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Al Shira’aa Bolesworth young horse championships

Top auction seller, Empower DSH Z (Emerald)

By Celia Clarke
Photography: Courtesy Al Shira’ss Bolesworth

One of the most fascinating things to do when looking at young horse championship results – in whatever country they are based – is to try to analyse which are currently the most successful studbooks and bloodlines in that area.

However, it has always been extremely hard to do this in the UK, where the co-operation between the disciplines and those actually entering and competing the horses is notoriously poor, particularly when recording and communicating breeding information. Given this scenario, it is a very good sign that the Bolesworth Young Horse Championships (as an event which hosts the UK qualifiers for the FEI World Breeding Championships in Lanaken) has made a determined effort to embrace the support of the UK showjumping breeders – through its headline sponsorship by the Al Sharia’aa Stud. Also, through its collaboration with the Anglo European Studbook in its prestigious elite foal and embryo auction – and thus hopefully to gather a more informative catalogue and start list information on the young horses taking part.
Even at this every well run show, there are still gaps in the vital information that breeders need when planning their next matings based on proven success in the young horse classes, as many do. A worrying one-third of nearly 150 young showjumping horses entered listed no studbook of origin – including a concerning number of breeding stallions and top-class competing mares. And when the final results were collated, well over 60% of the placings from first to sixth across all four age-groups (four-year-olds to seven-year-olds) also showed no studbook of origin.

Labatt (Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve x Orlando), 5yo winner ridden by Megan James

Such lack of data relating to studbooks amongst sports horses of any age – and in any discipline -- is sadly all too frequent in the UK and makes the selection process for British representatives in all WBFSH Young Horse Championships very difficult to predict, particularly as the UK discipline bodies (British Dressage, BD; and British Eventing, BE and British Showjumping, BS) seem unable to grasp the fact that these championships are studbook-based, and entries put forward for the UK should therefore be from UK-based studbooks, rather than be open to all young horses whatever their origin.
Even so, given this lack of verified data, it is still possible to detect certain patterns. The most popular studbooks for these young horses – a growing number of which are now bred and raised in the UK – appear to be the AES, KWPN, Oldenburg and Zangersheide Studbook, with Irish Sport Horse running close behind. Also, of the 18 sires (out of 24) of the top winners across the age groups, three (the Billy Stud’s late lamented Cevin Z, the Brendon Stud’s popular Caretino Glory, and the Heartbreaker son Action Breaker) appear twice, with Caretino Glory also appearing on the damsire list... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber