Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Inbreeding and Genomics

Photo from the Equine Science Review

Inbreeding has played a key role in the improvement of livestock breeds, resulting in more uniform populations with highly specialized performance traits. Selection for desirable traits entails identifying individuals with superior performance and often mating them to relatives (inbreeding) who possess the same superior traits. The goal of this practice is to increase the frequency of the desired characteristics and thus of the beneficial genes in the offspring. At the same time, negative consequences of inbreeding are well known. In small populations such as captive bred species, the loss of diversity associated with inbreeding is a major concern, and significant losses of diversity may lead to extinction. The increased expression of recessive deleterious genotypes can also lead to embryonic loss or other defects, some of which can be fatal. Furthermore, inbreeding can lead to a phenomenon called inbreeding depression.
Inbreeding depression is commonly manifest in poor performance of traits that are complex (due to contributions of many different genes), such as fertility and athleticism. Mindful of the dangers inherent with inbreeding, breeders traditionally balance the benefits and dangers of inbreeding by monitoring their breeding stock, culling poor performers and avoiding matings of closely related individuals.
Recently, genetic tools have become available that provide an alternative approach to unambiguously quantify and manage inbreeding relative to the traditional use of pedigrees. Today, a genomic survey of a horse’s DNA may cost $70 to $180. A comprehensive whole genome sequence, including analyses, may cost $1,000 to $2,500. So far, over 1,000 horses have had their entire DNA sequenced in connection with research projects. Those genome sequences have been used to identify the genetic bases of diseases, coat colors and even some performance traits. Nevertheless, the overall performance of horses is complex, involving over 20,000 genes and probably millions of other functional elements. Studying genes one at a time is unlikely to be effective to significantly improve performance. Genomic tools, however, make it possible to identify associations between the genome and traits that contribute to success or which may cause problems.
One of the areas in which genomics excels is in determining levels of inbreeding. An animal’s inbreeding coefficient is the likelihood that both parents transmitted the same piece of DNA to their offspring that they each inherited from a common ancestor. Traditionally, we measured inbreeding by identifying all common ancestors – those that appear in the paternal and maternal sides of an individual’s pedigree. After common ancestors are identified, the relationship between the parents of the individual in question can be calculated. Using this method, on average, pedigree-based inbreeding coefficients for Thoroughbred horses are reported to be between 12.5%-13.5%, however individual horses may have values that range from less than 5% to over 20%. When genomic measures have been made in other species, geneticists discovered that inbreeding levels calculated from pedigrees are poorly correlated (50%-80%) with genomic measures of inbreeding. This is not surprising since pedigrees inaccurately assume a random and equal transmission of genes each generation.
Which variant of each gene is inherited, however, is not predictable. For example, full-siblings share, on average, 50% of their genes; however, at any particular part of the genome they may share 0, 50 or 100%. Further, genes are not randomly distributed in a breed since selection practices are applied in mating horses. If we are good breeders, the genetic constitution of our current generation is not a random representation of the ancestors, but rather, a selection of the genes contributing to their success.
There are other ways to apply genomics to horse breeding. As noted above, both the genome and the traits we value are complex. Our genomic tools are powerful, and we can begin to seek genetic patterns correlated with measures valued by horse owners. The limitation for such studies is the quality and availability of data for traits related to fertility, conformation, durability and athleticism. Collecting these data and using genomics to identify genes associated with these complex traits would be a more sensible way to improve performance rather than simply seeking to limit inbreeding.

Ernest Bailey, PhD, professor, and Ted Kalbfleisch, PhD, associate professor, both in the Department of Veterinary Science at the Gluck Equine Research Center, and Jessica Peterson, PHD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, provided this information. Source: January 2020 Equine Disease Quarterly.
The Equine Disease Quarterly is published in January, April, July, and October each year by the Department of Veterinary Science. It is funded by Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London. Material published in the Equine Disease Quarterly is not subject to copyright. Permission is therefore granted to reproduce articles, although acknowledgement of the source and author is requested. 
This article appeared in the Equine Science Review, a new monthly newsletter from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

USEA: Top 10 Tips for Handling Babies

When does a professional start halter training a foal? What about weaning, or trailering?

The US Eventing Association's new article recognizes that, "From the moment they hit the ground to the day they take their first steps under saddle, everything you do with your young horse is setting them up for success in their future career." The article, "Top 10 Tips for Handling Babies" is written with Sue Clarke, who is the stable manager at Stonehall Farm in Virginia. Her tips for setting youngsters up for success are gleaned from many years' experience managing a breeding operation with many young horses.

Click here to read the Top Ten Tips.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

USEA: Producing a Young Horse

For a humane and extremely successful approach to starting young horses, check out the USEA podcast Producing a Young Horse, with guests Lauren (Kieffer) Nicholson and Max Corcoran, hosted by Nicole Brown. Since Lauren and Max have been involved with all aspects of producing young horses, the topics range from breeding and the initial evaluation of a young horse to the under saddle work and beginning competition.

Lauren Nicholson works for David and Karen O'Connor, and "has spent the last 15 years bringing hundreds of horses along in their barn and for Jacqueline Mars’ program which breeds and produces horses from the ground up." Max Corcoran, now president of the US Eventing Association, "also spent over a decade on the O'Connor Eventing Team grooming and working with the young horses." The O'Connor team has been known for decades for their dedication to starting young horses using low-stress, humane methods.

Early on in the podcast, Lauren made some very interesting comments about what she looks for in a young horse. Knowing she's looking for a horse with the potential to become a 5* eventer, what is her top priority for selection? Conformation? Precocious jumping ability? Nope. Her top priority is trainability. Tune in to the podcast to hear her reasons - and listen also for Lauren's deep understanding of how young horses think. Her decisions and advice are rooted in that, which explains her success over many years.

This podcast is worth a listen by anyone involved with horses, especially youngsters.

Click here to listen to "Producing a Young Horse."

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

UK Launches New Equine Research and Outreach Newsletter

The Equine Science Review gives horse owners, members of the equine industry and the general public the opportunity to learn more about the cutting-edge equine research going on at UK.

July 29, 2020 | By: Holly Wiemers

Lexington, Ky., - The University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs has launched a new monthly newsletter, the Equine Science Review, highlighting UK equine research and outreach efforts.

The free newsletter comes out mid-month from the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, which is home to world-class research and service excellence in equine health, safety, nutrition, pasture and forages, economics, engineering, environmental compliance and many other areas of interest. Programs at UK offer the depth and breadth of scope that is fitting of its location in the heart of horse country.
“Reporting completed projects and exciting new knowledge is obviously important, but the Equine Science Review also enables new ideas and 'work-in-progress' stories to be shared,” said James MacLeod, UK Ag Equine Programs director and faculty member in the Gluck Equine Research Center. “Awareness of efforts at these earlier stages also has value, providing information on new and innovative approaches being used by students and faculty to address critical challenges. We might not have the answer yet, but such stories convey reasons for the equine world to look to the future with hope.”
The July issue of the Equine Science Review can be read via Issuu at https://issuu.com/ukagequineprograms/docs/equine_science_review_july2020_final or as a downloadable PDF at https://equine.ca.uky.edu/content/july-2020-equine-science-review. Contents in the July issue include a story about promising developments in the quest to prevent catastrophic racehorse injuries through an mRNA study; a look at equine markets during the COVID-19 pandemic; an exciting report regarding an absence of any equine lepto abortion cases at the UK Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for first time in 30 years, which is likely linked to use of a new vaccine; pasture renovation information; advice about whether or not rained hay is any good and much more.
“I am very pleased to see the successful launch of the Equine Science Review,” said David Horohov, chair of the Department of Veterinary Science, director and Jes E. and Clementine M. Schlaikjer Endowed Chair and professor in the Gluck Center. “The ESR provides an excellent opportunity for faculty and staff in our college to reach out to our equine stakeholders, both professionals and horse enthusiasts, and inform them of our important work.”
Subscribe to the publication at https://mailchi.mp/uky/equinesciencereview. Past issues can be found at https://equine.ca.uky.edu/equinesciencereview.

We will be reprinting some of the UK articles in this news and info blog, selecting ones of interest to breeders.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

World Breeding News August Posted

A new issue of World Breeding News has been posted, with news of interest to breeders around the world.

