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Iron Spring Farm Breeding Competition Winner –One Year Later

Catch up with Abigail Ronco, the winner of our 2016 ISF "Win a Breeding" Competition

One year later from Abigail Ronco:

It is with great pleasure that I would like to announce the move of myself and entire breeding program from the windy plains of South Dakota to the best kept secret in North America! Aiken, South Carolina is a diverse equestrian community with a rich equestrian history dating back to the 19th century. Numerous disciplines are represented in Aiken, including: Combined Driving, Dressage, Eventing, Fox Hunting, Hunter, Jumper, Polo, and Thoroughbred Racing to name a few. Aiken, SC is pleasantly seated 2.5 hrs south from the World Equestrian Games venue in Tryon, NC and 9 hrs north of Wellington, FL. It's home to showgrounds Bruce's Field, Highfields, The Vista Event Center, and Katydid Combined Driving Event.

This move was not as random as it might sound. Aiken has seen a steady influx of new horse owners for the past 20 years. As my partner and I looked for our next home where we could set up a breeding, training, and sales facility of our own we kept hearing a whisper. From Martha's Vineyard to Kansas City. Who knew it would be a job of incredible opportunity and value that sealed the deal for us? And surprise! The 2016 Young KWPN-NA Iron Spring Farm Breeding Competition helped facilitate more than just breeding theory. The web presence of the selected essays preformed just as they should, building a bridge between young people and the established equine community around the nation.

Located just outside picturesque Aiken, is Performance Equine Vets. A progressive multi-doctor, USDA Certified practice that was established in 2005. It has grown to one of the largest clinics in the south eastern United States. Their state of the art surgical center, critical care hospital, and world class reproduction facility make Performance Equine Vets the only choice for professional horse owners and trainers seeking total care. Why do I bring up this clinic? Together Martijn Stuurman and I are looking to lead motivated young horse people to lifelong connections in the equine industry and help facilitate "the unexpected door" for fellow members. One such opportunity is through Performance Equine Vets. The clinic offers a well-rounded Working Student program from February 1, 2018 -July 31, 2018. We would like to invite dedicated, hardworking, young individuals to apply to this program to gain more hands experience in all aspects of the veterinary practice. Schedules allow for ambulatory rotation, hospital rotation, reproduction rotation, and lameness/surgery rotation. Accommodation, including utilities is available to working students. Students are, however responsible for their own meals. Interested applicants can forward their "application", Curriculum Vitae, and cover letter to Breeding Coordinator Mady Kent

University students,you've not been forgotten! Performance Equine Vets feels that developing outreach programs and externships are a key approach to better connecting with the next generation of leaders. Right now an externship trade-off is in the development stage with Clemson University. This program would offer many of the same opportunities as the working student program but on a 3-4 day schedule where students can continue their studies. The clinic would be very interested to open up the doors to more students, if someone knows a collage, university, or vet tech program that may be interested in joining this program please let Mady Kent or I know.

Outside of the medical facility, the area of Aiken, South Carolina lends itself as a gracious host, to many disciplines, with numerous facilities available to co-ordinate events. Starting in January and ending in May, barns will be opening their doors to an influx of horses, riders,clinicians, and education series. Dutch Native, and FEI dressage trainer, Martijn Stuurman has offered to help organize future clinics for young riders and breeders. Martijn himself has a long riding resume crafted by years of training under the Dutch Dressage Master Piet Oothout, Dutch chef d'equipe Henk Van Bergen, Dutch Olympian Coby van Baalen, and German Olympian Trainer Johaan Hinnemann. In the past Martijn Stuurman has successfully hosted clinics with educators such as: Ralf Isselhorst (German Head Trainer of Reiner Klimke), David Collins, James Shaw, Renata Lansburgh...etc.

Martijn Stuurman is gearing up to present a series of educational clinics, at a variety of locations, with a number of clinicians, for the 2018 winter-spring season. (Not just dressage!) Veterinarian and reproduction specialist, Dr. Sabrina Jacobs has offered to speak at these events. One location we are looking into utilizing as a host is Breezy Meadows South, home of the KWPN-NA Member Justine Wilson and her stallion Special D. If there is a subject that members would like to see covered in the form of a clinic, web video series, blog, or trainers they would be interested in riding with, Martijn Stuurman is available any day via text/phone call at(508)-560-1548or by email This clinic series does not have to end in 2018, and can extend to 2019 or beyond.

Now in2018, Martijn Stuurman and I would like to invite the members of the Young KWPN-NA into an open group discussion on how we are going to continue to bridge the gap between breeders, riders, sale agents, and vets in North America. If the results of the 2016 ISF Breeding Competition can open an unexpected door wide, what isn't possible? What part would the Young KWPN-NA like to play in setting up the next generation of enthusiasts with professionals? How can we be of service?

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