By Christopher Hector
Photography: FEI/Libby Law
Last month it was announced that Thoroughbreds would finally achieve the recognition they so richly deserve in terms of sporting accomplishments in the Olympic disciplines of eventing, showjumping, and dressage. It’s no coincidence that we focus on one of the best-known Thoroughbred sires of world-class equine athletes – Heraldik xx (1982-2013).
Interestingly, Heraldik came from a mysterious and not particularly auspicious background, a riding school in Czechoslovakia, but after he was imported to Germany, he became the most successful eventing sires of all time.
Indeed, Heraldik was crowned number one WBFSH eventing sire in 2009, and held top spot until 2013, though it might be noted in 2014, he was second, third in 2015, second again in 2016, sixth in 2017, and seventh in 2018... some 13 years after his death!
So, what made the stallion such a success? For starters, his offspring were the first choice of some of the world’s very top riders, in particular the Germans, whose eventing squad under the guidance of Christopher Bartle was conquering the world. The German team between 2004 and 2019 won 27 championship medals, riding horses that were on average 70% Thoroughbred. The superstar combination of this team was Michael Jung and La Biosthetiqe-Sam, the gelding by Stan the Man xx, out of an Heraldik mare.
In 2013, the last year he headed the WBFSH eventing sires standings, Heraldik’s highest tally of points was accumulated by Halunke FBW (out of a mare by Jugol, a son of the influential Trakehner, Julmond), ridden by – you guessed it – Michael Jung, while the second highest, Tabasco (out of the Trakehner mare Titania III) was ridden by one of America’s frontliners, Marilyn Little. Third ranked in Heraldik’s team was TSF Karascada (out of another Trakhener, this time by Andoc) and Kai-Steffen Meier – since Karascada’s dam is listed with two more foals, including the three-star eventer, Karambeau M, both of them by the eventing Trakehner stallion, Windfall, we may assume she was sent to Heraldik with the aim of producing an eventer…
This is another important thread, breeders deliberately setting out to produce eventers. Most breeders in Germany at the time, if they used a Thoroughbred stallion, did so hoping for a half-blood mare to add to their broodmare band, so they did not send their very top mare to the Thoroughbred. Not so this little band of eventing enthusiasts, they sent their best mares, hoping to breed an eventer. And this worked in reverse, eventing breeders went looking for Heraldik mares, and then sent them to stallions who had produced eventers, boosting the chances of Heraldik as an eventing broodmare sire. It also underlines the opportunity Germany’s Trakehner mare population offered the breeder of eventers... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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