Despite the orthodox line that the thoroughbred and the sport horse are going in different directions in reality we see something different. There is an increasing demand for quality horses
in all disciplines at all levels. The really vital consideration is that most riders do not ride at an elite level, and want to do a wide range of activities. The TB or 3/4 TB horse can be ideal for this, especially as their smaller physique and size is more suited to female riders, and there is the added bonus that they will tend to eat less, last longer and go through fewer sets of shoes! In other words the warm blood world appears to have focussed on elite physical performance to the detriment of producing an all round riding horse.
Elite dressage horses are a major product of warm blood stud books and in this area the idea of using thoroughbred blood is sometimes considered foolish.……but look again at this group of 50 outstanding thoroughbred sires in the pedigrees of top dressage horses:
COTTAGE SON, FURIOSO, RANTZAU, LADYKILLER, LUCKY BOY, Pharos (UK), Hyperion (UK), Pik As (Germany), Monitor (Germany), Belgorod (Germany), Praefectus (Germany), Wild Risk (France), Neckar (Germany), Marlon (Germany), Pindar (Germany), Valentino (Germany), Angelo (Germany), Djebel (France), Relic (France), Koridon (Holland), Anblik (Germany), Der Loewe (Germany), Bleep (Germany), Ecuador (Germany), Poet (Germany), Steinpilz (Germany), Marcio (Germany), Waidmannsdank (Germany), Chanteur (UK), Court Martial (UK), Hornbeam (UK), Abyss (UK), High Top (UK), Tremolo (France), Busoni (Germany), Oliveri (Germany), Caramel (Germany), Go To Bann (Ireland), Bassompierre (Ireland), Manolete (Germany & Denmark), Paren (Germany), Wiesenbaum (Germany), Pericles (Holland), Pasteur (Germany), Le Val Blanc (France), Perser (Germany), Mago (Germany), Afrikaner (Holland), No Robbery (USA), Turner (France), Lauries Crusador (Germany), Hand in Glove (France), Black Sky (Germany) & Prince Thatch (Germany).
Although the thoroughbred sires listed above are seldom mentioned as thoroughbreds they appear in literally thousands of pedigrees. They usually appear without even a XX to denote thoroughbred, often purely for the simple reason that there is not the room on the pedigree sheet for any details of breeding after the second generation.
SUPERSTARS PAST AND PRESENT
……And look again at last weeks blog about the breeding of dressage superstars Granat, Corlandus, Olympic Bonfire, Ravel and Krack C…and of course don’t forget that Reiner Klimke’s Ahlerich was half TB, and that Herbert Rehbein’s favourite stallion, Pik Koenig, the sire of his beloved multi Grand Prix winner and outstanding stallion Pik Bube, was also half thoroughbred. (Herbert Rehbein remains the most revered German Grand Prix dressage trainer of the modern era.)
…..And look again at recent Verden dressage sales and the increasing quality of modern dressage horses. There is an important current influence of thoroughbred horses as competitors realise that the wow factor of modern dressage is enhanced by the quality and lightness of the TB. In Verden just a few weeks ago Westpoint was judged the 6 year old World Dressage Champion. He is half thoroughbred, carrying the genes of the thoroughbred horses Furioso, Dark Ronald, Le Val Blanc, Anblick and Hyperion. As you can see he is full of quality.
The British born LAURIES CRUSADOR (1985), a grandson of High Top, is a producer of real dressage talent and has had an enormous impact on the Hanoverian stud book. The fact that he was proclaimed Hanoverian Stallion of the Year 2006 at the Hanoverian Stallion Licensing in Verden, Germany is proof that German breeders are more open minded than many give them credit for. Lauries Crusador has had a considerable influence on the Hanoverian breed with 349 mares registered into the Studbook, 103 of which are State Premium mares. He has also sired 50 licensed sons, 13 of which are registered in the Premium Stallion register. Just look at his beauty.
He also has 546 registered competition horses. Some of Lauries Crusador's most successful offspring in sport include Le Bo (ranked 3rd in 2005 at the German Dressage Championships for lady riders under Carola Koppelmann), the former Verden elite auction horse Lesotho (part of the Olympic team in Athens), the stallion Louis Heslegard (part of the Greek Olympic team) and Le Primeur (competed at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen for Switzerland).
LAURENTIANER, LONDONDERRY & LAURENTIO
Three of Lauries Crusador’s sons are outstanding: LAURENTIANER (1994) won the 2000 World Young Dressage Horse title at Arnhem, while the equisite LONDONDERRY (1995) was champion of the Hannoverian stallion licensing in 1997, and went on to win the 4 year old class at the Bundeschampionate in 1999, while his son Londontime was sold for the sensational price of €510,000. Finally LAURENTIO (1999) is also making a big name for himself as a dressage sire and was in big demand last year.
BOLERO, MANDIBA, JULIO MARINER & MASTER IMP
The 3/4 thoroughbred ‘Hannoverian’ stallion BOLERO (1975) has had regular success with his offspring at the highest level of Dressage, often from half bred mares. All these horses are registered as Hannoverians even though they have a majority of TB blood. His offspring, known as the "Bolero Boom," continue to make their mark on the dressage scene. As of 2004, there were 364 Bolero offspring competing….285 in dressage, 65 jumpers and 14 event horses. Three of his descendants, his daughter Brentina, son Beauvalais and grandson Bonaparte, all medaled at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, with Beauvalais winning the individual bronze medal. He has been sire of the champion three year old at the German breed championships an amazing five times. In his nine seasons at stud, he sired 47 licensed stallions, including the champion of his year, Buenos Aires. His most influential stallion sons have been the Brentanos I & II and Bismarck. His son Beltain was the sire of the Champion Six year old horse at the 2005 Bundeschampionate, Bellissimo. Bolero is also the sire of 317 registered broodmares, of whom 96 were awarded State Premium status. What is so extraordinary is that he achieved this in just four years at stud as he died suddenly when just a twelve year old.
