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2014 Stallion Gallery Anne Sparks, Horses Unlimited USEF Dressage Breeder of the Year


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Table of Contents



Close Contact—Sabine Schleese



Publisher’s Page

Claire Davis



What’s Trending

The Traits of Success



HC Sport

Piaget World Snow Polo Championships



The Horse Connection

In Memoriam 2013




EST. 1991


2014 Stallion Gallery Anne Sparks, Horses Unlimited USEF Dressage Breeder of the Year

About the cover Anne Sparks of Horses Unlimited with her homebred Hanoverian stallion Pikko del Cerro HU (Pik L x Rohdiamant) Photo by


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Publisher’s Page


he winter circuits are well under way and there isn’t a better time to get away from the frigid cold and into some hot showjumping on the grounds of Thermal, Tucson or Ocala. Good luck to all of the competitors and horses. It was around ten years ago that I featured Horses Unlimited in my “In Search of the Perfect Barn” series and met Anne Sparks, the owner of the New Mexico farm. And now, a decade or so later, I am thrilled that my friend Anne is on the cover of this issue of HC and is the USEF Dressage Breeder of the Year! Anne is the perfect success story of an American breeder and her interview in this issue is the centerpiece of our Stallion Edition. There was a time when Europe was the only place to go to find an exceptional horse, but those days are no longer. The development of breeding here in the U.S. has advanced to a point where some of the best horses to be found are right here at home. Anne’s story is one of passion and focus and her success in the breeding game speaks to a commitment that has elevated American breeding to that of Europe. The stallions that are featured in our Stallion Gallery are just a small representation of the quality bloodlines that are now available in the U.S. and I urge anyone who is looking for that special horse to look in our own backyard first before flying off across the pond. With so many wins over so many years, perhaps we should change the name of Denver’s National Western Stock Show Grand Prix to the Cudmore Family Grand Prix. Anyone who has attended the National Western Grand Prix knows the name “Cudmore.” The family from Omaha, Neb., only added to their legacy in Denver last month by sweeping the top three spots at the 2014 National Western Stock Show’s $40,000 Grand Prix. Karen, who took first and second and her daughter Brooke, who took third are multiple winners of this Grand Prix with Karen having competed in the Denver show for twenty years. The Cudmore family’s winning percentage of the $40,000 was 68%. “It was a good week,” said Karen. “Unbelievable. I feel lucky, happy and so proud of my daughter. Good horses and another great week at the Stock Show.” Congratulations to Karen, Brooke, and Blair Cudmore for an outstanding showing. The online digital issue of Horse Connection has been a great success and with hundreds of thousands of views, we are amazed at how many people around the world have discovered HC. If you haven’t seen the online issue check it out at Horse Connection will debut its new website in March! We have many changes in store for you including a new blog, news feed, and many other features that I think you will enjoy. We can’t wait for you to see it! 2014 is going to be a great year because it is the Year of the Horse. Of course for many of us every year is the year of the horse. They consume our time and our passion and we love every minute that we spend with them. So celebrate the Year of the Horse as you do every year—with horses!


Geoff & Valerie L. Young Editor

Geoff Young V.P. Sales & Marketing

Valerie L. Young Marketing Director

Leslie Gross C 281.773.3963 Art Director

Kathy Bone Copy Editor

T. J. Forrest Contributing Writers

Evalyn Bemis Kip Mistral Marc Patoile CuChullaine O’Reilly Butte Dawson Photography

Geoff Young Evalyn Bemis Sharon McElvain Meghann Norris Celebrity Fashion Stylist

Wayne Scot Lukas

Advertising & Rates General questions, advertising, and comments can be made to: or call 303.663.1300 Sorry, but Horse Connection cannot assume responsibility for unsolicited materials Horse Connection © 2014, Volume XIII, Edition 1. Published monthly by Horse Connection, LLC., PO Box 775, Redmond, WA 98073, and is provided to its readers free of charge. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs, artwork and ad designs printed in the Horse Connection are copyright and the sole property of HC and may not be duplicated or reprinted without express written permission from HC. Horse Connection is not responsible for typographical or production errors or the accuracy of information provided by advertisers. Readers should confirm any advertised information with advertisers. HC reserves the right to refuse any advertising. We will not knowingly accept any advertising or print any material which is offensive or in violation of the law.

303.663.1300 Geoff Young Publisher 12 | MARCH/STALLION GALLERY 2014 | HORSE CONNECTION MAGAZINE

National Western Stock Show Memorializes Arapahoe High School Shooting Victim

Claire Davis

Claire Davis


he public memorial service for slain Arapahoe High School student Claire Davis was filled almost to capacity on New Year’s Day at the National Western Stock Show, where Davis had just competed last year. Thousands turned out for Davis’ memorial, including Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and Colorado Olympic medalist Missy Franklin who grew up near Arapahoe High School. Hickenlooper also ordered the flags to be lowered to half-staff the day before. Davis, 17, was a young equestrian who loved horses and last week the National Western Stock Show announced it would rename one of their popular horse show events the Claire Davis Memorial Gambler’s Choice Horse Show in her memory. In addition, the stock show said it would host a moment of silence for Davis before every ticketed horse show event this year and place a large yellow ribbon on its Events Center for their 108th annual stock show from Jan. 11–26. During the service, Davis’ father Michael Davis said that Claire had spoken to the killer just before he shot her. “Claire’s last words are poignant and profound. She said, ‘Oh my gosh, Karl, what are you doing?’ The fact is that Karl was so


blinded by his emotions that he didn’t know what he was doing. In her most innocent and precious way, Claire tried to shine a light on Karl’s darkness,” said Michael Davis. The Davis family also announced that they have forgiven shooter Karl Pierson and that they are setting up the Arapahoe High School Community Fund Honoring Claire Davis—a program to support charities that promote mental health care and anti-bullying programs in the local community. “My wife and I forgive Karl Pierson for what he did,” Michael Davis said during a memorial for his daughter, Claire. “We would ask all of you here and all of you watching to forgive Karl Pierson,” said Michael Davis, his voice choked with emotion. “He didn’t know what he was doing.” Claire’s dad said his family wanted to forgive Pierson to highlight that sense of understanding their daughter had. “Unchecked anger and rage can lead to hatred, and unchecked hatred can lead to tragedy, blindness and a loss of humanity,” Davis said. “The last thing Desiree and I would want is to perpetuate this anger and rage and hatred in connection with Claire. Claire would also not want this.”


avis competed in a horse show in the 2013 National Western Events Center, and had been scheduled to compete again in 2014, but her life was cut short just weeks before this year’s event when a classmate walked into her school armed with a shotgun, a machete, incendiary devices and over 125 rounds of ammunition. “The National Western does a wonderful job of supporting young equestrians, like Claire,” said Claire’s mother, Desiree Davis. “We’re so appreciative that they’ve agreed to host this special celebration of Claire’s life and for everything they’re doing to honor Claire’s memory.” In a statement, Paul Andrews, President and CEO of the National Western Stock Show praised Davis for her uplifting personality and horsemanship: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Davis family at this difficult time. Claire’s passion and love of horses and competition embodied what we deeply value at the National Western Stock Show. She was an excellent equestrian and a great example for all youth in the world with her positive attitude and leadership. We are honored to help celebrate her life through the numerous horse show events during our 2014 Show.” Davis was killed in the shooting at Arapahoe High School on Friday, Dec. 13th, 2013 after being shot at point-blank range. She was in critical condition for eight days, but during that time “she did something extraordinary” by staying in the public consciousness and ultimately becoming better known than the gunman, read one moving tribute posted in The Colorado Observer. “Claire Esther Davis missed Christmas by four days, but she left behind a gift. She showed that an attention-seeking killer’s bid for everlasting notoriety can be foiled by a community that chooses instead to focus on a beloved teenage girl. And she did it without ever opening her eyes.”

Michael and Desiree Davis, the parents of Claire, hold up candles with thousands of others at the celebration of life memorial service held for their daughter at the National Western Stock Show Event Center in Denver, CO on January 1, 2014. Behind them at left is Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Photo by Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Classmates of Claire’s hold a candle light vigil.



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Close Contact

determination. I did undergrad work in Biology at the University of Guelph and then went to Germany to teach and work there for nine years. During that time I worked for NASA (late ’70s as a liaison between the European Space Agency and the aeronautical engineers from the U.S. who were building the Space Lab) and the American Consulate in communications. I also finished a diploma in business and decided to come back to Canada. My last vacation in Europe was spent skiing in Italy, where I met my husband, Certified Master Saddler Jochen Schleese. We decided to try our luck in establishing our own company just north of Toronto, and well, the rest is history. My role in the company is marketing and corporate affairs and I love to come to work each and every day, as it’s never dull!

When did you start? July 1986 when we were

Besides your business, what is your involvement or connection with horses? I

asked to come over so my husband could be the Official Saddler for the World Dressage Championships, held for the first time outside of Europe!

learned how to ride when I met Jochen - he was a competitive 3-day eventer who qualified for the European Nationals in 1984. We eventually owned five horses before coming to Canada.

First business? Yes.

What encouraged you to create an equestrian business? Jochen was the youngest master

Other businesses? Saddlefit 4 Life Inc. started in 2006 as the educational arm of Schleese—so that we could work with various educational facilities like the USDF and the German National Riding School.

saddler ever certified in Europe at the time, at the tender age of 22. It was always his passion, and allowed him to combine his hobby with his work.

Tell us about you. I am an only child—born

What is the most fulfilling part of your business? I truly believe that we will be

in Germany, raised in Kitchener, Ontario as an assertive young woman who always went after what she wanted with a single-minded

leaving a legacy through Saddlefit 4 Life—it is Jochen’s passion to prevent the damage that occurred with his own horse due to badly

fitted saddles that prompted him to research and work with equine professionals of every sort over the last 20 years. For him, the biggest thank you is the visible difference that he makes to the horse’s wellbeing and comfort with a well-fitted saddle.

What is the least fulfilling? There is nothing about what we’re doing that is not fulfilling. Every day it’s a new challenge; every client brings a personal situation or issue that needs to be addressed—so it’s constant R&D and learning! What is perhaps somewhat problematic is that we often deal with longstanding attitudes of ‘this is the way we have always done it’ and sometimes people simply don’t know what they don’t know and are absolutely not open to considering that there might be alternatives! Is there anything that horses have taught you that translates into your business model? Horses simply cannot lie—they really want nothing more than to please you, but sometimes the rider makes this very difficult. So the lesson is—stay true to my values, don’t lie, believe that what I do will make a difference despite the occasional setbacks or opposition.

Who inspires you? My husband inspires me—he works tireless, long hours, to try and make every single one of his clients happy. He

Sabine Schleese Schleese Saddlery Service Ltd. 20 | MARCH/STALLION GALLERY 2014 | HORSE CONNECTION MAGAZINE

is constantly challenging the status quo and always eager to learn from other experts.

What do you consider your toughest challenge? Breaking through the longestablished mindset of this industry. We’re getting there—slowly but surely, one horse and rider at a time!

What movie title best describes your life? The animated movie Epic. I feel like my life has given me an epic opportunity to truly make a difference!

What is your favorite charity? I have a couple—World Vision (we have three foster children) but also HIPPOH (our foundation based on Horse Industry Professionals Protecting our Horses

What is your favorite country that you have visited? I hate to admit it but my favorite vacation spot is Florida. I have been pretty much all over the world and every place holds its attractions, but I still go back to Florida every year (boring, I know).

Favorite book? I have several favorite authors—I enjoy reading historical fiction of the Plantagenet/Tudor eras, I enjoy Kathy Reichs’ forensic anthropology stories, John Grisham’s legal books, and Stephen King’s horror stories.

Favorite shoes? I have a pair of black Louboutin 4" heels that I absolutely love. I have to admit I’m a bit of a shoe whore. I have about 100 pairs.

Who is your favorite stud? Probably a toss up between Cor de la Bryère and Ladykiller (Holsteiners). Schleese Wave.

choose. Of course my daughters are my life but I still wouldn’t want to be without my teacup long hair Chihuahua Remy and my Rottie Diesel.

What is your guilty pleasure? Books. I listen

Greatest regret? Not wearing sunscreen

to them in the car, I have one in my bathroom, I have one in the bedroom, and one in my favorite reading chair before the fireplace. I also take ballroom lessons. They’re expensive but I indulge whenever I am in Florida.

growing up. Really.

Favorite saddle? I’m biased. My favorite is the

Were you a wild or mild child growing up? I was a mild child who went wild when I left home. As the only daughter of older immigrant parents, I didn’t even get my first pair of jeans until I was in Grade 13 (age 17!)

Where do you live in your dreams? Somewhere by the ocean with white sand and lots of sunshine.

Your partner “must love horses.” What else must they love besides you? They have to love to live and have fun. They have to love children. They have to love family things and all our other critters. Thankfully, my husband does!

Dogs or children? I have two of each species so I can’t

Greatest fear? Getting sick. Number one on your bucket list? Buying a horse and getting back into country life in the next couple of years.

Who would you most like to have dinner with? My father. Sadly, he passed away four years ago and there was so much I still wanted to talk to him about.

What is your motto? “Some day I hope to be the kind of person that my dogs already think I am”!

What’s on the horizon for Sabine Schleese? My next personal projects include writing a book on my family history (it’s quite interesting, with my mother being the daughter of a German Jew, married to a U-Boot Commander, with a great great great uncle who founded Fort Sutter in Sacramento. Have I piqued your interest yet? Also a book on “Mistakes I’ve made in Business and what I’ve learned from them!”

Contact Information: Sabine Schleese 905 898 8335 ext 22



Madden Named USEF Equestrian of the Year for Third Time at 2013 Pegasus Awards To cap off a record-setting year, jumping superstar Beezie Madden added one more record to her résumé at the United States Equestrian Federation’s Pegasus Awards dinner, becoming the second person to ever score the USEF’s Equestrian of the Year title three times. Madden who won the top honor in 2005 and 2006 as well, earned the 2013 USEF Equestrian of the Year title after a campaign that saw her win at nearly every turn. The dual Olympic Team Gold medalist cemented her status as one of the sport’s elite producing top finishes stateside and abroad, in addition to capturing one of the few individual titles that had eluded her. She began her record-setting season at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival winning the $125,000 FEI W-Cup Grand Prix CSI3* presented by Spy Coast Farm with Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’ before aiding in the winning U.S. effort in the $75,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm with Wexner’s Simon. Also during the CSIO Wellington, Madden and Cortes ‘C’ teamed up for a second-place effort in the $150,000 CSIO4* Grand Prix presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty. In April, Madden traveled to Gothenburg, Sweden, to capture the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final crown for the first time. She kicked off the week with a win in the Speed Leg before jumping three more consistent rounds with Simon to force a jump-off with the reigning Olympic champion, where a clear effort saw her claim victory. Madden continued to dominate in Europe producing two impressive double clears in Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup competitions and a Longines Global Champion Tours Grand Prix of Chantilly victory over the summer with Cortes ‘C’. Madden then assisted the U.S. to a win in the Consolation Round of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona. As a testament to her 2013

2013 USEF Equestrian of the Year Beezie Madden riding Simon, 2013 USEF Horse of the Year. Photo courtesy of FEI

success, Madden spent three months as the second-ranked rider in the world on the Longines/FEI Rankings. “There are so many people that


should be up here with me. Great horses make great riders and I am very lucky to have the partners I have,” said Madden as she accepted the award.


