The Making of a
Foundation Sire of Significance
by Joanne Ross, Scott Creek Farm
The story of Orion Light Vant Huttenest
begins on a May morning in 1974 at the, Dell Tera farm of JC Williams.
Orion was born to Dell Teras Jane, the sixth horse registered in the
International Horse Registry (later merged with the AMHA). Mark Verhaghe,
owner of the Vant Huttenest miniature
horse farm, was visiting
Williams that day when they discovered
the newborn blue roan colt wandering around by himself. It appeared the
dam had rejected him. Mark volunteered to take the colt home and
bottle-feed him. Mark became attached to the colt and offered to trade a
box of new halters for him. A deal was struck and Orion became a fixture
at the Verhaghe house.
Since Verhaghe concentrated on breeding horses under 30 inches, he did
not consider breeding Orion to any of his mares. It was his farm manager
who saw the potential in the unusually refined, long-necked colt. Mark
finally let her breed the blue roan pintaloosa to a large Shetland pony.
Even though the resulting foal was small and outstanding, Mark was still
reluctant to breed Orion to any small mares.
It was not until 1981 at the age of seven that Orion had his first AMHA
registered colt named L&D Scout bred by Lane and Donna Kobeck of L & D
Farm, now owned and promoted by the Graysons of Fallen Ash Farm in Ohio.
The stud book shows Scout as the only registered Orion offspring in
1981. It was not until 1983 that he had seven registered offspring,
including Happy Appy owned by Lorraine McKenzie in Australia and Xenon
Light Vant Huttenest, owned by Tony Greaves of Little America.
1984 was the year Vern
Brewer was able to talk Mark Verhaghe into selling Orion and most of his
Vant Huttenest herd and thus started Orion's journey to legendary sire
status in the miniature
Always an interest in horses, the Brewer family successfully bred what
is now called the modern look into Shetland horses in the fifties and
sixties. Prices for their "modern looking" Shetlands at production sales
went to $50 or $60 thousand dollars for outstanding stallions. Vern
Brewer is one of the few individuals inducted into the American Shetland
Pony Hall of Fame. Vern was not interested in the
horse because of squatty, unbalanced conformation of many
miniature horses of the time. In the
early eighties, Vern became acquainted with top quality miniatures
through a Shetland friend and breeder, John Norman, the breeder of
Rowdy. Norman repaid an earlier favor, giving Vern the choice of a
miniature stallion and three fillies
from his herd. Brewer was hooked on the breed and decided to spend his
second lifetime developing the look of the modern
horse just as he had produced the modern-looking full-blooded
Shetlands. His family often traveled all over the southern United States
showing their miniature horses,
lending support to the budding miniature
horse shows. It was while in
attendance at a new show in North Carolina that he visited the nearby
farm of Mark Verhaghe.*
Here he first saw the tremendous potential of Orion Light Vant Huttenest.
Even though Mark was not using Orion much as a stud, he was not willing
to sell him for the $60,000 Vern offered. It was only at a later date
and a divorce looming that Mark changed his mind and offered to sell the
Orion was now 11 years old and given his own herd of mares handpicked by
Brewer. Vern used his experience, choosing the mares based on their
conformation. Fifteen years ago most
miniature horses were of unknown or undistinguished backgrounds
because the registries were in their infancy. This blue roan pintaloosa
stud was as refined and slender necked as the best mare in his herd. It
was the head and neck of the Orion offspring that set them apart from
others of the breed. Uniquely
beautiful heads and clean slender set up necks on a refined body
replicated over and over have become a trademark of the modern look of
the Orion line.
t was at the Brewer ranch
that the string of National Champions was bred and shown. These National
and Reserve National Champions include: Yashica Light Vant Huttenest,
Brewers Orion Echo, Orion Lace, Orion Legacy, Orion Classic, Orion
Illusion, Orion Melody,
Orion Mystic, Orion Elation, Orion Elegance, Orion Impressive, Orion
Monarch, Orion Spectacular, Orion Captivation and Orion Bridesmaid.
Other National Championships won for their owners were Ruby Sapphire
Light, Orion Valentino, Orion Impression, Orion Mirage, Orion Commander,
Orion Triumph and Orion Main Attraction. Orion has sired more National
and Reserve National Grand Champion offspring than any other sire to
date, beginning in 1984. His offspring were winners of the National Show
Get of Sire class several times.
What did Vern Brewer see in this flashy-colored blue roan
horse that made him feel Orion was
worth a king's ransom? The first thing anyone sees on a
horse is probably its head and neck. Orion had a pencil thin neck
and head with big eyes and a clean tapered muzzle. His head was slightly
dished and small. The neck was set upon the shoulders high like the
modern Shetlands of today. The bone was very refined for a
horse. The proportion mimicked the taller cousins of other
breeds. This was the stallion that Vern Brewer chose to mold his
miniature herd into the modern
beautiful miniatures so sought after today.
Orion Light Vant Huttenest passed away on
Janurary 16th 2005 at the grand old age of 31.
His legacy of the modern look has passed to
his National Champion sons and daughters. National Champion Brewers
Orion Classic has produced National Champion Brewers Classic Supreme,
champion as a weanling and two year old, and Reserve National Champion
Classic Fascination. Brewers Orion Legacy has produced National
Legacy Royale and Brewers Legacy Conclusion.
Brewers Orion Mystic has produced National Champions Scott Creek
Mystical Patina, S.C. Mystical Ovation, S.C. Mystical Belle and S.C.
Mystical Toy. Brewers Orion Princess has produced National Reserve
Champions Meridian's Dynamo Impulse and Meridian's Dyna Flo. Brewers
Orion Ariell has produced Futurity Reserve Champion Meridian's Figure de
Willow. Brewers Orion Rainbow produced Champion Meridian's Dancing Moon.
Surely, Orion will live on in history to be
one of the greatest foundation sires of the
Verhaegue cheers as his miniature
horse "Orion-Light" jumps over a log
in Cashiers, North Carolina.
Date Photographed May 1984
(Adenda) Verhaegue with
1984 - North Carolina, USA
"Orion-Light Van't Huttenest