We don’t make a ton of warmblood foals in this country. We breed a lot of horses, and it’s a big country, but unlike our European counterparts, our amazingly diverse number of disciplines and equine interests means that we breed lots of different type of horses – Thoroughbreds and Saddlebreds and Arabians and Quarter Horses, stock breeds and rail class breeds and race horses – while Germany and Holland and Sweden and Denmark basically make Olympic-discipline sport horses and not a whole lot else.
And because the American market also wants warmbloods bred to be hunters – a sport that prizes flatter gaits – it means that every sporthorse foal with suspension and power and ability that takes its first breath on US soil is precious, precious, precious to those of us in dressage land. Of course some are going to break, or limp, or die. But the loss to sport is when they end up in hands that don’t maximize their potential. And there’s a breakdown somewhere in the communication lines, because there are plenty of us out there capable of developing a horse to the Big Levels who’ve never gotten a phone call from a breeder or young horse starter to say “Hey, I have something interesting you should see,” just as too many of us riders bypass American breeders and young horse starters and instead go right to Europe when shopping.
I want to hear from those who have my next Fender, Midge and Lala, all sport horses bred here in the States. Sue Stickle photo.
Those lines of communication need to be more open. I want to be able to bridge that gap, find a way for us trainers and riders to be able to easily look under every American nook and cranny to find the top shelf horses that we’re producing here, and use our buying power to incentivize the breeding for the gaits and ability needed to succeed in the Big Ring.
And as such, I want the owners of interesting young talent to call me when they have something for sale. If it’s the right time for me to snatch it up, groovy. If it’s not, then I might know someone who is. And let me be clear on this: I’m not saying that breeders or young horse owners should be giving away their stock, sponsoring riders with a horse. If you want to do that, cool. But I expect to pay for quality horses, whether it’s money of my own or the sponsorship of an owner who believes in me. And every professional rider I know agrees with me. Good things cost money, and we know that. Wouldn’t we all rather it be spent here?
I hope my next Midge was bred here. Sue Stickle photo.
I don’t have a brilliant idea for a sweeping change to make, a better way to bridge the communication lines between breeders and riders. All I really know is what I personally want. So here’s my standing offer. I’m tall, so I need something that matures over 17h. Stallions will be gelded, unless you want to partner on them. I’m not a mare person at heart so if it’s a mare she needs to be more of the warrior woman mare and less of the pins-her-ears-for-fun mare. I prefer short coupled, and I tend to not like horses with Sandro Hit up close. And the pony-loving 12-year-old girl in me loves chestnuts and grays. If you have it, and you think it’s showing potential, I want you to call me. I’ll need to see X-rays, so if you don’t have recent ones – within 6 months – then I expect that the price reflect that. I tend to look for horses 3-4 and already under saddle, but if it’s a little younger or not yet broke, or if it’s a little older and behind in its training (but isn’t a wing nut), I want to know about it, too.
Here’s what you’ll get from me in exchange, if it’s the right horse at the right time. A fair price, first and foremost. You’ll also get a whole lot of promotion of your program. And your horse will be developed tactfully, correctly and well, in a tremendous environment that holistically cares for horses like they’re horses, not like they’re equipment.
I’m starting to sniff around for what’s next for me, but this is an offer that isn’t time related. A year from now, three years from now, next Thursday, anytime. And if you have something special but it doesn’t sound like it’ll work for me, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals you like. You never know!
Reach me via email!