In Grand Prix show jumping, the question “what next” is probably more of the same, Darco, Capitol, Landgraf, Quidam De Revel, Cor De La Bryere, Alme, all the usual suspects. But what about the top echelon event horses?
“Back in the day”, when the long format had a 4-5 minute steeplechase, and a 14-18 mile second day, the rigorous speed and endurance requirements pretty much dictated that either full thoroughbreds, or almost full thoroughbreds, with some Irish Draught, or other blood, (usually 7/8ths or 15/16ths Tb) would be necessary to get the distance and either make the time, or get fairly close. It wouldn`t do to win the dressage, and then get eliminated on cross country.
When the short format was introduced, a number of us predicted that as the speed and endurance requirements lessened, and as the dressage and show jumping requirements became more difficult, there would be a pedigree shift toward more warmblood breeding. But has that actually happened? Are the pedigrees of modern eventers different from the days when Molokai and Out and About, pure thoroughbreds, set the US standard?
I looked at the USEA Leaderboard of this past year`s top 10 horses, to get some insights. Some of the horses didn`t show up on ALLBREED PEDIGREE, so I`l discuss those which did.
Horse No 1, Ballynoe Castle: He`s out of a Tb, by a Belgian Warmblood, Ramiro B, who goes back to Cor De La Breyer and Landgraf.
Horse no 2, Can`t Fire Me: US Tb, Northern Dancer sire line
Horse no 3, Running Order, couldn`t find pedigree information.
Horse no 4, Loughan Glen: Dam mostly Tb, sire is Limmerick, a Holsteiner standing in Ireland, who has 2 crosses to Landgraf, and a cross to Cor De La Bryere.
Horse no 5, Manoir de Carneville: Selle Francaise, by Goub, by Sir Ivor, by Sir Gaylord, by our old friend, Turn To, by another old friend, Royal Charger. Also two crosses to Ibrahim, the sire of Alme, the legendary jumper sire.
Horse no 6, Eveready. Couldn`t find pedigree info. Even in an interview with Barbara Crabo, where she called him a homebred, she didn`t say, nor did the interviewer ask, any sire, dam, or breed information.
Horse no 7,Remington 25th–no pedigree info.
Horse no 8, Jumbo`s Jake: Sired by the part RID, part Tb, Jumbo. Probably at least 7/8ths Tb.
Horse no 9, William Penn, no pedigree info.
Horse no 10, Sir Donovan: Sired by VDL Arkansas, goes back to the Holsteiner, Capitol, plus Alme, and Cor De La Bryere.
Then I looked at Mary King`s two Rolex horses, King`s Teptress, who is 1/8 Hanoverian, 7/8 Tb, and Fernhill Urco, by a son of the Holsteiner, Corrado, who descends from Capitol and Cor De La Bryere.
The last two individual gold medal 3-day winners are Marius, at the Olympics, and La Biostetique Sam, at the World Games. Marius is a Holsteiner, by a Tb, and out of a mare which goes back to Cor De La Bryere. “Sam” is 3/4 Tb, and 1/4 Hannoverian.
So are warmblood jumper lines becoming part of the new breeding equation for the new short format version of three day eventing? Empirical evidence suggests so, but as a minority piece of the equation. The bigger portion of the elite eventing pedigree in 2012 is still the thoroughbred. It will be interesting to more carefully follow breeding trends, assuming we can find sources of pedigree information. For many riders, it seems that the breeding of their horses is almost irrelevant. Or, if they know, they aren`t saying!