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Honour where honour’s due

Spirit of the Age OLD (Stedinger - Ultra Davenia x Donnerhall)

By Tobias Hemken (Oldenburg Verband)
Photography: Feldhaus

Once again this year, upholding a long tradition, a VTV jumper stallion and a VTV dressage stallion were crowned during the Oldenburg licensing. This highly prestigious award is given to a licensed Oldenburg stallion for his outstanding achievements in sport and breeding. On the –occasion of the Stallion Gala, the two athletes – Spirit of the Age OLD and Diaron OLD – were decorated with the VTV sash in the Oldenburg Horse Center Vechta.

Heiko Meinen, head of the R+V VTV General Agency, specializing in animal insurance, once again took the opportunity this year to reward the breeders, Manuela Lachnit and Michael Mehrtens, as well as the owners, Paul Schockemöhle and Bernadette Brune, by handing each of them a generous check in the amount of €1,000 for their great achievements in breeding.
VTV jumping stallion
Diaron OLD (2012: Diarado - Lenda-Cara x Come On x Aldatus), bred by Manuela Lachnit and owned by Paul Schockemöhle, inspired this year as well as last year with the title of five- and six-year-old Bundeschampion showjumper in Warendorf under the saddle of Patrick Stühlmeyer. Even as a foal, the grey stallion was able to convince with his elastic and great movements, as well as later in the free jumping.
After his inaugural wins in 2016 in young-horse show-jumping classes with Basile Rubio, Patrick Stühlmeyer took over the ongoing training of Diaron OLD in 2017. Due to his success in sport, he was licensed in the same year at the Springpferdezuchtverband Oldenburg-International (OS).
This year, the couple’s meteoric rise continued, celebrating numerous successes in showjumping classes up to 1m35, and becoming state champion of six-year-old show-jumpers at the Oldenburg Landesturnier in Rastede. His dam, Lenda-Cara (Come On - Lindauway x Aldatus), was also bred by Manuela Lachnit. She has so far produced five successful competition horses, especially the large-framed grey Campitello (Concetto) born in 2002, who has recorded good results with Alexander Hinz in international four-star classes, for example, in Donaueschingen, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Opglabbeek,
Diaron’s grand-dam Lindauway gave birth to six successful jumpers, including VDL Groep Miss Untouchable (Chacco-Blue), born 2007, who attracted attention in 2017 at the CHIO in Aachen with several international placings with Dutchman Leopold van Asten. Also from this dam line, the 1m40 Blue Balou (alou du Rouet), ridden by Diaron’s breeder; Balous Day Date (Balou du Rouet), with Molly Ashe-Cawley (USA);  Pentagon (Padarco) in the hands of Katharina Werndl (GER); Tiger Lily (Balou du Rouet) with Jessica Springsteen (USA);  and Day Date (Domino) ridden by Beat Mändli (SUI).
 On his sire’s side, Diaron goes back to the Diamant de Semilly son, Diarado, who had already registered 70 successful advanced-level horses, 43 licensed sons, and 41 state premium mares in Germany. He was 2007 champion stallion of his licensing, won the stallion performance test one year later, secured the bronze medal at the Bundeschampionat for five-year old showjumpers with Bastian Freese, and then went up to three-star level in international sport.
VTV dressage stallion
Spirit of the Age OLD (2004: Stedinger - Ultra Davenia x Donnerhall x Rohdiamant), bred by Michael Mehrtens and owned by Bernadette Brune, began his career at the age of three and four with series victories in riding and dressage-horse tests under Sascha Böhnke. He was then auctioned in Vechta and started his journey to New Zealand, where he became champion at the age of five.
Back in Germany, the dark bay stallion celebrated several podium finishes in medium-class dressage tests in 2011 with Thomas Rive, before Bernadette Brune discovered the dressage talent at the Fall Elite Auction in Vechta 2012. With Spirit of the Age OLD, she enjoyed a meteoric rise on the German and international dressage scene, winning an Intermediaire I at the two-star CDI in Biarritz, France. In 2012, for the first time, the stallion effortlessly transitioned into  Grand Prix classes, celebrating his first GP victory one year later at the Biarritz three-star CDI. With his many successes in advanced-level classes, the imposing Spirit of the Age OLD was licensed for Oldenburg in 2012.
A former highly successful showjumper, Bernadette Brune continued to build up her stallion, so that in 2015 they contributed significantly to Germany’s win in their first Nations’ Cup appearance at the four-star CDIO Vidauban, and took bronze in the Grand Prix. During the five-star CDIO in Rotterdam, the duo delivered a top-ten ranking, and enjoyed a good result in their first World Cup event in Lyon, France. In concluding the same year, the pair was appointed to the prospective squad due to his achievements, and Spirit of the Age OLD was named the most successful Oldenburg horse in Germany. He then ranked sixth in the world.
After more than 20 placings in 2016, the stallion and his rider delivered one success story after the another in 2017, with highlights being ribbons at the four-star CDI shows in Dortmund and Hagen a.TW. in Grand Prix and GP Special. His sire Stedinger became Champion Stallion of the Oldenburg Stallion Days in 2002 and two years later became the first Reserve Champion of the main premium. In 2013, the dark bay moved to Australia where after only a few months he was able to win dressage tests up to Intermediaire I and also became Australian Champion in 2014. Stedinger has been one of the top international sires for years and in 2017 ranked eighth in the WBFSH list of the best dressage sires worldwide.
(l-r) Heiko Meinen, head of the R+V VTV General Agency; Diaron OLD under the saddle of Laura Dieckmann; Holger and Manuela Lachnit; Oldenburg president
Wilhelm Weerda; Christoph Hinkel
(representing Paul Schockemöhle)