News from Formosus Sporthorses

Dec 6th, 2010

A treat for you !!

If you remmember in September, I told you that a few Hanoverian stallions from the german state stud at Celle made the trip to Spruce Meadow to be put on display so to speak. This is the only venue in the world where they perform outside of Germany so it was most definitly a treat to see them. I've already shared some pictures but here is a video I made of their performance. Short of going to Celle and seeing them in person this little video lets you get a glimpse of them in motion. Again they are : Chesnut stallions: Lizitant, Royal Blend, Londonderry, Don Henrico and the black stallions were: Rotspon, Rascalino, Hochadel, Silberschmied.
Video of the Celle Stallions



Dec 1st, 2010

To Trak or not to Trak, that is no longer the question?

As I contemplate the seemingly infinite number of stallions as potential match for my mares I have to admit that over the years I have found myself irresistibly drawn to Trakehner blood.

I think it first started when I first saw a picture and then a video of His Highness: the jaw dropping, charismatic, seemingly incredibly talented black stallion. As usual when a horse impresses me so, I seek to learn its origins. Hohenstein was his sire. A pure blood Trakehner, one of the few warmblood "breed" that can seriously aspire to be called one as their book closed (for the exception of carefully selected TB and Arab blood) a long time ago.

As a purebred, the Trakehner did not seem to have the best reputation in the horse world. "Hot, sensitive, do not suffer fools gladly" is what I kept hearing from more experienced horse people then myself. They did not seem to fit my breeding goals that well. The ones that I saw on the market place seem to take forever to sell… And then there was the undisputable fact that they did not seem to have the numbers and the representation at the top levels that the other warmblood breeds had. Except for Abdullah in jumping and Matador in dressage I did not hear much about the exploit of the Trakehners in the Olympic disciplines.

A further complication was the fact that Trakehner stallions were not commonly accepted into the other stud books, the ones that were approved and accepted in European stud books had earned a reputation for having terrible (read: un-fertile) frozen semen.

Time passed and the Trakehner qualities became more and more appreciated in Europe. The Hanoverian verband and the Dutch stud book started approving stallions carrying significant amount of Trakehner blood or even full blooded Trakehner stallions. Totilas is an example of a Dutch Warmblood sired by Gribaldi a full Trakehner.

A particular good nick was found with the heaviest of the Hanoverian dressage line: the "D" line of Donnerhall. It seemed to work well to refine, to bring lightness and quickness. The high rideability and desire to work seemed to be increased.

And so I now find myself contemplating once more-and this time with serious intent- the stallions carrying trak blood. Not so much the purebreds as the same difficulty as before remain but the Hanoverian, Dutch and Oldenburg approved stallions that carry their quality with the promise of more fertile semen and proven performance.

Some stallion with Trak blood worth checking out:
Dacaprio (Davignon/Caprimond (Trak)) sire of Vivaldi out of:Vendella
DeLaurentis (Davignon/Caprimond (Trak))
Hochadel (Hohenstein/Donnerhall)
Hotline (Hofrat (Trak)/ De Niro)
Harvard (3/4 Trak by Hohenstein)
Don Frederico (Donnerhall/Consul(Trak)) Donnarweiss (DeNiro/Hohenstein)

Pure blood trak worth keeping tabs on as they appear in pedigree:
Hohenstein, Caprimond, Kostolany, Enrico Caruso, Gribaldi, Matador, Consul


Nov 24th, 2010

Yes indeed it is that time of year where the hammer must be close at hand! When temperatures drop well bellow zero and we get a good dump of snow the horses develop very hard balls of ice underneath their hooves. As long as they are out in the pasture they manage relatively well but when they walk into the hard ground of the shelter that is when they need a bit of help! The ice is so hard when the temperature drops well below Antarctic condition that you can send your hoofpick paking: the only thing that takes care of those balls of concrete is the claw end of the hammer! Horses get to know the drill pretty quickly and are pretty grateful at the relief of being flatfooted for a little while.

While the mares are digging in to the huge pile of hay we've dragged through the snow drifts, our minds starts to turn to the promises of the coming spring and with springs comes foals and re-breeding descisions: know what I'm getting at right? Yes indeed : STALLION SELECTION!! In less then two months frozen semen will need to be ordered, stallion owners contacted for availability and paper work started to get all those ducks lined up.

