The wonderful Westfalen! We are celebrating them as our August Breed of the Month on YourDressage!
Here, a trainer in Region 3 shares about her first time shopping for a horse across the pond, and the cute young Westfalen that became her ‘Dreamheart.’
By Kristina Brown
After the pandemic, my husband and I moved to Ocala, Florida, to pursue our dream of owning a farm to train and raise high quality performance horses. I had finally reached the FEI Levels with my second self-taught, homebred, Lipizzan gelding, and felt like I was ready to take on another youngster. I figured, after so many years of training and showing iberian/baroque type horses, why not look for a warmblood breed?
We started our search stateside, but with travel and health restrictions still in place and a limited budget, we kept running into dead ends. Then, I reached out to a gal overseas that assisted a friend of mine with some young horse purchases. She came highly recommended, so I figured why not give it a go? I explained to her my checklist of wants, as well as our budget, and within the week I had over ten beautiful young horses to look at. They ranged from unbroken to green broke and, although there were a few that caught my attention, none had swayed me enough to continue pursuing further.
A month or so went by and, as my husband and I were finishing up the build out on our little farm, finalizing the stalls to welcome our fur kids home, I was sent a video of this cute, little, bay Westfalen gelding, running freely around in an arena. He was so refined, and carried himself so lightly on his feet. I was instantly intrigued. Being of smaller build myself, I was looking for a horse that wouldn’t get too big, but also showed the potential, along with the bloodlines, to develop into a future FEI horse. I asked for more information and, seeing as he was not under saddle, my husband and I came up with a plan. Perhaps, we go ahead and vet this little guy, keep him over in Europe to start going very greenly under saddle, and, if he ends up being a ding-a-ling, sell him as a green broke horse over there. BUT, if he checks all the boxes, by the time our barn is ready, we will import and bring him home.
The little guy was doing so well starting under saddle. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body and loved everyone and everything. I had to come up with a name for our new guy, as I did not realize that some Westfalen horses in Europe are not required to have a registered name. With his sire being Dreamline (by Don Olymbrio) and his dam sire Dragonheart, I played with a variety of “D” names. Ultimately I came up with “Dreamheart”, but in true fashion of our household, he had to have an everyday name. Doug. My husband suggested it, and I laughed and said, “That’s perfect.”
After Doug stayed in Europe for a few months, even going to a young horse show and receiving praise for his wonderful mind, as well as great gaits, we imported him at the beginning of 2022. He was everything I had hoped for and more. I had taken a chance, buying a horse overseas when I had never done it before, and I have got to say that because of the experience, I won’t hesitate to do it again. Doug has proven time and time again, even as a now 5-year-old, that he has the ability to become something amazing. He is so easy going, kind, fun to ride and train, and strikingly beautiful. I am hopeful for our future and excited to see what it holds!