Weihaiwej (Westminster - Andachtige x Grannus, bred by Otto Baumann) in the capable hands of Germany’s Franke Sloothaak

By Adriana van Tilburg
Photography: Peter Llewellyn

The showjumping and breeding world has recently lost two golden mares that have meant so much for equestrian sport worldwide. Fein Cera (Landadel - Cera x Cor de la Bryère, Stamm 3615, bred by Harm Thormählen), and the blue-eyed phenom Weihaiwej (Westminster - Andachtige x Grannus, bred by Otto Baumann) who both gold medals under their riders: Peter Wylde (USA) and Franke Sloothaak (GER), respectively.

Fein Cera was born in 1991 in Schleswig Holstein, Germany. As her breeder Harm Thormählen recalls: “Fein Cera had hidden talents. She wasn’t so spectacular when I free jumped her the first few times, but this changed one day and I realized I had something very special. I did not want to sell her too early, so I decided to hide her. I educated her myself and rode out a lot on her. She was so sensitive that she could feel right away when I was not feeling well. One time she was really tense and I didn’t understand why, until I remembered I’d just had a very bad phone call, and she felt that. For me she only had one foal, a filly that was able to continue the line.”
Weihaiwej was born in 1984 in Lower-Saxony, Germany. Her breeder Otto Baumann recalls: “Weihaiej was something special. I remember her when she came into stable after she had been out in the field for the first time. Every foal I have bred had difficulties entering from daylight into a dark stable. Weihaiwej didn’t! She just continued trotting with no hesitation into the stable. As a foal I wanted to sell her at auction, but Uwe Heckmann was not interested in her. When she was three she was presented again, and they accepted her right away for the auction. It was Uwe Heckmann who gave her the name (after a famous chinese monument). My grandfather started in the fifties with this line, and I have to admit that it was never really successful. Weihaiwej was a freak and she had the best management around. She was also my last real success. For sure you hope to breed another horse like her, but at the same time you know it is impossible. I was in The Hague (1994 World Equestrian Games) for the opening class, and I was there again with the final. It was something special to see Franke with Weihaiwej.”

The competition world

Certainly, both of these fabulous mares found themselves in the hands of world-class riders, with Peter Wylde and Franke Sloothaak...To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber

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