Woodlander Stud held the first of their two open days at Home Farm in Hothorpe, where 7 of their stallions were shown in hand and under saddle. Although most of the stallions themselves I have covered in reports of other stallion shows, it was Lynne Crowden’s insights into breeding and bloodstock selection that were of special interest. As right hand man Carsten Sandrock was the only rider available, Lynne answered audience questions and talked about the Woodlander breeding philosophy in between Carsten bringing in the horses.
The key areas Lynne covered were:
Breeders need to see in the flesh lots of top horses to start to understand what functionality works and what you like personally. Every broodmare you own, or are thinking of breeding from, must be looked at with a critical eye. Then you can decide if your mare needs more expression in front, or a better set neck or whatever her weaknesses might be.
It is then equally as important to view a stallion in the flesh to get a real idea of what he might bring to the table. Watching a highly edited video with a top rider getting that perfect moment, will not give you a real picture of that stallion.
Lynne was asked to explain mare type. She defined this in studbook grading terms as “the culmination of the conformation that makes a horse an ideal type for riding”.
Lynne advised that if possible try to consolidate in the pedigree the complimentary genes. Don’t double up on the lines you don’t like. A little jumping blood is always good to see in a dressage pedigree, but this blood needs to be selected to have good enough movement.
Lynne used the young stallion Dvorak as an example of a horse she would happily use to double up on the valuable Donnerhall blood. Dvorak is a son of one of the world’s best stallions De Niro, and the ‘D’ line blood usually gives strength, ability for collection and good ridability, and doesn’t have too many weaknesses, and so Lynne would be comfortable using Dvorak on a D line mare.
Dutch v German
Lynne spoke about what she had found to be the historical differences in Dutch and German stock. With their use of blood influences, the Dutch horses produced pretty and supple but not such strong horses. They were also less reliable to breed from as they did not have consolidated pedigrees. The German horses were stronger, with a slightly straighter hind leg, and a high reliability when breeding for dressage. But they lacked charm and expression.
Now the cross between the two is producing the best of both worlds and it is hard to make a distinction between the two.
British Horse Foundation
Lynne announced that in conjunction with the British Horse Foundation, there would be a Young Horse symposium. Top eventing and show jumping producers would also be invited to share what the best in Britain do. The event will be livestreamed.
Internal vs External Stallions
Lynne said she likes to use her own stallions and bring in outside blood. This means they can benchmark what their stallions are producing against the top stallions from Europe.
St Louis Blues
2013 Oldenburg by Sezuan – Lauries Crusador xx – Don Juan
This is a lovely big strong horse, with the canter a real highlight as it is powerful and ground covering with a well placed hind leg. His ridability is also very high, and at all times he looks to be totally focused on the rider. Lynne advised he needs a typey mare with a good trot to get the best result.
2014 Black Hanoverian by De Niro – Florestan – Calvados
Bred by Toni & Clare Ballentyne, this black 3 year old came in with a very short warm up, as Carsten had only just got off his previous horse. As he is not too big and has a very well balanced frame, he is finding the work very easy for such a young and inexperienced horse. The basics are well established and he stretches down well for the contact, and then shifts his balance back easily to come back into frame. The walk is very good.
2011 Liver Chestnut WBS-UK by Woodlander Wawavoom – Talon Teifion – Felinmor Jetsetter
The pony stallion was shown in hand due to new rider Charlotte Drakeley being away on holiday. When stood up in hand, you can really appreciate what a well set shoulder he has. Lynne explained that he didn’t have the best beginnings under saddle, and so is behind in his work compared to their other young pony stallion. But he now has a new relationship with Charlotte that they are very excited about.
As his sire is over 16.0hh, he wont be consistent in throwing size, if used on a horse mare. Some breeders have used him specifically to try and breed a 15 to 15.2hh riding horse. Lynne did advise that there is a smaller market for the smaller horse which should be borne in mind if aiming to breed to sell. So when choosing Wales, the back pedigree of the mare needs to be kept in mind.
Woodlander Words of Love
2014 Chestnut Hanoverian by Woodlander Wavavoom – St Moritz – Rotspon
This was a different type to the other 3 year olds, being taller and narrower and not as mature. He is a very modern stamp with a naturally uphill frame. He was recently back from Germany where he went to do his 14 day test but had an accident with his rug in the stable and gave himself a large haematoma. As a result he was only just back into work. He will go back in the autumn to redo the test.
He is certainly very pleasing on the eye and will be very interesting to watch as he develops and strengthens.
Duke of Deerleep
2014 Dark Bay Hanoverian by Dante Weltino – Medoc – Niniski xx
Bred by Sue Sullivan this bay stallion impressed again as he had last week. I think he could be a very versatile sire as he is not too extravagant and very harmonious in his frame. I could see him producing stock for the show ring as well as dressage and eventing. When talking about the Thoroughbred blood that he carries, Lynne commented on how desirable this is for stamina and sensitivity.
Woodlander Summertime Blues
2012 Black Hanoverian by Sporcken – Margue H – Alabaster
Shown in hand as he has not yet fully recovered from a bruised heel, Lynne explained how she had gone to Germany to buy some broodmares in 1997. She was only taken seriously as a buyer after she had purchased a nice foal at the auction, and was then shown two half sisters. She bought one and went back a year later to buy the second who was by Alabaster, from a top German motherline. That mare, Alabama, was bred to Margue H and that resulting daughter was the dam of Summertime Blues.
His first crop of foals sold really well. They got Higher Firsts at the BEF Futurity as the trot is not huge but they have lovely type, and canters. He particularly passed on good fronts and correct limbs. The aim is keep Summertime Blues and train him to Grand Prix.
Woodlander Double Bubble
2014 Chestnut Hanoverian by Don Frederic – Rousseau – Alabaster
Winding up the day was the rising star of Woodlander. The hind leg is really good in trot, and the canter is really uphill with an active and expressive hind leg. Lynne thinks he has the potential to be as good if not better than Farouche. Brave words so early in his career but there is no doubt there is something a little special about him.
As yet we don’t know what sort of foals he will produce. Lynne said he wasn’t the prettiest himself as a foal but she thinks he will really pass on his movement. His dam was purchased at Brightwells auction in foal to Sir Fidergold and that offspring is now a broodmare for photographer Eva-Maria Broomer. That mare is very pretty whereas Double Bubble is a more imposing and handsome type, more like his sire Don Frederic. He will be restricted to 50 mares this season.
The audience really enjoyed and learnt from Lynne’s experience. They also had time to ask questions afterwards and to meet up with other breeders to share stories and experience. The stallions presented today although all quite young, offer a range of bloodlines and types, so no doubt will be popular with a number of mare owners for different reasons.