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Selle Français Association and the Rheinland Pfalz-Saar association, now known as Rhineland Pfalz-Saar International, or RPSI.

Soon, Tamara says, she received a call from Rick Toering from the American Hanoverian Society’s (AHS) Jumper Breeding Program, asking if she would consider trying for AHS licensing and approval. After an internal debate about the wisdom of a trip to California for the required inspection, she decided to make the journey. “Each time you put a stallion ‘out there’ for approval, you risk being denied, which will mar his approval record. I believed in the stallion, so it was a risk I was willing to take. It would be the difference between him being recognized as truly great rather than just very good,” she explains.

During that trip, Coconut Grove was presented for inspection at both the Hanoverian society and the Oldenburg Registry North America. In 2004, he made the trip to the west coast again, this time for the KWPN North America (Dutch) inspec- tion. For these inspections, he was presented by well-known California-based trainer Willy Arts, who remained very involved with the stallion even after these approvals, Tamara says.

Still Going Strong

In late 2008, Tamara, facing personal decisions, sold

Coconut Grove. Fellow breeder Wendy Davis Gerrish was eager to buy him, so the horse made the move to Texas. He is now based at Wendy’s October Hill Farm in Hudson Oaks, near Fort Worth.

"Each time you put a stallion 'out there' for approval, you risk being denied, which will mar his approval record."

After these approvals, Tamara continues, she made the decision to limit the horse’s travel because of his age and his value. He continued to receive approvals and licenses from the various breeding organizations, she says, but viewings were done on her farm or approval was granted based on his prior approvals. Those included several European organizations. (Please see “Approvals at a Glance” on page 40 for more information.) “I swore I just wasn’t going to do any more,” she says with a laugh.

She notes that early on the breeding associations placed restrictions on his breeding. The AHHA required all mares to be individually approved before breeding, while the Hanoverian Society simply noted that careful mare selec- tion was needed. (Rick Toering adds that the AHA required that the mares have a certain percentage of “Hanoverian blood.”) Breeding Coconut Grove to another Thoroughbred presented yet another set of requirements. Because the Jockey Club requires live cover breeding, Coconut Grove has very few registered Thoroughbred off- spring. “That’s one of my greatest heartaches – I can’t ship semen and give Jockey Club papers. There are very few registered Thoroughbreds out there by Coconut Grove,” Tamara says.

“It was a gamble but one I was excited to take,” she explains. “I’ve known about Coconut Grove since the first minute after his breeding approval with the AHHA in 2003. I picked up the phone and got to know Tamara, and bought five breedings from him that first season. I thought, ‘How lucky that we have an opportunity to use this incredibly successful, blooded stallion on our big, powerful jumping mares!’ I bought more breedings to him this year to use on an outstanding show mare that we wanted embryos from. The semen is just off-the-chart, real- ly, really good. When Tamara called to offer us ownership, my only answer was ‘absolutely!’”

“With Coconut Grove, we have the chance to go back and introduce another really accomplished blooded jumper stal- lion into our Warmblood breeding pro- grams,” she continues. The changes that a stallion like Coconut Grove can introduce into his offspring are dra- matic, she says, especially when breeding to very large and heavy mares. The combination can lighten the bone size, shorten the back, help get a longer leg and more sloping shoulder, and produce a hind leg more under- neath the body to increase power from behind. Continually breeding larger and heavier horses to each other will bring the Warmblood breeds back to an older type that will not satisfy many of today’s riders, she says. “Stride adjustability is crucial to being competitive on today’s technical courses, and having that Thoroughbred influence—really accomplished Thoroughbred—has proven to enhance the performance and agility of Warmblood horses.”

Like Wendy, Hanoverian breeder Rick Toering says Coconut Grove introduces some needed lightness to the Warmblood breeds. “I had been looking for a Thoroughbred stallion I could use since I have several heavier, old-style mares,” he explains. “The second I saw he’d been approved by the Holsteiners, I started making phone calls within the Hanoverian society. I thought this was exactly the kind of horse we should be excited about.”

In the end, what counts, former owner Tamara Smith says, is the horse’s ability to improve his offspring. “All those approvals are fine and dandy on paper,” she explains. “The fact that he’s producing the way he is –

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