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   Sources of Show Jumping Blood

Roots of Modern Show JumpersWritten for Thoroughbred Heritage by Andreas Haberbeck©2001-2002. All rights reserved.

Material to compile this chart was taken from the six-generation pedigrees of the 100 leading show jumping sires for the period 1990 to 1999. It displays the ancestors that make the most frequent appearances in the pedigrees of these sires. Source for leading sires is the WBFSH Breeding Guides 1999/2000.
TB = Thoroughbred, A-N = Anglo - Norman, Han = Hanover, Holst = Holstein
If a TB ancestor is generally seen in thoroughbred pedigrees, it is so noted in the rightmost column.

Studbook Name Born Linebred Appearances TB Generally
TB Orange Peel 1919 10 24 no
TB Son-in-Law 1911 9 40 yes
Han Fling 1911 8 26 --
A-N Vas-Y-Donc 1921 7 32 --
TB Dark Ronald 1905 7 46 yes
Han Alderman I 1909 6 23 --
Han Feiner Kerl 1919 6 30 --
A-N Royal Chestnut 1917 6 26 --
TB Teddy 1913 6 28 yes
Han Dolman 1933 5 20 --
Holst Favorit 1914 4 21 --

The thoroughbred Orange Peel and the Anglo-Normans Vas-Y-Donc and Royal Chesnut are the backbone of modern Selle Français breeding. Their influences are combined in Ibrahim's pedigree, but also appear in leading Selle Français pedigrees in a variety of other permutations. Vas-Y-Donc descended from a French trotter, and I only have sketchy pedigree information on him. Royal Chesnut was a son of the thoroughbred Vieux Marcheur (1898) by Xaintrailles out of La Goulue, by Prism, a pedigree with clear jumping antecedents: Prism's sire was Uncas, a leading 'chaser sire in the late 19th century, and Xantrailles was damsire of Grosse Mere, the winner of the 1907 Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris.

The influence of the thoroughbred Son-in-Law and his sire Dark Ronald is unmistakable, across the studbooks, but requires a little explanation. After he was retired from racing at the age of four, Dark Ronald spent four seasons at stud in England, where he sired Son-in-Law, Ambassador IV, Brown Prince II and Dark Legend. He then was purchased for the German state stud Graditz, where he was an outstanding success. He was champion sire five times, and through his sons Prunus and Herold founded one of the country's main stallion dynasties. He is universally regarded as the single most important influence on German thoroughbred pedigrees this century. If any proof is needed that Dark Ronald's blood is conducive to jumping, the great 'chaser Arkle was inbred 4 x 4 to him - what more can one say? By an interesting coincidence, Dark Ronald, a great source of stamina, was bred by Edward "Cub" Kennedy at his Straffan Stud in County Kildare, where Kennedy also bred The Tetrarch, a great source of speed in the modern thoroughbred.

Son-in-Law, in turn, founded arguably the greatest dynasty of stayers this century (cf. Sir Charles Leicester, Bloodstock Breeding,2nd edition, page 263 ff.). Since breeders of steeplechasers are always keen on good staying blood, it is not surprising that Son-in-Law can be found in many good 'chaser pedigrees. He also left a major mark on thoroughbred breeding in New Zealand, where his son Beau Pere was two-time champion sire, and where his grandson Foxbridge was the leading sire for an incredible eleven seasons, from 1941 to 1951.

Therefore, Dark Ronald's main influences on showjumping pedigrees are two-fold: on the one hand through Son-in-Law in the international sphere, and on the other hand through his many German descendants who were used in sport horse breeding. It is particularly interesting that the incidents of leading sires who are linebred to Dark Ronald and Son-in-Law is highest in Holstein. Household names who were linebred to Dark Ronald are Cor de la Bryère, Landgraf I and Lord - in other words, the studbook's most prolific sire-makers. Cor de la Bryère was linebred 5 x 5 to Dark Ronald through Rantzau and Furioso, Lord 5 x 6 through Cottage Son and Ladykiller, and Landgraf I 6 x 6 through Ladykiller and Anblick. Among the studbook's more recent stars, Calando I, Caletto I and Caletto II were linebred 5 x 6 x 6 to Son-in-Law.

Frequent appearances of a thoroughbred progenitor of Teddy's stature in showjumping pedigrees create something of a dilemma. After all, he can be found somewhere in most extended thoroughbred pedigrees today (and the same applies to the likes of Blandford, Nearco and Hyperion). Therefore, whether one can attribute any qualities to him which may be particularly conducive to the breeding of showjumpers requires a little extra consideration. First of all, statistically he does not make more frequent close-up appearances in leading steeplechaser pedigrees than other thoroughbred chefs-de-race. On the other hand, one son Brumeux (1925) did sire the Grand National winner Early Mist, and another son, Ptolemy (1922) sired the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris winner, Symbole. Even more to the point, his grandson Ugolino da Siena (1932) sired the World Champion Merano, one of the best showjumpers of all time, and the Olympic Gold medalist Posillipo. In the final analysis, however, all one can say with certainty is that Teddy was a very good horse and sire, and that having him in any pedigree is never a bad thing.

I have commented already on the great Hanoverian progenitor Fling and his son Feiner Kerl. Alderman I, a grandson of Adeptus, has less influence in the male line today. However, with 110 sons who were licensed as sires, between the two world wars, he was just as influential as Feiner Kerl. Dolman was the sire of Duellant and the grandsire of Dömitz I, from whom a whole host of good jumping sires descend. Incidentally, he descends in eight generations from the dual Grand National winner The Colonel (1863), who was at stud in Germany after his successful National Hunt career, and is said to have served as the Kaiser's ceremonial charger on occasion.

Linebreeding to the classic bloodlines is less frequent in Holstein than in Hanover because of the recent overhaul of the studbook's sire lines by outsiders such as Ramzes, Anblick, Cottage Son, Ladykiller and Cor de la Bryère. Still, the great sires of the past make frequent appearances in all leading Holsteiner pedigrees, although their influence is getting more distant with each new generation. An example of linebreeding (4 x 5) to the classic sire Favorit is Ramiro Z, the leading showjumping sire of the 1990s. His daughter Ratina Z, the No 1 showjumper of the 1990s, was linebred 5 x 5 x 6 x 6 to Favorit. That is not at all bad for a stallion whose main task was the production of agricultural workhorses.

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