Dr. Christmann Explains It All!
Excerpts of presentation of "Hanoverian Horse Stallion Lines," by Dr. Ludwig Christmann, Director of International Breeding & Relations for the German Hanoverian Verband, was presented at Beaulieu College, South Africa in April 2014. It provides an excellent overview of the various stallion lines and representatives of these lines in the pedigrees of today's modern Hanoverian sport horses:
I. A Line
Adeptus xx – Alderman (1800 – 1804) are useful stallions to see in a pedigree, their blood almost disappeared in the 1970’s and has been revived by the Eiger bloodline. They threw a bit short in the back but were incredibly strong and versatile with correct legs and big shoulders. Eiger showed his versatility by producing Grand-Prix level dressage horses (such as Empire ridden by Dr Martina Fincke), good jumpers (such as the Olympic jumper Esprit FRH ridden by Lars Nieberg) and a World Champion driving horse, as well as 35 state premium mares and 7 licensed stallions. The most important and notable son of this line is Espri, was named Hanoverian Stallion of the year in 1995.
Espri was not tall, standing only 1.66 /67m. He did however have a very good topline which was always passed on. Espri was best known for the phenomenal show jumper E.T. FRH ridden by Hugo Simon. This partnership won the World Cup two years in a row (1996, 1997), Individual silver medal at the 1997 European Championships, and WBFSH Champion for three consecutive years (1996 – 1998).
Espri’s most famous dressage offspring is the international Grand Prix superstar, Elvis VA with Nadine Capellmann, who represented Germany at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen and the 2008 Olympics where they won team gold. Espri’s best son is Escudo I. Escudo I was an improvement again on his father. He had longer legs, good topline and front end, more modern type and produced correct conformation.
He himself sired:
- Embassy I – versatile and bred jumpers.
- El Bundy
Embassy in turn sired Edward and Emporio Armani. Edward has proven to be a very successful dressage stallion. He produces very good toplines, good strong backs that are not too long. A valuable gem of information for breeders is that Embassy is a little heavier and care must be taken not to breed this line to mares that are too heavy or old fashioned.
Dr Christmann also advised breeders that jumping blood in dressage pedigrees is good but breeders must be careful when choosing which stallion to use. He advised that the A-line and the E-line discussed in this article were good to use as they produced good movers with good toplines.
II. The F and W lines (Substantial Thoroughbred Blood)
The F-line goes back to Zemeboq, a Thoroughbred son who came from Pomerania and stood in the mid 1800's The line really began with his great-grandson Flingarth. who stood in the Verden area, 1909-1912, producing about 14 licensed sons. His best son was Fling, (1913-22), and all existing F-line horses go back to Fling. The line was separated into the "F" and 'W" lines according to the two Fling sons Feiner Kerl and Flavius: as of 1989, all stallions licensed in that year and going back to Feiner KerI belong to the F-line; all going back to Flavius form the W-line.
First, the Feiner KerI F-line. Feiner KerI stood in Altenbrugge, and when he died the breeders put up a memorial to him because in his time (1922-43) he had the biggest influence on the Hanoverian breed, producing 114 licensed sons. Going back to Feiner Kerl is the very famous stallion Ferdinand. In his time (1944-67) Ferdinand was perhaps the most famous producer of jumping horses in the world. Werner Schockeinoble once said of Ferdinand. "There has been no stallion known in the younger breeding history who passed on to his sons so consistently courage, confidence, and jumping ability"- and this against all other bloodlines.
Ferdinand's three State Stud sons were born relatively late in his career: Winnetou (1968-79), Wedekind (l970~83) and Wenderkreis (1971-80) Of the Ferdinand sons, Wendekreis had the biggest influence, producing many stallions. Conformation-wise, his offspring are very correct, although needing some refinement on the mother's side. Among his stallion sons some tend to the dressage direction like Wenderlin and Wenderberg while others arc more versatile. This indicates the mother's influence.
Perhaps the best Wendekreis son is Werther, who has a Thoroughbred (Marcio XX) xx) mother, influencing his appearance. Magjn xx became well known for producing dressage horses, so Werther has very good dressage blood on the mother's side, very good jumping blood on the father's side, and is a good stallion for both disciplines. One of this offspring achieving great dressage success in the U.S. is the gelding Willy the Great, ridden by Hilda Gurney, At the stallion licensing In Verden 1992, Werther was awarded the title Hanoverian Stallion of the Year" - the first stallion ever to have received this award, which was sponsored by the Uetzener Insurance Company.
At the moment one of the most prepotent young stallions producing jumping horses, is a son of Wagner by Wendekreis. Wagner has Gottard on the mother's side, and Wanderer has Glander a very good jumping horse, as his dam's sire. A recent and very prominent son of his is Wanderbursch II. reserve champion at the 1988 Stallion Licensing at Verden, and the top jumping horse in 1989 performance test at Adelheidsdorf. At the stallion licensing in Verden 1992, Fontainebleau a Wanderer/Wenzel son became champion stallion.
From another branch of the Feiner Kerl group is the stallion Watzman An older stallion and more the older type, he has stood since 1972 and for a time was the most-asked-for producer of jumping horses in Hannover. His best known son so far Walzerkoenig - Gold Medal jumper at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Recently some interesting Watzmann sons were introduced to the state stud-Willem's Ass, Foxhunter and Fleetwood.
Branch comes Widerhall very good producer of performance horses who stood from 1968-1973. His son Wienerwald standing since 1975, is one of the most asked-for stallions to produce jumpers. However, as with Watzmann. we sometimes find conformation problems in the progeny-only two sons have made their way to the State Stud-so we need more good stallion sons to continue this valuable blood.Also from this part of the Flavius branch is Wolfsberg standing from 1967-1982. who is another producer of jumpers.
