Spanish stallions have arrived
Our newest stallions, SDF Pegaso and Quemado Caracol were imported from Spain in late 2016. Both are currently in training in Florida with Luis Reteguiz-Denizard for the winter season, and will be available for breeding in 2017.
Check our Facebook page for current photos and other information about both of these talented horses while we prepare their pages on our website.
For inquiries, please contact us at Info@SilverDrache.com or via phone at 317.679.7433.
Congratulations Shire Stallion Mufasa – 2015 USDF All-Breed Award
Shire stallion Mufasa X and rider-trainer Luis Reteguiz-Denizard concluded the 2015 season as winners of the United States Dressage Federation Adequan All-Breed Award for the American Shire Horse Association.
We are so pleased with Mufasa’s performance, and have been delighted by the reaction of judges and fans during the show season. Wherever they go, he and Lou command attention as a visually stunning and highly harmonious pair. Given his significant size, spectators are impressed to learn how light and well-balanced he appears as he performs movements. It’s been a satisfying journey for us and for Lou to demonstrate that inherent ability and correct training always shine through, regardless of breed.
Their partnership has more fully developed over the course of the last few years, and we are also anxiously anticipating the arrival of a 2016 foal through a breeding commissioned by Lou to his Hanovarian mare, Weltharmonie (Weltgeist x Walerie).
Mufasa returned to Delante Dresage in Palm City, Florida in early October to prepare for the 2016 show season. He will also stand at Delante during the winter and early spring, and both fresh, cooled and frozen are available to approved mares. Contact us for more information.
We’re looking forward to a great season and more stunning photographs of #TeamX!
Stallion Management – Part Three
Previously published in ‘The Fjord Herald’ Magazine – Winter 2014
(Part Three in a Three-Part Series)
Training and Exposure
By far the most straightforward route to a well-mannered, gentlemanly stallion is through consistent training and exposure to the world. As with any horse, progressively introducing him to different environments, circumstances and venues such as shows, parades, trail rides, fairs and exhibitions, builds confidence when approached correctly.
Stallions require an additional element of planning when it comes to public events as you must always be aware of other horses and of humans who may approach your horse and assume he is as benign as he appears. Being aware of your surroundings and planning how and where you might create some space for your horse should it become necessary is essential. In extremely crowded situations, such as a State Fair might present, it is a good idea to have a walker accompany you when your horse is away from his stall, just in case you need someone to create a path for you or to warn other exhibitors that your horse is a stallion as many people do not realize that your doe-eyed pony can become a huffing, puffing fire-breathing dragon in certain circumstances.
With a young stud colt, and most especially with a mature stallion who lacks exposure at different venues, these experiences need to occur in the presence of an confident handler and preferably one who has an established, respectful relationship with the horse. It is critical during this time to never allow him to bend the rules. He should not be allowed to nudge, nibble or crowd you even when he is unsure of what is expected of him. As you progress to situations that are more stressful (such as mares or other stallions in proximity while he is working) strong foundational training will help to ensure you can recapture his attention regardless of the stimuli at hand. If you are planning to use your stallion for live cover in-hand, this is absolutely critical. (Note: live cover in-hand can be extremely dangerous to handlers and should only be attempted by experts or veterinary professionals.) The more frequently he can be exposed to other horses while working, the more consistent his ability to remain focused on his job will become until such time as he understands that when the tack goes on, it’s all business. It is certainly not too much to expect a stallion to share a ring with other horses and remain on his best behavior – but this does not happen overnight and takes a commitment to consistent, correct training to achieve it. Placing him in a show environment when he has not been off his farm in years is not fair to the horse or the other competitors who may suffer the consequences of his misbehavior.
With four stallions on site, we regularly work them at the same time and occasionally will test them by placing them in close proximity to each other during work. Or, we’ll work one while another is at liberty next to the arena and is generally encouraging lots of misbehavior. I find that allowing the stallions to express themselves vocally can help relieve tension during work – so long as they remain focused and respond to what is being asked of them. Thus, I only correct ‘talking’ when it is accompanied by disobedience. We also work them in the proximity of mares, geldings, foals and horses they are unfamiliar with as regularly as possible to keep their work ethic fresh and to reinforce the idea that the rules remain consistent regardless of the situation at hand.
Additionally, traveling with stallions becomes much easier when they are brought into contact with each other and with other horses (both mares and geldings) on a regular basis. There are few things more terrifying than an all-out brawl taking place in a moving trailer and the more exposure he has to his barn mates, the less of an event sharing the trailer with them becomes. To acclimate them for showing season, which arrives at the same time as breeding season in our area of the country, we move the stallions that will be traveling into adjacent stalls where they are separated only by the stall grills so that they can communicate physically but still remain safe. The adjustment period is usually a matter of hours and on travel day we find that we have one less thing to worry about when the time comes to load the trailer and get on the road.
This type of training is beneficial to the stallions, obviously, as it provides mental stimulation for them. But perhaps more importantly, it produces a consistently well-behaved, safer horse that is, in the eye of the uneducated public, an excellent ambassador for his farm and breed. Should you find that you must sell such a horse, there are far more eligible buyers for a stallion that is easily handled, and his emotional value goes up exponentially. Barn life in general is far easier when a trip to a show is rendered a ‘non-event’ due to diligent training and exposure.
In a perfect world, only the finest specimens of horse would remain intact for breeding. Regardless of his breeding and conformation, if you are intent upon keeping your horse a stallion, it is critical to perform an honest assessment and ask yourself, “Do I possess the financial resources, physical resources, skill, and time to commit to creating a safe, gentlemanly horse? Would the job (discipline) I have chosen for him and his value be more secure if he were a gelding? Can I promise myself that he will not end up living his life as a solitary creature in dark, corner stall?” As owners and enthusiasts of such a unique breed, we are called upon to make the right choice for these horses and to do everything possible to ensure the next generation inherits the best of their traits. I hope this article has provided some insight regarding how that may be done.
Stallion Management – Part Two
Previously published in ‘The Fjord Herald’ Magazine – Winter 2014
(Part Two in a Three-Part Series)
“Ask a mare, tell a gelding, discuss it with a stallion.” There is a great deal of truth in this saying. In my experience, stallions are unique creatures in that they tend to develop relationships with one person in particular and work to please that individual, primarily because their contact with other horses is, in most cases limited. Therefore, their key relationships shift to horse-human, rather than horse-horse. I have found that stallions will bond strongly and react with affection in most interactions with “their” human.
Our relationships are based upon mutual respect but there is a wholesale understanding that I am in charge and, when necessary, discipline will be swift, judicious and consistent (as it is in the natural herd environment). Developing this type of relationship requires time and skill, and I have learned from several fairly painful mistakes. On each of those occasions I knew at the exact moment that I was about to have a problem with a horse that I had made a mistake in my handling; I was at fault one hundred percent of the time. The learning curve with regard to handling stallions is exponentially drastic and the consequences of allowing a horse too much trust too soon can be extremely serious. Regardless of how quiet he appears at any given moment, a stallion is a testosterone-powered mountain of bone and muscle and he can cause very drastic damage to a human being.
Overlooking his biologic nature and treating him as a pet will eventually get yourself or someone around you injured; possible fatally. It is critical to develop a respectful relationship with stallions and professional training is absolutely necessary for long-term success and a consistently well-behaved horse. If you are not sure whether or not you are capable of managing a stallion, it is always wise to seek the training and advice of an experienced associate before taking the risk of doing so.
Several years ago I showed our two-year old Shire stud colt in-hand at Dressage at Lamplight in Wayne, Illinois. He behaved like a perfect school boy on the triangle and I was feeling like a proud mother. As we left the ring, he was jumped and attacked by an older stallion whose inexperienced handler had failed to notice that he had dropped and had the ‘look of love’ in his eyes. He kicked her in the face to get loose, my colt bolted in terror and the two of them careened around the show grounds for ten minutes, causing an extremely dangerous situation for everyone involved – all due to her inattention. Afterward (neither horse nor any other humans were seriously injured), his sobbing handler said, “But he never acts like that at home!”
Handling a stallion requires your undivided attention, and it is important to remember that whether you have owned them for a week or throughout their lifetime, they are all capable of that type of response. In spite of their adorable appearances, stallions are also capable of extreme hostility and rarely forget an injustice or a perceived unfairness. It is important to remember that stallions are dominant males, and when confronted with the human equivalent; for example a male with a strong, dominating personality who approaches boldly with direct eye contact and a challenging disposition, disastrous results can occur and the horse-human relationship can be permanently damaged. That statement may seem stereotypical of certain styles of training but if you own a stallion, to a large degree you also determine his destiny. The stallion may submit and allow this type of individual to handle him, but it is advisable for that same person to be vigilant as the horse will be looking for an opportunity to change the balance of power, usually through a swift and vicious bite at an unexpected moment. Whether he is spoiled by a ‘hard’ trainer or spoiled by treating him as a pet, the result is the same – a lack of respect for humans.
