Friday, November 16, 2018

Foundation Sire: Caretino

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!

168 cm
Breeder: Lothar Völz

When he died at the age of 28, Caretino was the last of the seven stallion sons of Caletto II to enter the Holstein Studbook. The bay Caletto II – Metellus son from the stem 826 revealed his qualities at the stallion performance test, where he received a jumping index of 145 points.

He went on to win numerous young jumper classes showing his outstanding jumping technique. At 5 and at 6 years old, Caretino participated in the Bundeschampionate under Thomas Schöning.

Bo Kristoffersen took over the ride on him a year later and commenced competing at Grand Prix and Nations Cup level. They accumulated 40 placings at S level together.

Then Caretino went to Ludger Beerbaum’s stable, but the shift of stables did not produce the expected success, and after a year Caretino returned to Holstein to be used for breeding only, a decision much applauded by the mare owners.

Although he produced mainly jumpers, he also sired some good dressage horses, including Cockney, who won the 6-year-old title at the Bundeschampionate with Nadine Capellmann before going on to compete successfully at Grand Prix. His son, Carpaccio won the 1994 stallion test at Medingen. The stallion Concord has wins up to Grand Prix dressage.

By 2007, Caretino had produced 650 offspring that were registered for competition with the German FN. At the time of his death, Caretino offspring had earned more than 3 million Euros.

Caridor Z competed with Jos Lansink at the 2002 WEG in Jerez and the European Championships at Arnhem and Donaueschingen. Another outstanding competitor is Cristallo who with Richard Spooner is one of the stars of the circuit in the USA, and winners of the €285,000 Grand Prix of Monte Carlo on the Global tour. America is also the home of Chica’s Way, a great international success under Janne Friederike Meyer.

Right from his first few crops, Caretino made a splash with his offspring. Ballerina won team gold at the European championships in Mannheim under Markus Merschformann, and Charlottenhof‘s Chandra was part of the German team taking home team gold at the European championships in Arnheim 2001, under Sören von Rönne. Caretano Z and Caridor Z with Jos Lansink, the full siblings Crocodile Dandy and Connally (Alison Firestone and Markus Renzel, respectively), Cathleen W with Marc Wirths, Carefina (Felix Hassmann), Carlo Cassini (Franz-Josef Dahlmann), Caresino with Hauke Luther and Celesino (Jürgen Kraus) are other highly successful horses by Caretino.

Chupa Chup with Bernardo Alves won the Hamburg Grand Prix.

There is a younger group of offspring that are also looking impressive: Böttger’s Calandro won a German Championship with Janne-Freiderike Meyer, Caldato with Hugo Simon, Cornwall W with Andreas Ripke, Chianti la Silla with whom Rolf-Göran Bengtsson won the World Cup in Monterey, as well as Chicka’s Way, who carried Janne-Friederike Meyer to a German Vice-Championship in 2007.

The jumping stallions Cheenook and Caretello B have produced excellent progeny.

At the licensing in Neumünster in 2009, Caretino sired one approved stallion, Carlow, who was sold at the auction to Belgium.

The Holsteiner Horse notes, "as a rule Caretino’s daughters are better than his sons; his offspring are considered variable."

Over 50 sons have been licensed, and over 20 daughters have been awarded state premium status. His standout star is the stallion, Casall…

On the WBFSH sire rankings for 2014, he is in 18th place. On the 2015 rankings, he has moved to 14th with his points earners headed up by the mighty Casall. 

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


Dakota VDL 

HH Himself 

Ulmar Mail   

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Is There a "Height" Gene in Horses and Ponies?

By Anna Goebel

Height is an important trait in ponies and in horses. Sport horse breeders often look to increase the height of a smaller mare; pony breeders often want to produce a "large pony" but not cross the line to produce a horse. It's something we'd like to control, whether we want larger or smaller.

Wikipedia photo, article on sincle-nucleotide polymorphism.
So is there a single gene that dictates horse height? The short answer is "nope." A recent study of ponies in the British Isles determined that there is no single area of the genome for height. There are 222 "highly significant height-associated SNPs...". A SNP (pr. snip) is a variation in a single nucleotide that occurs at a specific position in the genome. 222 SNPs mean 222 places in the genome that can influence variations in height.

To read an abstract of the published research, click here.

To read an analysis of the research, by Kentucky Equine Research, click here.

Friday, November 9, 2018

North American Stallion Sport Test 2018: East Coast Overview

By Anna Goebel
Hilltop Farm, early morning Day 1. Claudia Weeks photo.

Day 1: the Jog. Hilltop Farm photo.
Nine promising young stallions and crisp fall days at Hilltop Farm - what could be better? I attended the North American Stallion Sport Test for the first time this year, and I suggest every breeder mark their calendars to attend in 2019.

