Just in time for the licensing, the first autumn storm swept over Northern Germany and the runners were still to be felt on the triangular track at the Hanoverian headquarters in Verden on Thursday 25 October 2018. Anyone who had looked in the catalogue before had a queasy feeling. Fifteen times the Donnerhall blood stood in the catalog.
Bon Coeur On Top, Finest Gone, V-line Dominates
The 2018 Hanoverian Licensing was the first crop of Bon Coeur, he appeared with 8 young stallions. Last year stallion station Wahlers presented the first vintage of Finest, which filled the catalogue. This year Finest did not have a son in the race! However this year Wahlers exhibited a young stallion with head numerb 42 by Bon Coeur out of a Vivaldi dam. He was not for sale and remains on the station. Will we see him in such a large number of stallions again in 2022? Wahlers' stallion station has become one of the most popular stations for Hanoverian breeders and we can already look forward to the first vintage of Secret. The stallions had a lot to do after the licensing in Verden, but more about that later.
The stallions from the V-line dominated in numbers. As many as 16 stallions went directly back to Krack C in their father's line. In the process, 5 offspring made their debut from Veneno's first breeding year. Veneno made headlines at the beginning of the 2016 breeding season when his owner, HC Stables, withdrew the stallion from the Famos station as well ash its rider, Anna Sophie Fiebelkorn, overnight and moved him together with Bonds to the Danish stables Helgstrand for a brief period, after relocating him to Belgium. Now six sons from his first year received their coveted ticket to Verden at the pre-selection held at stallion station Schult. One was curious what they would do in Verden.
If you take these three stallion lines, they represented almost half of the dressage horses and 13 of them made their debut with sires Bon Coeur and Veneno.
Jumping and Lunging Making Sense?
On Wednesday, the dressage stallions were assessed as usual in free jumping. One could already see there who had a regular walk and which stallion still had problems. The question remains whether it is still up-to-date to judge the dressage stallions over the jump. I still think it is important to see whether the stallions have spirit and can use their bodies as dressage specialists. Oldenburg does not do this and the whole European horse breeding is more and more divided into the special disciplines. Is this the right way? The fact that this specialisation is more advanced than in the past has been shown by the examination during jumping. I cannot imagine that it was included in the evaluations and final verdict. So why do it and not just leave it at that?
Just like lunging the jumping stallions, which seems to contribute nothing to their final verdict? Why not save time and have three lunging rings for the dressage horses with such a tight program over three days. But it's the stallion owners who quarrel; all of whom don't like a third circle at the main entrance.
But the advantage of already being present on Wednesday is to view the conformation during measurements or in the stable. If you can't do that, you should be at the triangular track very early to secure a coveted spot right on the pavement. Only there you can see whether the stallion has weak points in the foundation or how the hooves are designed. You often wipe your eyes in amazement and see more mistakes than you might wish for. Perhaps that is also criticism on high, detailed level but one must see the total package and not overestimate this. With the jumping stallions on the triangular track one could already see blatant exterior defects, and the commission would do well not to force the jumpers over the poles into a too tight corset of uniformity. With the dressage horses it didn't look so blatant this year, but I refrain from picking out individual stallions and naming the supposed weak points to me. To be honest, I think it is the responsibility of the breeders.
The auction went well: ambitious buyers spent a lot of money and they will have the idea in mind and know what is tolerable and what not. We have seen it in the past what happens with top priced stallions and I will not evaluate it. We all know stallions that have serviced a huge number of mares despite the committee's approval, even though the stallion is anything but correct on his feet.
The superiors at the Verband are under pressure to move. Globalisation has also found its way into horse breeding and hopping associations is the order of the day. The run on the young stallions has been going on for a long time and everyone wants to be the first to profit from the marketing effect of the previous licensing. Who wants to blame them? Those who have just used an untested stallion are always screaming at the tried and tested. Today more than ever, the wallet is a decisive factor. Therefore, my impressions of the stallions are purely subjective and do not always coincide with the auction results.
A Look at the Lot
Let's start with the round of Bon Coeur sons, whose sire became reserve Bundeschampion in 2015 and 2016, and let's say they made a brilliant start with their first year and I hope that some of his sons will be represented next year. The very first son out of a Fürst Nymphenburg with the number 35 was licensed and convinced by a type of brilliance and good basic gaits. He sold 75,000 euro at the auction. And also the second Bon Coeur, also with a Fürst Nympenburg dam, was brilliant with type and gaits. He was not for sale.
