Bravo * 26.4.2009   


                                                                                                    Bolero Hann. *75
                                                            Beltain Hann. *84
                    Belissimo Rheinld. *1999
                                                                                                    Romadour II Rheinld. *69
                                                            Roxa Rheinld. * 80
                                                                                                    Lady Rheinld. *68

                                                                                                    Florestan Rheinl.. *86
                                                            Fidermark Westf. *92
                                                                                                    Watonga Hann. *85
                    Fabrice Rheinl. *98
                                                                                                    Frühlingsball Westf. *70
                                                            Feodora Rheinl. *92


Selfperformance / Status:

in foal to Don Frederic since June 2012
mounted and trained by myself since June 2012
Bravo's full sibling Brisant is selected for the Hannoverian Stallion Licensing in Verden in October 2012   
registered with the Hannoverian Studbook scoring 4 times an "8"!

Damline Information Fabrice

Self Performance:
Fabrice was nominated "Premium Foal" at the foal inspection Heinsberg, July 1998 - Silver Medal
MPT Telgte, June 13th, 2001 - ranked 1st out of 21 mares scoring 8,39 - highest score given that year!
single scores: trott 8,5  canter 8,5  walk 8,0  ridability/judges 9,0  ridability/testrider 8,5  freejumping 8,0
Summer 2003: various show class successes in all disciplines (dressage, jumping, eventing), amongst them ranking first at the Telgte young horse combined dressage/jumping class scoring 8,2

full sister Fannie Mae is the 5th and last out of 5 full siblings by Fidermark, all of them were nominated "Premium Foals", amongst them auction foals.
single scores: trott 8,0  canter 8,5  walk 7,5  ridability/judges 8,0  ridability/testrider 8,5  freejumping 7,5
Fannie Mae's first foal became a licensed stallion right away (Sansibar by Sir Donnerhall)
full brother Fair Play*2002 Champion of the Rhineland Ridinghorses 2005

April 2002 - QRage, filly by Quattro B, Oldenburg premium foal
April 2005 - QRage II ("Happy"), colt by Quattro B, Oldenburg premium foal - sold as a stallion prospect
April 2006 - QRage III, colt by Quattro B, Oldenburg premium foal - sold as a stallion prospect
April 2007 - La Jeanne, filly by Laudabilis (Hannoverian) - sold age 5 as a sport horse
May 2008 - Lan Thao, filly by Laudabilis (Hannoverian) - sold
April 2009 - Bravo, filly by Belissimo M (Hannoverian)
May 2010 - Brisant, colt by Belissimo M (Hannoverian) - sold as a stallion prospect
May 2011 - Sabary, filly by Sarkozy (Hannoverian) - sold
July 2012 - in foal to Duisenberg

Sirline Information - why Belissimo?

Little Bravo, five days old. 
Right away you can tell how she earned the nick-name "Bunny".

Prior to Bunny being born, I had already decided to raise and keep her elder sister, La Jeanne.
The initial idea was to sell Bunny as a foal, but that was before I saw her move outside the stall...
When the weather allows for it, we always take our newborn foals out for a little walk a few hours after they are born just to make sure they get used to the sunlight and their new surroundings as soon as possible.
Usually, the newborn foals behave irritated and can't tell different types of ground, how could they?
Thus, moving from gras to hard ground or the other way round is pretty much the same for them.
Thus, they move with respect and uncertainty.
So understandable.

Bunny was different from the very first day.
She noted the difference between grass and hard ground immediately. And while she stepped over the hard ground with care just like any other newborn foal does, she would virtually float as soon as she felt grass under her feet. I had never seen such behaviour in a newborn foal before. Neither have I seen a newborn foal trot like that before on their very first day. Usually, very young foals walk and canter, they don't trot.
Bunny would trot from the first day on, and she blew me away.
Obviously having immedialtely understood the difference between grey (hard ground) and green (grass) , she showed no respect for the green at all and let go - in smoothest float and grace.
Neither have I seen such elasticity in a young foal trotting the first day - and the last thing I had expected was to make such an observation in a foal by Belissimo...
I honour and love Belissimo and I had a lot of good reasons to breed Fabrice to him - but I am as aware of his strengths as of his weaknesses and the last thing I had expected was a young foal by Belissimo stepping off with such impulsion in trot...

