Long Lake, Minn. – April 27, 2021 – The moment Hallmark joined the Leatherdale Farm family as a foal, the bold, beautiful and black colt by His Highness stole everyone’s heart. Growing up at Hengststation Meyer in Dorum, Germany, Hallmark (His Highness-SPS Lapislazuly, Lancier) spent the first few years of his life frolicking in the field with Leatherdale Farm’s Hampton and a few other His Highness progeny.
As a 4-year-old he was sent to begin his training with Canadian Grand Prix trainer Diane Creech, and Hallmark competed up through the Young Horse divisions and made his FEI debut with Creech in 2012. Following a wonderful international career over a 9-year-span with both Creech and her daughter, Leatherdale Farms announces the retirement of their 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding Hallmark from high-performance competition.
“Hallmark was one of our “originals” and I trained him all the way from the 4-Year-Old Young Horse classes, progressing into the 5-Year-Old and 6-Year-Old classes up to the highest Grand Prix level,” Diane Creech said. “The journey together with him was sometimes a little more exciting than asked for, but he is smart, willing to work and had a great presence in the showring. Being an offspring of Leatherdale’s stallion His Highness, we always knew he was special. He proved it many times earning top placings at all the prestigious shows in North America.”
In 2018, Creech and Hallmark placed second in the CDI3* Grand Prix at Dressage at Devon and went on to win the CDI3* Grand Prix Special. The following year, Hallmark found his new calling, teaching Creech’s daughter, Vanessa Creech-Terauds the ropes of the Grand Prix. Creech-Terauds formed a powerful partnership with the gelding, who took her down several CDIU25 Grand Prixs and two Nations Cup. Together, they also achieved a 70% and a win in her open Grand Prix debut.
“In the two years that Hallmark and I were given the opportunity to grow a partnership together, I learned how such a big and powerful horse can require sensitive and correct riding,” Creech-Terauds explained. “When I used to work with Hallmark around the barn while my mom was riding him, he always had a very big personality. He was never shy to give you a nudge with his strong nose and gave off a very “tough guy” vibe. Once I started riding him, I saw what a thoughtful horse he really is. All of my aids had to be tactful and perfectly timed, which helped me take the next step in my education of the Grand Prix work. We grew together, helping me gain more confidence in the U25 and even took the big leap into the open Grand Prix. I will always be thankful to Louise Leatherdale, my mom and Hallmark for giving me the chance to develop this bond with such a special horse.”
Together, Creech-Terauds and Hallmark won multiple CDI-U25 Grand Prixs, including at Dressage at Devon and the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, as well as swept the division at the Gold Coast Dressage Association’s CDI in 2020.
While they will greatly miss competing Hallmark, the team at Leatherdale Farms in Minnesota have welcomed him with open arms as he settles into his retirement.
“We will always be grateful to Mrs. Louise Leatherdale and her late husband Doug for making this possible,” Creech said. “Hallmark has now gone home to Leatherdale Farms to enjoy his retirement, make new friends and charm them up for lots of treats. He will always be in our hearts!”