Home In previous issues The WBFSH stallion rankings re-considered

The WBFSH stallion rankings re-considered

TSF Dalera ridden by Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl

By Christopher Hector
Photography: FEI/Liz Gregg; Peter Llewellyn

At the Frankfurt Show recently, I caught up with my friend and advisor of the past couple of decades, sport horse breeding expert Ludwig Christman. Ludwig has recently resigned from his position at the Hanoverian Verband, but he assured me he was not going to stop writing, indeed he had found a new topic.

I hope since your retirement you haven’t stopped writing... “Right now I am working on an article on the Hannoverian breeding values, and the rankings of the World Breeding Federation. I realised that some of the top-ranked stallions do not have a top-ranked horse in their rankings, like Sir Donnerhall. He’s third, but his top-ranked horse is number 60...”
A coincidence since I had starting writing notes for an article along the same lines. Mine read: ‘Even if you look at the top horse, Johnson, there are no stars by him. His top points earner was Edison (Balzfug) whose best European result in 2022 was a second at Wiesbaden four-star on a score of 77.57. However he did go better in Florida where they tend to reward visitors making the long trip with generous scores, there he came second in a five-star freestyle on 79.43. Edison is ranked 34th in the world. Johnson’s top five are ranked 34, 55, 59, 68, 86...’.
LC: “I think it also has to do with the marketing of the stallions, they need to breed tons of foals to have a wide base, so a stallion with few progeny who do very well in competition, they never make it up to the top rankings.”

Q Do you think the rankings need to be adjusted? When the World Breeding Rankings started they were so fixated on winning something big like the Games, that a stallion like Rebus was crowned world number one dressage sire, on the basis of just one single horse, Rusty. The two Rusty clones were useless... Have we now gone too far the other way rewarding quantity not great performance?
I don’t know all the details, but I understand that every international sport horse collects points for the Longines rankings and these points are just added for the sires rankings. When I looked at the dressage points it seemed like all these horses were successful at Grand Prix level, but when I looked at the lowest ranked horse with points for Johnson, the horse was ranked something like number 700 but the horse still has Grand Prix experience but maybe not at the top.

Q Do you think we somehow have to weight Grand Prix results according to the standard of the competition, which would not be hard to do using the ranking points of the horses that actually competed to assess the standard of the competition... so if a horse wins a Grand Prix at Boneo Park in Australia, it does not get the same amount of points as the horse that wins at Aachen?
I’m not saying that I want to change the system, but it is something that I realised.

Q But we must have had the same realization at more or less the same time, when the rankings appeared... I was also puzzled but I thought, ‘oh I bet the jumping rankings are different, the top horses will have to have really top competitors’. Wrong! The number one jumping stallion is Chacco-Blue, and his top five competitors are ranked 61, 66, 86, 113. and 164.
So it is similar, but a stallion like Chacco-Blue has something like 200 horses earning points for him. All the top jumpers have tons of horses earning points for them... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber