The Dressage Dossier

The discerning Diva's guide to the Dressage world

Author: dressagedossier (Page 2 of 2)

Stallion Spotlight – Revolution

REVOLUTION is a lovely young stallion stationed at Helgstrand Dressage that I have been following, and due to his absolute drool-worthiness, he is the first STALLION SPOTLIGHT on DD!



The Stats – 

  • Registered name – Revolution (registered name originally Royal Marash)
  • Breed – Hanoverian
  • Foal date – 2013
  • Height – 176 cm
  • Approved for Hanoverian, Westphalian, Rhinelander, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg and all southern German breeding associations, also approved DWB
  • Accolades – Premium stallion, Hannover, 2015
    Premium stallion, DWB, 2016Soverign winner of the Performance Test, 2016
  • Purchased at auction for 1.2 million Euro, Revolution broke the record for German stallion auctions at the Hanoverian licensing in Verden Fall 2015.
  • Semen can be acquired from Helgstrand for 1.500 Euro + VAT, through Superior Equine Sires for $1,050 (+ 325 shipping for USA), or through Yancey Farms at $925 (+fees) per dose.

Bloodline Info From Helgstrand & Yancey Farms –

Revolution’s sire, the premium stallion Rocky Lee, is considered one of the best sons by the top stallion Rock Forever.  Rocky Lee is already competing at PSG and Intermediare I and his sire, Rock Forever, is a well admired Grand Prix dressage stallion and sire.
Revolution’s dam Rochelle debuts for the first time on the international tribune with this amazing son. With her thoroughbred maternal bloodline mixed with well-reputed Hanoverian blood through the stallions Wendenburg and Derneburg, she meets all pedigree criteria for a modern dam of stallions.  The dam sire Rouletto, who was successful in S dressage, is known for his offspring with high rideability at top level.  The dam sire of Rochelle is the Hannoverian Wendenburg who was a good producing stallion by the fabulous, venerable Wendekreis who consistently produced very good, willing riding horses.

Collected Comments and Impressions – 

Revolution is a very tall modern stallion.  At his licensing he appeared to be very well behaved with an excellent temperament and lovely movement.  I like to think that I am pretty picky, and can usually find something I’d like to see improved upon in many young stallions, but watching Revolution go takes my breath away – in each gait he shows such willingness and elasticity.  His canter is particularly stunning and ridiculously uphill, and hopefully the quality of it will remain when they start to work him towards collection!

Breeders seem to be most interested in pairing him with refined and compact mares who present willingness to collect and tend to throw that in their offspring, as one of the biggest concerns with these lovely, young, large moving stallions is how they will cope with the pressure and demands of collection.  Revolution seems suited to a breeder looking to add bone, height/length of leg, and willing temperament.  Judging by his first foal crop (although they are still very young), he is producing leggy, friendly offspring with good/improved bone, shoulder, and joint articulation.

I have heard varying reports of his semen quality on a breeders forum that I frequent.  Some are saying that their repro vets are stating it has good motility and a high count, and others reporting they are having trouble getting a pregnancy.  The overall consensus seems to be that it is not rocket fuel, but it is good quality with the average forward motility around 40-50%, and a range from 20-60%.

This gorgeous young stallion is on my dream roster, and watching him and his offspring develop will be an exciting process!

The Four Stages

These past few months with Isley have included some pretty big milestones.  I rode him in his very first show under saddle at materiale – without any coaching, as my trainer was out of town.  We moved to a new property and we have worked through the settling in process, which briefly lead to a mini-regression in terms of Isley

Show baby, show!

displaying tension and lack of focus under saddle.  We are preparing to attend our first clinic in early June, and in the meantime are trying to solidify the skills he will need to successfully get through a training level test.  All these challenges – and I don’t use the word challenges negatively – have lead to me really having my eyes opened about how much I love working with young horses, and my young horse in particular.

Oftentimes when riding I am reminded of a scale that I love called “the four stages of competence”. It very accurately describes a riders journey from beginner to skilled equestrian.  I frequently measure myself against that scale, and strive for the next level, but when riding young horses without a schoolmaster to learn from it can be difficult to improve in ways that progress you as a rider.

Isley is so incredibly clever and tries very hard, so when I am given the tools by my trainer to introduce a new concept to him, the feeling of him working through what I am asking, understanding what he needs to do, and responding to those new commands is second to none.  I feel more and more accomplished as a rider, and am quickly becoming addicted to knowing the solution when we run across a training problem.  All credit goes to my trainer Nina in that she has been able to bring both of us along in a way that often I not only understand the types of correction and guidance that he needs without being told, but when and how to apply them, and if he doesn’t understand what I am asking, how to break it down to him successfully.  Now, even when I feel a new challenge developing due to lack of balance, strength, or maturity, its almost exciting knowing that I have been given a new problem to learn how to train through!  I am hungry for the future of his development physically and mentally – the milestones at each new level of training and competing are part of a lifelong journey I couldn’t be happier to be able to experience with my heart horse – one sticky transition at a time!






Pre Show Panic!

Today was Isley’s last ride at home before leaving for his second show ever this weekend.  I had my trainer Nina ride him today as a last minute tune up before I ruin all her hard work this weekend, but even that did not go as planned.  Isley has been fairly tense since moving to a new facility on the 1st of May, and it manifested today with some loose poops and spooks at nothing.  One of the other young horses at the barn has mastered the art of breaking away from his handlers and going for an unguided tour of the property, and he did so while Isley was being ridden.  Thank goodness my trainer had enough presence of mind to cleanly dismount as soon as she saw a loose horse bolting towards her, I most likely would have stared dumbly at the oncoming disaster and promptly gotten dumped on my butt.  Nevertheless, Isley didn’t do much more after that than some trot work and some stretchy walking to combat the tension he was showing.  Fingers crossed he settles at the show tomorrow!

