Woodlander Stud is probably the largest stallion station in the UK. Located between Rugby and Market Harborough, they stand 12 stallions, who cover over 150 mares a year across the country. Headed up the dynamic Lynne Crowden, ably assisted by Carsten Sandrock, their most famous product to date is undoubtedly Woodlander Farouche.

Stallion demonstrations are big occasions on the continent. The biggest stallion stations parade their stallions to a packed audience and impressing the mare owners there can guarantee big books of coverings. The UK does not have anything like the number of mares that there is on the continent, and a large volume of those choose to bring in semen from abroad. Woodlander tries to offer the UK breeders a range of stallions on home soil. As well as presenting their stallions at the BEF Stallion Show in January, Woodlander host a number of private and open stallion days at the stud.

I went along to the final one of the season, at their base in Northamptonshire. 8 stallions and a number of Woodlander influenced foals were showcased, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Lynne and her team went out of their way to make everyone feel involved, happy to discuss not only their own horses, but breeding and bloodlines in general.

The whole day was nothing like a German stallion show, where every horse is drilled and primed and only a perfect picture can be presented. Instead we were able to watch the stallions work in for longer, were talked through their strengths and weaknesses, and got to understand a lot of what drives and inspires the Woodlander team.

Lynne started in the Thoroughbred world, and so has always understood the importance of black type in a pedigree. Warmblood breeding should be no different. Lynne’s key message was to research your mare’s relatives and understand the genetics behind her motherline. A stallion also needs a proven consistent motherline in order for the mare owner to know what he will reliably bring to the table.

Woodlander Freddie M

Freddie M

Freddie M

The first stallion presented was Woodlander Freddie M. This attractive bright bay 5 year old is a son of For Compliment (Fidermark x Compliment) out of Dornroschen (DiMaggio x Caprimond), which makes him a half brother to Woodlander Farouche, the dual World Young Horse Champion.

Freddie M is not a huge horse but packs plenty of strength into his frame, with a lovely head and neck. The canter was his best pace, very balanced and very adjustable. As a 4 year old he injured himself on the dummy and so is backward in his training for his age, but I liked his attitude and the mechanics of his hind leg. His best foal last year was out of a Thoroughbred mare and Lynne felt that he best suits a typey, blood mare. Although he has inherited shorter legs from his sire line, his dam line does tend to throw longer legs so that may well come through in his offspring.

From a bloodline point of view I like the fact there is plenty of Grand Prix talent close up. His sire For Compliment is now competing at Grand Prix for Switzerland, and competed at the European Championships last year in Aachen. His sire Fidermark was widely considered one of the most talented young Grand Prix horses of his age, and his early death was a great blow to German breeding.

Freddie M’s dam Dornroschen is also now competing at Grand Prix and is long listed for the British team for Rio. She won titles at the Winter and Summer National Championships, and of course her most successful offspring is the record breaking Woodlander Farouche. Her sire is British legend DiMaggio, who was a Young Horse World Champion and has since gone on to be a serious producer of dressage horses, including the Olympic medallist Half Moon Delphi.

Further back this motherline has produced the great Florestan (sire of Fidermark), Favourit (currently in the top 50 ranked Grand Prix horses in the world), the Westfalen breeding stallion Roman Nature and a number of other very useful national level horses.

Woodlander Waleswales

This champion licensed pony stallion unfortunately did not show himself to his best today. By Wavavoom out of a Welsh Section C mare, he is a very forward going slightly hot young horse. His trot is very active with clear articulation of the joints and I see a lot of the Welsh characteristics coming through. He did decant his young rider, but the incident was dealt with in good humour and gave Lynne chance to explain to any potential pony breeders that because Wales has larger horse breeding close up and therefore in order to guarantee pony sized offspring, any mares must have consolidated pony bloodlines.

Fransje

Fransje

Fransje

This young Dutch stallion is proving to be one of the most popular with mare owners. We saw a colt foal by him who used his hind legs very well, out of a mare with a lot of Trakehner blood. Fransje was purchased by Woodlander as a very un-furnished 2 year old, and has really matured nicely.

He is horse with a lot of energy who wants to work with his rider, and is a choice for breeding a higher level horse rather than a quiet hack. The plan is to send him back to Ingo Pape for further training once the stud season is over. He really looks to have potential to train up the levels.

The canter is undoubtedly his best pace, with excellent hind limb flexion. This most probably can be attributed to the jumping prowess of his dam sire and great dam sire. His dam sire Silvano N started life as a very successful show jumper, before switching to dressage with Ellen Bontje to win Olympic Team Silver. The great dam sire Ahorn was famous for his Grand Prix career but was also known to have fabulous movement for a jumper. He became one of the top producers of sport horses in Holland.

Fransje’s sire United won his stallion performance test with highest ever score at that time. He competed up to small tour ridden by Edward Gal and is the sire of Bordeaux (Stal Schockemohle) and the young Grand Prix mare Aquamarijn. The dam line is all keur and preferent mares and is also responsible for the licensed stallions Matterhorn and Amethist. Although Dutch, his pedigree is free of the hot Jazz influence.

Woodlander Silver Lining ZB

Silver Lining

Silver Lining

I first saw this young stallion at the Bury Farm stallion event, where he had only been 3 weeks under saddle. A few months later he looks to have grown, but is still quite narrow chested and immature in his frame. Even though he is young and very tall, he looked happy and willing in his work, and I like the angle of his hindquarters. He is very typey, as would be expected from his dam, with a clean throat latch and well set on neck.

He would definitely suit an older fashioned type of mare, that needs more length of leg, but he would also need a mare with a quick hind leg. Although his own hind legs are not super quick, he does use them evenly and correctly. Silver Lining has been performance tested in Germany this year, and was praised for his ridability, which was evident today.

His sire Supertramp was Supreme Champion of his grading with the WBS-UK and completed his performance test in Germany. His offspring have been very successful at the BEF Futurity. Supertramp has been gelded and is now competing at Advanced Medium in Germany. Supertramp is a grandson of Rotspon, well known for his ability to pass on ridability.

Silver Lining’s dam sire Distelzar was Trakehner stallion of the Year in 2013 based on his own Grand Prix performances and the quality of his offspring. Silver Lining’s dam has produced a number of high scoring Futurity offspring and the damline traces back to the great Trakehner mare family Schwalbe.

Woodlander Rockstar

We were next shown a foal by Woodlander Rockstar. The stallion himself is now in Germany where he is in the process of being sold, but the stud has good stocks of frozen semen available. Rockstar was UK Champion at Medium, Advanced Medium and Intermediare I. His trainability allowed him to compete up to Grand Prix level, a trait inherited from his sire Rotspon and he inherited jumping talent from his dam sire Sao Paulo.

The foal we were shown was out of a young and very refined mare, who was a good demonstration of the type of mare that suits him best.

Shamwari Debonair

Debonair

Debonair

This British bred son of World Number 1 De Niro, has done very well in young horse classes, including 3rd place at the 2014 Nationals and winning the Badminton Young Horse Dressage Championships. He is a medium sized horse, nice and loose in front, but not as naturally uphill as some of the others. His canter looked easy and adjustable but again could be more uphill.

The 6 year old is now winning at Elementary level and will campaign at Medium this Summer before going to Germany to train up to small tour level.

His sire De Niro not only competed at Grand Prix himself but has also established himself as the leading sire of international Grand Prix horses in the world. His dam sire Show Star was one of the first of Sandro Hit’s sons to reach Grand Prix, and Debonair’s strong canter is enhanced by the jumping blood of Potsdam in the next generation. The direct motherline has produced a large number of state premium mares, auction horses and a licensed stallion.

