Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

We wish you a WONDERFUL Holiday Season. Here is a card featuring some pictures from our breeders. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Le Rubio ATA In Hand Futurity Champion

Congratulations to Breeder Stephanie Moses. Stephanie reported that her 3-year-old gelding Le Rubio by Rubino Bellissimo won the ATA In Hand Futurity!!

Le Rubio won his breeder quite a handsome sum of prize money too! Take a look at the specifics at:


Le Rubio's dam Lacrosse is a Trakehner, so he is registered half-Trakehner. Le Rubio is well decorated since he was a young foal (see picture). We thank his breeder for recognizing his talents and showing him.

He is now under saddle, and will be on the market perhaps after the holiday season. Stay tuned for this wonderful opportunity to own this winning horse.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday

Time flies and this year is almost gone. With the economy being all gloom and doom and people worrying about their jobs, there is still plenty to thank for. We celebrated many new wonderful foals and have many more to look forward to next year.

It can be a tough year for breeding next year due to all the uncertainty. We observed many foals either not selling at a price that would be considered fair two years ago, and some well bred foals are being dumped to the market at a price that is hardly enough to cover the stud fee, vet services, inspection, registration and feeding the mare for 12 months. We are doing our best to help our breeders market their foals, but we must advise all who try to market their horses with the following:

  1. You must have at least one high resolution very well posed conformation shot or action shots that show the conformation well.
  2. It is important to have a good video that clearly shows the horse's movements at all 3 gaits from the side, and preferably from the front and back as well. The video should be taken in a well-lit location with anti-shake or image stabilizer feature on, and steadily zoom to focus on the horse at all time.
Unless you have good connection with trainers and repeat buyers, just about everyone shops on the internet first nowadays. No one is going to buy a plane ticket or drive 100 miles at the current (even though already reduced) gas price to look at your horse without first gathering as much information as possible; especially if you only have one horse to sell. If you cannot attract potential buyers while others can by using all the available tools, such as internet classified ads, youtube video, and print ads, you are going to lose out on sales opportunities.

I will write up some tips on how to use just a cheap digital camera to get good web quality pictures. It does require some help from others and a lot of patience. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, based on anectodal indicators from the classified ads and equestrian forums, and very obvious indicators of world economy, stock, real estates and lending markets, overall breeding market will likely decline next year just like the other trades, this means whoever has good young horses 2-3 years later when the economy turns around will be in a much better market position. Quality will sell.
To help breeders to have a good start, we are offering a pre-season early booking discount at 50% off on both booking and stud fees for all our stallions. For return breeders, we have an even nicer deal for you. We have other options for new clients as well. We are also interested in partnership with qualified mares. Please just call or email us for more details.
Wish you a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving, and enjoy the time with your friends and family, two-legged as well as the four-legged.

Conrad Schumacher Clinic

Conrad Schumacher was here in early November for a symposium! My friend Dara at Golden Oak Farm organized this symposium. Unfortunately we got hit by atypical weather for California. The rain storm was so strong that made thundering noises on the metal roof of the covered arena. At one point, Conrad stopped, and shouted, "Welcome to Germany!" Only an hour later, the rain was pouring down even harder, and he shouted, "This is not Germany any more. Welcome to England!" However, the rain didn't dampen the riders' and attendees' spirits, and all the horses behaved quite well. Around 150 people attended the symposium. Many of them appeared to be trainers, and even though video cameras were not prohibited, many people were observed taking notes furiously, including drawing exercise patterns.

Conrad has given lessons to my trainers on my stallion Rubino Bellissimo before, and I have always like how Conrad can figure out the horse and rider really quickly and come up some exercises to help them, and the most amazing part is that he always gets the result very quickly. Here are some (bad) snapshots to give you a taste of the interesting clinic. For your holiday shopping, check out his first video production "Prepare To Win": http://www.conradschumacherdressage.com/

This is not just a video tape of a collection of clinics and symposiums, but it's specifically developed to teach the viewers, according to Conrad, the intelligent thinking kind of riders. ;-) It is designed for competitors as you can see the title name, but it's good for all riders to learn. This is volume 1, and he says there will be two additional volumes. (Note: I am just a fan, and not related to the video production or sales in any way.)

