Santo Stefano BLOG


 
10.04.2018
imprinting foals Santo Stefano

The first moments of life are extremely important for the relationship between the newborn foal and human beings. This very first contact has been called "Prägung" (imprinting") by the famous animal psychologist Conrad Lorenz. The presence and  assistance of the owner creates an atmosphere of trust and well-being in the relationship between newborn foal and men, but also an atmosphereof trust between the mother and their owners. We are always present when our mares are giving birth helping, soothing and assisting when it is necessary. Touch and voice contact are extremely important also during the mares' pregnancy. We are convinced that the foal already knows us before it gets delivered into this world. 
The first gulp of milk (colostrum) full with valuable protecting substances milked from the mother is supplied by us immediately after cleaning and disinfecting the umbilical cord. Then we help the little creature to get up and to find the mother's udder. These very intimate moments where only we are present without intruding or disturbing the relation between mother and newborn are the "imprinting"  that makes SANTO STEFANO horses so special.

ABOVE LEFT: Drying the foal with a clean towel right after it came out of the mother's womb 
CENTER: applying the first 250 g of collostrum taken from the mare milking her to get
used to the tickling touch of her foal afterwards. The collostrum contains all the essential 
antibodies and is given from a baby drinking bottle with dummy (big hole).
RIGHT: cuddling the foal and rubbing him with a clean towel with the mother watching 
(conferring trust in the human being)
BELOW LEFT: playing with the foal and encouraging him when he gets up for the first time
BELOW CENTRE: 3rd day, first time outside
BELOW RIGHT: encouraging the foal to leave his box with mom and human (trust)

have a look at http://www.scuderia-santo-stefano.com/imprinting.htm



06/04/2018
Interview EURODRESSAGE
 

Santo Stefano Putting Sport Horse Breeding in Italy on the Map

Eurodressage F.O.C.U.S.

Scuderia Santo Stefano in Le Marche, Italy, is the brain child of British-German born Barbara Fuchs, who boasts 25 years of experience in versatile sport horse breeding. With a philosophy grappled to the German model of breeding and raising top quality sport horses, Fuchs has successfully realized her visions and dreams at brood farm Santo Stefano in Italy. Scuderia Santo Stefano now has home-bred sport horses competing at international FEI level across the Olympic disciplines.
Barbara Fuchs worked as a journalist in Germany for years before she got fed up with wise-cracking people who understood nothing about horses and used them only to improve their image. She and her husband Eberhard bought an old farmhouse in a very remote area of Italy, renovated the property and moved there with three brood mares. It was the beginning of Scuderia Santo Stefano.
Building from the Ground Up 
 

Since 1992 Scuderia Santo Stefano has been breeding sports horses in Italy with an exclusive focus on German bloodlines. All horses are now registered as Italian warmbloods (S.I.) with the intention of providing the Italian equestrian market the expertise of decades of intelligent German horse breeding. "We aim to create our own brand, Santo Stefano Dressage Horses, in the same way as Leon Melchior did in Belgium with his Zangersheide show jumping horses," said Barbara Fuchs.

Scuderia Santo Stefano
Santo Stefano has a versatile breeding program focusing both on dressage and show jumping. A dressage horse needs the elasticity and scope to clear a fence, as well as have the right attitude not to freak out in the face of an obstacle. "We want to produce and educate reliable horses, so that also young riders can deal with them," Fuchs explained.
The majority of Santo Stefano's bloodlines are based on the old lines of the great proven German sires such as Rubinstein, Rohdiamant, Fabriano, Escudo, Bolero, Donnerhall, Don Frederico, Wolkentanz and Weltmeyer. They currently stock 45 youngsters on their 4.5 hectares of land and have bred more than 100 horses so far.
"We have always believed in starting with brood mares with good pedigrees instead of only running after famous sires. Many of our mares were given to us for free, because Italian riders spent a lot of money on them at auctions and found out after a few months that they were not able to ride them," Fuchs admitted. "It is very disappointing to us that German stallions, that were advertised fiercely, disappeared from the market after a couple of years because either they had shown faults or were sold abroad at ridiculously high prices."

Barbara Fuchs and Corde Santo Stefano
Santo Stefano has also been standing their own home bred stallion at stud, the 17-year old Corde Santo Stefano (by Cheenook x Chairman x Cor de la Bryere). He is a performance test winner with the best result ever in an Italian performance test (911 out of 1000 for gaits and character) and competing in show jumping.
"We have covered most of our 13 breeding mares with him for the past ten years," Fuchs explained. "We now have undeniable proof that all his offspring inherit his impeccable character and outstanding gaits, as well as his talent for both disciplines: dressage and show jumping. We breed good-natured, promising youngsters with excellent ride ability that even a child can handle."
Santo Stefano's Success in Sport
Barbara Fuchs is a realist at heart and knows that breeding on paper does not work. She avoids stepping into the pit-falls of marketing convincing inexperienced breeders to go for unproven, young stallions with flashy gaits. In Italy new equestrian centres and brood farms surface and publicly boast having the best lines as they spent much money on fancy stallions and auction horses. However many of them do not survive nor persist in their grand goals, and drop out when it comes to proving their philosophy in sport.

Camilla Mauro on Santo Stefano Francis
"We do not aim at the stars right from the beginning," said Fuchs who keeps both her feet on the ground. "In the 25 years of breeding experience we have learnt that can breed the best bloodlines you'll ever find, but it won't mean a thing if you do not find the appropriate riders who can take your horses to the top." 
Fuchs explained that she shares the same vision as Carl Hester, which he explained in his book "Making it Happen": horsemanship and good dressage training to take horses up the levels instead of buying hypersensitive super stars that only professionals can handle.
Santo Stefano's most successful breeding product in the dressage arena is Santo Stefano Francis, a 14-year old Hanoverian registered gelding by Fabriano out of Wenzi (by Wenzel II), who took Italian Camilla Mauro to two European Junior Riders Championships (2012, 2014).  Italian young rider Francesco Neri is currently ranked 80th on the FEI World Ranking List for Young Riders on Santo Stefano Ramas, a 14-year old Italian warmblood by Rubinstein out of Pyrah (by Polydor).

Francesco Neri on Ramas Santo Stefano
Italian 12-year old (!) Andrea Neri rode the 11-year old Italian warmblood Leo Pascal Santo Stefano (by Londonderry x Wenzel II) at the 2015 inaugural European Championships for Children to finish 23rd in the team championship test. The show jumper Santo Stefano Gianna, a 15-year old Hanoverian by Grandom out of Lorena K (by Legat) has been competing internationally at Grand Prix level in 3* CSI events under Italian Stefano Magaro.
Barbara Fuchs has also given the ride on Rhaoul Santo Stefano (by Rohdiamant x Chromatic xx) to a young Italian rider Laura Sanna, who has started competing him at E-level and is working her way up to Grand Prix under the guidance of Dutch trainer Joyce Heuitink.
Swimming Against the Tide in Italy
Fuchs openly admits that making a change in the Italian breeding and dressage world is like swimming against the tide. She points the finger at the lack of knowledge and understanding within the authorities -- the Italian Equestrian Federation (FISE) - as well Italy's betting mentality that show jumping and dressage are an opportunity to gamble and make money like racing.

Laura Sanna on Rhaoul Santo Stefano
"We can't sell foals at the age of six months as we should, because people are not capable of raising a young horse," said Fuchs. "Horses stay with us until they are four years old with all the costs for starting them. Even then it's difficult because there are only a few people capable of training a young horse. We are expected to sell horses ready to go to competitions and, of course, to win. A typical question: "How high does 
he jump?" The horse should be 'experienced' and "please, he should not throw off his rider" never mind how much he pulls the horse's mouth or attacks with spurs! You will agree, this is asking very much from horse breeders who are, furthermore, expected to sell for "half the price" because Italy is so much in crisis."
Fuchs is also highy critical of the poor performances of the Italian riders at the 2015 European Dressage Championships in Aachen, where Team Italy finished last. Two of its riders were unable to fulfil FISE's own-set team selection criteria of 3x 66% in the Grand Prix, but the Italian Dressage Committee still decided to field a team, pressured by Italian dressage bobo's.

Fuchs with Leo Pascal Santo Stefano, who competed at the 2015 European Children's Championships in Vidauban
"The Italian performances in Aachen were devastating. I got really depressed realizing that I have put 25 years into breeding horses for people that will never get dressage off the ground," Fuchs admitted. "The Italian press makes it sounds as if the country has won the Europeans and does not even mention that they finished last. Officials cite poor excuses that it is all due to the fact that the horses are too old and say the riders were brilliant. They say it is the fault of FISE. I wonder why other small countries performed well, such as Norway, Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, all by themselves without help from their federations, but with efficient trainers?!"
Fuchs is certain that the problem is not the lack of horse quality in Italy, but the lack of knowledgeable people to train riders and horses.
"Four generations of young people have been tought to ride wrongly. They are not capable to sit in balance without tearing the horses in the mouth, leaning backwards and stretching their feet to the front," she said frankly. "And if there is somebody talented like Camilla Mauro, they disappear from the scene because they do not have the money to continue and were put off by the inefficiency and lack of support from FISE."
According to Fuchs, there is no protection and encouragement from the Italian breeding authorities, UNIRE/ASSI/MIPAV nor the Federation.
"The market is full of unauthorized dealers who buy cheap horses with either physical or mental defects, triple the price, and resell them in Italy to unsuspecting customers who think they have a bargain. Terrible accidents happen because un-qualified trainers who had their share in the deal are not capable of training these poor people and their horses," Fuchs continued.
Staying Positive

Working with foals on a daily basis brings Barbara Fuchs much joy
Fortunately Barbara finds happiness in her own breeding yard and the daily life at Santo Stefano. The growing partnerships with the Neri kids and their Santo Stefano horses, Laura Sanna on Rhaoul Santo Stefano, Giada Tanzi on Corvo Santo Stefano, as well as Mauro's fantastic successes on Santo Stefano Francis give her a boost of energy.
"We try to be optimistic of the future in spite of all the difficulties and economic problems we have to face every day. Cor de la Bryere’s owner in Holstein was convinced of his horse despite all the criticism he received from most of his contemporaries and we try to follow his example," Barbara explained. "We are convinced that Corde Santo Stefano has inherited all his ancestors' qualities and will pass them on to his foals. He was given to us by destiny and we are supposed to fulfil our task as breeders. We try to be optimistic in spite of many obstacles, convincing our-selves every day: "Yes, we can!"
For more information about Santo Stefano, visit www.scuderia-santo-stefano.com

05/04/2018
Interview
with
Jean Llewellyn
of
Breeding News 
fir sport horses


 Breeding News for Sport Horses


 






Santo Stefano: "Yes we can!"
Original wording
ITALY (by Jean Llewellyn) 
Based in Le Marche in eastern Italy, almost due west of Senigallia on the Adriatic coast, the stud farm of 
Santo Stefano occupies a remote area of steeply undulating terrain surrounded by rich agricultural land — ideal for 
breeding and raising top-quality sport horses. For Barbara Fuchs, horses have been a life-long passion that began in Germany. 

• What is your background, and when did you become a sport horse breeder?

By profession I am an interpreter and journalist. The fist years of my life I spent in Westfalia Germany with my Czech mother and my English father. From early childhood I was 
attracted by the big framed, good natured horses that grew there.
I was longing to take riding lessons, but when my parents separated and I was living with my mother there was 
no money for this kind of luxury. So I accompanied a school friend from a rich family when she took lessons in show 
jumping absorbing everything I saw. I cleaned horses for other people, eventually being allowed to sit on them and to 
become part 
of the vaulting team, an activity I enjoyed very much. A
t the age of eighteen I went to England for my studies and couldn't afford riding lessons there either. My first job was in Berlin and with the money I earned I tried to make up for the past by taking three or four riding lessons every day in dressage and show jumping. My trainers were ex-military 
and very tough. It took me a few years to find out that my talent was not sufficient to reach the top rankings, but there was the burning love for horses and the desire to be near them, 
to train and educate young horses. 
My work then took me to Munich where I met my future husband, journalist and author Eberhard Fuchs. After a few years in journalism we both got fed up with wisecracking people who understood nothing about horses, using them only to improve their image. So we bought an old farmhouse in a very remote area of Italy (Le Marche), restored it, packed up our three mares (Westfalian origins) and went to live in Italy.
In 1991 our mare Princess (Paradox I) had her first foal Contessa (Chairman x Cor de la Byere), later the dam of Corde (Cheenook x Caretino x Cor de la Bryere). We became fascinated by Cor de la Bryere's story and his owner, who fought for him all his life, so decided to create our own brand, Santo Stefano, Sella Italiano (SI) , using the ancient German bloodlines that had proven themselves to be so reliable. We focused on Frühling (the sire of my first jumping horse) 
and Cor de la Bryere. 

• Tell us something about your stud farm? 

