Breeding and Badminton

by Amanda Bliss and Ginny Smith

When Ginny and I ventured out to the 2010 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, we weren’t sure what to expect as far as breeding goes. Where would we start? Who would we talk to? What “angle” should we be looking to approach from? Would Ginny’s mare suddenly decide to foal while we were gone, and our friend was supervising? Turns out, the answers mostly involved hunting for wet weather gear to shelter from the constant deluges, wondering if any of the competitors would actually make it around the cross-country course, and investigating the breeding behind the top competitors.

Sibling Power

We were thrilled to discover in the entries that three sets of full siblings were entered on the day, though of the three pairs, only one set saw both horses competing.

Nereo & Armada (Fines x Berganza), Armada withdrawn
Rider: Andrew Nicholson
Breeder: Ramon Beca
Placing: Nereo 11th

Partly Pickled & Bit of a Barney (Blaze O’Gold x Gerfuffle)
Rider: Louise Skelton
Breeder: Jackie Skelton
Placings: Partly Pickled 41st, Bit of a Barney eliminated XC

Special Advocate & Special Attorney (Criminal Law x Somebody Special), Special Advocate remained on the Waiting List
Rider: Daniel Jocelyn
Breeder: Jenny Hibbert
Placing: Special Attorney eliminated XC

Nereo and Armada are both by the Thoroughbred stallion Fines , who stands in Spain, and were bred by former Spanish eventer Ramon Beca. They have two brothers, Fenicio and Oplitas, who are alsoadvanced eventers, and two further full siblings. Their dam is a Hannoverian cross by Golfi. This TB x Hann cross has obviously been a successful one for Beca and Nicholson, and it should certainly attract the attention of breeders interested in producing top-class eventers.

Partly Pickled and Bit of a Barney both competed this year, and are by Blaze O’ Gold, a Thoroughbred stallion, and out of a mare called Gerfuffle, who is by the Thoroughbred Rhodomantade. Blaze O’Gold also has another son eventing internationally, Mac Macdonald. Partly Pickled and Bit of a Barney were both bred by Jackie Skelton and ridden by Louise Skelton.

Special Advocate and Special Attorney are by the well-known British stallion Criminal Law, who stood at Louella Stud. Their dam, Somebody Special, is by the Thoroughbred stallion Garnered, who has also sired several advanced eventers. This pair was bred by Jenny Hibbert, and both are ridden by Daniel Jocelyn. Unfortunately, Special Advocate did not make it off of the wait list in order to run in this year’s trial.

Badminton Stallion

One horse which really caught our eye on the first day was 11-year old stallion, Le Prince des Bois, ridden by Kai Ruder, who was the leader after the dressage phase. In 2009, Ruder and Le Prince achieved a very respectable tenth place in Burghley. Le Prince des Bois is by the British-bred stallion, Yarlands Summer Song (Fleetwater Opposition x Welton Gameful x Your Fancy), and out of a Selle Francais mare, Escale des Bois (Quandy du Mayne x Funny Hobby x Popof)—a half-sibling to international eventing mare Belle des Bois. This stallion is bred in the purple for eventing, and is certainly one to watch for the future. Unfortunately, his results in the mud-bound cross-country and show jumping phases resulted in a 39th place finish. We hope to see Le Prince des Bois available publicly at stud next year!

Stallion Parade

The stallion parade took place on the first day, after the dressage was completed. The heavens really opened just in time for the stallions to enter the ring. Despite the unfavorable conditions (which made note-taking completely impossible), the stallions were on top form, and clearly feeding off of the spectators’ energy.

Catherston Springsteen appeared to be performing for the joy of it, executing difficult movements with ease, and his rider didn’t stop smiling the entire time. Chilli Morning was a real standout with his athleticism. Foxcourt Andante was obviously enjoying himself and looked a real pleasure to ride. Next in the ring was Grafenstolz, who jumped impressively, despite the conditions. Weston Justice looked unflappable and determined in the face of the weather. One stallion who surprised us was Wish Upon a Star, who is not “traditionally” bred for eventing, but certainly looked capable and a very nice type. Revolution and Uptons Deli Circus both galloped impressively during the final portion of the parade, turning up the speed as the crowd cheered them on!

Top Five!

1.  Inonothing, Thoroughbred (Basildon Bond x unknown) ***BRITISH BRED***
Rider: Paul Tapner
Breeder: Mr. Laus Waaler

2. Euroridings Butts Leon, Hannoverian (Heraldik xx x Star Regent xx x Papi’s Boy xx)
Rider: Andreas Dibowski
Breeder: Friedrich Butt

3. Spring Along, ISH (Pallas Digion x Master Buck xx x Bargello xx)
Rider: Daisy Berkeley
Breeder: Not Listed

4. Imperial Cavalier, TBx (Cavalier Royale x Imperius xx x unknown)
Rider: Mary King
Breeder: John Brennan

5. Lenamore, ISH (Seacrest x Valiyar xx x Habitat xx)
Rider: Caroline Powell
Breeder: Ted Walsh

By the end of the Badminton Horse Trials, several familiar faces were out of the running, and Paul Tapner came out on top with his fantastic performance on the very consistent Inonothing. A quick glance at the breeding of the top five competitors reveals the continuing importance of Thoroughbred blood in eventing breeding, even with the advent of the short format. Even the second-place finisher, Euroridings Butts Leon, who is listed as a Hannoverian, is actually 15/16 Thoroughbred. Irish breeding is also prominently featured, with the classic blend of Thoroughbred and Irish Draught.

At the end of the weekend, we made our way home, exhausted, with suitcases full of sodden clothing and notebooks. Next year, we will bring extra socks, and more wet weather gear! Oh, and Ginny’s mare did not foal while we were gone, she gave us three more weeks of waiting before finally producing Ginny’s future Badminton star, who just happens to carry a high percentage of that oh-so-critical Thoroughbred blood.

Past Issues

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