Simon Named 2013 USEF Horse of the Year With rider Beezie Madden, Simon’s year was one of top finishes in the U.S., and on the biggest international stages. Simon started the year in Wellington, Fla., where he secured a fourth-place finish in the Adequan Grand Prix at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, and jumped fault free as a member of the victorious U.S. team at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm. Simon’s biggest win of the year, and of his career thus far, came in April at the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final in

Gothenburg, Sweden. After winning the opening Speed Leg, Simon kept up his good form throughout the week. It came down to a jump-off, but under the steady hand of Madden, Simon kept composure well and beat out 2012 Olympic Champions Steve Guerdat and Nino Buissonnets to earn his, and Madden’s, first ever Rolex/FEI World Cup Final title. Their win in Gothenburg was the second consecutive the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final victory, and a USEF awards trend. Following in the footsteps of 2012

Rolex/FEI World Cup Final winner’s Flexible and Rich Fellers, Simon and Madden won the Final, then went on to win the popular vote and take home the USEF International Horse of the Year and Equestrian of the Year titles. “This is my favorite awards night of the year because it honors the horse,” said Madden while accepting the award for Simon. “I think what makes Simon so special is his athletic ability and his desire. I have to thank his owner Abigail Wexner for all of her support.”

a compromise. The stallion was leased to Oldenburg for a number of years.” Contender has produced 80 licensed sons and 59 state premium mares including Riconda, which won the 1993 Oldenburg Elite Mare Show in Rastede. Speaking about Contender, Thomas Mohr, the director of the Maas J. Hell stallion station, said, “He has proven what he has for the breed, he gives lots of power. He is the sire of many horses on

the international show jumping scene. He is a great stallion, you either like him or you don’t like him, but he has set his footmark. He is comparable to Grannus in Oldenburg, or Pilot in Westfalia, but he needs a special mare, a blood type mare. Each stallion needs a special mare.” Contender was mainly a show jumping horse producer but also sired several dressage horses, including licensed stallion Contango, the sire of Steffen Peters’ Ravel.

Contender Passes The influential Holsteiner breeding stallion Contender passed away at age 30 on Monday, January 13, 2014. Born in 1984, Contender was bred by Niko Detlef in Westfehmarn, Germany. He was by Calypso II out of Gofine (by Ramiro x Ladykiller xx x Heidkrug x Loretto). Contender was licensed for the Holsteiner society in 1986 and won the 1987 Stallion Performance Test in Adelheidsdorf with 133.41 points. He initially stood at stud in Oldenburg but later served for the Holsteiner verband. Norbert Boley bought Contender as a foal. At the stallion selection, Klatte from Oldenburg expressed interest for the stallion over a pint of beer. “Things developed so enthusiastically with a number of studbook people that Klatte already believed that he had bought the stallion, while I, the authorized person, did not know anything about it,” Boley told in an interview with Z Magazine. “When I learnt one day later that Klatte genuinely believed he was the new owner, I did not send him away just like that. Never treat your clients with disrespect—at least not when they act in good faith. We talked about it and came to


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Pikko del Cerro HU and Anne Sparks have had a special connection since she saw him take his first breath at her farm. He currently lives with Lisa Wilcox at Marsh Pond Farm in Wellington, FL. Photo by


The Traits of Success

Hard work and perseverance have made Anne Sparks’ Horses Unlimited one of the most successful dressage breeders in the U.S. By Geoff Young

It was around ten years ago that I first met Anne Sparks. I was on assignment working on my next installment of the “In Search of the Perfect Barn” feature that was a popular series in HC for several years. I visited Anne’s farm just south of Albuquerque, NM where her business, Horses Unlimited, was headquartered. The beautiful barn with large arched doorways, adobe walls and tile reflected the nuance of New Mexico’s culture. As I toured the new facility, a big beautiful bay stallion stood in his paddock and eyed me with a calm but self-assured demeanor. This stallion was Noble Champion, a decorated Oldenburg showjumper who was now retired from competition and serving as one of Anne’s first foundation stallions. As I stood in the barn and admired the large empty stalls, I didn’t know that I was witnessing the beginning of a vision that had not yet been realized. Ten years later the stalls would be full of champions and future champions and the vision was now a reality. Sparks’ first imported stallions, Noble Champion, Pik L and Glorioso Noir would lay a foundation for one of this country’s finest breeding operations, and the empty barn that I saw ten years ago was now the home of the 2013 USEF Dressage Breeder of the Year and home to champions and future champions. The prestigious year-end award was the result of 13 years of breeding decisions made by Sparks, and an unwavering commitment to produce horses with the finest traits from the best bloodlines.


Few American sporthorse breeders have had the success that Horses Unlimited has experienced over the past several years. In a market dominated by the Europeans, Sparks’ program has the sport’s elite taking notice. Anne Sparks and Horses Unlimited own and stand six licensed stallions, one of the very few breeders in the country who can make such a claim, with three of those being stallions that she bred herself. The 2013 USEF Dressage Breeder of the Year award is the result of 18 offspring by four of her stallions—Pik L, Leonberg, Glorioso Noir and Galant du Serein. When assessing the stallions of Horses Unlimited, what you see is a collection of some of the great bloodlines in the sporthorse world. For many breeders, this is the most important factor when choosing a stallion. While bloodlines are important, Sparks believes that the traits a horse possesses are critical to producing superior performance mounts. It’s important to Anne to breed horses that show athleticism, really great gaits and exceptional rideability. One of the stallions producing those characteristics on a consistent basis is Pik L, a licensed bay Hanoverian stallion who placed fourth in his 100-day test in Adelheidsdorf, Germany. Some of his fans call him “The Professor” due to his high intelligence, amazing character and generosity and “ring smarts.” In the dressage ring, Pik L is one of the best small tour horses ever to compete in the United States. Numerous CDI wins, USDF Horse of the Year, Pan American Games and Aachen competitor are just a few of his credentials with his professional riders. With his three Junior riders, he was equally dominant. USEF Junior Dressage Championships, NAJYRC Gold Medal and more. How many stallions have done this? As a sire, Pik L passes on many of his desirable traits. He has validated Anne’s belief that the traits a horse carries and passes on are critical. Sparks doesn’t just want the best bloodlines for her clients; she wants the best horse, period! Another gorgeous bay, Galant du Serein, has taken Sparks to the three biggest shows in the world. Owning a horse, much less a stallion, and watching him compete in the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas and the Olympic Games in Athens, is unforgettable and educational. Sadly, Galant du Serein’s untimely death in 2007 left Anne a limited supply of his frozen semen. Galant produced 32 | MARCH/STALLION GALLERY 2014 | HORSE CONNECTION MAGAZINE

only eight offspring, four of them being colts. Out of those four colts, two are now fully licensed stallions, an amazing feat that is so rare from such few progeny. Leonberg, another bay stallion in Horses Unlimited’s collection, also contributed to the 2013 Year-End Award. The dark bay Zweibrucker has himself acquired multiple CDI Grand Prix wins, been of member of the Danish National Team and competed in the CHIO Aachen. He currently is based in Germany where he is coveted not only for his unique pedigree but his ability to pass on his movement and type. Sparks still uses him in her program and sells frozen semen to North American breeders. Horses Unlimited’s most successful foal to date is the Pik L x Rohdiamant stallion, Pikko del Cerro HU. In 2013, he competed in his first year at the CDI Grand Prix level winning several classes in Wellington. In Ankum, Germany, Pikko del Cerro HU swept both the Grand Prix and GP Special classes against some of the best riders in Germany. Cerro, as he is called, has a list of wins that is starting to resemble his father’s. Those include three USEF National Dressage Championships and the Stallion Championship at Dressage Devon. Recently, another one of Horses Unlimited’s babies, Gallant Reflection HU (By Galant du Serein x Rohdiamant) was the Reserve Champion

