By Renee Bambach
As a new arrival to the dressage and sport horse breeding worlds, I was uncertain of where or how to begin my journey. I am originally from the Hunter/Jumper industry in Wellington, FL, and while Wellington certainly sustains an active dressage community, I felt intimidated by the industry’s fast pace and grandiose image.
I am now a resident of Winchester, KY, and maintain a breeding operation at my farm, where I focus on the production of multipurpose sport horses. While I have a history of selling stock to dressage-minded competitors, I never thought of myself as being a breeder predominantly geared towards the dressage industry. I am an unguided breeder, meaning that I do not have anyone sitting down with me and telling me what to do. I do read and educate myself, however, and I’ve always had good luck, so I must have some idea of what I’m doing!
I was drawn into the competition world of dressage sport horse breeding and the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders Championship Series in 2015 with my latest foal, Bedelia HHV. Bedelia HHV is a homebred, Hanoverian filly by Bon Balou and out of the Widmark mare, Whimsical HPF. My first experience with a dressage sport horse breeding competition was at a locally held show, which was serving as a qualifier for the series. While the competition suffered significant upset in the days prior to the show’s commencement, when the show facility had a structure fire, competition management was able to smoothly and successfully transition the competition to a new location.
The show organizers flawlessly moved the show within a few days. The volunteers were great, the judges were informed and educated, and my fellow competitors were supportive. Everyone helped me. I experienced help like I never have before. Even when I arrived at the show, a man in the parking area offered to help unload my horse.
I had such a positive experience at this competition, that I committed to hauling Bedelia HHV the six-and-a-half-hour distance to compete at the North Central Series Final in Lamplight, IL. She ultimately went on to win the title of 2015 North Central Series Current Year Foal Champion.
I largely credit that victory to the support and friendship found within my local dressage community. Everything from the USDF website, to support from the Kentucky Dressage Association, made my transition into dressage easy and enjoyable. It all helped to give me a plan and a goal, and to turn my hunter into a dressage prospect. I wish I would have started years ago, but now plan to catch up and get on board with a trainer.
I found the feedback provided to competitors, through their participation in competition, to be especially valuable- both as a breeder and a competitor. People will ask when I’m going to take my horses to a keuring, but that is difficult for us to get everyone to. When I take a horse to a [Breeders Championship] competition, I am getting an unbiased opinion, versus what I get from a Hanoverian judge at a Hanoverian keuring. The judging provides great feedback for both my business and my horses.
Looking forward to 2016, I plan on taking full advantage of the numerous educational opportunities available through the Kentucky Dressage Association, and I’m excited about the upcoming competition season. I plan on competing Bedelia HHV in the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders Championship Series as a yearling, as well as competing additional stock I’ve bred, and expanding my horizons as a rider.
This is all so exciting and fun! I look forward to future years of competition. I have met so many wonderful people, and made so many friends. It’s always great when someone has your back in new adventures.