Friday, August 28, 2020

Foundation Sire: Landadel

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!

16.3 hh
Breeder: Ilse Hell

Sadly for the Stallion Commissions, no one remembers it when they got it right, but everyone remembers when they get it wrong—and the Holstein Commission got it seriously wrong when they rejected the Landgraf son, Landadel. Thomas Mohr, the director of the Maas J. Hell Stud where the stallion was born, told me the story in an interview in 2007: “Landadel was not accepted for the stallion licensing at Neumünster by the Holsteiner Commission, they said he was too light – a good sport horse not a stallion!” “So then he was leased to Böckmanns, and they bred with him for about ten years before he died, and every year he was in the top three for jumping sires, but he also bred dressage horses. Most of the foals went to S class. …” Despite the Licensing Commission’s assessment, Landadel went on to be champion of his 100-day test at Medingen in 1985. Landadel is one of those rarest of creatures – a stallion who sires top dressage as well as jumping progeny. … Landadel is regarded as one of the most important sons of Landgraf – and carries a double cross of the great Ladykiller, and bears out the theory that Landgraf worked best with mares with a high proportion of Thoroughbred blood. … Landadel’s stallion sons include Le Cou Cou, Landfriese I, Landstern, Landjonker, Landclassic, Landkoenig and Landor S. Landadel is the sire of four Oldenburg Stallion licensing champions: Lord Kemm, Lagoheidor, Landkaiser and Laudatio. …

There's more to this article about Landadel on the Horse Magazine website! Click here.
Meet the stallion descendant of Landadel on Click here:

Thursday, August 20, 2020

New Stallion Story - Mannhattan!

We have a new Stallion Story! With Stallion Stories you get to meet each stallion "at home" - behind the scenes. In our new Story, meet Mannhattan, a 29-year-old Oldenburg stallion owned by Kathy St. Martin and Jos Mottershead of Avalon Equine. 

Mannhattan at age 23
Mannhattan at age 23. He is now 29 and has foals coming in 2021!

What is it about stallions? There are many extra special horses that we have truly loved - but it seems like a stallion can inspire even more attachment. And when a special stallion has been with you for decades, the connection is deep. Kathy St. Martin of Avalon Equine has the stallion Mannhattan, who has been with her for 29 years.

Kathy first met Mannhattan when he stepped off the trailer at 5 months old. Click here to read more of the Story about Mannhattan.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Dressage at Devon Virtual Breyer Horse Show to Include Breed Classes

 The Dressage at Devon committee has just announced its virtual horse show for kids - with Breyer horses. The full Devon show is represented, including several Breed Show classes. Dressage at Devon 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic.

Make sure your rider's attire and horse's tack are ready as Dressage at Devon holds its first Breyer Horse Show - virtually! The show is open to children only but the entries will be judged by age group (Kids 5-7; Junior 8-13; Senior 14-18). And speaking of judging, the show will be judged by pros Anne Moss (PA) and Karen Monks-Reilly (PA).


The official and complete prize list can be found at addition to the rules for the classes, and entry forms. Or click on the competitor's tab and go to Prize Lists. Email your photos to



There is something for everyone and every Breyer horse!





Mare and Foal

Breeding Group




Young Horse Materiale/Suitability

Prix Caprilli Class

Dressage (low level)

Dressage (upper level)

Western Dressage

Costume Class

Exhibition Class


All entry forms must be completed to be accepted and must include the child's name, age, date of birth, valid email address and the signature of the parent. Opening date for entries is August 14, 2020. Completed entry forms must be submitted by email no later than midnight on September 21 and all photos must be received by September 22.



So get your cameras ready!


And please don't forget to visit our website for further detail.


See you online!


Save the date for the 2021 Dressage at Devon Show - September 28-October 3, 2021

About Dressage at Devon

Dressage at Devon ( has been a premier North American Equestrian event since its founding in 1975.  It combines world-class dressage competition and the world’s largest open breed show with the international Fall Festival show and special activities for the entire family.  The six-day event attracts hundreds of riders from around the world and thousands of spectators.  Dressage at Devon is a 501(c) (3) PA non-profit organization, benefitting equine education. 

