Friday, January 11, 2019

Foundation Sire: Donnerhall

Here is the next installment of Warmblood Stallions of North America’s Foundation Friday.  Every other Friday we will be featuring a foundation sire - one who has been influential in the development of warmblood breeds. We pull from the incredible archive of The Horse Magazine, published by Chris Hector of Australia. Thank you, Chris, for permission to draw on your expertise!

172 cm
Liver Chestnut
Breeder: Otto Gärtner

Donnerhall’s talent was apparent right from the start, and he scored 131.92 to be second in his performance test at Adelheidsdorf in 1984. Donnerhall’s competition career is the stuff of legend. He won many Grand Prix, Grand Prix Specials and Freestyles for Mrs. Rehbein.

In 1994, Donnerhall was individual bronze medallist (and team gold medallist) at the 1994 World Championships at The Hague. Donnerhall won the European World Cup Freestyle League final standings twice, in 1997 and 1998. He retired from competition in 1998.

What Donnerhall seems to give to his offspring is a trainability and a strength to handle the more collected work, even if their natural paces are not so spectacular. It would seem that the mix of Donnerhall and a large drop of "blood" (Thoroughbred that is) in the dam is more likely to produce competition horses. Donnerhall’s son Davignon is out of a Pik Bube mare and those direct Donnerhall progeny that are going well at FEI level – like the mare Dona Castania – are out of Pik Bube mares. Another son consistently producing exciting looking youngsters is Don Primero, again out of a Pik Bube mother.
The Donnerhall son De Niro (out of an Akzent II mare) started competing at Grand Prix level at the tender age of seven. Perhaps the most exciting son of all is Damon Hill (out of a Rubinstein mare). The stallion has had a charmed life. Twice a world champion young horse with Ingrid Klimke and Helen Langehanenberg, and now one of the top three dressage competitors in the world – he too looks like being a valuable sire.

The 2011 Hanoverian stallion book (the last in which he appears) records that Donnerhall has had 998 competitors, 840 dressage competitors (226 at advanced level) – and even 97 in the jumping ring – for total prize money of €2,137,490. Far and away the most successful of these progeny has been the mare Donatha S, who won €174,242, followed by Don Schufro with winnings of €109,257. At that point, there were 40 horses with dressage winnings of more than €10,000.

Donnerhall had FN dressage ranking of 150, jumping, 77. His Hanoverian ranking is 158 for dressage and 75 for jumping. He was the sire of 50(!) licensed sons at that stage.

Indeed there are those, like the trainer Jo Hinnemann, who believe that it is the second and third generations of Donnerhalls that will produce the goods: “Donnerhall produced a lot of good stallions. You see a lot of very good-performing riding horses by Donnerhall. He makes them pretty – sometimes I think that in his time, like Rubinstein, it was a very, very good generation, but when you see horses like Roman Nature or Fidermark, or Laurentianer, it is a step further on in the breeding. They are always a little more pretty and more elastic. The breeding becomes again a little bit better – but if you didn’t have a Rubinstein or a Donnerhall, there is no going further in the breeding. These stallions were good in their time – perfect – but I think the three stallions I have named are a step further on in the breeding already.”

To read the entire article, with pedigree, details of Donnerhall's sons and daughters, on the Horse Magazine website, click here.
There are several stallion descendants of Donnerhall in North America. Click on the following links to read about each of the ones on

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Weaning with Concentrates vs Hay

The folks at Kentucky Equine Research posted an article on which is better for weanlings: high-concentrate feed or low-concentrate feed. The study that they are reporting on looked at the digestibility of diets that were either high in concentrate feed (commercial) or low in concentrate feed (foals were fed primarily hay).

Read the report here.

