Friday, January 25, 2019

Foundation Sire: Darco

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!

166 cm
Breeder: Martinus Paesen

Once again, Darco’s story, is the story of an exceptional broodmare – in this case, his grand-dam, Atoucha. ...According to her proud owner (quoted in Leen Devocht’s excellent article on Darco in Breeding News, January 1997) her qualities were a legion: “very strong, healthy; not a single day of sickness in her book, an immense capacity for recovering; everlasting carefulness, even as an eventer; not a single refusal; always fighting and daring like a lioness – she could eat fences raw.” Darco’s dam, Ocoucha (by Codex by Cottage Son xx) is the eldest daughter of Atoucha’s third daughter, Latoucha (by Faust).

In 1988, Darco won his first World Cup qualifier, at Olympia; the following year he won another Volvo for his rider, Ludo Phillipaerts, this time at s’Hertogenbosch. Darco and Ludo were sixth at the WEG in Stockholm and 7th at the Barcelona Games.

Ludo has this to say about the stallion:

“Together with Darco, I began my international career. He is a horse to remain grateful to for the rest of my life. Darco really has everything it takes to make a unique super crack, as a showjumper as well as a sire. Horses of this outstanding quality will remain the great exceptions in the breeding industry. I will never forget the fine intelligence he so often proved in the showjumping arena, where he always showed lots of power and stamina coming from his high-bred ancestors.”

“I got Darco when he was five years old – he was a breeding stallion. All my success was with Darco, and then he was breeding at my place, and I had many of his foals. All his progeny seem to be very good, and there are lots of people in the area who use Darco, and they also give me horses by Darco to ride. My father was a horse breeder and had horses when he was younger.”

“I think Darco is one of the best stallions in the world. If you look at what his offspring are doing, he is very special – a top jumper and a top breeder. He has been unbelievable for the Belgian breeding. He is a really careful horse himself, and his progeny are very honest horses, with a very good character and mentality.”

Darco commenced his career as a breeding stallion in 1984, and since then has been enormously successful. In the WBFSH standings for 1999-2000, Darco finished 8th, with 35 progeny contributing to his ranking. His most famous offspring is Otterongo who just missed out on an individual medal at the Sydney Olympic Games.

In all, Darco sired more than 3000 foals.

In the survey of the world’s top 75 jumping sires that appears in the French publication Monneron 2007-2008, Darco stars, coming in third best sire in the world, with 35 CSI winners.

On the WBFSH Stallion rankings for 2007, Darco ranks number one, with 5722 points based on all the horses in the FEI/WBFSH Horse Rankings. He has 45 representatives, with eight international showjumpers with 200 + points: Sapphire (Hedjaz), Narcotique de Muze II (Chin Chin), Ublesco (Flamingo), Tauber vh Kapelhof (Pinkus), Sea Coast Wonderful (Cash), Urioso (Had to be You), Thesaura (Lys de Damen) and Rahmannshof’s High Valley (Camus).

On the 2013 WBFSH standings, Darco has dropped to 7th place but still has an astonishing 56 progeny gaining competition points internationally. The most successful representative was Winningmood with the Portuguese rider Luciana Diniz.

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

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