• Kathleen was delighted to find out her manuscript "Free Base" made the Top 20 Finalists for the Killer Nashville Claymore Award. The winner will be announced at the Killer Nashville Conference Awards Dinner.
  • Congratulations to all the Finalists in the 2017 Claymore Awards!
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Freelance and Published Articles


With a degree in journalism from Colorado State University, Kathleen’s published articles have been in Dressage Today, USDF Connection, and The Horse Connection.  She has written weekly agriculture related and general interest articles for The Berthoud Weekly Surveyor.  Kathleen won a Colorado Press Association Award in 2012.  In 2011, Kathleen was the runner-up for the Loveland Loves to Read Writing Contest.  

Kathleen won an honorable mention in the Northern Colorado Writers (NCW) Contest for a personal essay titled Second Chances published in the NCW 2011 anthology Pooled Ink. Contact Kathleen. 

Article Clips written by Kathleen




Analyzing  the history of the Hanoverian in  international  -competition  is  like reading a who's who list of equestrian greats. Flamboyant horses such as Flim Flam  and  Gifted,  along  with  the rhythmical and brilliant Brentina are just a few  of  the  Hanoverian  superstars  who have drawn crowds. In the Athen Olympic Games, 23 Hanoverians competed in all three disciplines. Hanoverians dominated the  dressage  competition  with  Salinero and  Beauvalais   claiming  the  gold  and bronze medal along with Brentina who carried the fourth place spot. 

European History of the Hanoverian

With the distinctive  "H" brand on the left  hip,  the  Hanoverian  is  rich  in tradition with a legacy of German and European history. Until Germany was unified in 1871, each state was separate giving the Hanoverians  their name from the  state  of  Hanover.  The  state  stud  at Celle in Hanover  Germany  was established in 1735 and the studbook officially  began  in  1888.  During  World War I, the Hanoverian was bred primarily for  carriage  use  and  the  military.  This goal  of breeding  brought  about  the stockier, heavier horses that have now become known as "old style." Although blocky by today's standards, the Hanoverian's  Olympic  history  began  at the 1912 Olympics.World War II was the beginning of the new  breeding  era.  Horses  were  needed less and less for agriculture and military, allowing  breeders  to  develop  a performance  horse with a refined  build. For  the  evolution   of  this  sport  horse, many Thoroughbreds, Anglo-Arabs and Arabians were brought into the studbook to help lighten the breed.  Many modern day stallions trace their roots to these lighter breeds, which can be distinguished on their pedigree by the xx for Thoroughbred,  x for Anglo-Arabians,  and ox for Arabians.
Temperament for All Riders
Anne Sparks Whitten's stallion Pik L, is an example of an exemplary stallion with a generous temperament. By Pik Bube n by Pik Koenig, Pik L is example of a modern sport horse that carries a lot of Thoroughbred blood. With scores over 70% at CHIO Aachen and GDIs such as Dressage at Devon, Pik L demonstrates not only his athletic ability, but also an ability to stamp his get."We need quality horses with great temperaments and Pik L has proven he is consistent in producing all of that," explains Whitten, the owner of Horses Unlimited, a premier breeding center in New Mexico. "My goal as a breeder is to produce fantastic offspring that are rideable. I want a stallion that is a consistent producer. I want the stallion to produce three great gaits, be sound in the head as well as physically and to produce the best caliber horse that is rideable by any rider. We need horses that are not so hot that only the top professionals can ride them."Besides Pik L, Whitten, has a couple other Hanoverian stallions including, Adonis and Glorioso Noir. Adonis has excelled in dressage while Glorioso Noir has excelled as a jumper. "When you look at the diversity of Hanoverians you can see why the breed is important," states Whitten.Temperament was the key for Wanda Hage, owner of Paradigm Farms, in purchasing her Hanoverian stallion Mazarin, who excelled in his 100 day test, receiving scores of 10, 9 and 8.67 on his walk, trot and canter respectively."I was looking for a schoolmaster and wasn't specifically looking for a Hanoverian, but was steered in that direction because of their temperaments," stated Hage. "Mazarin has been a great schoolmaster. I am an amateur which shows his wonderful temperament. Any of these horses would be great for an amateur or a junior rider, but they also have what it takes for a professional."Hage continues, "Mazarin's offspring are very intelligent, not flighty and have a lot of common sense. My goal is to breed these top quality horses and pass on their wonderful mind."Megan Fischer, owner of Oldenburg Farm in Wisconsin, was drawn to her elite Hanoverian stallion ,Regazzoni, because of his impeccable temperament and his prepotency as a sire. By Rubinstein out of a daughter of Wether, Regazzoni is an excellent example of the Hanoverian breed standards."Regazzoni is known for his temperament and rideability. He scored a 10 on each respectively in his 100-day test," says Fischer. "He has a loveable personality and is easy to work around," said Fischer. "To me, temperament is the most important aspect as well as the willingness to work. If Regazzoni is crossed with a hot mare he will consistently produce a great temperament."

