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Paul Schockemöhle’s secret weapon: Conthargos

Ofelus van Mesnil (Ibrahim - Fine Fleur x Mon Beguin)

By Adriana van Tilburg
Photography: Private collection

The 17-year-old Conthargos (Converter - Cajandra Z x Carthago, bred by Gestüt Lewitz/Paul Schockemöhle) is this year’s shooting star in the WBFSH sire ranking. Making his debut, he immediately enters top 50 in 31st place. From the outset, Paul Schockemöhle and his team always had faith in him. So, what is this stallion’s history?

Paul Schockemöhle started the line of Conthargos with the 1963-born foundation mare, Jenny (Ofelus van Mesnil - Raby x bred by breeder: Arthur de Wispelaere). Conthargos has a relative short damline, only six generations having been recorded before you hit ‘unknown’ ancestry. Then we have Raby (1957) by Podocarpus, French Trotter sire of unknown origins. Raby was not unsuccessful in trotter racing under saddle, being based in Belgium where he raced, and also in France, until the age of 10. At the end of his racing career, he covered a few mares in Belgium.

Breeding is thinking in generations

The stallion Ofelus van Mesnil (Ibrahim - Fine Fleur x Mon Beguin) was the first son of Ibrahim who came to Belgium. He was imported by Hubert van Poucke, whose daughter-in-law Heidi Maes recalls: “My father-in-law indeed imported Ofelus du Mesnil, at the age of two-and-a-half, back then. Ofelus du Mesnil is his official French name, and was also the first stallion he bought in France. The stallion worked in the field, competed in jumping classes, and went hunting. His specialty was puissance jumping, easily clearing 1m90. Hubert became Belgium’s inter-jurisdictional champion with him.” (See interview with Dirk van Poucke, starting on page 26.)
Jenny was a light-chestnut mare, almost described as a palomino color. Jozef Bieseman sold her in foal and with a foal at foot to François Mathy Sr., who discovered Jenny because his sister was living in Bieseman’s area at that time. In Belgium she produced four offspring, ber last three being bred by Bieseman. Paul Schockemöhle then bred three offspring out of her: Sir John 3 (Senatsrat PB) and his full brother Skopy, and Jenny II (Colorado x).
Paul Schockemöhle recalls: “I purchased Jenny from François Mathy Sr. She was never in sport, but she could jump well and was careful. A full sister of this mare had good international placings in jumping with a Belgian rider, so I used Jenny in my breeding program. The stallion Senatsrat stood at a station that had a lot of good jumping stallions during that time – Domspatz, Lavendel, Agram, and so on. I purchased many horses from there, and Jenny was the start of this branch in Germany.”
Jenny II’s sire, Colorado x, was a very modern tall Anglo Arab stallion. Colorado x comes from a quite good Anglo Arab family for jumping. Adrien Cugnasse, a French expert on Thoroughbred and Anglo Arab lines explains: “If I look at his pedigree than I think about jumping horses and not about racing horses. The period of certain generations in this pedigree is a difficult one and I think it is not fair to judge the stallions for a particular production. In the third generation you find Lotus VIII, who is the damsire of the well-known Anglo Arab, Nithard x. This line also produced the 1m60 jumping horse Cigale du Taillis (Jalisco B - Pizzicati x Galifol, bred by Gerard Louyot), who competed under the saddles of Eugénie Angot and Alexandra Ledermann.” Colorado x left France at a young age because his registered offspring in that country were all born elsewhere... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber