Born to Per­form: Blood­lines of Top Dres­sage Horses

Dan­ish Warm­blood: At­terup­gaards Cas­sidy

Dressage Today - - Content - By Karen M. Brit­tle

Dan­ish Warm­blood At­terup­gaards Cas­sidy

At­terup­gaards Cas­sidy (Cap­ri­mond X Doreen) is a 15-year-old chest­nut geld­ing who has com­peted in­ter­na­tion­ally since 2011. Cas­sidy’s long-time part­ner, Cathrine Du­four of Den­mark, has rid­den him to two Euro­pean Young Rider Cham­pi­onships, in open CDI events and right along to the 2016 Olympics, where they placed 13th in­di­vid­u­ally. Since the Olympics, the team has re­mained highly com­pet­i­tive and is ranked third in the world as of this writ­ing.

At­terup­gaard, a breed­ing farm in cen­tral Den­mark, is owned and op­er­ated by Michael and Kris­tine Munch Sind­ing. Their breed­ing pro­gram has achieved in­ter­na­tional ac­claim in the dres­sage world. In fact, three At­terup­gaard­bred horses com­peted in the Rio Olympics: Cas­sidy with Du­four, At­terup­gaards Orthilia with Fiona Big­wood (UK) and Smey­ers Mol­berg with Marcela Krinke Sus­melj (Switzer­land). Olympic suc­cess placed these horses

high in the FEI rank­ings for dres­sage, which put three horses from the same breeder in the top 25 si­mul­ta­ne­ously for the first time ever.

Thomas Back Jensen, press of­fi­cer for the Dan­ish Warm­blood Stud­book (DWB), says the suc­cess of the Dan­ish stud­book can be traced back to the four pil­lars the stud­book was built upon: “Above all, our stal­lion man­agers’ have great vi­sion for the fu­ture and this guides them again and again in se­lect­ing the most in­ter­est­ing blood­lines from abroad for Den­mark. The other three pil­lars are suc­cess­ful breed­ers, strong dam lines firmly es­tab­lished over the years and a proven, func­tion­ing se­lec­tion sys­tem.” Sind­ing’s breed­ing strat­egy ex­em­pli­fies this phi­los­o­phy and it is deeply re­flected in Cas­sidy’s pedi­gree: Take note that his sire, Cap­ri­mond, is a Trakehner while his mother, Doreen, is a Hanove­rian of ex­cep­tional breed­ing.

Dr. Maren En­gel­hardt, an in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized ex­pert in Trakehner sporthorse his­tory and blood­lines, elab­o­rates: “I read Cas­sidy’s pedi­gree as a tried and proven cross. A Trakehner stal­lion crossed with Don­ner­hall and Pik Bube I blood has worked very well many times.”

Here, we see leg­endary Trakehner sire, Cap­ri­mond, crossed with proven brood­mare, Doreen, a Hanove­rian who is by Don­ner­hall and out of a Pik Bube I mare.

Ac­cord­ing to En­gel­hardt, this “golden recipe” of Don­ner­hall X Pik Bube I is rep­re­sented in a long list of highly suc­cess­ful per­for­mance horses and sires of per­for­mance horses (in­clud­ing Don Fred­erico, Heike Kem­mer’s Olympic gold-medal part­ner Bon­a­parte and many more). En­gel­hardt adds: “What I find very en­cour­ag­ing in Cas­sidy’s pedi­gree is that both sire and dam are long gone, but they have pro­duced mod­ern horses who can re­ally shine at to­day’s up­per lev­els of dres­sage de­spite what some would call old-fash­ioned con­for­ma­tion. [Though re­fined, Cap­ri­mond had a shorter, more pow­er­ful build than many of to­day’s dres­sage sires and Doreen was a more heav­ily built mare.] The inner traits both Cap­ri­mond and Don­ner­hall were fa­mous for—will­ing­ness to work, abil­ity to per­form and men­tal health—are price­less and all too of­ten to­tally over­looked in our mod­ern sport-horse world, where higher, faster and flashier seem to be all the rage.”

