died peacefully and without warning on October 19, 2002 from
unknown cause. A simple sentence that tells all the facts
that are important and new, but those who want to know what
his loss means might like to read a bit about his story.
He was born at the state stud at Marbach, Germany in the
spring of 1980, a privileged son of the highly decorated mare
Aschenbroedel (by Schabernack) and the Maharadscha son, Amor
II. After approval at the inspection at Marbach in 1983 he
placed in the upper ranks of his group at the stallion testing
there later the same year. In 1985 he was purchased and imported
by Canadian breeder Harry Zimmerman, who campaigned him successfully
in combined training. Peter Gray rode him and in 1989 Paul
Delbrook decisively won the Bromont CCA** with him. Then Darren
Chiacchia and Amethyst began their careers at advanced level
together, after placing third at the Radnor CCI**.
In 1992 Darren formed a syndicate of Amethyst fans to purchase
him for breeding and competition in the U.S. This created
the chance that Amethyst had missed as a breeding stallion,
as more mares were bred from that time on. Injuries stymied
Olympic dreams, but each time the big black stallion went
through leg surgery, he was a model equine patient, did his
rehabilitation work boldly and kept coming back sound. He
competed at Rolex, won numerous advanced horse trials, and
became known around the country for his elegant and winning
dressage performances and bold clean cross country runs. Along
the way he won many hearts and the ATA CÄSAR Memorial
Cup (best stallion in combined training) five times and the
Foerderverein Award (most successful purebred Trakehner in
eventing) once. Then in early 1995, just when his big chance
was about to come, he was training for the Rolex in Georgia
when he came down off a cross-country jump into a hidden hole
of some sort and tore a flexor tendon so severely that his
competition days were suddenly over forever. At the time of
his retirement he had earned more USCTA grading points than
any other stallion of any breed then competing.
Retirement at our farm began with him so lame it was doubtful
that he could be used for breeding. Yet once again he recovered.
The syndicate more or less collapsed down to just New Spring
Farm and we expected to use him exclusively and extensively
for breeding from then on. But soon after arrival we discovered
that he was an EVA “shedder”. Equine Viral Arteritis
is a problem that unfortunately scared off many owners of
good mares. We learned a great deal about this disease and
found that it is far less of a management problem than widely
claimed. None of his offspring inherited the disease. Only
stallions are “carriers”, so his daughters and
gelded sons are not of any concern with regard to contagion.
Of course we revealed his status to all, and consequently
he did not get the number of mares he deserved, despite outstanding
results, especially with mares of strong thoroughbred origin.
His foals began winning in hand all over and those on our
farm and elsewhere proved highly trainable and athletic. The
odd thing about him was that he produced more and better fillies
than colts. He was an obvious “mare producer”,
and no colt by him has yet proven suitable for breeding, though
several prospects are still youngsters. Of his 75 offspring
registered so far by the ATA, 57% are fillies/mares. Interestingly,
he is one of the top producers of approved PSB mares of all
stallions, living and dead. This reflects his exceptional
produce from thoroughbred mares. His prepotency was not so
evident externally, but his ability to pass on his outstanding
temperament was amazing. Our eleven-year-old daughter rode
him very successfully for a time.
he just became the dominant figure on our farm, a high-octane
stallion with plenty of fertility and libido, but a true gentleman
with the ladies and all handlers. He obviously enjoyed his
position as grand dragon of the herd, yet was completely free
of irksome stallion behaviors toward humans. To better understand
his relationship to us, let me tell you that on one occasion
he demonstrated to us conclusively that he was perfectly capable
of jumping into and out of his five-foot pen, and thus could
access any mare he chose, but he never did. He knew we wanted
him to stay put until we came to get him for that purpose
and he followed our plan to the letter. He was A Good Boy.
His offspring consistently show this same general temperament
Many mare clients became repeat customers and we enjoyed
easy success with his business life. He was healthy and in
good flesh. Things were good. We imagined another three or
four years of this, during which time our goal was to find
the right mare to honor him with an approved son. Several
candidates came along, including one of our own, an Avignon
daughter of great beauty and movement. She conceived in 2002
and we waited eagerly eleven months for that gorgeous black
colt. In May, 2003 she delivered a handsome chestnut filly.
But one night in October, 2002 in good weather Amethyst just
lay down in the grass out in his pasture and left us. There
was no sign of struggle, no indication whatever of what happened.
Cheryl and I looked at each other and just shook our heads.
How could we possibly be angry or grief-stricken? At 22 years
of age he was entitled to depart this world whenever he chose.
Ten years of hard-core eventing, major surgery on all four
legs, a younger life of nearly constant travels, and then
the somewhat isolated life of a breeding stallion –
he had endured it all with Trakehner nobility. He had accepted
our affection and returned it manifold.
Not long before this, our friend Sherry Tourino had lost
her very young and highly promising stallion, Pyatt Charly,
under heart-rending circumstances; and so we could not bring
ourselves to indulge in self-pity. The differences of the
two circumstances were just so striking. Miss our Amethyst?
You can be sure about that. But grieve for long? Not appropriate.
He lives on in the Trakehner breed. We still have hope of
an approved son. There are a few already coming up, plus several
excellent mares in foal for 2003. But that is not essential;
he has already done his work well and is at rest. We do have
a supply of frozen semen from him, but it is of uncertain
quality and we do not know if it will produce foals or not.
What there IS a plentiful supply of are high quality young
daughters from him, who will create our mare band for the
Amethyst was buried in the most prominent location in front
of our main arena-barn. When Spring renewed life on our farm
my wife, Cheryl, was soon out there planting beauty over his
remains. To all his many admirers, supporters, offspring owners
and riders, and most especially to Darren Chiacchia, we give
our regards and thanks for creating his legacy.
| Windfall | Halimey | Songline | About
For Sale |
Amethyst | Trakehners
| Odds n Ends | Credits
and Cheryl Holekamp
New Spring Farm
7901 Highway 63 South
Columbia, MO 65201
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