As we approach the end of 2012 I reflect on the abundance we have experienced. The spring produced a fine group of foals, which have been judged by outside experts to have high, uniform quality. Oak Hill Ranch sponsored Pan American Team Gold Medalist Heather Blitz and Paragon who were the alternate combination for the United States Dressage Team at the London Olympic Games. In September, right after returning from the UK, Heather showed our four year old stallion, Ripline, in the prestigious Dressage at Devon show with top results against a strong group of stallions, which included winning the Suitability to be a Dressage Horse class and finishing runner-up in the USEF four year old class.
It is already time to start the preliminary selection of stallions for the 2013 breeding season of the Oak Hill mares. Even if an almost sure selection is made, the results of the 2012 breeding choices will be on the ground when final choices are made. I am always excited to see the foals in the first few days when we are all full of hope and high expectations for their future.
We are currently making plans for the housing of mares and foals during our most important activity; the breeding season. This year we will try a new system to accommodate our training horses as well as giving top quality care to the brood mares.
Oak Hill’s Trainer, Regina Milliken, together with Riga and Ricotta, recently achieved acclaim in the in Texas Regional classes and also achieved the High Point Horse with Riga on a score of 75.345%. The Young Dressage Horse Trainers Symposium hosted at Riveredge farm by Scott and Susan Hassler offered the unique experience of networking with other young horse trainers in a supportive, enthusiastic environment. Goals of the clinic were well met. One, to offer a quality horse forum free of media or auditors in which professionals can give and receive training feedback, exchange of ideas, and generally interact in an open and easy environment of united ideals. Another goal, to build a network of young horse trainers qualified to bring along the uber talented young horses of America, is ongoing and should be a priority for breeders as well as the dressage community as a whole. Nine demonstration horses ranging in ages 3-7 were presented, with clinicians Ingo Pape and German young horse trainer Oliver Oelrich instructing. An interactive question and answer session followed each training session, with participants encouraged to openly discuss training issues encountered by each pair as well as realistic performance expectations.
I am delighted that Oak Hill Ranch will be honored as the U.S. Dressage Federation’s 2012 Dressage Horse Breeder of the Year and look forward to attending the Gala Salute dinner to receive the award in December at the Adequan/USDF Convention in New Orleans. We will also be a sponsor of this year’s convention and host a visit by delegates to the ranch.
Although business never stops on a stud farm the pace is slowing down at this time of the year. John Edwards and his crew are not having to keep up with the mowing but are using their skills to repair roads damaged by Hurricane Isaac and improve drainage and hay storage in the run-in sheds in the pastures. It takes a village as the saying goes and together we look forward to a prosperous year ahead.