Stallion Management – Part One
Previously published in the ‘Fjord Herald’ Magazine – Winter 2014
(Part One in a Three-Part Series)
As a horse-crazy twelve year-old, I spent a month one summer on a crumbling estate set on the banks of the Ohio River. The stately Georgian mansion, once the home of a post-Civil War president, stood on a gentle rise above the river, surrounded by what seemed like miles of peeling, white four-board fencing next to a number of barns built in both the current and former century. The present-day owners of the historic property were typical horse people with big dreams but a frustrating lack of financing. Thus, a summer-camp for kids that had been bitten by the horse bug seemed a great way to fill the rooms of the enormous house with paying human boarders and thus help fund the string of Thoroughbreds in the yard.
There were a host of mares and young horses on the farm and the other campers and I spent most of our days generally annoying the mares and trying not to get kicked by the yearlings. After a morning of theory and lessons, the owners encouraged us to roam the fields, groom the horses and explore like the farm kids we all dreamed we were-with one exception. There was a quiet, isolated stall in a far corner of the cavernous barn that was ‘off limits’ because the stallion was in there! The other campers and I would huddle in a doorway down the aisle and listen to the enraged squealing, snorting and the dull thud of hooves striking walls when the grooms went to halter and lead him to the one and only diversion from his solitary existence – the breeding shed. That memory has stayed with me in subsequent years and when we purchased our first stallion, I promised myself that his life would be vastly different than that considerably sad memory.
For the purposes of this article I will discuss our approach at Silver Drache Farm toward creating and maintaining content, pleasant, willing, working, fertile stallions that are as much a delight to the eye as they are under saddle or on the ground. Too often in the United States, stallions are consigned to being mere breeding machines and seldom leave their home farm. My philosophy has been that if I am forced by unforeseen circumstances to sell this horse, what will become of him? The market for a mature stallion that lacks under-saddle or driving training is extraordinarily small – and within the confines of the Norwegian Fjord breed, even more so. The less training and exposure a stallion has had, the more difficult he will be to sell should it become necessary. Gelding a mature horse is one solution to that problem but the potential buyer is still left with an aged horse that has few skills, making him nearly valueless in an already challenging market.
We have a herd of eight horses; four of which are stallions. Our property consists of eleven acres. With space at a premium, we gave careful thought to how and where traffic aisles were designated and to the location of individual pastures and dry lots. Stallions present a unique challenge when it comes to farm design and layout. Fencing needs to be secure and safe, yet easily repaired. Stallions are notorious for challenging fences and we have had good success with four and five board fencing topped with a single strand of electric braid. Five board fencing can be set high enough to discourage most stallions in main traffic areas of the farm, allowing us to lead other stallions or mares comfortably. Inside the barn, traffic in the aisle is tight which requires two things in order to be successful: well-mannered stallions and confident handlers. Unfortunately, this works against us in soliciting barn help. Very few applicants have the skills to safely function in this environment, thus our quest for “‘good help” seems to be a never-ending process. It is my belief that a stallion barn is not an acceptable environment for youngsters or inexperienced adults as the risks of injury to humans and horses outweigh the benefits.
Go pony, go!
Silver Drache’s outstanding (and very handsome) Norwegian Fjord stallion PCF Vidar will be leaving next week for Lexington, Kentucky to compete at the National Dressage Pony Cup!
He will joined by his promising young son, SNF Bridar, owned by Shannon Sullivan, and national eventing champion SNF Maarta, owned by Lauren Chumley. We’re looking forward to a happy reunion for the Sorum Fjord Farm crew and a strong showing for the Norwegian Fjord breed.
The Pony Cup is a great show filled with talented ponies – and a world-class venue at The Kentucky Horse Park. Please stop by if you’re in the area – we love to meet new Fjord enthusiasts.
The National Dressage Pony Cup
September 6-7, 2014
The Kentucky Horse Park – Lexington, Kentucky
Norwegian Fjord SDF Sirene Begins Her Training with Kevin Wallin
SDF Sirene was weaned in September and has begun her basic training!
Kevin Wallin is a horsemanship trainer based in Lebanon, Indiana (https://www.facebook.com/kevin.wallin.378), and we selected him to work with Siri based on his excellent references. Siri appears to have inherited her fiery sire’s athleticism, and we felt the benefits of professional training at this stage in her development were a solid investment in this filly’s value. As a consummate horseman, Kevin brings a quiet, gentle and firm approach to his work. We’ve enjoyed watching Siri’s progress as she learns to join up with humans and to maintain a consistent respectful distance with her handler.