Thus, it took Bunny exactly a half-day from the moment I first saw her until later that day when I came back to take her out of the stall, to completely rearrange my thoughtful plans:
no foal sale - for sure!
She had taken that decision right out of my hands, all by herself.
But since I can't keep them all, I knew at the same time that keeping Bunny would mean I would have to sell her elder sister, La Jeanne, instead.
Big change of plans, for sure.
Basically little Bunny of merely six hours age had already imposed a sentence over her two year old sister, La Jeanne.

                                                                           August 2009: Sunrise at the foals' pasture -  little Bunny turns into a little diva!

So I watched Bunny grow up, and every time I saw her play with her fellow foals in the herd, I would eagerly look for her trot. She would never disappoint me.
She maintained her gracious float and elasticity all through those years and I couldn't wait for her to finally turn three.
Having mounted and trained her sister, La Jeanne, myself, and having enjoyed that experience with La Jeanne so much (a story worth reading, here), I knew I would mount and train Bunny myself, too.
I spent three years in great anticipation and couldn't wait for the day Bunny would move into our training barn in Münster ... 

27. June 2012

Finally, the day had come!
Bunny moved into our Münster barn and having learned so much from the experience with her elder sister La Jeanne two years ago I had planned her arrival in detail:
When Jeannie came off the trailor back then she was so confused and irritated by all those new impressions, she wouldn't even enter her new stall.
This time, I knew how to make it "right" and had organized for the perfect set-up for Bunny leaving the trailor.
My "secret weapon" to calm down young fillies and mares of all kind and make them feel "home" immediatly has a name:

There is no better aid but my charming heartbreaker Silas and he has proved his priceless qualities many times before with every young and female horse I had taken over to our Münster barn in the past.
When Bunny came off the trailor, Silas stood right there with me and welcomed her. Bunny was of course confused and irritated but Silas took care of her right away.
I can't think of any better way to introduce a young horse to a new life and home but putting a trustful fellow horse right at it's side.
And Silas truly did his best. She would follow him from the first moment on and I could deal with the two of them all by myself. No further hand needed. She followed Silas from the first moment on and calmed down.
It was so visual!
Stress release has a name:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Silas taking care of Bunny right away

However, the best solution for total stress release for any horse in any given situation is movement- unlimited movement at liberty, that is.
Horses are herd animals as much as they are "running" (escaping) animals, so I figured the best way for Bunny to relax is give her a chance to run it all off at liberty immediately. For that reason, I didn't take them diectly to the stalls, but instead took them both out in the pasture.
Taking off both their halters I expected an explosion and a serious run-off until they calmed down - but I was taught better...
Bunny and Silas stood in the pasture and rather than galloping around they put their heads in the grass, real close to each other, and did what horses love to do most of all: graze.

No running, no nervous tension at all.
I couldn't believe it.

I smiled and enjoyed the new found "dream team" as much as the two of them did themselves.
However, at that point in time Fabrice, Bunny's mother, was still in Münster, too. Fabrice hadn't been developing any heat cycle after she had foaled the year before. I had spent a fortune in treatment and vet care to get her in heat again but nothing helped. She remained a "neutrum".
Fabrice is my favourite and most precious broodmare and I couldn't live with the idea of loosing her to unfertility of any kind. Thus, after all chemical and medical treatment seemed useless, I decided to take her away from the mare barn and let nature take care of it instead.
Speaking of the most secret weapon of all...
When Fabrice moved into our Münster barn in spring, Silas immediately took the greatest care of her and caused the most natural heat cycle ever seen.
Just what I had hoped for...
St. Silas, I guess.

And it was clear that Fabrice wouldn't appreciate the competiton of her daugher being the third in place next to Silas.
So I expected trouble when I turned Fabrice out with Silas and Bunny, but I counted on Silas to take care of this also. And yet again, he did.
Silas wouldn't let Fabrice near Bunny so she could not attack her. He paid incredible attention all the time, making sure he would always keep the two mares from one another. When the trio chased over the pasture. you could count on Silas to be running in the center position.
St. Silas.
At the end of the day, it was Silas who was all sweat, while Fabrice and Bunny didn't have a single wet hair on them.
He sure gained his extra ration of oats those days.

                                                                                                                              Silas always in the middle, taking care of Bunny

                                                                                                                        Silas and Bunny
Under Saddle

I spent the next few days riding Silas and taking Bunny with me as a halter horse, showing her the place, trail riding them out on our race track, the big field beyond the train tracks, just like I had practiced it with her sister, La Jeanne, two years before. That way, Bunny would explore her new home in the most natural way and completely free of stress.
At the end of the next day, I already put a blanket on her back to see how she would react.
She didn't react at all.
I put a girth around her, and again she showed no reaction at all.
I put a saddle on her and since she didn't show any reaction, fixed the saddle with the girth.
No reaction.
I took her out grazing with the saddle on and that was how we finished our second day.

The next day, my old friend Tony, our "horse whisperer", was there to help out:
I made sure Silas would stand next to Bunny when I put the saddle on her and Tony held Bunny's halter rope. He held her loose, as she was busy playing with Silas, which was the plan. Tony would lift me up in the saddle and we waited for Bunny's reaction.
She didn't show any reaction at all, still busy playing with Silas.
So I sat completely up in the saddle, stretched my legs into the stirrups and set on my own self-bred filly for the very first time - priceless!
Tony would lead us up and down the main aisle of the barn, Silas always nearby so she could see him.
That was how we finished our third day.

From that day on, I put a saddle on her every day. Tony or whoever was there at night after work would lead me around on her.
I had learned from La Jeanne that saddle and rider are no problem, and it was the same with Bunny.
La Jeanne, however, hated the bridle and needed a few days to get used to the bridle and the bit in her mouth.
I expected the same from Bunny and we took our time with the bridle, but she took to it easily and had no problems at all.

The next step was Bunny running free in our indoor arena with bridle and saddle on her, the stirrups hanging loose.
In order to mount and ride her all by myself, I asked my friend, Assi, if she would come along on Silas as a lead horse. Assi had already been my most precious helper two years ago with La Jeanne, and I looked forward to the day when I would ask her to help out with Bunny.
Assi knows the procedure and she knew I couldn't wait to get out of the indoor arena with its disturbing corners for young horses, and into the field with its free sight in front of us in order to develop the trot and canter while simply following Silas as the lead horse.
I didn't have to do anything in the saddle, I just sat there holding the reins and let her go as she was used to, following Silas.
And she did.
We started with a brief trail ride around the pastures the first day, but expanded our tour quickly the following days, crossing the train tracks to enter our big field.
Bunny would walk and trot behind Silas, but after a few days she would move up next to him and even trot in front. That way she learned to take her own way completely self-understood and without any stress. She would move forward with her most natural impulsion and seek for a natural rein connection all by herself - the greatest gift of all since that is what I consider the hardest part when training a young horse:
rein connection and teaching them to step on the bid????.
Bunny never had a wet hair on her when we came back to the barn, exactly the way it used to be with La Jeanne.
And I knew I could count on Assi, when on one of the following days she would announce "time for our first canter!" Assi enjoyed our common young horse training as much as I did and shared my pleasure. So when Assi asked if we were ready to give it a try and canter, it felt just about the right thing to do.    
Assi would canter ahead with Silas while Bunny trotted a little faster, then she too started to canter with her nose always upon Silas' flank. It was the greatest feeling of all as she moved completely unimpressed and relaxed and I kept still in the saddle, not disturbing her at all.
Assi turned around to me and smiled and so did I - I think I didn't sleep at all that night...

During this time, we also faced bad weather. Assi insisted we also ride in the indoor arena so Bunny would learn some "20x60 meter discipline" and also learn to accept corners and turns. I guess I owe Assi a lot since if it hadn't been for her we would still train our different tempis???? outside in the field, only.
Meanwhile, Bunny trotted and cantered inside as well as outside, and whenever she moved ahead of Silas, I let her go. That way she got used to being ridden without a lead horse in the most natural way, and again, no stress involved at all.
And I just can't think of any better way to mount and train a young horse.  

Pictures under saddle!
My greatest pleasure of all - riding my own home-bred filly!                                                                 










Only two months have passed by since the first fotos taken under saddle and look how Bunny has developed since!



 4.6.2013 Bunny gives birth to her first foal: Daktari by Don Frederic!

Letter from Verden

Bunny ("Bravo"), Fabrice's daughter by Belissimo has been registered into the Hannoverian Studbook scoring 4 times an "8"!
I am overly proud to see my self-bred filly being valued so highly by the Hannoverian Verband's officials !

While Daktari, Bunny's daughter by Don Frederic, has won the Hannoverian foal inspection in Westfalia the past week, her mother, Bunny, had been inspected by the officials, too. She still needed to be registered with the Hannoverian Studbook. 
The result and scores of this inspection along with the official registration paper came in the mail today - needless to say:
this letter made my day! 

Christmastime 2013

In December last year Bunny would still nurse her foal Daktari and enjoy her life as a brood mare in the mare herd, aside her mother Fabrice and her foal, Darnell.
Since Darnell and Daktari were both born late in June I considered it a question of horsemanship and best practice leaving these two with their mothers up until late that year.
So when I finally weaned Daktari, taking Bunny back to our Münster barn to slowly put her back into training myself, it was a very easy procedure and no stress for Daktari at all and the reason was Fabrice.
Fabrice took over both foals immediately and was seen with two fillies by her side from that day on. Daktari didn't suffer at all from her mother's departure.
I remember one sunday afternoon around new year when I came to the mare barn and the mares had just been taken in to the stall from the pasture for feeding. The plan was that Fabrice had her own stable for herself and both fillies associated with her would share a stall right next to Fabrice, so Darnell would learn to be weaned slowly and naturally, too:
being out in the pasture as a complete familiy, being separated in the stall next to Fabrice, sharing a stall with her buddy-sister Dakatri.
However, as a smart man once put it:
There is a difference between theorie and practice...
The fillies tought us practice well :-)

                                                                                                                         Daktari and Darnell - unseperable!

The fillies obviously had been faster than my mare barn owner Ingrid being able to close Fabrice's door... Rather than splitting the trio in two and one Fabrice would share her one big stall with all of them and a shining red trio would look at me out of Fabrice's stall, all of them happily chewing their hey together and you couldn't tell which was Fabrice's foal and which was Bunny's foal...
Horses in harmonie, no better way of putting such scenerie in place.
It was a precious moment and I had tears in my eyes.

At that time Bunny was back in Münster and of course Silas took care of her immediately, too. That way not even Bunny suffered form any loss or change since she was basically put back into a surrounding she already knew well, with her favourite buddy aside.
I started her slowly all over again as a side horse on a halter near Silas, trail riding both of them at the same time and riding her all by herself after a while. She hadn't forgotten anything and proved to be the old Bunny under saddle as if she had never done anything else.



                                                                                                                                     Bunny and Silas - heart and soul...

