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Meet the AHS Inspection Team
The following members of the AHS Mare and Stallion Committee serve on the judging commissions which tour the U.S. and Canada during the annual inspection tour. Depending upon the site location, dates and events held, each commission primarily consists of two members of the U.S. team accompanied by a guest inspector from the German Verband (announced prior to the start of the tour) and a site secretary. The full active commission will convene at the Stallion Licensing sites to review all licensing candidates. Due to scheduling conflicts with events in Germany, the shorter fall tour is often judged by members of the U.S. team without a Verband representative. In times of economic downtime and fewer numbers of mares and foals presented on tour, the AHS Board of Directors may elect to send just one judge and secretary per site.
The AHS owes a great debt of gratitude to the following individuals who volunteer their time and undertake an often arduous travel schedule with daily flights and long drives to arrive each morning in a new destination to review the year's new breeding stock candidates and foal crop.
Originally from England, Vanessa Carlson manages Woodridge Farm, a 120 acre facility near Tulsa, Oklahoma which she shares with husband, Ron, an avid carriage driver. She has been breeding sport horses since the early 80s and currently stands three stallions. She has bred many USDF year-end award winners including a home bred stallion who competed in the 2003 Pan Am Games. In 2006 and 2007 her homebred mare EMC Roccoca WF (Rienzi-Turteltaubchen/Tin Rocco) was the Reserve Champion in the Four and Five Year-Old division of the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships. This mare also won the Dr. Hartwig and Englo- Friedlander awards. She was appointed to the Mare and Stallion Committee in 2002, has been a board member since 1995 and currently serves the AHS as Treasurer.
Volker Ehlers has spent his lifetime breeding, training, riding and judging warmblood horses. He served his Bereiter apprenticeship for three and a half years under Hermann Schride, formerly European champion and Gold medal winner in Grand Prix jumping. After passing the Bereiter testing, Volker went to Alwin Schockemohle’s stable where he trained and showed Grand Prix jumpers for eight years. During this time he continued to ride and train dressage horses under the instruction of Herbert Rehbein. In 1984 he immigrated to North America, working in Canada and later in Washington state. As Vice-President of Glenwood Farms he trained jumpers, dressage horses and prepares young stallions for their performance tests. He had an extensive and successful career competing and showing young dressage and jumping horses in California, including the Grand Prix jumper Prinz Gaylord. Volker and his wife Judy currently reside in Camas, Wash., where they stay active as much sought after clinicians.
Sharon Garner, owner of Garner Creek Farms in Ranger, Texas, was appointed to the AHS Mare and Stallion Committee in 2009. A former attorney turned full-time horsewoman, her primary role now is breeding and raising Hanoverian horses. She purchased her first Hanoverian in 1997 and has been breeding and competing them ever since. She stands the Elite stallion Bonheur (by Brentano II) and registers 8-10 homebred Hanoverians with the AHS each year. Sharon showed hunters from 1983 until 1994 when she switched to dressage. She has her USDF Bronze medal, is currently working on her Silver, and has competed through Prix St. Georges. She travels regularly to Germany on buying trips and to further her education. She is a former member of the AHS Board of Directors and the Breeding Technology Committee. Her farm has hosted AHS inspections for over eight years.
Mary Giddens was appointed to the Mare and Stallion Committee in 2009. She has been a successful breeder of Thoroughbred and warmblood horses since 1977. She has been an active and successful participant in sporthorse breeding classes and inspections, and has bred top foals, futurity winners, dressage (to Grand Prix Level) and jumping class winners. She was USEF’s Silver Stirrup Cup Dressage Breeder of the Year in 2001. She was a member of the KWPN-NA Breeding Stock Inspection Jury from 1992-2003 and a USEF “R” Dressage/Sporthorse Breeding Class judge through 2007. She is a former competitor in the dressage and hunter disciplines. She and her husband, who is also a veterinarian, own and operate a cattle ranch in Oregon. Mary is a member of the AHS’s Breeding Technology Committee and is a regular attendee at AHS meetings. She attended the Hanoverian Breed Orientation Course in Germany in 2006 and attended the Hanoverian Judges Training Course in Germany in 2010.
AHS Life Member Judy Hedreen owns and operates Sylvan Farm and Northstar Farm in Washington state. She is the breeder of Far Star that represented the USEF and AHS in the 2003 World Championships for Young Jumpers in Belgium; Animation, winner at Spruce Meadows and Champion at Indio; Grand Prix jumper Agincourt; and USDF Horses of the Year Ghita and Coco Chanel. In addition, Francesca and Fair Lily were co-winners of the AHS’s Benchmark Perpetual Trophy in 2004 and 2005. Eight of her mares have been selected for the AHS’s Jumper Breeding Program. In Germany, Judy bred a Licensed Hanoverian stallion and States Premium mares. Judy was a USEF ‘R’ Dressage/Sport Horse Breeding Judge for 15 years and a member of the USDF Breeders Committee for six years. She currently serves on the USHJA Jumper Breeders Task Force.
AHS Life member Christine Kropf owns and operates Hawk Hollow Farm, a 155 acre farm that is located in the upstate region of New York State. She is a lifetime New Yorker who spent 26 years as a New York State Trooper before retiring and devoting her full time attention to her farm and Hanoverian horses. She has been breeding Hanoverians since 2002 and has bred and showed a number of horses that have been in the USDF HOY standings for DSHB. In 2011 Dalziel HHF was the Champion USDF HOY for DSHB as well as winning the Travelling Trot Trophy for the highest scoring horse in the country for the year. She has shown in hunters, jumpers and most recently dressage to the FEI level. She has been a member of the Mare and Stallion Committee since 2012. After judging in the US for two years she most recently went to the Hanoverian Judges Training Course in Germany in June of this year.
Current AHS Executive Vice-President Suzanne Quarles was appointed to the Mare and Stallion Committee in January 1997 and serves as Committee Chair. Suzanne is a native of Connecticut, a graduate of Smith College and she shares a 250-acre farm in Maryland with her husband Steve. Suzanne has been an AHSA licensed Combined Training Judge and Technical Delegate since 1976 and an avid sport horse breeder since 1980. She acquired her first Hanoverians in 1988 and purchased Wertherson in 1989. Suzanne’s Elite Hanoverian Stallions stand at her Some Day Soon Farm in Maryland. She enjoys competing her horses; recent successes include EM Berlina, Grand Champion at Devon, and Elite Stallion Weltbekannt, a multiple AHS/USDF Year-End Awards winner.
Dorie has a degree in Animal Science from the University of Arizona. She won the Carl Heinrich Asmis United States Equestrian Award, which allowed her to train in Germany under Herbert Rehbein, five-time German Professional Dressage Champion. Dorie has shown and is currently competing through the Grand Prix Level and has her “S” level USEF Judge’s license. She is also a member of the American Hanoverian Society Mare and Stallion Committee and is currently working on her Sport Horse license. Dorie has her USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Riding Medals. She continues to ride and compete her horses Lenz, a Grand prix horse and Coeur Bube currently showing Intermediaire. Together with her husband, Ulrich Schmitz she teaches and trains at their facility Central Arizona Riding Academy.
George Walker III
George Walker received board appointment to the Mare and Stallion Committee in 2002. During the February 2008 annual meeting in Lexington he was ratified as the society’s newest stallion judge. George and his wife Catherine own and operate Middlefield Farm in Blythewood, S.C. George was raised with Thoroughbreds in one capacity or another, and in 1984 his family acquired their first Hanoverians. While the family has raised and stood several stallions in the past, including Banter, recently their emphasis has been on maintaining a select group of homebred mares. The operation is strictly hands on, including the breeding and breaking work. He and his family have had the pleasure of learning a great deal from their friends Gerd and Yvonne Zuther and Fritz Floto. George believes in donating back to the Society and is the elected member of AHS’s Finance Committee. In the fall of 2007 he judged in Germany during the HV’s stallion pre-selection phase in which 813 colts were inspected.
Meg Williams is a lifelong horsewoman and has been an active member of the AHS since 1986. She was appointed to the Mare and Stallion Committee in 2006, and owns and operates Oakwood Farms in Lawrenceburg, Ind. She has made numerous trips to Germany to increase her knowledge, and completed the Breed Orientation Course in 2000. Oakwood Farm’s current broodmare band represents the most respected Hanoverian bloodlines available and the farm’s breeding program is consistently evaluated in order to produce foals with correct conformation and high rideability. Meg has trained numerous horses to the FEI levels in dressage and has earned her USDF Bronze and Silver medals, in addition to many USDF and AHS Year-End Awards. She currently campaigns Elite Stallion Widmark in dressage. Her homebred Elite Mare Candidate Won Tinkerbelle (Widmark/Webster) was the recipient of the 2008 Hartwig Prize.
AHS Honorary Member Gerd Zuther has been Mare and Stallion Committee judge since 1985. In 1965 he became a licensed German riding instructor and trainer certified by the German National Federation. For 16 years he managed November Hill Farm, where he also conducted the East Coast Stallion Performance Test biennially from 1987 to 1995. In 2001 on behalf of the Canadian Warmblood Horse Breeders’ Association, he traveled to Alberta, Canada to conduct the 30-Day Stallion Performance Test. Gerd is certified as a USEF licensed dressage sport horse breeding judge and devotes his time to selecting and training sporthorses, in addition to conducting riding clinics, breeding seminars, and consulting on breeding issues.
We will also be joined by the following judge(s) from the German Hanoverian Verband. During the 2014 tour, the following individual will represent the HV:
Dr. Ludwig Christmann, a graduate of the universities of Giessen and Goettingen, began his employment with the Hanoveraner Verband in 1984. He worked for many years as Deputy Breeding Director and was responsible for developing various projects, including the Young Breeders Initiative, the breeding program for Hanoverian show jumping horses, and the research into OCD. In 1996 he obtained his doctorate degree with “The development of breeding values based on the evaluation of mares in studbook inspections and mare performance tests.” He has been editor of Hannoveraner Jarbuch Hengste since 1999 and is a member of the Interstallion working group of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses. In 2002 Dr. Christmann became managing director for the Verband’s breeding abroad and director of a new division for research, development and consulting within the Hanoverian Society. The latest program for which he is responsible is “Experience Hanoverians,” a project for promoting the Hanoverian as a pleasure horse. Dr. Christmann is married, and he and his wife have three adult daughters, two of whom are riders. In his spare time he breeds his own horses and currently has three Hanoverians at home.