"You cannot remain unmoved by the gentleness...of a well-trained horse."

Keep in touch by sending us letters.

letters from friends

We wish to  share with you some letters and emails received from friends and clients .

our clients become new friends!

Though I am so slow posting these, I hope you enjoy!


2010-ref: Sinatra Song colt out of our mare EM Bevolina, by Brentano II.

Hey Wendy,
I couldn't wait to get back to the room to tell you how well Song did. He went in the yearling colt and gelding class here at Lexington. He trailered down great with is new friend Fred. He walked right into his stall and settled like a seasoned pro. he was interested in the facility but well behaved on his walk around.
We went in to the class today in the big indoor coliseum. he was so well behaved. We have been working a little bit on the walk/trot on a triangle at home. So, I knew he could trot nicely when asked. He stood so nicely for the judge. walked and trotted like he has been doing this his whole life. He was the most well behaved out of the whole class. He came in 2nd and went on to the championship. Again, he was well behaved there as well. he didn't win again the big stallions but that is ok. I couldn't have asked any more from him. I was beaming with pride on his behavior!!
I have him registered with the USDF as Sir Lancelot if you want to check on him on line
thanks again for trusting him to my care. I'll send you some photos as soon as we get home.
Liz Hattenburg
Owner, Black Dog Farm
Frederick, Maryland

Update: IN 2013, Lance is showing well  in Dressage with LIz and looking so handsome! Had the pleasure of seeing him at Morven Park!!



From: Deborah Van Orden-Smith
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 17:45:36 -0500
To: Wendy Costello <wendycos@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: very sweet: For Animal lovers

I loved the pics - thanks.
We've had a very busy week with the Donavan babies. Demarra had her inspection on Tuesday - behaved beautifully - was commented on a perfect shoulder and perfect cadence for her trot - ended up scoring 7.9. We were very disappointed that she was so close to being Premium...She will be spectacular when she matures.
We took Donalii to Silverwood on the 18th - he went champion in the qualifier (all colts/geldings 1-4 yrs). He took 4th in the Breeder's final (out of 5), but we were thrilled with his behavior and ability to learn. He is one very smart colt, and we got a lot of attention. His scores for all classes were consistently pushing 74% - not bad for a very growthy 2 year old!
At any rate, babies are doing GREAT, and many thanks for all your well wishes!
PS - If you do come out this way, we would love to see you...



Hi Wendy! I just wanted to send you a link to Donny's most recent photo album.


It's on facebook, so I hope it works for you, let me know if it doesn't. It should be open to the public.

Donny is the most adorable amazing colt ever. He is absolutely beautiful and very talented. He's very bold and outgoing, but very smart and willing to learn. He loves attention and he loves learning knew things. Most of all he loves flaunting adorable self. At 3 months he has already learned to pick his feet, be groomed, be trimmed by the farrier, lead, blanket, move away from pressure, back up and many other things! One day we decided to get him used to plastic bags being tied in the trees and on fence posts to get him used to the noise and unusual sight, he only stared at them for awhile before boldly investigating them (he doesn't have much fear of anything once you show it to him). I was so very impressed! Donny is such a pleasant colt who is very quick to learn. His playful overbearing stage has been very minimal so far, he's very quick to respond to correction. Over all I'm so very impressed with Donavan's offspring! He's given us a beautiful representation of the willing intelligent sport horse. We've very excited to see how Donatello turns out in the show ring. Adele Martin, Spicewood TX.


Donarkeil sold to a new family
The McKinley's are proud to announce the New Baby has arrived!
Donarkeil a.k.a. Donnie a.k.a. Duckie!
Three-year-old TB/Hannovarian Cross by Donavan! Currently residing at Ken McGrath's training stable waiting to be backed. We are very excited about our new family member. And he gets along great with his brother Ben!
Hope all is well with you. Great news, Gabby had a filly June 1st at 8:50pm. You wouldn't have even known it was her first foal! I haven't picked out a name yet, I thought that would be the easiest part! The vet was out yesterday and we got a good report that mama and baby look good. The baby has very long legs, a big star with a little snip, and two hind socks. Her front hooves are black and the back two are white! Shes very friendly, actually mama has really changed, she has become a lot quieter, they both love all the attention from everyone at the barn! — Farrahn Oliver


