Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Blog Relaunch

I have always enjoyed doing blog posts while on European trips, but I haven’t blogged from home yet. That‘s about to change! I plan to blog on topics of interest to North American breeders and enthusiasts. I hear the most interesting things from people, which are often learning experiences for me. I hope to share topics of interest and hope you will send me suggestions for topics and continue to share all those interesting factoids with me. Please contact me at if you have ideas to share.

My new assistant since 2016, when I relocated to Spokane, WA, is my daughter, Annie Grinolds. It has been a delight working together. She is smart, friendly, capable, polite, has great phone skills, and can even spell! Though she was raised on our family horse farm and thus has good basic knowledge of horses and rode a bit as a kid, she was new to the warmblood world when she began working for me. Annie has studied diligently to learn about sport horses and really enjoys our work. She has been responsible for upping our social media presence and freeing me up to do things like, well, writing a blog.
A recent topic of interest to breeders has been Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome. When the topic first broke to the general public last April many people pretty much freaked out. Some were advocating eliminating all carriers from the breeding pool. Now that folks have had time to do some research, most have come to realize that the most critical thing is to test your mares. Then you can breed to any stallion without getting a fragile foal. You still have a 25% chance of getting a carrier, but a carrier can be a performance horse, or even be bred, as long as you breed it to a non-carrier, as then there is no risk of getting an lethal foal. Over time this gene can be eliminated from the warmblood population, without eliminating valuable bloodstock from the breeding population. Again, test your mares!
Yesterday, I received from Germany the book “The Hanoverian Horse,” by multiple authors. I’ve lusted for this book when I’ve seen it in the Verband’s sales booth at the stallion licensings. I haven’t purchased it because it’s only been available in German, so I was thrilled to see a 2018 edition in English. It’s a large-format 400 page book packed with the history of the Hanoverian and famous farms and breeders.  As I go through it, I’ll share some of the many insights. This tidbit of history details the first German breeding system:  
“Until the 17th and 18th century, horses predominantly reproduced without breeding control and selection in so called “wild studs” (Wildengestuet), untouched in nature from where they were captured and domesticated, depending on the individual purpose. Prezellius reported in 1777 about so-called “half-wild studs” with mares living in the wild all year round and stallions kept in the stable and only released back into the wild during the breeding season. This type of horse keeping can certainly be considered a first specific breeding measure, mainly implemented by studfarms, which were initially separated from rural horse breeding.”

I loved this little tidbit. It reminds me of the way Western ranches, beginning in the 1930s and 40s, turned out Army Remount Thoroughbred stallions with their “native” mares. The Army then made regular buying trips to the ranches to buy the tough, hardy offspring as mounts for the Army. Because the local cowboys had (and still have) a predilection for colored horses, many of the mares were colored. The offspring the Army didn’t buy were sent by the rail carload back East to be used as polo ponies and “English” horses. Old photos reveal many show horses of that time as having spots, high white socks and bald faces. I’ve often thought that the discrimination against colored horses that used to prevail in the early sport horse world here in North America was because people wanted to distinguish their European warmbloods from American-bred horses. Remember when sport horse owners and breeders only wanted solid bays with no chrome? Well, those days are long gone and even the Europeans have to admit that a good horse can be any color. And as many breeders have found out, you can have two horses of equal quality, but the one with four socks and blaze will usually sell first.
This reminds me of reading Mary O’Hara’s novels as a girl. She wrote a fictional series about her real life on the Remount Ranch in Wyoming. My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead and Green Grass of Wyoming are the titles of her books, and if you’ve never read them, you must. They are atmospheric and fun and actually helped inspire my vision of rural living. I used to look for the ranch when I drove past Tie Siding and Virginia Dare when I lived in Wyoming for a few years but I never managed to locate it.
A little commercial: Superior Equine Sires is the only semen brokerage in the country that still conducts "open" orders, where you can order any stallion from our list, depending on the country of the sale. This allows breeder to choose from a vast array of stallions not offered anywhere else. We also offer shipping services, if you prefer to buy your own semen and have us import it for you. 
With that, I’ll close for now but I’ll be back with more blog posts in the near future.