Within the space of two months Siri has gone from this:To this: Siri seems to be enjoying the interaction and has already learned to lie down on command!
As a weanling, she’s too young for any training that will stress her growing joints and bones. Kevin is focusing on simple games that keep her mind working and that will lay the foundation for her to become a steady, calm and willing equine partner in the future. Many of the games introduce her to some of the basic things she will have to accept on a regular basis – such as handling of her feet, blanketing, and the introduction of tack.
We’re looking forward to finding a five-star home for this outstanding filly, whether for the show ring or the trail. She should mature to be an excellent example of the versatility and train-ability of the Norwegian Fjord. She is up to date on vaccinations and worming, as well as farrier care; she has been DNA-tested, micro chipped and registered with the Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry. ‘Siri’ is available and ready for her new home; please contact us for video or for further details!
Info@SilverDrache.com / (317)679-7433
SDF Sirene (Siri) – 2013 Registered Norwegian Fjord filly
PCF Vidar x SNF Ragin (Rams Linderman)
It’s a girl! Spring Arrives with a Norwegian Fjord Filly
Spring has arrived in Indiana, and we are very happy to announce the arrival of a foal as well. The beautiful SDF Sirene arrived on the morning of March 7, 2013. ‘Siri’ is purebred brown dun Norwegian Fjord horse filly by our champion stallion PCF Vidar, out of SNF Ragin.
Although her dam was a maiden mother, her foaling went very smoothly – in fact, Ragin surprised us with a delivery in the half hour between breakfast and turnout time. Siri stood and nursed and passed her benchmarks with flying colors. While all Fjord babies are cute, it does take a bit of time for them to fluff up and achieve the full bloom of cute-ness, and within a few days she was fully ‘adorable’.
Siri, (named from the Old Norse name Sigríðr, which was derived from the elements sigr “victory” and fríðr “beautiful, fair”), has been revealed to be a very correct, handsome, and inquisitive Fjord. At seven weeks of age, she is filling out, shedding her foal coat to reveal a very feminine face, and enjoying the new pasture grass.
Siri has been socialized since her birth, and her basic de-sensitizing training is ongoing. She is friendly, curious, and fairly bold. Her sire, PCF Vidar, is an athletic, intelligent and very bold two-time Dressage Pony Cup champion by the 1998 and 1999 Horse of the Year (Denmark) Kastenjegardens Fernando. She is an extremely well-bred filly, with an unusual lineage in the United States, ideally suited to the adult-amateur rider or driver who wishes to develop her into a show prospect.
Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry (U.S.) pending.
-PCF Vidar S4 (Kastenjegardens Fernando S1 G4 V HOF x Sari S2)
For sale and available at weaning $5,500. Inquiries to Info@silverdrache.com or (317)679-7433.
Holiday Update from Silver Drache Farm
Merry Christmas from Silver Drache Farm!
The fickle Indiana weather is at long last beginning to feel like winter. As we prepare for a holiday break from training, we’re also thinking about preparing for a new member of the family. We’re expecting a PCF Vidar foal in just a few short weeks. SNF Ragin is due in late February and we’re very much looking forward to meeting the newest member of our Fjord herd.
Ragin is still looking fairly svelte for a Norwegian Fjord broodmare despite the fact that she’s eating her own bodyweight in hay daily. Well, maybe not quite that much, but she’s certainly settled into nesting behavior.
This foal’s sire, PCF Vidar, is a two-time National Dressage Pony Cup champion with huge presence and fantastic athleticism. Vidar’s sire is the legendary Kastanjegardens Fernando, 1998 and 1999 Fjord Horse of the Year in Denmark. This very well-bred SDF baby will be for sale upon weaning; stay tuned for updates!
Silver Drache Farm Welcomes a New Stallion!
We have very exciting news – PCF Vidar has been acquired by Silver Drache Farm!
This 2003 Norwegian Fjord stallion was sired by the 1998 and 1999 Fjord horse of the year in Denmark, Kastanjegardens Fernando, and he is following in those footsteps of excellence. His athleticism shows in his spectacular movement, and his many blue ribbons – especially his National Pony Club championship ribbons – attest to his ability.
We are extremely grateful to Ruth Sorum and Sorum Fjord Farm for allowing us this rare opportunity. Many, many thanks also go out to Sorum Fjord Farm trainer, Shannon Sullivan for all of her efforts towards Vidar’s training the last few years.
Vidar will join Mufasa X and SNF Kjell and will begin standing stud at Silver Drache immediately. We’re also looking forward to adding him to our 2012 show calendar.