Two women take center stage in American breeding
By Kara Pinato Scro/Jump Media
Despite the popularity of European-bred horses in the show ring, there is no denying that interest in American-bred horses has increased. We are seeing new accolades being given to American horses and breeders such as the Connaway & Associates High Point American Bred Horse at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, but they are not being given simply to present another award. This increased focus on breeding quality horses on home soil has proven to be beneficial to our nation’s riders. In some cases, the cost to buy trips to Europe or import a horse from Europe is too high. In particular, purchasing overseas trips has become particularly difficult during COVID-19 and as a result, North American bred horses are increasingly in demand. Also, in many cases, the cost of purchasing a well-produced horse that has already been imported is out of reach. With this in mind, some have taken it upon themselves to improve the quality of American-bred horses.
Example: Karin Morgenstern Jimenez and Laura Connaway. While Jimenez has made breeding her career and Connaway breeds for herself, both women are prime examples of individuals who uphold exemplary breeding standards for the good of the sport as well as the well-being of to be horse. Read on to find out how these women managed to reproduce here in the United States and their top tips for anyone looking to begin the reproductive journey.
Karin Morgenstern Jiménez
Jimenez of Sporting Chance Farm in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, has made a living raising top quality Dutch Warmblood sport horses that often succeed in high performance programs in a number of disciplines including jumping, dressage and show jumping. full competition. His consistent track record for breeding top horses earned him the 2021 US Equestrian (USEF) Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Breeders Cup, which recognizes an individual and/or breeding company that consistently breeds outstanding performance. and show horses. Although Jimenez knew she wanted to breed horses from a young age, it was a bit of luck that started her now 30-year-old business.
“I had a taste for champagne and a budget for beer,” Jimenez said of finding a mare to get her started. “I was lucky to find a very high quality young filly who had suffered a pelvic injury and who would never be strong enough to jump into the high performance hunters. Due to her injury, her owners were ready to assign it to a new breeding home for just a dollar, provided the new home can provide very good credentials,” Jimenez continued.
In the end, Jimenez and his sister were selected as the best match for the young horse and, unbeknownst to them at the time, they would end up with a horse that paved the way for what would become their full-fledged operation. time. “This filly ended up being the dam of one of our founding broodmares, Jolie, who brought our name to light in the Royal Dutch Sport Horse of North America (KWPN-NA) Studbook,” she said. . “Jolie has provided a legacy of successful sport horses in all arenas in addition to excellent breeding daughters.”
Despite her early good fortune, Jimenez has always done her homework to ensure quality offspring and considers herself a student of the Dutch Warmblood breed and equine bloodlines more broadly. For those interested in the basics of breeding a quality horse, she says a good place to start is to focus on the mare, breed for the best possible conformation, and at all costs, to avoid pairing a mare and a stallion with the same faults, whether in conformation, athleticism, gaits or temperament.
“Mares are very, very important in breeding,” Jimenez said. “Beyond their 50% genetic contribution to the foal, they also raise and nurture the foal for five months. As this is a formative period in a foal’s life, you want a mare that does this job well.
“I also think that being a follower of conformation helps ensure that a horse is strong because form and function are intertwined,” Jimenez continued. “The better the conformation, the more healthy and athletic it is likely to be. Finally, never double down on a fault, be it conformation, movement, or temperament. are hereditary.
It’s clear that this formula combined with her three decades of knowledge has contributed to the success of her program, but Jimenez maintains that she has a purpose that goes beyond a desire to elevate and sell. Jimenez is on a mission to educate people on the importance of a high quality horse. For Jimenez, it comes down to horse welfare. When a horse is of ordinary or inferior quality, or is in poor health or ill-suited to an owner, there is a much greater chance that the horse will end up being traded or sold until it becomes find yourself in a bad situation.