Bolero is by a thoroughbred stallion Black Sky, who just happens to be a half brother of Camenae, who was the dam of High Top. Therefore he is related to Laurie’s Crusador whose dam sire is High Top. In addition Black Sky's damsire was Court Martial (a grandson of both Fairway and Hurry On), who is also in Laurie's Crusador sire's pedigree…. so the story of the good families and the right genes continue..and to my great delight my successful event horse family, led by Karen O'Connor's Mandiba and Zara Phillip's High Kingdom, are also strongly related to Bolero and Lauries Crusador with a number of sires in common including Djebel, Hyperion, Court Martial, Tourbillon, Hurry On, Umidwar and Pinza. As you can see here the quality of the paces of Mandiba and High Kingdom has never been in doubt.
All these horses are also related to two of the most successful thoroughbred sires of performance horses in Europe, Julio Mariner and Master Imp. In particular the dressage sire Lauries Crusador and the jumping
sire Julio Mariner are strongly related, as are Julio Mariner and the event sire Master Imp who share the genes of Djebel, Phalaris, and Hyperion among others.
WILD RISK & DRESSAGE, SHOW JUMPING AND EVENTING
As we have saw last week this connection between the disciplines is not that uncommon. The High Top connection between Lauries Crusador and Bolero gives an opportunity to mention one of the great sires that I may have neglected, the Rialto sire WILD RISK -1940. (I would like to thank one of our Barnmice members, Vineyridge, for pointing me in the right direction here.) He is in the pedigree of many event horses, including Gilt Edge,Custom Made and Biko, but if he had been given more of a chance in the overall sport horse world there is no telling how successful he might have been. Wild Risk makes a connection between a number of high level sires from all three disciplines. The dressage sires mentioned above, Lauries Crusador and Bolero, the show jumping sires Julio Mariner and Maykel, and the event sires Bassompierre and Miners Lamp.
In brief...Wild Risk is the sire of among others Vimy, Worden, and Exilio. Vimy is the grandsire of High Top; Worden is the grandsire of Julio Mariner, and Exilio the sire of Maykel. While Bassompierre (the sire of David O'Connor's Gold Medalist Custom Made and dam sire of Pippa Funnells double Badminton winner Supreme Rock) is 25% Wild Risk, and Miner's Lamp (the sire of individual Hong Kong eventing bronze medalist Miner's Frolic) is another son of High Top. There are also other small connections that bring all these horses together. For good measure Wild Risk also sired both Dutch jumping stallion Grand Empereur, and Le Fabuleux (who was the Grand Sire of Karen O'Connor's Biko) and a daughter, Runaway Bride, who was the dam of Blushing Groom.
Blushing groom was top two year old on the flat in France, and Vimy, Worden and Le Fabuleux were also racehorses of the highest class. So, just as many say, it does at first appear that we need to keep finding new sires from the highest levels of flat racing for the sport horse world, just as is done with steeplechase breeding. However this is financially impossible given the modern big money world of elite flat racing, which is why the warm blood breeders say the only option is to go to their stallions. Then one looks at my five Gods of the warm blood world and their rather insignificant racing careers, and it is obvious to see that the next generation of thoroughbred stallion Gods in the sport horse world would NOT have to be top racehorses...but almost certainly they will have relations who have performed at a high level, at distances beyond sprinting, and a solid sprinkling of the genes mentioned in these articles. They will almost certainly also have a great temperament, great paces and great athletism.....
...and they will be versatile stallions. Just four years ago continental breeders lost one of the most popular and versatile sires, the thoroughbred Heraldik. This black stallion stood in Germany, competed at S-level in show jumping, and had two crosses of Nearco, two of Hurry On and two of Tourbillon. Heraldik produced advanced horses in all disciplines including Ingrid Klimke’s top event horse Butts Abraxxcus and has 14 approved sons in Germany, Denmark and the USA. Heraldik`s legacy lives on in Royaldik, a licensed stallion out of Heraldik`s full sister Herka. Heraldik was licensed with almost every German breed society, including the Arabian studbook.
PRINCE THATCH & ECUADOR
The German National Stud has also made huge use of their stunningly beautiful thoroughbred stallion PRINCE THATCH (1982), by Thatch, and he is in the top 10 of dressage sires. Sadly he died in 2004.
The same success in modern German dressage breeding has been achieved by another TB sire ECUADOR (1965), by the Hyperion son Hornbeam. Several Ecuador progeny have been the top-priced lots of the Verden elite sales, for example Ecuyer and Epaminon. In addition to many state premium mares, Ecuador produced four approved stallions for the Hanoverian Stud book: Eklatant, Eldorado, Egerlander, and Exquisit. ….and once again the same blood lines come through. Apart from two crosses of Hyperion, Ecuador has two crosses of Pharos, one of his brother Fairway, one cross of Son-In-Law and one of Blenheim….and once again I emphasise that what is being passed on is not just the physical qualities but the all important mental qualities.
A RESPONSE TO READERS INTEREST
This was going to be my last blog for the time being on breeding, but in response to the huge response from readers to this series I have extended this dressage breeding blog and am adding one extra blog next week. I will be making some important conclusions and looking at ways forward for the thoroughbred in the sport horse world...and I have one very special story to relate about a 15.3 seventeen year old half arab horse ....so what type and level of competition do you think would suit this horse?? The answer may surprise you...Happy Days....William