Time to move on - a story of historic idols and goals worth living for

Time to move on. Time to introduce Bunny to a sport horse carreer.
I knew Bunny was of special quality and I wanted to see her ridden and trained accordingly. I consider myself an o.k. rider in any kind of saddle, jumping, dressage and eventing, but I am an amateur rider and amateur riding is just not good enough.
The plan was to take Bunny to Johann Hinnemann for a year or two, hopefully developing a sucessful sport horse career. After that Bunny should return as a broodmare for good but I wanted a sport proven broodmare as performance matters. And there is no such thing like a succesful breeding program without a well proven performance brood mare.
And I couldn't imagine any better place and trainer in the world than Johann Hinnemann, the master of dressage. I already used to visit Hinnemann's dressage clinics  twenty years ago when I still lived in Frankfurt and took precious days off from Lehman's and Goldman's only to drive some 400 kilometers one way to attend these clinics, only to watch Michael Farwick training Fidermark and many other stallions from the North Rhine Westfalian State Stud with Johann Hinnemann.
Michael and Fidermark had become Bundeschampions under the management of Johann Hinnemann two years before Fabrice was born in 1996.
Johann Hinnemann sucessfully trained the couple further to St. George level until the stallion was taken over by Marlies van Baalen who competed Fidermark sucesfully up until Grand Prix.
Johann Hinnemann was my big time idol as a trainer and it was the very Hinnemann school and the association of Michael Farwick riding Fidermark that made me  choose Michael as a trainer for Fabrice, Bunny's mother, and me when I left Frankfurt, moving back to Münster in 1999.
Michael didn't live far from me and the association of Michael and Fidermark was a fixed idea in my head ever since and I couldn't think of any better trainer but Michael for me and Fabrice, Fidermark's very daughter who looked so much like her sire.... I had never dreamed that one day even Johann Hinnemann himself would be within reach for me but here we are:
twenty years later and one equestrian generation further it is Fabrice's daughter Bunny who now is trained by the very master himself. Sometimes life surely is incredible and these are the goals worth living for.
Fortune had it that I have become a regular visitor at Johann Hinnemann's barn, riding the Hinnemann horses since last year regularly at weekends under the eye of Johann Hinnemann and his "chef brereiter" Steffi Wolf. I got to know the place and people inside out and I feel home at the Hinnemann barn. They make me feel like part of the team and family whenever I spend my weekends there. I know Bunny in best hand's with them, being there every weekend myself, riding Hinnemann's horses and following Bunny's progress under the saddle of Marina, a young professional rider suiting Bunny perfectly.

Time to move on - how things sometimes turn out different, no matter how well thought of the plan...

I took Bunny to Johann Hinnemann's barn at the beginning of February. I had planned on spending the entire weekend there with her, taking my time to introduce her to her new surrounding. And of course, I did it my way:
Bringing my favourite Prestige Eventing saddle along, no bandages (Bunny didn't wear hoof shoes at that time, so no need to wear bandages), not even a noseband on her bridle and no blanket, either. I keep my horses blanket free and turn them out all winter just the way they are - I never faced any problems with it. Bling&Blankets are made for rider's and their well feeling upon their horses, but they sure are not made for horses.
So I guess Bunny has been the most unconventional horse ever being introduced to Johann Hinnemann's barn and the entire team took it with a smile.

And of course I had planned Bunny's introduction to the Hinnemann team over and over again, eagerly hoping to leave the very best first impression possible...
But sometimes things turn out different, no matter how well thought of the plan...
When I set up on her in the indoor arena to show her the place, riding her just the way I used to at home, we didn't get far as Bunny simply freaked. She was stunned by the impressive arena and any other horse coming by simply shocked her to freeze.
And she freezed me, too. I just couldn't believe it.   
I didn't recognize my well known Bunny anymore, Bunny having discovered the world as a halter horse near Silas age three and having explored more at youngest  age than any other elder dressage horse has seen in it's entire life? Bunny, having been at the Warendorf cross with me in saddle, crossing waters and doing her first indoor eventing at the no less impressive barn of Martin Plewa age three? Bunny, who I would ride even at nigth time outside our barn in the dark since I prefer nature over any indoor, no matter how inviting?
Infact, I needed help from the team to be able to move Bunny round the barn at all.
I couldn't believe it. 
And it bit on me big time.
The team did it's very best to cheer me up and I really appreciated their well meant efforts but frustration took me along.

Sunday morning came and I was the first in the saddle early morning while the team was still busy feeding horses and cleaning stables.
I took Bunny right back to the indoor arena and we were all by ourselves.
There you go - this was my Bunny, the way I knew her well!
No problems at all, the most ridable and well disciplined horse, walk, trott, canter - easy!
Whatever happend to the spook, she obviously had left it in the stall. Infact, I felt so secure and home in her saddle that I took her out for a trail ride immediately, just the way we were used to doing it at home. We rode through the nearby village that was still asleep early sunday morning and took a relaxing trail ride around the Hinnemann farm. When we came back to the barn approaching the back gaite of the farm the team was expecting us already all bewildered - you could tell their thoughts being written clearly on their foreheads:
"You trailride this very craze of a spooky and immature horse through the village all by yourself ...? Are you nuts?"

