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.
Lets look at the positives first of all. Dressage is the one sport that we are really seem to be moving up the rankings from a mainstream breeding point of view. In terms of the number of foals produced each year we are really small fry, up against the might of the Germans, Dutch and even the Danish. We also have a number of different UK sport horse studbooks that breeders could register with, but they often loose out to the glamour and marketing power of big Continental studbooks like KWPN and Oldenburg, when it comes to convincing British breeders to register their foals with a UK studbook. Under FEI and WBFSH rules, a British bred horse registered in Germany or Holland, does not contribute to the world rankings of any of the British studbooks.
So what a success story the British team selection is this year. First of all 50% of the team are mounted on British bred horses, 1 rider is on a horse sired by a British owned stallion and the final one is a mare that will be producing British bred foals via embryo transfer that may be on future teams.
Hawtins Delicato may be in his first full year of Grand Prix but with the masterful Carl Hester in the saddle he has been posting excellent scores since the pair made their debut a the start of the year. Carl’s protege Charlotte Dujardin took the National Inter II title last year on him last year and then Carl has posted some excellent Grand Prix results on him this season.
Delicato is a second generation homebred for Judith Hawtins. The British Hanoverian is a son of the international Grand Prix stallion Diamond Hit, who represented Great Britain ridden by Emma Hindle before retiring to stud in Germany. Diamond Hit is the most successful stallion son of Don Schufro, who is considered an excellent sire of broodmares and was an Olympic medalist in his own right. Don Schufro is also the sire of Olympic star Weihegold. Diamond Hit’s dam Loretta was a prolific producer with a number of daughters becoming successful broodmares in their own right but she is best known as the dam of Sandro Hit.
Delicato’s dam Ravenna was by the British based sire Regazzoni (by Rubinstein ) out of Judith’s incredible foundation mare World’s Finest who was by super sire Weltmeyer. From this mare family Judith has also bred dual National young horse champion Hawtins San Floriana and another very exciting National young horse champion Hawtins Duchessa.
Super Nova II is also a British Hanoverian and has previous team experience with Spencer Wilton. He is a son of the world’s leading dressage sire De Niro out of the State Premium Mare Walpurgis and was bred by the late Mrs Eve Kirby. Walpurgis was homebred herself and was three times BHHS Champion.
Super Nova’s full brother Duke De Niro is competing on Young Rider’s teams with Belgian rider Antonia Arl.
De Niro has no less than 6 offspring at Tyron and has been ranked Number 1 on the WBFSH list for the past 3 years, and in 2 previous years before that. He is by far the most successful stallion son of the incredible Donnerhall, who not only has a number of sons and grandsons producing WEG contenders but is the damsire of another 5.
Emile Faurie has been impressing internationally this year with Dono Di Maggio. This elegant chestnut gelding is a son of Dimaggio, a sire we have often talked about on these pages due to his incredible influence on the British dressage scene. At every National Championship, Dimaggio is head and shoulders the most numerous and the most successful sire.
The Don Primero x World Cup I son was crowned world champion at the World young horse breeding championships – the first British-owned horse ever to win the prestigious accolade. He is the sire of WEG Silver medalist Half Moon Delphi, damsire of Woodlander Farouche and popular Grand Prix stallion Treliver Decanter among many many others.
Dono Di Maggio is out of the mare Fenena who has a lot of strong jumping influences in her pedigree from Sandro and Castro. The family also producer the successful Danish Junior team horse Athlet and a number of goof 1.50m show jumpers.
Possibly our best hope of a British individual medal is Charlotte Dujardin riding Emma Blundell’s new superstar Mount St John Freestyle. Although not British bred, this Fidermark x Donnerhall mare has already produced daughters and granddaughters as part of Emma’s extensive breeding program.
Also bred in Great Britain and also a British Hanoverian is the Swiss team horse Robinvale, by Rubinero out of a Wittinger dam. The 11 year old gelding was bred by the Pidgleys and won the Grand Prix Special at Le Mans earlier this year. Sadly another Hanoverian Barolo (ex Charlotte Dujardin) is bred by a British breeder but was born in Germany and so any success he achieves for the Japanese team will be credited to Germany.
The saddest thing about this Games as a British breeder is that none of our eventing team are riding British bred horses. But, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are three British bred horses competing for other teams and a further 2 by the now British based stallion Jaguar Mail.
The best hope for a medal among those is the Badminton heroine Classic Moet, competing for New Zealand and ridden by Jonelle Price. This SHB(GB) graded mare is by the Thoroughbred stallion Classic, who sired a number of decent eventers and show ring winners (such as 2015 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 an 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 Championship team horse Withcote Nellie.
Classic Moet has two foals (by the French champion Upsilon) born this year courtesy of embryo transfer.
The other two British bred entries are both by the great Jumbo. Padraig McCarthy also had a great Badminton on Mr Chunky, who is out of a Thoroughbred mare by Sergeant Drummer. The other Jumbo sired entry is Canada’s Jollybo, who will be ridden by Hawley Bennett-Awad and is again out of a Thoroughbred mare.
The most represented sire is the Thoroughbred Heraldik with 3 offspring competing.
With access to some superb sires on British soil, the best eventing circuit in the world, and some major British bred success at the highest level this year, it does put a damper on that success to not have any competing on the British eventing team this year. I may have to pull out my Kiwi flag on cross country day.
You can watch live coverage of the World Equestrian Games on the BBC (Red Button predominately) starting with the Grand Prix Special on Friday 14th September.
A look at the British Show Jumping contenders will follow…..