Pikk Elena HU, Presumido HU and Por Fin HU all earned points towards Horses Unlimited’s 2013 USEF Dressage Breeder of the Year win. Photo by


Anne Sparks won the 2013 USDF Region 5 Reserve Championship—2nd level aboard her own Pik L. Photo by Chispas Photography


at the 2013 North American Stallion Testing and will compete with Lisa Wilcox in the 2014 FEI Young Horse Dressage classes. Anne’s stallions, mare herd and their offspring have made her a star in the breeding world but Pik L went a step further and became Anne’s riding muse, getting her back in the saddle after decades and helping her earn a USDF Bronze Medal and a USDF Region 5 Reserve Championship—2nd Level. There is always luck involved with turning out great horses, but you can also help make some of your own luck, and Sparks certainly did her homework regarding her breeding operation. She talked with numerous stallion owners in Europe and the U.S., researching what bloodlines fit with what traits and how to find the best mares. She knew what kind of horse she wanted to produce and she was patient, thorough and the results now speak to the vision she talked to me about all those years ago in that empty barn in Albuquerque. Horse Connection sat down and talked with Sparks at her farm about her horses, her breeding program, and what it takes to produce champions. HC Did you ever have the goal of winning Dressage Breeder of the Year when you started out? AS God, no, but I’m not surprised because we have really been working hard at it. I think it says to the U.S. breeders that doing your homework can really pay off. HC How long have you been breeding? AS We bred a few horses in 1999. The first foal crop I was really involved in was on the ground in 2001, so it has been about 13 years now. HC When you developed your breeding program what goals did you set for yourself and how did those goals change over the years? AS The first goal I had was to sell horses; the original plan starting out was to buy and retrain Thoroughbreds, but that didn’t last very long because buyers would come and spend a thousand dollars vetting a four

“ Warmbloods, as prospects and trained amateur mounts generally had a higher value than Thoroughbreds. The calmness you get from the draft blood in the breed helps produce that calmness and quietness.” thousand dollar horse, and it just didn’t make sense. As a business, the cost of maintaining Thoroughbreds versus warmbloods is similar, so we decided to get into breeding warmbloods and producing our own offspring to sell. And that was, and still is the goal. HC Did you feel that there was more value and marketability in breeding warmbloods over Thoroughbreds, especially in horse sport? AS One of the things that I found was that warmbloods, as prospects and trained amateur mounts generally had a higher value than Thoroughbreds. They can be easier to ride for the Adult Amateur and that was our target customer. The calmness you get from the draft blood in the breed helps produce that calmness and quietness. There is a reason that the Thoroughbred is called a hot blood.

By Glorioso Noir, Golden Darling HU was named High Scoring Horse at the 2013 Gold Coast Fall Fling with 75.338%. Photo by Sharon Packer HORSE CONNECTION MAGAZINE | MARCH/STALLION GALLERY 2014 | 35

The stallion Leonberg had a special bond with his rider Mikala Gundersen. On this day they swept the CDI Grand Prix division at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby. Together they were also Danish National Team members, CHIO Aachen competitors and multiple CDI winners. Photo by Sharon Packer

HC Did you have a specific sport in mind for your foal crop? AS Our initial focus was on hunters and jumpers but quickly we added dressage. HC Who was your foundation stallion that got your breeding program off the ground? AS That would be Noble Champion, who was the first stallion, then Glorioso Noir and Pik L came along. We bought Noble as our hunter/jumper stallion, and all three of our foundation stallions were imported here from Europe. Noble is now 26 years old and not ridden but still exercises every day and happily breeds. HC When you started breeding were you looking to do more than sell quality horses? Did you have a bigger vision such as elevating the American breeding standard or competing with European breeders? AS In all honesty, it started with just breeding quality horses and making them available so that buyers wouldn’t have to go to Europe—that they could buy the same quality horse here in the United States. But, experience has taught me, and my goals have become more focused. My instincts have served me well over the last decade and I will be just as determined about


the path for Horses Unlimited in the next decade. What has not changed is that my goal is to produce an athletic horse that sits on their hind end and has excellent gaits. HC You started out breeding hunter and jumpers but moved on to incorporate dressage, producing many successful dressage horses. What brought about that shift from one sport to another? AS Kismet, I guess. The path that I’ve been on the last decade kept bringing me back to the dressage ring. Yes, I have had, and still have, successful jumpers like my Grand Prix jumper stallion Galante HU, but the connection in dressage between horse and rider has always had an extra pull. HC Did you ever compete in hunter or jumpers? AS I did two hunter classes in my entire life and my horse refused in both classes so that was my hunter jumper career right there. That was back in high school and I loved riding, I rode bareback and loved spending time on my horse—hours and hours every day riding the ditches and through the bosque. That taught me at an early age that if you put in the work and the time you could teach horses to do anything. HC So flashing forward all of these years later, you have developed an impressive stable of award-winning stallions and their offspring. Why and how have you become so successful? AS When I started out I was very fortunate to have a mentor. Her name was Elanora “Lora” Schorlemer. I spent hours on the telephone with her and she helped me find a number of my mares. We discussed how to breed them and how to pair them with certain stallions. Lora stressed that in order to be successful at breeding you had to constantly be refining the warmblood. Without adding in the other breeds like the Thoroughbred, Arabian, Anglo-Arab or the French

“ My instincts have served me well over the last decade, and I will be just as determined about the path for Horses Unlimited in the next decade.”

blood, you lose a lot of that refinement. If you look at my stallions they all have Thoroughbred, Anglo-Arab and/or French blood in them. It took a lot of research to get my program to where it is. HC Bloodlines are important when breeding to a stallion, but aren’t the traits a stallion is known to pass on equally important? AS Yes, absolutely. The stallions I’ve had are strong in the characteristics that they pass on. Mare owners need to know what their mare lacks and needs from a sire. Noble Champion produces elasticity in all of his offspring, a swing in the back and a really strong hind leg. Pik L produces fantastic walks and canters in every one of his offspring. Glorioso Noir always produced quality gaits and great rideability and all of my Galante HU babies have been stunningly beautiful and athletic. Knowing your stallions and what they pass on is critical in producing the kind of foals that you envision. HC Knowing the bloodlines and traits doesn’t always insure you’ll get what you want in a foal. Is there anything else involved in the process? AS Yes, luck. I got very lucky but I also learned some hard lessons early. As a stallion owner, with a mare herd, if you’re going to have a successful breeding program, one of the most important parts of your breeding program is culling. Does your mare pass on her best traits in general? Does she do that when bred to your

stallions? How many foals do you have with similar pedigrees? You have to progress with each generation. Is the daughter better to keep in your herd or is the mother? It’s not always easy, but if you don’t get the foal that you want you have to be prepared to sell them, give them away or find a better job for the mare. It’s easy to hang on to every foal. I was guilty of that at the start, but I soon came to realize that I had to reduce my herd to a manageable number. I have downsized over the last seven years and now I have around 35 horses, a number that is manageable for me. HC You have started riding again after many years, and are doing dressage with Pik L, earning your USDF Bronze medal. Having owned Pik L for so long is it thrilling to be riding him?