Well, I couldn't blame them for their thoughts. If I hadn't known Bunny better I sure would have thought the same after the impression she had left the day before.

So I left sunday night (taking only my eventer saddle with me..) knowing Bunny in best hands with Marina, one of the three "Bereiter" at Hinnemann's and drove back home. And I kept telling myself not to bother Marina with calls and worried questions about Bunny... I truly didn't want to be a nervewrecking owner but it wasn't easy at all...

Turned out, my worries were groundless, too.
Next day I recieved a brief but oh so content note from Marina and this is what it said:
"I love her! She has already become my favourite horse to ride!"
It didn't take more than these few words to make me smile big time. I felt so relieved!

Yet, Marina even topped her beneficary treat the next day sending me a picture with no comment at all.
It was this little picture showing Bunny in the field, grazing.
And yet again, I had tears in my eyes.
Marina is not a person of many words but she sure knows me well.

The next day Steffi, the senior "Bereiter", called to let me know that Bunny was doing fine and they all had been all over her when Marina rode her the first time since she was doing so well!
And even the Chef had already taken her out on a lounge line for his very personal inspection, uttering very favourably about her.
And yes, the entire team enjoyed the most cheerful breakfast monday morning since Marina entertained them over breakfast with the story of Sabine's "outside-horse". 
I was irritated.
"Oh yes", Steffi laughed, "Marina told us all about the missing noseband, the missing blanket and bandages and the specific "horse-wash" you apply...!"
I got extremely worried and had no idea what Steffi was talking about...
Steffie laughed out loud and said:
"Oh well, Marina told us the story that whenever you wanted Bunny really clean you simply turned her out in the pasture in pouring rain!"
Oh well.

I could tell the team was enjoying the most entertaining breakfast... and all of them named her right away "Sabine's outside-horse"!
It made me smile all over and I considered it the most precious lable they could have given her. Since Bunny was not just another horse in that professional dressage barn. Bunny was Sabine's "outside-horse" and they referred to her with a respectful, warm hearted smile and it simply made my day.  

                                                                                               four weeks in training

                                                                                                                                                                          the "Chef" is taking care


Whenever I came for my usual weekend rides and visit Marina would ride Bunny for me to make sure I learend about her progress. And the progress was simply breath taking! After two weeks Marina would already ride her canter-walk and walk-canter transmissions. Three weeks and she rode her counter canter. Four weeks and she announced she had already picked her first show in early April. It blew me away. I figured it was a little early to already show Bunny but at the same time I knew, Steffi and the Chef would never let her go if they didn't consider her good enough.  



So April 6 became a big mark in my schedule since this was Bunny's and Marina's first show.
Of course the young horse class started early in the morning and we had to leave around six, so I planned to stay overnight at Hinnemann's to be up and ready in time. Marina and Bunny were in best form early next morning and off we went.
There were 36 young horses age 4-6 in Bunny's class and I was sure, all of them had enjoyed a more than eight weeks training under saddle.... The warm up arena was crowded with 10-15 horses at any time and Bunny didn't care at all. Infact, she stole the show.
When she entered the show arena with yet another horse to do the test by two, all eyes were on her. Marina and Bunny turned out to be the eyecatcher.
The judges would even forgive a single fault at the first halt which wasn't straight and rewarded their test with a stunning 8,2!
Bunny and Marina had won their first show by far and (you can tell...) I had tears in my eyes, yet again...
What a horse!

Five years of breeding, raising, mounting, riding, breeding a champion foal out of her inbetween and finally this was the top of all of it.
Words can't express how I felt.
But I remember one thing for sure and this was how I experienced pride in a way I had never lived it before:
A very busy man came running after us at the show and asked:
"Is this Belissimo filly yours?
Is she for sale?"
And it was the most content, "No! For no money in the world!" I ever said.
I looked him straight in the eyes and I loved it.
And I still do and enjoy every part of it, even weeks after.

Thank you, Marina!


Thank you, Steve Elowitt, for all your support and motivation to help me finsih the english version of my Bunny-Story - you sure turned it into "our" story!