Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hanoverian Stallion Licensing and Auction, 2015

The new world record price for a sport horse at auction was set at the 2015 Hanoverian stallion licensing in Verden, Germany. By Rocky Lee (a son of Rock Forever), out of a Rouletto/Wendenburg mare, the large, elegant, uphill-moving stallion was knocked down for 1.2 million euros to Andreas Helgstrand of Helgstrand Dressage, Denmark. The record crowd roared its approval as the gavel fell.
Rocky Lee sale topper
The Verband must now update their auction display board to reflect one more digit! When the bid went over a million, the board had to be rebooted to continue posting the bids. The under bidder on the stallion was the Danish stud farm Helgstrand once rode for, Blue Hors.
The catalog number 102 Rock Forever grandson is lovely in all regards, with beautiful gaits, a kind, relaxed manner and enormous presence combining into a breathtaking stallion. His sire, Rocky Lee is out of a Justinian xx mare; Rocky Lee stands at and is trained at Jo Hinnemann’s Krusterhof in Voerde/Rhineland. He is ridden by Stefanie Wold, and has collected his first wins and high placings in advanced dressage competitions.
Top-priced stallions
One of my favorite things about attending auctions and licensings in Verden is staying at the Hotel Hoeltje in the Verden town center. Just slip through a passageway between the beautiful old buildings and one is in the town center. The cobbled center is closed to cars and is a lovely place to stroll and window shop or have a drink or a meal. A nice walk loops through town and along the Aller River, past the John Lennon memorial; in 1966 he filmed part of an anti war film in Verden. And of course, the abundance of horse breeders in the area makes in a perfect place to stay a few days.
The top-priced jumper was by Comme Il Faut, out of a Calido I mare, and was knocked down for 65,000 euros. I really liked the Contendro I’s, the Lordanos and the Perigueux’s. And of course the Stakkatos are always impressive. My favorites of the jumpers were the Stolzenberg colts, both of whom were licensed, one as a premium who sold for 45,000 euros.
A per usual at stallion licensing auctions there were predictable high sellers, some that one thought would sell higher but didn’t, some that seemed to over sell and others that appeared to be bargains. In the dressage stallions, I really liked the Belissimo M sons, the Bon Bravours and of course the Danciers always look fabulous. The Devereauxs also impressed, as did the Floriscounts and For Romances, one of which was purchased by the Landgestuet Celle. I also quite liked the Londontimes. Not that there weren’t plenty other excellent stallion, these just stood out for me. And, of course, my favorites are always those stallions that I know to have excellent quality frozen semen that results in conceptions!
Final auction results
I mainly go to the stallion licensings to get an idea of the stallions' strengths and consistencies. There’s nothing like seeing several sons of a stallion at the same time and same stage of development to get a good idea of what he sires. I don't claim to be an expert, but I am always happy to share my observations with others.

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!