By the way, we had a number of not-for-sale stallions, with the jumping horses even 10. This caused much displeasure last year, because the three not to be sold stallions were absolutely the best and outstanding. The foreign customers were annoyed. If you present a stallion in Hanover only for licensing, there is a 3,000 euro registration fee. For comparison: In Westphalia it is 5,000 euro if a stallion is licensed and 20,000 euro is he turns out to be a premium stallion. The Hanoverian society had to ask itself what the marketing effect is of the licensing. Isn't 3,000 euro not too cheap. The marketing effect is very big to declare a stallion premium at the main licensing. One consideration is to send home the stallions that are not for sale on Friday after the licensing and then not to show them again on Saturday. This would have as disadvantage that the Hanoverian breeders do not identify with them and the stallion owners will turn to Westphalia or Oldenburg. Is it an idea to separate the licensing and the auction? Or show all premium stallions on Saturday for the breeders and strengthen their reputation in the association ? I am in favour of the second variant, but then please pay appropriately.
With cat nr. 38 came the first premium by Bon Coeur x Rohdiamant. I had three exclamation marks in my catalogue for the first time. He showed a super hind leg not only on the triangle track, but also on the lunge. Always relaxed in the back and also good in type. A wonderful model. He brought his owner 155,000 euro and moves to the Moritzburg state stud. Also cat nr. 39 by Bon Coeur x Florestan was licensed and cat nr. 41 out of a Wolkentanz dam. He probably had the best walk and ran loosely and cadenced on the lunge. He brought 87,000 euro in the wallet.
And then the next favourite came from the "house" of Wahlers. Bred and owned by Dr. Christina Feichtinger from Liechtenstein, the liver chestnut Bon Coeur x Vivaldi was only presented for licensing. He earned the coveted premium and will remain at the Wahlers stallion station. This stallion was not only brilliant in his type, but he was the darling of the audience, but was already as a foal winner at the WM Foal Show. During the first rounds on the lunge he pulled up his hind legs as if he had just been taken off his transport gaiters. That was irritating to me, but improved quickly. Unfortunately, he didn't stay on the lunge for one lap in the correct canter, but kept switching to the outer canter. But that was a red thread running through the lunge work of many stallions. Except for a few exceptions, but I still name them. This didn't continue with the free running, as he then ran really loose and cantered like a picture book.
One can really attest the first vintage of Bon Coeur for a tailor-made debut. Congratulations to the house WM. Bon Coeur, by the way, has been sold to Lovsta Stuteri in Sweden this year.
D and F Blood
The Donnerhall offspring followed, above all with four Dancier sons. The late Dancier still hold up the Celle State Stud. This year he has produced three licensed stallions. With cat nr. 49 out of a Wolkenstein dam, he could even provide a premium stallion. He already possessed much body, appeared sporty and is also blessed with much walk. He was auctioned for 120,000 euro to Norwegian Kristin Andresen who stands her stallions at Katrinelund in Denmark.
And then came an absolute radiant man in type and charisma with cat nr. 56 Duke: a Dimaggio son from a Sir Donnerhall dam. He was already a heartbreaker on the triangular track. He gave a great side picture, in addition he convinced with movements carried by the body. Unfortunately he also only showed outside canter on the lunge. He was very shy and impressed when he was running free and the organizers put a lot of effort into him. Another stallion of the same handler showed this behaviour, but it did not keep buyers nor the public of his favourite status. He was also awarded a prize and Andresen also secured this youngster for 570,000 euro.
Then came one of the most impressive stallions in my opinion: cat nr. 65 Fusionist (by Franklin out of an Ehrentanz dam). For the first time a real blood spread. An incredibly masculine and closed type. And I mean also for the sport an extraordinary sporty horse. Perhaps the stallion has a small deficiency. He has a somewhat steep shoulder, which doesn't allow him an eighth or ninth walk, but I must confess, this is exactly my type of stallion. Celle and Ingo Pape co-operated and bought him for 165.000 euro.
The series of F stallions already convinced in previous years. Although neither Furstenball get were able to get premium status, they are certainly the best training horses with great type characteristics.
Cat nr. 78 by Lord Leatherdale son x Boston mother was wild on the triangular track, which was a pity as he often moves against the neck and was still unstable in the hindquarters. At the licensing is was rumoured that he has already sold to Sprehe Stallion Station, but at auction he sold for 800,000 euro to the trio Helgstrand, Van Uytert and Schockemöhle.
Trakehner Blood and then Veneno
The next premium came with cat nr. 81, a Morricone son out of a Sir Donnerhall mare. A big and harmonious stallion with a lot of self-carriage, whereas his walk was not his strength. Also his dam had only a 5.5 in this gait in her test, but mare tests are often dependent on daily form. He had many lovers and brought his owner 110,000 euro.
Worth mentioning is cat nr. 84 by Rock Forever, who works very real and always concentrated over his back and sold for 70,000 euro. And then came my winner of the heart: cat nr. 85, a colt by St. Schufro x Hofrat. He was perhaps a bit too long and not so well tied to the kidney, but that would be completely irrelevant to me. A great blood alternative with St.Schufro and Hofrat.
As much as the very weak stallion market in Neumunster hurt me with the Trakehners this year, the more I was happy to see this great mare line do well in Verden. I am personally shocked at how much the Trakehner line is now only recruited from Millennium or Schwarzgold. Although a clear sign was set there with the winning stallion, but that is only a drop in the ocean. This St. Schufro was absolutely convincing on the triangular track and the lunge work was a pleasure: always well carried and with super temperament; a horse you can work with and I think this stallion has everything you need for a career in dressage. This canter was simply heavenly. What other candidates missed, he showed in perfection. He was auctioned for 400,000 euro to the Werndl family. I am very excited about his future.
Then came the Veneno crop. My highlight was cat nr. 92 from a Dimaggio dam. He didn't get a bonus but he didn't need it either. He lost something at the lunge and you could put a question mark at the frame for stallion type, but he could put himself in scene and was worth 120,000 euro at the stallion market.
The Veneno x Fidertanz from house Helgstrand not just entered the triangular track, but enlightened it. Honestly ? That was from another world and I really still don't know how to classify it, but more about that later. This stallion came with an air on the triangular track which is no longer typical for a two-year-old stallion. Impressive. If he had started to piaffe on the pavement in complete self-restraint and to look at passengers, then one would have looked exactly spellbound like on the sides the triangle. While many had much flash in front and nothing behind, with him everything flowed over the back through the body and I do not know how such an exceptional horse could eclipse all other. Hengstrand had bought the colt before the preselection day at Schult, he probably has magic the way he turned a great stallion into an almost supernatural one. Of course he was declared a premium and was undisputedly the most impressive stallion.
And then came the Vivaldi's. Five in number, all of them licensed and three premium stallions. You could say the Dutch warmblood stamped the stallion market. Cat nr. 98 from owner Sosath was not for sale, cat nr. 99 from a Hohenstein dam cost 100,000 EUR and then cat nr. 97 Vivino (out of a Dancier dam) cost an unbelievable 2,010,000 euro and sold to the newly announced stallion cooperation Helgstrand/Schockemöhle.
Vivino (by Vivaldi x Dancier) is a really great stallion with a lot of mechanic, suspension and optimal movement quality. The breeder is Ulrike Buurmann and I congratulate her from the bottom of my heart. He was owned at the licensing by Ernst and Rose Kemper. What a brilliant appearance and what a top horse, obliterating the previous auction record for Revolution by almost doubling it. Three people fought hard for the stallion at the auction and it was really entertaining when the auctioneer left the stand and walked into the arena to where the counter-bidders were sitting. And it was worth it, the 2 million mark was cracked and the ten thousand euro was a just a bit of pocket money extra.
The Breeders Decide!
Many stallion owners and buyers left the 2018 Hanoverian Licensing euphoricly as the sales prices were really incredibly good. What makes me happy is that many stallions, which are really great sport horses, also brought super money. There were really great horses, although the genetic diversity seems to be declining. But do we stop that? It is a self-made problem by the breeders, and the merger of Schockemöhle and Helgstrand was announced punctually before the licensing. It came as no surprise as the sparrows on the roof top had been twittering this for a long time.
It is also a logical consequence of the last stallion markets. The globalization that we know from the current economy continues consistently in the horse trade and breeding. Water in the hands of five corporations, seeds in the hands of three global players... It seems so and whether it is good or bad, I do not like to judge. The old days when Celle had first pick was changed and private stallion owners were no longer at a disadvantage. But now they also have to deal with the high rollers. It's admirable how Helgstrand now still keeps up with the World Championships and can choose a winner of hearts every year. The breeders reward him with a full deck list.
But what about the State Studs? Can they still hold something against this competition? Or do they become obsolete ? Were the prices really paid, or is it all just a marketing trick? It doesn't really matter, does it ? As long as the association gets the fees they wash their hands in innocence. The breeder decides for himself. Or will there soon be no more "normal" breeders, but only the global players that control the breeding, stallions and sport, all in one?
If you have looked attentively at the stallions for three days, who was the preparer, who was the exhibitor, you can see a thick red thread. It is no longer enough to prepare stallions in six weeks with their careers and normal feed ration. Not for a long time. There are stallions here that do their job like ten-year-old dressage cracks. This should reduce their quality in the finest way, only I am really speechless how fast it has changed. We have no horse breeding point 2, but horse preparation point 3.
Without pink glasses I have seen great horses, the commission has been allowed to examine great horses and has selected the right stallions. Except for one stallion and the crowd was right to express their displeasure there, as it was embarrassing. But, we are dealing with a changed world with global players. Either the breeder adapts himself or he stops breeding and leaves it to those who have to earn money with the horses and want to.
Put your hand on your heart. We all have a hobby. It costs money and none of us reinvent breeding. Probably the trend at the licensings the next few years will continue to be the same as now: a huge first crop of a mass media marketed, hyped stallion of and then next year that remarkably silent disappearance of that hyped stallion from the spotlight. The show must go on.
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Hotline, 2005 Hanoverian Stallion Licensing Champion
Dancier, 2004 Hanoverian Licensing Champion
Liberty Gold, 2003 Hanoverian Licensing Champion
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Don Crusador, Champion of the 2000 Hanoverian Stallion Licensing