By Christopher Hector
Photography: GCT/Grasso, FEI/Gregg, personal collection
One of the interesting features of this little analysis of some of the more exciting newer stallions on the jumping breeding scene, is the emergence time and again, of the really old foundation stallions. Take the case of Grey Top, among others, currently one of the more popular jumping stallions in Hanover.
For this insight I am indebted to Jens Meyer, a walking encyclopedia of Warmblood mare lines, particularly Hanoverian lines. Jens' father was a Hanoverian breeder before him, and Jens worked for some years at the Hanoverian State Stud, Celle, before setting up his own power-house stallion station at Dorum. It is fascinating to hear him trace our modern sire back to some very, very old lines.
The Celle Stallion, Grey Top (Graf Top I - Silver Dream x Singular Joter) was last year awarded the ‘Grande Prize’ on the basis of the quality of his progeny. Let Jens tell the tale: “The line of Grey Top is a line I know well. There was a breeder, Mr Fritz Hagemann – he was an old guy out of the thirties – who didn’t have enough stalls for all his horses so he kept them in a paddock. And he had an Agram mare, Akita. It was a funny thing, he drove with a tractor from Celle to Dannenberg, which was 100 kilometres, to get a grey mare, that was his only wish. At the beginning of the sixties it was really popular to have a grey. It was incredible how many successful horses came out of this family. They had no idea about jumping, no one ever saw these horses jumping at the time. But it is incredible how important these old lines are in jumping breeding today.”.. To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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