Homebred stallion Galante HU, by Galant du Serein x Landor S, is proving his talent for Grand Prix. He will start in his first CSI this year in Wellington with rider Rikke Poulsen. Photo by Sportfot


Owned and ridden by amateur Karen Williams, Pikturesk (Pik L x Don Primero), has a lengthy list of wins including Horse of the Year. In 2013, he was USDF Region 3—PSG Champion and at the USDF National Dressage Finals he placed 3rd at Prix St Georges. Photo by


No More Rocks by Noble Champion, currently competes in Advanced Level Eventing with Bruce “Buck” Davidson Jr. Photo by Amy Dragoo

AS It is, we’ve been doing dressage for about a year together and I must say it is a huge time commitment but I am having so much fun with Pik L. I have had him since he was seven and now he is 21 years old. I am finally riding him and enjoying it very much. In regards to riding my horses, one of the most important factors in the success of my program is that I always hired professional riders. And they always appreciated the fact that if they were training one of my horses or had them in a competition schedule, I never once asked if I could sit on one of them. They have a job to do with these horses and I never wanted to get in the way of them doing their job. HC You’ve had some pretty impressive riders on your stallions over the years. Could you name some of them? AS Lisa Wilcox is riding my stallions Pikko del Cerro HU and Gallant Reflection HU. Mikala Gundersen, who has ridden many horses for me including the stallion Leonberg, has the mare Golden Darling HU, a Glorioso daughter. Rikke Poulsen has my jumper stallion Galante HU and will be showing in the CSI in Wellington this year. She also will do the CDI’s with the Pik L daughter Pikk Elena HU. One of the difficult things in the U.S. is finding riders for stallions. I’m very lucky with the team I have now. Every rider has a type of horse that they enjoy riding—some people

“ The stallions I’ve had are strong in the characteristics that they pass on.”

want a horse that they have to jazz up and some want a horse that they want to calm down; every rider is different. And it’s really important that you get the right combination of horse and rider because if that rider doesn’t have the same goals that you have, it’s never going to happen. HC In regards to American sporthorse breeding versus European—are we there yet? Are we getting better or do we still have several years to go? AS I think we can really get better. We’re breeding some great horses and some super nice mares are being bred here, but the really important thing, and it goes to what I was saying earlier about having luck with my stallions—it is a lot harder in the U.S. to be a stallion owner looking for and finding the right mare to fit the stallion than it is for a mare owner to find an appropriate stallion. HC And why is that?


2013 North American Stallion Testing Reserve Champion, Gallant Reflection HU will start his FEI dressage career with Lisa Wilcox this year. Photo by

AS In my case, I have four broodmares and six licensed stallions. Do I need to go out of my herd to find a mare? No, I know what these mares have and I know which traits my stallions have so it’s not a guessing game for me as to what kind of horse I am going to produce. That knowledge came about from years of work, trial and error and research. If you own a stallion and are looking for a specific mare type, the choices are limited and hard to find. On the other hand, a mare owner has hundreds of licensed stallions readily available. HC All of the awards your stallions and their get have earned are a testament to the quality of your program throughout the years. What is the proudest moment for you among all of the recognition, trophies and accolades? AS I know this is going to sound odd, but my proudest moment was sitting in Denmark next to dressage master Ernst Hoyos, watching his student Lisa Wilcox ride my Pikko del Cerro HU around the warm-up ring. Even though we didn’t show at

Hanoverian stallion Pikko del Cerro HU (by Pik L x Rohdiamant) had a successful first year at the CDI Grand Prix level. With Lisa Wilcox, he won several FEI Grand Prix & GP Special classes in Wellington, Florida. In Germany, at the CDN Ankum, they won both the Grand Prix and GP Special classes against some of the best dressage riders in Germany. Photo by


that particular horse show, just watching him in the ring doing his piaffe and passage gave me goose bumps. I had to pinch myself and say, “is this real?” Fourteen years ago I had met Lisa Wilcox, and now I was watching her ride my young stallion around with all of these European trainers watching my horse, a horse I bred and nurtured as he took his first breath, by my treasured Pik L. I always told people that “this horse was going to be amazing” and to have him there—that was my proudest moment so far. I was there! I had arrived!

EM Pikko de la Nube HU as a newborn foal. This full sister to Pikko del Cerro HU is now part of Horses Unlimited’s broodmare band. She produced her first foal by Leonberg in 2013. Photo by Sophie Ghedin


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Team Audi’s Facundo Pieres takes aim at the airborne polo ball. Audi was the runner-up team for this championship. 54 | MARCH/STALLION GALLERY 2014 | HORSE CONNECTION MAGAZINE


Photos courtesy of Piaget


onsidered to be one of the world’s most glamorous winter destinations, Aspen was the setting for the Piaget World Snow Polo Championship, held on the snow packed field of Wagner Park. This is Piaget’s first year as the organizer of the event, which has been held in Aspen for several years and was previously organized by the Roaring Fork Polo Club. Top-ranked Argentine polo players Facundo Pieres and Gonzalito Pieres of the Piaget Ellerstina Polo team, and polo’s most famous face, Nacho Figueras, the face of Ralph Lauren Polo, joined America’s top-ranked player, Nic Roldan, along with hosts and co-founders of the Aspen Valley Polo Club, Marc and Melissa Ganzi and Larry Boland, President of Piaget North America, to host the tournament. Piaget was also the official timekeeper of the tournament. A round-robin format was created for the three teams competing, Audi (Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini and Facundo Pieres), Piaget (Marc Ganzi, Kris Kampsen and Gonzalito Pieres) and an all-pro St. Regis team (Brandon Phillips, Nic Roldan and Nacho Figueras). Each team would play four chukkers, two against the other two teams competing. At the foot of Aspen Mountain with the snow falling, the Piaget team took to Wagner Park to compete against the St. Regis team. Excitement was in the air, as the two teams battled it out, with Phillips and Figueras each scoring a goal to deliver a 2–0 win for St. Regis. Following their loss, Piaget re-entered the field determined to beat the Audi team. Melissa Ganzi bolted into action, quickly scoring for Audi in the first thirty seconds putting the team ahead 1–0 in the first chukker.

Gonzalito Pieres for the Piaget team pushes the ball against the St. Regis team. HORSE CONNECTION MAGAZINE | MARCH/STALLION GALLERY 2014 | 55

St. Regis battled Audi for the championship cup with Nacho Figueras scoring the winning goal for St. Regis. 56 | MARCH/STALLION GALLERY 2014 | HORSE CONNECTION MAGAZINE




In the second chukker, Marc Ganzi scored for Piaget to even the score at 1–1. The crowd was silent as they watched brother vs. brother and husband vs. wife. Ultimately, Melissa Ganzi brought Audi to a 2–1 victory, as she scored the final goal through a penalty shot in the end of the second chukker. The final match saw St. Regis and Audi locked in a stalemate with neither team scoring in the first chukker. Facundo Pieres took a penalty shot in the second

chukker that was blocked by a confident Figueras, standing in the saddle, as the crowd cheered. Figueras then went on to score the final goal, bringing the black St. Regis team to victory. Inside the VIP tent, Piaget hosted a lounge for Aspen’s best and brightest to enjoy the polo action. On display were the newest Piaget Polo FortyFive timepieces, along with framed photos showing Piaget’s long history with the sport of kings. Following the match, Larry Boland

The action was hot as the snow fell during the World Snow Polo Championship. HORSE CONNECTION MAGAZINE | MARCH/STALLION GALLERY 2014 | 57

Larry Boland presented the special silver and horn trophy to winning St. Regis team members Nic Roldan and Nacho Figueras.

presented the special silver and horn trophy to the winning St. Regis team. “We are proud to be presenting the Piaget World Snow Polo Championship here in Aspen and thrilled to have both Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres with us. It was an exciting day of polo in one of the most picturesque settings in America,” stated Boland. Marc Ganzi added, “It has always been a dream of mine and my wife Melissa’s to create a polo club in Aspen. We are honored to have Piaget as the official timekeeper and to help us kick off a new era in snow polo.” Nic Roldan was named MVP while Open Quarzo, owned by Halo Polo, picked up Best Playing Pony honors. In addition to the Piaget World Snow Polo World Championship, Piaget is the title sponsor of the USPA Piaget Gold Cup and the Piaget Hamptons Cup.


Nacho Figueras and Melissa Ganzi at the post tournament party. 58 | MARCH/STALLION GALLERY 2014 | HORSE CONNECTION MAGAZINE

The sport of snow polo was first introduced in 1985 at the resort town of St. Moritz, Switzerland. The inaugural event entertained several hundred curious spectators. In the U.S. snow polo is competed exclusively in Aspen, Colorado. Snow Polo is a modified version of polo with games played on a snow-packed arena surrounded by fencing keeping the ball in play. Teams are comprised of three players, as in typical arena polo. Play consists of four 7-minute chukkers (periods). The horses (polo ponies) are shod with special cleated shoes to provide better traction. The ball is larger and lighter, and bright red, to better accommodate winter conditions. On a snow-covered field in Aspen, one of the world’s most posh resorts, this thrilling game on horseback is played with the same speed and intensity and excitement as St. Moritz.


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In Memoriam 2013 They have provided transportation, comfort, pleasure and sport. They have helped build roads, log forests, and assisted in the development of many countries. They stand as an icon of freedom and inspiration. No animal has given more of itself to man than the horse. Our annual tradition continues as HC pays tribute to the horses that gave us their all in 2013, and then left us.


Eagle Lion

ruce Davidson’s illustrious eventing horse Eagle Lion was a crossbred gelding by the German thoroughbred stallion Gipfel, and out of the Irish Sport Horse mare Stream Lion (by Ideal Water). He was owned by Dr George Strawberry. Eagle Lion had numerous top placings both nationally and internationally. In 1995, Davidson and Eagle Lion were the first US pair to win the Badminton CCI4*. Between the years 1990 and 1998, Eagle Lion earned 1277 points. He is the only horse to complete the 4 star course at Badminton double clean (no jump penalties, no time penalties) four times. Eagle Lion was immortalized in a statue by artist Jean Clagdett, along with rider Bruce Davidson, at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2007. The sculpture depicts the pair jumping into the Head of the Lake at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Eagle Lion passed the age of 27.




ounce, who was ridden by Vaughn Jefferis in three-day eventing, won the individual World Championship at The Hague in 1994, and was on the winning New Zealand team at the World Championships in Rome in 1998. He was also on the bronze medal winning team at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Bounce, an unraced New Zealand-bred thoroughbred, was named European Eventing Horse of the Year in 1998. He had an enviable Badminton record, finishing second, third, fifth and 10th in four starts over five years from 1994 to 1998. Bred by WM Harwood by the stallion Mr. Lee (Le Filou x Marion Belle) and out of Western Note (Great Western x Notable), he was bought by Vicki Glynn as an unbroken youngster. Bounce’s registered name was Mr. Walter—thus his paddock name was Walter. Jefferis bought Bounce in 1994. Their last international event was at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and in their final competition later that year they won the threestar individual eventing title at Puhinui. Bounce was 18. He went on to live a long life in New Zealand, passing away at the ripe old age of 30.



anadian show jumper Zucarlos, who was Jay Hayes’ mount for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, was a top international show jumper and breeding stallion at Hayes’ North Ridge Farm in Orangeville, Ontario. Only three riders ever competed with the spirited stallion; Jay Hayes for his entire career, Olympic Gold Medalist Eric Lamaze (who worked for and trained with Jay when Zucarlos was younger), and Lauren Hayes, who rode him briefly as her first junior jumper before he enjoyed a full retirement. A truly modern, athletic, balanced, and careful horse, Zucarlos was full of scope, and always a crowd favorite with his trademark bucking. “There are too many stories to tell, but one is at the Barcelona Olympics where there was a long approach to the first fence of the final individual qualifier. He started his bucking and did so all the way to the first fence! The Spanish crowd loved it and started chanting ‘Olé’ in rhythm to his bucking! He kept his focus; but he loved it,” reminisced Jay. Although a small horse, Zucarlos competed fiercely against the best, including the legendary Big Ben. Even with the bucking and his stature, he was


an accomplished horse who competed in and won many grand prix classes. He was a strong member of 15 nations cup teams, competed at the 1989 Tampa World Cup Finals, the 1990 Stockholm World Championships, and helped Jay become the top-placed Canadian at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Zucarlos also finished within the top three in 10 world cup qualifiers between 1988 and 1991, and was second in the 1992 Canadian Championships. Zucarlos passed away at age 32.


etween 1994 and 2003, the Hanoverian show jumper E.T. (Espri x Gracia by Garibaldi II), was number one in the world show jumping rankings for three consecutive years, and was twice a World Cup winner. E.T. was a modern horse—light, rapid and nimble. Unfortunately, as this type of horse was not the standard in the Hanover region 20 years ago, he was gelded as a three-year-old, before anyone could foresee his exceptional qualities. In September 2003, Hugo Simon, E.T.’s rider, and Eric Palmer, who founded the French company Cryozootech, started the cloning process while ET was still competing. E.T.CryozootechStallion was born in 2006. Zangersheide Studbook and the AES studbook have approved him as a stallion. Like the original, E.T.CryozootechStallion has a blaze and two hind socks. A DNA test carried out by the official laboratory Labogena showed the pair was genetically identical. Although E.T. died at the age of 25, he lives on through his clone.



Storm Cat

y Storm Bird and out of the stakes-winning Secretariat mare Terlingua, Storm Cat was bred and raced by William T. Young. During his racing career he captured the Young America Stakes (gr. I) and finished 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (gr. I) in 1985, on the way to $570,610 in career earnings. Storm Cat retired from racing in 1987 to stand stud at Overbrook Farm. Breeding his first book of mares in 1988 at a stud fee of $30,000, he was pensioned in 2008 after a 20-year stud career that saw his fee rise to as high as $500,000. In early 2009, a new procedure developed at Texas A&M University enabled Storm Cat to continue breeding via AI. He remained at stud for quarter horse mares for a fee of $20,000. In the thoroughbred world, Storm Cat sired earners of over $127 million, 8 champions and 108 graded stakes winners including winners of the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Kentucky Oaks and five Breeders’ Cup races, ranking second on the all-time Breeders’ Cup sire list, along with numerous European Group 1 races. He topped the general sire list twice, the juvenile sire list a record seven times and was leading broodmare sire in 2012. “Storm Cat was a once-in-a-lifetime horse and the key to the success that Overbrook Farm enjoyed. Overbrook Farm dispersed its thoroughbred operations in late 2009, retaining only a small racing stable. ”The retirement of Storm Cat ended a phenomenal era at Overbrook,” William Young said at the time. Ric Waldman, who managed Storm Cat’s stud career said, “Storm Cat was a major impact sire—a major impact on the future of the breed and a major impact on the lives of those of us at Overbrook.” The leading sire and Group 1 winner was euthanized on April 24 at the Young family’s Overbrook Farm in Lexington, due to complications from infirmities of old age. Storm Cat was 30.



Cal Dorado (Flash )

rom an inauspicious beginning, Cal Dorado certainly made his presence known. Given away as a four-month-old to Californian Barbara Parkening, “Flash,” as he was known by his friends, became an international star. The purebred Arabian was sired by the Bask son, Cal-OBask and born in February 1979. With two clubfeet and way too much white to suit his breeder, the sire’s owner agreed to take him back. Barbara happened to go to the farm to visit Cal-OBask and spotted a weanling in a nearby corral. “It was love at first sight,” says Barbara. After taking on the little guy, Barbara hauled Flash long distances to receive corrective shoeing to improve his feet. Barbara recounts, “I started him under saddle and the put him on long lines. It didn’t take him long to figure things out and he taught himself how to canter on three legs; we thought that was a pretty good trick.” Barbara taught the gorgeous flashy chestnut how to do high school dressage movements in long lines. He would walk down the centerline on his back legs, doing passage, piaffe, Spanish walk, pirouette, bow and much more. She used him in her “Dancing With Horses” traveling theatrical show. When Flash was 17, Barbara went to her friend Hilda with a plan. She asked Hilda to make him a Grand Prix horse and win a National Championship on him. Hilda showed him in open shows at Grand Prix, earning scores in the 60s. In 1997, they took Flash to Albuquerque to compete at US Nationals in the highest dressage level they offered at the time, Prix St. Georges. Flash and Hilda won the class with a score of 65.93%. They followed that up by putting on a dressage demonstration before a crowd of 5,000 spectators that earned a standing ovation. Later, the years of walking on his hind legs caused him some soreness in his hocks, so he was retired from competition. Flash passed away at the lovely old age of 34.


