Statesman's Signature, affectionately known as Sigi, was born on May 23rd, 1997 at Statesman Farm in Woodstock, Maryland.   He was purchased by Rita Hanson of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania when he was 5 months old, and was owned by Rita until he was 9 years old at which point he was purchased by Marthe Reynolds of New Paltz, New York. We hope you enjoy his story!

It was not Rita Hanson's intention to buy a 5 month old Morgan colt in the autumn of 1997. Her next horse was going to be a dressage schoolmaster! It was a chance visit to Statesman Farm where the solid bay colt with the huge eyes and floating gaits stole Rita's heart and changed her plans. Once he arrived in his new home, it soon became apparent that Sigi was a very special horse. He took quickly to the farm routine and thoroughly enjoyed the companionship of 3 young pasture mates as well as humans, both young and old.  He proved to be calm, fearless, curious, playful and kind.  He learned quickly and was easily disciplined.  His athleticism became more and more apparent as time went on. Sigi is pictured below at six months old, with Rita's daughter, then five year old Kelly Hanson.

On April 1st 2000, Sigi was put in training with classical dressage trainer Laurie Jolliffe from Doylestown, Pennsylvania.  Over the next two months Laurie started Sigi under saddle and introduced him to the basics of classical dressage.  Laurie found Sigi to be an excellent student -- eager, intelligent, athletic and a joy to teach.  Laurie had this to say about Signature:

"Statesman's Signature is not only quiet enough for a child to ride, but also has the spirit, intelligence and sensibility to excel in any discipline. His impressive movement and courageous temperament enhance his trainability.  Sigi does tremendous justice to the Morgan breed."

On June 1st 2000, Sigi returned home and his training was continued by Rita under the guidance of internationally recognized dressage trainer and author Paul Belasik . Paul had this to say about Sigi:

"Signature has one of the best minds I have seen in a young horse.  He is a genuine credit to his breed ... to any breed for that matter.  He is very self assured, quiet, and sensible - the best kind of working attitude."

In August, Sigi made his show debut at the Mid-A Regional Championship Morgan horse show in Quentin, Pennsylvania.  His accomplishments at this first show are impressive.  Two hours after his arrival at the busy Quentin show grounds Sigi won his first class, Sport Horse Materiale for 3 and 4 year olds.

Over the next two days, Sigi continued to impress the judges with his ability, and the spectators with his calm and trusting temperament.  He was Champion Sport Horse Suitability 3 and under, and Sport Horse Suitability Reserve Grand Champion with a score of 76.5% against over 25 mares, geldings and stallions of all ages.  These classes were judged by S judge Gretchen Verbonique.  He had dressage scores at training level as high as 68.8% under S judge Victor Hugo-Vidal after only 4 months under saddle.  Judge's comments:  "gorgeous canter", "three good gaits", "a super mover", "a lovely, lovely horse". Below he is pictured showing in the Dressage Under Saddle class with Rita which took place in the main arena on Saturday night. With his calm attitude, you'd think he'd been showing for years!

Sigi continued to delight his then amateur owner/rider and her instructors over the next few years with his kindness and eagerness to please, as Rita tried to figure out this "dressage thing". He continued to be successful at local dressage shows and returned to Mid-A Morgan yearly where he won the Stallion Sport Horse Suitability Championship three years in a row, and where showing under the lights on Saturday night was the highlight of the year for Rita. Pictured below is Sigi at four years old at Mid-A showing in front of a packed house on Saturday evening.

And after winning his third consecutive Stallion Sport horse Suitability Championship...

The highlight of Sigi's four year old year (besides his introduction to the breeding shed!) was his debut at the Dressage at Devon Horseshow. Rita wrote an article on this experience which was published in the Morgan Dressage Newsletter and later in Simply Morgan Magazine. The article is repeated here:

A Morgan "Dressage At Devon" Debut
by Rita Hanson
This article first appeared in the Morgan Dressage Association 2002 Fall Newsletter

Three days before Dressage at Devon last year, I received a class list that terrified me.  It was the list of entries for "Suitable to Become a Dressage Horse" for 3 and 4 year olds, and it read like the who's who of dressage breeding.  I came very close to chickening out of plans I had made months before when I entered the class on my then four-year-old Morgan Stallion Statesman's Signature.  It was a group walk, trot, canter class held in the historic Dixon Oval, which is the famous main grandstand arena surrounded by seating for 3000 that you see in all the photos of Devon.  I had sent my entry in with some confidence as Sigi's training had been going very well, and from previous experience I knew he could handle the Devon atmosphere.  The list did give my friends and me one chuckle though; among all the familiar warmblood abbreviations KWPN, Han, Holst, etc. was a lone "M".  Sigi, being a Morgan, was listed as "M" and we were sure that all the other entrants were wondering what the heck an "M" was!  I didn't sleep much for the next few nights but decided to go through with my Devon plans, despite my absolute terror!

As an avid dressage enthusiast, I always look forward to Dressage at Devon at the end of September.  Dressage at Devon is considered one of the most prestigious dressage breeding and performance shows in the country.  The show is held at the historic Devon Horse Show grounds located in the center of the busy town of Devon Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia.  Every year I make the trip with my dressage friends, and as spectators, we immerse ourselves in all that is wonderful about Devon; the quaint atmosphere, the up-close schooling where you can stand shoulder to shoulder with international dressage stars, the charming shops full of tantalizing horsey stuff (bring your credit cards), the gourmet food and wine (not your average horseshow fare), and of course, the horses!  Since there are few restrictions in the schooling area, spectators can be found standing within a few feet of international caliber horses.

Dressage at Devon hosts two divisions: a complete dressage breed show and a world-class performance show.  The breeding and performance divisions are held back to back with the breed show running Tuesday through Thursday and the performance show running Friday through Sunday.  Horses are brought to Devon from all over the United States and from Canada for both divisions.  In addition, there are also many international competitors in the performance division.  The performance show offers 4th level and up, and to ride in the performance division you must qualify at other shows during the season.

As is traditional at Devon, it poured all day Monday and then through the night and right up to show time in order to provide the perfect sloppy footing for the white-clad breed show participants.  The suitability classes were held late on the first day, and since Devon is just two hours from my home, my good friend Shirley Theofiles and I trailered in with Sigi on Tuesday morning and arrived just as the rain was tapering off.  I had a general strategy planned to let Sigi see the sights by walking him around the grounds, but to conserve his energy for the class.  I did get on him once early in the day during the height of the "baby" classes to see how he would react to all the commotion.  He was fine, so we just walked around admiring the babies.  Actually, I was admiring the babies; Sigi was admiring their mothers!

If you have never been to Devon, you would be amazed at the very small warm-up area.  Combine the small size with the rain-soaked, sloppy footing and you have the setting for a wild warm-up!  No longeing is allowed at Devon due to the cramped conditions, so a few of the twenty-seven riders had their hands full of excited 4-year-old exuberance.  In addition, there were upper level horses piaffeing and passaging, and youngsters coming and going from the in-hand classes.  There were also spectators in the schooling area!  It was fun though to see the spectators watch Sigi and then consult their programs to try to figure out his breed.  I wondered how many of them knew what an "M" was!  Of course the huge warmbloods were all warming up in high gear and Sigi and I were often directly in their paths.  However, with the help of my trainer, Paul Belasik, Sigi and I regained our confidence and were soon ready to enter the ring.

After all the anxiety and terror, I was surprised to find that I felt amazingly calm once we were in the Dixon Oval.  Sigi went to work as if it were just another day.  I was so proud of him for his bravery and trust!  Show management had split the class, so there were a mere 14 horses in the ring which was a lot better than the twenty-seven I had envisioned during my sleepless nights.  Sigi got a little nervous when a cantering 17-hand behemoth crowded us, but he held his ground and kept his wits about him until the horse moved on.  The class was long, especially the canter, but it was truly a blast to be riding a trustworthy horse in the famed Dixon Oval in the shadow of that well-known sign which reads "Where Champions Meet"!

After we proudly collected our purple 7th place ribbon, I had wonderful comments from many people, including several spectators who sought me out to say they were "rooting for the Morgan"!  My debut in the Dixon Oval was a great day and one I will never forget.  My most lasting impression of the day was how Sigi, with his Morgan sensibility, trust and loyalty "came through" for me, as he always does. 

Pictured below is Sigi with Rita taken during their Dressage at Devon Debut.


On May 3rd 2002, Sigi's first foal arrived much to the delight of breeder Janette Giles of Bangor Maine and the Hanson Family. He was named "Sigi's First Impression" aka "Spencer". He was everything we had hoped for and more! Five more beautiful foals were born that year and set the stage for wonderful things yet to come. You can read about Sigi's offspring and see pictures in the Offspring pages. You can also read comments from their owners and breeders in the Guest Book. Spencer is pictured below at 2 weeks of age.
In the fall of 2003, the Hanson Family made a big leap and moved Sigi home from the training facility to the Hanson Farm. Sigi's first companion at home was a mini gelding named Bam Bam, and Sigi was later joined by his 2003 son, Battersea Thaddeus (aka "Tat"). Below is a picture of Sigi and Bam Bam on the day that Bam Bam arrived.

Sigi lived a quiet existence with the Hanson Family for the next 3 years. During that time, Sigi continued his dressage training with Rita, and proved himself as an exceptional breeding stallion. Sigi's oldest offspring turned four years old in the spring of 2006, and it was very exciting and gratifying to see the consistent high quality of these horses from a very varied sample of mares. It became obvious that Sigi was consistently passing on his excellent conformation, his beautiful movement, his kind and courageous temperament and his lovely, expressive eye.

In October 2006, Sigi was purchased by Marthe Reynolds of New Paltz, New York. He now lives and works at Roseview Farm in Millbrook New York. Sigi is continuing his dressage career with Marthe and stands at stud at Roseview to outside mares. You can keep up with Sigi's life by visiting the News page frequently. Also, please visit Roseview Farm Website at

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