Weltinvader at 2008 USDF Regional Championships

Breeder Beverly Nahman forwarded a photo card that features her horse Weltinvader (Welt Klasse X Vienna Waltz) at the USDF Regional Championships last month. This wonderful and elegant gelding has matured beautifully with his brightened gray coat. You can see more (83 total!) pictures of him taken by photographer David Mullinex at: http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/orderpage.aspx?pi=0BEF0078430000&po=0

Click on the play button and enjoy! (The posted picture is just an old picture as a teaser... :-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Trip to Taiwan

I went to Taiwan, the beautiful island of Formosa, for two weeks in October, but no barn tours this time. I visited a friend's horses, and had a nice long chat with him. To be honest I don't remember him very much as it is more than 30 years ago when we rode, and he must be just a kid. :-) Thanks to internet we stayed in touch.

It was raining the day of the visit, the barn was quite wet and muddy, so I didn't take any pictures. He bred his own two mares. They are sisters but not much alike at all. He rode the young mare to show me, and she is an elegant tall horse, but lacks muscle development for a 6-year-old. They worries about founders, so the horses are kept quite lean, but founder is more caused by sudden increase of sugar load, and a thin horse can founder if turned loose on spring pasture.

Anyway, my friend reported that the equestrian sport has regressed since the high point in the late 80's early 90's as a lot of early horse owners who bought the nice horses just don't have time to ride because of their travel schedule and long stay abroad for business, and the few trainers are too busy to really work all the horses. Without enough exercise, the horses get quite wild. Hmmm, why don't the owners sponsor some young talents? He also mentioned that the trainers don't seem to be able to teach the riders to move up the levels. The owners of FEI horses don't seem to get the chance to learn anything beyond leg yield. I am in the states for over 30 years now, so I really don't know the horse affairs over there to comment any more.

However, I'd like to recommend the hottest movie there: Cape No. 7

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Time to catch up

Wow, it's been a while since my last post. I was abroad for two weeks in October, but I guess it takes forever to return to normal rhythm. I'd better finish up my tour of barns in Beijing before I forget what I saw. It looks like I still have 4 more places to report. Gee, I went to a lot more places than I thought.

I have researched on the internet and found that there is a sporthorse and racehorse breeding farm near Beijing, so I found the contact information, and address and made it a planned stop. I was calling the number since morning trying to make an appointment, but it never went through. My taxi driver also helped calling while he was waiting for me at each stop. In the end, we arrived the place without an appointment. The next obstacle turned out to be their 20-foot stonewalls. This place is surrounded by two-story high walls with huge solid metal gates all locked shut! From one side they have a lower gate, and I could see barns in there, but the gate was also locked with nobody in sight. We figured there must be another gate, so drove around, and arrived at a stable. However, that was not the originally planned destination. In fact I didn't know it existed, so not in my plan at all.

The barn worker first was suspicious about us. I would too as it turned out to be a private stable, but he became very excited and friendly once I told him that I was from the US and would like to see horses in Beijing. The barn was not the fanciest, but it was maintained very clean and all the horses looked well fed and shining. I could see the barn help was very proud of the horses he cared for. He pointed out a big colt and his dam to me, and asked me to guess his breeding. Oh mine, how would I know? They looked to have some blood, but the mare's size was somewhat small, so they must be some mixed breed.

He laughed and told me it was sired by a prized blood-sweating horse! The legendary blood-sweating  horse was known to run very fast with a lot of endurance, and they would bleed from the neck when they ran. The modern veterinary medicine tells us this phenomenon might be caused by parasites encysted in the skin bursting. It was also believed to be just a visual effect as the horse sweat, its hair color became so deep that it looked like blood. The actual breed is believed to be Akhal-Teke or a close relative. Other than the longer back, I really couldn't see any distinctive traits in this colt. However, they do have a horse that looks like a cremello or perlino.  He has a cute head, nice topline, but kind of short legged.

Anyway, this is just a detour, we asked how to get to his neighbor, the big well-secured breeding farm, but the answer was simply, "find an open door." Hmm, not too helpful. Well, if we couldn't find the door to get in, we should just head for the next stable. As we were retracing our route to leave this village, we saw the low gate of the breeding farm was open, and people were coming and going. We drove to the gate and let the person, who appeared to be guarding the gate and supervising the workers, know why we were there, but he said he had to check with the owner.  He called the owner and handed me his cell phone, and I got to explain to the owner that I am a sporthorse breeder in the US and my interest in seeing horses near Beijing. He was very welcoming and even apologized that no one answered the phone earlier and he was not there to greet us. I was a bit overwhelmed by the gracious hospitality over the phone. He called his barn manager to come to the gate to take us for a tour of his facility. 

My goodness, what a place! It is definitely at the caliber of Mr. Uli Kasselmann's farm, and to no surprise, this facility is in association with PSI! I saw a club house and the stable. Both of them looked like Mediterranean palaces. There were not many stalls, but everything is size XL in volume and height. The barn housed several stallions with jumping Holsteiner and Hanoverian bloodlines.  The grounds were all green completed with paver stone paths through the gardens and woods, a creek, pond, water falls, fountains, and completed with some swans swimming. There was an automatic horse exerciser, and a palomino stallion was getting a bit anxious and unhappy doing his rounds. The paddocks all looked kind of small to me, and the paddocks were wet and sloppy, not quite up to the standard of the rest of the property.

There was a big jumping arena and several riders there jumping or doing flatwork. I was told by the barn manager that they were team members of the Beijing Equestrian Team sponsored by the farm owner, and they were all jumpers as no one was interested in dressage work yet.  They have a coach sent from PSI. I later learned by googling, the owner is a real horse lover, and an official in several organizations, and very dedicated to the equestrian sports. However, I can see it is difficult to promote a sport that takes not only talents and skills, but also great investment and deep knowledge of the sport partner - the horse. Since the owner has so much security and privacy measures with the big wall and gates, I didn't take any pictures of this place. The place is called "Clearwood  Farm", and they do offer PSI style auctions, so I am sure whoever is interested can get the information.

The next two places are really not very exciting. One barn was in "Crab Island Resort". I was wondering what Crab Island was. How could there be an island in the middle of large land mass and no lakes? It turned out to be a theme park where you can do indoor crabbing (so I was told as I didn't go in to see.) There were several giant buildings, that looked like aircraft hangers, and the taxi driver said they were for crabbing.  We found the horse area, but it 
looked to be just for non-horsey tourists to ride in circles, so we didn't stop to check it out. However, I did see something totally wierd; couldn't guess what the whole structure was for. The taxi driver said they were all antennae. I am pretty sure the guy who was making the call on his cell phone had great signal! Haha.

The next place I went could probably be toatlly skipped. It was very close to some lower-end residential/commercial area, but the surrounding businesses all seemed to be the off colored sort. Anyway, I saw a few skinny rental horses, and one customer struggling to try to get the horse to move.

One day is really not long enough to go to all the places. There is another barn on the south side of Beijing in my plan, and they have Friesians based on what I found on the internet.  Hopefully, I can stay for a longer time in my future visits.

I left Beijing the next day, and here are a few shots at the airport, including the display of the ancient "drums" used in the Olympic opening ceremony.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The rest of the horse facility tour

Well, if I don't quickly finish up my blog on Beijing riding facilities, it's going to be the time for my next trip to Asia.

After stop 3, I went to three barns, all next to a river. The first was a new place as I understood it. it was set up very functional and quaint. The office looks like a little cottage made of stucco with it's own walled garden. The stable looks nice and new. A trainer was teaching a student, and I overheard very good instruction. They seem to have good lesson programs, and will be an interesting place to ride. I saw a very beautiful horse there. He is smaller grey, may be 14.3 hands, 150 cm or so, but very nice conformation and well muscled. I asked about the
 breeding, and he was a Chinese half-bred. I really think Chinese horse breeders don't need to aim for giant horses, but really try hard to develop horses with good conformation that are suitable for Chinese riders, who most likely are not too big in stature.
The second was a bit hard for us to get to as you actually need to drive on top of the dirt dike next to the river for several kilometers to get there. We arrived during lunch hour, so everyone was eating lunch, all the horses in the barn and people in their riding attire outside the rustic "club house", sitting or squatting around. It is not a fancy place, but offers beautiful natural scenery of river banks and woods. The golf course next door is not that bad looking either. It is a wonderful place for trail riding. The lady who showed me around said only experienced riders they would allow to ride out on the dike. I consider their horses very thin. They can certainly use some grains or perhaps just enough hay to fatten up a bit.

Next riding club is several kilometers away along the river. This is one fancy place, but
 unfortunately I don't know how much business they are really getting. It seems to be mostly a
 boarding stable for some private horses. The office manager lady showed me around and told me it is basically an exclusive membership club, and the membership fee is quite significant, but the club members get to enjoy a luxurious club house in addition to the horse facility. They do also offer individual riding sessions, but it is not clear if they really have a rental string or school horses. They were rebuilding the barn, so all horses were staying either in a covered corral or
 out at the pasture on the river bank. The horses don't look particularly high quality though some of them were pointed out as privately owned. The club owner has an imported FEI mare that could perform Prix St. George movements, but unfortunately no one is riding her at the moment and she is out in the pasture. The lady told me if I wanted to ride there, she would ask if I could ride this mare. I will definitely take on the offer if I have a chance to visit Beijing again soon.

OK, three more places to report. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stop 3

Here is my 3rd installment on the Beijing Equestrian facilities.

This is probably the most formal training center in Beijing. They have 60+ horses, including school horses and privately owned horses. They have a huge barn to accommodate the horses, yet they are building a new barn. The jumping ring is huge, and they have a decent indoor arena, plus a couple of warmup rings. I saw many people riding, and the horses appeared to be well cared for, including one stout warmblood looking horse enjoying his
legs cooled off after a workout.

This place boasts a coach from England and is a 4-star qualified equestrian facility certified by BHS. I can't say the riders I saw were of high quality. A couple of horses were ridden with a inverted necks, hollow backs while jumping with tight reins, but the students seemed to try hard in their lessons. This is a sizable facility with manicured lawns and parking lot, and seems to be a nice place for competitions as well. They have their own newsletters that are in glossy magazine print, the lady who showed me around gave me a couple of copies.

This is definitely a place that I will consider riding though the price is quite high here, close to the upper range of the US prices.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stop 2...

It took me a couple of days to find time to continue with my blog on equestrian facilities in Beijing. After the official pentathlon facility, we drove toward north west for two private facility. The taxi driver helped me call in advance, but found out one phone number has been disconnected. I have pretty detailed instruction to get to the second location, so he didn't call. I thought it would not be too far, so decided to go check it out anyway. Well, I was wrong, it looked close on the tiny map I had, but Beijing is huge! It took us good 25-30 minutes to get there. It is a facility in the hills, a tourist area called Xiang Shan (Fragrant Mountain) with beautiful scenaries, and I was told this is where people go enjoy the red and orange colors of the fall. It was amazing to finally arrive the place and found it was on top of a beautiful knoll among a bunch of residential housing and a restaurant or nightclub right next to it. The security guard of the entire place told us the horse riding operation has been shut down though the horses still live there; he was kind enough to show us the horses. He reported that the owner made a lot of money from renting the houses and from the restaurant business, so he didn't want to be bothered by the little money from running the horse business. The horse stalls are on the first floor of an apartment. Won't that be great for a good "hardcore" riding school? Student dormitory on top of the stalls of their horses.

More to come, stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Equestrian Scenes in Beijing

I visited Beijing, China last week. No, I didn't catch the Olympic Games. I made sure I enjoyed the entire Olympics from the comfort of my sofa in front of my new 52" HD flat panel first. The trip was really for sending my daughter to study in a university there. She is a Smith girl, but in junior year, just about everyone studies abroad and she chose Beijing and Shanghai... for the best shopping based on my assessment. It was a short trip for me, but I managed to squeeze in a day to visit some equestrian facilities.

I was told there are 60+ equestrian centers or horse facilities near Beijing. I googled the internet and found about 20, and researched about 12 in the north and north east of Beijing to visit. I hired a taxi recommended by the hotel for the entire day. Beijing surburb is HUGE, and it took us from 8:30 to 5 without lunch to see only half of the places. However, I think I hit all the good ones and picked out places that I will definitely ride when I go back there.

We start from just the north of the University district, which you probably saw on TV if you watched the Marathon.

Stop 1. Beijing Physical Education University. The facility is situated right in the middle of residential apartments with convenient stores on the first floor. It is quite hard to find the entrance, but once you get in the alley and see the gate, you'll be impressed. The huge two-story tall barn is a concrete structure that looks like a commercial office building, and extremely well constructed. This is the only government sponsored facility in Beijing and it houses about 60 horses; most of them retired race horses from Hong Kong. They are trained for jumping and 20 of them were used for the Olympic Pentathlon, so they could safely jump a 1.20 cm course. One thing I observed is that this is probably the largest collection of BIG TBs. All of them looked just huge. The horses may be a bit thinner than I like, but looks well taken care of otherwise. It was very quiet there; only a couple of riders were schooling horses.

They open to the public, but they were still yet to finalize their new fee. The director who showed me around just said it had been way to low to make business sense. This looks like a wonderful place to ride though they don't have any dressage horse. I hope they don't become too expensive.

Save the Date for Conrad Schumacher Clinic

Save the date! See complete information and register at:


November 1st and 2nd 2008
The Portola Valley Training Center
100 Ansel Lane
Menlo Park , CA

Earn USDF University credits by attending this event.

Conrad Schumacher will detail a comprehensive Rider Training Scale in his first West Coast Symposium in over 6 years. The Rider Training Scale has garnered his riders over 40 international medals, including Olympic honors. A multi-faceted program, beginning with an introduction to Mr. Schumacher’s training scale, is followed by demonstrations and riding instruction aimed at bringing his concepts to life.

This is considerably more than a riding clinic; this is a template for the systematic development of both horse and rider. This unique approach will take you from the initial steps of training up to preparation for the highest levels of competition.

Emphasis will be on developing the young horse with sections on conformational analysis, the proper use of lounging and in hand work, working patterns to promote balance and mental fitness, and teaching the correct feel for and use of the aids.

Mr. Schumacher will outline his theories and applications at a special keynote presentation on Saturday evening. Don’t miss the chance to interact with other professionals and to see first hand how you can win on YOUR horse. There will be an equine fashion show, hors d'oeuvres and a no host bar.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I'm back...

Just got back from Beijing. I survived the local foods without any problem, but the airplane food on my return flight got me. I've had tummy aches and enjoyed my bathroom a bit too much in the past two days. I shall update my blog with some of the equestrian centers I visited. Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Introducing Someday Dream

Belated introduction... Here is my new mare. She is in foal to Montserrat by frozen semen... only 1 cycle, inseminated 2 days after I bought her. Super timing. My understanding is that she had 4 foals all by TB stallions.

She has very pretty conformation, very sweet, and she offers incredible hock actions. Some knee actions, but not as free as I like in the elbows, but hopefully Monti can add some to the baby. I'd love to get another mare like her, and I'm still looking...

My Sport! Olympic Dressage

Exclusive Summer Olympics news & widgets at NBC Olympics.com!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Yippee! Mufasa awarded First Premium and declared a stallion and FEI prospect by GOV judges

Congratulations to Gateway Farm for breeding this spectacular colt by Montserrat out of their homebred Rotspon mare. He received premium and was the top scoring colt at his inspection. Check out their website for more details: http://www.gatewayfarm.com/details.cfm?horse=59

We are extra excited about this foal because he is the result from one dose of frozen semen imported from Germany before Monti came to California.

Here is the direct quote from Mufasa's breeder Liz Jenner:

"Mufasa is turning out to be quite the boy!! You will be very proud of Monty’s baby!! I believe Pam is putting together some pictures and video clips to send to you so you can see how nice Mufasa is turning out. They just raved about him at his inspection and thanked me for bringing such a nice colt for everyone to see!"

