By Adriana van Tilburg
Photography: Holsteiner Verband

Breeding horses and equestrian sport have been two enduring passions for Breido Graf zu Rantzau (71), mapping his life from being a showjumping rider (for over 50 years from the age of seven), to presiding over the Holsteiner Verband for 21 years, six years as vice president of the WBFSH, and in 2005 taking over as president of the German FN, from which he’s recently retired.

It’s hardly surprising – living in his ancestral home of Schloss Breitenburg in the heart of Schleswig-Holstein – that his heart is rooted in Holsteiner horses, and for someone who has given so much to German equestrian sport and breeding at an international level, we can barely scratch the surface of his life in just one article...

Q Do you consider yourself to be a good breeder?
I see myself as a competition rider who has knowledge of horses in sport and who has been breeding horses by feeling. I don’t see myself as an important or a big breeder, but I see myself more as the person who has pacified and brought the Holsteiner Verband back together. In my time as a breeder I didn’t care for foal premiums. When they started to jump my interest was really there for the horses I bred. Everybody has their own point of view and road to success.
I have done my breeding with only a few mares. I had two very good horses about 30 years ago, Landlord (Landgraf I - Hilla x Tin Rod xx, Stamm 6879, breeder: Gunter Stange) and Malva (Marlon xx - Allgaeurin x Antonio, Stamm 1937, breeder: Klaus Rodde). I didn’t breed these horses, but they were my best. I competed with them in Nations Cups, for example, in Dublin, Falsterbo, and Rome. Out of Malva I bred the 1m60 jumping horse Constantin by Contender, who had a very good career under the saddle of Markus Beerbaum. He was partly owned by the Firestone family and Beerbaum.
Okaweintraube (Waldjunker - Huldinchen x Lodi, Stamm 5860) is part of the history of my life where breeding and sport come together. I became European champion with her during the championships for junior riders in 1967. Out of her I bred the mare Ira I, by Rigoletto.
I also bred the following generation that included the gelding Lavendel 48, who jumped at 1m60 under the saddle of Ian Miller and Laura Tidball-Balisky. With Laura he participated in the World Championships of Aachen in 1986, the Olympic Games of Seoul in 1988 and at the Pan American Games in 1987 in Indianapolis. During the last championship he was part of the team gold medal. Lavendel 48’s granddam is Okaweintraube... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber

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