Analysis by Adriana van Tilburg: It was Bernard Le Courtois who wanted Almé so badly that he went to Zangersheide to see the stallion for himself. Almé certainly touched the hearts of many breeders and riders. Johan Heins recalls that Almé was the best horse he had ever ridden! Let’s continue with the very interesting story about Almé.

According to Bernard Le Courtois: “It was now or never. I decided to go to the famous Studfarm Zangersheide to visit Almé about whom I had dreamed for so many years. I saw for myself that Almé was still an admirable horse despite his 18 years.”

To cut a long story short: Almé returned to France, owned by Bernard le Courtois, who continues: “Almé was presented as a 19-yearold stallion in Dinard to an audience of thousands of spectators. They were entranced by his beauty and the charisma of a horse whose reputation was at its peak. The emotion of this moment still brings tears to my eyes. False modesty aside I was also very proud. I remember that I received a letter from the very famous breeder Mr. Alfred Brohier, was was at this time 90 years old. He sent me a very kind letter asking to buy two shares of Almé, telling me that saw Almé when he was five years old. I quote: ‘I remember him very well he jumped so well. I want to buy two shares, I am already so old I think that I will never see the foals born, but it is for my children’. Mr. Brohier died the following year without seeing his foals by Almé”.

Almé fans could buy shares in the stallion, and this became such a huge success that Le Courtois had sold all of the shares in a few days so that he could pay for his investment in Almé. In fact, there were fewer than 100 shares to sell, but Le Courtois received 400 requests to buy shares and had to return cheques every day. “During 1986 and 1987, Almé's fresh semen was used for artificial insemination, 100 mares per season. Mares came from all over France as well as from Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Switzerland and Italy and so on. In 1988 and 1989 I limited him to 80 mares, and in 1990 to 60 because of his age and state of health. Out of the 420 mares covered during five years, with an average fertility rate of 78 percent,many products were exported and roughly 20 percent of the mares covered gave birth abroad (foreign mares or mares exported in-foal). Added to these are the dozens of Almé foals of all ages exported to Italy , Belgium and Sweden, etc...

TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE SUBSCRIBE TO BREEDING NEWS