(Kent Island is) a pleasure to wander through. The de Kunffy quote at opening is a welcome endorsement and the variety of foals helped us determine that he was an excellent cross for TB mares. — website comment
Hi Wendy — Just thought you would like to know that Drifter did his first schooling show! We showed Training Level Test 1 & 2. He was a bit nuts in the morning but suddenly calmed down around 11 a.m. That was good because our rides were both in the afternoon. We did wonderful He was fantastic once we got in the ring! We scored a 68.216 on Test 2 and 68.946 on Test 1! His first time out! He got a 9 on a canter depart! We took home a blue ribbon and a red ribbon (proudly displayed on his stall at home). The judge said we are a very good pair and many people liked looking at him (and asked how big he is — now 17.3H tall). My riding instructor, Jennifer Kotylo, was there to lend a supportive hand and that was fantastic! Take care! — Deidre
Good Morning Wendy! I just wanted to drop a line to give you an update on Ducati. I have attached two recent pictures of him; they were taken in August. He is really growing up and filling out! He is becoming more beautiful all the time! I haven't measured him lately, but I'm guessing he's up around 16.2 or so. I can't tell you how pleased I am with this gorgeous boy! His calm temperment and wonderful personality never cease to amaze me! I took him along to his first show in July (just a local open show), and he acted like he'd done it a hundred times. He was not spooky at all. He was simply content to be getting attention! My hope is to start Ducati under saddle either this winter (since the indoor arena is now complete) or this coming spring when he will be three. I have had a dressage saddle on him many times, and he never once minded. The first time I bridled him, he took it like a pro! I was very impressed! He chewed on the bit at first, but by the end of our walk, he didn't seem to care at all. I could tell you story after story about his wonderful personality! He is so curious about everything! I'll just leave you with one that was too cute... Ever since I brought him home, he has been very interested in cats, small dogs, etc. This past weekend, my sister was visiting with her four-month-old schnauzer/poodle puppy Emma. I had to make a repair on Ducati's fence, and my sister came in with me, carrying Emma. Ducati immediately began following them around checking out the puppy. Emma, who is usually quite the wimp, was also very interested in Ducati. It wasn't long before she started licking his nose! For the next 20 minutes or so, while we were in his pen, everytime Ducati would put his nose anywhere near her, Emma's tongue would just start lapping! Too bad I didn't have the camera out there! I just wanted to let you know once again how happy I am with my Donavan baby! He is truly the horse of my dreams, and I am very excited about getting him started under saddle! If I am ever in the area, I will definately stop by and see you, Donavan, and the crew! — Jenny Selvik & Ducati (October 2006)
Wendy — Just wanted to keep you updated. Damina (my mare that I sold to a friend in Chicago) won her first Mini Prix the week before Christmas in Orlando! She was the only clear round out of 15 rides! She will continue to campaign doing the mini prixs this spring and hopefully be ready to start in the Grand Prix ring in the late summer. Her new owners are taking her slowly and doing great with her — I couldn't be any happier! Just thought you may want to know. Hope you had a wonderful New Year. — Stefanie Hamilton, breeder of Donavan filly, Damina (2005)


Hi Wendy! I just thought that I should let you know how your wonderful girl is doing (Doha Day-2003). Dodie has been under saddle for about two and a half weeks now, and I am really enjoying her. She has come along really fast. I wanted to take some pics for you, but the battery door on my digital is broken so the silly thing won't work. One of these days I will get some for you, though. So far, there hasn't been anything crazy or unexpected from her. The worst was when she spooked at a squirrel that was jumping from tree to tree while we were riding in the outdoor, but when it was over, I couldn't stop laughing. She cracks me up! She is so pretty! I can't believe it! Her coat is really shiny and she has grown about an inch. I've got her mane all trimmed up and pulled nice, but that crazy girl grows hair like my garden does weeds! She's got a regular bush for a mane, but that's ok. She's been riding great, though. The first time I got on her, I just sat on her for a while and got off a few times. The next day, someone led me around a bit. Then, every time since, I've been riding her on my own at a walk and trot. I am really excited; her trot is going to be excellent, and she almost always tracks up or oversteps at a walk, so I think she will be a real super star! — Kristi Lamp Fleck (July 10, 2006)


