by Dr. Maren Engelhardt for Eurodressage
This year, a total of 40 Trakehner colts had been selected to gather in the Holstenhallen in Neumünster in North Germany for the 57th edition of the International Trakehner Stallion Licensing.
The breed produces roughly 800 foals per year in Germany, and those limited numbers are now apparent in the fact that only about 100 colts show up for the pre-selection trials during August of each year. And since breeding is after all a numbers game, improvement of breeding quality on the basis of these low numbers is not easy.
In 2019, we saw a very heterogeneous crop of young horses, with generally improved free jumping and better hoof quality than in previous years, but also questionable development in the overall quality of the walk. More on that later.
Ferrari Forever Champion of the 2019 Licensing
The new Champion stallion is the grey Ferrari Forever (by Helium – Impetus – Trocadero). Ferrari Forever was bred by Dagobert Vester and is owned by Austrian Hans-Jörg Gasser, who acquired the colt at the Trakehner foal auction in Hanover.
Ferrari Forever was the most complete of the young stallions this year, with a strikingly elegant silhouette, good proportions in his body, and three clearly above-average gaits with particularly noteworthy balance in his light-footed canter. The stallion displayed excellent manners and while somewhat a Champion for the second glance, he certainly had every right to be the Number 1 in this field.
It was encouraging to see the commission placing him 1st despite the fact that he was not for sale and could therefore not contribute to the auction revenue. And one more observation: Ferrari Forever looked like a 2-year old – a very well-developed 2-year old, but clearly a horse that was not pushed beyond the limits of his body, and with a lot of positive maturation ahead of him. Kudos to his team for preparing this jewel in such a way.
Tempelhof, aka Taryk, Reserve Champion
The Reserve Champion Tempelhof (aka Taryk, by Lücke – Hirtentanz – Caanitz) was awarded the best jumper prize and comes from a family of accomplished show jumpers and eventers.
The bay colt, bred and owned by Gisela Gunia, had a lot of fans in Neumünster – in fact some commentators thought he would have been a deserving Champion as well. For a jumper-bred horse, Tempelhof expressed very good basic gaits as well and is a great example of how jumper blood can be a profitable addition to any sport horse pedigree, no matter which discipline one favors.
Much like the Champion, this stallion had not been drilled into perfect form for a stallion approval, but rather left room for imagination regarding his future development. Tempelhof sold at auction for 78,000 Euro to Dr. Elke Söchtig of Gestüt Elmarshausen in Hessia. Hopefully the stallion will get a shot at a performance career.
Four Premium Stallions in Total
Only two other stallions received premiums this year, a clear sign from the approval commission. A crowd favorite was the radiant chestnut Karim Doré (by Perpignan Noir – Insterburg TSF – Freudenfest), who was bred by Bernhard Nagel and presented by Mr. Nagel in partnership with Anton Schindele. It was with this chestnut that opinions differed quite significantly. The stallion is maximally elastic and supple, with a lofty front end and a good jump, but he tends to move with a hollow back, picking up his neck quite a bit and his topline often appears too soft. Overall, the stallion could have carried himself more with haunches that truly stepped under his center of gravity. Sport riders questioned whether this form of elasticity is really helpful for under saddle work. In his at liberty phase, the stallion showed very good balance and certainly a lot of uphill lift in his front end, but again, the back end didn’t carry his weight. Karim Doré sold at auction for 59,000 to Astrid Neumayer in Austria.
The 4th premium was awarded to Kronberg (by Schwarzgold – Latimer TSF – Kennedy), who was bred by ZG Schneider/Breithecker and owned by Sabine Oberdieck. In the typical fashion of his sire Schwarzgold, Kronberg impressed as a spectacular “front end” horse, but left things to be desired when it came to the lightness of his poll, and carrying his body from behind. The stallion tended to cross-canter in tight turns during the at liberty phase and could have been a bit more supple over his topline, which was also evident in his free jumping. Kronberg sold at auction for 50,000 euro to Berlin.
