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for him. There still wasn’t a lot of ‘atmosphere’ but I think it was a fair way to do it.” Anne further explains that the horse is presented for a stand-up, walk-around conformation inspection. They are walked and trotted on a hard surface with inspectors standing to the side and in front to assess movement, aptitude and attitude. If a stallion rears and strikes the handler, for example, it probably won’t be approved. Next the horse is walked and trotted on a triangle in an enclosed arena, then is turned loose at walk, trot and canter, then free jumps a small grid set up in a chute. All the while, the judges assess the horse’s mental capacity and technique over small fences. All this typically happens when a horse is two to four years old. The test also includes an under saddle portion, superior

foal, and hereditary transmission. “That’s what a breed registry should be about,” says Anne. “It should be about generations. I love Avebury but I have a weanling on the ground that looks even better than him, and that’s what’s supposed to be happening! The whole process is extremely educational,” she points out. “In the big picture we’re just trying to produce good-minded, athletic, kind horses.”

Competitive Success

Following his approval, “Dillon,” as Avebury is known

around the barn, (Anne explains every year they use a TV show for names—that year it was Gunsmoke and there were also a Kitty and Chester), headed down to Aiken, South Carolina with Ryan for a winter of training and eventing competitions. Previously he competed in some local unrecognized events close to home. “It’s like sending a kid off to boarding school,” says Anne with a smile. The plan was for Avebury to compete in four events

during the winter and spring season to see how he progresses and then take it from there. By early 2010, Avebury had competed in the beginner novice division

at Aiken’s Paradise Farm placing third, and has already moved up to Open Novice, placing fourth at Full Gallop Farm also in Aiken. “He finished well on his dressage score and came in

third overall,” Ryan says. “I think he’ll go up the grades pretty quick. He’s an eye-catching horse, a good mover and a careful jumper in the show jumping but bold and brave cross-country. The way the sport’s going, they’re breeding a lot more with Warmbloods and he’s half Thoroughbred, so he’s a good one to breed to your eventing mare. He’s got all the right ingredients to make a top level event horse. “I think he’ll go novice a few times and then move up

to training level pretty quickly,” Ryan continues proudly. “I think if they did the approvals again now, he’d receive a much better score—he’s in full training and he’s been to a show and is a lot more rideable now. At the testing, he wasn’t really in full work yet and had only jumped a handful of times. They wanted to have him approved coming into the breeding season, and he still had a more than high enough score—an 8.7—which is a really good score, but I think it would even be better if he was tested again. “He’s in the training program at Phillip’s and is jumped a

couple times a week, does his trots sets, and perhaps does a little more cross-country training than the seasoned campaigners. I trot him through the water and pop over the ditch—he loves doing it,” according to Ryan. For Avebury and his owners, the AWR approval

process has helped to highlight his strengths while his bloodlines point the way to his eventing career. And instead of being the exception to the standard, Warmbloods like Avebury WF may come to represent the typical successful event horse. WT

Below (and opening photo, p. 00): Avebury WF and Ryan Wood compete in Aiken early this year.


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