We started with three mares and one stallion, Weltrecord (Weltmeister) . Since 1992 we have bred more than 100 horses all listed with UNIRE (now ASSI) under the brand 
name Santo Stefano. We have 4.5 hectares of land (all paddocks) which is not sufficient, but have not been able to afford to buy three adjoining hectares. We are constantly surrounded by 45 of our own youngsters, working with them 365 day a year. There is one professional rider (usually from abroad since the quality of Italian riders is lower than our requirements), and three young Italians working for us on a freelance basis. 
My husband and I own a consulting company for for-eigners who buy houses (not horses!) in Italy, and do free-lance work profes-sionally, since you cannot make a living from horse breeding. 

• What were your philosophies in terms of bloodlines when 
you started breeding, and have they changed with time? 

Like every beginner we were attracted to fashionable names like Weltmeyer, Fabri-ano, Graf Grannus, Escudo I, El Bundy, Londonderry, Le Primeur, Rotspon, Rohdia-mant, Rubinstein I.... I ad-mired very much Gudrun Vorwerk and her husband Hochen Happ, famous Ger-man breeders, who helped me a lot with their advice, but later gave up horse-breeding altogether. 
For us it became more important to have breeding mares with good pedigrees instead of running after famous sires. Many of our mares were given to us for free because Italian riders had spent a lot of money for them at foreign auctions 
and found after a few months that they were not able to 
handle their beautiful female. Unfortunately, standards of 
riding differ too much between Northern Europe and this country. It was very disappointing to us that German stallions that were advertised fiercely, disappeared from the market after a couple of years because either they had shown faults 
or were sold abroad at ridiculously high prices. 
We always bred three or four foals from the same 
dam/stallion constellations and studied the youngsters from birth through their "starting", which we still do ourselves according to the method of Rudolf Zeilinger. We soon realized that it is impossible to predict what becomes of a foal, even if the sire and dam are the same! There are certain re-semblances, yes, but like in human beings in a family with same father and same mother you cannot plan things like looks, intelligence, etc. If a father is a good-looking important scientist and has three children with the same wife, n
obody can guarantee that his off-spring will inherit his talents. And the same goes with horses. No guarantees. There are so many other factors that count: upbringing, imprinting, starting and most important - the rider! 

• Because of today's stallion choices, many breeders 
choose to only have mares - why did you choose to also 
have your own stallions? 

It has always been our philosophy that males born at Santo Stefano remain stallions, unless they have health problems - like our Rubes (Rubinstein I - who died from a torsion of his testicles). At an early age Rubes started to show the same symptoms, so we reluctantly decided to have him castrated. Since the 
performance test for stallions was abolished in Italy after 10 years of struggling, stallions can qualify as a per-former by sporting results, and we feel we should give our stallions a eh-once to do so! All our stallions have a special upbringing with imprinting, they are all well-behaved and can be 
ridden and handled also by non-professionals. So why 
should we castrate them and later - when they prove to be successful - regret that we eliminated a promising gene
pool?

• Tell us about your current string of horses in terms of breeding stock? 

Since we are lucky to have had our own performance stallion, the Cor de la Bryere in-bred Corde - who was born at Santo Stefano 30 years after his famous maternal grandfather, and paternal great-grandfather who was born on precisely the same date (April 23) in 1968 - we have covered most of 
our 13 breeding mares with him for the past three or four years. We now have undeniable proof that all his offspring inherit his impeccable character and outstanding gaits, as 
well as his talent for both disciplines: dressage and show jumping. We breed good-natured, promising youngsters with excellent ride ability that even a child can handle. 

• What about the horses you've bred that are now competing? 

We are very proud that two of our horses have qualified 
for the European junior dressage championships in 
Switzerland (July 8-12 in Bern): Santo Stefano Francis (Fabriano x Wenzel II, born 2001) will participate with 16-year-old Italian Camilla Mauro; and the stallion Ramas Santo Stefano (Rubinstein I x Polydor, 2001), with 1
7-year-old Italian Francesco Neri. We have been able
to insert Francesco into Anky van Grunsven's successful e-Learning program, in that we are sending training videos to Anky and she comments personally on a horse and rider's progress giving useful advice. Having two horses in such an important international, competition - no matter what their scores will be- is proof of our philosophy. We breed reliable horses that can be prepared and handled even by inex-perienced young people. 
Cordalme Santo Stefano (Corde x Alme, 2006) is 
successfully competing in Holland in the six-year-old 
circuit with his Swedish rider hoping to qualify for Lanaken. Another striking horse from our stud is Don Rubino (black stallion by Don Frederico x Rubinstein I, 2006) chosen 
by Piero Sangiorgi (so far Italy's only Olympic Games dressage participant) to be trained for his future career. 
Many of our young horses have been bought by owners 
in their fifties who want a reliable horse for national competitions. They are all very successful and happy, though not competing in high international categories which would of course add to the fame of Santo Stefano. For us it is very important that our horses bring happiness to people's
lives who otherwise would have given up riding a long time ago. 

• Do you have a master plan for each foal in terms of sales and/or training? 

Of course, each foal born at Santo Stefano is something special - my husband and I are always present to support the mare and foal during labour. We leave them with their 
mothers for eight months so they will learn confidence in humans from them. They then they grow up in pairs living 
in one big box and paddocks (stallions included) till the age of three, when we gradually and carefully adapt them to saddle, rider, and loose jumping. It is all very individual according to a horse's talent, never hurrying. When a rider gets into the 
saddle it's as if they had carried somebody their whole life. 
Our horses are advertised on our website, their whole career documented. A new owner finds them, tries them out, and buys from us directly. If we feel the person is not right for the horse or vice-versa, we discourage. One principle: Never disappoint a client, rather say "no". Of course, this is very hard from the economic point of view, and we have only recently started to place horses abroad. 

• What are the specific difficulties of breeding in Italy today? The economics? Is it even possible to make enough money from breeding alone? 

The difficulties of breeding sport horses in Italy is not only economic. There is a lack of knowledge and understanding
on the part of the authorities. A 'betting' mentality that riding
is not a sport but an opportunity to gamble and to make money — like in trotting and racing. We can't sell foals at the age of six months, as we should, because people are not capable of raising a young horse. Horses stay with us until they are four years old, with all the costs for starting them. Even then it's difficult be-cause there are only a few people capable of training a young horse. We are expected to sell horses ready to go to competitions and, of course, to win. A typical question: "How high does 
he jump?" The horse should be 'experienced' and "please, he should not throw off his rider" never mind how much he pulls 
the horse's mouth or attacks with spurs! You will agree, this is asking very much from horse breeders who are, furthermore, expected to sell for "half the price" because Italy is so much in crisis. 

• What do you feel about the administration of Italy's breeding industry and how would you like to see things improve? 

There is no protection and encouragement from the Italian breeding authorities, UNIRE/ASSI and the Federation. The market is full of unauthorized dealers who buy cheap horses with either physical or mental defects from Belgium, Holland and Germany, triple the price, and resell them in Italy to unsuspecting customers who think they have a bargain. 
Terrible accidents happen because un-qualified trainers who had their share in the deal are not capable of training these poor people and their horses. Once someone is disappointed, their custom is lost to the market because they give up riding altogether. There should be strict market controls. A solution like in Switzerland, where you are only allowed to import a horse if you can prove that you already own a Swiss-bred horse. 
Italian breeders should be sponsored to send their young horses to shows. For instance, transport, registration fees and rent for stables should be free for three-, four-, five-, six- and seven-year-old horses still owned by their breeder. We have 15 horses that should be presented in shows this season, but we cannot afford 15 x €500 = €7,500 every month, plus the fees and accommodation for the rider. There are no clever training programmes for young people either, like in Germany or Switzerland, where you obtain qualifications without spending a lot of money. In Italy you have to participate in costly shows to gather points towards certain qualification. People who do not have the money to participate are lost. A lot of talent is wasted. 

• Do you consider yourself an 'optimist' or a 'realist' where sport horse breeding is concerned? 
 
 


The enthusiasm we started with 20 years ago has diminished considerably due to quite a few disappointments. Never with our horses, but with people. There are too many cynics, seeing horses merely as tools, not giving them a chance to develop. Too many unprofessional vets who, unable to provide a proper diagnosis, tell you to put a horse down. This has happened twice with very good dressage horses. Fortunately we did not give in and the previously condemned horses are now successfully competing in their respective circuits. Still, looking at Santo Stefano horses every day, we try to be optimistic for their future in spite of all the difficulties and economic problems we have to face every day. We still try to follow the example of Cor de la Bryere’s owner in Holstein who was convinced of his horse despite all the criticism he received from most of his contemporaries. We are convinced that our Corde Santo Stefano has inherited all his ancestors' qualities and will pass them on to his foals. He was given to us by destiny and we are supposed to fulfil our task as breeders. We try to be optimistic in spite of many obstacles, convincing our-selves every day: "Yes, we can!" •


 




























































 


 
 








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