So in the next few weeks I will share with you my personal tribulations in trying to find Mr.Right for the mares.Ive already put some of the ones I'm considering on the custom foal page. I'm quite gratefull that the choice for Deesse has already been made. Next season she will be bred to Cicera's Icewater for some one that wanted a really outstanding eventing prospect. If you are thinking about getting a custom foals out of one of our mares now is the time to contact us. Once the semen is bought and the contracts are paid its a bit harder to accomodate you!


Nov 19th, 2010

The foals have now all reached their new homes and are settling in. I was so happy that Sigma and Deets left for warmer climes just before the nastiest storm was to hit. They were spared the wind and the drifting snow and a very cranky caregiver that had to dig her way to the barn not once but three times!!! Then the temperature plummeted to really fridgid conditions.

October 30th, 2010

We received a new picture of Nordica's 2009 colt. We added the picture on her page, in the 2009 section. Nice leggy colt. We hear that he's an impressive mover!

October 25th, 2010

This weekend I got a bit of a treat. Three weeks ago I sent Welty to a trainer called Rob Kroeger I really like and whose opinon on horses I quite respect. This true horseman works with a lot of horses and after two or three weeks of working with them everyday and taking them into the mountains where they have to cross creeks and narrow wooden bridges he can give you a pretty good assessment of what your horses is like. Yes that is right; he rides them in the mountains-every horse can benefit from some times spent in the hills. So like I said, I send Welty to him for a refresher. Welty has been a broodmare for most of her life but she was trained in Germany before being imported.

Just to recap: in Germany, at the age of three, Welty was inspected and given scores on her conformation and movement. Those scores were quite good and she was put in basic training. At the age of four she did her Mare Performance Test where her aptitude under saddle were evaluated. She scored quite well (and earned the title of Elite Mare Candidate or EMC) and I've always wondered how those scores would translate for an amateur rider. When a german rider that trains horses for a living gives a horse good scores on "rideability" what does that mean? Is it the quality of the training? Is it how easy the horses was to ride? Is it an indication of whether the horse was "hot" or not? Hard to say. So Welty went back under saddle after a fairly long hiatus-I think about 2 years at a minimum.

Well the verdict came in this weekend when I went to see her and asked Rob what he tought of her. To put it lightly I think Rob fell in love with her! This is a really nice gentelman that truly care and finds the good in every horse but still he was quite thrilled to have gotten the opportunity to work with such a well bred, well trained horse (his words here! although I have to agree!). He was extremely impressed in the way she carried herself "you can feel her back lift under you!", how soft she was "very soft in the briddle-no resistance" and how obedient she was "she never tries to get out of something, she simply tries really hard to give you what you want: and then some! She is a lot of horse!"
" A lot of horse?" I asked
"Yes, when you ride her you have a lot of impulsion at your disposal and yet it's under complete control because she is so obedient: but she likes to work, she likes to participate and give your her best. She is so light in front and she knows exactly where her feet are."

I'm para-phrasing here I did not have my notebook with me but that about sums up one hour of conversation with him about Welty and about how she was under saddle both in the arena and out in the trail. And Rob was not the only one to ride her. Holly Hardman a local dressage rider also rode Welty and found her to be just a pleasure to ride and agreed that this was a very nice very gifted horse. So it's not just my words and my impressions!

Like we say in the breeding world: "what you can breed in you don't have to train in" Welty truly shows that she comes from some of the best German dressage bloodlines in the world and that those are not just words and fancy names on a pedigree: it translate into how those horses feel under saddle.



I took a few pictures once out in the yard. My good friend Rita is up. I think she liked Welty too! And yes: she stops square like that everytime!!

October 11th, 2010
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Echo left two days ago and arrived safe and sound at his new home on Gabriola Island BC. He travelled well and has settled right in. We have been promised regular updates and we are looking forward to them! He is a very sweet and personable colt we will sure miss him around here but he's got a great new home!
We introduced the two "families" today. Shotsey, Sigma and Rhea were on their own since Rhea was weaned ealier this month and Deesse and Deets were alone with Echo's departure so we put everyone together today. The foals will become friends over the next week and then it will be time to wean Deets and Sigma by removing Deesse and Shotsey. I took a pics of them in the field today.


