Born to Perform
Weihegold OLD: A fantastic performance pedigree
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 dressagetoday.com.
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.”