Sunday, March 15, 2009


This is our 145th blog entery. All the photos we have used are archived at
These make an interesing collections of photos with all the seasons and many of the stages of horse development represented.

Training this Winter

In developing young horses we think the first step is getting the breeding right by purchasing the best possible mares, the second step is raising them properly and the next step is “age appropriate training.”

We have purchased what we thing is a great collection of mares representing some of the great European Warmblood lines. The stallions include Jazz, Floristan, and descendants of Donnerhall, Sandro, Purioso and Nimmerdor. Many of our mare lines trace back to foundation lines of both Holland and Germany. We continue to breed these mares to what we think is the absolute best stallions available.

The next step, we think, is to develop the resulting foals to their full potential. We have a lot of space on our farm. Our barns are not fancy but are large open former cow barns. We have six mares in a fifty by fifty pen ! Weanlings have a similar sized pen. Our pastures are similarly large. With 400 Acers we can set aside as much as the horses need for pasture. This allows for lots of exercise with the young stock spending all the time they want playing with their mates. The same applies to fodder. We have haying equipment from our previous dairy operation. We do big round bales of haylege and feed the horses free choice from big bale feeders all winter. The haylege is dust free, nutritious and keeps the horses busy nibbling all winter. The downside is that idle horses can get fat but the growing young stock do well and the mares milk off the reserve nursing foals.

Now finally to the training discussion. We handle and halter break the foals while they are still with the mares. We do some work with them after weaning to remind them of their training. In the spring of the yearling year we do some more in hand training. They learn to walk and trot with the handler. At this stage they learn to move away from an inhand whip. This is a valuable life lesson. We do not “drill” any of these lessons. Four or five of these lessons at each stage gets the point across.

In the year the horses are two we teach them to lounge and they are introduced to the saddle and bridle. By the end of the second summer they should be comfortable with a rider sitting on them while being led. We again do a minimum of work as they are still growing and developing.

This winter we are at the next step of training which is to walk and trot in the arena with a rider asking them to halt and go and be able to trot a figure eight in the arena. We have three coming three years old this spring. We have two of three which will trot a figure eight on the instructions of a rider. Bastion (Sandreo/Floristan) was the first to get the next stage of training this winter. He is “super cool” as you would expect from his training. We reviewed his lounge training and he quickly progressed to listening from the rider and not the handler on the ground. The other big lesson at this age is to learn to be separated from the group and stay quietly in the stall. We use an indoor arena away from the farm so the young horses are trailered frequently and learned to load and unload from the trailer. Bolshoy (Donnatelli/Set Set) was the next up for training and he quickly moved through the training and now is back home thinking about his lessons. Next up will be Bagatelle (Donnatelli/Jazz). The plan will to do some out door arena work and have these ready to hack later this summer. We like to introduce the three year olds to the trails in the summer. This allows them to build strength with out the repetition of arena work.

They can learn all these lessons later in life but they are more impressionable at a young age and are not as big or as strong. There needs to be a balance of training and care to not injure the developing horse.When all these come together we think we will have a youngster that can go on to be a great dressage horse or jumper.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Foalings 2009

We have seven mares to foal in 2009

Veganieta (Jazz/Zeoliet) Brentanno II April 15

Florentina(Floristan/Phonix) Sir Oldenburg April 22

Wascalina(Jet Set/Haarem) Johnson April 24

Zenosa (Tango/Purioso) Lord Sinclair May 2

Vuzarma(Hamlet/Purioso) Concorde May 11

Verginia(Welt Hit II/Zeoliet) Donnatelli June 9

Virtual Rose(Idocus/Quattro) Sir Oldenburg June 11

All the mares have had foals before and Florentiena will be haveing her fourth foal and we expect she will be early as usual. We have not had foals by Brentanno II or Sir Oldenburg so these will be very interesting to see. Also, we expect to be busy with five mares in a one month peroid.