KER: Niacin Supplementation for Broodmares

Kentucky Equine Research posted a new article in July addressing new research into niacin supplements for broodmares. Other research has shown a connection between niacin deficiency and fetal development in humans and mice. This new evidence looks specifically at whether niacin plays a role in broodmares keeping successful pregnancies.

"Because mares suffer from high rates of early embryonic loss, the objective of this preliminary study was to examine the absorption and metabolism of niacin in mares to determine its potential use to support early embryonic health and to improve pregnancy outcomes."

For the results of this preliminary study, click here.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Foundation Sire: Le Mexico

 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: A. Lefèvre

Furioso II’s full brother Mexico stayed in France but he shaped the emerging Warmblood breed in The Netherlands through his son, Le Mexico. Mexico served in the French National Stud…. Bred by that connoisseur, the late Alfred Lefèvre of Falaise, Le Mexico became the real successor of his male lineage. As a resident of Holland, he produced the approved stallions: Silvano, Ulft, Zelhem, Zonneglans, Astronaut and Expert. But it took time for the French import to establish himself. The Dutch licensing commission was not overly impressed with Le Mexico’s first crop of two year olds… “They will become broodmares with substance and strength, deep chests and curved ribs. Probably they will be important in our breeding, in spite of the fact that they are missing the so-called ‘golden touch’.” … Le Mexico needed some more time before his real heritage came through. By 1996, after his thirteenth season at stud, he was upgraded by the KWPN executive committee as a “keurhengst,” … a rare title. Le Mexico sustained tremendous colic in the early spring of 1987, and died only a few months after his upgrading. … In the 1983 volume of the Dutch Horse Yearbook – the first annual publication of performances of all registered sport horses in the Netherlands – we find a long list of Le Mexico’s youngstock, both in dressage and jumping. While his eldest offspring were only nine years old by then, there were already ten Grade A jumping horses in the yearbook …. In the year of his death, the first edition of the breeding values was printed and Le Mexico ranked with 146 points in the jumping section alongside such famous performance sires as Nimmerdor, Abgar xx, Exkurs xx, Lucky Boy xx, Farn and Notaris. He was a versatile sire too, for in the ranking of dressage sires, he came in 21st place amongst some 200 stallions…

There's more to this article about Le Mexico on the Horse Magazine website! Click here.
Meet some of the stallion descendants of Le Mexico on Click here:

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Love Letters to Amazing

by Ahna Phelps, owner of the 2005 Westfalen-approved Dutch stallion Amazing
by Balou du Rouet/Voltaire

Amazing, Westfalen-approved Dutch stallion, love letter inspiration.

I think we can all agree with the meme circulating these days suggesting 2020 should possibly have been lunged first! If you had told me earlier this year that the world would basically stop spinning, I would have said you MUST be talking about the latest Hollywood blockbuster. I mean, they can’t actually close the world, can they?? Actually, yes, they can. So after a cancelled birthday trip to England with family and 8 weeks of quarantine (I mean, I had always wanted to be a stay at home dog mom, but seriously!!) I was positively desperate for something to add a little joy to the monotonous days. 

As I had taken to passing the days with one of my favorite activities—reading—I thought “who doesn’t love a good, sappy romance?” And that’s how the Love Letters to Amazing contest was born. I posted the idea on Amazing’s Facebook page: 


‏Amazing and I want to hear from you! With all this sadness and anxiety happening in the world, we thought it would be nice to share a little love...and bring back a dying art form: The Love Letter!

‏So channel your best Nicholas Sparks, and collaborate with your beautiful mares. Ask her to help you write the most sappy, clichéd love letter to Amazing, and the winner (chosen by the Big Man himself, of course!) will receive a discounted breeding to use any ti

me in the next three years. Plus we will post your letter with pictures of the lucky lady!

‏I was blown away by the responses!! Amazing received over 20 letters, and it was So. Much. Fun. reading them to him! It truly was the highlight of my day for several weeks, and I started posting excerpts from some of the letters each day on Amazing’s Facebook page. These included such attention getters as:

‏Dearest Amazing,

‏They say love at first sight doesn't exist, but I know better. I know it all started the day I first saw you.

and this gem from Daffodil: 

I think with your rugged, handsome, chiseled, powerful good looks and my full bodied, curvy, classic, strong look we could make a beautifully elegant, charismatic filly or colt.

‏At the end of the contest, Amazing had so many wonderful letters we had a hard time choosing. He insisted he be allowed to write to all of them to express his gratitude. He said,

My Dearest Fine Fillies,

‏My heart has been touched by all your declarations of love. I confess that some have made me whinny with laughter, and some have brought a tear to my eye as they were read to me. I was so moved by them all, and entranced by the amazing word pictures you painted. It was difficult to choose just one beautiful love letter from among the many, and though there is one that has captured my heart, yet still there is room for a meaningful relationship with each of you. True love cannot be denied or limited, and I can find space in my heart to accommodate you all. I look forward to hearing the sounds of tiny hoof beats in the near future,

‏All my love,


‏We had such a hard time selecting one winner, that we had no choice but to award prizes in several categories, as well as offering each mare that submitted an entry a discount on a “big date” with him. 

‏The grand prize and a half price breeding was awarded to Duchess for her heartfelt letter and accompanying video portrayal. She writes:

To my beloved Amazing,

As I wander through my verdant pasture, my mind can’t help but dream of the day when we will finally meet face to face. It is with hopeful anticipation that I await the moment where our eyes will meet, our whiskers will brush, and we will begin our journey together side by side. Even as I write this letter, others try to steal my attention, but my heart has always belonged to you and you alone. Though some mares are drawn to stallions whose flashy, tempestuous personas make them hard to ignore, it has always been your kind, gentle spirit that has tugged at my heart strings. And though it may be presumptuous of me to say, I sincerely hope that our child will one day possess the same humble characteristics as his or her father. My soul yearns to be united with yours, as our love defies all trials and distance, and I am confident that one day that love will make our union come to fruition. 

Until then, my heart is yours.

With love,


Duchess is quite the actress as well, and wanted to be sure to catch Amazing’s attention with this additional video: 


[If you do not see the video, please click here to view on YouTube.]

Well done, Duchess! 

Prizes were also awarded in the categories of Most Creative, Most Captivating, and this winner of Best Harlequin Romance (aka Most Blushworthy!):

My dearest Amazing,

‏Whilst we have never met, I feel a longing deep within me that we are destined to find each other. I have gazed upon your portrait so many times that I can recall every detail of your handsome face. Last night I dreamt of you again—as I have so many times before. You appeared to me, floating across a field of spring wildflowers—so lightly, as if on a cloud—that your hooves never seemed to touch the ground. Your strong, supple muscles rippling under your glossy bay coat; your tall stockings sparkling in the sunlight. One mustn't miss the broad blaze which embellishes your visage and draws attention to your large, kind, brown eyes—your soft, intelligent expression is what drew me most to you. I hope that I do not come across as so forward to make you shy away. I am strong minded, like my mother, and have a tendency to let my thoughts be known. My lady calls it "red mare syndrome"—whatever that may mean. I pray in earnest that we may meet and become acquainted with one another, should both our ladies agree, of course.  Until then, I shall covet the images of your likeness and look forward to the day when my dream may be answered.

‏Devotedly yours,

‏Anne Bolyn

‏At one point after overhearing some of the letters sent in, my father shook his head in bewilderment and proclaimed that all horse women were crazy. He may be right, but I for one, am grateful to all of these “crazy” mares who took the time to express their feelings for Amazing. It added some much needed joy to the doldrums of quarantine, and brought some light, laughter, and romance into our lives. After all, isn’t that what Love Letters are for? I daresay Nicholas Sparks himself would have been proud! 

* * *

warmblood stallion Amazing
To learn more about Amazing, click here.

Click here for our 2020 Report on Offspring by Amazing.

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 or as a downloadable PDF at 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 Past issues can be found at

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 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 Small-Scale Success: Responsible Boutique Horse Breeders 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