped at the 1.60-meter level with New Zealand’s Katie McVean. Together they placed 6th in the FEI World Cup Final at Leipzig in 2011 and jumped clear rounds at the 2010 WEG before the mare was sold to the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation.
  • Peterbilt competed at the 2011 WEG
  • In 2010, Lio won the USEF /Performance Horse Registry Leading Sire Award.

Visit LioCalyon's page on You can contact Barb through his page, or by email at