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Today, Orchis has developed into a calm, focused, hard-


working horse under saddle. She’s a great mom throwing wonderful babies who all love their work. In 2011 all eyes will be watching Orchis as she produces one of the first and few Totilas foals born in North America.


Cocolalla Creek Sport Horses’


HOCHKARAT Finding Hochkarat in Germany in 2004 as a just-broken three year old and importing her to their farm in Idaho was the best thing that could have ever happened to Marion O’Connor. Little did Marion know that this mare was to become her once-in-a-lifetime horse, closest dressage partner and the most important addition to her breeding program. German-native Marion and her American husband


Patrick settled into their own ranch in Careywood, Idaho in 1992. As the owners and breeders of American Paint horses, she began to ride dressage in 1993 only to learn that her beloved paints had their limitations in the sport. A trip to her home country in 1995 where she saw the famous stallion Weltmeyer in person inspired her to begin her own Warmblood breeding operation in Idaho. In 2004 Marion sold her previously imported black stallion in order to travel to Germany to purchase the best mare that her money could buy. At that point she realized that a good mare was more valuable than the stallion since there were so many great stallions available. So she found Hochkarat, a 2001 black Hanoverian by Hohenstein. Hohenstein was a popular Trakehner sire used in Hanover at the time. Marion says, “Although she was a green three- year-old, I was shocked at her boldness, her forwardness and the powerful feeling I felt underneath me. Although I was somewhat intimidated by her, she seemed like a great mare for both riding and breeding.” Marion’s initial plan was to ride her for a year, get her


approved at age four and earn her the Elite status which meant riding a test under saddle. After that, she could become a full time mom. But that’s not exactly what happened. “Once I learned how to ride such a powerful animal by not overriding her, we began to bond like I have never bonded with a horse. I just ‘think’ the aids now, and she does it. It’s unbelievable!” Marion admits that she has had to learn how to deal with the mare’s alpha, strong-minded personality


32 Warmbloods Today 32 November/December 2010


and not let things become a battle between them. “It’s the blind leading the blind since we’re through third level now, working at the fourth and Prix-St-Georges level, learning as we go together. I had never brought a horse past second level before, so we’ve had our bumps along the way!” But because of their bond and the progress they were making in dressage, she just couldn’t stop riding her to breed. So embryo transfer was the solution. “I was very lucky since my vet, Dr. Jed McKinlay of


Spokane, Washington, has a lot of experience with embryo transfer,” Marion continues. “So year after year that’s what we’ve done with Hochkarat. At age nine she’s already had nine foals—and every one has been fantastic regardless of the sire.” In 2004, Hochkarat was presented to the American Hanoverian Society and received record scores, including a


9 for impulsion and elasticity. She was the highest scoring mare that year with the AHS with an overall 8. In 2005 Marion rode her in Materiale classes and she won USDF Horse of the Year for the 4 and 5 year old mares. She also did a very good Mare Performance Test, scoring 77.7% and became an AHS Elite Mare. Her first foal was born in 2005, a filly named


Wolkenkarat by Marion’s own stallion Wolkenzauber. She had many wins as a yearling and two year old and in 2008 won the title of USDF Horse of the Year (HOY) for three year old fillies Materiale. In 2006 Hochkarat had three foals using embryo


transfer: Rabenschwarz (by Rakidal) who won HOY as a yearling and was licensed as a stallion with RPSI; Rio Rio, a filly by Rakidal who won reserve HOY, and the colt Rhyan by Royal Prince (bred and owned by Rolling Stone Farm). 2007 brought a new filly, Rio Rima, also by Radikal.


“Due to a minor, but persistent injury the filly could not be shown as a weanling, but earned the Gold Medal at her RPSI inspection. Later in 2008, Rio Rima scored 81% from renowned sport horse judge Hilda Gurney,” Marion reports.


Photo above: Hochkarat in 2009, winner of many championships at the Northwest Sport Horse Breeder’s Classic (Photos by Carolynn Bunch).


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