Riverland Farm, est. 1993
Wendy and Marty Costello, owners of Riverland Farm and ES Donavan, strive to breed, and
assist others to breed, quality warmblood horses for sport and for pleasure that embody Donavan's kind and affectionate
temperament, his natural talent and striking beauty, and are suitable for the amateur and professional rider alike.
Donavan's long, successful dressage career has demonstrated that he represents the best of
the Hanoverian breed, and consequently, the desirable characteristics shared by all warmblood breeds.
Please enjoy our website and come back often.
Wendy & Marty Costello
13700 N. Riverland Rd.
Mequon, WI 53097
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 20-30 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 Hilltops 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 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 1500 mile trip that took 4 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 Albertsons, 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 Mequon, 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. Dejas 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. Shes 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 Oldenburg Society and several wonderful individuals who held this greenhorns 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!