Born to Per­form

Wei­he­gold OLD: A fan­tas­tic per­for­mance pedi­gree

Practical Horseman - - CONTENTS - BY KAREN M. BRIT­TLE

Blood­lines of Is­abell Werth's top dres­sage horse Wei­he­gold OLD

Ablood­line anal­y­sis of Wei­he­gold OLD (Don Schufro x Wei­hevoll x San­dro Hit) shows that this Olden­burg mare has a strong sire line in both the com­pe­ti­tion and breed­ing are­nas as well as in at­ti­tude. She also de­scends from an im­pres­sive Olden­burg line on her dam’s side. Many of the mares and stal­lions on this bot­tom line had a broad in­flu­ence on the Olden­burg breed that re­sulted in off­spring with stel­lar per­for­mance pedi­grees. The dark brown, 16.2 hand, 13-year-old mare was bred by ac­claimed Ger­man breeder Inge Bas­tian. Since Jan­uary 2010, Wei­he­gold has been cam­paigned by Ger­many’s Is­abell Werth, with 46 FEI-level starts and 33 wins. Among an abun­dance of no­table wins and plac­ings, Werth and Wei­he­gold won sil­ver in­di­vid­u­ally and team gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics and gold at the World Cup Fi­nal in 2017 and 2018. From 2016 to 2018, the pair was ranked No. 1 in the world.

Wei­he­gold’s owner, Chris­tine Arn­sKrog­mann, op­er­ates a breed­ing farm in Lohne, Ger­many. In­cred­i­bly, Wei­he­gold was the first horse she ever pur­chased. Arns-Krog­mann re­calls: “Dis­cov­er­ing Wei­he­gold was a com­plete co­in­ci­dence. I vis­ited the Bas­tian stud with a friend and while my friend was try­ing out a horse, I wan­dered through the barn. I came to stand in front of Wei­he­gold’s stall and was fas­ci­nated by her breed­ing. I had al­ways wanted a Don Schufro mare and then I no­ticed she also de­scended from the Weis­sena mare line. The blood­lines caught my eye, but I was equally fasci-

nated by the mare who stood in front of me. At my re­quest, the breeder showed her to me in a sand pad­dock. And when I saw Wei­he­gold move, I knew that I ab­so­lutely must have her.” Wei­he­gold’s breeder in­sisted she was not for sale. It took two days of ne­go­ti­a­tions, but a pur­chase was fi­nally ar­ranged with the con­di­tion that Arns-Krog­mann had to buy an­other horse that day as well. “But, that didn’t mat­ter to me,” says Arn­sKrog­mann. “I wanted Wei­he­gold.”

Though new to horse own­er­ship, Arns-Krog­mann was an ex­pe­ri­enced rider. She says, “When I first rode Wei-

hegold, I knew im­me­di­ately that she was very spe­cial. From the be­gin­ning, she was so clever and in­tel­li­gent—I’d never ex­pe­ri­enced any­thing like this be­fore. With many things, we only had to show Wei­he­gold one time and she would un­der­stand it. But de­spite her ride­abil­ity, from the be­gin­ning she also showed enough spirit and abil­ity for the up­per lev­els of sport. This, com­bined with her fan­tas­tic hindquar­ters, made it clear to me that she would cer­tainly be re­ally good at the col­lected move­ments. Even when she was a 3-year-old, her po­ten­tial was ev­i­dent.”

Kyle Karnosh, who bred elite sporthorses for more than 30 years at Con Brio Farms in Cal­i­for­nia, com­ments on her sire Don Schufro. Ac­cord­ing to Karnosh, “Don Schufro was a top-ranked dres­sage sire, one of a num­ber of crosses be­tween Don­ner­hall and Pik Bube I. He com­peted in­ter­na­tion­ally with no­table plac­ings that in­cluded win­ning the Grand Prix Spe­cial in Wies­baden and the World Cup Qual­i­fier in Wil­helms­borg, plac­ing at many FEI com­pe­ti­tions and fin­ish­ing 11th in­di­vid­u­ally at the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong. He was a star in the breed­ing shed as well. Don Schufro topped the Ger­man Eques­trian Fed­er­a­tion’s dres­sage stal­lion rank­ings for the first time in 2001, was ranked first or sec­ond for more than a decade and in the 2013 standings, he was again No. 1.”

