By Christopher Hector
Photography: FEI/Libby Law, FEI/Richard Juilliart, Peter Llewellyn
When Sarah Bullimore finished the 2022 five-star dressage phase in Lexington in second place, just behind the eventual winners, Michael Jung and FRH Chipmunk (Contendro I x Reichsgraf), the story she had to tell the press was one that has been heard over-and-over in the world of eventing... Sarah had grown her own.
Sarah bred her chestnut gelding Corouet from her own former upper-level mount, Lilly Corinne. (Lovis Corinth x Fierant xx). “I had a fabulous mare that went to the European Championships in 2015, we had already started breeding with her. Corouet is our first born, it wasn’t a thing we had done before, but she was a fantastic mare and we thought why not?,”
Sarah added that she had chosen the sire, Balou du Rouet (Baloubet du Rouet - Georgia x Continue) because she had another event horse sired by him. “I love what he produces… [and Corouet's] got a mighty big attitude in a small package. We have continued breeding and have some lovely siblings coming behind him.”
Despite the fact that we have been told many times, you can’t specifically breed an eventer, the facts tell us otherwise, and many times the push to breed has come from the need to produce a horse for a member of the family to compete.
The founding father of event horse breeding was the Englishman Sam Barr who in 1961 purchased a Thoroughbred foal he named Welton Gameful (Prince's Game xx out of a mare by the Pharos xx son Philae xx). Thereafter, ‘Welton’ became the prefix for Barr’s horses. Gameful was very much a family project and took Sam's 12-year-old daughter, Dawn, Pony Club eventing. As a two-year-old Gameful had covered four mares, the first foal to arrive, Gamekeeper, went on to qualify for Badminton with Sergeant Ben Jones.
Gameful died as a result of a paddock accident at the age of 14, but his three sons carried on the legacy: Welton Louis, Welton Crackerjack, and Welton Apollo.
Louis, 1968, was out of an Irish showjumping mare who was the dam of Gazelle (Welton Gameful x Your Fancy xx). Gazelle was the dam of Yarlands Summersong (by the Trakehner Fleetwater Opposition), an absolute star with French eventer Marie-Christine Duroy. Gazelle was also the dam of Jennie Loriston Clark’s stallion Catherston Dazzler (Dutch Courage).
Crackerjack (1974) was by Gameful out of Queens Entry by the Thoroughbred Kings Approach xx out of Irish Lady by Bachelors Honor xx. Four decades later, Crackerjack remains one of the handful of stallions to event at the highest level, placing 13th at Burghley with double clears. He was the sire of winners at the big three: Badminton, Burghley, and Kentucky.
Apollo, 1975, by Gameful out of an intermediate eventer, Water Rights by Game Rights xx (by Big Game xx out of a mare by another influential sire of eventers, Water Serpent xx). Although Apollo was technically Thoroughbred, his dam was not recognized by Wetherbys. Apollo completed Badminton three years running placing eighth in 1989, and was a member of the British team at the 1989 European Championships... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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