Chris Hector Analyzes German Breeding, at the Nürnberger Burg-Pokal

Chris Hector has just taken a look at Germany's dressage breeding, after watching the young horse classes at the Nürnberger Burg-Pokal, in the article "Breeding Germany’s Dressage Stars of the Future," on In it, he looks at how the German breeders are turning to Dutch breeding, whether tail-swishing can be inherited, and his usual in-depth analysis of the bloodlines represented at this event.

"For a long time, the trade in dressage blood flowed from Germany to Holland, now it seems the tide has turned and German breeders are increasingly using Dutch blood. This trend can clearly be seen at one of the world’s great indoor shows – Frankfurt – and in the Nürnberger Burg-Pokal, a prestigious class for horses aged 7 – 9. ..."

Friday, December 28, 2018

Foundation Sire: Laudanum

Here is the next installment of Warmblood Stallions of North America’s Foundation Friday.  Every other Friday we will be featuring a foundation sire - one who has been influential in the development of warmblood breeds. We pull from the incredible archive of The Horse Magazine, published by Chris Hector of Australia. Thank you, Chris, for permission to draw on your expertise!

162 cm
Breeder: André Laurans

Laudanum was the first stallion purchased by French breeder Bernard le Courtois, who syndicated him at the end of 1984. At that stage, Laudanum’s oldest progeny were five and he was far from popular with the breeders – standing near Bordeaux, he had only bred nine mares! Le Courtois moved him to Normandy at the Haras de la Gisloterie, before moving to his own stud at Brullemail. In an article in the 1996 edition of the Annuaire de l’Étalon Sport Français, Bernard le Courtois explains what attracted him to the stallion:

“Laudanum’s pedigree has two assets – first of all his sire Boran had produced several good Thoroughbred jumpers before being used to cross-breed towards the end of his career. He was himself a son of the very remarkable Mourne, a foundation sire in his own right of sport horses, although he himself was never cross-bred but only bred to Thoroughbred mares. Mourne was the sire of Alcatraz (N. Pessoa), Croquette (G. de Balanda), Alistro, Shel Tox… The second asset in Laudanum’s pedigree is his 3 x 3 inbreeding with the famous broodmare Ballynash (by Nasrullah, one of the best sons of Nearco with Royal Charger). Ballynash is none other than the dam of Mourne (by Vieux Manoir) as well as that of Montaval (by Norseman), Laudanum’s two grandsires!”

“Laudanum has been an exemplary success as a stud. The first generation of his offspring, born in 1979, only numbered 13, but amongst which we find the two Grand Prix horses, Nashville 111, and Neurine. In 1980, with only five foals born, there are again two Grand Prix winners, Obéron du Moulin and Odanum (now in Brazil) both of which were still winning in 1995… Laudanum’s offspring are brave, careful not to touch the jump, with excellent temperaments, qualities which make them admirable national level amateur horses, and with regularly some of Grand Prix level.”

Despite his death in 1997, Laudanum was in 2002, the leading sire of showjumpers in the United States, with six of his progeny competing in 2001 for winnings of $228,259 – mostly won by the stallion Oh Star ridden by USA Games Team reserve team member Todd Minikus. The Belgian bred Oh Star (out of a mare by Ramiro) finished second behind Margie Goldstein Eagle’s Hidden Creek’s Perin on the money rankings on the 2001 US Grand Prix jumper circuit. Oh Star’s wins include the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, the $100,000 USET Championship, the $50,000 Rio Vista Grand Prix, the $25,000 Bentley Motorcars Grand Prix and the $175,000 Cargill Grand Prix. Other good performers in the USA include the Selle Français stallion Elu de la Hardière ridden by Candice King whose successes include the Elizabeth II Cup at Hickstead and Eric Lamaze’s Ezior Danum, a consistent performer on the US and Canadian circuits.

On the WBFSH standings from 1992-2001 Laudanum ranked 71st, with 21 international performers in that period. In 2007, he is still ranked 42nd on the WBFSH standings.

Laudanum was represented at the Athens Olympic Games by the stallion First de Launay.

