By Adriana van Tilburg
Photography: Personal collection
In part one of Harm Thormählen’s nearly eight-decade career in breeding special sport horses, he recalled the early years, up to his 50th birthday, and how horses like Rappel, Retina and Gera have significantly contributed to sport horse breeding worldwide. In part two of this interview, below, Thormählen concludes with fascinating insights into his life-long passion for horses and breeding looking at the past 25 years to the present day.
Q Breeding and business moved on between your 50th and 75th year. Besides being active on your own farm you were traveling to shows and also being active as a judge for OS, Z and even in Ireland you were very active. Your name became a brand. What has happened during these years, and how has it been for you?
The story here continues with Fein Cera. She was sold to Alison Firestone Robitaille, who sold her to Peter Wylde. Fein Cera was the best jumping horse at WEG 2002 in Jerez de la Frontera and was part of the team gold of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Eventually I was able to get Fein Cera back and she lived here happily until she died last year.
I made sure I had enough offspring from this line, even though it was a close call with Cera and Fein Cera. Both only produced one daughter. With the line of Retina and Rappel I made a mistake, I sold almost all the mares, so from Retina I had to buy back several offspring, and from the line of Rappel I only have a few mares. But I needed the money to to keep the farm going.
There is a whole organization behind keeping the farm in good condition, making sure everybody is getting paid who is working here, keeping the horses in good condition with hard feed, hay, and straw for bedding in the winter and for mares and foals in the summer. Now I do it differently, I try to keep the fillies from the lines until I have a foal out of them, or I sell them as a three-year-old when I have enough from a certain branch. The latter is, however, highly unusual. But working in this way I was able to breed Echo of Light and Ornellaia, whom I sold as a foal to Princess Haya, and who jumped eventually at 1m60 under the saddle of John Whitaker.
Cera and Fein Cera were also the last mares who have been to an official mare performance test, as now test the horses myself with my team at home. Cera even had a bad mare performance test. She stayed eight weeks at Böckmann to be covered by Landadel (this would be Fein Cera’s only foal), she wasn’t in training and we only did it to register. She didn’t have any power.
Cero (Calido I) traces back to Larsa, he was purchased as a young horse by Princess Haya. Francois Mathy Jr. came here to try Cero, and Gera’s line really influenced the years from 2000 to 2010 on my farm... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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