By Christopher Hector
Photography: Max Minikus† (Courtesy Alban Poudret)
The greatest single influence on showjumping breeding has been the French stallion, Ibrahim (The Last Orange x Porte Bonheur) and his most influential son has been the great Almé, who was out of a mare, Girondine by the Thoroughbred, Ultimate.
Over 30 years after his death, Almé continues to influence showjumping at the highest level. The most successful sire at the Tokyo Games was Chacco-Blue with five representatives, but his most successful son, Explosion W, is out of a mare by the Almé grandson, Baloubet de Rouet.
The stallions with the next largest group are Casall (Caretino x Lavall I) and Kashmir van Schuttershof (Nabab de Rêve x Tenor Manciais) with three each: Nabab de Rêve being a great grandson of Almé.
In the 2007-2008 edition of Monneron, Bernard Le Courtois, after spending many hours on his computer, produced a list of the top 75 jumping stallions in the world, on the basis of the FEI list of the top 2,515 jumping horses in international competition.
This survey confirmed Almé’s pride of place, for he was responsible for 17 of the 57 leading stallions on the leaderboard. Four of these stallions are by his son, Jalisco B, the most important of which is Quidam de Revel, who heads the standings with 48 representatives.
Quidam himself already has two of his sons on the leader board, Nabab de Rêve and Guidam. Another Jalisco son, Papillon Rouge is ranked equal sixth in the world with 26 winners. Jalisco B, despite his death at a relatively young 19 years of age, is in 30th place on the leaderboard with 10 representatives.
Almé was also influential in Germany and the Netherlands. His grandson, Acord II (Ahorn Z x Calypso I) is in 13th place with 16 winners. In Holland, Almé’s son, Animo is 19th with 12 winners. Animo’s son, Andiamo Z is ranked 64th with five winners.
Bernard Le Courtois has every reason to be proud of the Almé legacy, since he was the one who rescued the great stallion from the clutches of Belgian breeder, Léon Melchior – hence the ‘Z’ sometimes tacked, wrongly, to his name – since Melchior had nothing to do with his breeding. Almé was already an established sire in France when Melchior acquired him in 1975.
The legend’s story
But I will let Bernard tell the tale, since he is not only a leading breeder of jumping horses, but also an accomplished writer: “The French breeders and riders became aware of the enormous loss represented by Almé’s exportation, but few breeders were prepared to go abroad to have their mares covered. However some made the effort in 1991, and thanks to them we had several five and six year olds in competition. In the meantime Almé had been operated on for an inguinal hernia and in 1984 became mon-orchid. The Dutch then sold him and he returned to Belgium. But what, I hear you say, were the French doing? What were they waiting for to bring their stallion home? Particularly when they had several opportunities to do so... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO BREEDING NEWS
SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE BY LOGGING IN AND RETURNING TO THIS PAGE