by Stacy Gormley
Highlife Farms provides the United States with performance horses that are of the high competitive quality and meet or exceed the stringent genetic criteria of premier breeders in Europe, thus supplying spectacular performance and breeding prospects right here in the United States. Their dedication to providing and promoting horses of the most exceptional quality is apparent in their sponsored events such as the annual Highlife Cup dressage show and the hosting of the Central Florida Dressage monthly meetings. To ensure that each individual horse is able to perform to their internationally competitive potential, Highlife Farms employs trainers and professionals of the highest caliber. Utilizing all available resources, Highlife Farms ensures that the American buyer has access to sport horses of the highest quality.
Dressagedaily: How has the quality of sport horse breeding stock changed in this country?
Highlife: In America, while sport horses were first gaining in popularity, the initial excitement resulted in breeding any horse of sport horse type, regardless of quality which caused American bred horses to be inferior when facing international competitors. The standards of breed associations in Europe demand the highest quality sport horses without exception, thus producing horses with superior lineage along with outstanding performance ability. We at Highlife Farms are incorporating these incredibly high standards into our own breeding protocol, not allowing for horses of less than perfect quality and ability to produce the sport horses of tomorrow. This is resulting in world class sport horses that are competing and winning on an international level.
Dressagedaily: How important is it for Americans to produce their own athletes?
Highlife: Importing of European horses is a tremendous expense as well as an inconvenience. Previously, the hassle of importing was a small sacrifice to pay in turn for the quality of horse. Now that American breeders, such as Highlife farms, are incorporating European standards in their breeding and performance programs, America is producing world class athletes; the elite buyer does not have to search overseas for an internationally competitive horse.
Dressagedaily: How important are the young horse classes and championships?
Highlife: The young horse classes provide an excellent opportunity to showcase and foreshadow the superior performance potential of horses bred and trained in America. These classes and championships allow US breeders to compare the quality of movement and internationally competitive potential amongst young stock bred throughout the United States. Young horse classes reinforce breeding standards by recognizing outstanding prospects through the quality of gaits, presence and structural correctness present in American bred horses.
Dressagedaily: How have mares in these countries changed over the years?
Highlife: Previously in the American equine industry, the emphasis was placed primarily on the quality and performance career of the stallion. While this is a vital component of producing superior athletes, the ability and performance potential of the mare is also of the utmost importance. Along with other premier American breeders, Highlife Farms has been breeding and competing with mares of international abilities and as a result, breeders are supplying superior genetics to both sides of the genetic equation, from both the dam and sire line. As a result, the mares are not simply a means of production but an essential element to enrich the genetics and performance ability of the American bred equine athlete. With the onset of advanced breeding technologies, the top breeders in the country such as Highlife Farms, have the ability to use embryo transfer to ensure that each mare’s performance career is not hindered by the time consuming task of producing offspring.
Dressagedaily: Any comments about Highlife’s role in changing the face of American breeding?
Highlife: Here at Highlife Farms, we have expectations and standards that are of the highest caliber. Due to these rigorous and demanding standards we recognize the significance and influence of horses bred and trained in Europe; therefore Highlife Farms employees make frequent trips overseas to comparatively evaluate the European bred sport horses versus American bred sport horses. Highlife Farms is confident that the caliber of althete produced at our farm is of comparative quality to the outstanding prospects produced in Europe. This allows a unique opportunity for the American buyer to invest in elite performance stock of international quality while remaining right here in the US. American buyers can be confident that they are acquiring internationally competitive athletes due to Highlife’s dedication to remain at the forefront of advancements in sport horse breeding. In providing America with breeding stock of superior quality, Highlife Farms strives to encourage American based sport horse breeding programs to purchase and invest in these home bred athletes. In supporting American breeding programs of only the most stringent and rigorous selection standards, the US has the ability to become a top producer of internationally competitive sport horses.
To promote and showcase these American bred and trained athletes of superior lineage and ability, Highlife Farms with Eurosport Auctions is hosting the US breeders and trainers sport horse auction on April 8th, 2006 at 4:00. We invite all horse enthusiasts interested in furthering and supporting the advancements of American based breeding and training programs to “Buy American” and support our efforts to put the USA as a leader in Sport Horse production.