Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Trakehner Licensing and Riding Horse and Foal Auction, Neumuenster, Germany

My first trip to the Trakehner Verband stallion licensing, and just getting there was the hard part. After inching along the autobahn in gridlock from about 25 miles south to 25 miles north of Hamburg, I arrived in Neumuenster, Germany. Unlike the Verden (Hanoverian) and Vechta (Oldenburg) areas, most people I encountered in the north don't speak much English. "Kein Deutch. American," has been my most useful German phrase

The first view of the horses was of them in-hand on hard ground, which occurred outdoors on a cold day with intermittent rain. Not the best environment for watching anything after arriving hours late after being stuck in traffic. It rained every day I was in Neumuenster.

My first impression on seeing the most Trakehners I've ever seen in one place, is how strong the Thoroughbred type is. I know, duh, but it really brought home to me the importance of Thoroughbred and Arabian blood for refinement, beauty and type. The Trakehner Verband allows only Trakehner, Thoroughbred and Arabian bloodlines, including Anglo Arab and Shagya Arabian. This concentration of "blood," with no outcrosses to other warmbloood breeds, makes theTrakehner the closest thing in warmbloods to a true breed (as opposed to a type named for a region). They are most deserving of an old fashioned term for them: "the Improver."

In North America, and to some extent in Europe as well, there has been a long held opinion that the Trakehners were substandard to the other warmblood breeds. And as for the perception that they are all hot, I think it is natural that they are a bit more spicy that some warmblood breeds, but no more than would be expected according to their level of hot blood. And, there are many warmbloods I've encountered that could use a bit of "waking up." I was impressed with the overall quality, temperament and movement of the horses I saw.

During a conversation with Ludwig Christmann of the Hanoverian Verband a couple of years ago, he remarked that he thought many American warmbloods were becoming too heavy. Now might be the time for American breeders to look to Trakehners as the source of blood and refinement to lighten up their mares' produce. Caprimond and his son Hohenstein have had a major influence as purveyors of type in the Hanoverian breed in recent years. And it looks like Gribaldi and his son Easy Game and grandson Millennium are the next dynasty to assume the mantle. The Easy Games and Millenniums retain all the best Trakehner traits while giving up nothing in terms of quality movement. Their type is stunning.

The Champion Stallion of the 2015 Trakehner licensing was Perpignan Noir, by Schwarzgold / Maizauber, who also topped the auction at 340,000 euros. He is a gorgeous animal, and a super uphill mover exuding confidence and class. As expected, the Millenniums also sold very well. The second highest priced animal was Sir Samoa (Millennium / Cadeau) at 240,000 euros and the third highest seller was Heaven (Millennium / Friedensfuerst) at 180,000 euros and Helium (Millennium / Induc) at 170,000 euros. He was my personal favorite, the Reserve Champion stallion. The crowd literally moaned everytime he trotted. 

The best jumping stallion was Edmonton, by Horalus / Abdullah, an American bred stallion, who was also the top selling jumper at 45,000 euros.

Another stallion whose offspring really impressed is Berlusconi. He is sired by EH Axis, out of a mare by EH Friedensfuerst. I hope his semen will become available in North America.

The venue for the licensing, the Holstenhalle, is a beautiful light-filled building with excellent seating and visibility from the grandstand. The Saturday night gala was great fun. I loved the pack of beagles and the rider who jumped the rails held by the human jump standard-bearers in rollicking fashion. I'm sure he could sell the horse he rode a thousand times over based on his performance.

On to the Hanoverian Approvals!

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