Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The New Avalon Equine Ad for 2018 is Here!

Are you among the followers of Avalon Equine who can't wait to see what they're up to next? Wait no longer - the new Avalon Equine ad has been released and it doesn't disappoint!

Avalon Equine has made a name for themselves in the world of breeding, primarily through their rock-solid commitment to honest dealings and quality horses. Their stallion lineup is impressive. For 2018 it includes not only their own range of excellent stallions, but several outside stallions as well, including the stallions of Silver Creek Farms.

In recent years, however, they've also become recognized for their creative farm ads. Innovative, dramatic, and often a bit risqué, the ads reflect the owners' unusual style. Kathy St. Martin and Jos Mottershead seem determined to meet the challenges of the horse business with a sense of humor and a dash of daring.


Please feel free to leave a comment in the section below. :-)

Click the links below to learn more about each of the Avalon stallions on

Belafonte d'Avalon
Colorado Skrødstrup
Dracula d'Avalon
Hertog Jan v.d. Paddensteeg
Silver Creek's Validation
Smoke Tree's Poetry In Motion
ES Toronto

To find out about the Avalon Breeding Specials for Thanksgiving, click here! (starting on Thanksgiving Day)

One of the wonderful things Kathy St. Martin and Jos Mottershead have done over the years is found the LegUp Equestrian Aid Foundation, to help horse people in need. To learn more, go to

WBFSH Stallion Rankings for 2017 Released

The World Breeders Federation for Sport Horses published their list of top breeding stallions for 2017. In dressage, De Niro (who died just last month) was the top-ranked sire, with Sandro Hit second (up from 3rd in 2016). Chacco Blue was first for jumpers, a big leap from 8th in 2016, while Diamant de Semilly went from 1st to second. Contendro was top sire among eventers, with Jaguar Mail moving up from 4th to 2nd.

I invite you to use the new Search feature on to see which North American stallions have any of these top stallions in their pedigrees. I started with the top two sires in dressage and show jumping and found these stallions in North America:

  • We have a wonderful son of De Niro in North America: the Elite stallion Devon Heir.
  • Sternlicht is an exemplary grandson of Sandro Hit.
  • For a show jumping son of Diamant de Semilly, check out Daxibus Normandy.
  • Cornet Obolensky's is well-represented by grandson Coronet d'Honneur.

Please post in the comments below any other stallions you find on by these top sires!

Click here to search on

Click here to see the top ten results, and you can also download a PDF with the full results from that page.

For the eurodressage story on the passing of De Niro, click here.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

From Tish Quirk: Just The Best Retires, Legacy Continues

Just Remember, by Just The Best
Just Remember, as a promising foal.
News from Tish Quirk:

Just Remember, sired by Just The Best, had a very successful year in 2017. She was Best Young Horse at nearly every show she attended. With light showing she earned the Pacific Horseshows Association Hunter Breeding Horse of the Year title. She completed her year by winning the most prestigious Hunter Breeding title offered: Best Young Horse (west coast) at the Sallie B. Wheeler National Championship, where she was also named Top Dutch Horse.

Just Remember is bred and owned by Tish. She carries the genes of her famous grand sire, Best of Luck and his legendary sire Lucky Boy xx. Her dam, Carina, is the full sister of Hunter superstar, Rumba, who ruled the Hunter Derby world including his victory in the inaugural $100,000 Hunter Derby Finals.

Just The Best continues his reign as
king of his world as his heirs
continue the breeding duties.
A note of poignancy was added to the success, as Tish Quirk announced this year that she would be retiring Just The Best, her well-known son of Best of Luck by Lucky Boy. Just The Best has spent close to three decades passing on his impressive heritage. As Tish posted on her Facebook page, “Just The Best is happy and healthy and fully enjoying his life. As he approaches age 27, I have decided that it is time for him to retire from the breeding program. He has sired so many fabulous horses that have brought success and joy to their owners and he has given me exceptional stallion sons to continue the great legacy of Lucky Boy and Best of Luck. The Just The Best son, All The Best, has his breeding licenses and will continue the legendary line along with More Than Luck and More Like It.

All The Best and More Like It have both earned multiple breeding licenses and join proven senior stallion, More Than Luck, in the currently active breeding program.

To learn more about Just The Best, click here.

To learn more about Tish’s other stallions that carry on the legacy of Best Of Luck and Lucky Boy, click on these links:

All The Best, by Just The Best.
More Than Luck, by Best Of Luck.
More Like It, by More Than Luck.

To visit Tish Quirk’s website, go to

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Belgian Breeder André Leemans on The Horse Magazine

Chris Hector, who publishes the online magazine The Horse Magazine, has recently posted an article about André Leemans, a Belgian breeder of jumpers who has been very successful. His recent star is the young Elite stallion Iron Man. The topic was interesting, as Leemans spoke of his original foundation mare and everything he built from that.

I almost didn't get past the beginning, however: Chris Hector's first paragraph, where he says, "It annoys me when I read articles about ‘breeders’ and when I get to the end of the article, I’ve heard lots of self-promotion but I discover there is not one single product of this ‘breeder’s’ program that has done anything of real note."

If you're a breeder, how do you feel about that statement? He compares it to another statement by Bernard le Courtois (founder of the successful studfarm Brullemail), who made a distinction between stallions and un-castrated males, and adds that "perhaps the same distinction would be between breeders and the owners of horses that produce foals?" I'm a fan of Chris Hector and all his deep knowledge of bloodlines, but I am bit offended by that, since if you're putting in the work to produce the best horses you can, you're already more than an "owner of horses that produce foals." You may not have the kind of success that André Leemans has had - yet - but Leemans didn't in the beginning either. Was he just an "owner of horses that produce foals" when all he had was his first mare?

Please post comments below.

Click here to read the article:

Hanoverian Stallion Licensing: A Critical Eye

The licensing of Hanoverian 2-year-old stallions was recently held in Verden, and eurodressage posted an article yesterday that takes a critical look at the process. Thank you to author Kerstin Aronis for her willingness to address some serious issues in stallion presentation at one of the largest and most prestigious registries in the world.

More than half of the article discusses the relative merits of the top stallions, which is itself interesting reading. But in the final three sections, entitled "Lunging Horror," "Bad Santa," and "Auction Mysteries," Ms. Aronis tackles the issues of how stallions are trained and presented; how the selection process is "terribly biased, unprofessional," and lacking transparency; and several issues with the auction sale itself, from price fixing to rudeness.

I'm not in a position to know about this specific auction, but the German approval process for 2-year-old stallions has been known as an extremely political process for decades, in every registry I know of. This article indicates that if anything that has gotten worse - which, with the economic pressures that breeders and registries face in Europe today, would not be surprising. 

I'm not an expert, but it does seem to me that the Hanoverian Verband has always been driven by competitor (buyer) input. This is a good thing to a degree. If you don't stay in touch with what competitors want, you don't position yourself to provide it. If your foals don't have the qualities people want to pay for, they won't sell at the foal auctions. So the Hanoverian Verband decides what the Hanoverian horse should be, based on what buyers want. 

But what happens when the buyers want foals with flashy front-end movement, perhaps to the detriment of more fundamental qualities? What happens if buyers of 2-year-old stallions want to see a level of development that is not appropriate for a 2-year-old horse? What happens if the Verbands allow bloodlines to die out because they are not popular now? 

My personal opinion is that each Verband has a responsibility for stewardship of the horse, not just a huge marketing engine. The registries have always spoken of abstract ideals, and the mission of directing breeders toward producing the most perfect type for sport. That implies the ability to rise above the current fad or flash in the pan, to rise above decisions that are made purely for greater financial gain. To take a strong position on what the ideals should be that are best for the horse, and best for the sport in the long run.

Click here to read Kerstin Aronis' article, and I invite you to return here and post your thoughts and reactions.

If you're on Facebook and a member of the Warmblood Breeders group, be sure to visit that page as well for some interesting discussion of the article.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Embryo Transfer, Placental Alterations, and the Developing Foal

An interesting new article from Kentucky Equine Research highlights new findings about how a recipient mare can influence the foal she is carrying.

I think if you are a breeder who uses embryo transfer, you're probably pretty savvy about how it works and what you can expect. So maybe you already knew how much a recipient mare can influence the foal - but I didn't. I knew, of course, that after the foal is born, the recipient mare has some influence in teaching the foal, and perhaps the mare's place in the herd might influence how the young horse is treated. But I was surprised to learn how much the recipient mare can influence the foal before birth.

Here's an excerpt:

“We know that the placenta does more than simply nourish the developing foal. The placenta also transmits stimuli from the maternal environment to the fetus. Those stimuli result in placental adaptations in terms of function, size, and shape,” explained Laura Petroski, B.V.M.S., veterinarian for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).

She added, “The genetic makeup of the recipient mare can also influence the genetics of the foal—a process now referred to as epigenetics.”

For the full article, click here to visit the KER website.