By Christopher Hector
Photography: Mirella Boot Fotografie (courtesy Stal Schep)
Egbert Schep is an influential Dutch breeder and an acknowledged expert on bloodlines. Starting out as an 18-year-old horse dealer, Egbert's business just grew and grew until in 1990, Egbert and Annemieke Schep decided to build new accommodation in Tull en 't Waal.
These days, the business has changed from dealing towards the breeding, rearing and training of young horses. Stal Schep also stands a collection of exciting stallions.
So, in part three of my quest to identify the best showjumping mares of all time, I asked Edbert Shep for his names: “It’s quite difficult to give really a top five of favourite broodmares, but checking offspring, the five mares in Holland I think are very good are:
• Lady Third Black (Burggraaf x Nimmerdor)
• Oase van de Heffinck (Elmshorn x Major de la Cour)
• Elottie W (G. Ramiro Z x Farn)
• Ovanta I (Lux x Nimmerdor)
• Ulen (Niagara x Harmonie)
Lady Third Black
Lady Third Black was foaled in 1993, and wasby Burggraaf, out of a Nimmerdor x Pericles xx x Joost mare. Burggraaf was a hugely influential stallion in the emergence of the Dutch showjumper. He brought the blood of the great Holstein founding fathers, Landgraf and Cor de la Bryère to the Netherlands, he was by Landgraf, from a Cor de la Bryère mare... but not without some drama!
While Burggraaf was undertaking his KWPN stallion test at Ermelo, he was sent home in very controversial circumstances. Burggraaf's blood test showed that Landgraf could not be his sire.
Burggraaf's German breeder was contacted, but was sure that no other stallion could have covered the mare – so the Holstein Verband was contacted and asked for a blood sample – whereupon it was revealed that the Holstein Verband had made an error in the recording of their leading sire’s blood type. Burggraaf WAS by Landgraf, and the young stallion was back into the 100-day test. He was successful in that test and received 8.50 points for his jumping and 9.00 for his character (on a scale of 1 to 10).
However, like many of the greatest stallions, Burggraaf had difficulties with the Dutch Licensing Commission. After inspecting his first crop of foals, he was only awarded a reserve premium, but fortunately his progeny soon proved their sire's worth.
Burggraaf stood for many years at the Nijhof Stud, and according to Jeanette Nijhof: “Burggraaf stamped a lot of his babies with the nice Landgraf face. Most of them were good movers and jumpers. His best combination was with some Thoroughbred on the motherline, for instance, he crossed well with Furioso xx bloodlines, through the stallions, Voltaire and Le Mexico.”
Lady Third Black is out of a mare by another of the Dutch jumping greats, Nimmerdor, whom Wiepke van de Lageweg bought at a stallion show as a two-year-old, for the (then) considerable sum of 25,000 florins (around €11,700 at today’s exchange rate). Nimmerdor was to transform Wiepke-the-cattle-dealer into one of the world’s leading stallion keepers.
Wiepke had started to develop his interest in horses, and purchased his first horse in June of 1972; coincidentally, Nimmerdor the horse that was to make Wiepke’s name, was born in the same month as Wiepke. He purchased the then three-year-old stallion from breeder J.A. Dijkstra of Woudsend.
Jenneke Smit tells the story in her article, Quality wins the Contest in IDS magazine, 2009, the year the Van de Lageweg family was declared KWPN breeders of the year. Wiepke told Jenneke: “In 1975, I took my first stallion, which I found in Holstein, to the selection in Zuidlaren. Unfortunately, he wasn’t good enough and didn’t make it past the second round. After that, I decided to sit in the stands until I saw the best stallion of the selection. When Nimmerdor came into the ring, I liked him right away; he was my kind of horse: Athletic, youthful, and with a nice head. At the time, I really didn’t know anyone in the horse world, so I approached the breeder there at the selection, but Nimmerdor wasn’t for sale.
“That was a Saturday evening. On Monday evening, I went to the breeder’s home. He told me again that Nimmerdor wasn’t for sale, but he let me look at his dam and granddam in their stalls. The dam was really beautiful, and I liked the granddam as well, although she was a heavier type. The breeder asked if I wanted to sit down for a cup of coffee, and things got better from there. Ultimately, he said that he would only sell Nimmerdor for ‘a lot of money’. Then, I got up, walked into the hallway, and said that he should discuss the matter with his wife and knock on the door when I could come back into the room again... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO BREEDING NEWS
SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE BY LOGGING IN AND RETURNING TO THIS PAGE