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each foal. There would be energetic music, free food and refreshments. The event was designed to be a fun and educational experience ultimately generating sales as well as promoting the breeding programs of both farms.

BREEDERS UNITE It was a fine plan with one tiny complication—the only


two sponsors in this endeavor are two friends who are business competitors, Debbie Malcolmson from Carnival Hill and Kathy Hickerson of Majestic Gaits. So, how did that work? “We don’t really think about each other that way,” says

Debbie when posed the question about joining forces with another breeder. “Kathy and I have been friends a long time and have shared a lot of ups and downs with these horses over the years. We’re always cheering each other on, believe it or not! We’re also not duplicating each other’s breeding programs, so we’re not selling the same horse. That’s one of the greatest things about the KWPN: they have such a variety of high quality bloodlines available. Buyers are knowledgeable these days, and are searching for a specific fit. If a prospective client calls me looking for something that I don’t have, I’m happy to send them in Kathy’s direction. She does the same for me. It all evens out in the end.” Although their paths to becoming avid breeders were

very different, one thing is certain: they both share a great love for their Dutch horses. Practically neighbors, they first met when Debbie purchased a yearling from Kathy soon after moving to New Hampshire from western Canada. Neither could have predicted how that transaction would evolve into a lasting friendship. It is not uncommon to see these two farms stabled together at the same horse show with horses entered in the same class. Both compete to win, but they still respect each other’s successes. Some say that breeding is both art and science.

Perhaps it is rocket science, as that was Kathy Hickerson’s chosen field before making the unlikely career jump to horse breeder. Eventually her passion for horses won out, and the mother of three has been breeding Dutch Warmbloods since 1985. “Making a serious business out of breeding horses was my goal. I knew from the outset that this was what I aimed to accomplish,” reports Kathy. Starting from a foundation of Thoroughbred mares,

Kathy has since established a collection of some of the finest Dutch Warmbloods in the country. Horses bred by Majestic Gaits can be found in the stables of professionals and amateurs alike throughout the United States and Canada. She stands three stallions and is the breeder of many Top Ten KWPN foals, breed show champions and successful competition horses. In the early years, Kathy hosted educational trips to Holland attending the stallion selections and touring breeding farms. During one of

Warmbloods Today 31

those tours she formed a working relationship with the famous VDL Stud. For the past decade, Majestic Gaits has been one of their largest distributors of frozen semen in North America.

HARD KNOCKS As all breeders know, the business can be a heart-breaking


one. Majestic Gaits, like many others, has suffered its share of tragedy along the way. The first stallion to stand at Majestic Gaits, Aram (Nimmerdor x Uppercut), died shortly after coming to New Hampshire due to a pasture accident. “I literally couldn’t go to the barn for two months. It was just too hard,” says Kathy. Not one to be knocked down for long, Kathy soon imported another VDL stallion, Navarone, the only approved son of double gold medalist Jus de Pomme. He was followed by Farrington Keur (Wellington Doruto), and most recently, Schroeder, a young son of Sandro Hit. Needless to say, with all of this activity, there is never a dull moment at Majestic Gaits. There haven’t been many dull moments at Debbie’s

Top: Carnival Hill lost their barn to a terible fre in 2006. Below: Te newly retored barn at Carnival Hill.

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