The Spring 2010 stallion approvals for the SHB(GB) were recently held at Addington Manor in Buckinghamshire. 15 entires varying in age from 3 to 7 year olds were entered, with 13 coming forward on the day.
The format is similar to the warmblood studbook gradings I have attended in the past, both here and in Germany, with the stallions being assessed for conformation, for straightness of movement in walk and trot, for loose movement, and loose jumping ability. Older stallions were also assessed under saddle, with the option of jumping a course of fences depending on their discipline.
In the end, just 2 stallions were graded, both of whom were being presented for the second time to the grading panel, having previously successfully passed their Stage One Assessment. These were the Danish Warmblood Cendy (Consul – Clarissa x Come Back II x Mago), a 5yo owned by Craig Millard and Kim Stuart Smith, and the Holstein Capitoll (Cassini I – Ophara x Corrado I x Landego), another 5yo, owned this time by Mr J Meehan.
Both these stallions had some competition results: Cendy in both BSJA and dressage, including qualification for the Shearwater and Badminton Young Horse Finals, and Capitoll has BSJA winnings. Cendy demonstrated an excellent walk, good jumping technique and looked to have a very trainable temperament. An excellent temperament was also a key trait of Capitoll, whose jumping heritage was evident in his cadenced canter and excellent front end technique over fences.
What was unexplained and rather unusual is that the majority of horses forward appear to have been rejected by the grading panel after the initial conformation assessment and trot up. This was very confusing to the spectators who could not see any obvious reason from the stands as to why stallions who appeared to have good conformation were being dismissed before being seen loose, with the exception of one stallion who was unlevel.
Of the remaining stallions presented, there was one 7 year old, Whisper H, a KWPN registered horse by Orame – Laelia x Damiro x Uppercut XX. This horse presented a lovely picture, but wasn’t as strong in the hind leg as may have been expected. Another KWPN horse, the 6yo Z.Concorde (Concorde – Lentefee x G.Ramiro Z x Triton, had a good powerful hind quarter but looked rather green and the horse and rider combination looked a little under-prepared for their grading. Both these stallions did get inspected loose and under saddle.
The next stallion forward was a late entry, Quintus, by Quazimodo Z. This horse was a little lighter boned than might be expected from his pedigree. He was followed by the first British bred entrant, Cwmbont Fintan’s Total Eclipse. Bred in Carmarthenshire by Mrs Sayce, this short coupled grey 4 year old is actually registered as an Irish Sport Horse, being a son of the RID sire Fintan Himself out of Cwmbont Welsh Pride (Milstone Pride x Shaab xx). Neither of these stallions progressed past the initial conformation phase of the assessment.
Mr Meehan presented his second young show jumping stallion in the Belgian Warmblood Gold Life VH Appelsvoordehof, a typical Argentinus son in his frame and type. This little horse again had a super temperament and a great forearm but maybe not as good a use of his hind leg as his stable companion.
After a break for lunch, two British-bred coloured stallions were presented, both belonging to Cimla Performance Horses based in Port Talbot. The older one, 5 year old Pintofields Sandropinto Gazelle, was the only purely dressage-bred stallion to be presented, being by leading German sire Sandro Hit out of a mare bred by the successful Pintofields stud Giselle Gazelle (Gepard x Alexus). This young horse has some BD points already and was a very eye catching but quite a lightly made horse. Unfortunately for the spectators, we didn’t really get to see him move as he did not progress past the first conformation phase.
His stable companion El Springo (Elroon – Spoetnic x Mecanas x Blanc Rivage) is new to Cimla but has had a successful in hand career with his previous owner over the past two seasons. Now a 4 year old, he was quite lively for the initial conformation phase but progressed through to the loose assessment. He was very neat and clean behind in his loose jumping but may have been a little light of bone for the assessors and did not grade, although it was nice to be able to see how he moved and used himself.
The first of the 3 year old colts forward for grading was possibly my favourite of the day - a German-bred colt with a very exciting pedigree for eventing breeders, being Acordelli – Chantal x Heraldik XX x Alexis Z. Named Aureus Equites, he had won at the Young Horse Eventing Championships at Tweseldown the previous autumn, and was full of quality, very neat with a good shoulder and correct frame. Shown both loose, where he impressed with his neatness over the fences, and also under saddle, where he went very sweetly for such a young colt. It was of some surprise to the spectators when he did not grade.
Another 3 year old to be presented was the Dutch-bred C.Rubertha R56, a very rangy and large framed black colt by Tolan R – Rubertha 8 x Mermus x Joost. Although we only saw this colt for the initial conformation stage he had a lovely front, and was light on his feet, but looked to have a big frame to grow into.
The only Thoroughbred stallion to be presented was Blacklist (Dr Fong – Bimbola x Bikala x Raise A Cup), who came down from Yorkshire for Mr Goulden. The motherline of this very attractive young horse is of interest to sport horse breeding, coming from tough French stock and also bringing in the famous Grey Sovereign line through Bikala and Kalamoun. This horse had a particularly good front end but trotted up very tight behind and tense, so his movement could not be judged and unfortunately we did not get to see him loose.
Finally, making the trip from Lincolnshire, was the British-bred and AES-registered Grange Marko (Ko-Pilot – Catherston Little Model x Broadstone Lady’s Man x Dutch Courage), bred and owned by Ms Pears. A nice harmonious type, he did look a little babyish and immature, and again we did not get to see him progress past the conformation inspection.
As a mare owner and hopefully a future stallion owner, it was very difficult to know what type and stamp the grading panel were looking for. There was no feedback given to the audience at all, even on the successful stallions, and many of the stallions we did not really see move at all to be able to assess their athleticism. With the more established sport horse stud books such as Holstein and Trakehner, it is a lot easier for onlookers to understand the type the grading panels are pushing towards, whereas the SHB does cover a very wide genetic base, so the day probably left more questions unanswered than answered. It was a shame there were not more British-bred stallions forward and especially none registered into the SHB (GB) studbook.