In ad­di­tion to these “price­less” traits, Cap­ri­mond is known for sir­ing horses who have a tal­ent for dres­sage and well­formed, re­fined heads and necks. “When I look at Cas­sidy’s pedi­gree, an­other thought I have is that a mod­er­ate dose of in­breed­ing can be a re­ally good thing, and Cap­ri­mond is a great ex­am­ple of that,” said En­gel­hardt. He is re­fer­ring to Trakehner stal­lion Fla­neur, who we see twice on Cap­ri­mond’s side of the pedi­gree. Fla­neur was a con­sis­tent stal­lion known for pass­ing on good over­all per­for­mance ca­pa­bil­ity and tem­per­a­ment.

Ka­rina Chris­tiansen, breed­ing ad­vi­sor for DWB, says, “Cap­ri­mond has

an in­breed­ing de­gree of 2.03 per­cent be­cause of Fla­neur ap­pear­ing twice in his pedi­gree. But it’s im­por­tant to note that Cap­ri­mond is to­tally un­re­lated to Cas­sidy’s dam, Doreen. Cas­sidy him­self is an ex­am­ple of out­cross­ing (with an in­breed­ing de­gree of 0), as you will not find the same genes on the sire and dam side of his pedi­gree.” Chris­tiansen says gen­er­ally the DWB tries to avoid in­breed­ing be­cause of the risk of con­cen­trat­ing genes re­lated to neg­a­tive traits. She points out that in­breed­ing is more com­mon in the Trakehner stud­book be­cause the reg­istry is closed. (More about the Trakehner reg­istry and his­tory in the July is­sue.)

En­gel­hardt says Cas­sidy’s pedi­gree also demon­strates that a good amount of Thor­ough­bred blood re­mains rel­e­vant in mod­ern breed­ing. “Cap­ri­mond came from a stal­lion line founded by Arogno, a 50 per­cent English Thor­ough­bred, via his dam and with sig­nif­i­cant Ara­bian blood via his sire Fla­neur [a di­rect grand­son of the great Ara­bian Fe­tysz ox]. Arogno has a long-stand­ing rep­u­ta­tion of ex­cel­lence in pro­duc­ing up­per-level dres­sage horses, es­pe­cially when crossed with Hanove­ri­ans. I think that’s what we see here—he pro­vided much re­fine­ment, im­prov­ing on the solid Hanove­rian mare base. Cas­sidy’s pedi­gree and per­for­mance are just an ex­ten­sion of this.” The dam side of Cas­sidy’s pedi­gree also con­tains some English Thor­ough­bred (Manolete and Pik As). En­gel­hardt ex­plains, “The abil­ity to ‘con­nect’ blood in­flu­ence within the pedi­gree usu­ally yields very good re­sults and some­what di­min­ishes the risk of pro­duc­ing an un­fore­see­able re­sult, which is more likely to oc­cur, ge­net­i­cally speak­ing, when cross­ing two ex­tremes [such as a draft with a Thor­ough­bred].” In Cap­ri­mond and sub­se­quently Cas­sidy, we see con­sol­i­da­tion of the pos­i­tive traits of their Thor­ough­bred an­ces­tors.

Cas­sidy’s dam is also an ex­tremely spe­cial horse who has had a ma­jor in­flu­ence not only on the breed­ing pro­gram at At­terup­gaard but on the Dan­ish Warm­blood breed­ing pro­gram in gen­eral. Doreen was bred by the Pape fam­ily of Ger­many and was pur­chased by Sind­ing in the 1990s to be­come a foun­da­tion mare at At­terup­gaard. Doreen’s off­spring carry the traits of Don­ner­hall: ex­cep­tional train­abil­ity and the strength needed for col­lected ex­er­cises. Doreen has had 16 foals at At­terup­gaard and two of her foals by Cap­ri­mond have had es­pe­cially note­wor­thy in­flu­ence on the stud. The first is Cas­sidy with his high FEI rank­ing. The sec­ond, his full sis­ter At­terup­gaards Dicte, a brood­mare, is the dam of three li­censed stal­lions who are them­selves mak­ing their mark on the breed.

At­terup­gaards Cas­sidy, a 15-year-old Dan­ish Warm­blood, and Den­mark’s Cathrine Du­four have been to­gether since 2010.

The Dan­ish Warm­blood logo sym­bol­izes a small coun­try sur­rounded by the sea.

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