February 2020 - Hyperion Stud, LLC
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Saturday, 01 February 2020 22:33
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breeders

Moonshot approach brings top European sporthorse talent to the U.S. market.

by Kim F. Miller

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

That Norman Vincent Peale adage works in many contexts: academics, fitness and even sporthorse breeding. Shooting for the moon has landed Vicky Castegren’s ambitions with Hyperion Stud on the equestrian world equivalents of the moon and the stars. And all in 11 years, a remarkably short span in the breeding world.

 


Hyperion’s “moon landings” include its foundation sire, Imothep, excelling on Olympic, World Championship and Nations Cup competitions. The most recent success is Urthago HS’s (Uriko/My Lord Carthago/Casall stamm 474a) approval by the Holsteiner Verband in Germany last fall, an extra special accomplishment because Urthago is the first Hyperion homebred to receive the honor of approval in Nuemünster. “To stand there in the Holstenhallen, as an American breeder and as a woman in this industry, was remarkable,” Vicky reports. Urthago earned his Holsteiner approval and will now go to his testing in order to receive his full breeding license. One week after Neumünster, Leviathan HS (Livello/Casall/Calando I stamm741) received the same distinction from the Mecklenburg approvals, also in Germany last fall.

 

Hyperion’s growing supply of talented jumper breeding opportunities and top young prospects at various stages of development enables clients to fulfill their own ambitions for stardom at their own level of the sport.

Olympic Imothep & Nicki Shahinian-Simpson - Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo: SportFot

More celestial equine beings are on the horizon with the addition of two new stallions. Asterix E Z and Cool Jazz HS add to Hyperion Stud’s already extensive stallion roster. Six have the added appeal of availability via fresh cooled semen and all come with breeding fees that make top Europe bloodlines possible for many breeders. Hyperion fulfills its “Europe’s finest, made in America” mission with familiar and fresh bloodlines that bring athletic ability, good temperaments and a variety of conformation traits and colors to the market.

Asterix E Z and Cool Jazz HS broaden an already high profile, thanks in large part to Imothep. The now 17-year-old multi-approved stallion by Indoctro put Hyperion on the international performance map by taking Irish rider Darragh Kenny to the 2014 World Equestrian Games, then Japan’s Taizo Sugitani to the 2016 Olympics in Rio. After spending most of his international show career based Europe, Imothep recently returned to Hyperion headquarters in Virginia.

He is a BWP Ambassador, a KWPN Elite and is approved by the AHHA, RSPI/Westfalen NA and ZfdP. He has several Premium and Championship foals in the U.S. and Europe now making their mark
   

Imothep

Cool Jazz

Working From Experience

Vicky is a former amateur show jumping rider, whose interest in breeding began early in her life with horses. While competing herself, she acquired a few broodmares and produced one or two foals every year.

When she stopped riding competitively to start a family, she got serious about making a business of breeding.

“Hyperion” is the name of a Titan god of heavenly light in Greek mythology. Vicky needed a foundation sire that would live up to that definition and its variation: “he who goes above.” Imothep’s combination of proven pedigree and jumping potential filled that bill exactly.  He first came to the U.S. as a 6-year-old and has exceeded Vicky’s every hope as a producer and a performer.

Availability of fresh semen is another of Imothep’s appealing attributes. Along with an extensive range of traits and abilities represented in its stallion line-up, Hyperion has six stallions available with fresh semen.
Although it’s widely perceived that fresh semen is more viable than its frozen counterparts, Vicky explains that conception is often more a function of the mare’s condition and management than of the semen’s state. Nonetheless, fresh semen is a popular option for American breeders and Hyperion’s stallion station team is well equipped to collect and ship on a moment’s notice, which is critical with the fresh option.

“Any mare can be difficult or easy to breed,” Vicky says. “If you have a good reproductive vet, even a dose of frozen with low motility can still produce a pregnancy. There are a lot of factors that go into it. There are pros and cons to either. I encourage my mare owners to do whatever they think is best for their mare, based on the expertise of their vets and the breeding history of their mares.”

Talking with mare owners and helping them find the right stallion match is one of Vicky’s favorite phases in the breeding process. “My goal is not to sell a specific stallion but to produce offspring the client is happy with—whether it’s from one of my stallions or one that I represent. Especially with first-time breeders, I feel that I can be a source of education and influence and a good point of contact for the many important details that need to be understood.” She loves it when mare owners welcome several stallion suggestions, then do their own research. Most often, Vicky suggests several suitable sires, then the mare owner uses personal preferences to make the choice.

She understands that breeding “can be very emotional” and respects clients’ love for their horses and their checkbooks.
    

Asterix E Z

Mare Musts

Registry papers are a must for mares proposed for a Hyperion breeding. “I want to know what the genetics are. If you just go on type, with no knowledge of the pedigree and genetic history, then you stand a greater chance of creating a genetic misfit and I’m not going to risk my reputation on that.” Missing papers can often be found by contacting the registry and with the help of DNA samples, Vicky encourages.

Mares must also be Warmbloods. Vicky only pursues an outcrossing if the stallion’s owner approves.

Beyond those standards come the less tangible considerations in whether or not to breed a mare. Just as in stallions, Vicky likes to see the characteristics of an “alpha” horse—one that has “character and presence,” in the show ring or the pasture. Pedigree trumps performance in a mare’s credentials, though both are nice. “We must determine if the mare has the genetics to give or not. This can be determined through historical breeding lines and also through real time production,” Vicky explains.

Good movement, body frame, hips and chest conformation are equally important. These and other traits are sometimes overlooked when mare owners consider breeding for the wrong reasons. Sometimes a retired show mare, no matter how beloved, is not suitable for breeding and that can be hard news to give or receive. Just as not all male horses should be stallions, the same applies to mares when it comes to reproduction. “Essentially not all horses capable of breeding should be bred.”

Defining the breeding goal and understanding what the mare can give to an offspring, and where she needs the stallion’s help, are key to a happy outcome. “What is your breeding goal? Longer in the back? More height?” Vicky asks mare owners. “If your mare has a lot of blood and you go with a stallion with no blood, you may risk losing the blood.”

No stallion is a magician, she cautions. “The genetic equation lies more heavily with the mare. The stallion is the salt and pepper of the recipe. He doesn’t ‘fix’ crooked legs or magically make an offspring jump.”
    

Urthago HS

Beyond Bloodlines

Vicky’s background as a show jumping rider is an advantage in operating Hyperion Stud. “It’s important to be connected to the sport and to understand the dynamics of show jumping, of course design, and to know and understand the pedigrees of horses performing at the highest levels.” Contacts and perspective also help her evaluate where the sport is headed as it pertains to what type of breeding characteristics will be most valuable in the future.

First-hand experience informs Vicky’s evaluation of horses’ talent and relationships with riders, veterinarians and other care providers, etc. “It takes a village,” she notes. “I feel like I can have a good conversation with everyone involved. I understand the dynamics, the physics, the lingo. We are all professionals and I feel like there is strong mutual respect between us.” Just as she welcomes newer breeders to ask questions of her, she reaches out to respected contemporaries for answers when needed. “I seek out knowledge every day,” she explains.

In providing a wide range of top European jumping possibilities and sharing experience and knowledge, Hyperion Stud goes far beyond bloodlines in what it brings to the American sporthorse market.

For more information on Hyperion Stud, LLC visit www.hyperionstud.com.

Leviathan HS

Stallion Sampling

Imothep

Imothep is a star in the show jumping world and breeding industry. In 2007, he was approved by the OL, RPS and ZfdP studbooks in Germany. In 2011, he was fully approved and licensed by the BWP and awarded Elite status, becoming the only Indoctro son in Europe and North America to receive this acknowledgement.  In 2014 Imothep was awarded Ambassador status with the BWP, was fully licensed with the KWPN and approved by the AHHA. In 2015, he was the KWPN-NA’s Horse of the Year. His offspring include many Championship and Premium foals.
Sire Indoctro is one of the best producing stallions in the world today. This Preferent stallion has countless offspring in jumping sport, along with several approved sons. Imothep’s dam’s sire, Calvados, descends from top French lineage. His offspring have many Grand Prix and World Cup wins to their credit.
Olympic, World Equestrian Games and Nations Cup experience grace Imothep’s performance record. Wonderful temperament, class A jumping style, impressive athletic power and beautiful movement are among his many traits, along with natural balance and intelligence.
Now retired from competition and back in the U.S., Imothep is available via fresh semen for the first time in many years. To celebrate his retirement from the show ring, Hyperion offers discounted breedings to Imothep for the 2020 breeding season.

Cool Jazz

Newly arrived at Hyperion’s U.S. headquarters, Cool Jazz HS is a licensed Holsteiner stallion sired by Colman/Cascavelle/Sacramento Song xx. This gorgeous 8-year-old offer blood and scope along with having exceptional conformation and type.  After excelling in Young Jumper classes in Europe, Cool Jazz HS has come to the States for the benefit of breeders in North America. He’ll continue his competition career while breeding.
Vicky describes type as “sportive,” which she defines as athletic, quick, and competitive.” In Cool Jazz, it’s all three and wrapped in a package that is “almost too pretty,” says Vicky of the beautiful dappled-gray.
Cool Jazz is a good match for Warmblood mares that need a little blood, agility and pizazz, Vicky notes.

Asterix E Z Zangersheide

Asterix E Z, by Air Jordan/Nimmerdor/Widukin de Lauzelle, is a Zangershiede approved stallion with a proven performance record up to the 1.5M division with Robert Whitaker. “He’s a larger framed stallion with a lot of scope and power who will be a superb option for Thoroughbred mares and more blooded Warmblood mares,” Vicky explains. “He’s a very handsome stallion with a lovely character and he is an absolute pleasure to have in the barn.”