October 3rd, 2010

Last chance for a photo shoot of the 2010 foals this weekend. Next weekend some of them will start to leave the farm. It was a cloudy day so we did not get super crip pictures but here they are. Girls on one side and the boys on the other. Today the girls and Echo were pretty much 5 months old while Deets,the baby, is 4.5 months old.
From left to right: Glorisigma (Gatsby X Shotsey), Rhea (Rubignon X Welty), Echo (Vanilla Hot Shot X Elfin) and Determinato (Soprano X Deesse)


September 29th, 2010

Hurray! We got some recent pics of Deimos! You can see them on the SOLD page and I put one up on Deesse's page. I'm so happy to see some new picture of the boy. I also sneeked one of Vivaldi on his section too. I love it when I get some update and some pictures from some of foals that were born here. So if you own any of our past foals please do send us some pictures or updates!


September 25th, 2010

Fall: the second most busy time of the year at the farm. All of this year's foals are fast approaching weaning and in order to make this rough periode go as smoothly as possible we spend a lot of time handling the mare and the foals. We make sure the foals have all their basics down pat: leading, giving to pressure, feet handled ect.. They are already fed separately from the mares so we can adjust everyone's ration accordingly. We are weaning in two waves this year: first Echo and Rhea and then a bit later Sigma and Determinato.

September 19th, 2010

Last weekend was the Spruce Meadow Masters and this year a few Hanoverian stallions from the state stud at Celle made the trip to be put on display so to speak. This is the only venue in the world where they perform outside of Germany so it was most definitly a treat to see them. I'm putting some of the picture I took that day on this page.
They brought some heavy weight (in terms of popularity) with the two older stallions Rotspon (one of my all time favorite) and Londonderry but they also had two of the most popular Rotspon sons: Rascalino (distintive by his big white blaze and four high whites) and Royal Blend(chesnut with a large blaze). There were also the younger stars: Don Henrico and Lizitant as well as the established Hochadel and finally the young but very ellegant Silberchmied. Enjoy! I know we did.




August 12th, 2010

This is such a nice time of the year. No, it's not the weather, or the way the light hits the grass. It is not the drone of the thousands of mosquitoes in search for a meal. It's not the smell of the fresh hay filling the barn. It is not the chatter of the juvenile magpies or the swoop of the latest batch of barn swallows. All those things are wonderful at this time of the year, well most of them. But no, the reason this is a good time of the year is that this is when I get to enjoy the foals the most.

They are at three months of age now. The worries for their survival is mostly behind us. They are friendly and easy to catch. The mares are all pretty relaxed. The foals are now independent enough that I can take them away from mom for lessons that last more then 45 second. Yes, their attention span has grown tremendously from 45 seconds to about 5 minutes now. Woohoo!! I get to lead them, pick up their feet, play with their ears and scratch them everywhere, show them the swirlling leadshank, brush them and move them with pressure-all in one session!!

Seriously this is the really cool and fun part about breeding and raising of foals: the basic education, the quiet time spent with them just hanging so that they know that it's ok, the little walk around the yard where they depend on you to tell them what is safe or not because mom is not there (she is intently watching from over the fence don't get me wrong!!). They learn so quickly and they get comfort in doing the same things over and over again. Tonight for example Roxy shifted her weight before I reached down to get her foot-good girl!! Sigma got to learn to relax with a rope being gently flipped over her head-no its not going to hurt see!?. Deets got his ears handled and folded back -you need to learn this buddy because seriously those ears will be in the way at some point! and Echo learned to back up from pressure on his nose-yes you can survive having that hand stay on your nose for more then two seconds!!. This is what I really love about this time of the year: the little lessons I get to share with the foals.

On a much somber notes: Perdition the stallion Shotsey was bred to for the second attempt this year just last Saturday has passed. He was a grand old man of the nicest Polish lines. A stallion that had produced some pretty amazying foals and a lovely horse that was dearly loved by his final owner. Rest in peace Sasha, your legacy will live on in your foals.

August 2nd, 2010

This weekend was suppose to be photo blitz day. Unfortunatly it rained and it was grey and windy. We managed to get some pictures of Nordica and Sigma. I also took a little video of both of them.

Nordica was a gem! She stood calmly as we braided her, cleaned her legs and trimed her feet, untangled her tail ect... Then she took the briddle like an old pro although she cannot have worn it more then a few times before. She trotted in hand and stood well, the only problem was getting her to put her ears up, she was not worried or interested in any of the "scary" things we could think off until I finally found my plastic bag tied on my crop-ah ha! That did it for a few minutes, then it was back to oh-hum! What a wonderfull mind on this mare.

As for Sigma, she got her first bath to get rid of the manure stains on her nice white patches. The initial contact with the water was a bit startling but she quickly settled down and appreciated the scrubbing with the soft brush. She was clean for about an hour or two...then promptly found the closest manure pile and had a nap.

Here are the videos taken (Sigma, Nordica). I also (finally!) posted Red Vandal's video to youtube. Those videos can also be found on their respective section or page.

July 21st, 2010

Things have settled down a bit at the farm now. The foals are used to the routine and are learning the ropes of becoming solid equine citizens. The mare are gaining condition and looking very good with most of them with an impressive bloom and dapple to their coat. The foals are all at various stage of shedding out but Sigma is just refusing to let go of her woolies!! I think we might try to clip her in the next week or so.

Deesse is now confirmed in foal to Beaulieu's Heartbreaker so we are very happy to hear that. However Welty, bred on the same day, does not appear to have caught. We will know for sure when she comes back into heat but so far no sign of that, but no sign of embryo on the ultrasound either. If not well... we shall give her the year off to explore her riding horse inner self ;-)

Elfin initially caught with Consul's frozen semen, but then lost the pregnancy quite early before the 16 day mark so we are giving this another go as I really want that cross. She is back at the breeding center but should be back shortly, for good, as we will not rebreed her this late in the year.

That pretty much sums it up. Next few week will be pictures and video time for all the mares and foal at Formosus as they are reaching the peak of their summer slick coat! There will be some bathing and some braiding and some silly things being tossed in the air in hope of getting ears to perk up!!



July 5th, 2010

Update!

Wow, a month almost since my last update. Definitely fell behind the last few weeks. In my defence we were quite busy!
First the challenges of the last month.

Determinato's (or Deets) legs continued to worry us all month. His tendons were stretching and growing, almost catching up to his long bones when he would put a growth spurt and he would have a bit of a relapse. He also spent quite a bit of time off the farm, first at the vet then at the breeding center. He is full of youthful energy and probably overdoes it and ends up overtiring his legs which also sets him back. So he's been on this cycle of getting better then getting worse. We've played with the setup and the amount of turn out time to find the right balance. If the last few days are any indication I think we might be on to something.

The other challenge this month has been breeding the mares, well not so much the breeding but getting them pregnant!. The horse is not the most fertile of creatures (that is not what we breed them for after all) so naturally, and especially with multiparious older mares, it is a bit tricky. Déesse did not catch with Torino frozen semen so we switched her to fresh semen from Beaulieu's Heartbreaker-a 3/4 brother to Torino and a beautiful young stallion in his own right. Welty did not catch the first time around either and decided the next breeding day should be:... Canada Day. Well that caused some logistic problems but we got around them and followed her more closely to put all the chance on our side this time around.

On to the highs of this month:

We've had tons of rain and as a result the pastures are as healthy as I've ever seen them. Hay is tall, thick and beautiful-it should be a really good crop!
Rhea and Sigma are doing very well, turning into stunning well behaved little ladies. There is some new pictures of everyone on either the For Sale page or the mare's page. Echo developed quite a fan club but he has secured a wonderful home for himself for the fall. Congrats to the new owners: you know who you are!!
We were also very happy to find a good home for Vendella. With her reproductive career coming to an end we needed to find her a good retirement home where she would be appreciated as a pleasure riding horse. She might even have a chance at being a mom again: one never knows!
Speaking of Vendella; we went to see her 2007 colt: Red Vandal at his first dressage show. Wow, he was very impressive: very relaxed yet forward, supple and obedient. He scored an impressive 79% in one of his test. That has to be a highlight as a breeder: to see the foal you help come into the world do what is was bred to do and do it well. A big congratulation and thnaks to Trish Tweddell from Station Lane farm in Airdrie for putting such a good foundation on this boy. We've added some pictures of him on the Sold page as well as on Vendella's page.
Finally Nordica and Shotsey are pregnant and everyone else has been bred or re-bred thanks to some truly wonderful stallion owners (Woodhaven and Beaulieus farms: thank you!). On this good note I will end this lengthy update.



June 8th, 2010

New pics of the foals

The last few days we've had beautifull evenings and the light was just great so I took the opportunity to take some more pics of the foals.

Today the mares got ultrasounded and the babies were awsome. They all led well, stood quietly while mom was getting ultrasounded and behaved quite well. I was very happy with them. Roxy did loose her mind for a brief second or two but quickly came back to her senses, Sigma was a doll the whole way though, Echo thought all that attention was the best thing since sliced bread and Deets, the youngest, just could not figure out why the "milk bar" was closed! This week is breeding week for all the moms it would seem. Welty and Deesse are both very close to being ready to breed and Shotsey will get a shot to speed things along a bit but she is pretty close too.

Deets (Determinato) came home from the vet, only to leave today for the breeding center-he will be well travelled!!-his legs are improving very quickly. There is time when he stands completely straight. The umbilicus has been closed for almost a week now (touch wood). The only remaining worry with him are his extensor tendons that were strained by his knees beeing so contracted. The increase in exercise seem to have done him quite a bit of good but we are carefull not to overdo it. A little bit more everyday. He will be a very tall boy. His brother Deimos was string tested to 17.3hh and I think that Deets is taller then he was at this time. Of course all foals grow differently and Deets is all legs, so quite different from his big brother. This foal has a lot of determination-I'm thrilled with his name (I did not pick it) but he harbors a quiet soul I think. His eyes are never really worried despite everything that's been done to him in his first month to keep him healthy and sound.



May 28th, 2010

Roller coaster week.

Well the babies have kept us hopping around here! The fillies are progressing nicely standing for grooming and starting to get their feet handled. They go out for a good part of the day in the pasture and are BFF! They groom each other, show each other their best moves and love to race each other.

Echo has completely overcomed his baby shyness and is now very happy to be groomed, hugged and fussed on, still not a big fan of the halter however but getting better every time! He is one fancy looking boy: he can move and he fires on all four cylinders: those knees and hocks flexing. It's funny to see him compared to the warmblood fillies, even Sigma looks chunky compare to him: he is pure ellegance and refinement.

The trouble child however has been Determinato: with his contracted tendons and an umbilicus that just won't close he's kept us worried and a bit stressed. He doesn't seem to know it however: he acts like a completely normal foal: growing, getting stronger, full of energy and determination. Because of his legs he gets limited turnout but we saw him move: Oh my !!-there is no denying the Sandro Hit heritage in this baby!! Can't wait to see him get the green light for full turn out in a few weeks to see what he can do!!

May 17th, 2010

Deesse delivers a bay colt !

Wow for a mare that usually carries to 330-ish days Deesse was in hurry this year! Barely 325 days and she waxed and delivered a big mature colt. She's an awsome mother and is making sure her new boy is learning all he needs to. He's got quite a bit of unfolding to do: he is all legs!!! He looks to be a very dark bay, I bet he will look alwmost black once he sheds out. So far so good. He is 12 hours old and everything looks ok at this point.
The fillies are maturing. Rhea is one character wow! Loves to come for attention but wants it on her terms. Did not appreciate the halter but is starting to to get the hang of it. SHe is all muscles and energy. Sigma on the other hand is like silk, very quiet and cute, not one to argue much, she loves attention too but is very quiet in asking for it. Rhea comes right up and plants herself in front of you demanding to be seen and acknowledge. Sigma kind of sneeks up on you.
Echo is doing better and better. His contracted tendons are relaxing and he is moving very well. He is over his initial shyness and for now (he is but one week onld) as long as you don't move too quickly he accepts halter and attention quite well. Next step for all of them: learning to lead...



May 15th, 2010

Elfin foals early!

Elfin delivered a colt in the wee hours of Sunday morning. She had just reached the milestone of 320 days when her milk turned white and opaque. This is a big and strong colt. He is still unfolding and has some tendons that needs to stretch a bit but he is vigorous, healthy, outgoing and very cute!!!
Sorry to be so brief but with three babies on the ground time is a bit short right now..I am taking pictures however so check back for some more recent pics of the fillies and of the new colt.



May 2nd, 2010

Two fillies!

Within 12 hours of each other, Welty and Shotsey each delivered healthy fillies. A black and white tobiano by Gatsby for Shotsey and a solid chesnut by Rubignon for Welty.


May 1st, 2010

Foal watch is on!

Well the mare's milk has turned opaque and creamy, they have wax and all the other signs are a go. They could foal tonight or in 5 days who knows, but now I have to watch them like a hawk if I want to be there for the delivery. Mares can be very sneaky...me too however with my nigh vision camera, but there is two of them and only one camera...(sigh!) I will update the facebook page with regular updates-that is kind of what it's for...


