Breeding British

Promoting excellence in British Breeding

Category: Competition Reports (Page 1 of 2)

British Stallion Event 2017 – Show Jumping

The British Stallion Event, held at Bury Farm on Saturday 7th January 2017, was split into sections for each of the Olympic disciplines. The first stallions forward were in the eventing section, covered in a previous article. These were followed by the SHOW JUMPERS.

Show jumping breeding in the UK has been on a high in recent years. Some of the best international horses in the world such as Diva II (Ben Maher), Ursula (Scott Brash), Argento (John Whitaker) and Bintang II (Laura Renwick) have all been bred here. However there is not yet a feeling in this country that we really can breed horses as good as anywhere else in the world.

There were 20 stallions forward in this section, with a mixture of young stallions at the start of their careers to international superstars of the highest order. British breeders who don’t wish to import semen from the continent, certainly have plenty of choice of both type and bloodlines.

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British Stallion Event 2017 – Dressage

The largest section of stallions forward were being showcased for dressage. There were 25 stallions entered in this section, 3 of which were pony stallions and 1 who did not come forward.

Most of the commentary in this section was provided by Lynne Crowden (Woodlander Stud) whose in depth knowledge of bloodlines means she can ad-lib where the provided commentary notes fall short, and her enthusiasm and passion added greatly to the event. I don’t think the importance of the right commentator can be stressed enough when trying to engage the audience.

It was generally agreed among the spectators that the standard of presentation is improving each year, and there were a few stallions forward that were as good a standard as you would find at the stallion shows in mainland Europe.

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British Stallion Event 2017 – Eventing

The British Stallion Event, was held for the second time at Bury Farm on Saturday 7th January 2017. There were individual sections for each of the Olympic disciplines and this year another section was added for dual purpose stallions. The first section to come forward was EVENTING.

There were only 9 stallions forward in this category, which was one more than last year but still disappointing given that the UK should be a powerhouse of eventing breeding.

3 entries in this section will be reviewed in the Pony stallion article, leaving 6 to cover here.

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BD Nationals Day 4


The final day of the championships also saw the final rounds of the Shearwater Young Horse Championships which included test rider Eva Moller riding the 4 finalists in each section. As on the first day, the British Hanoverian Hawtins San Floriana shone and headed the 4 year old class, with the licensed AES stallion River Rise Magic Mike in 2nd.

Hawtins San Floriana

Hawtins San Floriana

In the 5 year old class, Mount St John’s homebred daughter of Totilas – MSJ Top Secret finshed as the eventual reserve champion and the reserve champion of the 6 year olds was British bred  F.J Veryon.

The Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold Championship saw a top five placing for the Scottish bred Don Caledonia. Bred by Rea Campbell the 9 year old is a son of internationally acclaimed stallion Don Schufro. Also of interest in this class was the British based and active stallion Don Dante, a stallion carrying the valuable Hanoverian bloodlines of Dancier.

The Childeric Sadles Elementary Gold Championship was won by none other than Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin, but riding a British bred horse – Brioso II. The official program stated she was bred in Germany, when in fact Brioso was bred by Nicole Nelson. She purchased her granddam Worena in Germany and bred her to the sensational sire Dimaggio. That mare – Da Capo Aria was then bred to the German stallion Benetton Dream. Nicole selected him as a 3yo as she was impressed by his long legged modern frame and that all 3 paces were good and that he also had a very solid performance pedigree (Brentano II x Rotspon). He was the 3yo Bundeschampion and is now at Grand Prix. Brioso is owned by Carl Hester and shows super talent for the future so fingers crossed she is on the way to becoming another Grand Prix star for the team.

Brioso II - courtesy of British Dressage

Brioso II – courtesy of British Dressage

In 2nd place in the championship was another British bred 6 year old- – F.J Veryon who had done so well in the young horse championships. And completing a strong British showing in this class was the 4th place of MFS French Noir, a 7 year old gelding by French Kiss who was bred by Caroline Ironside of Morayforth Stud in Scotland.


BD Nationals – Day 3


The third day of the championships are among the most interesting for me as they showcase emerging young talent with the preliminary rounds of the Shearwater Young Horse Championships. In both the 4 and 5 year old sections, 50% of the field was British bred. What was even more exciting was that the top four 4 year olds that went through to final judging on the Sunday, were British.

Outstanding from the start was the British Hanoverian Hawtins San Floriana. Judith Hawtin’s breeding program is really reaping the rewards as not only did she have San Floriana competing here but also her homebred dam Hawtins Floriana in the Intermediate I and Hawtins Barolo in the 5 year olds. A further Hawtins bred gelding is covered in our report on the Medium Championship. San Floriana is a lovely big quality mare with active paces and you feel there is even more to come.  She is sired by the Sandro Hit son San Amour with Florestan and Weltmeyer further back.

The only other 4 year old to score over 8 points in the first round of judging was the licensed AES stallion River Rise Magic Mike bred and jointly owned by Sarah Tyler Evans and ridden by his other owner Sadie Smith. A modern type, clearly showing his Dutch heritage, the stallion was very active and forward with good jump to the canter. He is a son of the British based stallion T.Movistar who is a son of the hot but potent sire Jazz. Previously competed by Carl Hester up to small tour level he had been covering quite large books of mares so it will be interesting to see if his son proves as popular.

River Rise Magic Mike

River Rise Magic Mike

In third place was the Lickley’s Vivaldi son Hennessy T, so another carrying the blood of Jazz. And in 4th was further Dutch sired horse with the Johnson daughter Little Tree J’Adore, bred by the Woolleys.

The 5 year old first round judging did not see such high scores as the 4 year olds. But again 50% of the field was British bred. The highest score from the first round was Mount St John’s homebred daughter of Totilas – MSJ Top Secret. Top Secret is a daughter of the Bundeschampion Deja’vu FBW and there is a younger full sister waiting in the wings. Sadly the rest of the top four at this stage were imported stock.

There were only 3 British bred 6 year olds forward out of the 10 entrants, but this included the hugely talented F.J Veryon, a previous 4 year old champion. Ridden for owner/breeder Fiona James by Paul Hayler, the big chestnut son of Vivaldi was supple across his topline with good elasticity and earned the highest score from day one. The second highest score was another British bred, this time Carl Hester’s mare Brioso II ridden by Charlotte Dujardin. The lovely mare was not presented for the final but her pedigree will be analysed in the Day Four report. The final British horse that did go through to the final four was the Blue Hors Zack x Mooiman daughter Full Fusion ridden by Hannah Moody.

The Lemieux Grand Prix was the highlight of Saturday and it was encouraging to see a number of British bred contestants in the line-up including eventual 4th and Olympic short-listed WG Rubins Nite. The 12 year old son of leading Oldenburg stallion Rubin Royal is out of a Limbo dam. Limbo was a Hanoverian son of Lanthan who stood in the UK for a number of years.

WG Rubins Nite

WG Rubins Nite

The TopSpec Medium Gold Championship saw 35% of the field bred in the UK, with the highest placed another representative of the fabulous Hawtins Stud. This was 5th placed Hawtins Horatio, a son of the Grand Prix stallion Hotline out of one of Judith’s foundation mares World’s Finest by the legendary Weltmeyer. Worlds Finest is also the granddam of the 4yo champion.

Also worth noting in such a strong class (that was won by the Olympic champion) was the 6th place of the pony mare Ode to Shannon. This neat little mare is a daughter of the little used stallion Washington Postman. He was a Thoroughbred who evented successfully up to intermediate level but didn’t leave that many offspring behind. Ode to Shannon represented Great Britain at the 2016 Pony Europeans.

British Dressage National Championships – Day Two

Day two of the Nationals started with the Dodson & Horrell Novice Gold Championship, a big class that saw 12 of the 35 entries being bred in this country. The highest placed British entry was Nikki Crisp and the Mooiman daughter Daneth Even Song. Bred by Amanda Street, the Dutch damline has produced some good international show jumpers quite close up. Her sire Mooiman competed to Grand Prix level and has stood at Holdenfold Stud in Lancashire for a number of years.



Following the Novice in the LeMieux Arena was the Saracens Horse Feeds Intermediate I Gold Championship. There were three offspring of the late Dimaggio competing, but the highest placed British bred horse was the Bechtolsheimer’s homebred Kristjan, who was third ridden by Lara Griffith. Kristjan is a son of the Elite Trakehner stallion Polarion who was also owned by the Bechtolsheimers, and competed successfully to Grand Prix. He is probably best known as the sire of Grafenstolz but has produced some talented stock for his owners.

Although some of our top Para riders were away at Rio, there were still strong classes at Stoneleigh. Overall 2nd  from the Grade II category, was yet another Dimaggio daughter – Dior ridden by Erin Orford.

The Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver Championship is possibly even more hotly contested than the Gold equivalent. In a great result for British breeding, 4 out of the top 5 were bred on UK soil. 2nd placed Hillgrounds Wolkenhall was bred by Clare Skinner from Devon out of her imported Dutch mare Akilah (Sandreo) by the British based stallion Wolkenderry. Hillgrounds Wolkenhall is a graduate of the BEF Futurity evaluations and although his sire is now gelded, there is still semen available. In 3rd place, and also representing a British based stallion was Burlyns Ginger Bug ridden by Sonnar Murray-Brown. Ginger Bug is by the Grand Prix stallion Catherston Springsteen who has produced successful offspring in every discipline from showing to eventing and of course dressage.



Dimaggio showed his influence again by siring 4th placed Half Moon Di Vinci who carries the great blood of Donnerhall a second time through his dam. Half Moon Stud have of course already bred an Olympic performer (Half Moon Delphi by Dimaggio) and another leading British stud that was represented in this class was Romanno Stud. They bred the 5th placed Romanno Quest who is a son of yet another Grand Prix stallion in Quando-Quando out of a mare by the legendary Rubinstein.

The final class of the day was the TopSpec Medium Silver Championship. The Champion was Salsa Hit, bred by Margaret Lister by the British based stallion Samba Hit III. Samba Hit III is one of a succession of talented siblings that include World Young Horse Champion Poetin. Salsa Hit’s dam Venice Lady is a Dutch bred mare with a strong jumping pedigree. Her sire Riverman is considered a true dual purpose sire, and competed up to 1.40m show jumping and advanced dressage, before being exported to the USA where he has been a very valuable sire.

Salsa Hit was the 2015 Elementary Restricted Champion, again ridden by Dan Greenwood’s stable jockey Ashley Jenkins. Ashley bought Salsa Hit as a young horse from his breeder and has produced him through the ranks. How superb to see a talented young British rider buying her next top prospect from a British breeder.

Salsa Hit (courtesy of British Dressage)

Salsa Hit (courtesy of British Dressage)

BD Nationals 2016 – Day One

My overriding impression from the BD Nationals this year, was that British bred horses are more than holding their own, but British Dressage really could do so much more to support British breeders. The catalogue was an improvement on previous years with a better layout showing the sire, dam sire and country of origin in the main class listing. However there appeared to be no space to name the breeder, and the information was not always accurate. Given that a copy of the horse’s passport has to be sent to BD upon registration, I am surprised that the catalogue for the Nationals appears to have been generated from the competitor’s entry forms, rather than pulled off the BD database. This meant that there were some avoidable errors.

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British Breeding at Burghley

Just 12 British bred horses tackled the cross country at Burghley. For a nation that boasts the best eventing circuit in the world, with two of the most important international events, are we just not breeding the right horses? Are we not breeding them in enough volume, or are we not producing them correctly as young horses?

Of the twelve that did make it, 1 has unrecorded breeding, so his bloodlines clearly cannot be assessed. Of the remainder, can we glean any clues as to what genetics or bloodline combinations really worked to produce genuine 4 star contenders.

