By Christopher Hector
Photography: FEI-Solène Bailly, Mondial du Lion, and private collection
Given the very challenging coronavirus situation that has resulted in the cancellation of virtually all equestrian sport during the summer months, it was with exceptional motivation that the organizers of the annual Mondial du Lion, eventing’s World Breeding Championship for Young Horses, took the decision to run the event behind closed doors.
For many years the Isle Briand State Park in Le Lion d’Angers, with its picturesque chateau and bucolic racecourse, has hosted an annual world-class CCI, and an attractive season finale for younger eventing horses. Since 2010, however, the venue has formally staged the World Breeding Championship for Young Horses in eventing, exclusively for six- and seven-year-old horses.
Surprisingly, given the current coronavirus travel restrictions, the event welcomed a truly international field, with 38 entries representing 17 nations in the younger of the two age-groups, and 11 countries fielding 43 athletes for the seven-year-olds. Ultimately, of course, the results will be recorded by studbook affiliation – the top three results providing a cumulative score – rather than the country of origin of both horses and riders but, as we will see, the brand doesn’t always tell us much about the breeding.
The importance of Thoroughbred blood
The winner of the six year old class this year was German Ingrid Klimke and Cascamara (Cascadello ll x Templer GL xx), with the pair finishing on their dressage mark of 27.4.
Klimke was well pleased with her youngster: “I bought her last year directly from the breeder, Helmut Bergendahl - one of the only breeders I know who still breeds for eventing by crossing Thoroughbred mares with jumping stallions. She competed at her first show on the last weekend in July and did a good job, so I thought she could be ready for a two-star quite quickly. She did three two-stars and won the third, and when I brought her to Le Lion she was already more confident in the dressage.
“She was a bit green in the cross-country, especially at the water and the house, but when I asked her to give it a try she was right there – so bold and smart and clever. I thought nine minutes might be too long for her but she galloped around easily.”
In large part thanks to the skill of master course designer, Pierre Michelet: “It’s one of my favourites for young horses because they learn so much here, there’s no other course with such a variety of fences and terrain. My inexperienced mare was spooky at the first water, but by the time she got to the second water she had already learned a lot and was in a nice easy rhythm. Thanks to everyone at Le Lion for giving us riders and horses a great opportunity in these difficult times.”
Cascamara is by the Holsteiner, Cascadello (a son of Casall) out of a three-quarters Thoroughbred mare, Taramanga, by Templer xx out of a Sir Shostakovich xx mare, that’s 64.65% blood.
Klimke knows all about the importance of Thoroughbred blood for eventers, aside from Sleep Late who was all Thoroughbred, she had huge success with Butt's Abraxas (Heraldik xx x Kronenkranich xx) who was one of the many successful products of Friedrich Butts' eventing horse breeding program. Mr Butts relentlessly used Thoroughbred stallions in every generation until they were all, like Abraxis, 63/64ths Thoroughbred if you looked below their Hanoverian brand.
Klimke must love that Heraldik xx blood. Just a couple of weeks before this Young Horse Championship, she took out the German Eventing Championship at Luhmühlen riding SAP Asha P who is by the Holsteiner stallion, Askari but out of an Heraldik mare!
Second place to Oliver Townend and Cooley Rosalent. Now when I started seeing the Cooley prefix proliferating in eventing results, my first thought was ‘wow, that must be a very successful stud farm’, but the truth is more interesting. It turns out that they are not breeders at all, but use the whole of Ireland as their stud farm and combine that with an uncanny ability to spot talent to produce their Cooley horses. The team, Richard Sheane and Georgina Phillips, started their operation back in 2004 and they now have a client base that reads like a who’s who of international eventing... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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