UNION BRIDGE — The Atlantic region 1991 National Holsteiner Breeding Stock Approvals were a felicitous blend of international flavor and local hospitality.
The local hospitality was provided in great abundance for the second straight year by hosts Cinde and Don Rough of Joint Venture Ranch near here.
The international flavor that permeated the proceedings was especially evident in Doris Van Heeckeren, one of the event's three judges.
Van Heeckeren, one of the event's three judges.
Van Heeckerenis a Swede who was born in Finland. She was raised and has lived in various European countries. Now married to a Dutchman, she has American children, lives in Cleveland and is involved with German horses.
Along with Liselotte Wiendieck, who lives in Charlottesville, Va., and Heinz Magens, who flew over from Germany, Van Heeckeren had the responsibility of choosing mares and foals that would be allowed into the stud books of the American Holsteiner Horse Association.
Holsteiners are a German warm-blooded breed known for temperament and personality, athletic build, ability and, says AHHA President Fred Woodenof Manchester, their "quality, which is a byproduct of an extremely high-quality breeding and approval program.
"The German Holsteinerprogram is the best breeding and approval program of any warm-blooded breed, and we imported it almost word-for-word," Wooden says.
"Although there is only a small number (of Holsteiners) both in the United States and in Europe, their impact has been astounding. A few years ago in Germany, the Holsteiners were only 5 percent of the horses,but they earned 35 percent of prizes in competitions."
Although he no longer rides, Wooden says he has stayed involved with Holsteiners because "They are magical. They have such good temperaments, they are playful and a pleasure to be around, and they are easy to work with."
Wooden's energies now go into raising the horses at his Manchester farm. He brought two foals -- Lex and Rex.
"Lex is the biggerand older of the two," says Colleen Shrader of Manchester, the foals' baby-sitter. "But Rex has always been the more independent of the two. He has always taken care of Lex.
"They've played with each other ever since they hit the ground, and they've always been very gentle and very kind."
Eleven foals came from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland to be approved andmarked with the distinctive Holsteiner brand. The judges checked thefoals' conformation, then watched them run and play at liberty in the Roughs' indoor arena to assess the quality of their gaits.
Nine of the 11 were approved and given merit foal status. Two others will have to try again another day for their approvals.
The six mares that the committee judged were all approved, with scores placing them in one of the AHHA's top three categories.
No mares placed in the lowest approved category of Stud Book; three were approved for the Mare Book; two made the Main Mare Book; and one earned high enough marks for the Main Mare Premium Book.
That mare was Coriander, a 3-year-old owned by Alison Hanham of Carmichaels, Pa. The big, bright bay mare with a blaze face and an endearing expression earned high marks because she is "an excellent type with very correct gaits, although lacking some angulation in the hocks and with too sloping a croup," according to the judges' report.
Holsteiners mature late, and in general, their owners do not push them into training or competing too early. Such is the case with Coriander.
"Right now, she is just showing off, growing, eating carrots, and always searching for food," Hanham said, laughing. "She has a self-service apple tree in her field and that's the first thing she goes for when she's turned out. Her (Holsteiner) sire was a Grand Prix show jumper, but I hope she will be adressage horse."
Three mares -- a 13-year-old Thoroughbred owned by Pennsylvanian Alix Coleman, a 20-year-old Thoroughbred owned by Laura Cassatti of Charlottesville, and a 14-year-old Holsteiner owned by Diana Kilmer of Winchester, Va. -- were admitted to the Mare Book.
(Mares of other breeds, such as thoroughbreds, can be admitted to the Holsteiner breeding program if they are approved.)
Two mares bred by Wooden were admitted into the Main Mare Book. Wooden still owns one of the mares, but the other now belongs to Olympic gold medal three-day event rider Tad Coffin of Leesburg, Va., and his wife, Patty.
While the English champion hurdler Morley Street was winning the $250,000 Breeders' Cup Steeplechase at Fair Hill for the secondyear in a row, Carroll siblings Kelly and Charlie Conaway III were racking up honors in the pony races at the same venue.
Riding Garfield in the small-medium division, Kelly scooped the field by 10 lengths over the quarter-mile race.
Charlie was mounted on his mother Barbara's 3-year-old, Farah's Moment, in the Junior Horse race.
This was the filly's first start over a distance of ground and she bested the rest by two lengths over the seven-eighths of a mile.
"We kept five lengths off the lead until the top of the hill, then I let her run up the stretch and we beat Table Top, who won this race in the spring," Charlie said of his mount.