By Kim Lundin
Photography: FEI/Richard Juilliart; FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst
It’s complicated, yes! Breeding, that is. And the individual trumps the pedigree in every situation – King Edward bewing the unique and unequivocal example. We put the FEI World Cup™ Finals 2023 in Omaha, NB, under the microscope.
The World Cup final in jumping shows to the highest degree exactly how complicated it is with breeding. Jumping pedigree is a must in today’s top sport, performance merits on the maternal side are far from a general rule, but what everyone is looking for in a young prospect, established sires for most of the participants. But then the shining star comes along ahead of all others and everyone’s expert advice and breeding theories are all overturned in a blink of an eye.
The World Cup is a championship with very special selection rules and with a clearly limited starting field of around 40 horses plus or minus a handful from year to year. Often it becomes a measurement on who has coped best with the indoor season – at least when it comes to the Western European league. This year it was sadly evident that many of the American combinations were not quite ready for the slightly different challenges you face in a smaller arena. As always with the World Cup, combinations from the minor leagues find it difficult; and this is something we also see at both the Olympic Games and the World Championships unfortunately. The approach is still that it is an achievement and a feather in the cap for all breeders to have a horse in the World Cup final, almost regardless of placement.
The three horses that took their riders to a place on the podium were all extremely different and at the same time shared several positive qualities: fast, careful, rideable, brave, and with an eye in every hoof. An endless number of articles have been written about King Edward Ress, as he was originally called. From a breeding perspective, he is one of the few in the final who does not come from an established jumping sire. King Edward (2010/BWP/g Edward - Konigin de Lauzelle x Feo de Lauzelle, bred by Wim Impens owned by Dufour Stables Ag) is by far – and that is an understatement – the best of the sire Edward (2005/Hann Embassy I x Fabriano), and with only 22 internationally competing offspring (13 in jumping, five in eventing, and four in dressage). In his home country of Germany Edward has more; up to 200 registered offspring that have competed on a lower national level.
King Edward’s older half-siblings have competed at a lower level internationally, and in the maternal line there is Achat (Ars Vivendi) who competed at 1m60. Grandfather Feo de Lauzelle (1980/Hann Wende-kreis x Joker) has 16 offspring with results at 1m40 and above, all born and registered with BWP. Nothing in that lineage could have prepared the world for the little gelding’s indescribable greatness – thankfully for riders along the way who recognized capacity and quality... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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