Refinement and the Future

Hanoverian breeders have continued to refine the breed. This trend can be seen in recent competitions as Hanoverians have been highly recognized in all disciplines, including eventing, which requires a lighter framed horse with stamina.

For Fischer, this is what attracted her to Regazzoni. "I saw a need for refinement in the Hanoverians. There is still a lot of heavier, old style Hanoverians which Regazzoni crosses well with," said Fischer. "At the same time Regazzoni crosses well with thoroughbred mares and will add bone to a lighter mare."

Whitten chose Pik L for many reasons, but the thoroughbred breeding on his dam's side was a factor in her decision. "Pik L is a refining stallion. He has not only produced dressage horses, but fantastic hunters as well," said Whitten who also has been selective with her broodmares. "I am looking for movement, correct conformation, and beauty in a mare. I want the mare to also have three correct gaits," said Whitten.

With many breeders following the same philosophies as Whitten, Hage, and Fischer, the evolution of the Hanoverian will only continue to be outstanding. This breed promises to have continued success and an enormous impact on the performance horse industry. HC




A yellow lab with caramel colored eyes caught the attention of Sarah Clusman, the behaviorist at the Longmont Humane Society.  He was full of energy, fun-loving, but a little too out of control to be the perfect pet for most homes.  Clusman called her Mom who volunteers for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (NDSDF).  After evaluating the yellow lab, now known as Joe, they agreed that he would be a perfect search and rescue dog.  Joe found his way to California and a new home with his permanent handler, Linda Tacconelli, in June of 2008.  Both were new to their line of work.

“I was a donor for the NDSDF, but didn’t want to be a handler,” said Tacconelli.  “I had always been involved in NDSDF by raising funds, but I went and watched a K-9 evaluation for FEMA certification and thought to myself, ‘I can do that.’  Usually its First Responders or Firefighters that become dog handlers, but I wanted a way to give back to my Country and decided to become a handler.”

Together Joe and Tacconelli completed a rigorous training program and became FEMA certified.  FEMA certification includes demonstrating more than the ability to find a person.  Joe had to pass an obedience tests, agility skills, and two different tests to find a person lost in rubble.

“The dogs have to show they have the skills to handle a teeter-totter and obstacles like climbing a ladder.  The teeter-totter mimics what an earthquake might feel like,” explained Tacconelli.  “They must follow voice control commands and whistle commands.  We then complete two different tests where a dog is sent into a pile of rubble to find a victim with the handler staying behind to show that the dog can successfully range out from the handler.  Then we complete another test where the handler can walk with the dog.  During these tests items such as dead animals or clothing is hidden so that we know the dogs will only alert on live victims.”

Joe and Tacconelli completed their testing and worked their first job together in 2010 in their home state of California.

“In 2009 there were fires in the L.A. Station area.  That January some teams were deployed to Haiti to help there, but we stayed here because there were mudslides that we helped with,” said Tacconelli.  “Then the earthquake and tsunami happened in Japan this March.  That was our first huge assignment.”

The NDSDF had hooked up Tacconelli and Joe with the L.A. County Fire Task Force-2.  The Task Force-2 deployed to Japan along with another Task Force from Fairfax, Virginia at the request of the Japanese government. 

“We left on March 12th and when we arrived we searched the Tsunami area in very cold weather,” said Tacconelli.  “The weather helped Joe though as cold weather is easier on a dog than hot weather.  We could do more and our mission was accomplished.  As we flew home with Joe stretched out asleep on my lap I realized that thanks to the training, there was no situation that we couldn’t handle.  Joe did a great job and is a top-notch dog.”

Joe has come a long way from being a rescue at the Longmont Humane Society and along with Tacconelli will be on call when needed.  Tacconelli encourages everyone to support the Longmont Humane Society and the NDSDF.  For more information on the NDSDF visit www.searchdogfoundation.org.