Born in the Outaouais countryside, more precisely in the small farming and forestry municipality of Lac Ste Marie with a total population of only 500, Melanie was already passionate about farm life and especially horses and cows. She always had a dream to one day have her own farm.
Melanie continued her studies in Montreal and soon met her neighbour, Patrick, who later was to become her spouse. Patrick also had a passion for nature and the countryside and shared the same dream to move far from the city. At the age of 18, Melanie and Patrick found a beautiful region unknown to them in the Cantons de Rawdon where they moved and started a new life. This is where Melanie met her initial contacts in the horse world and where her dreams began to come true.
Toward the end of the 1990’s Melanie’s coach put her farm up for sale. A neighbour immediately purchased the farm and then decided to sell a portion of it, including the buildings, pasture, and house. Melanie and Patrick instantly saw this as their opportunity! As though the property was meant to be theirs, everything went quickly and smoothly and in 1999, Melanie and Patrick took possession of the farm. With advice and guidance from experienced horse people, the farm first established itself as a boarding facility but Melanie quickly realized that this was not the area she wanted to be involved in. Her true passion was with the breeding of horses. However, during this time, warmblood horses, especially those imported from Europe, were rare and very expensive. One day an opportunity presented itself in a stallion having already performed in Europe as a Jumper and who had already been imported to Quebec by his French owner. So their introduction to the breeding world had begun.
Searching for Aliano
They became owners of their first stallion – a Selle Français named Eros du Major and soon after they acquired their first purebred Hanoverian mare named Sanna – a Hanoverian who became their foundation mare. Unfortunately, Melanie and Patrick quickly realized, through his progeny, that Eros did not satisfy their criteria of breeding. So Melanie was back in search of a stallion and this time, she was ready to import directly from Europe if necessary.
Finally, after two long years of searching, Mrs. Karen Reid of the reputed Holsteiner breeding operation “Fox Fire Farm”, suggested her young stallion in Germany. She sent Melanie a short video of about 30 seconds and both Patrick and Melanie fell in love with him at first sight. He was a horse with a solid, good frame, long legs, short topline and with beautiful movement. He had excellent jumper lines and an incredible stamm that one could only dream of combining both jumper and dressage genetics. He also had a prestigious maternal pedigree extremely well known in Germany by the Holsteiner Verband and as well accomplished as a paternal lineage which is not always the case with mares who are regularly unproven. Aliano has it all!
Melanie and Patrick quickly completed the purchase and started the import process. Aliano arrived on Canadian soil in March 2004 and even before he landed, they already had bookings signed. This was the beginning of a beautiful adventure which was followed by building their herd of mares where they put as much attention on quality as they did with their search for a stallion. In their opinion, a foal is made by two participants and both are of equal importance. Even though Aliano is well known to significantly stamp his offspring, it remains their view that the mare is of great importance in the breeding. They take pride in hearing visitors comment on the quality of their mares with comments like “Wow, the quality of your breeding mares is remarkable and their offspring as well, not something we see with all breeders.”
Breeding Philosophy & Goals
Over time Melanie gained more experience in genetics and lineage. She found that during the 1980s quite often in certain breeds, when the “dressage horse” was accentuated – while having lots of movement in the back end – they lacked strength in the hindquarters. With “jumper” accentuated types, the horses had the power to jump but generally lacked movement. Since that time, the overall quality has greatly improved but Melanie asked herself: “Why not combine the two types – In order to get the movement of the dressage horse with the power of the jumper,” Melanie believed that this would be possible because Aliano was exactly that type and if it could be done successfully in Europe, why not do it here. This has been their breeding goal from the start.
Today, they have horses that are very versatile – horses that have as much potential to be jumpers as they do to train as dressage horses. They produce foals that move well, that are solid and strong with the power and substance needed to be good jumpers as well as dressage horses. It has become almost a trademark of their breeding program as many of their clients are looking for these qualities and criteria. They place extreme importance on the temperament side as well because they strongly believe even the most talented of horses must be a willing partner with the desire to perform for his rider. Their goal is to have strong, solid horses that move well and have the ability to perform in various disciplines. They must have an excellent brain for both amateur and professional riders to be able to have fun and go as far as possible and form a true partnership. They now count several very satisfied customers who go back to buy again and again.
Another side of their breeding program that they do not take lightly is in the importance of the stallion when they choose to breed to an external stallion. While it is nice to see what the stallion himself has done performance wise, they feel that what is most important is his progeny to see what he produces, what potential he transfers to his offspring, and what temperament they have. While a performance record on the stallion is nice to see, they feel that this is a very influential factor based on training and this does not give an accurate assessment of whether or not to include him in their breeding program.
Melanie and Patrick continue to learn and evolve with new reproductive technology and they always keep an eye out for new young prospects that may become available to join in their breeding program.
To complement her passion for breeding, Melanie has also been involved in hosting the Oldenburg NA-ISR horse inspections in Quebec. In fact, Melanie organized the first inspection in the province in 2005 and has continued to do so on an annual basis since that time. Over the years, this inspection has had great success and has now grown into being one of the largest inspection sites in Canada with an average of between 20 and 30 horses registered each year. In 2014, Melanie was approached by the Rheinland Pfalz-Saar International (RPSI) to organize their inspection in Quebec as well and she has continued to host this annual inspection as well. As can be seen, Melanie is very involved in the breeding industry at all levels and she also enjoys sharing her passion by providing her knowledge, guidance and experience with others.