Fourteen Licensed in Total
Other approved stallions included the very athletic grey Blancor (by Adorator – Suchard – Anduc), who comes from one of the top sport horse lines of the breed and was bred by the late Dr. Ursula Mittermayer. Owned by Christina Weißenberger, this versatile stallion showed much promise for the Trakehner breed’s strongest discipline (eventing), but had many fans across disciplines that appreciated his light-footedness and nobility. He sold at auction for 26,000 Euro to Schleswig-Holstein and will be heading for a performance career.
Karakallis (by High Motion – Hofrat – Arogno) was bred by Barbara Jörn and owned by the Karakallis Consortium. The stallion comes from a long line of successful dressage horses and displayed good balance and rhythm, with the typical elegance of his sire High Motion added to the mix. Again it remains to be seen if the horse will develop the strength to follow through with an upper level career. He went back to his owners.
A very positive surprise was the pinto Grenoble (by Marseille – Brioni – Indian Boy), with an outcross pedigree and the flashy coat color that you either love or hate. But regardless of his colour – he would have been pink with purple spots – this was an athletic horse that basically could do no wrong and excelled both over jumps and in his at liberty performance. The stallion was bred by Ulfried Zinnow and owned by Renate Weber. He sold at auction for 24,000 Eeuro to North Rhine-Westfalia.
The approved Heaven Dancer (by Kentucky - Kaiser Wilhelm TSF - Ibikus) was another guest from Denmark who left the Holstenhallen as a new stallion. He was bred by Mette Hansen and is owned by Kingston Park Warmbloods in Australia. The stallion was not for sale. Heaven Dancer comes from a family that has recently added a big footprint to Trakehner dressage breeding, particularly via the Danish-bred Blue Hors Hertug and the young Helium. The strong and substantial Heaven Dancer truly stands for the slogan "Trakehners worldwide" - bred in Denmark, and acquired by his Austrian owners at the foal auction 2 years ago, he was raised and prepared for Neumünster in Austria and is now heading for his performance test to begin his breeding career.
Three sons of the omnipresent Millennium made it to the final ring (again) and it is certainly debatable how many more Trakehners of this particular type need to be approved, considering the small number of foals the breed produces every year and the therefore inevitable narrowing of the gene pool. Of the three Millennium sons, one was asked to be re-presented after his performance test due to the “limited quality of his walk” in NMS. While we appreciate the candor of the approval commission, the question remains how the walk should magically get better under saddle. And it is downright sad when the breed director later concedes that the traditionally excellent walk quality of Trakehner stallions is currently not quite so great due to “current developments in the population”.
Two of the final 3 Millennium sons were approved: Kiranga (dam by Kasimir – Tambour), bred by Ulrike Uekermann-Bitter and owned by Christiane and Norbert Camp sold at auction for 30,000 Euro to Lower Saxony, while Blues and Royals (dam by Münchhausen TSF – Kostolany), bred by Jane Paulicka and owned by the breeder in partnership with Swiss Andrea Aebi sold at auction for 50,000 euro to Switzerland. Blues and Royals actually had a good, clear 4-beat walk and was a very attractive horse, certainly profiting from a successful dam line. Overall though, the question remains just how many more of these dark bay/black types of horses need to find a home in the breed.
Also approved was the grey Infinity (by Octavio – Buddenbrock – Amiego), bred by Dietrich Pulz and owned by Hendrik Reinelt. This scopey jumper is the last son of his 27-year old sire, the international eventer Octavio and with that, was a genetic rarity based on his almost historic performance bloodlines. Infinity sold at auction for 27,000 Euro to Pamela Duffy who operates Sunsprite Ranch LLC in California. Interestingly, this stallion looked more like a complete sport horse on the triangle than many dressage-bred colts this year, which is a development that cannot be good for fans of the Trakehner dressage horse. Elegance and a beautiful front arm are not enough to work at the upper levels.