He did look awfully handsome today, it seems like he’s growing every minute – He’s almost 17hh!  Nina wouldn’t let me take a picture unless I wiped off her boots first – its a glamorous life!

Isley today with Nina aboard

My Story

Welcome to Dressage Dossier!

My name is Gina, and I am a Dressage-a-holic.  As a child of an actress and a classical musician, finding ways to worm my way into barn time was always tricky and almost always done on a for trade basis.  I gained the coveted “barn rat” status at the tender age of 8, and due to an overly generous trainer – I was taught the ropes of horse handling, and allowed to “work” in exchange for lessons.  The best weekends and summers of my young life were spent at Will Rogers State park – bathing and grooming horses, learning to tack up and clean tack, learning to load horses on the trailer and being allowed to pony quiet school horses on the extensive trails.  The smell of eucalyptus trees and show sheen, and the purple hands left by washing too many tails with Quick Silver will forever be emblazoned into my memory, and I learned many important lessons such as – making friends with the stall cleaners is as easy as offering them half of the sandwich your mom packs you for lunch, and always be sure to tighten your girth an extra time before you ride double on a fat quarter horse who is prone to bloating.  I went over my first jumps and attended my first horse shows with that first trainer, and even more importantly I learned that kindness, patience, and hard work are the best ways to approach life at the barn.

I was scouted by a modeling agency in High School, and used that opportunity to finance the ownership of my first horse.  She was a green 8 year old (or so), chestnut TB mare who was prone to bolting, violently running out of fences, and launching herself skyward without warning by way of (in retrospect fairly impressive) capriole type maneuvers.  I was 13, and boy did that horse teach me some lessons.  Having a difficult horse that young is the type of experience that will either scare you straight and you lose your love, or teach you how to – defensively – ride a difficult horse.  I was the latter, and while the experience left me with some guts and tricks by the time I gave her to a friend in exchange for a rack of her famous bbq baby back ribs and the promise that she would (please GOD) do something with her that wouldn’t short circuit the poor mare’s brain, it also inevitably left me with a lot of tension – and a reputation as a good “crash test dummy” that has been utilized to this day by trainers and friends that I “hop on” horses for.

River, the quintessential chestnut mare, and my first horse. Not pictured – me passing out of heat stroke in the bushes shortly after this ride.

Modeling continued to pay for my horse experience throughout high school, which is when I began buying project horses, training and showing them, selling, and picking up the next one.  I learned something new from each horse and every success or heartbreak, and making riding work against the odds on a shoestring budget gave me a sense of responsibility and accomplishment that kept me out of trouble as a teenager and into my transition as a young adult.  Because I could only afford to send myself to local shows and work with smaller trainers, attempting to make riding my career was something that seemed impossible.  Any good junior rider needs a show resume, working student experience with a top trainer, and a nice horse of their own if they want to attempt to be a pro.  Because of my situation and my parent’s unfamiliarity with the world of a horse professional, I had no idea how to seek out the opportunities that would point me in the direction of real mastery.  I stumbled into dressage as an accident – when I was 20 I elected to have surgery to fix my crooked spine, even though it would mean a year off from riding.   In the months leading up to my surgery I had decided to use my modeling savings to give myself a “last hurrah” of training and showing to the extent I had never been able to do previously.  The only horse at my barn that I could afford to lease was a 4 year old 17hh Trakehner gelding named Gabe who had been started in Dressage, but was not ready to begin jumping.  I began taking dressage lessons on him and was hooked – I had never had a nice enough horse for the hunters, the jumpers were too stressful, and I was useless in an Eq workoff, but Dressage fit me perfectly.

Gabe, my first dressage partner

I did my best from then on to get on as many Dressage horses as possible, and try and learn something about the sport from any trainer that would humor me.  I eventually found myself in a position to purchase my first Dressage horse, and tried a few 3, 4, and 5 year olds at an auction in Northern California.  Everything was either not quite right or way out of my very modest budget.  At the auction there were two weanling colts by Totilas that were creating quite the buzz, they had been added to the auction fairly last minute and no one really knew they would be there.

Isley on Auction Day – Photocred Tamara with the camera

I, of course, HAD to attend the foal showcase to see them in the flesh.  The first of the two came out with his dam and went around, he was a dark liver chestnut with a nice dam line that I had been expecting to like, but didn’t.  The second Totilas colt came out – leggy and  black with a star and a snip very much like his sire.  He had the attention of everyone at the auction.  He was refined, fancy, and seemed like a total spitfire, he even left his dam and went on a romp to visit the crowd, snorting the whole time.  It was love at first sight, and when the auction ran the next day he was the second in order of go.  No one seemed to be there for a foal, and the few that were seemed hesitant to bid on one of the first horses of the day, so I found myself in a bidding war against someone across the country, bidding through an agent who was talking to them on the phone.  Finally the hammer struck, and “Isley” was mine.

First kiss!

It has been an long and interesting road, and waiting to have a horse to ride felt like it would never end.  I took him to a few shows as a yearling and did in-hand classes, but mostly I worked simultaneously on bringing him along correctly with proper care and nutrition, and learning myself how to bring along a baby from weanling to young dressage prospect.   Being his sole handler for his first three years created an inseparable bond between us, I got lucky enough to end up with my heart horse, and again have been lucky enough to – with the help of my trainer – start him under saddle and be his sole rider for the first few months when he turned three, and more recently take him to his first shows and clinics as a 4 year old.

Our journey has just begun, and I can’t wait to see where it will lead!

Snuggle time is the best time

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