By Christopher Hector
In his armchair analysis, Christopher Hector reviews Grand Prix dressage at European Championship level from 2009, and concludes that 2023 saw a changing of the guard in dressage breeding.
Back in 2009 out of 54 horses entered in the Grand Prix at the European Championships in Windsor, only half, 27, were recognisably ‘dressage’ bred. Roll the clock forward 24 years and every single one of the 69 entries in the championships at Riesenbeck is obviously bred with dressage in mind.
The other notable change is the virtual disappearance of Donnerhall, and the total absence of the ‘W’ line. In 2009 the dominating stallion was Donnerhall, with four of his progeny at the Championships, and two by the Donnerhall sons, Donnerschwee and Don Gregory.
At Windsor the Hanoverian ‘W’ line was represented by the World Cup son, Wenzel with one, and the full brothers, Welt Hit IO, and Welt Hit II, by Weltmeyer out of a Hill Hawk xx mare. The older brother, IO, had one representative, while II had two. Back then the influence of Ferro was noticeable as he was represented by two of his get.
The other half of the starting list was a wild and wonderful mixture of would-be jumping stars and horses with the sort of pedigree that leaves you wondering just what the breeder had in mind.
In 2023, the Ferro influence has been consolidated, indeed it’s this year’s dominating line. Blue Hors Zack by the Ferro son, Rousseau out of a Jazz mare, is the sire of four in the starting list: Famora (Krack C); Grevens Zorro (Hertug); Zepter (Wolkentanz); and Bergsjoholms Vabonne (Epson)... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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