Its centerpiece is the final installment of Celia Clarke's three-part series on the breeding industry. This series looked at sport horse breeding in the past, present - and in this article the future. Where is the sport horse breeding industry headed? What are the challenges? Where will we be in 5, 10, 15 years? Celia Clarke asked for responses from six experts from six different countries. The United States can be proud of being represented by Jos Mottershead in this discussion, whose knowledge and experience are deep, and whose opinions are informed and outspoken. Jos and Kathy St. Martin own Equine-Reproduction.com and Avalon Equine.

All in all a very interesting issue, with features on breeders and breeding the truly span the world. Check out the current issue here.

Subscribe to WBNSH

theHorse.com: Small-Scale Success: Responsible Boutique Horse Breeders

theHorse.com posted an article late in 2019 on small, boutique horse breeders. I'm not sure what they considered to be "small," but I'm guessing most sport horse breeders probably fit into that category.

One of the two breeders featured is Tricia Veley of First Flight Farm in Boerne, Texas, a breeder of dressage and hunter/jumper prospects. Breeding ten to twelve mares a year, First Flight Farm is probably a little larger than the median for sport horse breeders.

This is a sympathetic look at what the life of a small breeder is like, with practical issues addressed by the featured breeders.

Check out the article from theHorse.com

Friday, July 31, 2020

Foundation Sire: Lord Calando

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!

170 cm
Dark Bay
Breeder: Erhard Krampitz

The career of this stallion is truly one of the signs of the times. Born and raised in Holstein, Germany, he finished his stud career in France – previously the most chauvinistic of countries when it came to horse breeding. Lord Calando’s sire needs little introduction – but his dam is something rather special: Perra is also the dam of Carthago, another of the great jumping competitors and sires. Her sire, Calando, was himself an international showjumper, …; he was also a good sire of jumpers with progeny with earnings of DM500,000 by 1994, and 180 state premium mares. After standing at the famous private stud farm of Maas J. Hell, Lord Calando made his move to France, to the French National Stud. In 2006, he was 47th on the list of the top 100 French stallions with 73 mares. … Lord Calando is described on the Stud website as: “a handsome and athletic horse, with very good shoulders and haunches.” … Indeed Lord Calando is rich in Thoroughbred blood. Aside from his paternal grand-sire, Ladykiller, there are three crosses of Cottage Son, one of Rantzau, one of Furioso and one of Marlon. Lord Calando hit the jackpot when he was “trial” bred while awaiting his performance test, and produced his most famous son, Lux Z. He is also the sire of Fabienne, … Locando, … Goldkueste, … and also sired Joplanda, the dam of Numero Uno.

There's more to this article about Lord Calando on the Horse Magazine website! Click here.

Meet some of the stallion descendants of Lord Calando on WarmbloodStallionsNA.com. Click here:

La Marque

Sunday, July 26, 2020

theHorse.com: Do Recipient Mares Pass Traits to Foals?

theHorse.com specializes in finding research of interest to horse breeders (and non-breeders) and presenting it very well.

In a recent article, "One researcher describes what we know about the receiving mare’s effect on the foal in embryo transfer scenarios."

The question asked referred specifically to a situation where a non-warmblood mare was the recipient of an embryo from a warmblood mare, and whether the recipient would influence the foal, and how. There is a lot of discussion about this in the breeding community. Read the article to find out what we really know.

On theHorse.com: "Do Recipient Mares Pass Traits to Foals?"

Photo: A pregnant mare. Etching by J. E. Ridinger. From Wellcome Trust, UK, via Wikipedia Commons.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

theHorse.com: Social Media Plays Matchmaker for Mares and Orphan Foals

With all the division and nastiness on social media, it's good to think about the ways in which our online connections sometimes rise above, bringing people together for good.

From an article on theHorse.com:

"Every year horse owners across the United States and Canada whose mares have lost foals or whose foals have been orphaned turn to Facebook to connect with one another."

Read the heartwarming article here:

Social Media Plays Matchmaker for Mares and Orphan Foals

Photo credit: Jenny Dybedahl / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Meet Sea King, 2020 Colt by Sea Lion

Thoroughbred stallion Sea Lion has offspring in five countries on three continents.

Meet Sea King, a 2020 colt by Sea Lion xx bred in Germany.

Sea King was born on April 28, out of a top dam line (Acord II/Werther). He is currently being offered for sale by his breeder.

Sea Lion's owner, Pam Fisher, is thrilled with this colt, who shows plenty of bone and great balance and uphill movement in all three gaits.

Video of Sea King by Sea Lion xx

Sea Lion is a versatile Thoroughbred stallion approved by most major warmblood registries. Sea Lion has won numerous championships and competed at the highest levels of eventing, including at the Rolex 4* (now 5*), and retired sound to compete in Hunters and Jumpers. His offspring are registered in several different registries, and in five countries.

  • An impressive and versatile stallion with successful eventing career plus a "retirement" show record in hunters. 
  • Offspring in five countries.
  • Oldest offspring starting to compete.
  • Available fresh and frozen.
  • Excellent motility.
  • 90% conception rate on first breeding.
  • Live Foal Guarantee.

For information about Sea Lion, please click here.

To inquire about breeding to Sea Lion, click to contact his owner.

Monday, July 20, 2020

theHorse.com: Wean at Six Months or Wait?

As we head towards fall, and plan to wean foals, it's interesting to look at the trend toward more natural weaning. Not everyone can do it, of course, but I'm glad that science is taking a look at the results of different weaning methods. 

A recent article on theHorse.com takes a look at a French study, which finds that "allowing foals and their dams to wean at their own pace could be a more welfare-friendly breeding strategy than traditional methods." 

“It might seem impractical to some breeders to allow foals to naturally wean from their mothers, but the potential benefits could be worth considering,” said Séverine Henry, PhD, lecturer of animal behavior at the University of Rennes, in France. If you are interested in the humane aspects of raising horses, and you have the resources, it's worth a read.

Read the full article here.

* * *

In a similar illustration of our shifting focus more and more toward animal welfare and humane treatment, theHorse.com also addresses the question of handling foals in the breeding shed. This doesn't come up in warmblood breeding as often as other breeds, but it's still interesting.

Read "Minimizing Foal Stress Levels in the Breeding Shed".

Friday, July 17, 2020

Foundation Friday: Furioso xx

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!

166 cm

In 1946, a National Stud Commission was formed in France to buy foreign stallions to increase the French gene pool. … They were shown Furioso. Admittedly his career did not greatly impress; he was now seven, and had raced 21 times and only came close to winning three times. Still “his dignity, harmonious length and general conformation were enough to seduce. Mr O’Neill, who had never ridden such a well-balanced horse, forgave him his slightly knock kneed forelegs, his somewhat tight hock and his long-legged conformation. He was purchased for 800 pounds from Mr Blunt.” … Still Furioso was exceedingly well bred. His sire Precipitation had a fine career winning seven races ranging from the 4000 metre Ascot Gold Cup to the King Edward Stakes of 2400 metres. As a stallion he was a success, eleven times amongst the 20 best sires of winners in England, and once in France. He was seven times in the top 20 sires of mares in England. Furioso’s dam, Maureen was by Son in Law, another good racehorse, and a very good sire…. Arriving in France, Furioso stood at Adrien Besnoin’s farm in Urou, near Argentan. … In 1952, his first foals were five years old, and suddenly he was in great demand – from 1954 until his death in 1967, lots were drawn for his services. …. By 1954, Furioso was topping the list of sires of winners in France thanks to jumpers like Virtuoso and Dolly II. … He was a prolific sire of Olympic horses, including the gold medallist at Tokyo, Lutteur B, and Pomone B, who carried d’Oriola to victory at the World Championship in Buenos Airies in 1956, when she was only seven years old. … As a sire of sires, Furioso was perhaps not so successful, [although] certainly his son Mexico, out the exceptional mare Dame de Ranville, was regarded as a gem…. Perhaps Furioso’s crucial influence has been as a mare sire: Ma Pomme, the full sister to Pomone B, produced a string of national and international jumpers, and importantly, when bred to the Ibrahim son, Quastor, the stallion Fair Play III, the sire of Narcos II. Furioso’s daughter, Tanagra (out of Délicieuse by Jus de Pomme) produced an extraordinary number of competitors, stallions and broodmares, the most important of which was Jalisco B. Artichaut, the dam sire of Nabab de Rêve, is out of a Furioso mare, as is Qredo de Paulstra who founded something of a dressage dynasty in Oldenburg through his son, Quattro B, the grand sire of the popular Quarterback. The blood of Furioso has had a new lease of life recently through the success of his great grandson, Kannan, a Dutch import…

There's much more to this article about Furioso on the Horse Magazine website! Click here.

Meet some of the stallion descendants of Furioso on WarmbloodStallionsNA.com. Click here:

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Contucci (1993-2020)

Photo: Alix Coleman

Hilltop Farm sadly shares the news of Contucci’s passing last Friday. The great stallion lived a wonderful 27 years, with twenty-two of them here at Hilltop Farm. Contucci (Caprimond-Lungau) was bred in Germany by Klaus Storbeck and won the dressage portion of his 100-Day Test with an impressive 147.11 points. He was purchased by Jane MacElree in 1998 and has been a cornerstone of the Hilltop Farm Stallion Roster ever since. Contucci’s impact on North American breeding has been significant. His accolades include having earned the titles USEF Dressage Breeding Sire of the Year and USEF Dressage Sire of the Year, and he has been consistently ranked in the Top 10 of the USEF Sire Rankings for the past five years. Contucci proved time and again his ability to sire winning offspring. From in-hand at inspections and breed shows and up through the Grand Prix level, Contucci offspring have been champions. He has sired licensed stallions and many Premium/Elite mares and his influence on US dressage breeding will be felt for generations to come.        
Contucci’s character endeared him to everyone who had the pleasure of working with him over his many years here at Hilltop.  As we spent our last hours with him, there were a lot of tears but also a lot of smiles over the many Contucci stories we all had.  Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this special stallion’s life over the years. He was truly a great one! 

Please click here to learn more about Contucci.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

World Breeding News July Posted

by Anna Goebel

Another interesting issue of World Breeding News has been posted, presenting sport horse breeding on the world stage. Andrés van Daalen (page 7) reports that, world-wide, unlike during the financial crisis, breeding has not been down because of the pandemic. In his article, he also speaks as an advocate of much more cooperation between registries, something I've wanted to see for years.

This issue features individual horses (Opaline des Pins, Vivaldi, etc.) who are making names for themselves, and also breeders who have already done that (Harm Thormählen, Franca Zanetti). There are also reports on foal auctions, breeders in Brazil, Oldenburg summer festival, individual stallions, and more.

There is an interesting article by Hillevi Brasch about the Swedish digital foal inspections happening in 2020 due to Covid-19. They are using a video app called Ridesum developed in Sweden, which has great possibilities.

Also of special interest to North American readers: an article on Ontario's breeding presence. The seven CWHBA approved stallions are described, and I'm proud to say that three of the seven are featured on WarmbloodStallionsNA.com:

Beau Balou


Diamo Blue

Also especially interesting to Americans is the article on the Irish Army horses. The Army Equitation School was established in 1926, and its mission is "to promote the Irish horse, support Irish breeders, and to advertise the Irish-bred sport horse through participation in international events in both eventing and showjumping at the highest level." What would American breeding be like today if there had been that kind of support, say half a century ago? How could we build that now?

One feature is Part II of "Warmblood Breeding" - a three-part series by Celia Clarke on its history. Part I covered the history up to World War II, and this part continues to the present day. Part III will look into the future of warmblood breeding in a post-Covid world.

Finally, Dr. Karen Wolfsdorf, DVM has written an article on what causes a mare to lose her pregnancy.

Much worth reading! Check out the issue here.

Subscribe to WBNSH

Beau Balou


Diamo Blue

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

North American Stallion Sport Test 2020 Canceled

The North American Stallion Sport Test for 2020 has been canceled. Below is the official announcement as posted on their Facebook page.

"The organizing committee for the 2020 North American Stallion Sport Test (NASST) regrettably shares their decision to cancel the 2020 tests that were scheduled for October 26-28 in Colora, Maryland and October 30-Nov 1 in Solvang, California. These events draw in participants, spectators, and officials from three countries and many states. With the covid-19 pandemic still affecting us so heavily, we must keep the health and safety of everyone as our top priority and do not feel it would be prudent to run the tests this year.

"Each registry will be communicating with its 4 to 6-year old licensed stallions to discuss how they will handle breeding license extensions given this unique situation. For 2021, NASST will also add a testing division for 7-year old stallions to accommodate those stallions that were scheduled to attend this year as 6-year olds. Each registry also offers alternate approval routes through traditional sport.

"Updates regarding 2021 dates and locations will be published later this fall on the NASST website. We are all committed to the long-term development of North American-based stallions and will look ahead to seeing you all in 2021."

Warmblood Stallions of North America has been proud to be a media partner of the testing, and will miss attending on one or the other coast. We look forward to the NASST resuming in 2021!

Anna Goebel representing Warmblood Stallions of North America at the West Coast NASST 2019. Looking forward to 2021!
Patty Wilding photo

Friday, July 3, 2020

Foundation Friday: Lacapo

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!

Photo: Gerd Küst

168 cm
Breeder: Harm Thormählen

I guess when Harm Thormählen bred Lacapo, he didn’t have the future of Dutch dressage breeding on his mind, but the stallion was to play a key role anyway… Harm Thormählen admits he didn’t have dressage in mind when he planned the mating: “I would not have thought that Lacapo would become important for the Dutch dressage because of Flemmingh, but his mother, Larsa [by Capitano], had really good basic gaits and a lot of elasticity. So the movement was there. With Flemmingh this movement was doubled because his damsire, Carneval (by Cor de la Bryère,) who is bred by my now 91 year old neighbor Michel Magens, had a lot of movement as well and his mother moved also very well.” Lacapo’s sire, Landgraf, produced life 20 advanced level dressage horses in his lifetime but he was much more successful in producing jumpers. … Licensed in Holstein in 1982, Lacapo is warmly praised for his movement in the Stallion Book of the Holsteiner Breed, by Dr Dietrich Rossow: “Medium sized stallion with good expression and beautiful neck carriage. The shoulder could be more sloping. Small dip in the back. Short hip. Adequate bone with faults in the hocks and pasterns behind. Very good mover. Good jumper despite some difficulties with use of the back. Produce: Offspring of medium frame with beautiful faces and lots of appeal. Very good movers.” Lacapo stood at Siethwende in 1983, Sollwittfeld 1984-85, Marne 1986, Bredenbekshorst 1987-1990, Wahlstedt 1991, 1992-1998 Salzwedel, 1999-2007 Kollmar-Langenhals. After 2007 he … still covered some mares [for Harm Thormählen]. Harm says: “Sometimes I let him cover a mare, even in his last year that he was alive he covered a mare. He was a very strong and healthy stallion and reached the exceptional age of 33. He had a very honest and strong character. He was also very friendly; he was a real pleasure to have around.” He produced for Germany 146 broodmares and 9 approved stallions …. In The Netherlands Lacapo was to found a dressage dynasty through his son Flemmingh and his grandson Krack C. …. …

There's much more to this article about Lacapo on the Horse Magazine website! Click here.

Meet some of the stallion descendants of Lacapo on WarmbloodStallionsNA.com. Click here:

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Featuring Quidam Blue, International Grand Prix Jumper, Approved Hanoverian Stallion

Featuring Quidam Blue! 
Quidam's Rubin/Come On/Pilot
Photo Credit: Cansport

“Quidam Blue is a gem to have in the stable - a beautiful athlete that loves his work and his people.”

He is also an international Grand Prix jumper, licensed and approved by the German Hanoverian Verband.

Fresh and frozen semen available.

Quidam Blue started his show career winning the Five-Year-Old Western Canadian Young Horse Championship. As a young head-turner he collected ribbons at venues like Spruce Meadows under his amateur rider Beke Brinkmann, and played his way into the 1.30 m division. In 2014 he quickly entered the 1.50m level with Olympic Silver medalist Jill Henselwood. Together their highlights include Top 3 finishes as part of the Canadian Team at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup in Bratislava, in the Wild Card Smart Pack Grand Prix at Saugerties New York, winning the SynOil Energy Services CSI** Cup at the Royal West in Calgary; he added numerous placings in the 1.60 m level in the following years.

