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Could I get a crash course in dressage bloodlines?

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  • Could I get a crash course in dressage bloodlines?

    I'm interested in following the trends in young stock for dressage, regardless of breed, but don't know much about breeding. Could someone educate me a bit on breed trends, popular stallions and breeding programs?

    First and foremost, I'm interested in breed stereotypes when it comes to work ethic, temperament, conformation, and movement. From there, I'd like to narrow in and learn about successful stallions from these breeds, their reputations, and the quality of foals that they produce.

    Somewhere down the road, I'd like to invest in a young horse, but I have a lot of research to do first, so here I am.

    Thank you in advance, as I know this is a very broad question requiring some very long answers.

  • #2
    Short answer: Look at the pedigrees of the horses making Olympic dressage teams for this summer. Do the same for the last few world championships and world cup competitions. You will find a trend for success.
    "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


    • #3
      It's pretty hard to draw distinctions these days amongst the various WB breeds/registries, since most of them use the same bloodlines.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Beau Peep View Post
        I'm interested in following the trends in young stock for dressage, regardless of breed, but don't know much about breeding. Could someone educate me a bit on breed trends, popular stallions and breeding programs?

        First and foremost, I'm interested in breed stereotypes when it comes to work ethic, temperament, conformation, and movement. From there, I'd like to narrow in and learn about successful stallions from these breeds, their reputations, and the quality of foals that they produce.

        Somewhere down the road, I'd like to invest in a young horse, but I have a lot of research to do first, so here I am.

        Thank you in advance, as I know this is a very broad question requiring some very long answers.
        You'd need a lifetime. Start reading.
        (that is - start with your own work ethic !)
        ... _. ._ .._. .._


        • #5
          if you are looking for bloodlines that excel in topsport, start by researching the horses in topsort and see what similarities they have....

          this year Donnerhall/DeNiro are *really* well represented in the Olympics....

          if you are interested in young horses producers then same but look at the top young horses, etc.

          it is fascinating and i am addicted

          welcome to the wonderful world of breeding/bloodlines (says this 1st year breeder )


          • #6
            Good point made by mbm.
            The names of young horse producers will probably create a different list of sires from that of grand prix horse producers.
            Especially watch mare lines for the two different purposes.

            From my own experience, young horse stars can be leg-flingers that will, in the long haul, lack the ability to close their base and develop collection easily. (There are several large exceptions to this) But the training and marketing of young horse stars is usually quite different from that of the big ring horses.
            "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


            • #7
              Both previous replies are really good. You can also check out the WBFSH stallion rankings to see what sires have offspring successful in international competition. For 2011, the top 3 were Jazz, Florestan I, and Gribaldi.
              Jazz is known to throw very talented but HOT horses that are usually considered a "pro ride." Florestan I semen is nearly gone but he has lots of progeny, the most popular probably being Florencio. The F-line usually has 3 strong gaits. I'm pretty sure Gribaldi has poor frozen semen so you won't find many of his kids over here (assuming you're in the US?)

              The dressage lines you will see very frequently in North America are Donnerhall, Weltmeyer, and Rubinstein. (btw all these horses are deceased, though W has good frozen semen still available)
              Donnerhall is dominating the dressage world right now. At the 2010 WEG, 10% of the dressage horses had D as their sire or grandsire. He is the sire of several 2012 Olympians and his son, DeNiro, is the sire of several more! D is known for being somewhat long bodied and old-fasioned. His temperament and rideability are excellent. (Please keep in mind for all the stallions I mention, you asked for generalizations- when it's time to buy you must remember there are exceptions to every rule!)
              Weltmeyer is considered one of the best dressage sires of the last century. He is especially valued as a broodmare sire. He throws a powerful hind end and some people claim his offspring can be temperamental. W is listed 16th on the latest WBFSH ranks, while his son Welt Hit II (9th) and Wolkenstein II (13th) placed even higher. Walt Disney I is ranked 28th and he has the same sire as Weltmeyer.
              Rubinstein is famous for passing on a very willing attitude and easy to ride temperament. He also tends to pass on a slow hind leg. He is also good at improving the walk. He is ranked 12th, while his best son, Rohdiamont, ranks 8th.

              Additionally, bloodlines can give you some idea of what you will get but it is far more important to train your eye to see quality! I have seen horses with superb pedigrees that are poor movers with major conformational faults. (Maybe the breeder didn't pick the right stallion for their mare or the damline has a weakness some generations back that keeps propagating.) Thus, you must be able to evaluate the horse in front of you. Sometimes horses that look like fancy movers aren't using the backs or their hind ends and this will make it very difficult to move up the levels. Also, it takes even more of a refined eye to see quality in a foal. Watch YouTube videos, go to inspections, and find some mentors who have had success picking youngsters.

              The "trends in youngstock" aren't neccessarily what you want to be paying attention to- since many people breed for what will sell, rather than what can be truly competitive at the upper levels. Right now, horses by the latest high selling stallion often sell well- but we really don't know how that young sire will do and oftentimes they fall off the map a few years later. Also, many people want very flashy movers who mature quickly so they can compete in the Young Horse classes. However, if you look at the horses who have won these classes in the past, there is not always a correlation to success as a 5 or 6 year old and success in the FEI levels. If you want a horse that will be sound, sane, and competitive all the way up the levels, I suggest you stick with what's been proven!

              Also, and this should go without saying, the mare contributes 50% of the genes and likely more than half the temperament/behavior. You should strongly consider the dam's accomplishments or that of her offspring.

              Best wishes!

              (edited to add: several people posted while I was writing this novel, so I was referencing the first 2 replies. Also, my apologies for the duplicated thoughts)

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              • #8
                FWIW we have used Dressage Royal (3/4 brother to Damon Hill) quite a bit and are quite impressed with his foals' potential. They both offer the fabulous combination of Donnerhall-Rubinstein to put to our mare lines.
                Less famous, but also proven in the big ring is our grand old man Waldaire, offering Waidmannskdank, Gotthard, Absatz and Darling. Our six year old son is schooling easily and calmly everything for grand prix.
                "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist