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Warmblood By Scot Tolman


for registration ahead of me. Somehow, I got left behind a bit while parking the car or just not keeping up with my wife’s power-walk. At any rate, I was rushing to catch up, and upon coming around the corner to enter the gym, I just missed taking out this pretty, little blond man. When you’re my size and bump into someone, the “bumpee” almost always suffers the more serious consequences. That being said, the look of fear on the poor man’s face was not only understandable but also appropriate. I quickly apologized. He smiled a rather shy, this-huge- man-is-about-to-recognize-me smile, and walked out of the gym. I was puzzled enough by his reaction that I stopped and watched him disappear down the stairs. That’s when it hit me. Holy crap! That was Daniel Craig! Indeed, if it were not for the rapidity of his self-preservation reflexes, I would have body-slammed James Bond into the steel door frame of the west entrance to Northfield Mount Herman’s large gym. I cite this near death experience for Daniel Craig not to


T


name-drop or merely entertain you, but to make a point. Our current system of stallion selection is much like our obsession with celebrities: it’s based on sophisticated marketing and limited personal interaction with the studs. Don’t get me wrong; Daniel Craig is a stellar individual. The conformation is impeccable, he’s a beautiful type, and the recessive genes that produced those blue eyes would hopefully find their recessive partner in a reproductive situation. However, if I were to select him for the gene pool, I’d like to see longer lines and a little more length of leg. If I were to have based my breeding selection on the still shots of him, walking out of the surf, naked except for a tiny blue bathing suit, without having stood next to him, I might have been a little disappointed in the spring when my extremely typey offspring was significantly smaller than what I had anticipated. Now, I know that many of you ladies out there…and


men…to quote one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, “Not there’s anything wrong with it!”…could care less how tall Daniel Craig is—he’d be welcome in your proverbial gene pool at any time. And, in his and the marketing people’s at United Artists and Eon Films defense, according to my Google searches, he’s 5’ 10”, which is not that short. All I can say is that maybe he’s like Totilas, so athletic and with such good bending of the joints that he looks significantly shorter in motion. After all, when I nearly pulled an unintended Hulk Hogan on him, he was certainly feeling the need to execute a speedy and highly collected half-


74 May/June 2011


his fall, when Carol and I were dropping off our son, Keagan, at school, she and he went into the gymnasium


pass; however, I’m only 5’ 11” on my tallest of days, and Mr. 007 is shorter than I am. No, I’m not height obsessed! I’m making a point. You can’t make the best breeding picks if you’re only watching stallions on Youtube and looking at professionally generated pictures in a magazine. If at all possible, you have to stand next to your own equine version of Daniel Craig and check him out with a critical eye and an honest assessment of your gene pool’s strengths and weaknesses in mind. The germ that generated this column, in truth, was


not my close encounter with Daniel Craig, but, rather, my recent trip to Holland and Germany. I’ve attended the KWPN’s annual Stallion Show nearly consecutively for the last 15 years or more, but this was my first extended


trip to any of the horse regions in Germany. Many of the stallions I saw at Gestut Sprehe, Paul Schockemohle’s, the Ahlers, etc., I had never seen in person. Let’s just say Daniel


Craig has a better loin connection and better use of the hind leg than many of the stallions I finally saw in the flesh. As with most of us in North America, for the most part, when I have used European stallions in my breeding program, I’ve had to base my decisions on brochures, videos, advertising campaigns, and the advice of frozen semen brokers, many of whom have never seen the stallions they represent up close and personal. Well, I’m here to tell you that these resources don’t give you enough information. What can the average, I-don’t-swim-well-enough-to-make-it-to-Europe-and-I-don’t- have-the-wardrobe-to-book-a-cabin-on-the-Queen-Mary person do? Simple. Become a celebrity stalker. Offer yourself to your Daniel Craig in exchange for a plane ticket. Camp outside his house with a portable 007 shrine. Change all your computer passwords to “Bond. James Bond.” (No, my passwords are not all “Totilas be with you.” Not all of them.) Seriously, the solution isn’t simple. My experience with


Dutch and German stallion owners is that they normally answer the first couple of emails in a courteous and timely manner, but, by about the fifteenth or the twentieth, they just stop answering completely. Your answer lies in research. Ask point blank if your broker has seen the stallion in person. If he or she hasn’t, find someone who has. Don’t let yourself be so swayed by a skimpy blue bathing suit and six-pack abs that your offspring aren’t tall enough to make it into the studbook.


WT Scot Tolman has been breeding Dutch


Warmbloods for the past 20 years at Shooting Star Farm in Southwestern New Hampshire. Read more of Scot’s writing at shootingstarfarm.com.


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