April 28th, 2010

Winter storm

Well we are having our second spring storm in two weeks. We got about 10cm (~5 inches) of rain (I'm going by what was in the buckets) and now it is snowing pretty hard. Just this morning I noticed that both Shotsey and Welty had milk at the ready.(Just in time for the weather to turn!) They were bred a few days apart so one would think they will be very close. We shall see. So far they are progressing together, pretty much in step. So this morning when I checked and found that Welty had some pale skim milk quite readily expressable I checked Shotsey and: yup! sure ennough same thing. Would be nice if they would foal together and save me some foal watch ;-) Neither of them is overly huge, does that mean they are expecting fillies..?


April 9th, 2010

Facebook Page

Formosus Sporthorses now has a page on facebook. I can update my blog here quite easily and quickly but Facebook allows a bit more of a two way conversation allowing others to put comments and reaction to what might be happening at the farm.

If you own a horse that was bred here, or that is related in some ways to our horses I think it would be great for you to make contact and share your pictures and your stories. I have little control on how these things evolve but I'm giving this a try and see how it goes. If there is no interest or if it becomes bogged down in trivialities then I will simply pull it down.

So for now lets give it a go shall we? So become a "Fan" (what a strange name for this!!) and that way you will kept up to date on the latest happening: foaling season is just around the corner you know.....

See you on the Wall!!



March 23rd, 2010

Custom foal option.

Over the last few months we've gotten and accepted a few requests for custom foals. So we thought we would make it official and so we've put together a little webpage (that you can link to here or go through our for sale page ) that lets you know what custom foals are all about and which mares are available for custom breeding.

As of today, all of our 2011 foals (to be) but one, are custom foals request, so you see: all you have to do is ask!

Spring is here!

With a few weeks of warm and breezy temperature our snow is now gone and the ground is mostly thawed so the mud is almost gone too. I say "almost" because there is a few patches here and there and Elfin is bound and determined to roll or lie down in every one of them. Her colouring is rather *special* right now! The foals to be are making their presence felt with some belly jiggling kicks and bucks. One month to go for Welty's and Shotsey's critical 320 days of gestation, fingers crossed for everything to continue going so well. All the mares are round, healthy (dirty!) and happy.



March 3rd, 2010

Updates on Chance in a Million

Chance in a Million, (Vendella's grand daughter!) is turning 4 this year. She was lightly started under saddle last fall and she is now in "school" and we got some recent updates on her progress. I've posted them on our Alumni page
Soleil is by Maxamillion who is out of Vendella and out of a very well bred ASB mare Taking Chances by Chubasco. Looks like she is taking to it very well and developing nicely. The pictures are from her 3rd and 4th ride of the year!



February 21st, 2010

New Mare!

We are happy to announce that we have acquired a new mare. With the arrival of Nordica we will have filled our last vacancy in our broodmare band. She will be joining us shortly, arriving from the snowy Mid-West where the earlier snow storm has delayed her journey north.
We firmly believe in the importance of quality mares as the basis of a solid breeding program. Nordica brings some excellent bloodlines, old style solid warmblood type and excellent temperament. As always, more images to come once she is home but for now her webpage is up.

February 12th, 2010

Stallions

I've added the list of stallions that we consider at the bottom of the stallion page. In the next little while I will add some hyper links to their most recent webpage, in the meantime you can "google" them or go to your favorite "horses for sale" website and search for their offsprings.



January 28th, 2010

Hard Lesson

There is a lesson that life is trying very hard to teach me it seems. I'm stubborn I guess..
It is a fact, a statistical irrefutable law, that the longer you have horses, the longer you breed them, the more likely you will face some difficult situations.
On our farm we do everything to minimize the risks of something going wrong. We really try; we love our horses and their stress is our stress. The list is too long for here but suffice to say that all aspect of our management has been thought off rationally and with the latest information available to us. Everything from fencing to feeding, from manure management to vaccination. And yet bad things still happens!! It has to be the MOST frustrating thing about breeding horses!!!

So this lesson I seem to need to learn over and over again: "Minimizing the risks is *not* eliminating them."

Hard lesson.
Very hard indeed...

January 16th, 2010

So I've now tackled the personality description of the warmblood mares. They turned out to be more tricky as their characteristics are not all end members of the spectrum.