Lauries Crusador

nfluential thoroughbred stallion Lauries Crusador has been laid to rest at the German State Stud in Celle. He was 28. Lauries Crusador (Welsh Pageant xx/ High Top xx) was bred in England where he started life as a racehorse. Well-known horse expert and stallion owner, the late Maas J. Hell, discovered the bay horse, and in 1991, Lauries Crusador xx became an active breeding stallion for the German State Stud. In 2006, Lauries Crusador was named the 15th “Hanoverian Stallion of the Year” in one of the highlights of the year’s Stallion Licensing in Verden. It was the first time that a thoroughbred stallion had been honored with the award. He had 2,713 foals, with 264 of his daughters being named state premium mares, and he also had 55 licensed sons from the Hanoverian Verband, among them the exceptional stallion Londonderry and his highly successful son, Londontime.



onfire, one of the most successful dressage horses of the modern era, was Anky van Grunsven’s Olympic gold medal dressage horse. The Oldenburg son of Welt As (by Weltmeyer) was born in March 1983, and was bred by Karl Bernd Westerholt of Lemwerder, Germany. Bonfire was out of Warnie, by the thoroughbred Praefectus. Van Grunsven’s father bought Bonfire, who was at first quite hot which affected his paces. But he was a fast learner and picked up advanced moves such as piaffe and passage, so van Grunsven continued to work with him. By the time he was seven, he was competing at Grand Prix level. With van Grunsven, he won one gold medal and four silver medals at the Olympics and one gold and three silvers at the World Equestrian Games, and several World Cup dressage finals. He was also national champion in The Netherlands nine times. Bonfire was retired from competition after the 2000 Olympic Games. He lived out his days on the van Grunsven farm. He died at the age of 30 from complications due to laminitis. There is a statue of Bonfire in van Grunsven’s hometown of Erp in The Netherlands. HORSE CONNECTION MAGAZINE | MARCH/STALLION GALLERY 2014 | 65


Unbridled s’ Song

he 17hh 20-year-old son of Unbridled stood his entire career at Taylor Made Stallions in Nicholasville, Kentucky. “Unbridled’s Song was majestic from the beginning. Rarely are there horses that are supposed to be great from the beginning and actually are,” said Taylor Made President & CEO Duncan Taylor. Unbridled’s Song has sired 730 winners from just over 1000 lifetime starters to date, with nearly $90 million in career progeny earnings. Earlier in 2013, his leading older horse Graydar impressively captured the Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream, giving Unbridled’s Song 100 career stakes winners as a sire—a landmark of tripledigit stakes winners that only 26 other stallions in North American history have accomplished. As a racehorse, Unbridled’s Song was also top class. The most accomplished son of Unbridled, the talented gray earned respect as a leading 2-year-old and 3-year-old of his generation. He captured the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at two before going on to win the Florida Derby (G1) and Wood Memorial (G2) at three. Unbridled’s Song earned $1,311,800 before retiring to stud at Taylor Made in 1997. Unbridled’s Song proved to be one of the most popular commercial sires of all time. His $298,118 lifetime yearling average is best among all North American sires and ranks third all-time in North America among sires by gross yearling sales with $198,844,653 in gross sales. Bred in Kentucky by Mandysland Farm out of the Caro (Ire) mare Trolley Song, Unbridled’s Song had recently completed the 2013 breeding season at Taylor Made Stallions, where he was bred to about 90 mares and stood at stud for $60,000. He died at the age of 20.


Little Tiger (Frostie)


he 15.1hh grey mare by Java Tiger finished 15th overall at Burghley in 2008 and won the Best Mare title, adding to her superb clears around both Badminton and Bramham. She was also one of the highest graded mares in the 2007 Sports Horse Great Britain Mare Gradings. “Frostie” was retired from eventing in 2011 at the age of 16 and had been hunting and team chasing since. She was bred by embryo transfer and her progeny includes Don’t Stop Me Now, a six-year-old mare by Catherston Liberator. Little Tiger was also bred to Mill Law and Classic Primitive. Frostie was originally bought by vet Polly Taylor to compete on at a lower level, but Frostie’s talents very quickly presented themselves and Polly gave the ride to professional event rider Phoebe Buckley, who produced the mare from Pre Novice to Advanced. Little Tiger passed at the age of 18.

Reiki Tyme

anadian Pan American silver medal team dressage horse, Reiki Tyme, was a Hanoverian gelding ridden by Roberta Byng-Morris, after she bought him as a four-year-old in 2003. “I purchased Reiki Tyme as a four-year-old in 2003 with the goal of one day achieving my lifelong dream of becoming a member of the Canadian Dressage Team,” she said. “It was Reiki who gave me the strength to carry on when my husband Dawson Mizener passed away in 2009. Reiki taught me that whatever happens in life you have to keep believing.” Roberta achieved her dream when she and Reiki represented Canada in the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico. Together they helped the team win the silver medal.” Reiki Tyme died at the age of 14. 66 | MARCH/STALLION GALLERY 2014 | HORSE CONNECTION MAGAZINE



anadian Pan American Games dressage silver medalist Korona, a Dutch Warmblood gelding, was the beloved partner of Canadian Equestrian Team dressage rider Shannon Dueck. “Korona was a talented, powerful, yet elegant international competitor, whose charisma in and out of the competition ring was legendary,” said Equine Canada President Michael Gallagher. “Our heartfelt condolences are extended to the Dueck family and all of those who had the privilege of knowing this great horse.” Dueck and Korona had many domestic and international successes, including the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, where they proved extremely competitive and, in spectacular fashion, won the Freestyle competition and claimed the individual silver medal for Canada. “Korona (Kees) came to me as a wild three-year-old, and together we proudly represented Canada at the 1999 Pan Am Games, the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, and the 2003 World Cup Final in Göteborg, Sweden,” said Dueck. “He was a very special spirit embodied in a plain bay horse body. We had to make the wrenching decision to put him down—he was in a lot of pain from laminitis. I don’t know where great horses go when they die, but I know he is there and I know he is royalty.” Korona was 21.