The oldest offspring of Quidam Blue have
won in eventing and hunters/jumpers.
Photo Credit: Ali Holmes -Smith
Quidam Blue became available for breeding after serious injury shortened his jumping career. During his own training he has always impressed his dressage and jumper coaches alike; he has become known to pass on his natural ability for collection, his clean gaits and a superb canter – with his offspring suiting both amateurs and professionals. So far his eldest offspring have won in the hunter/jumper and 3-day eventing and are in demand throughout North America.

All in 2019, Quidam Blue was the sire of the Champion Hanoverian Jumper foal (Canada), the high scoring filly of the Belgian Warmblood  Association (North America) and the third place jumper foal of all KWPN inspections in North America – no coincidence, as Quidam Blue's pedigree is filled with famous French, Holsteiner and Westfalen jumping bloodlines, including the names of Quidam de Revel, Landgraf I, Come On, Cantus, Pilot and Weinberg.

For more details, photos and videos of Quidam Blue, and photos of some of his offspring, please click here.

To contact Equitop Farm about breeding your mare to Quidam Blue, click here.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Foundation Friday: Florestan

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!

170 cm

It was lucky for the future of Westfalien breeding that Florestan’s breeders, Grit and Eberhard Schulte-Böcker, are traditionalists - the sort of breeders who prefer the honour of having a stallion in the State Stud, rather than a pile of Yankee dollars. They were offered big money for the young stallion, but preferred to see him go to Warendorf. Florestan’s sire Fidelio was for many years a popular sire in the Rhineland, where he spread the rich genetic heritage of his Selle Français sire, Furioso II. …. Florestan’s dam, Raute was a successful show mare, and at the age of three was champion mare of her age group. …. Florestan I was champion of the 1988 Rhineland approval and won his performance test in Warendorf the following year. Initially Florestan was despatched to Bad Sassendorf, where he covered his mares live, and therefore didn’t produce many foals in his first few seasons. Florestan had critics who suggested that he was “just a pretty face,” but his first crops of foals won them over – and in 1996, he was transferred to the Central Insemination Station at Warendorf, where he was based for the rest of his life.
Florestan I has sired almost a thousand registered broodmares, 190 of whom have been awarded a States Premium.
He is also the sire of over 80 approved sons, including Fidermark, a four-year-old champion at the Bundeschampionate and a Grand Prix performer, now sadly deceased. The mare Ferrara won the five-year-old class at the Bundeschampionate and went on to compete at Prix St Georges level with Isabell Werth. At the 2002 Bundeschampionate, Florestan had five representatives including the 4-year-old stallion winner French Kiss.
Here is what the head of the State Stud at Warendorf, Susanne Schmitt-Rimkus, has to say about Florestan, the stallion she affectionately calls “our milk cow,” in an interview I conducted in 2002: “What makes a sire special is that he makes more good foals than bad ones – and that he improves on the mare, and Florestan has a very large percentage of good foals. Of course he has some which are not, but he is a ‘stamp’ stallion, he stamps his foals. Nearly all of them have the type of their sire; you can recognize them. Here comes a foal – ‘oh a Florestan!’ This is something that makes it easier for a sire.” … Florestan is the sire of 21 licensed sons, the best of whom have been Fidermark, Florencio and Fürst Heinrich.

There's much more to this article about Florestan on the Horse Magazine website! Click here.

Meet some of the stallion descendants of Florestan on WarmbloodStallionsNA.com. Click here:

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Sea Lion: 90% Pregnancy Rate With First Breeding

Sea Lion could be the perfect choice for your mare!

  • An impressive and versatile stallion with successful eventing career plus a "retirement" show record in hunters. 
  • Offspring in five countries.
  • Oldest offspring starting to compete.
  • Available fresh and frozen.
  • Excellent motility.
  • 90% conception rate on first breeding.
  • Live Foal Guarantee.

Sea Lion is a versatile Thoroughbred stallion approved by most major warmblood registries. He competed at the highest levels of eventing, including at the Rolex 4* (now 5*), and retired sound to compete in Hunters and Jumpers. See below for breeding testimonials.

Below we are featuring a handful of Sea Lion's offspring, registered in several different registries. His oldest are six and are beginning to compete, and we'll be featuring more of them in the coming months.

