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Chao Lee: A fascinating lineage with prestigious ancestors

Katrin Eckermann (GER) riding Chao Lee, six-year-old gold medallist at the FEI-WBFSH World Breeding Championship for Young Horses, Lanaken, Belgium

By Adriana van Tilburg
Photography: FEI/Nanna-Rikka Niemenen

Breeding is a fascinating study, and one time-honoured, favourite saying is ‘breeding is thinking in generations’. This especially applies to the family of Chao Lee – a line that started with the Hanoverian Studbook with the 1890-born mare Schliesserin. It’s a bloodline with many branches producing a variety of top sport horses in various disciplines...

Showjumping, dressage, eventing and four in hand driving. Chao Lee (Comme il faut [Westf] - Cobain Z x Chacco-Blue) herself is a registered Rheinlander jumping at 1m50 level with Germany’s Katrin Eckermann

Formidable history

The foundation of Chao Lee’s motherline is very solid. In 1964, the mare Elfenwache (Eindruck II – Feldmuschel x Feldmarschall), born in 1956, won the 1964 DLG mare show, a coveted class title for older mares. This was in the past a very prestigious mare show with the best from all the German studbooks competing against each other.
Elfenwache became the mother of three approved stallions. Her son Luciano (Lukas) took a box at the famous stud of Georg Vorwerk, and appears in the bloodline of well-known dressage stallion Sandro Hit. She also had two daughters by Wicht (1960: Freischärler - Wüstenfee x Wüstensohn xx). Ulrich Hahne, breeding director of the Hanoverian Verband, recalls: “I still know the descendants of Wicht from my childhood. They were difficult horses with good performance.” These two daughters, Wichtfrau and Weraide, were paired with the stallion Lukas (Lugano I -Dünenhalle x Dwinger) and started producing showjumpers.
Jef Brondeel, found of Stoeterij de Breemeersen in Belgium, is passionate about Hanoverian horses. He purchased the fourth mother of Chao Lee, the Hanoverian mare Lucky (Lukas - Wichtfrau x Wicht) and recalls: “Lucky van de Breemeersen was the first mare that I purchased in Hanover in 1976. Her grandmother Elfenwache was DLG champion. That was when she passed the most important mare championship of Germany. I got in contact with the breeder of Lucky when she went to a mare approval, but at first she wasn’t for sale. To make a long story short, I was eventually able to buy her. She was a fantastic mare. She won several mare shows, and I rode her as a young horse, also starting her under saddle. She had an outstanding Hanoverian pedigree, but was rather explosive under saddle.
“It was the late 1970s and I grew slowly into stallion keeping. Lucky had an outstanding Hanoverian pedigree but, unfortunately, I traded her in when we purchased Lugano van la Roche. Because Lugano van la Roche was very expensive, we paid a certain amount in cash and also traded two horses.
“That mare had everything, she was also very pretty to look at. Afterwards, I lost sight of her, but it’s now very interesting to see how the good damlines reappear. This damline has a rock-solid foundation.
“Lukas was a son of Lugano I and was a champion of the Hanoverian stallion approvals. In his time he covered quite a number of mares but, in my opinion, he didn’t have the same calibre as Capitol I or Diamant de Semilly, whom we know from recent years. But Lukas was a very respected stallion, which can be said about Wicht, from whom we also have the Feiner Kerl blood. He was also very interesting but, as you know, many new stallions were coming every year. They were all standing at the State Stud, which meant they were the best according to the people of the Hanoverian studbook at that time.
“In combination with the very strong motherline this bloodline was very interesting. A Lucky One (75.00%: Lucky Boy xx - Umevina x Jurriaan) later added a serious shot of Thoroughbred. I think the three latest generations of this mare Chao Lee makes her a top-class mare bringing excellent blood, and working very well when the foundation is good... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber