California Riding Magazine • January, 2009

Coconut Grove
Famous Thoroughbred jumping sire
arrives in Texas.

October Hill Farm, a prominent breeder of Warmblood sporthorses in the United States, announces its purchase of the Thoroughbred performance stallion and sire, Coconut Grove.  At the completion of the purchase, the stallion, sold by owner Tamara Smith of Tamarack Select Performance Thoroughbreds, will relocate from Salt Lake City, UT, to October Hill Farm’s facilities in Hudson Oaks, TX, just 23 miles west of Fort Worth, where he will stand for breeding service commencing this season.

Coconut Grove is one of showjumping’s most prominent Thoroughbred stars. The South American-bred stallion was trained by Colombian rider German Camargo and his wife Paula. Coconut Grove’s show ring accomplishments began in 1993 and continued with great success at the Grand Prix level from 1996 through the remainder of his career. 

In 1997, he was champion of the Bolivarianos Games in Peru. Coconut Grove was champion in the Toyota Cup World Cup Qualifier, reserve champion in the Centro American and Caribbean Games, and reserve champion in the World Cup qualifier in Caracas, Venezuela, all in 1998. In 1999, he was ranked Best South American Horse and Team Fifth at the Pan American Games in Canada and participated in the Canadian World Cup qualifiers, securing a spot in the World Cup event in Gothenburg, Sweden. He was National Champion Jumper for Colombia from 1997 through 1999. 

The Camargos brought Coconut Grove for U.S. competitions in 2000, where he won third in the $100,000 U.S. Open Jumper Championships in Miami and fifth in the $25,000 WEF Grand Prix of Tampa. These placings and others earned the stallion a ticket to the Sydney Olympics representing Colombia, but a lack of funding kept the stallion at home. Capping that outstanding year, Coconut Grove qualified for the AGA Championships, the American Invitational, and was ranked third in the AGA Rookie of the Year standings based on only six starts. In 2001, he placed fifth in the $25,000 Wellington Grand Prix and was retired shortly after.

Since 2001, Coconut Grove has been under the ownership of Tamara Smith of Tamarack Select, which promoted the stallion to the burgeoning American sporthorse breeding industry and shortly made him a “must-have” for many perceptive breeders. In 2003, the American Holsteiner Horse Association became the first Warmblood registry to approve Coconut Grove for use as a sire, making him the first Thoroughbred stallion ever to receive breeding approval in any major North American Warmblood studbook. The stallion repeated history in 2004 by being the first Thoroughbred stallion to receive a breeding license from the American Hanoverian Society. Many other American studbooks followed suit and, setting worldwide precedents, multiple European-based registries granted him approval, including the Selle-Francais, the German Oldenburg Verband, the Belgian studbook, Zangersheide, KWPN of Holland, the Trakhener Verband, and the Irish Horse Board. No other Thoroughbred stallion in history has gained such status as a sire.

A Welcome Arrival
October Hill Farm principals are anxious to welcome Coconut Grove to their recently completed stallion barn. He will join a line-up of other accomplished performance stallions which includes former Mexican team horse and Nations Cup participant Mezcalero (Frederico Fernandez) and the very successful Grand Prix stallion Justice (Pablo Barrios). 
Reports October Hill’s co-owner and president Wendy Davis Gerrish, “I’ve known about Coconut Grove since the first minute after his breeding approval with the AHHA in 2003. I picked up the phone and got to know Tamara, and bought five breedings from him that first season. I thought, ‘How lucky that we have an opportunity to use this incredibly successful, blooded stallion on our big, powerful jumping mares!’ I bought more breedings to him this year to use on an outstanding show mare that we wanted embryos from. The semen is just off-the-chart, really, really good. When Tamara called to offer us ownership, my only answer was ‘Absolutely!’ It’s an honor to have the opportunity to be part of his life. He’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime Thoroughbred superstar.”

Tamara Smith of Tamarack Select comments, “I knew the first time I saw Coconut Grove that he was very special and destined for greatness. It was simply a matter of getting the rest of the world to see what I saw in the stallion. Coconut Grove and I have accomplished every goal set forth since we began our journey together. It has been an amazing experience and I am honored to have had the opportunity to develop this stallion to the top of his game. It is difficult to find a stallion that combines the essential attributes of pedigree, performance, conformation and athleticism but especially rare to discover a stallion that is a spectacular producer. He has enamored inspectors and breeders throughout the world. Coconut Grove is the ‘real deal’ and will no doubt leave a legacy hard to follow. 

“It is terribly difficult to let go of such a treasure, especially at the height of his success, but it has always been my plan to prove his greatness and then allow him to go on to someone I believe can maintain his celebrity. This decision, though painful, will allow me to pursue other business ventures. I could not be more comfortable with Coconut Grove being under the capable hands of Wendy Davis Gerrish and the October Hill staff. Wendy and I will continue to work in concert to maintain the star quality of this exceptional stallion.”

As a sire Coconut Grove is now approved in nine American registries, one Canadian registry, and nine European Warmblood registries, with a 100 percent approval record. No other U.S.-based Thoroughbred stallion has ever accomplished such a feat.

Press release provided by October Hill Farm.More information about Coconut Grove and other October Hill Farm stallions can be found at the October Hill Farm website at www.octoberhill.com.