Monday, October 30, 2017

Dressuerpferde Leistungszenrtrum Lodbergen

October 25, 2018
Dressuerpferde Leistungszenrtrum Lodbergen
Located in the pastoral German village of Lodbergen, the Dressuerpferde Leistungszentrum Lodbergen is a world class dressage center. We met with Lars Schoon for a look at most of the stallions currently in residence:
Best for Me (Bretton Woods/Latimer/Brentano II) is a large framed, strikingly beautiful stallion son of Bretton Woods, with the bling that gets him extra attention.
Dominy (Diamond Hit/Pour Plaisir/Piaster) is and elegant stallion in the mold of his sire, Diamond Hit. He is charming with an alert personality, exuding quality and class.
Finest Selection (Follow Me/Lauries Crusador xx/Donnerhall) was under saddle and in the ring for a training session when we arrived. He was going quietly and nicely for his age and has a lot of eye appeal and should offer some refining ability as a sire.
Frascino (Fuerst Wilhelm/Don Frederico/Wolkenstein II) is interesting for his relation to Desperados on the sire’s side and Don Frederico on the bottom, combined with Wokenstein II, called the “jumping Weltmeyer.” An interesting way to bring performance blood to a dressage pedigree.
Herakles (Gribaldi/Michelangelo/Arthus) brings the best Trakehner blood to sport horse breeding. Trakehners are sometimes looked down on in North America, but I’ve noticed many top breeders in Europe regularly use them. Look at a photo of a Trakehner from 1929 and a Hanoverian or Oldenburg from 1929 and it’s apparent why they have been called “the Improver.” This guy brings their best qualities forward.
Quel Plaisir Quantensprung/Placido/Corlando) is one of the first crop of stallions by Quantensprung, from which seven of his sons were licensed. Lars Schoon commented that he was a bit “sensitive” when worked with as a youngster on the ground, but under saddle became a focused and willing worker.
Rock for Me (Rock Forever I/Florencio I/Longchamp) is a typical Rock Forever, a model of a horse with a beautiful burnished-bay coat and a charming disposition.
A couple of “oldies but goodies” we saw at the station are Royal Doruto (Royal Hit/Rubinstein I/Matador), Rubin Royal (Rohdiamant/Grundstein II/Akzent II) and Couleur Rubin (Cordalme/Grannus/Ramino). These grand older fellows need no introduction, having proven themselves through the years.
The highlight of our visit to Lodbergen was the serendipitous opportunity to happen into the arena viewing area when Dante Weltino (Danone I/Welt Hit II/Noble Roi xx) came out under Swedish rider Therese Nilshagen for a training session. As if that wasn’t enough, Klaus Balkenhol soon arrived to coach her lesson. Unfortunately, they won’t be making frozen semen from him for a couple of years, while he pursues his dressage career.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Verden, Germany, October 24, 2017
Hengststation Boeckmann, Lastrup
A visit to the Boeckmann station is always a pleasure. Wibke Hammermann is welcoming and friendly and gladly showed me and my guests and around the farm. Its white brick buildings, spacious, well-kept pastures and surrounding forest create an idyllic haven for horses.
Many of the stallions were absent at this time of year but we still had a nice tour of the stallion barn:
Checkter (Cellestial/Lord Pezi/Ile de Bourbon) was one of the best four year old jumpers in Germany last year. He is a calm, confident young stallion with an appealing character and a nice type for sport.
Fire and Ice (For Contest/Coronino/Lados) represents the For Pleasure line, which continues to exert its influence at the highest level of international sport. This young stallion is moving up the ranks.
We enjoyed watching Floriscount (Florencio/Donnerhall/Waldorf) training. He is a beautiful stallion with a strong impression of athleticism and is very serious about his job, making it apparent that he enjoys his work.
And of course we saw the star of the stable, Fidertanz (Fidermark/Ravallo/FruehlingstraumII). So gorgeous, harmonious and noble—he is the epitome of a warmblood stallion. He is quiet with impeccable manners and knows he’s on display, relishing the admiration.

