After a Successful 2008 HW Farm Looks Forward to a Bright Future
Topping the numerous successes of previous years wasn't easy, but 2008 was another super year for HW Farm leading farm owner Irene Hoeflich-Wiederhold to feel ever more confident that HW Farm will continue to be a success for years to come. Since arriving in the U.S. from her native Germany 12 years ago, Irene has built a solid reputation as a breeder and importer of future dressage stars. And in 2008, her talent proved itself again when several HW Farm horses ended the year as champions.
"What can I say? We had a lot of excitement in 2008 and I think in 2009, our horses, as well as our customers' horses, will be just as successful," Irene said. Leading the successes of the past year was Selten HW, a Hanoverian stallion by Sandro Hit out of MS High Princess by Hohenstein and owned by Cadence, LLC. With Michael Bragdell in the saddle, Selten HW took the 2008 championship title in the Markel/USEF National Dressage Four-Year-Old Horse Championships in Kentucky with a final score of 8.56, which included a few 9s for his trot and canter work. He followed up that victory with wins at Devon in the Four-Year-old classes.
Selten HW was bred and born at HW Farm and Irene said of him that "he wins pretty much everything. He's a breeder's dream come true." But he is not the farm's only big success of the past year. The farm's elite mare Donatella HW, by Don Frederico and out of SPS Wachau, was a Third Level champion in 2008 and won numerous classes with scores in the 70s that even earned her high-point awards. She has moved up to Fourth Level for 2009 and will only turn seven in May. "She is so easy and so much fun to ride," Irene said. "Moving up the levels with her will be a charm."
Two other HW Farm mares are also on the rise after spectacular showings in 2008. the four-year-old Santina HW, by Sandro Hit and out of a SPS Lanthan/Dakar mare, completed her elite mare candidate requirements in late 2008 and so too did Hannahlea HW, a four-year-old by Hohenstein and out of SPS Riverqueen O by Rotspon. In 2008, Hannahlea was the champion mare for the American Hanoverian Society having won the mare performance test and inspection. "She won it all and did it with just a few weeks under saddle," Irene said. "Hannahlea HW is now already winning at First Level and ready to collect more ribbons and she is currently for sale. Santina HW will be giving birth to a Quarterback foal in the spring and will then go back to work. Please check our website to stay updated on all the happenings in this big horse family at www.HWfarm.com.
In 1997, Irene made the move to the United States. A friend sent her two imported horses in training to photograph and videotape in order to sell them. They were both sold just days after their arrival, as the quality and the price were exactly what the buyers expected. She then imported more and more horses for clients and also her own horses—all carefully selected. She soon started marketing them on her own website, where they all sold very quickly after being imported. Some of them even sold directly from Germany, just off the website, before she even got a chance to bring them to Florida. Ninety percent of the horses on her website sell without the buyers even trying out the horses. This started a domino affect, and before she knew it her skills and competence were circulating in the industry. Her good reputation traveled quickly, mostly by word-of-mouth.
She started personally breeding on her four acres in Cape Coral in 2001 with two pregnant high-scoring States Premium broodmares, which she imported herself. One of them produced EMC Donatella HW (Don Frederico/Weltmeyer), who won all her classes as the youngest horse on the American Hanoverian Inspection in Florida and was champion mare of the day. HW Farm bred ‘Donna’ for a 2007 foal to Samarant (Sandro Hit-Bolero) in hopes of keeping these phenomenal bloodlines. Additionally, Irene imported SPS High Princess (Hohenstein/Donnerhall), a mare entered with a score of nine in the Hanoverian mare book, just two weeks before the stallion His Highness (Hohenstein-Donnerhall) was purchased for 550,000 Euro at an auction. Her mare was in foal to Sandro Hit, which was at that time not a huge name, just an upcoming young stallion and look at him today!
“It’s great to be able to pick and try to predict the future stars. We got rewarded with the huge success that Selten HW (out of SPS High Princess) as a two-year-old had in Devon this year.” Under the caring hands of Hilltop Farms, Selten was shown and won Reserve Grand Champion of Dressage at Devon, The USDF Breeders Champion for Colts and Geldings, Champion Winner of two-year-old Colts and Geldings, and Best Born in the USA. As an added bonus he was High Point Hanoverian—all in a day’s work for an HW Farm baby. Another success story, and one of Irene’s proudest accomplishments, is that of Hanoverian gelding Faulkner (Friendship x Wiesenbluete). Irene imported him for his owner, Amanda Bailey after evaluating him in four 20-second video clips.
The pair won the FEI four-year-old class at Devon, beating out the 2006 National four-year-old champion. At a recent clinic in Florida, which was by invitation/selection only, Scott Hassler told Faulkner’s owner that he just loved her horse. A few months ago Faulkner placed third after impressing a panel of discriminating judges at the USEF Markel Young Horse Championships. They qualified for the Young Horse Championships at their second show with an impressive 8.36.
It’s a family affair at HW Farm. Irene’s devoted husband of over 20 years, Roger, is a go-getter that helps with all aspects of the business. Children, Vivienne and Dain also invest lots of time in the farm and the horses. “In the end, HW Farm would not run as seamless and excellent without all their support.”
Last year, Irene imported a Reggazoni mare and her daughter, Vivienne, collected the ribbons with her. Ramina HW sold to a discriminating rider and breeder who brought her to the Florida American Hanoverian Society inspection last year where she won the mare performance test with phenomenal scores. It was the second year in a row that HW Farm presented the winner for the Florida AHS Inspection—an outstanding task.
“For being a new breeder and now professional broker and importer of horses, that was quite a success, not to forget many, many others who are not mentioned here by name, which I imported and are winning their titles and ribbons right now. I will continue to find only the best horses, by screening many video clips and pictures every day and working with a huge network of people in Germany, who support my eyes with hands-on experience to help me pick the right horses for the U.S. market. It is very hard to find outstanding quality, it always was and it’s not getting easier, but with more experience and each new horse, I am getting pickier and pickier, and only the best will be good enough to come here or to get bred at my barn.”
Sound confident? It should; Irene knows her stuff and has proven it time and time again. Multiple satisfied customers have purchased horses from Irene based solely on her professional opinion, without even laying their own eyes on them before they write the check. A great example of that total satisfaction and trust would be customer Anne Schmidt.
“I recently bought a horse (Cheenook HW) from Irene after seeing a clip of him on the Internet. He was such a special horse, there was a lot of competition to buy him, so I ended up purchasing him sight unseen—from the clip. I am impressed by him daily. Not only does he have outstanding gaits; he also has an incredible brain. I have yet to meet another horse with such a super mind paired with those gaits. Irene was honest about his training level and temperament. I couldn’t be happier.”
Since its start, HW Farm has also grown. Irene invested in an additional 31-acre property and built a new barn and a covered riding arena. She currently has five horses on her property with another five or so out for training. With a relatively new facility and expert resources in Germany, HW Farm has nowhere to go but up. “Give it another 1-2 years and there will be lots of horses out there competing from HW Farm.”
“I’d like to let people know, that they can trust my eyes and that I have many customers buying horses sight unseen from me and that they are thrilled with their horses.” Many customers have even told her the horses worked out even better than they had expected.
Check out the HW Farm testimonials and newsflash on their web site at HWfarm.com. Selected Top Quality Horses - always at a fair price – We believe in making dreams come true.