Laudanum is the dam sire of Jaguar Mail – who is by the Thoroughbred stallion Hand in Glove out of a mare by Laudanum, out of an Almé / Gotthard mare. In the 2007 Sires of the World Final at Lanaken, Jaguar Mail beat a field of 42 licensed sires to take the title. Jaguar Mail was started in the sport by Patrice Delaveau but moved to Sweden where he is ridden by Peter Eriksson who rode him at the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2010 WEG. He is now standing in the United Kingdom.

Jaguar Mail has since proven an excellent sire of eventers, and his son Tenareze won the 2013 World Young Eventing Horse six-year-old title and the 2014 seven-year-old title.

In the survey of the world’s top 75 jumping sires which appears in the French publication, Monneron 2007-2008, compiled by Bernard le Courtois, Laudanum ranks 43rd with 7 CSI winners. He is also represented by his son Oberon du Moulin (out of an Invincible mare) who is 65th with 7 CSI winners.

To read the entire article, with pedigree, details of Laudanum's sons and daughters, on the Horse Magazine website, click here.
There are several stallion descendants of Laudanum in North America. Click on the following links to read about each of the ones on

Friday, December 21, 2018

Sir Sinclair #1 Dressage Sire for an Incredible Fourth Consecutive Year

Iron Spring Farm Stallions Ranked 1, 2, 3 Among 800 USEF Dressage Sires

Sir Sinclair, Keur. Terri Miller photo

Coatesville, PA--- Iron Spring Farm's Sir Sinclair, Keur, was the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) #1 Sire of Dressage Horses for an incredible fourth consecutive year (2015-2018). Sir's offspring earned 10,681 points in dressage competitions throughout the year, more than 4,000 points ahead of the second place stallion, Contango, Preferent, who is also owned by Iron Spring. Sir's impressive achievement was made possible by 72 sons and daughters earning points, including 27 offspring competing at FEI, with four at Grand Prix. Rounding out the remarkable year for the Iron Spring stallions, UB40, Keur, finished third among more than 800 ranked dressage sires in 2018. All three ISF stallions were also ranked in the Top 100 FEI dressage sires by the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses.

From Grand Prix to Training Level, Sir's superstar offspring brought home big scores.

Dee Clair
 had six top-six finishes with rider Anna Marek in the CDI3* Grand Prix classes during the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, with scores as high as 70.500%. Dee Clair is owned by Diane Morrison and was bred by Dr. Ruth Sorensen.
Caymus continued his successful FEI career in 2018. The bay gelding, bred and owned by Beth Godwin, was named to the 2018 Developing Horse List. With rider Jodie Kelly, Caymus finished third in the small tour division at the U.S. Festival of Champions. The pair also were Intermediate Freestyle champions in the Adequan USDF All Breeds Award (KWPN-NA).
Eschaton won 15 Third and Fourth Level classes with scores as high as 74.744% in 2018. The grey gelding also claimed two GAIG/USDF Regional Championships: Third Level Amateur and Adult Equitation with owner/rider Casey Blum. The pair claimed the USDF Third Level Amateur Horse of the Year, as well as first place in the Adequan USDF All Breeds Awards (KWPN-NA) in the same division. Eschaton was bred by at Providence Farm by Linda Smith.
Imperial WRF had 18 wins at Training and First Level with scores to 78.363%. With owner/rider Alexandra du Celliee Muller, the gelding won the GAIG/USDF Region 4 Reserve Championship with a 74.205%. Imperial WRF was bred by Judy Reggio.

Contango and UB40 Round Out Remarkable 2018 Rankings   
Contango, Preferent, and UB40's offspring also had an extraordinary 2018.

Contango finished the year ranked #2 USEF Sire of Dressage Horses, with 41 offspring earning points, including 7 showing at Grand Prix. Highlights featured international star Alcazar, ridden by Katherine Bateson-Chandler, who won the CDI3* Grand Prix Special at Adequan Global Dressage Festival 5. The black gelding had six additional top-three finishes during the Global circuit. Faberge Blue, ridden by Michael Bragdell, continued his winning ways in the small tour classes and moved up to the Developing Horse Grand Prix division.

