Monday, December 4, 2017

Interview With Dr. Roland Ramsauer on The Horse Magazine

The early days of the Oldenburg Society: the 1940 Oldenburg stallion Fürst.
Chris Hector, publisher of The Horse Magazine, has interviewed probably hundreds of people in the equestrian community worldwide, but he says this interview - Roland Ramsauer and the Oldenburg Horse - "might just be the best breeding interview that I have ever done." 

In the article, he says, "Roland Ramsauer, at the age of 73, shows no sign of slowing down, and continues to help shape the destiny of one of Germany’s most successful studs: Sprehe." Ramsauer says be believes Sprehe is "number three of the top breeding stations."

This article should be of special interest to breeders in the US who remember Roland Ramsauer as part of the International Sporthorse Registry/Oldenburg NA team. As the key expert in ISR/Oldenburg inspections for many years, with his own way of doing things, he was influential in the development of sport horse breeding here in the US as well.

One of the most interesting aspects of this article is the changes Ramsauer has seen in several decades of involvement. One is that thirty years ago a breeder would always ask what breed a stallion was. "Today nobody asks. They all ask what is the stallion doing, they only look to the pedigree;" they don't care what the brand is.

Another very interesting change is that in the early days, the great majority of breeders in Germany were farmers "who lived on what they made from their farms." The typical model in Germany at that time was that a farmer would raise a few horses as one part of the farming operation. Their background was a knowledge of animal husbandry and breeding, and they applied it to the horse breeding operation. Today most breeders come from a profession - doctor, engineer, etc. - which provides their income. They don't start out with a farming background, and "they normally have nothing to do with horses.

This is an interesting change, and interesting to compare to North America, where I believe we have gone in the opposite direction. We certainly had some sport horse breeders who came from a farm background, or who had experience breeding a different type of horse, like Arabians or Friesians. But we also had from the beginning quite a few breeders who were drawn to sport horse breeding, even though they had no animal husbandry background. They love the horses, and are professionals whose "real" job supported their "horse habit." 

Today in North America, we have sport horse breeders with 50 years of breeding experience. Many of our experienced breeders have been in it longer than some of the German breeders. An interesting thought.

There's a lot more, with stories about Furioso II, discussions of influential stallions, and of how Roland Ramsauer became the Oldenburg Society's breeding director based on his breeding knowledge - of cattle!

To read the full article, click here.

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