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Ridley: Sometimes Smaller is Better By Chris Rush BREEDER SPO TLIGHT


I


n the mid-1990s, we moved to Warrenton, Virginia and serendipitously bought a farm very close to Marefield Meadows, a well-known


breeding farm at the time. I was able to immerse myself in Warmblood breeding at its best in the United States. For several years I was also on the board of directors for VADA/ NOVA (local dressage association). During this time I witnessed the trends and also the reality of dressage in our country. I noticed almost all the riders at our shows in northern Virginia were women. Many were over 30 years old and some much older. So many were riding horses over 17 hands.


I had acquired a little mare from


Marefield’s breeding program in Germany who was 15 hands. She was by Fabriano, who is still one of my favorite sires. Tis little package had everything in my opinion. She became an Elite Mare candidate at her inspection and was impressive enough that we were encouraged to try something new to our country, the Young Horse series. Her name was EMC Folie and she had the second-highest qualifying score in the country that year. She finished in tenth place and was several months in foal to complete her Elite Mare status. I made it my mission to find horses this size who could do what the ‘big kids’ could do. Tey would be easier for women my age to handle and compete. Along the way, I also realized they stayed sounder longer.


Ridley was born at Marefield the following year. I wasn’t looking for a stallion but I could envision this flashy little guy with so much charm really making it big. I finally purchased him as a two-year-old and for us the fun was just beginning. Even though he was so small, under 14 hands at the time, he started winning championships in hand. As a two-year-old he was seventh in the nation and placed well at Devon in hand. As a four-year-old he was in the top ten although still pony size. After that he began showing under saddle and did just as well. He was the VADA champion at First Level as a five-year-old and at Tird Level as a six-year-old. Eventually Ridley and his rider received the scores for her to get her USDF bronze and silver medals and for Ridley to be


entered into the stallion books for most registries. We have concentrated on the German Oldenburg Verband, where Ridley is approved for breeding with Weser-Ems and GOV. Over the years he has continued to impress with his foals, who are now competing in dressage, hunters and eventing. Ridley has almost always had a woman rider and is now ridden by Betty Bryant. Tis year he will be showing at Fourth Level and hopefully Prix St. Georges. He will also be trying a musical freestyle as well as Western Dressage. I don’t think there is anything this little guy can’t do, who is now 16 and under 16 hands. I’m so grateful to have him in my life and also all the people I’ve met along the way because of him. What a terrific journey.


TOP: Ridley, 2002 black stallion (Rotspon x Walt Disney I) approved by the Weser-Ems and Oldenburgs and stands at Fair Winds Farm. BOTTOM: Tis is the gelding Riley (Ridley out of Otelmi) currently eventing. He was bred by Renee Weedon Organek and is currently owned by Jessica Shabert (shown here with trainer William Ward).


46 May/June 2018 SPECIAL Oldenburg SECTION


Xpress Foto


Betty Bryant


Oldenburg Horse Breeders’ Society


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