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Exporting: A Reversal of Fortune? By Patti Schofler


MARKETING NORTH AMERICAN-BRED WARMBLOODS OUTSIDE OUR BORDERS HAS A SPOTTY HISTORY. ONCE WAS THE DAYWHEN THE ONLY “GOOD” HORSESWERE THOSE BRED AND TRAINED IN EUROPE. NOWWE SEE MANY HIGH QUALITY HORSES BRED AND/OR TRAINED IN THE UNITED STATES. IS THE INTERNATIONALMARKET READY TO ACCEPT THEM?


C


learly, producing quality horses is a critical issue if the United States is to be competitive on the international stage. As USEF Technical Advisor


for dressage Anne Gribbons says in an interview with Dressagedaily.com: “The Europeans are never going to sell us a trained horse that’s going to beat them—not at the highest levels. We need to breed our own horses as well, but that’s an even longer process. I probably won’t live to see it, but I look forward to the day when Americans can field a winning team of horses trained and bred here.” Today, selling American horses in Europe remains


a hard sell. Here, four breeders and trainers share their limited success with exporting sport horses.


n DAVID WILSON As head trainer at W Farms in Chino Hills, California, David Wilson has trained over 30 horses to Grand Prix level dressage, many of which he has sold to European owners. His career has taken him to many regional and national championships, he has earned his USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medals, and he has had the opportunity to train with dressage greats Harry Boldt, Reiner Klimke and Herbert Rehbein. His relationship with


Herbert Rehbein led to a business and a unique 44 September/October 2011


partnership that focuses on the sale of horses to riders and owners in Germany and other European countries. Sixteen years ago Mr. Rehbein introduced David to


Ullrich Kasselmann, who along with Paul Schockemöhle, owns and operates the largest private sport horse auction in the world, Performance Sales International (P.S.I.). An accomplished breeder, Ullrich sold two-year-old Gifted to U. S. rider Carol Lavell, who took to him to the Barcelona Olympics. Mr. Rehbein recommended to childhood friend


Ullrich that he turn to David to “build FEI horses” from his young stock. Over time the two developed a business relationship in which Ullrich sells David horses that he trains and then, with Ullrich’s assistance, sells in Europe. For example, in 1998 David bought a four-year-


old, World in Motion, at the P.S.I. Auction who did his first Grand Prix as an 8-year-old and was awarded the California Dressage Society Grand Prix Horse of the Year title. “Ulli had a buyer for him [in Germany] and within four


days the horse was sold for a lot of money,”David recalls. “The world of horses has gotten smaller. People don’t care where the horse came from. They want quality of training, soundness, and a good mind. In the old days, saying you had a horse from Europe meant the horse was better.”That stigma, he believes, is going away. On the other hand, David acknowledges he has sold


only a few horses that have been bred in the U.S., a fact he does not understand. “The fact that our dollar is worth nothing over there should draw European buyers to the U.S. I just imported two geldings from Ullrich. The flight and quarantine for the two was over $20,000. To export a horse to Europe from California, the cost is $6,000. It’s insane.” David’s horses sell to professionals and amateurs alike.


For example, Famous Boy was a horse he bought at the auction as a four-year-old and trained to Grand Prix. When the U.S. owner went out of the horse business, David shipped him to Ullrich and he was bought by German professional Christolot Boylen.


Left: David Wilson and World in Motion winning the Grand Prix 2004 CDS Championship. © Sheri Scott Photograqphy


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