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Record-breaking NZWA tour pushing the boundaries

Southern Star Seraphim (Rosari Fabio - Cheeky Bubba xx x The Commander xx) dressage-bred champion and overall champion

By Sally Reid
Photography: Jody Hartstone, Cheleken Photography

‘Why get your horse classified?’ is a question that probably sounds absurd to European and other Northern Hemisphere readers of WBN, but it’s one that the New Zealand Warmblood Association has posted on its website in an effort to educate the sometimes casual NZ sport horse breeding industry. It seems to have had the desired effect, as this year’s tour was the biggest on record, with 180 horses presented to tour assessor, Matthias Werner from Germany.

However, bringing New Zealand’s sport horse industry together in a well-organised, cohesive body has been (and continues to be) an uphill battle for NZWA president Jody Hartstone. She has been working tirelessly to increase breeders’ involvement and understanding since taking over the role in 2016, and this year’s NZWA classification tour was a tribute to her perseverance. “It was our biggest and most successful yet,” Hartstone says. “And it was very encouraging to have another big showjumping breeder – Vicki Wilson – on board this year. Unfortunately, it is a long, slow road to get New Zealand interested in the pedigree recording and birth registrations of their horses, as for many years now this has not been the culture of breeding and buying sport horses in this country. “But to have the support of high-profile studs and riders, like Takapoto, Cheleken Stud and Vicki Wilson, really helps show the professionalism of these set-ups and, hopefully, other breeders will follow their lead.
“The only way New Zealand horses will have a true impact internationally is if we ensure that all horses born here who are eligible for passports do actually get registered, so New Zealand and NZ breeders get the recognition they deserve on the international stage.
“There were some top quality horses put forward this year and the standard of foals was outstanding with so many reaching merit and excellence. It was also encouraging to have four more stallions put forward for licencing and all will have something to offer breeders in New Zealand. The tour was logistically a nightmare to organise with massive distances covered and so many horses seen but all who put horses forward found it a welcoming and educational experience with the added bonus of seeing if their breeding really does measure up to European standards.”

Super little Seraphim

In total, 88 foals – the highest number ever – were presented for judging this year: 29 scored ‘excellence’ and a further 30 scored ‘merit’. It’s a very encouraging result for breeders.
The Overall Champion Foal, and also Champion Colt Foal and Champion Dressage-bred Foal, was the gorgeous Southern Star Seraphim (Rosari Fabio - Cheeky Bubba xx x The Commander xx) whose score was 84.75. He scored nines for all three gaits, as well as for appearance and for his head.
Seraphim was bred by Ulrich and Nannette Doering of Southern Star Sporthorses who own both his sire and his dam: they are still new to the scene, but have set some high goals for their stud and are obviously achieving these. Their main aim is to breed Warmbloods of modern international quality, and, as his name suggests, Ulrich Doering is German; he grew up in Stuttgart, so is well aware of European standards. The couple’s son and daughter are also involved in the running of Southern Star Sporthorses, which is in the Waikato region of the North Island. The foals presented this year were from their second crop.
“Last year’s Assessor, Frank Weisskirchen, was impressed with the foals the Doerings put forward, but this year’s crop did even better,” says Jody Hartstone. “There were two stand-outs for Matthias – Southern Star Seraphim and Southern Star Beauty,” (see fillies below).
Southern Star’s sole stallion, Rosari Fabio (Fürst Romancier - Rosari Gracia x Gymnastik Star) is a very handsome dark bay, who is consistently throwing leggy foals with good shoulders. He was bred by Fiona McCrostie. According to Nannette Doering, “We fell in love with Fabio because of his free, elastic movement and this is what Matthias picked up in all his offspring. Every single one of his foals received at least an eight for their shoulders, which gives them that ground-covering, elastic movement with real freedom through the back. They are all modern, leggy types as opposed to the more old-fashioned, heavier type of warmblood. Fabio also has a kind, loving temperament, which for a stallion is quite unusual. When people are buying a sport horse they want both an athlete and a companion, so it is very important to us that he is passing his temperament on to his offspring.”
Rosari Fabio also passes on some super bloodlines, including his fourth-generation cross of Donnerhall. He carries the elite ‘Edoste’ Oldenburg mare-line (Stamm 46) through his own sire, the Hauptprämie Oldenburg, Fürst Romancier (Fürst Heinrich - Ronja x Romancier), who was the main premium winner and most successful stallion of his age group at the 2009 World Championships.
On his dam’s side, Fabio has the mighty De Niro, and Gymnastik Star (Glueckspilz x Calypso II), a German-bred ‘premium’ Hanoverian who stood in Australia and has champion progeny on both sides of the Tasman. He is not yet licensed as an NZWA breeding stallion, but Fabio’s foals can be entered into the Warmblood register by way of the ‘amnesty clause’ in the NZWA breeding regulations.
The Doerings bought Seraphim’s Thoroughbred dam, Cheeky Bubba xx, after receiving a tip from a friend. “She is a big mare who we liked straight away for her sharp hock action and floating trot, which is quite unusual in a full Thoroughbred,” says Nannette Doering. “She’s the sort of mare who really blows you away when she moves, because it’s much more than you expect.”.. To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber