Fresh off a trip to the USEF Dressage National Championships where three of her KWPN horses competed successfully in the Young Rider and Young Horse divisions, KC Dunn is now busy preparing her Timbach Farm in Depauw, Indiana to welcome more than twenty entries from across the Midwest as part of the 2017 KWPN-NA keuring tour.
“It’s the biggest keuring we’ve ever hosted!”
A respected jury of international Royal Dutch Sport Horse experts including Bart Henstra, Harrie Derks and Arie Hamoen of the Netherlands will officiate for a whirlwind tour of16 different sites from Connecticut to California and across Canada throughout the month of September, and if entry numbers and enthusiasm are any indication, this year’s tour could be one of the best ever.
“We have quite a few more horses scheduled to participate this year than we’ve had before, and when we first heard the entry numbers we were scrambling a little bit to make sure we could accommodate everyone,” said Dunn, who has bred KWPN horses for ten years and served as a keuring host since 2015. “But that’s a great problem to have. I’m so excited to see the growth and welcome everyone to the event.”
The annual KWPN-NA keuring tour is a cornerstone event for breeders to celebrate their dedication to the Royal Dutch Sport Horse and proudly showcase the results of their breeding programs, many of which have developed exceptional equine athletes for generations.
But the tour also has an important role for the studbook itself, serving as a sort of ‘quality improvement’ for the breed as well as providing an educational opportunity for breeders, owners, competitors, and the public. In addition to approvals of individual horses, a multitude of awards and cash prizes will be available as part of the KWPN-NA keuring tour to reward excellence in breeding stock and to highlight the development of Dutch sport horses for careers in sport in each of the KWPN’s five breeding directions, including Dressage, Jumpers, Hunters, Harness, and Gelders.
In addition, the keuring tour is a great way to view horses for sale – many of the entrants are for sale and are noted as such on the schedule and/or program. Many breeders also feel that attending keurings is a great way to narrow down stallion choices for future breeding since the offspring of both proven stallions as well as the newest approved breeding stallions are showcased at each site.
Kelley Stachon, Office Manager for the KWPN-NA headquarters in Lexington, Ky., reported that as of the August 16th final closing date for nominations more than 400 keuring entries had been received with an estimated average increase of five to 10 more entries per site than last year. Overall, dressage-type horses led the way as far as participation numbers, with the perennially-popular keuring sites of Iron Spring Farm in Coatesville, Pa. and DG Bar Ranch in Hanford, Cal. having more than 50 entries each for riding horses. But interestingly, the individual keuring with the highest total number of entries received (54) was for harness horses, being held September 1-2 in Goshen, Indiana.
The majority of the KWPN-NA keuring tour depends on the generosity and hospitality of farm and facility owners like Sandi Lieb of Pennock Point Sport Horses in Reddick, Fla. who has served as a host for almost 15 years. “I’m lucky to have a facility which has the necessary amenities to be able to do this, and in fact I even developed it with the keurings specifically in mind because it meant a lot to me,” Lieb explained. “If we had to hold the keuring at a commercial facility it could be prohibitively expensive for everyone, so I always wanted to do these as I knew how important it was for breeders in this area.”
Lieb first fell in love with warmbloods in the 1970’s and took knowledge she had gained from decades of breeding Arabians, Morgans and Saddlebreds and applied it in a new direction of crossing high-quality Thoroughbred mares with Dutch stallions nearly thirty years ago. Within two generations her foals were accepted into the main studbook, and the rest is history. Even though she retired from breeding in 2015, Lieb still enjoys success from her breeding program as she currently has three homebreds competing at the FEI level. “That’s the reward that we all hope for as breeders – to see our horses out there doing so well in the show ring, which is indicative of the quality that we’re all striving for,” she noted.
Lieb is looking forward to once again welcoming a solid group of nearly 25 entries to Pennock Point for the September 3rd stop on the KWPN-NA keuring tour. “With the economy’s downturn in 2008 it hurt a lot of breeders, but now it seems like things are rebounding – the last few years have been very strong at our keuring here in north-central Florida, and we pretty consistently produce a high percentage of horses which ultimately rank in the top five nationally of all keuring entries,” Lieb noted. “We have a strong group of breeders in this area who return year after year but we also have a few newcomers this time, so that’s always great to see some fresh faces coming onto the scene. It makes for a great event.”
Spectators are welcome and admission is free! For more information about the 2017 KWPN-NA keuring tour and to find an upcoming inspection at a location near you, visit the KWPN-NA website at www.kwpn-na.org.