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Klimke: A great German legacy from an iconic dressage master

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CHIO Aachen, June 1996, Reine Klimke (GER) riding Russian Trakehner stallion Biotop (Blesk - Plaksa x Hockey II)

By Christopher Hector
Photography: Peter Llewellyn

One of the very great strengths of German dressage is the thoughtful way in which younger horses are introduced to the FEI tests. Reiner Klimke was not only a great rider and trainer, but also a great horseman, and he conceived the format of the Nürnberger Burg-Pokal, a class for eight-year-old horses at a Prix St Georges level.

Since the event started in 1992, the winners include:
• Rubinstein (Rosenkavalier x Angelo xx, 1994)
• Chacomo (Calypso I x Marmor, 1897)
• Relevant (Rubinstein x Goldlöwe, 1998)
• Bonaparte (Bon Bonaparte x Consul, 2001)
• Wahajama (Warkant x Acapulco, 2002)
• Elvis (Espri x Garibaldi), 2004)
• Whisper (Welt Hit I x Weltstar, 2005)
• Augustin (August der Starke x Rohdiamant, 2007)
• El Santo (Ehrentusch x Rhythmus, 2008)
• Blind Date (Breitling W x Donnerhall, 2009)
• Weihegold (Don Schufro x Sandro Hit, 13)
• Vitalis (Vivaldi x D-Day, 2016).
Among these, winners have claimed eight Olympic gold medals, five silver, and four bronze.
One of the winners – Relevant – was sired by Rubinstein, who also won the first Nürnberger Burg-Pokal in 1992. 2019 saw another first, a winner out of a mare who had previously won the class, Total Hope is by Totilas (Gribaldi / Glendale) out of Weihegold (Don Schufro / Sandro Hit) who won the title in 2013.
Did I hear you say, of course that combination will produce a star, think again. Since 2009, when four of her embryos became foals, Weihegold has produced 14 progeny, yet Total Hope is the only one to go Grand Prix of the eight foaled between 2009 and 2012 – and they were the products of a mouthwatering smorgasbord of stallions: Sir Donnerhall I, Fürst Romancier, Blue Hors Zack, Fürst Heinrich, and Quarterback – along with the two by Totilas.
Of late, Weihegold’s affections have drifted west, across the border to the Netherlands, with three of her four most recent foals being Dutch-bred with Jazz, Apache, and Vitalis, joining Totilas. Time will tell if any of them will make it to the big sport...
Actually the record of star dressage mares as broodmares is pretty dismal. Brentina (Brentano II x Lungau) was retired with great fanfare and produced two foals, one by Kingston, one by Damsey, neither of which competed internationally. Exquis Nadine (Partout x Roemer) produced two mares, one of which, Salvia (Havidoff) went on to produce two licensed stallions that quickly faded into obscurity, and a Prix St Georges competitor. Sunrise (Singular Joter x Werther) lived until she was 27, but declined when it came to producing babies, while Matine (Silvermoon x Matador) died in a paddock accident before she could be covered... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber

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