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the pie.”And fortunately after the fire, several generous ATA stallion owners donated semen to her so she could continue breeding. As the fire that killed Luciano’s sire Enrico Caruso raged,


a filly was born in Germany to Enrico Caruso’s former owners Otto and Jutta Langels. She was an Enrico Caruso daughter created from semen found at the University of Hanover when technicians were cleaning out frozen semen tanks, years after the stallion was exported. The breeding world is truly a small one, just as David Wilson suggested.


n KC BRANSCOMB KELLEY Kc Branscomb Kelley was developing strong international connections when she was an amateur jumper rider and buying competition horses. These same relationships served her well when she opened the doors at Branscomb Farms in Half Moon Bay, California, tagged “Holsteiners of the finest German tradition for American sport horse markets.”Those connections have not only brought her insider knowledge and purchasing power to breed successful mare/stallion combinations, but also helped her in the world buying market. “I purchased and imported expensive sport horses from


a variety of very good horsemen, brokers and breeders, in Germany, primarily Holsteiners. The horses for the most part were great athletes, but not always what I hoped they would be in rideability or long term soundness once I got them home and started showing here. So my goal was to learn from the best European breeders and produce great horses in California in an honest, horse- friendly environment so that what you see is what you get,” says Kc. Producing sport horses in California has led Kc to


successfully exporting horses to Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Sweden and Estonia. “The buyers come to me because of the bloodlines I


have,” she says. “About half are investment horses bought very young or in utero priced below $20,000, usually four and five year olds, selling for $40,000 to $100,000 to compete or breed at the top of the sport. I have slowly acquired a small collection of world class breeding mares with elite bloodlines and premium or states premium breeding status.


“We take multiple


embryos. I buy frozen semen either from the Holsteiner Verband or private stallion stations in Europe, and use state of the art American reproduction technology to produce elite quality foals. I can put a competitive product


on the ground. One disadvantage is we have to rely on stallion semen that freezes well. So there are some we can’t use. But I’ll put our foals up against any in the world.” Kc takes a long term view of breeding. “You have to


be prepared to do this as a long term business. We’re just breaking even with a modest profit after seven years into it. It takes time to make a top horse,”Kc admits. “And I have to breed what people want six to ten years from now. People used to want the big, classically bred Holsteiner. Now they want the blood horses, French influenced horses that are cat-like, quicker, agile and small, that can handle sharp turns and technical lines, but still are scopey enough to jump these immense oxers.” While the 74-acre farm has produced several horses


that have sold overseas, her original goal was to sell to the American sport horse market. However Kc advises to those who want to sell sport horses overseas to: 1. Speak the language of the country to whom you


wish to sell. “I have a Spanish-speaking rider/trainer, a German vet and I speak French. We work with a Brazilian agent who is a reproduction vet.” 2. Know the competition in the country and be


competitive with those horses. “I stay informed about what a top, sound, five-year-old jumper is selling for in Argentina, or Mexico or Germany.” 3. Know how to ship a horse safely to each country with whom you wish to do business. 4. “It doesn’t work by putting an ad on the internet and


waiting for a customer to show up.” It is, she adds, about building relationships, making contacts and shaking hands.


The jury is out as to whether the international sport


horse breeders and competitors will do their horse shopping in this country Even though it does happen, it’s rare. Clearly relationships have played a critical part of any exporting that has occurred. As our industry becomes more globalized, time will tell if American sport horses will be sold more frequently to Europe, South America, and other parts of the world.


Above left: Contiano BF, a Holsteiner stallion bred by Kc and winner of the 2010 70 Day Stallion Test, stands with trainer Daniel Zilla. International buyers have inquired about Contiano, but Kc is not so eager to sell him! Right: 2009 colt bred by Kc and sold to Canadian Grand Prix jumper Lindsey Wendt of Grandview Sporthorses. He’s by Canto (Cantouro) out of the premium mare Vanna B by Calato. Photos courtesy Kc Branscomb


Warmbloods Today 47


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