Vendella: although currently the leader of the warmblood band she got there by seniority more then by a big desire to the boss. She is also not one to go expending her energy needlessly and yet she is far from lazy undersaddle: a slight squeeze from the leg and forward she goes. I would define her as a "lazy" with a small "l". She is certainly more on the curious side and somewhat aloof. She likes attention but is far too dignified to ask for it! She will wait patiently for you to go to her rather then the other way around. She likes to hang around with some horses but can also be found her own sometimes.
So all this combines puts her in the "Solo Artist" category with some "Worker Bee" tendencies.

Deesse is a borderline submissive, energetic, curious and aloof combination that describes the "Worker Bee". She would like that; there is the word "work" in there and she loves to work!
When we first got her I would have defined her as a "Goddess" (Submissive, Energetic, Curious and Friendly) hence her nickname Deesse (which means Godess in french) but now that I know her better I recognize that her friendly was mostly the curious taking over. I've seen her quite often leave the herd to spend some time alone and she is not one that likes to be fussed on. A pat, a rub is plenty for her: puh-leeease!

Welty is the hardest to pin down, but we've only known her for a few months so we haven't seen her in a lot of different situations yet. She is certainly a submissive and I would say energetic. She is a bit more on the afraid side and would rather let other horses investigates what went "whoosh" in the hedge. However she is not a jumpy scaredy cat either. It's the friendly or aloof I can't quit figure out. She likes the attention and the fussing and will come when called but she is a bit more of an introvert about it maybe because of her submissive nature.
She is mostly gregarious but not overly so either. The submissive, energetic, afraid, friendly makes her a "people pleaser" but she is not as defined by this title as strongly as Pavane.
If she was more of an aloof type this would make her a "perfectionist" but that is really not her either-almost nothing in that description fits her. So we will leave her at People Pleaser" for now.

January 4th, 2010

Happy New Year!!!
A few years ago I came across this book: “Is your Horse a Rock Star?” by Dessa Hockley. I thought it was one of the most fun and insightful book about horses I had read in a long time: and I read quite a bit about horses believe me!

This book took the model of the Myers-Brigg personality matrix and adapted it to horses. Horses personalities are classified using 4 basic aspects of their behavior: Dominant or Submissive, Energetic or Lazy, Curious or Afraid and Friendly/Gregarious and Aloof.

There is no wrong type of personality and some horses straddle two types because they might not be fully “dominant” or “submissive” for exemple but somewhere in the middle.
The book is well written and has some useful recommendations as to how to approach training the various personality types. I highly recommend it!
I thought I would start the new year by describing our mares in terms of their personality type.

Part I-Our Saddlebred mares

Pavane is most definitely a totally Submissive, very Energetic, somewhat Afraid, very Friendly mare, what is called in Hockley's book a “People Pleaser” She fits that description to a “T” it is almost as if it was written for her. She always tries so hard to please, to get it right, to do what is asked. She can be very intense in the way she focuses on us trying to understand what we ask of her. Her submissive and afraid side crave a strong, calm leader. Once she feel that she has that she is much calmer and braver.

Shotsey might have similar markings but she is a completely different personality. She is a quiet Dominant, more on the Lazy side, Curious and as un-Afraid as they come and somewhat Friendly (although not an extreme) horse that is called the “Reluctant Rock Star”. Because of that early accident she was never trained to ride or to drive but she certainly would have loved to be in the limelight. When she puts on a show she loves to be encouraged and applauded but she very much decided when the show starts and stops!! She loves attention, to the point of being pushy, thinks highly of herself and is a bit of clown sometimes (she loves to take your hat off). She also likes to please but is fundamentally a very quiet mare that not much phases.

Elfin is the most recent arrival. She is not completely settled in yet so I might have to change her personality type later on as I get to know her more but for now this is how I see her. She is Dominant-ly inclined, Energetic, quite Curious and very Friendly/Gregarious mare making her a: “Rock Star”. She is confident and very expressive and thinks that the world should revolve around her. She loves company of other horses and people. She is the first one in the herd to come and see what I'm up too.

Pavane has had three foals and I can't say that any of them got her exact personality type so I think that the personality is very much something unique to each animal. Just like it is with people.

There you have it! Stay tuned, in the next little while I will post the personality types of the warmblood mares: Vendella, Welty and Deesse.