“It’s one of my missions [to educate people interested in breeding] because there is a trickle-down effect that can help prevent the large number of horses from being dumped in this country,” Jimenez explained. “Nowadays there are horses showing up at slaughterhouses with warm blood marks and that is terrible. So the more I can help someone improve their breeding choice and slowly increase the quality of offspring, it can help save a horse. I also encourage people to breed only quality, registered horses. It doesn’t matter the race. I’m not a breed snob, I’m a good horse snob. When a horse has papers, it becomes easier to keep track of them, which helps to ensure that it ends up in good families.
“If anyone comes to me for advice, my goal is to help improve the quality of future offspring by sharing what I know,” she continued. “We have to try to get enough good horses in the field to help stop the flow of horses to terrible places.”
It is Jimenez’s broader hope that with enough knowledgeable breeders sharing their knowledge and learnings with those new to the business, more quality American breeds will be produced which will be a win-win for all. the world.
For Connaway, amateur grand prix rider and founder of Connaway & Associates Equine Insurance Services, Inc. in Little Rock, Arkansas, the desire to enter the American breeding scene was born out of necessity. Connaway – who had spent his early adult years training with the best of the best in the sport, including Laura Kraut – aspired to rise through the ranks of show jumping and stand out among the world’s elite in sanctioned competitions. by the FEI. To do this, Connaway needed a viable mount, but she knew it was not financially possible to buy a horse ready for the challenge. So she got attached and started researching what it would take to raise her mare, Ceranova. Eventually, Ceranova gave birth to her first foal in July 2005.
Because Connaway breeds for herself, she does her best to select bloodlines that combine reach and caution and are also known to be easy to handle. “I like to be like my horses’ best friend, so ultimately it’s a three-pronged approach,” she explained. “I want a well trained horse, an athletic horse, and also looking for a bloodline that mixes for good handling and good personality.”
Before determining a stallion for her mares, Connaway notes that she spends a lot of time talking with breeders and often turns to Jimenez, in particular, for expert advice and opinions. Connaway and Jimenez became friends after Monday Balous – who was bred by Jimenez – won the Connaway & Associates Equine Insurance Services, Inc. High Point American Bred Horse Award at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in 2019 and 2020 with Cassandra Kahle at edge.
“If you ask a lot of questions, breeders will tell you a lot,” she said. Connaway recommends speaking with breeders you care about or who have bred horses you admire. She also shared that the personnel in the breeding services, like that of the senior equine stallions, have immense knowledge. “I asked these services about the personalities of different studs,” she explained. “They usually bought trips and met lots of stallions, talked to lots of stallion riders and talked to the people who held the stallions. Beyond that, they really research the offspring so they can give you a full picture of what you might get from a specific horse at stud.
While researching and learning the landscape is essential to succeeding in any endeavor, there will always be a degree of uncertainty when it comes to a horse’s offspring. Connaway’s initial foray into breeding in particular proved educational. Although she did her research and bred Ceranova to a particular stallion in hopes of a colt that would become a viable candidate for the jump ring, Ceranova’s colt eventually clarified that her preference was the jump ring. hunter.
“The first foal I had became a hunter,” she explained. “He was so slow and quiet and didn’t have a single fast twitch muscle in his body. He was lovely. I did a few international derbies on him and the amateur owner hunters and he was just brilliant. I ended up selling him and he is still a hunter today.
“I think part of breeding isn’t necessarily about knowing what horse you’re going to get, but aiming to have a foal that will grow into a useful and productive horse,” Connaway continued. “Instead of thinking, ‘oh my god, that’s not my jumper,’ I looked at his great attributes and tried to figure out what this horse was going to be good at.”
Finally, Connaway shared the important reminder that not all horses develop at the same rate. “I think when horses aren’t producing as quickly as people would like, they can be quick to turn them away,” she said. “I know for sure that I wouldn’t have bought any of the horses I bred and that’s because horses develop differently at different times in their lives. Breeding your own mounts is interesting in that, since the horse is already part of your family, you devote yourself to trying to produce it as well as possible and that can go a long way.
“When you spend time seeing how he can be a productive member of society, and then you lean into them, you’ll find that they really thrive,” she concluded.