Woodlander Summertime Blues

Summertime Blues

Summertime Blues

This young horse is a product of a proven Woodlander mother line. His grand dam Alabama and her half sister were purchased by the stud as daughters of the German National Champion mare Pikantje. They have produced a great legacy of horses, including the licensed stallions Woodlander Bombay Sapphire and Santana. Summertime Blues was runner up at his performance test in Germany, with good scores for his walk, canter and ridability.

The walk is very nice, relaxed and ground covering with a nice rhythm, the canter the same. Overall he made a pleasing picture, and had a calm and relaxed character.

His sire is the Celle based Hanoverian stallion Sporcken, a son of Sir Donnerhall, who also possess an excellent walk and brings in the valuable Thoroughbred blood of Lauries Crusador.

We were shown a filly foal by Summertime Blues who had a strong frame and a very well set on neck, and whose 19 year old dam is a full sister to the 2005 European team gold medallist Piccolino.

Gribaldi

We were next shown a foal that allowed Lynne to expand on how important she felt the bloodlines of Gribaldi are. The foal was a very smart colt by Tolegro, a grandson of Gribaldi through his famous sire Totilas. He was an ET foal and his dam is a daughter of the Trakehner stallion Le Rouge. He had a really athletic trot with good articulation of his joints.

Lynne also explained how she had seen the Gribaldi grandson Hotline as a 3yo and had been blown away by his hind leg. Despite a very busy breeding career, Hotline is now winning at Grand Prix.

The next foal we were shown was the best yet. A little shy and maybe not as immediately eye catching as the Tolegro colt, the chestnut son of the Dutch stallion All At Once, had masses of suspension and real elevation. Again he carries blood form Gribaldi who is the damsire of All At Once, and the foal’s dam was a Woodlander bred daughter of Del Amitri (Dimaggio) with Elite stallion Consul in the next generation.

Woodlander Wavavoom

Woodlander Wavavoom at Bury Farm

Woodlander Wavavoom at Bury Farm

I have to confess to a very soft spot for this charming stallion. Always elastic with a very honest way of going, he is now competing at Advanced level and looks set to debut at Small Tour soon. He is compact, athletic adjustable with a quick and powerful hind end. The walk is so good through the body, almost with the danger of being too big a walk. He has already sired licensed stallions and a substantial number of Elite graded BEF Futurity graduates.

His sire Weltregent H is a son of the legendary Weltmeyer and himself produced Grand Prix and PSG competitors. The dam sire Longchamp was runner up in the Bundeschampionate before training on to PSG, and was known for producing very attractive horses.

His dam line has produced a number of State Premium mares and successful Futurity graduates.

St Louis Blues

St Louis Blues

St Louis Blues

This young stallion is clearly quickening a few pulses at Woodlander. He showed great balance for a rising 3 year old and is a big boned and powerful stamp. The canter was very round with a big jump. He was happy and willing to work from the outset. The trot was slightly out behind but the hind leg was responsive. Another young Woodlander stallion to be successfully performance tested in Germany.

His sire Sezuan is currently one of the most successful young dressage horses in the world. Ridden by the German Olympian Dorothee Schneider he won the World Championships for Young Horses in 2014 and 2015. The dam line has many State Premium mare awards and has produced a number of Grand Prix dressage horses and show jumpers. St Louis Blues dam sire is the great Thoroughbred stallion Lauries Crusador who is known for adding long legs and improving the frame.

St Louis Blues has inherited a lot of his looks from his sire Sezuan and for that reason it would not be advisable to use him on a longer backed mare, as that is a flaw his sire carries. Overall I felt he was really well produced for a 3 year old and it will be very interesting to see watch his development.

The day finished with refreshments and scones back in the mare barn and another opportunity for the audience to compare notes and discuss their own breeding programs. The whole day was highly enjoyable and strongly recommended to any breeders looking to expand their knowledge base.

All pictures courtesy of Eva-Maria Broomer/Horsepower Creative