Since Tony and Betty DeGroot decided to pursue their passion for horses and imported their first six warmbloods from Holland in 1983, their now legendary DG Bar Ranch in Hanford, Calif. has been a cornerstone for the breeding of exceptional sport horses in America for three decades. Specializing in the breeding, development, and training of Royal Dutch Sport Horses (KWPN), DG Bar Ranch is once again celebrating an incredibly successful year as their current crop of youngsters and graduates of their breeding program have excelled in national and regional championship competitions and breed inspections. In August, the DG Bar Ranch team of Willy Arts, Ashlyn DeGroot, and Caitlin Hamar traveled 35 hours across the country to Lamplight Equestrian Center outside Chicago for the Markel/USEF National Young & Developing Horse Dressage Championships, the nation's most prestigious competition and talent search for future dressage superstars.
Having qualified eight horses across four age divisions (four, five, six, and seven to nine-year-olds), DG Bar Ranch not only showcased the outstanding products of their dedicated breeding program, but had the most representation at these Championships of any other sport horse breeder in North America. And their efforts were rewarded with every horse placing in the top 12 in the country, including a National Reserve Championship for the four-year-old prodigy Famebria DG (Idocus x Krack C, bred in the United States by DG Ranch Breeders, Inc.). This sensational filly carries on a family tradition of excellence in the dressage ring, as her sire Idocus competed in the 2004 Olympic Games and 2007 World Cup Finals, while her dam Valeska DG (with Willy Arts in the saddle) proudly represented the U.S. at the 2008 FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden, Germany.
Next up on DG Bar Ranch's busy calendar was much closer to home: the record-setting 47th Annual California Dressage Society (CDS) Championship Show, held in conjunction with the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 7 Dressage Championships, September 25 - 28, 2014 in Burbank, Calif. Once again DG Bar Ranch was represented en masse as 27 horses which competed there were bred, trained, ridden, imported, and/or sold by this KWPN powerhouse. One of the many competitive highlights included a huge win in the hard-fought CDS Young Horse Futurity by the talented five-year-old Encore (Jazz x Sir Sinclair, bred by Lisa Dickman) who carried his jubilant owner/rider Amy Miller to victory in the Open Division. The elegant U.S-bred gelding scored the win after placing fourth in the country at the National Young Horse Dressage Championships in Illinois, and was raised and sold by DG Bar.
Also earning CDS Horse of the Year honors was the lovely KWPN mare DG Bantana (Flemmingh x Hemmingway, bred in The Netherlands by P. Verdellen, purchased and imported to the U.S. by DG Bar), who claimed the Third Level JR/YR title with Ashlyn DeGroot in the irons. DG Bantana was previously crowned as the National Reserve Champion four-year-old in the country in 2010.
In mid-September, DG Bar Ranch opened its doors to welcome sport horse breeders and enthusiasts as part of the KWPN-North America Keuring Tour. These annual inspections are the highlight of the year for breeders of Royal Dutch Sport Horses as they have the opportunity to showcase their best young horses, and see the results of their passion and dedication for producing the next generation of equestrian sport superstars. The undisputed star of the show was the breathtaking three-year-old colt Gaspard De La Nuit DG (Ravel x Sir Donnerhall), owned and bred by DG Bar Ranch Breeders Inc. and Akiko Yamazaki. This exceptional son of Steffen Peters' legendary U.S. Dressage Team mount Ravel earned high praise from the international panel of judges and scores high enough to be crowned national IBOP champion for dressage. Gaspard De La Nuit DG looks poised to follow in his father's footsteps to stardom as he has now been licensed as an approved stallion by the KWPN. Also getting started right on a path to future success was the impressive chestnut filly Jamebria DG (Charmeur x Krack C), owned and bred by DG Bar Breeders, Inc., who was named the best foal in the nation.
During the keuring, the prestigious DG Bar Cup competition was held for young Dutch horses to highlight their development for careers in sport. In the three-year-old division, Gaspard De La Nuit DG continued his dominance, while the reigning National Reserve Young Horse Champion Famebria DG topped all four-year-olds while also receiving her prestigious ster predicate. In the five- and six-year-old division, DG Edorijke (Spielberg X Jazz, owned by DG Bar Breeders Inc. & bred by PWT J. Pansier) earned highest marks, while the talented mare Caliente DG (007 X Contango, owned by Craig Stanley & Brenda Linman & bred by DG Bar Breeders Inc.) was best of all seven- and eight-year-olds.
"DG Bar Ranch is one of very few breeders of any studbook where one can find foals out of mares who are so incredibly proven in the performance arena by virtue of being current or recent regional and national champions," explained KWPN-NA keuring tour jury member Faith Fessenden on the DG Bar Ranch Facebook page. "If top breeding programs are all about obtaining and using the highest quality mares, then this is the place! DG Bar takes the KWPN's mantra and goal of producing the best sport horses in the world and 'walk the walk.'"
Finishing off the season, DG Bar Ranch recently hosted the second annual 2014 USDF Sport Horse Prospect Development Forum (presented by Dressage at Devon) on October 4 - 5th. Headlined by Scott Hassler and Ingo Pape, the forum welcomed more than 125 attendees including breeders, trainers, and owners for an interactive two-day program focusing on the development of a consistent training foundation for all sport horse prospects as they progress from in-hand to under-saddle, and eventual competition. "The USDF Sport Horse Committee is very excited to be able to bring the forum to the West Coast for 2014, and we greatly appreciate DG Bar Ranch for offering to host this year's forum," said Kristi Wysocki, Chair of the USDF Sport Horse Committee in a USDF press release.
Whether it's breeding, training, competition, or education, DG Bar Ranch is the North America's leading resource for the next generation of superstars in equestrian sport. To learn more about everything DG Bar Ranch has to offer or for assistance in producing or finding your next champion, visit here.
DG Bar Ranch is located in the heart of California's agricultural region and includes a 24-hour dairy farm as well as a 25-acre horse operation and large breeding program for KWPN horses. Co-owned by renowned rider and trainer Willy Arts and Tony and Betty DeGroot, DG Bar Ranch is a unique family-owned and operated facility which offers top quality dressage horses at a variety of ages and for all types of riders, amateurs and professionals. DG Bar Ranch's Royal Dutch Sport Horses successfully compete across the country and around the world, and as a result they were honored as 2004 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year. For more information, visit www.dgbarranch.com.