Reprinted from the September 2016 USDF Connection magazine.
Before there was a Roemer Foundation, there was Roemer.
Today the USDF Hall of Fame bears the name of this sponsoring foundation. All of that came about as a result of the remarkable Dutch Warmblood stallion that left an indelible stamp on American sport-horse breeding. In 2006, Roemer became the first horse inducted into the Roemer Foundation/ USDF Hall of Fame not for his achievements in the competition arena (although those, too, were impressive) but for his accomplishments as a breeding stallion.
For years Roemer (1975-1996) was the flagship stallion at Iron Spring Farm in Coatesville, PA.
Owner Mary Alice Malone imported the 17-hand chestnut stallion (Pilatus –Cronella, Cyrano) from the Netherlands in 1986. Then aged 11, the Germanborn Roemer had already competed as a Grand Prix jumper and had been the top producer of dressage horses in the Netherlands for more than seven years.
Roemer put Iron Spring Farm on the map as a force in the US sport-horse-breeding industry. Over an 11-year period, he was the leading sire in the USDF Horse of the Year standings, and he became the first KWPN stallion outside Europe to be awarded Preferent status by the registry.
Roemer left his mark on the sport-horse world not only as a sire of breeding stock, but also as a sire of both jumpers and dressage horses. Approved by the Westfalen and Oldenburg registries as well as by the KWPN, he produced the approved sons Winston, Darwin, Boy B, and Einstein; the Iron Spring Farm-bred and–owned licensed son Neptune; and five approved grandsons. He also sired 23 Preferent mares, 29 Prestatie mares, 17 Sport mares, 198 Star mares and geldings, 31 Keur mares, 85 First Premium foals, and 651 registered Dutch Warmblood offspring. Roemer also was the sire of the approved Oldenburg stallions Nassau and Joshua. Among Roemer’s successful performance offspring were the FEI-level dressage horses Sea Fox (who qualified for the 1996 Olympics with Canadian Leslie Reid), Casanova, Escado, Jakarta, Joshua, Magnolia, Tango, Winston, Zaire, and Zenobia. The jumper Minstrell competed in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Numerous additional offspring competed successfully at the national levels.
The multitalented stallion himself proved equally talented in dressage. Malone brought Roemer to Grand Prix just three years after his import. The pair competed successfully, earning a USDF performance certificate at the Grand Prix level.
In 1988 Malone said of her stallion: “Roemer is actually extremely easy to ride. He is intelligent, so I only have to show him something once before he understands. He doesn’t make an issue over doing it again, even if it’s difficult for him. He has such an honest character and really tries.”
A broken shoulder sustained in a trailering accident cut short Roemer’s performance career. Despite his early retirement, he continued to build a legacy through his sons and daughters. He died in 1996 at the age of 21; later that year, he posthumously won the Get of Sire class at Dressage at Devon.
By Mary Alice Malone
Roemer is one of my all-time favorite horses. He was a successful Grand Prix jumper in the Netherlands, and he is one of the few stallions to receive a 10 on character and a 9 on temperament during his stallion testing.
Before I met Roemer, I bought his son Winston in 1985 as five-year- old. Like Roemer, Winston demonstrated ridability and trainability, and was fun to ride. Winston was a fantastic horse with a long and successful show career that we developed from Training Level to Grand Prix. Winston truly had a heart of gold, so I took the opportunity to see Roemer in the Netherlands in 1985.
Roemer was big, beautiful, and marvelously marked. He had a good attitude. I just looked at him and knew he was going to be a wonderful horse.
At the time, it was believed that Roemer’s offspring were developing too slowly. However, I had a dream in him and faith that his babies would also be good horses, so Roemer became part of the family. This dream paid off because as Roemer’s offspring reached five to seven years old, they came into their own. Once they began the collected work, they excelled at the FEI levels.
Roemer was a jumper, but he also had some dressage training and had shown Prix St. Georges in Holland. When he arrived in the United States, we taught him to piaffe, which he understood quickly and easily. This wonderful trainability is something that Roemer passes on to his offspring.
Roemer was fun to show—easy to handle and easy to ride in the warm-up and in the ring. When other horses were naughty, he was brave and steady. At one show in Richmond, Virginia, there were several white hunter ponies he thought were particularly interesting. He got a little pumped up, but he still listened to me and did everything I asked.
His favorite class was the freestyle. He loved his music—big band and country. At the shows after his classes, he liked to go out for a little walk or for some grass.
Roemer fit in with everything. He was good in the barn and with other horses. He was easy to handle and safe around my kids, so I liked that very much. He truly had a golden character, a quality his children and grandchildren inherit.
He was just a lovely horse; I cannot say enough about him.