By Karla Stanley,
Introduced by Rhegan White
In April 2015, I met Karla Stanley and her daughter Mimi, of Bismark, ND, through my dear friend and long time trainer, Conrad Schumacher. Mimi Stanley had trained with Mr. Schumacher for a number of years at Temple Farms, in the Chicago area, riding Arabians and succeeding as a junior USDF rider. They contacted me to help them find and import a talented young German Warmblood /Westphalian horse, for Mimi to ride and compete all the way to Grand Prix. In my capacity as USA Sales Director for the Westphalian Studbook e.V. of Munster, Germany, I was eager to help them locate a talented horse. Their budget was limited, but their knowledge was large, and together we began a journey to find the perfect partner for Mimi. Here is their story.
The idea of buying and importing a horse from Germany first took shape in our minds two years ago, in the stands of Tempel Farms, while watching Mimi’s lesson. We were clustered around a friend’s phone, admiring Westphalian auction horses. This friend had some experience to share, as she not only had been to a Westphalian auction, but she also imported a wonderful gelding. She told us that, if we were interested, the person to contact was the USA Sales Director for the Westphalian Studbook, Rhegan White.
We contacted Rhegan and began our search for the perfect partner for Mimi. Our first attempt was a long distance phone bidding experience at a German Warmblood auction. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful, but afterwards Rhegan made us an invitation we could not refuse: a visit the Summer Westphalian Auction in Munster, Germany.
We had a fabulous adventure in Germany with Rhegan and her husband, Tim. We got to know the Westphalian Studbook e.V. Auction family, and Mimi rode almost all of the auction horses. She was impressed with their excellent training and willingness to work at their young ages. We stayed until the Fall Elite auction, but once again left empty handed. We made second and third long distance attempts from the US, and yet we still did not find the mare of our dreams.
“Don’t be discouraged I know she is out there,” encouraged Rhegan. So, we continued the search.
At last, at the Westphalian Winter Auction, we found the perfect match: a three year old black mare called Abraxa (Astrix x Fidermark). Rhegan spotted her immediately, evaluating conformation, movement, temperament, and vet reports, while sending back a lot of video footage to us in the states. Rhegan, Mimi, and I came up with a bidding plan, and at 6:00am (2:00pm in Germany) on January 17, we were on the phone with Rhegan waiting for horse #45 to enter the auction ring. After three bids from us, the hammer fell and Abraxa was ours! It did not seem real that on a cold winter morning in North Dakota, we had just bought the horse of our dreams, on the other side of the world in Munster, Germany.
In a flurry, arrangements started to fall into place. Invoices and international money orders changed hands with the Westphalian Auction team, all of the necessary vet work was done, and Klatte International Horse Transport was contacted. Preparations were underway to transport Abraxa home to Prairie Rose Training Center- she was to be the first German horse ever imported in the state of North Dakota!
Abraxa made her debut at Tempel Farms, and was carefully inspected by our trusted trainer, Conrad Schumacher. We held our breath as he quietly watched her twirl and dance at the end of the lunge line, but as predicted he liked her a great deal, speaking in glowing terms of her correct conformation and enormous potential for the Grand Prix competition ring.
Abraxa is learning our language, while we learn about her. She seems inquisitive and has an idea about good things in pockets. We wonder if she grew up on a working farm, as she looks forward to the tractor delivering the hay and is not afraid of dogs. She stands for the farrier, and steps back to give you space. We know that her breeders raised her well, and someday we hope we will meet them and tell them how truly special this mare is for us.