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became one of her top horses. “He was my reserve horse behind Sleep Late for the Olympic Games in Sydney,” she says. “He had shown in Germany that he had the quality for an Olympic horse.” “He had been the German national ‘darling’ for several

years at the CIC** and CIC*** level for two years under Ingrid,” Dr. Holekamp explains. “She won the German National Rider’s Championships on him and racked up many wins and placings. In 1999 he was elected ‘Horse of the Year’—out of all the disciplines—by the readers of Reiter Revue, the biggest horse magazine there.” Across the ocean in the

United States, Dr. Holekamp had earlier formed a relation- ship with an up-and-coming rider named Darren Chiacchia. “We bought a three-year-old gelding from Darren’s first sponsor, Harold Bixby, in 1984 and became friends with both of them,” Dr. Holekamp explains. “In 1985, while visiting them in New York, I asked Darren what his life’s goals were. He said that he intended to ride a Trakehner stallion in the Olympic Games and win a medal.” “I had seen enough to think that this incredibly single-

The young Windfall competes with Ingrid

Klimke in Germany.

Photo by M. Czerny

minded young fellow just might do that, so we began an on and off financial sponsorship of him that got much more serious when we bought into Amethyst with him about six or seven years later.” Amethyst, a black Trakehner stallion, would prove to be the horse that began a business plan shared by the Holekamps and Darren, combining upper level eventing competition and breeding use. Although already older than most horses working their way up the levels, the stunning black stallion had a very successful run through the three-star level with Darren before eventually retiring to stud at the Holekamps’ farm in Missouri. “We needed to find a newer and better version of the black stallion,” continues Dr. Holekamp, “one with a bit more Thoroughbred blood and preferably one with Habicht blood.” Habicht was a Trakehner stallion that competed successfully for Germany in eventing in international competitions, as did his sire Burnus AA. Several Habicht sons were already producing successful event horses. Since Darren was also in need of a new upper-

level mount, Dr. Holekamp invited him on a four-day prospecting trip to Germany that he set up with the young German breeding expert, Dr. Maren Engelhardt. The two of them, along with Dr. Holekamp’s wife Cheryl, flew over

in early November 2000. “With Maren’s help, we went all over Germany and Poland,” Darren says. “We had put in excess of 3,300 kilometers on the rental car in four days and nights and we’d about given up hope. At the very end of the trip, we found ourselves at Gestüt Hörstein looking at a two-year-old colt and we realized that the well-known Windfall, who had already done great things in Europe, was there at home.” Dr. Holekamp remembers that the topic of Windfall

being available for sale did not come up until just as they were about to leave. After some negotiation, thanks to their German translator, the manager of the farm agreed to show Windfall to the group from America, not really intending to consider them as potential buyers. “They brought the horse into the arena and turned him loose,” Darren says. “We looked at each other and I think that’s the moment we knew.” “They didn’t want

Darren to ride him,” says Dr. Holekamp. “The horse was

out of training and the stud-manager did not then know who Darren was. It was about safety.” Finally, they agreed to let Darren ride the horse. “I had to trot the short side of the arena before I knew,”

says Darren. “But it was practically instantaneous. From there, as they say, the rest is history.”

Welcome To America

The details of the sale to Dr. Holekamp were carefully negotiated between him and Windfall’s owners and before long, the new black stallion arrived in the United States. Although they now had the ‘German darling,’ Darren and the Holekamps faced the challenge of returning Windfall to the level at which they knew he could compete. “Windfall came to us unridden for more than six

months and trained by a rider with a different style,” Dr. Holekamp says. “Darren had experience riding several Trakehner stallions at this point but this one had more racehorse in him and more stallion type than any previous mount. That meant that to even imagine that he could jump on and take on the U.S. field of great event horses and riders of that era—the best in history—in a few months at the Advanced level was a fatuous pipe dream. Realistically, it took a while.” Darren wholeheartedly agrees. “Stallions were made

to think about self-preservation,” he explains. “They’re not going to like a little scrape on the knee here or a little

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