Diane Dodge of Nokomis Farm has been breeding horses for more than 30 years, but things have certainly changed since she first started her program.
Her experimentation with technology paid off during the Upperville Colt & Horse Show, where her embryo-transfer twins earned blue ribbons on June 12 in Upperville, Va.
Nokomis Farm’s handsome chestnut, Winston, took home the best young horse title, and his twin sister, Jenufa, won the other than Thoroughbred 2-year-old fillies class.
“It was fun, but I don’t think it will happen again,” said Dodge of their victory.
The twins were born three days apart with Winston being the first. Currently, both youngsters are trained by Mary Lou Yates and handled by Matt Collins.
Winston and Jenufa were both sired by Gerd Reuter’s Welt Hit Star, a 9-year-old Oldenburg and Grand Prix dressage competitor. Their dam, Jardhu (by El Corona), is a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood who also competes in Grand Prix-level dressage. Dodge found Jardhu in the Netherlands when the mare was 5.
Since her arrival in the United States, Jardhu has had seven embryo-transfer foals. Her first, by Romantic Star, is now 5 years old and owned by the former U.S. Equestrian Federation director of dressage, Jessica Ransehousen.
Even though they have identical breeding, Jardhu’s two winners at Upperville couldn’t be more different. Winston, a flashy chestnut, was “raised” by a Belgian mare, while Jenufa, a leggy bay, calls a Standardbred mare her foster mom.
Dodge described Jenufa as being higher spirited than Winston. At last year’s Warrenton Horse Show (Va.) in September, the first show that the twins attended together, Jenufa was so nervous that she backed herself right out of the ring.
Time and effort has paid off for Dodge and Jenufa. The week prior to Upperville, Dodge sent the filly to a dressage breeding show where she won a class and received many favorable comments.
Upperville was Winston’s third major breeding show. He competed successfully at Devon (Pa.) where he won his class and was third in the best young horse class. At Warrenton in 2004, Winston earned the best young horse title and was awarded the Sallie B. Wheeler/USEF Hunter Breeding National Championship.
“He is absolutely wonderful,” said Dodge of Winston. “He just has that aura about him.”
Winston was Matt Collins’ pick of all of Dodge’s foals, and he knew early on that he had a winner. “He has a short back, a good neck and top line, and is perfectly proportional,” said Collins of the colt who also won the 2004 Virginia Horse Shows Association yearling futurity.
Upperville was the first head-to-head meeting for Winston and last year’s best young horse winner, Meadow Bluffs Farm’s By Appointment Only. Handled by Robert Burke, the elegant bay (Ring Of Honor–Kilo’s Fancy) won his 3-year-old class and stood as reserve best young horse this year.
Simply Red almost didn’t make it to the Upperville Colt & Horse Show this year. In March, he was rushed to the New Bolton Veterinary Clinic (Pa.) with colic symptoms where he spent one week in intensive care. “Rojo,” as his trainers Jill and Sam Manno affectionately call him, had an internal abscess and grade three ulcers.
Rojo recovered and was able to win the Thoroughbred yearlings colts or geldings class and the Cismont Manor Farm Challenge Trophy.
“He is the sweetest, kindest baby,” said Jill. “I can’t say enough about his quiet and easy disposition.”
Simply Red (GP’s Krugerrand–Flo Joe) is owned by Cynthia Deibert of Ottsville, Pa., and handled by Roy Evans. Deibert purchased him when he was 4 months old.
“I am very excited that he won,” said Deibert, who was unable to attend the show. “He is a perfect little angel. I think he has lived here in a previous life.”
Deibert fell in love with Rojo, a red roan, at first sight when she saw him in the field at the Manno’s Janno Farm. “He was so cute and unusual in his coloring that I knew I wanted him,” said Deibert.
A few months after Deibert purchased Simply Red, he contested his first horse show at Our Farm (Pa.). Since then, he’s competed in about eight shows and been in the top three at almost all of them.
Rojo was easy to break and according to Deibert, “you can do anything to him and he doesn’t care. For a yearling to behave as well as he does is amazing.” He loads well, stands well, and doesn’t even rub his braids.
Roy Evans is not the only one who gets to handle Rojo. Deibert also handles him in the amateur handler classes where they have won several ribbons, including an eighth at Devon in May.
Jill and Deibert hope that Simply Red will eventually mature into a green conformation hunter.
Deibert’s other horses, Entourage (Carry My Color–Undivided Attention) and Hats Off (Harry The Hat–Rewarding Date), were first and second in the Thoroughbred 2-year-old colts and geldings class.
“I love the Thoroughbreds and always have. I want to bring them back into the show world,” said Deibert.