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Canada’s Elite Warmblood Sale a Resounding Success in Its New Venue

By Elizabeth Ciemniewski

For two years in a row, the top selling horses at Canada’s Elite Warmblood Sale have been consigned by Joe & Louise Palmer of South Lane Farm, Vankleek Hill, ON.  Following on last year’s success, when their 3-year-old black Oldenburg stallion, Sambuca (Sunny Boy/Glorieux), was purchased for $41,000, the Palmers again enjoyed the spotlight this year when their 3-year-old Hanoverian mare, Solo Hit (Sandro Hit/Donnerhall/Rubenstein), topped the bid board at $52,000.

Solo Hit (Sandro Hit/Donnerhall/Rubenstein)

"It was an unexpected pleasure to have the high selling horse again this year," Joe Palmer stated, "although we have to keep in mind that the breeding of Solo Hit is truly a world class pedigree. I would like to congratulate Mr. Hans Schinker on his purchase of Solo Hit.  This is a horse that we think is one of the finest Hanoverians in Canada."  The 2-year-old full brother to Solo Hit, also bred by Joe & Louise Palmer, is now in Texas and he has been invited by Mrs. Susan Quarels of the Hanoverian Stallion committee to be presented for licensing - a great honour for any breeder.

Top hunter prospects Peacefultimes B (Asher / Pax Nobiscum) and Spotless FF (Art Deco / Dr Do Much ) also brought eager bidding and top prices at this year’s sale. The 3-year-old 'A' circuit hunter prospect Peacefultimes B was bred by Sylvia and Richard Dixon of Beasley Farms. This flashy colt is sired by double Cup winner, Asher, a top producer of winning line horses. Peacefultimes B was purchased for $18,500 by a professional hunter/jumper trainer from Middletown, Virginia.

Two-year-old Spotless FF, bred by Chris and Shannon Smith of Fieldstone Farm, Orangeville, ON, very early caught the eye of serious bidders in the crowd and fetched a winning bid of $20,000.  Spotless FF is out of Apt To Win, who also produced the 2004 Governor General Cup winner Tangerine Tango, and the hunter stallion Sailor’s Spirit, who was second in both the Lieutenant and Governor General Cups in 2005.  Reflecting on the experience, Shannon Smith stated, "I am proud to be associated with this sale.  I sold my filly to a top show barn, and while it was a very emotional time for me, I can't help but think that having our young stock get this kind of exposure will be good for our breeding program. I wouldn't hesitate putting another horse of mine in the sale. It was professionally run, and the horses were of a quality that we could all be proud of."

New to the sale this year were consignors KingRidge Stables of King City, ON and Windswept Farms of Halton Hills, ON, both of whom are well-respected breeders and sellers of top quality riding horses.  Elke Mulholland of Windswept Farms was very enthusiastic about the professionalism of the sale and the high caliber of the sale horses offered.  The Windswept horses were extremely popular among buyers looking for a more experienced riding horse, with 7-year-old EM Mimi (ES Magic / World Cup) selling for $14,000, and 8-year-old Modesty (ES Magic / Tannenhain) fetching $19,500. Ms Mulholland plans on returning again next year with a new selection of horses.

The horses from KingRidge Stables also attracted the attention of riders looking for a new mount for the coming season. Four-year-old Gambler 3E (Jamestown / Money Talks) was purchased for a young rider under the guidance of a trainer who bought at last year's Sale. "I like that the Sale helped us to establish this new relationship," said Barbara Daley, Senior Manager of Operations & Marketing at KingRidge.  "I'm also pleased that Gambler 3E will continue to benefit from professional development, which is a key element in our young horse program."

Emma Todd of Stratford, ON, says that her new purchase, 5-year-old Firefly 3E (Money Talks / Emilion), also bred by KingRidge Stables, is "simply perfect" in every way.  This was Ms Todd’s first time purchasing from an elite auction.  She felt that having an independent veterinarian on-site, and the opportunity to view and try out the horses over a period of three days, was a definite advantage for buyers.

Held for the first time in 2005 in London, ON, the sale has now moved to a more central and amenable venue at the Orangeville Agricultural Fairgrounds.  Centrally located in the heart of Ontario’s horse country, this impressive venue offers a large stabling area, indoor arena for freejumping and under-saddle demonstrations, large outdoor ring with excellent footing suitable for try-outs of the sale horses, along with great food and an open bar.  Consignors and buyers alike were impressed with the new venue and attention to detail.

As predicted by CEWS chairman, Tim Millard, this year’s Elite Warmblood Sale offered an even better selection of quality warmbloods from several recognized registries, including Hanoverian, Oldenburg, Holsteiner, KWPN, Trakehner, Canadian Sport Horse and Canadian Warmblood.

"This year’s sale was over the top," commented Mr. Millard. "It is a fantastic opportunity for breeders, trainers and prospective buyers to have such a fabulous selection of quality riding horses and prospects available for viewing under one roof.  Certainly this is a huge step forward for Canada."

Those attending the sale were also treated to some after-hours entertainment.  Friday evening featured a catered reception and open bar sponsored by Joe & Louise Palmer of South Lane Farm.  The crowd was delighted with the freestyle dressage exhibition put on by Leah Wilson and Julie Watchhorn, members of the 2006 Ontario Young Riders Team. A stallion showcase and extravaganza were the highlight of Saturday evening, with a late night buffet and open bar courtesy of sponsors Dale & Crystal Hawerchuk of Grande Farms, Hockley, ON. Doug Henry of Henry Equestrian Insurance, Aurora, ON rounded out the weekend by providing a luncheon and open bar on Sunday during the auction.

Canada’s Elite Warmblood Sale is held in traditional auction format, and attracts buyers from across Canada and the United States. All horses are evaluated and pre-selected for quality and their ability to excel in sport. Sale horses are available for viewing and try-outs over a period of three days in both indoor and outdoor settings. Veterinary reports and x-rays are available for viewing in the show office, and an independent veterinarian is on site for the duration of the sale to provide an opinion of the x-rays and reports for a nominal fee. Fall-of-the-hammer insurance is provided by Henry Equestrian Insurance, and horses bound for the U.S. are made export-ready by the sales organizers, all features that enhance buyer confidence.

Added: January 2, 2007