Promoting excellence in British Breeding

Category: Dressage

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.

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.

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.

June Round Up

There have been a number of good successes this month for both British bred competition horses and British based stallions.


The opportunity to find a future National Champion, born and bred on British soil, is better than ever. For both professional and amateur riders alike, the 2016 NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships, demonstrated that British is often best.

Below is a list of all the British bred horses that won or were placed at the Championships.

Don Caledonia and Hannah Biggs - Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Champions (Picture courtesy Kevin Sparrow/BD)

Don Caledonia and Hannah Biggs – Nupafeed Advanced Medium Freestyle Champions (Picture courtesy Kevin Sparrow/BD)

BD Winter Championships Preview

Looking forward to the NAF Five Star BD Winter Championships, there are some exciting names entered from a British Breeding viewpoint.

The Championships will be held from 6th to 10th April at Hartpury Arena in Gloucestershire.

As well as a good number of British bred competitors, there are also breeding stallions competing who may be of interest to breeders.

British Bred success at the BD Nationals 2015

The first day’s competition at the LeMieux National Dressage Championships was a resounding success for British Breeding. Sadly the official programme does not list a single breeders’ name, but at least sires, damsires and country of origin are listed.

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