I can't wait to see his glamour shots and video from Pam, who's Gateway's business manager/photographer.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ricoco - new colt by Rubino Bellissimo out of SPS Winala

SPS Winala (Wolkenstein II X Pinkus) has finally produced a colt by Rubino Bellissimo. She has two fillies by him. This young colt has shown a lot of presence even at only a few days old!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Royal Wonder - new colt by Wonderful

Sarah reported her new little "Wonderful" addition - Royal Wonder out of Caribeann Blue. Pictuerd at birth and one day old. Do you see his "sea horse" marking?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Updated baby pictures from San Diego Sporthorses

Thanks to Linda Hackney of San Diego Sporthorses for sharing some snapshots of her new Wonderful baby, full brother of 2006 Top Colt and Best Mover of the Day at his AHS inspection. Here is also a tiny snapshot of the two yearling fillies from last year: Rubino Bellissimo filly Royal Dancier (right) with the Donnerschlag X Ladylike filly Donnertienna (left). Linda also has a really cute colt by Regazzoni out of Ladylike, so a half brother to Donnertienna.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Here is a new baby Wonderful X Diachee (Diamont)

Meet the full brother to Wunderland, the USEF FEI 4-year-old qualifier and a big dressage show winner in Texas. He was born on 6/8 and less than 1 week old in the pictures. He sure has a beautiful face with big eyes! He is produced by embryo transfer as Diachee was not able to carry a foal any more.

Ronete Von FoxPaw went to a new home

Ronete's breeder Mary reported that this wonderful gelding by Rubino Bellissimo has been sold to a wonderful home and hopes he has many blue ribbons in the future. He has had a wonderful year in the Hunter Divisions bringing in home multiple Championships. Congratulations to Mary and wish the new owner continued success.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Congratulations to Nanni Baker of Texas for a new Wonderful colt

Nanni reported a new Wonderful X Diamont colt was born yesterday. This is from her embryo transfer effort last year, and the colt is a full brother to Wunderland, the qualifier and competitor of last year National FEI 4-year-old Championship. Nanni also reported that Wunderland has already qualified for the 5-year-old championship. He and his owner Erika have been so successful that riders now withdrew when they saw them in the class. That is a bit odd, but impressive ;-).

This new colt is reported to be nearly identical to his brother except for the stripe being a bit different. I can't wait to see his pictures. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Wonderful colt out of Elite mare Barcelona by Batido

Yet another super foal from this big impressive elite mare owned by Linda Hackney of San Diego Sporthorses and owner of Elite Hanoverian stallion Batido. This is a full brother of the 2006 inspection site champion colt. Barbi also produced a incredibly elegant filly by Rubino Bellissimo last year. Here is the 2008 colt at 8 days old


Friday, May 23, 2008

The way of the future

High gas prices drive farmer to switch to mules. Read the short article: http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=11915

Anyone selling a donkey stud? :-)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Who's granddaughter is this?

Rubino Bellissimo's son Rubaron von Foxpaw sired this lovely filly. The dam is by Diamont, whose daughter Dividend started my warmblood breeding labor of love. What a charming (and sleepy) face. Congratulations to this lovely filly's breeder and Rubaron's owner Pamela Hammer.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

That is expensive!

$5 a gallon gas is coming. This was actually taken by my son using my cell phone 2 weeks ago...

Why we are still just talking about buying cars that run more miles to the gallon? In this day and age, Telecommute! Have UPS and FedEx use electric trucks to deliver your new clothes, beef or even live chickens (a friend of mine bought chicks and ducklings from internet). Ride or drive your "pony" to your friendly neighborhood farmers for fresh vegetables and fruits.
Oh, wait. Ponies need hay. Let me stock up hay before everyone else start trading their car in for a pony. Let's see, I should buy more stock on the fertilizer companies since it's going to be in great demand to grow hay in addition to the corn. Hmm, the chemical fertizer can be a pollution source, so let's compost for our home made organic fertilizer from our "transportation". Isn't that wonderful? May the horse power be with you! We have a few outstanding models to sell you. ;-) Check them out!

Mufasa is here! See pictures at 3 days old.

Liz Jenner of Gateway Farm announced the arrival of Mufasa by Montserrat out of her Rotspon/Con Noir mare. He is such a darling colt, black with a dished face.