Arns-Krog­mann iden­ti­fies Don Schufro as one of the best stal­lions of all time. She says gen­er­a­tions of his prog­eny have proven highly in­tel­li­gent with the right at­ti­tude for up­per-level sport and are known for hav­ing a rhyth­mic

Ed­i­tor’s Note: In a 2018 ar­ti­cle se­ries, Dres­sage To­day high­lighted 11 of the world’s top dres­sage horses from the FEI world-rank­ing list, tak­ing a close look at their pedi­gree and as­so­ci­ated breed reg­istries. To gain in­sight into the horses’ lin­eage, writer Karen Brit­tle spoke with ex­perts on international sporthorse breed­ing, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of both breed reg­istries and sporthorse or­ga­ni­za­tions, and in some cases the peo­ple who know these horses best—the breed­ers, own­ers and rid­ers them­selves. The top 11 horses rep­re­sented seven Euro­pean breed reg­istries: Hanove­rian (three horses), Dutch Warm­blood (three horses), Olden­burg, West­phalian, Bavar­ian Warm­blood, Rus­sian Trakehner and Dan­ish Warm­blood. The fi­nal horse to be high­lighted in this se­ries is Wei­he­gold OLD, the Olden­burg mare rid­den by Ger­many’s Is­abell Werth. To read the pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cles, visit dres­sageto­

trot and well-de­vel­oped hindquar­ters.

Don Schufro has more than 50 ap­proved sons, and in 1997 he was se­lected as sire of the year in Ger­many. His dam­sire, Pik Bube I, was also an international dres­sage stal­lion who pro­duced 49 off­spring that were suc­cess­ful in ad­vanced dres­sage. The cross of Don­ner­hall and Pik Bube I and II mares was con­sid­ered a nick, which pro­duced such fa­mous breed­ing stal­lions as Don­ner­schlag, Dav­i­gnon, Don­ner­bube, Dream of Glory, Dun­troon and Donatelli. Karnosh points out: “The dif­fer­ence be­tween most of the other Don­ner­hall/Pik Bube crosses and Don Schufro is the Trakehner sire on the bot­tom line, Unken­ruf. A son of the fa­mous Trakehner Donauwind, Unken­ruf stood in the U.S. at Ty­lord Farm for years af­ter his im­por­ta­tion. Donauwind was a

Ger­many’s Is­abell Werth and Wei­he­gold OLD at the 2018 World Cup Fi­nal in France

tremen­dous pro­ducer of per­for­mance horses in both jump­ing and dres­sage. His blood­lines show up in many ma­jor warm­blood reg­istries. His most well-known off­spring in­clude Olympic show-jump­ing gold medal­ist Ab­dul­lah and Reiner Klimke’s international dres­sage horse Fabian.”

With the ex­traor­di­nar­ily in­flu­en­tial blood­lines on the top side of this pedi­gree, it is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber it was the dam side of this pedi­gree that caught Arns-Krog­mann’s eye. “In my opin­ion, the mares are the foun­da­tion for the off­spring and there­fore much more im­por­tant than the sires, says Arn­sKrog­mann. “All our brood­mares come from suc­cess­ful sporthorse lines. They all un­dergo a ra­di­o­log­i­cal exam [for os­teo­chon­dri­tis dis­se­cans] and only come into our breed­ing pro­gram once they have

Werth and Wei­he­gold at home in Rhein­berg, Ger­many

also proven them­selves un­der sad­dle.”

Wei­he­gold’s dam­sire, San­dro Hit, is among the most widely bred Olden­burg stal­lions of the last two decades. San­dro Hit off­spring are known for im­pres­sive move­ment, dark col­or­ing and strik­ing pres­ence. How­ever, to both Arns-Krog­mann and Karnosh, the most in­ter­est­ing and per­haps valu­able blood­lines of the pedi­gree are those of grand­dam Felicita. Here, Wei­he­gold de­scends from a strong Olden­burg mare line that goes back to the 1800s. Ac­cord­ing to Karnosh, “Wei­he­gold’s great-great-

grandam, Weis­sena IV, was by the Olden­burg stal­lion Chronos. She founded a mod­ern sporthorse dy­nasty. Weis­sena IV was bred re­peat­edly to In­shal­lah X, Volkhorn XX and Fu­turo. Fu­turo was a Selle Fran•ais half-brother to the stal­lion Fu­rioso II, both be­ing by Fu­rioso XX [a Thor­ough­bred] and out of a Le Royal [Selle Fran•ais] line mare.”

Fu­turo, Wei­he­gold’s great-great­grand­sire, had a broad in­flu­ence on the Olden­burg breed. Karnosh ex­plains that while Fu­turo pro­duced ap­proved sons and dres­sage com­peti­tors at the Grand Prix and international level, he is es­pe­cially known for his ex­cep­tional daugh­ters, par­tic­u­larly when crossed with the Weis­sena line. This cross pro­duced mul­ti­ple ap­proved stal­lions and top international com­peti­tors in both dres­sage and show jump­ing. Karnosh says, “Given this pro­duc­tion record, it is no won­der that the owner of Weis­sena IV’s daugh­ter Weiss­gold [by Volkhorn XX] would look to the Fu­turo line [through son Fi­garo] to pro­duce Wei­he­gold’s grand­mother, Felicita. In­ter­est­ingly, ac­cord­ing to on­line data­bases, Felicita ap­pears to have had only two off­spring—Wei­he­gold’s dam, Wei­hevoll, and the ap­proved stal­lion Dartag­nan by Dun­troon.” Fi­garo him­self was the Olden­burg Cham­pion Stal­lion in 1976 and was a suc­cess­ful

Fu­turo, Wei­he­gold’s great-great­grand­sire, had a broad in­flu­ence on the Olden­burg breed.

sire of Grand Prix horses—again, in both dres­sage and show jump­ing.

Though Fu­turo’s half-brother, Fu­rioso II, does not ap­pear di­rectly in Wei­he­gold’s pedi­gree, Karnosh com­ments on his in­flu­ence in es­tab­lish­ing the im­por­tance of the Olden­burg “F” line in dres­sage breed­ing. She says, “Fu­rioso II was such an im­por­tant sire that he is con­sid­ered a ‘cen­tury stal­lion,’ one that comes along only once a cen­tury.”

Fu­rioso II was a great pro­ducer of per­for­mance horses and left ap­proved sons in nu­mer­ous reg­istries. His many sons in­cluded Voltaire, Pu­rioso (grand­sire of Jazz) and Fide­lio (sire of Florestan). Florestan is a pro­lific sire of dres­sage horses and is the grand­sire of U.S. Olympian Laura Graves’ Ver­dades.

A fan­tas­tic per­for­mance pedi­gree has yielded the fan­tas­tic Wei­he­gold. Ac­cord­ing to Arns-Krog­mann: “I think Wei­he­gold is a highly in­tel­li­gent horse who knows when she’s at a com­pe­ti­tion. She doesn’t al­low her­self to be dis­tracted by ex­ter­nal things and in a way just seems above it all. All her off­spring are sim­i­lar: sim­ply fan­tas­tic to ride and very clever. Ev­ery year, we start lots of dif­fer­ent horses, but we have the most fun with Wei­he­gold’s ba­bies as well as with her ba­bies’ off­spring. For me, she’s a once-in-a-life­time horse.”

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