Sea Lioness

Sea Lioness today. Mare by Sea Lion, born 2016. She is out of Princess Kabbalah, an Oldenburg mare by Kairo.
Sea Lioness, by Sea Lion, starting her eventing career at the Future Event Horse competition in 2018, where she qualified for Nationals (but owner was unable to take her). 

Felix Feliseas

Felix Feliseas, 2019 colt by Sea Lion. He may have inherited some of his dad's jumping talent! He is out of a Selle Luxembourgeois mare by Beaulieu's Conquest.
Photo: Lorraine Treacy

TGS Lion's Sunshine

TGS Lion's Sunshine, 2019 filly by Sea Lion. She will be registered in the Sport Horse Ireland Studbook when she’s three. Owner says, “She’s a keeper!”

Sea Wolf

Sea Wolf is a Hanoverian colt born in 2017, bred by Meredith C Michelfelder (USA). He is out of Fuerst Flight R, by Fuerst Gotthard.


Stowaway, 2016 filly by Sea Lion. She is 7/8 Thoroughbred and 1/8 Island Pony. She is out of Folie A Nevis, by Sea of Secrets.

Stowaway at 2 years old.


Sea Lion has excellent quality semen, and has been very successful at getting mares pregnant. Here is the report from the Alamo Pintado Equine clinic, one of the clinics where he is collected:

"We handle all the collections, processing, freezing, and shipping for Pam Fisher's stallion Sea Lion. The semen at collection looks amazing. I would say easily 90/85%. I can say with assurance that I have never received any complaints regarding the quality of his semen.  He is an extremely fertile stallion."


"Sea Lion’s semen at 24 hrs still looking amazing. At least 70% PM."

The comments from breeders have also been positive. "At [my mare]'s two week check ... she was pregnant so hopefully everything is coming along well! [My vet] said the quality of the semen was excellent. I'm very excited!"

To learn more about Sea Lion, click here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Spots With Talent! Introducing Pax Asgard af Pegasus

Looking for spots with talent?
Phoenix Fantasy MHF, by Pax Asgard af Pegasus

We'd like to introduce you to Pax Asgard af Pegasus, a Knabstrupper stallion 100% genetically guaranteed to produce a Leopard when bred to a solid mare.

Pax is a young, up-and-coming licensed Knabstrupper who fits the warmblood type perfectly. He is nearly 16.3, and well-balanced in his frame, with long legs, and short back and croup. He has a long, sloping shoulder and fantastic movement. He has lots of bone, with well-defined and correct angles. Pax’s movement is light and forward with elasticity and beautiful tracking of his hind legs under him.

Last year, at three, he was started lightly under saddle, and is incredibly cooperative and intelligent. Says his owner Renee Dubyk, “He's young, but he's showing tremendous under-saddle potential and is very eager to please and willing. We look forward to putting him to work both in dressage and jumping, given his physical ability to go in either direction. Pax is a true athlete, performance horse and willing partner, and we are confident he will pass those traits on to his future offspring!”

Pax’s pedigree reads like a who’s who of influential KNN lines. His sire, Pegasus Vom Niehaus-Hof, was bred by Dr. Ute Braun-Munzinger of Germany. Pegasus received his breeding license with the ZfDP in March 2004 and was awarded the Verband’s Premium Hengst title.

Pax was licensed by the Danish inspectors Knabstrupperforeningen for Danmark (KNN) during the 2019 inspection season, and earned 1st Premium at his inspection.

The approved outcross list for KNN registration is extensive – most warmblood breeds, Thoroughbred, and Arabian mares are recognized for registered outcrossing.

“We are proud to offer him to a select number of mares for his first year at stud.” He is available fresh and frozen. First-year, introductory stud fees: $600 fresh, frozen from $300 to $800.

For full details about Pax - genetics, bloodlines, stud fees and more - click here.

To contact the owner of Pax Asgard af Pegasus, click here.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

eurodressage: Maifleur, Dam of Valegro, Passes Away

Valegro, out of Maifleur.

Maifleur, the 26-year-old dam of Olympic champion Valegro has passed away, as reported by eurodressage.com. The mare was owned by her breeders, Joop and Maartje Hanse of The Netherlands. They started breeding in 1978, and Maifleur was the great-granddaughter of their first mare. Valegro was the second of her six foals.

For more, please visit eurodressage.com

Photo: Florence.Skowron / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)