While at the Boeckmann station, I got to meet Wibke’s new colleague, Christoph Rowald, who offers breeding advice. I look forward to another year of working with both of them. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Verden, Germany, October 22, 2017

Verden, Germany, October 22, 2017
We began our trip in Italy and spent four days in Venice sightseeing, shopping and eating pasta. Then we traveled to Vienna, where I met with my colleague/friend Dr. Sven Budik of the University of Vienna Veterinary School. Dr. Budik is one of the world’s foremost authorities on freezing and transferring embryos and doing ICSI. He sometimes comes to the United States and is always interested in speaking with people about his specialties. During our conversation, he informed me that DNA testing has proven that all women are descendants of one of eight different women, while all men are descended from one single man. Of course I exclaimed “this explains so much.” Being a bit doubtful, I did a little web research and it backed up his assertion. Food for thought.
While having an after dinner digestive in the Hotel Holtje bar last night, I introduced myself to the man sitting next to me who represented the Haras de la Gesse in France, which prompted the guy next to him to exclaim, “Hey, I know you!” It was Dr. Miguel Bleibernicht who produced the Rubi AR (Lusitano) semen that I have offered for the past couple of years and which is excellent. Turns out he studied at the University of Vienna under Dr. Budik, whom he contacted for verification of the all-men-from-one-man theory.
My assistant/daughter Annie and I attended the pony koering for a while yesterday. They inspect New Forest, Welsh, Shetland and Hanoverian Riding Ponies. I discerned that many of the riding ponies contain Frierenhof Stuecker bloodlines, which I offer on my roster. I loved the Shetlands, which are the old-school Thelwell Pony type I learned to ride (persevere) on: shaggy and funny and cute as heck. They haven’t yet evolved into the miniature Saddlebred type of our American Shetlands, though I suppose there are some North Americans breeding the same type as Germany.
Gestuet WM
On Saturday we visited Gestuet WM and were shown the stallions curently at the stable, by Ecki Wahlers. It was very kind of him to take time with us, since they are building a new stable area and have six young stallions to take to the Hanoverian Stallion Licensing on the 25th. He took the blankets off each stallion and let us take our time looking at them and ask questions. (At some stations they rush you down the center aisle, pointing to heads hanging over stall doors and calling out the names of blanketed stallions, so I really appreciate it when they take the time to actually show you the horses.)
Based on the viewing, I have a few observations about the stallions we saw:
Martinez (Millennium/Laurentio/De Niro) is a charming young stallion who exhibits his Trakehner influence in his finely chiseled head, beauty, elegant type and alert demeanor. He is active and likes to play in his stall, “killing” on average one rubber play ball per day.  
Fantastic (Fuerst Romancier/Sandro Hit/Welt Hit II) is, well, fantastic. He is a handsome and friendly fellow, interested in meeting his visitors. He is a beautiful and harmonious individual as his pedigree would indicate.
Bon Coeur (Benetton Dream/Sandro Hit/Carismo) reminds me very much of his sire in type and conformation. He is cordial but somewhat reserved in his demeanor.
Finest (Fuerstenball/Wie Weltmeyer/Prince Thatch xx) is referred to around the stable as the “king.” He is incredibly wide between the eyes and has a huge, kind eye. One of the most intelligent looking horses I’ve ever seen. He is charming and friendly and as gentle and kind as a kid’s horse. Ecki Wahlers told us that he is so special to the family because he was orphaned at ten days old and bottle fed around the clock by his wife and children.
Secret (Sezuan/St. Moritz/Rotspon) is the stallion everyone’s been waiting to hear about, and it’s no secret that he’s sensational. He is a handsome and charming stallion with a deep heart girth and capacious body well-connected to a big, smooth-muscled hind end that helps account for his dressage excellence. We look forward to offering his semen in 2018, and have pre ordered it, contingent on the frozen semen quality being acceptable.
Gestuet WM has provided us with great semen quality in the past and stands behind their product. I was impressed with their stallions, who have obviously been well reared and well trained and love their owners. This is a wonderful family owned and operated facility whose horses are part of the family.