The best of the British

NZL-Jonelle Price (CLASSIC MOET) INTERIM-21ST: CCI4* CROSS COUNTRY: 2014 GER-Luhmühlen International Horse Trial (Saturday 14 June) CREDIT: Libby Law COPYRIGHT: LIBBY LAW PHOTOGRAPHY - NZL

Classic Moet

The outstanding British bred horse once again was Classic Moet. This lovely Thoroughbred mare was so fast and fluent over one of the toughest of courses, and recorded the fastest time of the day. Her breeder Elaine Hepworth chose traditional British eventing breeding lines. Classic Moet’s sire Classic sired a number of decent eventers and show ring winners (such as RIHS winner High Treason), and although he hailed from the North American sire line of Northern Dancer, he had very interesting French blood on the dam’s sire through Sicambre (who has been seen in eventing pedigrees).  Classic is still available through frozen semen.

Classic Moet’s dam was a former advanced eventer herself, by the former HIS sire Bohemond. As well as Classic Moet, she also produced another advanced horse in Classic Piper. Bohemond is also the dam sire of the Olympic eventer Winsome Adante and directly the sire of the regular Belgian team horse Withcote Nellie.

Classic Moet eventually finished 3rd and earned Elaine the highest placed British bred horse award and as the highest placed British bred mare, she also won two embryo transfers donated by Twemlows.

In my analysis of the dressage and show jumping bloodlines of the Olympic horses, it was clear that a stallion that had himself competed internationally seemed more likely to produce an international horse himself. In this instance it is the dam who provides the proven competition record.

Finishing in 12th place was Treason another SHB(GB) registered horse. Bred by Preci Spark Stud (Vin and Elizabeth Jones) he is another star to have at least 1 parent with a serious competition record. His sire Hand in Glove was an international show jumper and his dam Welton Lady actually won the Burghley Young Event Horse Championship in 1996. Welton Lady is a daughter of Welton Crackerjack who was an advanced eventer himself and sire of multiple 4 star winners.

Treason was a promising young horse winning the Young Horse Evaluation Final (a precursor to the current BEF Futurity) and competed at the European Young Horse Championships. He rose successfully through the ranks and was long listed for the 2012 Olympics.

Top Thirty

4 British bred horses appear in the top 21 to 30 places. The homebred Mr Potts and Louise Harwood finished 34th. The son of the ISH stallion Old Leighlin was bred by Louise’s mother Jackie Skelton. Mr Potts carries quite a lot of Irish Draught blood through grandsires Laughton’s Flight and Roma Diamond Skip, but it is his Thoroughbred influenced dam line that is most interesting.  His grand dam Gerfuffle also produced the full brothers Bit of a Barney and Partly Pickled who completed both Badminton and Burghley. Although he jumped clear around the tough track, you can see a bit of the draught influence in his type and this probably had quite an influence on his 41.6 time penalties.

Mr Potts

Mr Potts

Just two places below him was Glengarnock. The AES registered gelding was bred by Edith Rutherford and carries a lot of Dutch bloodlines. He jumped bold and straight till the pair made a mistake at the Leaf Pit. He is quite a big horse and started to look a little tired towards the end, and perhaps the lack of close up Thoroughbred blood in his pedigree contributed to this.

Glengarnock’s sire is Ahorn who was an international show jumper and is the sire of such top performers as Ursula (Scott Brash and also British bred). His damsire Bernstein also brings a strong jumping influence to the pedigree as he carries the legendary blood of Ramiro, Alme and Gotthard.

A horse having his first experience of 4 star was Jesmond Justice ridden by Irishman Mark Kyle. Bred by Mr & Mrs Ron Pearson, his dam has unverified breeding but is thought to be Irish and show jumped to Grade B level. Jesmond Justice’s sire Weston Justice is a British bred and based stallion who is really starting to produce eventers in his own mould. Weston Justice evented to advanced level himself and hails from a super dam line of eventing stock. His dam Weston Miskris won an individual silver and team gold medal at the Junior European Championships. Although he is no longer actively standing at stud, there is plenty of frozen semen available which is great news for breeders.

