By Jean Llewellyn (with grateful thanks to Rolex)
Photography: Peter Llewellyn
It has often been said that former international riders can become great breeders with their second-to-none knowledge of the world’s major arenas, as well as the physical and mental demands of competing at the highest level for both themselves and their horses. And riders who have already developed relationships and worked with breeders are additionally well qualified.
German Olympian (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000) and international showjumper Lars Nieberg, a former stalwort of his country’s national team – with over 50 Nations Cups to his name – is no exception. In this case, as in only a handful of performance stallions during the 1990s, it was the jumping talent and charismatic presence of his brilliant chestnut partner, For Pleasure (1986/Hann Furioso II [SF] - Gigantin [Hann] x Grannus), bred by Robert Diestel†, who certainly claimed his own spotlight in both sport and breeding.
Bred by the late Robert Diestel in Adelheidsdorf, the flashy chesnut has created his own dynasty of showjumping greats, including three 1m70 athletes, five at 1m65, 90+ at 1m60... In total, as a sire, For Pleasure lists over 450 international showjumpers under his name, plus an impressive total of 119 approved sons representing a variety of studbooks. Indeed, for several years For Pleasure held the auspicious top-progenitor title in the world sire rankings – a position he only relinquished to Chacco-Blue in 2019.
For Pleasure’s dam, Gigantin, produced the Hanoverian approved stallion Wittenberg in 1984, followed by For Pleasure in 1986. Thereafter, between 1989 and 2001 she birthed five State Premium mares by Landadel, Acord II, two by Quidam de Revel, plus one other – a full sister to For Pleasure. Four of her nine offspring recorded good or exceptional sporting results, sporting or breeding achievements.
Q What is your earliest equestrian memory?
My parents owned a riding holiday business in Hanover, so I grew up around horses. I started off doing a bit of everything, some eventing, show jumping and dressage. Horses have always been a way of life for me and my family.
Q Tell us a little bit about Gut Berl (the Nieberg stable and studfarm) – it appears to be a real family operation?
Gut Berl is a big property. There are two stables on the property – one where we keep the sport horses and the other is the breeding stable. The stables where we keep the horses in work has 60 stalls, and the breeding stable has two big indoor blocks where we keep the yearlings, broodmares, and foals. We have about 80 hectares of land so there is plenty of space for the horses to graze and be turned out.
We have one extremely good vet for the breeding side of the business. He has been with Gut Berl for over 20 years and is local to the area. I think that he probably knows the mother, grandmother, and even the great-grandmother of the foals that we have at the moment. We trust him implicitly and he is a close family friend – we work very closely with him with all aspects of the breeding programme.
Then we have two staff who take care of the mares and foals at the breeding stables. At the sports stables, where we have 60 horses, we have more staff. I think we have four or five home riders, some show riders, grooms, a stable manager and then the family is very involved. It is a big team, and we are like family... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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