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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.
Lifelong experience in agriculture and education. Dairy, equine,crops, chairman of science department Thetford Academy. Hanoverian breeder for nearly 40 years. He and his family developed River House Hanoverians a performance based breeding and training center. 25 years hosting AHS Inspections. Originally in NH and now in FL. This program has imported dozens of Hanoverians and helped produce hundreds nationally. Our performance based focus has trained 8 Grand Prix Dressage horses of our own. Currently Verne travels the east coast giving Dressage Clinics while his wife and daughter operate the Florida training center.
Originally from England,,Vanessa Carlson has lived at her Woodridge Farm, near Tulsa, Oklahoma since 1981. The farm originally operated as a dressage training and boarding facility, then gradually changed into a sport horse breeding and young horse training farm as her interest in breeding grew. The farm stood several stallions from the early 90s to 2015 including the Hanoverian stallions Der Radeztky, Baron, Wolkenglanz, Arrian and Deklan, She now maintains a small band of homebred broodmares and many retired “grannies”. She has bred many USDF and USEF year-end award winners including Wradar, a home bred stallion who competed in the 2003 Pan Am Games. More recently her homebred mare EMC Roccoca WF (Rienzi-Turteltaubchen/Tin Rocco) was the Reserve Champion in both 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. Vanessa has organized and hosted breed inspections for more than 20 years. She was an AHS board member from 1995 to 2015 serving as Vice President and Treasurer. She was appointed to the Mare and Stallion Committee in 2002, and also serves on the Finance Committee.
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.
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. Mary has been 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. She is now retired and living in Portland, OR.
AHS Life Member Judy Hedreen, Sylvan Farm, Washington, has been breeding since 1981 and is the breeder of Far Star that represented the USEquestrian 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; Grand Prix dressage Andreana; USDF Horses of the Year Ghita and Coco Chanel. Francesca and Fair Lily were co-winners of the AHS’s Benchmark Perpetual Trophy in 2004 and 2005. Eight of her mares were selected for the AHS’s Jumper Breeding Program. In Germany, Judy bred a Licensed Hanoverian stallion, bred/owns Jumper Breeder Program and States Premium mares and Auction horses. Judy was a USEquestrian ‘R’ Dressage/Sport Horse Breeding Judge for 15 years, a member of the USDF Breeders Committee and the USHJA Jumper Breeders Task Force for six years.
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.
Suzanne Quarles was appointed to the Mare and Stallion Committee in January 1997 and served as its Chair for 10 years. She and her husband Steve have a 250 acre farm in Mt. Airy, Maryland and raised Hanoverians for the better part of 25 years. Suzanne imported Hanoverian broodmares, weanling fillies and six licensed Hanoverian stallions. The remaining horses on the farm are now retired.
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.
Sandy Hunt grew up with horses, was an active member in 4-H, showing horses in many different disciplines including hunters, dressage and the 4-H horse judging team. She was the owner and Show Manager of Dressage at Copper Creek, an annual series of three, two-day USDF, USEF approved shows. Her daughter Taren competed in Dressage to JR/YR level with Sandy at her side as supporter and coach. They often traveled to Germany and had competition horses both there and at home. As a certified Equine Massage Therapist, she learned the equine musculoskeletal system, functional assessment and muscular issues and related performance issues. Sandy has been both a participant as well as a keen spectator of Equestrian Sports. This experience has helped her shape her own breeding program. Sandy enjoys promoting the Hanoverian breed, has hosted the Michigan Inspection site for many years, and attends the AHS Annual Meeting. She has attended the Breeders Orientation course in Germany twice; once in 2015 for the Stallion Licensing and again in 2018 for the Mare shows. Sandy has produced at her Spruce Glen Farm numerous top foals, Elite Mares, Elite Mare Candidates and Premium Mare Candidates and USDF National Dressage Sport Horse Breeder award winners. In 2016 Brianka SGF tied for year-end awards, the Engler-Friedlander Memorial Trophy for high score MPT and the Benchmark trophy for highest jumping score mare performance test. In 2017 Delacour SGF won the Hartwig Memorial Trophy for best combined Inspection and MPT score and was accepted into the AHS Jumper Breeding Program.
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.
Hans Henning von der Decken
Hans Henning von der Decken, born in 1960, married to his wife Regina, five children aged 14 to 31, comes from an old and successful family of horse breeders. He breeds with approx. 7 mares, is a stallion raiser and young horse trainer, boards broodmares incl. foaling and rearing of offspring up to 3 or 4 years old incl. breaking in. Altogether there are about 100 horses on the farm and 30 cattle. The farm covers 80 hectares of grassland. Hans-Henning von der Decken has been chairman of the Hannoveraner Verband since 2017, master of horse management and breeding judge, member of the selection committee for foals of the Hannoveraner Verband.
For many years Hermann Jürgen Rump has been president of the horse breeding club Fallingbostel (300 members) and a member of the board of the Hannoveraner Verband. From 2005 until 2017 he served as elected vice-president of the Hannoveraner Verband. As a representative of all Hanoverian breeders and horse lovers, connecting with the basis is essential to him. Developing the best for the Hannoveraner Verband on the basis of direct contact with the breeders and those responsible in the head office is a special challenge to him. In addition to his registry duties, he also owns a farm where Hanoverians have been bred for 90 years. He grew up in this tradition which his father and grandfather passed on to him and continues it with much passion. His family trains most of the horses themselves and sells them as riding horses which go on to successfully compete at advanced level in show-jumping and dressage.
Dr. Werner Schade
Dr. Werner Schade studied agriculture at the Georg-August-University in Goettingen. He started his professional career at the Hannoveraner Verband in 1990 as assistant of the management. From 1993 until 1996, he wrote his doctoral thesis on “The development of an artificial insemination programme for the Hanoverian breed”. In the following years until 2000, he was project manager of Equitana, the equestrian sports world fair in Essen. He and his wife Dr. Christa Finkler-Schade then founded the consulting company for horse farms “Schade & Schade”. His areas of consulting included business management and marketing. In 2005, Dr. Werner Schade came back to the Hannoveraner Verband and in May 2006 took over as breeding manager and managing director.