Jesmond Justice

Jesmond Justice

Just 2.5 points behind Jesmond Justice were Harry Dzenis and Xam, a SHB(GB) registered son of the influential Thoroughbred stallion Java Tiger. Xam was bred in Cornwall by Mrs Bolitho out of an unregistered mare. The 15 year old grey gelding was very positive across country but unfortunately incurred 36 penalties in the show jumping phase.

Also Completed

In 44th place was the AES registered Redpath Ransom.  This son of John Whitaker’s show jumping stallion Randi is out of a mare by the Thoroughbred stallion Euphemism. Redpath Ransom was clear cross country but again had a few fences down in the show jumping.

Just behind them was the amateur combination of Charlotte Brear and Manor Missile. The SHB(GB) registered son of Honeybrook Siren is believed to be half shire.  Charlotte has owned him since he was a foal and the pair have progressed up the grades together. Honeybrook Siren was a son of the top eventing and National Hunt sire Cruise Missile.

The final British bred horse to complete was another amateur pair – Alan Nolan and Bronze Flight. He was bred by Fiona Menzies and is by the AES stallion Dynasty (by Dompfaff) out of a mare by the British-bred stallion Flying Dutchman – a son of Dutch Courage.

Sadly Brendonhill Doublet and Imogen Gloag withdrew before the show jumping. The pair came through pony club ranks together and were selected for the Junior European Championships. Doublet is by Future Role and was bred by Brendon Hill Stud in Somerset, who over the last 50 years have been one of the leading British breeders of event horses.

Hexmaley’s Hayday is listed by the FEI as being British bred but with no registered breeding. He and Emily Lochore were eliminated on the cross country.

Finally another pair that sadly did not complete the cross country was Kirsty Johnston and Opposition Detective. Kirsty’s parents stood the great Trakehner stallion Fleetwater Opposition who among others sired British team stalwart Opposition Buzz and 4 star horse Yarlands Summer Song. Fleetwater Opposition was a medallist at Junior European level and so is another example of the importance of at least one parent showing prowess at the highest level. Kirsty’s father John bred Detective out of Hathor by the National Hunt stallion Ra Nova and the grand dam’s sire was the British based Danish Warmblood Atlantus. Hathor also produced a full sister to Detective who is eventing at CCI** level in France.

No matter which way we examine the bloodlines of the horses that are competing at the top level in sport, a clear trend is the importance of proven performance in the immediate ancestors.








Rio – Show Jumping

For sport horse breeders, examining the pedigrees of the equestrian competitors at the 2016 Olympics is like being a kid in a sweet shop. I have already looked at the bloodines behind some of the best eventing and dressage horses of the Games, and now it is the turn of the show jumpers.

The show jumping competition has been dramatic from the start, with big technical tracks seeing mistakes made by some of the best horses and riders in the world. The final day of the team competition was no less spell binding with the French showing all the flair and ambition that their eventing counterparts had shown to take the Team Gold.

The Americans made light of the handicap of only having 3 riders on the Wednesday to clinch Silver with some outstanding riding. And then the drama of the jump off the Bronze medal, between the bold Canadians and the mighty Germans.

But it was the individual final that was the stuff of fairytales, with Britain’s Nick Skelton and the incredible stallion Big Star, having the nation on the edge of its seat as he jumped 3 flawless clear rounds to claim Gold.

So what are the underlying bloodlines that make up these Olympic medal winners? What combination of genes did the breeders of those horses choose, 10 years ago or more, when they set about trying to breed an Olympic champion?

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Rio – Dressage

The dressage competition of the Rio Olympics offers all sorts of interesting data and statistics for the breeder. Familiar names dominate the bloodlines of the 60 contestants, especially so when considering the top 18 who contested the final day’s freestyle, and they can be summarised as the German D, R, F, W and S lines. Added to that are Dutch lines of Ferro and Jazz.

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