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Every breeder when setting off on the journey to produce a foal, has an ambition or dream. It might be to breed a replacement from their much loved mare to compete themselves, to breed a Derby winner, they may want to win at Horse of the Year Show, or perhaps an Olympic Gold Medallist.
Those of us breeding for sport know just how much you learn along the way, how when you look back on your breeding journey, there are some things you may have done different in mare or stallion choices or in getting that foal into the right hands. And the smaller breeders often look at the larger, more established breeding operations and wonder how they will ever be so successful.
A class that always draws large crowds at the British Dressage National Championships is the Shearwater Young Horse Final, held over two days. The crowds are enticed partially by the opportunity to see one of the best young horse riders in the world (Eva Moller) try out the top 4 in each age group, and partially in the hope that they might spot a future champion from among the contenders.
We have a conundrum in this country when it comes to the breeding of sport horses. Buyers say it is easier to buy in Europe where they can see a large number of horses in one area in one day. Although not a big country geographically we tend to have single horses for sale at individual yards. In Europe there is also a thriving foal industry, or at least there is if you read press reports. For example, the recent Oldenburg Elite Foal auction saw a top price of 110,000 Euros for a Marc Cain x San Amour colt and 68,000 for the second prices foal. This lead to an average price of over 18,000 Euros. But as international results are starting to show, we can breed great horses in this country and we need buyers to start shopping at home.
The World Equestrian Games has certainly provided a lot of talking points on social media in the first week, and for the breeders among us there is a lot of interesting data to mull over after the dressage and eventing. But the show jumping is next on the horizon and there is some positive news for British breeding among the pre-entries.
There are 5 British bred entries, all of which are registered with the Anglo European Studbook. Two of those are on the British team, one for Ireland, one for Israel and one for Australia. Sadly the Irish entry EFS Top Contender did not make the trip to Tryon which is also a shame for his British based sire Lauriston.
When championing British breeding, the best publicity is to see British bred horses competing at the biggest championships. Even if the mainstream media doesn’t pick up on bloodlines and pedigrees, we need to do everything we can to ensure any British bred achievement does not go unheralded.
For that reason, the selection of the teams for 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tyron can be considered both a success and a failure for the British bred Sport Horse.
The 2018 Futurity is over for another year and the revamped series has been highly acclaimed for bringing in a team of excellent National and International judges and vets. Hopefully some future stars have been spotted among the young horses and ponies that came forward across the 11 venues.
Friday 17th August sees the third running of the AES Elite Foal Auction at Addington. This year the collection focuses on the show jumping and eventing bred foals, with the dressage foals having their own auction at Stoneleigh in September.
With foals stabled onsite there will be plenty of chance for interested purchasers to inspect the foals at close quarters and they will all be presented in the main arena at 11am. This year the auction is also being livestreamed on Clip My Horse, and telephone bids are accepted. All the foals are British bred and have been selected after viewing days held around the country.
The 6 year old World Championship Final also did not disappoint in terms of food for thought as a breeder. These are some of the rides that caught my eye.