Importing Love


The wonderful Westfalen! We are celebrating them as our August Breed of the Month on YourDressage! 

Dressage riders who choose Westfalens as their mounts are eligible for special awards through the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards program, as Westfalen Verband NA is a participating organization.

Here, an adult amateur in Region 2 shares about importing her first ever horse, a 3-year-old Westfalen named For Amour, and why you can never go wrong when choosing a horse with a “W” on their left hip.

By Jennifer Clooten 

“I really don’t need another horse…” is how this story started. I had two at home already and, on top of a  full-time job as a small animal veterinarian, my “free time” is limited and precious. Like many adult amateurs, I had previously purchased my “dream horse”… the one that was going to take me to the FEI Levels, or so I thought. One can never predict the future with horses, and my amazingly talented PRE was diagnosed with a deep digital flexor tendon injury. Despite surgery, rehab, shock wave, stem cell therapy, and investigational modalities, I was told by more than one equine veterinarian that he would never be sound, under saddle, again. I was devastated but, in life, everything happens for a reason. This is what led me to my second chance, as I like to call him, my Westfalen gelding For Amour (For Romance X San Amour).

During the time that my PRE was undergoing rehab, I started my new “hobby” of watching sales videos and learning about the warmblood market, specifically the stallion and foal auctions in Germany. I learned about bloodlines, Hanoverians, and Westfalens. I had signed up for online auctions/bidding and was very intrigued to see that many buyers were, in fact, from the USA. I became particularly interested in the Westfalen stallion auctions and, soon enough, my inbox was buzzing.

I never thought I would be the person to purchase a horse sight unseen, from overseas, but it happened in August of 2021. I had been in contact with a Grand Prix rider from Belgium, who had some interesting young sale horses.  One day, she sent me a video of a horse that was not yet listed. Lo and behold, it was a stallion from one of the Westfalen auctions earlier in the year.  His name had been changed, but it was definitely the same horse. She had purchased this stallion from auction and had started his training under saddle.

Many times, the question had crossed my mind, “Can I handle a young horse?”  Thankfully, he was not just any 3-year-old stallion. He was safe and well-mannered enough for an adult amateur, like many Westfalens. He also had the typical elastic movement that the breed is known for.  After many videos and Whatsapp chats, he was on his way to his new home, in Michigan. Although he was a very well-mannered stallion, I did choose to have him gelded prior to transport.

Travel and importation were a breeze, and he walked off the trailer, into his new stall, like no big deal.  He was a beauty and I knew, with time and training, he would be wonderful. Amour proved to be kind and willing, under the saddle. He could hack out alone and never took a misstep. He was sweet natured and gentle. With the help and guidance of my wonderful trainer, our first show season in 2022 was a success…Reserve Champion at Training Level! I was elated. I was also able to compete in the 4/5 Year-Old Materiale classes with wonderful feedback from the judges. This show season, we are showing First Level and have our sights set on the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championships, once again.  If all the stars align, I hope that I have found my new FEI partner. So, to all those warmblood lovers out there, keep an eye out for the breed with the “W” on the left hip…you can’t go wrong!

Photo by Diana Hadsall Photography

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