By Christine DeHerrera
More than 10,500 KWPN Dutch Warmblood foals are born in the Netherlands every year, each carrying the hopes of its breeder. Of course, it’s the uncommon individual who lives up to the dream. Sir Sinclair, Keur, is one of those rare, once-in-a-lifetime horses. Born to a small breeder, he became a US national champion dressage horse, and the number one USEF dressage sire for five consecutive years (2015-2019), with dozens Grand Prix and FEI champions to his credit.
Early Days in the Netherlands
Sir entered the world in 1999 as a tiny, skinny colt with a lot of hair. While he wasn’t physically imposing, Sir immediately demonstrated his good character, a quality he would be known for throughout his life.
Breeder and rider Monica Drohm, of Doetinchem, The Netherlands, paired Lord Sinclair, a two-time winner of the Bundeschampionat, and eventual sire of more than 20 approved sons, with Krishna, Star, Sport Preferent, Prestatie. Krishna is by Flemmingh, Preferent, who was known at the time primarily as a jumper sire. “I always did my own thing,” Drohm said of her matchmaking.
By the time he was three months old, Sir developed into an impressive young sport horse. When he accompanied his dam to the KWPN mare keuring, “He really showed himself well,” Drohm explained. “A lot of people came to me and said he should go to the foal auction.” This was an immense compliment, since only the best youngsters are invited to the auction. Instead, Drohm sold Sir privately to Anton Geessink. Later, in 2002, Sir was sold to Ed Constant at the prestigious KWPN Select Sale, for 360,000 euros, making him the highest priced stallion at the time.
Heading to Iron Spring Farm
In 2003, when Sir Sinclair was four, Iron Spring Farm was looking for a new stallion to add to their roster. The mandate: wonderful temperament, exceptional athletic ability, and remarkable bloodlines. Belinda Nairn-Wertman led the search for a new ISF stallion, and soon Sir Sinclair was on his way to the USA to continue his performance and breeding careers.
Dorie Addy-Crow worked for Nairn-Wertman at the time, and she had the pleasure of riding the young stallion. “My first impression was I thought he was beautiful,” she recalled. “The more I got to know Sir Sinclair, I realized how sweet and kind he was to work with.”
With Addy-Crow in the irons, Sir competed in the young horse classes. “He gave you a great feeling. He was so soft, well-balanced, and loved working for his rider.” As a five-year-old, Sir was invited back to Europe to compete in the World Championships for Young Horses, in Verden, Germany. “It was a great experience. He took everything in stride,” she said.
The next year, Sir and Nairn-Wertman won both the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Six-Year-Old Championship and the the USDF FEI Six-Year-Old Horse of the Year. From there, he advanced up the levels, making a winning Prix. St. Georges debut in 2006, collecting more blue ribbons in the US Developing Horse classes. While Sir easily learned all the Grand Prix movements, he contracted Lyme disease and was unable to compete at that level. Fortunately, his breeding career was just taking off.
Sire of National Champions
Like many young European stallions, Sir was bred early and sired two foal crops before his importation. His European offspring included the Approved KWPN stallion Wesley and the Licensed Westfalen stallion Welcome Sir. Several horses from those crops made their way to the USA: Zuperman, a CDI Grand Prix winner ridden by Kathleen Raine; William, US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® Grand Prix Champion; Zania, GAIG/USDF Region 4 Grand Prix Champion, and many other Grand Prix winners. Sir even sired a WEG medalist in combined driving.
Once Sir arrived in the USA, he was an immediate hit with North American breeders. “We have clients who have bred to him six and seven years in a row,” said Meghan de Garay, breeding manager at Iron Spring Farm. “He produces horses that a range of people can ride, from top international professionals to amateurs bringing them up the levels themselves.”
Sir’s offspring have captured an impressive array of titles, from Grand Champion at Dressage at Devon to USDF Horse of the Year. The list of CDI, FEI, US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, and Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Champions winners is too long to mention.
These North American sons and daughters have been as extraordinary as their European counterparts. Dee Clair, Keur, Sport, was the Reserve National Grand Prix Champion at the US Festival of Champions in 2019. Caymus was named to the USA Developing Horse List in 2018, and made his winning Grand Prix debut in 2019.
In 2019, Sir was once again the number one USEF sire of dressage horses, a title he’s held since 2015. He’s also a six-time winner of the Get of Sire class at prestigious Dressage at Devon.
At nearly 21 years old, Sir still enjoys breeding, as well as carrots and apples, plus daily time in his pasture at Iron Spring Farm. “He likes interacting with everyone at the farm,” said de Garay. “He’s an inquisitive horse who wants to be involved with people. And he produces those traits in his babies.”
While breeding can be a risky endeavor, Sir Sinclair is a living example that dreams can come true.