In that context, a new stallion with much more push from behind and the ability to step off the ground more convincingly was Kublitz (by Prinz K3 – Imperio – Gajus), who is a very close maternal relative to the two Grand Prix dressage stallions Kaiserdom TSF and Kaiserkult TSF. The stallion also offers a refreshingly new stallion line for the breed, which finds its origin with the Anglo Arabian Upan la Jarthe AA. Kublitz was bred and owned by Jørgen Steen Jensen from Denmark, and ended up going back to Denmark via the auction for 26,000 euro.
Next in line of the approved stallions was the very leggy, tall bay Tantalos (by Sir Oliver – Herzruf – Grafenstolz TSF), bred and owned by Hessische Hausstiftung Panker and sold at auction for 51,000 euro to Berlin. This very leggy, tall yet still narrow stallion had great presence and nice self-carriage, but compared to his performance during the pre-selections in August, seemed almost stiff in the hind end, although he still produced a lot of impulsion. Hopefully this is simply a growth spurt, as he was otherwise a very interesting type and has a very well-rounded pedigree with some serious performance blood in the background.
The last in the list of 14 new stallions was the dark bay Sturmpfeil (by Under Fire – Sixtus – Benny the Dip xx), bred and owned by the Blömer family from East Germany, and also presented by owner Cornelia Blömer. This horse oozed power and toughness, and neighbors in the stands were overheard claiming that he was the type you could ride to Russia and back – without shoes. Indeed this was an ample way of describing this ambitious youngster. Sturmpfeil sold for 17,000 Euro to Jürgen Kurbel, a member of the German National Eventing Squad, and will most likely also head towards a performance career.
Interesting Horses in the Sport Horse Auction
Apart from the approvals, the Trakehner weekend in Neumünster also hosts mare, foal and riding horse auctions. The mare auction is a classic hit every year, and 2019 proved to be no exception. The 2-year old filly Nightingale, a stunning liver chestnut daughter of Scaglietti – Interconti - Herzruf, bred and owned by Bente Retoft, sold for 70,000 Euro to Denmark. She was the type of horse that (dressage) dreams are made of.
The top selling foal was the chestnut stallion prospect Feldstein (by Freiherr von Stein – Amadelio – Handryk) from the breeding program of Peter Kunath in East Germany. He found a new home in North-Rhine Westfalia for 20,000 Euro.
The riding horse auction was hit by the withdrawal of some of the most anticipated candidates in the lot and therefore didn’t run quite as high in prices as one would have liked. Top seller was Nahimba (by Münchhausen TSF – Monteverdi TSF – Acatenango xx), bred by Oliver Rollwage and owned by Valerie Rollwage. The proven performance mare sold for 28,000 Euros to Mecklenburg.
Lilli’s Marleen, Trakehner Mare Champion
The National Mare Championship, another traditional Neumünster highlight, saw the chestnut Lilli’s Marleen (by Kentucky – Rheinklang), bred by Hartmut Gremmes and owned by Christina Gremmes at the top of the field. The Reserve Champion title was awarded to Königin der Nacht (by Ivanhoe – Kostolany), bred and owned by Ilonka Danowski.
Second Reserve Champion was the grey Kasside HS (by Octavian – Lehndorff’s, bred and owned by Herbert-Stefan Schümann.
Cayenne RS Wins 2019 Trakehner Dressage Championship
The Trakehner Dressage Championship, a yearly highlight with the most successful national dressage horses of the season competing in Neumünster, saw Cayenne RS (by Imperio – Kaiserdom TSF, bred by Hubertus Poll, owned by Dr. Roland Böhmisch and Sylvie Bender) as the winning horse. Expertly ridden by Ralf Kornprobst, this very talented gelding won both the first round and the freestyle and took top honors in this prestigious field.
Text by Dr. Maren Engelhardt for Eurodressage
Photos © Stephan Bischoff