Colonels Smoking Gun (Gunner)

aminitis claimed the life of renowned reining horse sire Colonels Smoking Gun, known simply as “Gunner.” The 20-year-old National Reining Horse Hall of Fame inductee and $5 Million Sire, was owned by the McQuay family of McQuay Stables in Tioga, Texas. The reining world fell in love with the diminutive sorrel with the floppy ears and white tail. After tying for the NRHA Futurity Open Reserve title as a 3-year-old, he went on win the US Equestrian Team Reining Championship in 2001. He was immortalized as a Breyer Horse and finished his career with earnings over $177,000. The McQuays have owned Gunner since 2005, and in those ensuing years, his record as a sire elevated him to legendary status. His outstanding offspring include 2009 NRHA Futurity and 2010 Derby Open Champion, Gunnatrashya. Gunner has sired numerous Futurity and Derby finalists and champions, in both the Open and Non Pro divisions, including 2012 NRHA Open Futurity Champion, Americasnextgunmodel, 2012 NRHA Open Futurity Reserve Champion, Gunners Tinseltown, and 2012 NRHA Non Pro Co-Champion, Customized Gunner. Gunner has also sired Gunners Special Nite, winner of the individual Gold medal at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. As word spread of Gunner’s demise, his owners immediately began to receive texts and calls from all over the globe, further evidence of the great stallion’s popularity and impact. Tim McQuay said: “We appreciate everyone who supported Gunner through his career—he had a great team and we will truly miss him.” He will be laid to rest next to Hollywood Dun It at the McQuay farm.



ne of the most well known Connemara event horses of his time, Erin Go Bragh’s career culminated with successes at the Advanced level in 1998 and 1999. His pairing with rider Carol Kozlowski was the subject of the highly acclaimed children’s video, The Little Horse That Could. Owned by the late Edward and Jacqueline Harris, Go Bragh flourished as a driving horse before Carol began competing him in 1988. Competing all over the east coast and in Canada, “Go Bragh” quickly became a crowd favorite. His diminutive size (15.1hh) often made him an underdog, but his triumphs included such top events as Ledyard Three-Day, Southern Pines, Groton House Farm and Morven Park. Go Bragh’s career included playing a significant role in changing the international rules for three-day eventing. Harking back to the sport’s origins as a test for the ideal cavalry officer’s mount, all horses were required to carry a minimum of 165 pounds (including tack) for the speed and endurance portion of the competition, which was comprised of roads and tracks, steeplechase, another section of roads and tracks, and then cross-country, making the total overall distance around 16 miles, with the toughest portion being the last four miles, at speed over varied terrain and solid obstacles. Horses with petite riders had to carry lead to bring them up to the required weight, which was not too terrible for big horses, but added a substantial burden for smaller mounts such as Go Bragh. Carrying and jumping with dead weight is not at all the same as having an active rider. It was Carol and Go Bragh who put this issue in the spotlight before the Atlanta Olympics, where the weight requirement was reduced to 154 pounds in deference to the heat. The rule was quietly abolished at the FEI general meeting in Switzerland the following spring, with Carol receiving a call in the middle of the night telling her of the ruling. Go Bragh’s direct part in this decision was his participation in the weight trial study conducted in Geneseo by Dr Hilary Clayton, a world-renowned equine kinematics expert. Go

Braugh was one of six horses in the study that was assigned 40 pounds of lead and then monitored/videotaped over a 3-foot, 7-inch table to study the impact the weight had on their jumping style. The results of Clayton’s study proved conclusively that carrying large amounts of dead weight negatively impacted horses’ jumping style. With this finding, the rules were quickly abolished over humane concern for the wellbeing of the horse. Most young riders today have no idea what riders Carol’s size and horses Go Bragh’s size went through to comply and compete. Thanks to them, they never will. Go Bragh’s notoriety led to a Breyer model cast in his image in 1998, when he was named “Breyer Horse of the Year.” Breyer made just less than 22,000 model Go Braghs in the 1998 limited edition run. Go Bragh was also included by the Chronicle of the Horse in their top 100 Horses of the 20th century. His talent didn’t go unnoticed by breeders and he sired more than 225 offspring during his breeding career in Geneseo, New York. Determined to preserve Go Bragh’s sterling record, Jacqueline and Carol agreed he should be retired at the top of his game. At the age of 16, an emotional retirement ceremony was held for this champion at the 1999 Genesee Valley Hunt Race Meet, less than a mile from his home. He enjoyed his retirement and loving care at Hideaway Farm, receiving visitors and fans from all over the world. Carol describes him as one of the very special horses in her riding career. “I’ve ridden horses with more talent, but none that tried harder. He came into my world at a perfect time and the incredible adventures that he took me on were life changing. “I’m just grateful that I had the good fortune to be his partner, and I so appreciate everything the Harris’ did for him when he was competing and in his golden years of retirement. Knowing he had such wonderful care and left us peacefully was such a comfort when it came time to say good bye to him.” The “little horse that could” passed away from a full life at the age of 30.

Erin Go Bragh


EA Cygnus




his champion black stallion, named Stallion of the Year in 2009 by the World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses, produced many elite offspring and was the grandsire of Totilas. Kostolany was the Champion of the stallion approvals in Neumünster and has stood at stud for his owners, the Langels family, ever since. He is one of the most influential Trakehner stallions of the past years and has had significant impact on other warmblood breeds through various sons. He sired the Neumünster Champion stallion E.H. Gribaldi, who not only enjoyed an international Grand Prix dressage career with Edward Gal, but also is one of the leading dressage sires in the world today. His sons Painted Black and Moorland’s Totilas are among the top Dutch dressage horses of the late 2000s. Kostolany was by Enrico Caruso (Mahagoni x Elchniederung) and out of Kapstadt (Falke x Ibikus). He was trained up to Grand Prix level but did not compete at high-level events, but was famous for his Phantom of the Opera demonstration with trainer Otto Langels. Kostolany also sired the premium stallion Tolstoi, an influential sire in Germany and represented at the Langels Stud by his champion son Freudenfest. Kostolany is also the sire of the FEI dressage stallion Silvermoon, who sired Blue Hors Matiné, who in 2006 ruled at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen. Kostolany has sired more than 150 registered broodmares for the Trakehner breed in Germany. He was 28 when he passed.

S Grand Prix Arabian dressage horse EA Cygnus and Mimi Stanley made history together, being among the top 50 horses of all time for number of USDF Grand Prix tests completed—75. Their last test together was in September 2013, in which they performed in a snaffle, earning a 61.915%. Owned by the Stanley family of Prairie Rose Training Center in North Dakota, Cygnus is the only Arabian to earn a USDF JR/Young Rider Grand Prix Horse of the Year Award. He is also the second horse in the country to earn a USDF Horse Performance Certificate at every level of dressage. He also won four National Championships and five Reserve National Championships. Cygnus died at the age of 23.


America’s Wild Horses

he cruel, illegal and inhumane roundups of our wild horses continue and 2013 was one of the worst years for wild horse deaths at the hand of the BLM and the contractors who chase them down with helicopters. At the Palomino Valley Holding Facility alone, there was a staggering 577 wild horses that died under the care of the BLM in 2013. Held in pens with no shelter from the intense heat in the summer or the numbing cold of winter, without windbreaks or adequate water, our wild horses are dying in numbers that the BLM tries to hide from the public. Hundreds and hundreds of wild horses will continue to die under the horrible mismanagement of the BLM unless enough public pressure is put on the government to cease this wasteful and illegal roundup. Make your voice heard in 2014 before the last of these icons of our western heritage are wiped off the face of the earth. HORSE CONNECTION MAGAZINE | MARCH/STALLION GALLERY 2014 | 69

The Horse Connection

This little girl is Elizabeth Lacey and she is meeting my horse (Poppy) for the first time. Her dad is on our barn crew and he’s quite fond of my horse and wanted a photo of Elizabeth with Poppy. I love that her “buckskin hair color” matches my horse’s coat. Photo by Elizabeth Lord Send in your photo showing the human – horse connection and win a free subscription. Email it in high resolution (the largest size) to


2003, 16.2 h WesTfalen sTalliOn by COn CaPiTOl/PilOT

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photo: Flying Horse Photography

Frozen Semen Available. 2014 Breeding Fee: $1,500 Contender Con Capitol Irina B Con Capilot Pilot St.Pr.St. Port Said IV Liane

Approved German Westfalen Verband German Oldenburg Verband

2013 Show Highlights 1st $50,000 EMO GP - HITS Desert Classic 1st $25,000 GGT Gooting GP of Huntington Beach 4th $40,000 Show Park Summer Classic GP

Performance Grand Prix and Two World Cup Qualifying wins with Mandy Porter

4th $50,000 Show Park WC Qualifier 1st $54,5000 Sacramento WC Qualifier 4th $50,000 Las Vegas WC Qualifier

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