The best reason to attend is the opportunity to see several of our young, up-and-coming North American stallions in person. It's surprising what a clear impression you have of each stallion by the end of three days - athleticism, ability, temperament - whether you're evaluating these stallions as future stud prospects or examples of what's being approved, or just to train your eye. Many of the judges' comments are made public as the evaluations take place, so it's an excellent opportunity to form your own opinions and then compare yours to the experts'. 

Baloujoie and owner/rider Stephanie Hill
and her husband, Tom Neese. Hilltop Farm photo.
The horses are first, but I think the next-best reason to attend is to make personal connections with the humans involved. Meet stallion owners, young horse trainers, riders, and officials. Talk shop and compare notes with other breeders, connect with people you don't get to see very often - and meet new ones you hope to see every year. 

Then there are the organized educational sessions. This year there were two: a session explaining Linear Profiling by two experts, and also talks by a husband and wife team about Good Riding, Footing, Shoeing.

Dr. Ludwig Christmann (Hanoverian Verband) and Sebastian Rohde (Oldenburg Verband) explained Linear Profiling and how each of their registries implements it. It's quite an interesting system for describing a horse's physical characteristics. Note that it's Linear Profiling, not Linear Scoring. The purpose is to describe the horse, NOT to evaluate whether each point is good or bad. I'll be doing a separate article with more details.

International rider Catherine Haddad and her husband, shoeing expert Dr. Greg Staller, have a "secret" formula that fits both their areas of expertise, and they each presented a talk describing how they apply it. Catherine did half her talk from horseback, and is a very entertaining and persuasive speaker. Photo: Catherine is shown here demonstrating her training method. Behind her is the brand new banner for Warmblood Stallion of North America as a proud sponsor of this event. Hilltop Farm photo.

One of the lovely things about this event is the overall atmosphere. Hilltop Farm is a gracious host, but it's more than that. The focus is on the stallions, with a strong awareness that they are young and have a lot to handle for three days. The feeling is that everyone wants to give each stallion the best chance to do his best. The judges spend the three days observing and evaluating, but also encouraging and coaching - and their comments are positive and helpful. Shown here are three of the of the officials at the Stallion Test: Mattias Granzow, Gerd Sickinger, and Ulrich Henschke. Hilltop Farm photo.

The North American Stallion Sport Test is not without issues, which I'll be addressing in a later article, but it has been carefully planned for the North American situation, with input from all the key organizations, and it has worked well for two years now. Says Natalie DiBerardinis of Hilltop Farm, "I really couldn't be more pleased with how it has gone."

See you next year at the North American Stallion Sport Test 2019!

Below are some links of interest. This is the first of several articles about the North American Stallion Sport Test. As new articles are posted, I'll update this with more links. We're also looking forward to photos and video from the official photographer, Allie Conrad, and videographer, Claudia Weeks, being processed now.

The North American Stallion Sport Test website

The North American Stallion Sport Test Facebook page

Allie Conrad, Photographer

Claudia Weeks, Videographer
Claudia's YouTube Channel (where some videos from the Test are already posted)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Foundation Sire: Pilot

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!

167 cm
Breeder: Christa Geldbach

Pilot was born at the clinic of former FEI chief vet Dr Cronau, as his breeder, Christa Geldbach, wanted her foal to have the best right from the start. At his first foal show, little Pilot caused a sensation and was recommended for stallion status. His breeder asked Kunibert Munch, the owner of Pilatus, to prepare him for the stallion licensing, and it was here that his difficult temperament became apparent – and even today his progeny have strong difficult characters.

On his dam’s side, Pilot is out of Gratia by Graphit by the great Grande. On her dam’s line we have Kornelia the daughter of one of the last of the original Trakehners, Keith.

Pilot was purchased by the Westfalien State Stud in 1977 and sent to the breeding station at Sande where the local breeders were not too keen to use him since his reputation for erratic behavior had preceded him. There was no denying that he was an elegant horse with great conformation, and he behaved well enough at the performance test at Warendorf to finish in 5th – and his foals were wonderful. The stallion stood at Sande until 1988, and by then the breeders were queuing for his services! 

Sadly Pilot was put down in early 1991 at the age of 17 with an untreatable hip injury. His influence lived on due to stocks of high class frozen semen, and as late as 1998 there were two Pilot progeny in the Westfalien foal auction.

Pilot was the first showjumping stallion with progeny to earn one million Deutschmarks – in fact by the end of 1999, Pilot progeny had earned a staggering DM6,250,000.

One son, Prestige Pilot, is the sire of Placido, who carried Ulf Möller to victory in the five-year-old dressage horse championship at the 2000 Bundeschampionate.

Pilot was also influential in The Netherlands, through his son, the KWPN stallion Epilot (x Dixi by Direx), who died in November 2007 at the age of 21. Epilot won the six-year-old class at the Bundeschampionate in 1992, ridden by Franke Sloothaak. He went on to compete internationally with Franke and later, Peter Gerink.

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