UB40's sons and daughters did their father proud in 2018. They won two championships at the U.S. Dressage Finals, plus four championships and eight reserve championships at the GAIG/USDF Regional Championships. Eye Candy, owned and ridden by Amy Gimbel, was Champion Fourth Level Amateur Freestyle with a 71.467% at the U.S. Dressage Finals. The pair also finished as Reserve Champions in the Fourth Level Amateur division. Hana, owned and ridden by Laura Crowl, won the Second Level Amateur Championship with a 71.585% at the U.S. Dressage Finals, along with regional championships at second and third level. Among UB40's 47 point earners, 12 competed at FEI, including two at Grand Prix.
For the latest updates, photos and videos, please visit the Iron Spring Farm Facebook page and
About Iron Spring Farm
A range of top Friesian and KWPN stallions are available to North American breeders as part of Iron Spring Farm's four-decade commitment to the ISF American Advantage. By providing proven bloodlines, along with exceptional service, transparency and impeccable veterinary care, the ISF team helps breeders achieve their sport horse goals. Ongoing expert advice and tools are also available so breeders can develop and market their offspring to the highest level. Iron Spring also offers a select number of talented Friesian and Dutch Warmblood prospects and broodmares for sale. Visit for more information.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

theHorse: Sexing Foals, Mare Immune Systems, ET Techniques, a website that specializes in making recent scientific news available to the equine public, has released new articles on a few topics of interest to breeders. We suggest:

Determining Equine Fetal Sex in Mid-Gestation

Researchers have confirmed that, by following a few recently described steps, veterinarians can sex fetuses over a much longer time period than previously thought and without clipping or sedating mares.

How Mare Immune Systems Respond to Breeding

While some species develop a local immune response, sending special protective cells to the uterus itself, mares don’t, researchers learned recently. Rather, they appear to send those cells elsewhere as soon as semen enters the uterus. Where they go, nobody knows (yet).

Equine Embryo Transfer Techniques Compared

Researchers identified a 90% pregnancy rate in mares impregnated using the Wilsher embryo transfer technique and a 70% pregnancy rate in mares treated using traditional embryo transfer protocols.

Friday, December 14, 2018

15 New Licensed Stallions for Hannover

12 December 2018

Verden. 24 stallions were presented in Verden for the Hannoveraner Verband’s licensing. 15 of them were licensed or approved for Hannover. Ten of the presented stallions were born in 2016. Half of them were licensed, three were awarded with a premium.

The young stallions presented themselves in an excellent manner at the licensing. Five out of the two-and-a-half-year-old stallions shown in the Niedersachsenhalle were licensed, three left the Niedersachsenhalle with a premium title. The first stallion already made a good start. The chestnut by Carridam/Loredo, who is bred and owned by the Dr. Jacobs GbR, Bierbergen, was licensed and awarded with a premium title. He convinced the licensing committee with his ability and caution at the jumps. Cuckoo van de Kattevennen by H. Cornet´s Boy/Cheenook (breeder and exhibitor: Hengststation Ferienhof Stücker, Weeze) also convinced the commission with his very good jumping performance. He received the positive licensing result and was awarded a premium. The celebrated Champion Stallion of the Westphalian Licensing also faced the judgement of the licensing commission in the Niedersachsenhalle. A few weeks ago, the Dancier/Floriscount-son (breeder: ZG Broers u. Weber, Aurich) was auctioned off for 700,000 Euro and sold to the owner community Schockemöhle/Helgstrand Dressage. In Verden, the black stallion presented himself with great diligence and a natural grandeur, which was rewarded with licensing and the premium title.

The next stallion licensing in the Niedersachsenhalle will take place on Tuesday, 22 January. Info and results: