I hold my hands up and admit I am not a breeder but I am fascinated by bloodlines and looking for what will be the next big thing in eventing. I don’t think its a coincidence that the best eventers in the world have incredible bloodlines and many commonalities running through their bloodlines. As an amateur rider I want an athletic horse with a good brain who will work with me and not against me. I also want a tough horse and proven horse, which is why a competitive record is important for me in a modern stallion.
I have to agree with Oliver Townend who commented that eventing relies so much on jumping that you need a horse with both blood and a great jump. Oliver said that he ‘looks to put a great jumping sire with a TB mare or a top TB sire (which can be harder to find) with a jumping mare. Most of all you need a great brain.’
Personally I was hugely disappointed to see several ridden eventing stallions not jump. For me this is such a vital part of the job that its essential to see them jump. I exclude Sula Blue from this as coming back from a bruised sole, plus I have watched him compete and he was incredible cross country.
Britannia’s Mail came alive jumping and this is they type of thing that you want to see in an eventing stallion. He absolutely loved jumping, had his ears pricked and was always looking for the fence. He reminded me of his mother is that he was enthusiastic but rideable. I saw him last year at the stallion show and he has definitely matured in the year and looks twice the horse to what he did last year. I have no doubts under Lucinda Fredericks guidance that he will have every opportunity to continue his competition record while we see more progeny on the ground over the years. I loved his sire last year, Jaguar Mail who for me was the stand out stallion of the show last year and I have no doubts that Britannia’s Mail has the right brain to see him go a lot further.
Sula Blue is a TB stallion who has a fantastic competition record. I watched him at Gatcombe where he was highly placed and he was terrific. In the big atmosphere in the indoor arena he was rideable and kept listening to his rider despite moments where he was clearly quite excited like jogging in the walk. He has good paces and has a well set neck which I like to see in a TB. This is a rare TB stallion who has both performance and classic bloodlines being by Sula Bula. A stallion who would add blood and refinement to a heavier mare.
Ramiro B seems to throw identical bay horses and Oliver Townend bought along one of his progeny in Cooley SRS. Oliver also has another Ramiro B horse at home in Cooley Masterclass who has done exceptionally well and is competing at 3*. Ramiro B himself has both a strong competitive record and progeny who are performing at the highest levels. For a 21 year old stallion he looked fantastic being paraded. Oliver said after showing off Cooley SRS that the Ramiro B progeny ‘are nice horses that anyone can ride. You do not need to be a top rider to get good results from them.’ Currently Ramiro B is No 10 in the WBFSH eventing sire rankings and by my estimation No 4 for stallions still alive. Pretty impressive results.
Future Gravitas is a younger stallion by Grafenstoltz. I saw Future Gravitas last year when hehad just been broken and I was impressed by his brain at dealing with everything in what was a big atmosphere. This year he has matured and looks twice the horse. He jumped well and I thought it was a neat trick to jump the banners at the end. It showed his great brain and willingness to do the job. I feel he has a good hind leg and that he will continue to keep improving. A friend has a covering to him and was pleased to see how much he has come on and feels he will be a good fit with her broodmare.
Leprince des Bois was always astounding cross country with Kai Ruder in the plate. A horse who has terrific bloodlines, 4* results and is tough and still sound despite his busy career. I saw a Yarlands Summer Song horse out eventing a few years ago and thought it was stunning so have always kept an eye on his progeny. Lesprince des Bois has a mix of Welton, Fleetwater and Galoubet in his bloodlines which will ensure jump, blood and a brain for the job. I think what most impressed me on the day is the horse was badly missed at a fence and he dug himself out of trouble leaving the substantial fence up having made a supreme effort to clear it and came around without a care in the world to take it on again. For me this is just as impressive as going round Badminton as many horses who have been ridden by top riders and especially stallions will tell you to sod off.
Some horses were not in the eventing section but I really liked them and felt they had a lot to offer.
Sir Shutterfly is a full brother to the amazing Shutterfly. There is enough TB blood in their to satisfy the blood requirements in eventing and he is an attractive modern looking stallion. He has a great hind leg with a good canter and jumps for fun. I have seen several of his progeny out competing particularly BYEH doing well and I think he has a lot to offer for breeders. He is still a relatively young stallion and has progeny climbing up the levels eventing.
Balou Star blew me away. He was tiny – 15.2hh and yet he was a little rubber ball. He has amazing bloodlines with Balou du Rouet and Quick Star and is also competing in 1.50m classes with the Allen family. This horse really jumped and had a ground covering stride. Talking to the Allen family later in the stables they said despite his size, he has so much power that in combinations you have to work to shorten him. He was super cute in the stable and a very nice person. I would love to see what he produced with a TB mare. Despite Balou Star being small he has bloodlines which have size in them so this would not put me off getting what I wanted size wise.
Video not from Hartpury
Black Jack was an attractive 9yo black stallion with amazing bloodlines. He is by Cornet Obolensky and out of a Heraldik mare. He was ridden by Jay Halim on the day who told me that it was the first time he had sat on the stallion at the show. His impression was that he had a great attitude and was very polite to ride. Jay had him popping over some pretty substantial fences showing him off. Before the show had commenced he had managed to pull off a shoe and yet performed well during his ridden display. Black Jack had only arrived from Italy a week previously and Jay was not certain how much he had been worked before the show which shows his amenability. Black Jack has competed himself in 1.50m classes and will be available just for the year in the UK. Black Jack already has some licensed stallion sons including one who was Austrian loose jumping champion. He is a modern stamp of a jumper and I think will be of significant interest to those looking to breed eventers.
Caretino Glory was the last stallion to be shown and performed alongside several of his progeny which was pretty cool to see. They all jumped some impressive fences and really performed. Caretino Glory is a modern type of stallion being lighter framed and elegant. Like many of the modern day showjumpers they can really move despite being bred for jumping. The old saying that showjumpers cannot trot really does not apply anymore and pretty much all the showjumpers I watched had great paces combined with a terrific jump. Caretino Glory himself does not have a much TB but he has Cor de la Bryere on both the dam and sire line. A great addition to possibly use on a blood mare. Caretino Glory himself has jumped at the highest level and now his progeny are doing the same.
Two other stallions I took video of were Arkol and Quintero la Silla.
Arkol because he is by the legendary Argentinus and I thought he was interesting as a young jumping stallion. He was ridden by William Whitaker on the day.
Quintero la Silla – I took video of because he interested me as a stallion who has been there and got the t.shirt. Interestingly on horse telex which is not always accurate he has nearly 50% blood. He is a winner of 5* grand prixs and has competed at the highest levels and has now retired sound having had a successful career. He was a very modern type of horse with an elegant frame and perhaps just an interesting one to throw into the mix for eventing.
For more information on any of the stallions mentioned above please click on the link below.