Orion Light Van't Huttenest
5-9-1974 ~ 1-16-2005
The Making of a Foundation Sire of Significance
by Joanne Ross, Scott Creek Farm
As Published in "The American
Miniature Horse" July / September 1997
The story of Orion Light Vant Huttenest
begins on a May morning in 1974 at the, Dell Tera farm of J.C. 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 horse world.
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 miniature 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
miniature 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.
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.
It 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 miniature 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 miniature 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.
Vant Huttenest passed away on Janurary 16th 2005 at the grand old age of
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 Champions Charles Legacy Royale
and Brewers Legacy Conclusion. National Champion
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 miniature horse.
*Click here for that story
cheers as his miniature horse "Orion-Light" jumps over a log in
Cashiers, North Carolina.
Mrs Mark (Adenda)
Verhaegue with Miniature Horse Orion-Light.jpg
1984 - North
Huttenest", a rare picture