Upcoming Clinic in Alberta


November 21/22 @ Birch Bay Ranch
Day 1 –Conformation and Function PowerPoint plus Hands-on Session
Day 2 – Riding Your Horse for How it is Built
Register with Shirley: (780) 662-4747 or shimcf@mcsnet.ca

It has been a while…

I could list several excuses, but the truth is that I simply lacked the motivation to post much of anything on this site. That is something that came to a head – or saturation point – after the WEG experience last year. Other happenings within the horse industry as well as with some of the magazines in which I am published did nothing to improve the situation.

But any lack of motivation is on me. It is up to me to get over it or move in other directions. I have done some of the latter as of late.
Watching the ParaPan Am Games on TV reminded me that mindset plays a huge roll in what one can accomplish and what one can overcome with a willingness to adapt.
Recently, I have been watching the IAAF championships in track and field with an eye towards the bone structures most suited for the various sports. There are correlations between the mechanics of certain human sports and the mechanics of various equine sports. Therefore, I consider the time spent as research and not purely enjoyment.
Usain Bolt is a prime example. No doubt he is an ideal sprinter given his record, but, at one time, he was considered too tall to be a sprinter and was steered towards middle distance running. Aside from his height, he is, to my eye, built exactly like a sprinter when it comes to bone structure and proportions.
This serves as a lesson regarding how we determine in which direction to send a horse. I seem to recall that Gifted at nearly 18 hands was considered to be too tall for dressage and that Touch of Class at just over 15 hands was considered too small for jumping. Hickstead had several knocks against him, including his height, but he won Olympic gold anyway.
So…guarding against making inaccurate assumptions should be important, right? I hope that is the case with the recent Young Horse competitions, but I find the lack of objective measures to still be a hurdle to accurately predicting future excellence and, more importantly, long term soundness. I think using more objective measures would benefit the horses, the breeders and the buyers. In addition, the Young Horse programs would benefit through an increase in more precise predictions.
It is important to remember that maintaining the status quo is usually a human decision. Nothing stays stagnant in nature. Some people have positions to protect, some have egos to guard and so on, but if you think using objective measures is a better idea, it is up to you (singly and cooperatively) to affect the required changes.

A Change of Plans

Life happens and plans change. In the horse world one has to be flexible.

Contrary to the original intention of covering the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas and then the Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event and the Kentucky Cup, I will be covering the Las Vegas competitions only.

The Kentucky portion of the spring trip has now been cancelled.

Due to family health issues, Cathy will not be accompanying me; therefore, I will pass on the Kentucky events since I was there last year and can write my pedigree articles without attending the competitions.

Hopefully I will be in Kentucky for the Breeders’ Cup races and the Keeneland Mixed Sale in the fall.

Major Road Trip in April

autumn road (Small)It is official:

I will be at the World Cup Finals and maybe the Arabian Breeders Cup in Las Vegas.
And yes, I will also be covering Rolex Kentucky and the Kentucky Reining Cup.

That amounts to no less than four disciplines – dressage, jumping, eventing, reining – through the final three weeks of April. And, since we’ll be in Kentucky, maybe some breeding farms for Thoroughbreds, Saddlebreds or whatever.

Distances? A minimum of 5,400 miles or 8,700 km for the journey. I envision at least two oil changes for the car.

Cathy, the other owner of Hero’s Tribute, will be joining me to help with the workload and the driving. That will be a welcomed relief, but I wonder what sort of trouble we can get into.

If any of you are going to attend these competitions, maybe we can get together at some point. It is always great to meet in person and talk horse.

Since we will be driving to the venues, there will also be some flexibility regarding farm visits for those folks who live along the routes.

Tentative routes:
I-15 South from Alberta to Las Vegas
I-40 East from Arizona to Amarillo
(I-70 through St. Louis if the weather is bad along I-40)
Various possibilities from Amarillo to Lexington
Various possibilities from Lexington to Alberta

What do you think?

It has been an idea I’ve had for a while now and something I hope to start later this year. What is this idea: a site for online equine courses.

Yes, I will post some courses that equate with my clinics and seminars on functional conformation, but I was thinking that there are many more possibilities.

There could be short courses and/or long courses, basic knowledge courses and/or specialized courses, and courses on a variety of topics. There could be courses for novices, courses for breeders, courses for riders, courses on various disciplines or sports, and courses based on interviews with top people in the industry, etc.

Are there any other topics – aside from conformation and pedigree – that appeal to anyone? I was thinking of contacting other contributors so that the website (domain already purchased) could be more of a full-service experience. I do not need to be the only author on the site. Some courses could possibly be written by other authors.

What areas within the industry do you think should be addressed? Would short courses on issues of basic horsemanship be of use? How to know when to call the vet? How to assess the job your farrier did?


Please let me know what would be of interest to you. I will appreciate all suggestions.
Thank you in advance!

Breeding Season Evaluations and Recommendations

It starts to get busy in January and February when plans for breeding edge into our thoughts. And when breeding season is actually upon us, it gets even busier…at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere.

If you know you are going to breed your mare next year, or if you want to know what type of mares would best suit your stallion, why wait until the busy season to request evaluations and/or recommendations?

The same applies to figuring out what direction to send a youngster (discipline or keep/sell). Why wait?

In truth, if you order an evaluation and/or recommendation early, you will likely receive the report quicker than you would if you wait until everyone else places their orders.

Here are some of the online services I offer:

Breeding recommendations for a mare based on conformation
– You provide photos of the mare (and video, if available) and up to 3 stallion choices.
– You share your goals for the resulting foal.
– You get an evaluation of the mare and an explanation of the pluses and minuses of each stallion as they relate to your mare.
– You may also get a recommendation for a different stallion, where appropriate.
– You will be invoiced through PayPal ($300) and will usually receive the report within a week of payment.

Breeding recommendations for a stallion based on conformation
– You provide photos of the stallion (and video, if available).
– You share your goals for his breeding career or your breeding program.
– You get an evaluation of the stallion and recommendations regarding qualities to look for in mares for him.
– You may also get examples of suitable mares, where appropriate.
– You will be invoiced through PayPal ($300) and will usually receive the report within a week of payment.

Evaluation of a horse (mare, gelding, stallion) based on conformation
– You provide photos of the horse (and video, if available).
– You share your goals for the horse regarding performance.
– You get an evaluation of the horse and recommendations regarding discipline or distance and level of competition.
– You may also get helpful exercises or areas to guard, where appropriate.
– You will be invoiced through PayPal ($150) and will usually receive the report within a week of payment.

Evaluation of a young horse (filly or colt) based on conformation
– You provide photos (and video, if available) of the youngster (3 months and up).
– You share your goals for the youngster.
– You get an evaluation of the youngster and recommendations regarding discipline or distance and level of competition.
– You may also get helpful exercises or areas to guard, where appropriate.
– You will be invoiced through PayPal ($150) and will usually receive the report within a week of payment.

* Note: Turnaround times quoted above are for off-season work.

For tips on taking photos for analysis, see http://www.jwequine.com/assessment_photos/

Sample Report: Well To Do


The first round of article deadlines has been met, so I can take the time to update this blog…and to do a bit of bragging.

While doing all the pedigree-based research and writing the articles based on the World Equestrian Games in France, I kept the ancestry of our stallion, Hero’s Tribute, in mind.

Pedigree of Hero’s Tribute

I am pleased to announce that his pedigree keeps getting stronger! He is related to some of the top horses from the Games.

He’s  related to the individual silver and individual bronze eventers, Fischer Rocana FST and Chilli Morning, plus a host of other eventers that managed to complete all three phases in France. He’s also related to Clifton Promise, who was second at the Burghley Horse Trials just after WEG. And, through Mytens xx (used in Swedish Warmblood breeding) he’s related to Arlando (11th in dressage at WEG).

And while I was on the subject, I also found this gelding:


Sea Lord (a.k.a. Big Bird) is by Sea Salute, a very close relative to Sea Hero, Hero’s Tribute’s sire.

Sea Hero, who won the Kentucky Derby and was later sold to Turkey, also sired Sea Accounts, who competed in dressage and eventing.

Hero’s Tribute’s dam, Eastern Dawn, is the granddam of the RPSI-approved horse, Baatesh (scroll down to see the photos).

His dam is by Damascus, sire of Napur (US Team jumper) and ancestor to Hador (international jumper), Forest Glow (sire of jumpers and eventers in Australia), Hartly Hare (international eventer), etc.

Plus, his second dam is a full sister to Caucasus, ancestor to the eventers, Jake, Clifton Promise, Top Of The Line and Dunstan Inishturk.

I believe that it’s only a matter of time before Hero’s Tribute has offspring at the FEI level.

And I was absolutely thrilled for Cathy Chalack (my partner in the stallion and the lady holding the ribbons) when her 2014 foal by Hero’s Tribute was Champion Open Foal and Reserve Show Champion at a Canadian Warmblood show on September 20th.

IMG_0528 (Small)Meet Inkan Tribute (age 3 ½ months)

At that same show, another breeder raved about her Hero’s Tribute filly out of an Indoctro mare. Nice!

And, to top it all off, while I was in France, Hero’s Tribute was approved by the Canadian Sport Horse Association. Now he’s approved in two Studbooks (CSHA and RPSI) and registered with the Jockey Club.

Gotta love it!

Cliché and not so Cliché

While I don’t usually do the touristy things when I travel, today I took the tour. In truth, four tours (loops) through various parts of the city. It was worth the 30+ Euros, since I hadn’t spent any time in Paris since 1983. (That was after delivering a Thoroughbred stallion to Bangkok, Thailand.)

The bonus was that I was able to add to my collection of horse-statue photos. Someday, in my spare time, I will put them together and compare them – war horses, generals’ mounts, artistic renditions, likenesses of famous horses, and so on.

Two different chocolatiers captured my attention along the routes, and I was forced to stop, make a purchase and hop on the next bus. I haven’t touched the samplings from the second store, but, I am not ashamed to say that I am glad I did not have to share the hand-made bar of chocolate mousse with a praline crust and a dark chocolate coating from the first store. Simply marvelous! Price and calories be damned.

And since dinner consisted of salad, I don’t feel guilty about the rich dessert. I know; I’m in Paris and I had salad for dinner. Can you believe that? I think I was carb-ed out from the Games.

Finally, how’s this for cliché? Because I am working on an in-depth conformation analysis of Valegro for my regular column in Warmbloods Today, I am literally a writer working in Paris.  I’m no Hemingway, but…

Now back to work for me.