AASJ’s Caroline Kettle spoke of their time with Highfield Genetics “we’ve had horses with Highfields for over 6 years, their attention to detail from birthing, keeping us updated on foaling, scanning of mares, when mares are inseminated, registering the foals, foal auctions and the preparation of mares and foals for auctions all seem to move along with ease.
On the outskirts of Velp, a village located in the Dutch province of North Brabant, we find Highfield Genetics, a stud owned and run by horse breeders’ Maarten Brands and Mieke vd Broek. Originally a dairy farm with a small concern in horse breeding, however, now the entire area of their land renovated into a safe haven for breeding horses - broodmares, foals and youngstock.
The first noticeable impression upon arrival is the Newmarket style post and rail paddocks, the great quality of lush grass paddocks but most importantly how healthy and amazing condition the broodmares, foals and youngstock, frequenting these paddocks, looked.
Caroline Kettle, Co-Ordinator of Al Asayl Showjumping stated “every time I visit Highfields I am so pleasantly impressed at the remarkable condition of all the broodmares and youngstock including our own, the coats just gleam naturally, their feet are quite clearly attended to on a regular basis and the paddocks looked so well managed and clean. When I depart from my visit, I leave with reassurance and in no doubt that all the AASJ horses will be extremely well cared for, I never leave disappointed!”
Highfield Genetics not only offer the livery and care of broodmares, but they also assist and manage a client’s breeding plans, AI, Embryo Transfer, ICSI. They are fully hands-on in the foaling season and manage the newborn foals with great care. “Every birth is special, every foal is special “ at Highfields
Keeping overseas clients updated on any information required by the owner, foaling, photos of newborns, something overseas clients relish, just the mere fact they have monthly updates makes breeding from afar that more personal and involved.
HG can advise on foal auctions if the client requests. The mares and foals are turned out impeccably for the video and photo shoots for the auctions by Mieke. The foals are so well handled from birth that preparation for a photo shoot is not a stressful event.
As the foals grow older and remain at the stud, once old enough late 2yrs/3yrs they are tested in a light way for free jumping, no pressure, just to give the young ones an idea of what is to come, also to give the owner an idea of what they have in order to make future plans for breeding or the sport itself.
HG can offer frozen semen from exclusive showjumping stallions with the likes of their own semen storage on site: Emerald vt Ruytershof, Comme Il Faut, Quabri de L’Isle, Don VHP, Cornet Obolensky, Baloubet de Rouet, For Pleasure, Andiamo de Semilly, Chacco Bay, to name a few.
Breeders themselves, Highfield’s Maarten Brands and Mieke vd Broek aim to breed top showjumping horses for the highest level. Their goal is to breed from healthy mares with a lot of blood who have performed well at national 1.40m level or related closely to. On the paternal side, they use proven European top sires or top talents from International jumping dams. Highfields started this year (2020) with 26 pregnant mares and now have 26 beautiful foals in their paddocks.
With some newly appointed renovations and facilities recently completed, a good feeding regime, great management, extremely good quality pasture, it is the perfect place to put your breeding stock with peace of mind and always knowing they will be cared for.
AASJ’s Caroline Kettle spoke of their time with HG “we’ve had horses with Highfields for over 6 years, their attention to detail from birthing, keeping us updated on foaling, scanning of mares, when mares are inseminated, registering the foals, foal auctions and the preparation of mares and foals for auctions all seem to move along with ease. It’s been a pleasure to work with such an organised team. I suppose the main feature for us is that the whole clan of our horses always look stunning even in the depths of a hard winter when they are in the winter barns in groups, it is such reassurance for owners so far away and due to our climate in the UAE, cannot breed warmbloods in their home country.
I like the way that the effort to make improvements seems to slip in year by year, yet the place shows passion and a warmth about it, I think that what is the key to Highfields, there is an underlying passion, enthusiasm and goals to achieve that is clearly setting them on the main stage.”