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   Analysis of 2010 World Show Jumping Championships

Roots of Modern Show JumpersWritten for Thoroughbred Heritage by Andreas Haberbeck©2006. All rights reserved.

View a chart showing the most frequently occuring ancestors in leading sires of modern show jumpers of the past ten years.

See Also:
2002 WEG Jumping Bloodlines
2006 WEG Jumping Bloodlines
2004 Olympic Jumping Bloodlines
2008 Olympic Jumping Bloodlines
The Thoroughbred Roots of the Modern Show Jumper

The Showjumping World Championship of 2010

One hundred-twenty horses competed at the Show Jumping World Championship of 2010. Fifty-four were geldings, 36 entires and 30 mares, aged between 9 and 15 years. No information is available regarding the breeding of six of these horses. The remaining 114 all appear to have been bred with the specific intention of producing showjumpers, rather than general purpose riding horses.

Twenty-one studbooks were represented, with Belgian warmbloods (BWP) accounting for 19% of the participating horses, Dutch warmbloods (KWPN) 17%, Holsteiners 16% and Selle Français 12%. A number of studbooks made a mark at this level of competition for the first time, such as the British-based Anglo European studbook and the Polish Horse Breeders Association with two horses each. However, all studbooks, old and new, relied on proven showjumping blood, with Holsteiner and Selle Français bloodlines dominating the pedigrees, and additional influences from Hanoverian and more recent KWPN bloodlines.

BWP Success

While the Holsteiner, Selle Français and KWPN studbooks have dominated this level of showjumping for some time, the BWP studbook's standing has improved with each competition in recent years, accounting for 6% of the horses at the 2004 Olympics, 9% at the 2006 World Championship, 13% at the 2008 Olympics and 19% at the 2010 World Championship. The BWP bloodlines, similar to those of the KWPN studbook, are based on an eclectic mix of Selle Français, Hanoverian and Holsteiner blood. Of particular importance to Belgian showjumper breeding is Darco (1980 - 2006), whose sire was Hanoverian and whose maternal grandsire was a Holsteiner. Himself an outstanding showjumper, who came 7th in the 1992 Olympic showjumping competition, Darco appears in the pedigrees of seven of the horses competing at the 2010 Wold Championship.

The modern showjumper was created in the second half of the 20th century by combining thoroughbred sires with agricultural workhorses. Prior to World War II, German, French and Dutch breeders had concentrated on producing dual purpose horses which could be used both as draft animals and as cavalry remounts. Therefore, their mares were suitable as foundation stock for a lighter pure sport horse. Belgian farmers, on the other hand, had concentrated for centuries on breeding the world-famous Belgian coldbloods, which were ultra-heavy pure draft animals and unsuitable for riding. Therefore, when Belgian breeders decided to switch to sporthorses, they began importing mares from Holland, France and Germany, starting more or less from scratch. The first success of a BWP at international level was as recent as 1976, when Francois Mathy won the Olympic Bronze for Belgium on Gai Luron, but the first real BWP star was Big Ben, with whom Ian Millar of Canada had a string of successes in the 1980s, including two World Cups.

Sires and Progenitors

The top sires at the 2010 World Championship were the Holsteiner Contender and the BWP Nabab de Reve with four offspring each, and the KWPN Concorde, the Holsteiner Corrado I and the Selle Français Diamant de Semilly with 3 offspring each.

The chefs-de-race of modern showjumper breeding have become almost as ubiquitous as their thoroughbred counterparts. Thus more than 80% of the competing horses descended from either the Anglo-Norman Ibrahim, the thoroughbred Ladykiller, the Anglo-Arab Ramzes, the thoroughbred Cottage Son or combinations of these, with the thoroughbred Furioso almost as prominent. Individually, the thoroughbred Rantzau is in more than 50% of the pedigrees, as are Cottage Son and Ibrahim.

Among more recent ancestors, the Selle Français Cor de la Bryère, Almé and Quidam de Revel can be found, respectively, in 43%, 37% and 9% of the pedigrees, the Holsteiners Landgraf I, Ramiro and Capitol I, respectively, in 33%, 24% and 16%, and the KWPN Nimmerdor in 8%.

The Winners

The German team won Gold convincingly with two Holsteiners, a Hanoverian and a KWPN. The French won Silver with three Selle Français and a KWPN, and the Belgians won Bronze with three BWP and a Zangersheide horse.

In the individual finals, 8 of the 30 horses were KWPN (27%), 6 BWP (20%), 4 Selle Français, 3 Holsteiners, 2 Hanoverians and one each Danish Warmblood, Mexican (CCDM), Anglo European, Oldenburg, Westphalia, Zangersheide and one of unknown breeding.

Although the individual Gold medal was won by Philippe Lejeune of Belgium on the BWP Vigo d'Arsouilles, the best horse in the four-rider finals with change of horses was the KWPN Hickstead with not a single fence down.

The breeding of the ten best horses in the competition can be summarized as follows:

Having won the Olympic Gold medal in 2008 with Eric Lamaze of Canada, Hickstead was already one of the all-time great showjumpers before the 2010 Wold Championship. Although he and Eric Lamaze of Canada "only" won the individual Bronze medal in 2010, Hickstead was the best horse at the World Championship with only a few time penalties in the entire competition, and no fences down. He is a KWPN stallion foaled in 1996, by Hamlet out of Jomara, by Ekstein. His pedigree reads like a who's who of Dutch breeding, and has few immediate outside influences. Hamlet is a KWPN by Nimmerdor out of a granddaughter of the thoroughbred Courville. Jomara is a daughter of the KWPN Ekstein, a grandson of the thoroughbred Lucky Boy, while her dam Fomara descends from the Anglo-Norman Mexico, a son of Furioso.

The World Champion of 2010, Vigo d'Arsouilles, is a twelve-year-old BWP stallion. Although both his dam and sire are registered as BWP, 94% of his pedigree is actually Selle Français. Vigo's sire Nabab de Reve is a son of Quidam de Revel, out of Melodie en Faby Artichaut. Nabab de Reve won a team Bronze medal for Belgium at the 2002 World Championship, also ridden by Philippe Lejeune, while Quidam de Revel won a team Bronze for France at the 1992 Olympics. Vigo's dam Illico d'Arsouilles is by Fleuri du Manoir, a son of Ibrahim to whom Vido is linebred 5 x 3. Other instances of linebreeding in the pedigree are to the thoroughbreds Rantzau (5 x 5) and Fra Diavolo (5 x 6).

Abdullah Sharbatly of Saudi Arabia and the eleven-year old KWPN mare Seldana di Campalto were surprise winners of the individual Silver medal in 2010, but Seldana had already proven herself at the 2009 European Championship, where she and Natale Chiaudani had won a team Bronze medal for Italy. Like Hickstead, Seldana descends from Nimmerdor through her sire Emilion, but the rest of her pedigree is Holsteiner, Selle Français, Hanoverian and Oldenburger. Her dam Eldana is an Oldenburger mare whose grandsires are the Selle Français Almé and the Hanoverian Grannus, both well-known sources of showjumping blood. Emilion is a son of the KWPN Wellington, but his dam was the Holsteiner mare Ramirha, a daughter of Farnese and granddaughter of the thoroughbred Ladykiller.

Since Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil has already won every major championship at least once, coming only fourth in 2010 with the Mexican-bred stallion Rebozo la Silla cannot have been too much of a disappointment. In any case, Rebozo is only ten, and as he was the third best horse in the entire competition he may well be a star of the future. Although he was bred in Mexico, Rebozo's sire Tlaloc M is a Selle Français who won a team Gold medal for France at the 2002 World Championship. Like Hickstead's sire Nabab de Reve, Tlaloc M is a son of Quidam de Revel, and descends from Almé and the thoroughbreds Orange Peel, Ultimate, Furioso, Fra Diavolo and Rantzau, the main line founders of Selle Français showjumper breeding. Rebozo's dam is the KWPN Anja, a daughter of the Holsteiner Ramiro and a granddaughter of the thoroughbred Pantheon.

Fifth individually, and a team Gold winner for Germany with Carsten-Otto Nagel, was the twelve-year-old Holsteiner mare Corradina, who had also won the individual Silver medal at the European Championship in 2009. Her sire Corrado I is by the Selle Français Cor de le Bryère, out of Soleil by Capitol I. Corradina's dam Elsafina is a granddaughter of the thoroughbred Sacramento Song and of the Selle Français Fier de Lui who, like Co de la Bryère, was a son of the thoroughbred Rantzau to whom Corradina is inbred 3 x 4.

Sixth was the 15-year-old KWPN gelding Ninja la Silla, who, with Rolf Goran-Bengtsson of Sweden, had won the individual Silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games. Although a KWPN, 88% of Ninja's pedigree is Selle Français. His sire, the Selle Français sire Guidam, is yet another son of Quidam de Revel, out of Fougere by Venutard, and is already well known as the sire of Beezie Madden's fantastic horse Authentic. Ninja's dam Olympica is a BWP by the Selle Français Lys de Darmen out of the KWPN mare Dorette II by the Selle Français Ursus.

The double Olympic team Gold medal winner (in 2004 and 2008) Sapphire, ridden by McLain Ward of the USA, was the seventh best horse. This 15-year-old BWP mare is a daughter of Darco, himself a son of the Hanoverian Lugano van la Roche and a grandson of the Holsteiner Codex. Sapphire's dam Idjaz-c is a Hanoverian by the thoroughbred Cardinal out of a daughter of the thoroughbred Julius Cäsar.

In eighth place was the 14-year-old Danish warmblood gelding Chianto, ridden by John Pearce of Canada. Chianto's pedigree is half Holsteiner, a quarter French Anglo-Arabe and one eighths Trakehner. His Holsteiner sire Corano is a son of Capitol I out of Vision III, by Cor de la Bryère.

Ninth-placed Ashleigh Drossel Dan, ridden by Alvaro Miranda Neto of Brazil, had competed at the 2008 Olympic Games with Laurie Lever of Australia. Although foaled in Australia, the eleven-year-old gelding is registered as a Hanoverian. His Hanoverian sire Drosselklang II was a son of Don Carlos. Drossel Dan's dam Ashleigh Pamela is a daughter of the Holsteiner Ashleigh Brigadier, a descendant of Ramzes, and the Australian mare Becky Rhodes.

The eleven-year-old KWPN gelding Avenzio came tenth, ridden by Taizo Sugitani of Japan. His grandsires are the Selle Français Almé and the German thoroughbred Erdball, and the rest of his pedigree combines well-known KWPN elements, such as the Holsteiner Amor and the Trakehner Marco Polo.

These pedigrees reflect the showjumper breeding policies of the 1990s, when numerous breeders around the world realized that it is possible to breed better than average showjumpers by relying on the proven bloodlines of the by then already established showjumping studbooks. Thus many successful horses today combine elements of various studbooks, and a fair number of the stallions used in showjumper breeding themselves are successful showjumpers, such as Darco, Quidam de Revel, Tlaloc M and Nabab de Reve, as well as Baloubet du Rouet, Libero H and Diamant de Semilly, and numerous others.

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