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Who are the new ‘kids’ on the dressage breeding block?

Kjento, ridden by Lottie Fry (GBR) – 2021 WBCYH 6yo final

By Christopher Hector
Photography: FEI/de Koster; FEI/Caremans, Oldenburg Studbook

After being dominated for so long by a handful of breeding superstars, the world of dressage breeding is undergoing a transformation, with an exciting line-up of young stallions rapidly making a name for themselves....

Kjento, Fusionist, Despacito, Toto Jr, Bon Coeur, Ibiza, Hesselhoej Donkey Boy, Morricone I, Escamillo, Dynamic Dream

Kjento (2015), black, 170 cms

Kjento (Negro - Zoriana x Jazz) followed up his win in the six-year-old dressage World Breeding Championship for Young Horses (WBCYH) with a decisive win in seven-year-old class at Ermelo in 2022. Kjento is solidly Dutch bred with a pedigree that features all the names that have gone into the making of the modern Dutch dressage horse. They are all there: the first French stallion of note, L'Invasion, the most important early Holsteiners, Farn and Amor, the Furioso II son, Purioso, and the first dressage oriented Trakehner, Doruto.
Kjento was bred by the Van Os family, well-known Dutch breeders, indeed in 2012 they were proclaimed KWPN Breeders of the Year. The black stallion descends from the Van Os foundation mare, Diana, who was by Doruto (1962-1988), the Trakehner imported into Holland in 1964. The only non-Dutch, modern influence, comes in 1992, when Diana is bred to Rubinstein to produce Kjento’s great grand-dam, Koriana.
In spite of covering a very small books of mares, Doruto emerged as perhaps the first dressage sire specialist in the world and produced more than 20 progeny that competed at Intermediaire level – including German team gold medallist at the 1986 World Championship, Jo Hinneman’s Ideaal (second individually). The breeding of the horses in the German team at those championships was a huge embarrassment to the German breeding authorities – all four German riders were sitting on Dutch horses. Doruto also sired Jo Rutten’s Banjo, ninth at the Munich 1972 Olympics, and Robby, ridden into 11th place at the same 1986 World Champs by Jo’s son Bert.
Obviously the Van Os family were in the vanguard of breeding horses specifically for dressage when they bred Diana to the German dressage star, Rubinstein, to produce Koriana in 1992. Bred to the Small Tour dressage competitor, Juventus (by the Ulft son, Dublin – Juventus also carries a cross of Doruto on his mare line) Koriana produced Poriana, who bred to Jazz produced Kjento’s dam, Zoriana – all three mares competed at Medium level dressage.
Kjento is by the stallion that put the Anne and Gert-Jan Van Olst dressage stables on the map – Negro – out of the mare Zoriana, by Jazz. Once again we see the influence of the French Thoroughbred, Furioso, in this case through his grandson, Le Mexico (who was by Mexico, a full-brother to Furioso II whose blood continues to dominate sport horse breeding in dressage and jumping.) Le Mexico is the sire of Ulft, whose son Ferro sired Negro.
It really is a tribute to the skill of the Dutch breeders, that despite using very old-fashioned blood, they are able to produce a horse as refined and modern looking as Kjento.
Thanks to the skilled marketing of Gert-Jan van Olst, Kjento has been given every chance to make his mark. He was the most used sire by KWPN dressage breeders in 2019, with 303 foals born in 2020.
While we are still waiting to see Kjento’s progeny emerge, the KWPN Inspection report notes: “Kjento is an honest, reliable, rider-focused stallion with an excellent temperament. The stallion is very willing to work and is very easy to work with. The walk is active, clear-cut, and has good scope with good use of the body. The trot is very powerful, has good scope with an extremely active hind leg that comes under well and carries very well. The canter is uphill, very powerful, with very good self-carriage and scope. Kjento moves with good ‘takt’ and has very good leg action, self-carriage and balance; his great ability to collect attracts positive attention. As a dressage horse Kjento is very talented and gives his rider a good feeling.”.. To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber