Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Holsteiner Licensing, 2015

Last month, in October, I attended my first Holsteiner stallion licensing and auction. I was both surprised and pleased by what I saw. I had not expected the quality of movement that the stallions displayed, clinging I suppose to the old idea that Holsteiners are for jumping, and not so much for dressage. However, most of the stallions I observed were very good-moving. Stallions like Contendro I and Diarado, respected as dual purpose stallions both in terms of their own and their offspring's ability, seem to be more common nowadays. Based on what I saw at the approval, more like them will become available in the future. Gone are the days when a breeder used Holsteiners only for their jumping capacity. Using modern, dual purpose Holsteiners to inject performance blood without diminishing movement is also an exciting opportunity for dressage breeders.
I was very impressed by the strong type, and couldn't help wondering how a population with a studbook that is relatively closed and so linebred to the C and L-lines remains so vigorous, strong  and athletic. The athleticism is palpable. Maybe someone more astute in the bloodlines of Holsteiners could tell me this secret. I also noticed that the Landgraf I line seems to be receding back in pedigrees, but the Cor de la Breyer line is still prevalent closer up.
Cascadello I (Casall / Lavall I), had the best performance as a sire at the licensing. He had the most sons present, four, and of those three were approved, two were premium, with his son Charleston named Siegerhengst (champion). This guy was a crowd favorite due to his uphill movements, great jumping ability and enormous charisma. He topped the auction at 300,000 euros. 

My personal favorite of the licensing was the Casall son, Central Park, who ended up as vice champion stallion. Top jumping capacity and spacious movement combined with a noble beauty garnered a 100,000 euro auction price. The Casalls were overall quite impressive. 
The licensing committee is not too generous with their premium awards and there were a lot of very nice stallions who did not get approved. Perhaps this accounts for the overall uniformity and quality of the presented horses. 
The dressage stallions presented were quite interesting and an Ampere / Lorentin I son, Alsandair, was approved and sold for 55,000 euros. DeVille, by De Niro / Linaro, was not approved but was a very nice stallion. Another dressage stallion that was not licensed, Kracker by Krack C / Accord II, was a great favorite with the crowd. Tocanto, by Totilas / Canturo, another crowd favorite was licensed. None of the dressage-bred stallions achieved premium status. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Visit to Katrinelund

Whenever I go to Denmark for a stay with my friend Jytte Jarl, one of the founding members of Dansk Varmblood, I also have a visit with her neighbor Ib Kirk. His stallion station, breeding farm and training center, Katrinelund is right next door. Ib Kirk is one of the nicest guys in the sport horse business, not to mention a first class horseman. Not only is he welcoming to visitors, he loves to show them around and talk about the horses. He takes time out from his busy day to guide visitors on a lengthy tour of his farm. He talks about the stallions at length, mentioning both their strengths and shortcomings as sires in a fair and balanced way. He brings them out so one can have a good look at them. I have been to many stallion stations where the person showing me the horses points to the stallions standing blanketed in their stalls and never offers to remove the blanket or bring the horse out. I have never been in such a relaxed and peaceful training center. Each horse is an individual whose quirks and preferences he understands and works with. It's obvious they adore him.

Katrinelund is situated on the edge of the Limfjord on the island of Mors, northern Jutland, Denmark, and is one of the most lovely settings imaginable. The horses run out in huge pastures, where they spend their lives until winter feeding, training, foaling or show preparation requires them to be brought in. Their environment is perfect for rearing sound, happy, healthy horses. The view from my friend's windows is of the Katrinelund horses running along the horizon between the land and the sea. There could not be a more ideal way to raise horses into well-grown athletes.

Among the stallions offered for breeding by Katrinelund are Crelido, a marvelous dual purpose Holsteiner son of Calido I / Raimondo who competes at S level in dressage and Grand Prix level in showjumping under Stein Endesen, achieving international successes all over Europe and in North America. His offspring are highly placed nationally and internationally, and in 2012 he was honored as Danish Warmblood's "Sire of the Year."

Skoven's Raphael is another top stallion for Katrinelund; he was Danish national young horse champion at four and represented Denmark at the World Championshipsi n Verden at five and six, where he placed well. His offspring inherit his charming personality and high rideabillity. Among the other stallions on the Katrinelund roster are Freestyle, Zodiac and De l'Or.