Wendy, just want to drop you a quick note to let you know that we (hubby and I) hauled April Moon to WEC yesterday, and the highlight of not only the (14-hour roundtrip) trip but probably my whole week as well was the chance to get to see Donavan in person! He was happily munching grass in the middle of his paddock when we approached his gate and I no sooner called his name and he walked over to us for petting and admiration. He seemed to enjoy being told how beautiful and magnificent he is! He eyed the nearby mares appreciatively, but remained a perfect gentleman. A mare and foal were led from the medical building past Donavan to the mare paddock area, and Donavan, looking like a sweet old teddy bear, whickered softly to the baby. A few minutes later, someone was trotting a young male Clydesdale in between the medical building and Donavan's paddock, presumably for a soundness exam, and Donavan leapt into animation. He galloped the whole length of his paddock and back, trumpeting gloriously, stopping just centimeters from his fence, then completed a perfect passage volte. To my amazement, he repeated the entire gallop-passage sequence two more times (quite the show off!), which helped to forever seal the event within my central cortex and I am happily still re-living it like a religious experience (since I did not think to bring my camcorder along)! He is still one very fit and studly guy, and I am so glad to have actually met him. When we go back to pick April up, I will definitely remember the camcorder! — Sandra Stadler, a client with a lovely mare, April Moon (Trakehner/Arab cross, breeding to Donavan this season).


Wendy, my name is Ashley Hi Wendy, thought you might like a nice baby shot of our fine fellow! I will get a conformation shot soon, but took this one this morning and wanted to make sure you were the first to see him! :) He's simply smashing, with outstanding gaits matched only by his outstanding temperament! We're certainly looking forward to showing him off at our inspection in September. Will send more pictures soon! Thank you again for the great gift of a service from Donavan! — Dr. Rebecca Splan, Assistant Professor at Equine Science Virginia Tech

. — Ashley Houtsma, owns "Joe," Donavan's son known officially as Donativo. (February 2006).

Wendy, My name is Ashkley Houtsma and I just wanted to write to tell you how wonderful we think Donavan is and about the wonderful disposition he throws! I met him at the Wisconsin Equine Clinic  and I saw so much of Joe in him , We bought Donativo from Canada when he was two. He will turn five in May, and he has been doing wonderfully! (His stable name is "Joe" which suits him very well). I just thought I would write to you to tell you what a great time we have had with him, and I included some pictures so you can see how he looks. We broke him to saddle and walk trot canter by ourselves, because his disposition is so willing to please and pleasant. Last summer I competed him at the Beginner Novice Level of three day eventing--and he loves it! He is so brave cross country, he will jump anything and is very honest to the fences. He won seventh place in a combined test in Kentucky, and he got fourth place in Dayton, Ohio at the Queeny Park Horse Trials. He is a lovely mover, and athletic jumper. For his age, he has adapted to the horse show scene seamlessly.


The Story of Deja’s Legacy, or How to Find the Warmblood of Your Dreams!
Late 2001, my trusted Thoroughbred mare Chantilly had to be retired due to a chronic stifle problem, most likely caused by many years on the race track. With a heavy heart I knew I had to find a new horse. For Christmas my husband gave me a monetary gift which made my all-time dream of owning a Warmblood become a reality. My trainer and I must have looked at 20 to 30 videos, and I was fascinated how one could buy a horse via the internet. Many videos did not do the horses justice, and poor photography and planning eliminated quite a few.

Finally, I found what I was looking for. This wonderful lady named Tish Ebbott had bred three mares to the same stallion. That was ES Donavan! I have to admit that I knew little about the breeding program. This three-year-old filly who just seemed to float all the time caught my eye. She extended and moved over the ground with incredible ease. This was the movement I was looking for! Not many horses have this. I had seen Hilltop’s Davignport with similar movements, and it had taken my breath away. So I made an offer on this filly, and contacted Wendy Costello, Mequon, Wisconsin, for a video of Donavan.

Boy was I surprised and delighted when I saw the same ease and elegance eminating from this stallion! This was like the icing on the cake and I was very happy with my decision. We vet-checked the filly three times because of one bad x-ray, which later turned out to be poor quality. I flew to Wisconsin and met my filly. She was sweet and friendly, and moved wonderfully. A week later she was shipped to Florida, a 1,500 mile trip that took four days on professional carriers. She arrived slightly banged up, and had a runny nose from day one. It was extremely humid at the time, and we hoped she would adjust. We had her about three weeks when the vets decided to treat her for a resperatory infection. After the second dose of tetracycline she dropped dead. It was a shock like no other. The necropsy found that she aspirated probably as a result of anaphalectic shock. Devastated, I threw myself into a frenzy looking for a replacement. Here I had waited so many months, and looked so carefully, and now my dream horse was gone. By this time, the crop of three-year-olds had mostly been sold, and none really fit her description.

We went to Montana on our annual vacation to a dude ranch, and I cried every day. I realized the only horse I wanted was that filly. Her name was Deja, because she looked just like her mother. Now I got this crazy idea. Purchase the mother, who was no longer owned by the Ebbotts, and repeat the breeding. Time be damned! With the Ebbotts' help, from the parking lot of the Jackson Hole Wyoming Albertson’s, we hammered out a deal where I purchased the mother from a third party, the Ebbotts picked her up from her home three hours away, and delivered her to the vet clinic in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. With the support and help of Wendy Costello, we had the mare bred back to Donavan.

Three months later, Sweet Princess arrived in Miami. Last February, Wendy Costello arranged a special meeting for us with Donavan while he competed in Florida. For two wonderful hours we "played“ with him, and he showed us the talent and disposition that makes him so special. I was in awe because it finally sank in what a wonderful stallion we had chosen. Over the past year, I started riding the mare, which was not easy because she had been a broodmare all her life. She bucked me off several times, but we made it. On July 1st, she gave birth to a beautiful bay filly with a huge star on her forehead. For months I had debated a good German name, but nothing fit. That day, it became obvious. Deja’s Legacy had arrived!

We affectionately call her "Lacy“ because of the star and it reminds me of Chantilly as well. Lacy has a bold and trusting nature. She was imprint trained on day one, and shows no fear at anything. She’s easy to handle and be around. Sometimes she mistakes me for a horse, and her affection is a bit powerful. She has that certain spring in her step, and carries herself with such grace. This has been the most educational year of my equestrian life. I learned so much from the American Hanoverian Society, the ISR Oldenburg N.A., the German Horse Breeder's Society and several wonderful individuals who held this greenhorn’s hand and made a dream come true. Special thanks to Tish Ebbott, Wendy Costello, the Wisconsin Equine Clinic, Jean Caswell, Holly Simensen and Sonia Hoglund of Carosello Farms. You are my mentors! — Jacqueline Ege, Miami, Florida
Dear Wendy, I just wanted to thank you for the time you spent with me Sunday when I stopped by to get close to your beautiful Donavan! It was the highlight of my three-day trip to the Midwest Horse Fair, my first time there. Meeting Donavan, JJ, you, and your husband was a real thrill for me. Thank you for being so accessible and friendly. I have never seen a more beautiful animal than Donavan! Just the sight of him brought tears to my eyes; to think that God could create such a magnificent animal, and such a beautiful rider as JJ, well I scarce could take it in! I enjoyed watching the video of Donavan's delightful offspring as well! What I wouldn't give to be able to have a horse like one of them! I could just tell by talking with you that you feel like one of the most blessed people on the face of the earth. to be able to own such wonderful creatures as these. You have obviously been very good stewards of these living treasures! Thank you for that! I thought you might enjoy this quote that has been a favorite of mine since I first discovered it years ago on the back of a Phelan's supply catalog: You cannot remain unmoved by the gentleness and conformation of a well-bred and well-trained horse... more than a thousand pounds of big-boned, well-muscled animal, slick of coat and sweet of smell, obedient and mannerly, and yet forever a menace with its innocent power and ineradicable inclination to seek refuge in flight, and always a burden with its need to be fed, wormed, and shod, with its liability to cuts and infections, to laming and heaves. But when it greets you with a nicker, nuzzles your chest, and regards you with a large and liquid eye, the question of where you want to be and what you want to do has been answered. May God continue to bless you in your endeavors to carry on the lineage with which you have been entrusted. May Donavan and his babies always bring joy and goodness to the lives of those with whom they come in contact. I hope to be able to see you again someday. — Jackie Getz DeMotte, Indiana

I just recently purchased an offspring of your horse Donavan and I just wanted to say that he is so beautiful and I love all of his offspring. I bought Delta Don by Donavan out of Teerose. We are going to be showing him hunters and as soon as we bring him out I will be sure to tell you how he is going. He is five-years-old, 17.3, bay with a star snip and four tall stockings. I love him to death! I don't know why I decided to write but I thought it would be cool to hear from you! (she named him Donovan for show, spelled differently than his Daddy.) — Sarah Scheiring, Newtown, PA

I just wanted to let you know that I took Donovan to his first horse show last Sunday. He was champion out of 30 riders in the schooling hunters at Briarwood, a B rated horse show at 2'6. He won the second over fences class and the under saddle. He was so amazing. I am taking him this weekend to Coppergate, an A rated horse show and doing the pre-childrens. — Sarah Scheiring, Newtown, PA

Hello Wendy, Donovan is doing very well. We did our first Childrens Hunter Divison last weekend and were Reserve Champion and won the Marshall and Sterling with a score of 86. It was his first time out in the 3ft. He was amazing. Plus I had pretty much taken the winter off but now we are back. Hopefully, I will be getting some 3ft photos from some of the away shows like Penn State and Garden State type stuff. I will send them to you as soon as I get some. I will tell my trainer Jerry Zero about the mare and see if he knows of anyone that would be interested. He loves Donovan as much as I do. He is such a great horse with a wonderful, wanting to please type of attitude. We have been first or second in every under saddle class and he jumps beautifully. Thank you so much for him. I will write as soon as I get the photos. Also, we just remeasured him and he is standing at slightly above 18 hands...lol, his nickname is Dinosaur. Alrighty, thanks again.— Sarah Scheiring, Newtown, PA


Hi Wendy: My daughter and I are so pleased with our gelding Donativo that we bid on Donavan in the Midwest Breeders Auction and we won! My mare, Salado is Hanoverian papered but, she is approved Hanoverian and Oldenburg. She is TB therefore; she is pre-studbook in the Hanoverian registry (she won her Hanoverian inspection with a score of 8.0 — 10 for her walk) because her father was a TB conformation hunter and unapproved. At that time, the AHS allowed but the by-laws changed soon after. She is premium Oldenburg and she won her Oldenburg inspection at age 16. Her foal out of Opus was premium and the Champion at the inspection. This should be an interesting foal. Can you send me the breeding contract and let me know when you plan to start breeding Donavan? PS. Donativo is in full training in Lexington, KY., with Carriage Station Farm, Cathy Weischoff and Jody Sharping. He is jumping and getting ready for his first Dressage show in March. His first event will be Spring Bay in Lexington, April 8-10. My Daughter Ashley will show him at Mayfest Horse Trial over Memorial Day weekend at KY Horse Park. He is big and very beautiful. He's a great mover and everyone loves him. We had little trouble backing and starting him. When Ashley went back to college, I decided to send him to KY where he could practice on all the x-c jumps with the experts (I'm not much for jumping anymore). — Anita Houtsma (2005)


Hi all! Last night at 10:30, I finally had my Donavan filly! She is too cute, Tons of chrome! Such a kick butt personality! Attached are some pictures, Luna kind of looking at the foal like what is that? Pictures of me & the foal, Jessica my eight-year-old daughter and the foal and then a few from outside today at nine hours old.. Oh my god, all foals & all owners should have such a wonderful disposition! for those of you who aren't aware, Luna accomplished the following: this foal will be registered with the GOV. Enjoy these pictures! So thrilled with my new baby Donavan girl! No name picked out yet. But we will be at Devon! Ps. now I can finally get some sleep! lol — Lisa Dworkin, Florida (April 25th, 2005)

Emails regarding the Midwest Horse Fair 2005--The Final One.
To J.J. Tate & the wonderful people who own Donavan: I go to horse fair every year and I have been going since 1995 and I am a huge fan of Donavan and J.J. The performance that J.J. and Donavan put on at the 2005 horse was breathtaking. My family and I were in tears over it. It moved me inside. Donavan is one of the most beautiful moving horses I have ever seen. I wish Donavan the best retirement and wish that maybe he will come back to the Midwest Horse Fair not to perform, but to be put on Stallion Avenue so my family, friends, and I could admire this wonderful stallion once again. — S. Staver

I was at the Midwest Horse Fair with my American Paint Horse Stallion. I ride him in dressage and eventing. I have taken lessons, I was able to watch JJ Tate's performance with Donavan and it was amazing, how original, I can only dream to ride like her! I got it all on video. My mother-in-law was there and it was the first time she has seen a dressage performance and she was going nuts, because she is a country girl and rides and trains horses for western pleasure and when the music switched to the country music she asked me, do people always do that, it was the best to see her face during the performance. Thanks for a good show. — M. Zellmer
Great to hear from you Wendy. We're thinking of naming this one Digby, after a friend of my husband's in England. I would like to keep one of the boys as a stallion prospect. The new boy has very long legs, more white markings, and may have a slightly more gentle temperament than Divvy. Andrea Zabatka was saying all along she would like to buy the new guy, but now I'm not sure I'm willing to sell. I can only keep one. The little guy is getting stronger every day, so I'm not worried too much anymore. Penny just stands over him while he sleeps all day. She takes this mothering job very seriously. Bobbie rode Winteroza for the first time since foaling yesterday. Diarmid (new colt) ran around and then settled down and just followed his mom. Afterwards Bobbie says, "oh yeah, I've never ridden Rosie in the outdoor arena before". Just more testimony to Winteroza's clear and steady mind. She said all of the dressage training came right back to Rosie. I really wish we had a horse IQ test because I'm sure she would in the 99th percentile. They are great horses Wendy. Thank you so much for bringing them into our lives! — Valerie Ahl

(Valerie Ahl is a breeder who purchased two mares from me, one Winteroza (Rosie); the other Winpenny(Penny) Penny has had three colts by Donavan, Winteroza has had one this year. (2005) One of Penny's colts is our Davy Crockett.) — WWC
Just wanted to say hi and give you a little update on my filly. I can't believe she is a whole year already! She is absolutely gorgeous and she dances on water when she trots. It is unbelievable how tolerant and well behaved she is. This summer I plan on taking her to some shows to let her hang out and get used to the excitement. Glad to hear all is well with your ponies. — Emily Neumann (breeder and owner of Dolce a.k.a. Prada)

Hey Wendy, some time has passed, and we have settled into the “breeding life” and doing quite well. After dipping our toes in the waters as true beginners, I have come to realize several things. First, your support has been very much appreciated. Thanks for all of the assistance you provided when we bred Girl and I love getting all of the Donavan updates. Makes me feel like I belong to the family. Second, I can’t tell you what a lovely boy we have from Donavan. He is growing and looks beautiful, I just can’t believe it. I tell everyone that this is a Donavan baby. While we will be getting Girl and “Donarkeil” registered soon (Girl is having a hard time holding weight while nursing), he is really turning out to be very special. He has the looks of course, but what a sweet personality. As we all know, a horse can be drop dead gorgeous, and be a stinker to work with. Not so with Donnie, his halter training was a snap and he has no problem with the other stuff we take for granted: fly spray, feet handling, he even comes when I call him. I know selling him will be hard to do. He is a very special boy, that’s for sure. I am very happy and satisfied that we were able to breed to Donavan! So thanks again — Joy Snyder (July 2005)


Wendy, I appreciate you adding Damina to your sales list! And wanted to let you know I did recently sell her. She went to a fabulous home just outside of Chicago where she is going to be starting her career in the Mini Prix's and eventually the Grand Prix jumper ring! If you would also like to update her information you can say that she was successfully shown in the 3' Children's Hunters at the 3' 15-17 Equitation across the Southeast this past year as well as winning in the 3'6 - 3'9 Jumpers! This mare is such an unbelievable talent and I will miss her tons! — Stefanie Hamilton, Signature Sporthorses (October 4, 2005)

She is just gorgeous and is so laid back. For being the youngest she really is the most quiet horse in the barn anymore! I know she is going to be such an athlete, and it's really important to me to find the right trainer, she is so much more confident now but still sensitive (which is good if channelled in the right direction). She is just getting sweeter and sweeter, and even though she is young she is becoming more and more our "family" horse. Thanks again for all your help over the years, and let me tell you I brag about my Donavan baby every chance I get! — Rebecca Meana, owns Daphne by Donavan out of Pantera, Trakehner mare. (November 8, 2005)