GERMANY (by Christopher Hector) Wilken Treu is the Breeding Manager and CEO of Westfälisches Pferdestammbuch e.V. – the Westfalian studbook. With a Masters in Agricultural Studies from Göttingen, Treu has extensive experience in the German breeding community, having worked as commercial director and deputy CEO for the State Stud of Saxony-Anhalt, we well as various management positions at Gestüt Lewitz, privately owned by Paul Schockemöhle.
He is one of the new breed of studbook professionals, and I caught up with him at this year’s Bundeschampionate. “I think in more than half the German Breeding associations combine the CEO and Breeding manager – in the other half the positions are separate.”
Q You came from another breeding association?
I studied in Agriculture – to become a breeding manager in Germany, you have to study agriculture – and after that I worked for two years for Paul Schockemöhle at the Lewitz Stud. Since then I have been at the State Stud of Sachsen Anhalt, more jumping horse breeding – Monte Bellini comes from there. After that I came to Westfalia.
Q Did you grow up with horses? Are your family involved with horses?
No. It all came from my own riding – dressage – when I was young, especially in the junior/young rider classes. I had a very good trainer, near to Verden – close to the Hanoverians, so I got to know everything about the Hanoverian society. I learned about the breeding association and thought, I want to do something like this.
Q For a long time Westfalia was just like a smaller Hanover, similar bloodlines, but now Westfalia seems to be going a little on its own…
Westfalia opened its breeding program, twenty years ago. The breeders were able to use stallions, even from other countries, more easily than in other breeding associations. That’s why in showjumping for instance, we got Cornet Obolensky. Fortunately we have had some success with this policy, if we didn’t open our program twenty years ago, we would not have had the success we have now.
Q Are you worried, particularly with your dressage horses, at the big influx of Dutch blood – looking at your last licensing, it was
That is already common for Westfalia. For example, much of the horse sport competition in Germany takes place in North Rhine Westfalia, so our breeders are very close to competition sport, that’s why they like to have the opportunity to choose stallions from other breeding associations. They like to be a little more free in their choice, and they are not stupid, they have had...