Totilas. Exquis Nadine. Ravel. Judgement ISF. These are just a few of the international superstars carrying the blood of Iron Spring Farm stallions. For more than 35 years, the farm has made some of the best European bloodlines available to North American breeders and developed horse management protocols designed to bring equine talent to fruition. At the heart of the farm is owner Mary Alice Malone’s passion for horses.
Back in the mid-1970s, before importing warmbloods became commonplace, Mary Alice was determined to find the best breeding stock available and she began to investigate the bloodlines in Europe. The first Iron Spring Farm stallion was the Trakehner, Jadegeist, who was purchased as a three month old in the U.S. Shortly thereafter, a trip to Poland was arranged to visit Trakehner breeders to find new bloodlines that produced athletes with great temperaments.
“Regardless of whether a breeder has a single mare or a whole herd, selecting the best breeding stock you can is essential,” Mary Alice says. As the ISF program developed, the focus turned to KWPN (Dutch Warmbloods) bloodlines.
Roemer preferent (Pilatus x Cyrano) was a successful grand prix jumper before his importation. Once in the USA, Roemer advanced to grand prix dressage and was eventually inducted into the USDF Hall of Fame. He also became one of the breed’s most influential sires, producing four approved stallions and more than 100 Star mares. His son Mistral competed in the 1992 Olympic Games in show jumping.
“Roemer was exactly the kind of horse that I wanted in my breeding program,” Mary Alice said. “He had wonderful athletic ability, but he was also fun to be around because of his excellent temperament.”
Roemer’s legacy continues today; he’s also recognized as an influential dam-sire, counting Rousseau and Exquis Nadine among his grandchildren.
Other prominent stallions that have called Iron Spring Farm their home have included Glendale, the dam-sire of Totilas; Juventus, sire of numerous grand prix horses; Rampal Crown, sire of many champions, including Ovation ISF, who was exported to Europe, where he won at CSIO Rome with Markus Fuchs and Consul, sire of Approved stallion Judgement ISF and Critical Decision, an international event horse with Missy Ransehousen.
Breeders need more than just quality bloodlines to succeed. At Iron Spring Farm, nutrition and young horse management programs have been designed to bring equine athletes to their potential. This information has been made available to breeders via DVD, the ISF website and in various articles throughout the years.
“Breeders must pay attention to all of the details—shoeing, feed, training and health care,” Mary Alice explained. “North American breeders have made big strides in the quality of horses that are being produced; but it takes a thoughtful program to help these horses develop properly.”
One homebred that is the result of careful training and management is the famous Judgement ISF. This son of Consul won at the biggest CSIOs around the world, including the prestigious $1,000,000 CN International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows. Judgement represented the United States on 10 Nations’ Cup teams, including the 2002 World Equestrian Games.
Mary Alice continued, “Judgement is a horse of a lifetime. To watch him progress from a big, impressive youngster through the ranks to the international shows was something I will never forget.”
Judgement, retired sound at 18 years old and is establishing himself as a sire of top sport horses. His offspring have won at competitions as diverse as the International Jumper Futurity and Dressage at Devon. Olympic eventer Leslie Law owns and ride Judgement’s son Zenith ISF. The pair placed second in their first CCI** Chattahoochee Hills Horse Trials in October, 2011.
The Legacy Continues
A decade before Friesians became popular in the dressage ring, Mary Alice’s love of beautiful, athletic horses led her to explore this baroque breed. “Friesians have wonderful temperaments,” she says. “They truly partner with their people and become part of the family.”
Careful selection of Friesian breeding stock for movement and temperament has resulted in an impressive roster of Approved stallions and exceptional mares at ISF. International Grand Prix horse Goffert 369 Sport, whose likeness was represented by a Breyer model, and Heinse 354 Sport, sire of three Approved stallions, were two of the stars introduced to the North American market.
Never content to rest on her laurels, Mary Alice has continued to strive for making the best bloodlines available to North American breeders. UB40, a Jazz grandson, is the epitome of the modern dressage horse. His offspring include the Approved stallion Apache, who stands in the Netherlands, and in the USA, El Paso ISF, who was named the Young Horse Champion at Dressage at Devon in 2010.
Another recent addition to the ISF stallion roster is the internationally successful Grand Prix horse Florianus II. This son of Florestan I won the Get of Sire class at Dressage at Devon in 2011.
Equal emphasis on quality mares is another reason that Iron Spring Farm is among the leading breeders each year. Superstar ladies like the keur, preferent KWPN mare Rabiola and the model, preferent Friesian mare Toltsje Fan’t Boekehof, have not only won at breed shows like Dressage at Devon, but have also produced numerous champion offspring. While some of the horses become part of the breeding program, many are developed for competitive careers and sold to riders around the world.
This complete program—superb bloodlines, excellent health care and careful training—has resulted in more than 35 years of making history at Iron Spring Farm. As the young stallions’ foal crops mature, the legacy continues.