By Adriana van Tilburg
Photography: Peter Llewellyn and FEI
The Normandy region is a very fertile area for breeding top jumpers. In the department La Manche you have breeders such as Etienne Poisson, who bred the beautiful Selle Français stallion Quabri de l’Ilse (Kannan - Dinastie de l’Isle x Soctrate de Chivre), competing at 1m60 with Pedro Veniss (BRA). However this department has also produced some top class eventing horses.
For instance, the Selle Français Piaf de B’Néville (Cap de B’Néville – Homelie III x Reve d’Elle, bred by Jean-Baptiste Thiebot) who won silver at the Olympic Games of Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Samourai du Thot was also born in the department of La Manche, representing Elevage du Thot – the stud farm that Jean-François Noel and Margareth Fuchs-Noel are running with their children – which is very close to the English Channel.
The founding of Elevage du Thot
The history of the breeding of Elevage du Thot traces back to the 1950s when Jean-François Noel purchased two mares from his father – from whom he also inherited much of his passion for breeding. However, the real start of Elevage du Thot came in the 1970s when he started his own stud farm with his wife Margareth Buest. Born in Switzerland, Margareth retains strong connections with the country as she is a cousin to Thomas and Markus Fuchs. She also proved very helpful with this interview, as I don’t speak French very well, but she and I could speak German, with her translating for her husband, Jean-François.
To learn more about the start of Elevage du Thot I asked how Margareth came to Normandy: “I wanted to come to France to learn a different language. I worked for Fernand Leredde (Haras des Rouges) where I learned French. I have now lived in Normandy for around 38 years, and have never thought about returning to Switzerland.”
Q How did the breeding developed?
JFN: In the beginning of Elevage du Thot we only had about two or three foals. It started ten years ago that we are breeding more than ten foals a year. We breed with seven different motherlines.
The motherline of the original foundation mare, Favorite I (Quastor - Artisane x Prince du Cy), bred by Octave Noel, who was Jean-François’s father. While the motherline of Ideo du Thot (Arioso du Theillet) started at our farm with the mare Battante du Thot (Shaliman du Thot - Kelfie x Elf III, bred by Jean-François Noel). We bought Kelfie after she has finished her career in sport as a 12-year-old. She has jumped at 1m45 level in Italy, she was not so big but she has a willingness to perform.
Q What specific bloodlines do you use in your breeding program?
JFN: We have a Holsteiner line, S-Lodie (Nimmerdor - Elodie x Lorenz, Stamm 241, bred by Wiepke van de Lageweg). Then the second mare that was bred by Jean-François’s father is still with her offspring at our farm, Milady du Thot (Quo Vadis - Coute un Peu x Enfant Terrible, bred by Octave Noel). The line of Ballerine III (Rantzau xx - Manuela x Labrador xx, bred by Baronne Empain et M.G. Calmon). Another Holsteiner line, Sidney (Carry - Molli x Quidam de Revel, Stamm 1986, bred by Manfred von Allwöhrden) we own her together with Steve Guerdat.
We also have mares together with other owners. For example Michel and Alexandrine Hecart have a few mares at our property. One year a foal is for them and the other year a foal is for us. For example the mare Seduction de la Roque (Kannan - Feldam de Blondel x Quidam de Revel, bred by the Top Stallion Company), this year had a colt by our stallion Ciao du Thot (Ensor van de Heffinck - Olympe de Thot x Quick Star, bred by Jean François Noel). At our farm is also Tenessee de la Roque (Kannan - Walloon de Muze x Nabab de Reve), also bred by the Top Stallion Company, who comes from the Qerly Chin line...