A very important part of the Flavius branch goes back to Wohler (1953-72). Although relatively small, Wohler was very noble and a very good mover, and he founded mainly a dressage bloodline. His most important son was Woermann, but Wunsch II also produced very good dressage horses like the former European Champion and World Champion Woycek.
The Woermann group is today very much in demand by breeders. Standing from 1975-1988, Woermann was very good in conformation in all respects. and passes this to his offspring. An influential son is Wenzel I, a very prepotent stallion-you can always identify a Wenzel offspring-who has stood since 1980. He has sired many expensive auction horses. German National Champions in the riding-horse competition, and one of his daughters is already the Finnish dressage champion. His offspring are pure dressage horses.
A second influential Woermann son is World Cup 1 standing since 1981. He comes from a Sender/Lugano I mother, which proved a very good combination, with so far 16 sons licensed, five of them standing in Celle. These Woermann sons are producing very correct horses with very good movement. World Cup I is in third place in his age group in the national dressage horse ranking, and so far his best son is Weltmeyer. Weltmeyer won his stallion licensing in 1986; his 1987 performance test; the Three-Year-Old class of the 1987 German National Riding Horse Championship: and in 1989 he became the National Champion of the DLG Breeding Show, a competition of all German Breed societies. He comes from the same mother line as the Wanderer sons Wanderbursch and Wanderbursch II. From his first foal crop, Weltmeyer produced Wittinger who repeated the successes of his sire: in 1991 he was champion stallion at me stallion licensing. In 1992 he was German National Riding Horse Champion and winner of his performance test at Adelheidsdorf.
Weltmeyer in turn sired so many good stallions that it is impossible to list them all here, the most notable are Wolkentanz II, Welt Hit, Welt Hit II, Wolkenstein II (who bred stronger and shorter in the back) Weltrum and Wolkentanz I, who in turn sired San Remo. Dr. Christmann noted that Weltmeyer blood is particularly valuable in the dam line.
An interesting aside is the mention of one of Weltmeyer’s sons in South Africa, Westernhagen, who is currently standing for the Von Ghaku stud. This stallion is a performance test winner and also comes from a very good dam line who produced outstanding horses for showjumping and dressage.
This part of the F Line is renowned for producing dressage horses, although mention must be made of the fact that some Weltmeyer's and Wolkenstein produce good jumpers as well.
Whilst the other branch of the F Line in Feiner Kerl is incredibly important to jumpers, we will focus solely on the dressage information given. Some dressage blood to come out of this branch is through the stallion, Ferdinand, and his son, Wendekreis, who produced Werther, a dressage sire who was versatile and clearly showed the advantage of the thoroughbred influence, although he produced lots of sons, the line was not strong enough to continue.
Wanderer is another influential dressage stallion to come out of this line – He didn’t produce “Young Horse winners” as his progeny was later maturing, however, his influence is seen more in Grand Prix dressage horses. They had a talent for the collected work with a lot of power although a slightly weaker walk.
Fifteen years ago, breeders expressed concerns about the commonality of this W line (Weltmeyer), their fears have proven to be unfounded as Weltmeyer has proven to be incredibly valuable on the dam line as well.
An interesting stallion who goes back to the F-line is Fabriano. This stallion was a performance test winner who showed great temperament and rideability. He was renowned for producing top amateur horses who were successful at both dressage and jumping.
III. The D-Line
The popular D line goes back to Devil’s Own xx through to Detektiv, a stallion active from 1926 to 1943 to whom all of the D-line offspring approved today can be traced.
Most famous sire of this line? Donnerhall
Detektiv sired two branches:
- Dolman -> Dollart (who bred Drosselklang I and II) and Duellant.
- Dwinger -> Diskant
It must be noted that out of this line Drosselklang is not advised to be added into dressage lines, whilst Duellant has proven to be the most influential dressage stallion. Duellant was extremely eye-catching, he was a rich chestnut with lots of white, although chestnut was not a popular colour at the time. The world famous Oldenburg stallion, Donnerhall, descends from this old Hanoverian line. Donnerhall is renowned for his heritability in a good walk, trainability, rideability and although his progeny don’t always exhibit spectacular movement as foals, they certainly train on very successfully.
It is therefore a good line for either the amateur or professional rider.
Some of Donnerhall’s most successful sons are: De Niro, Don Primero, Dimaggio, Don Schufro (who sired Diamond Hit), Don Crusador (who has sired the popular stallion Don Index), Dancier and Desperados FRH, who is a very successful stallion and competition horse having won team silver at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Donnerhall also sired Don Frederico who was a winner of his Stallion Licensing and a Performance Test winner. Don Frederico perhaps does not have the easiest temperament, but he is incredibly talented in piaffe and passage. He also is not the most correct horse in terms of his front leg conformation, so care must be taken that he is put to mares with correct front legs.
An exciting son of Don Frederico is Don Darius, who won his Performance Test at the age of 3. His movement has continued to develop excitingly under saddle. He has a very good canter and walk. He is only 7 or 8 years old now and the Verband is excited to see what his progeny are going to be like when ridden.
It must be noted that the D Line is an exceptional line for producing Grand Prix horses, and there is still a lot of this line left to be made use of with some very exciting possibilities for the future.
IV. G Line
Started with Goldschaum xx -> Goldammer II
Goldfisch II -> Grande and Gotthard
While primarily a show jumping line, Grande produced both dressage and jumpers in his progeny. He was a small horse at 15.3hh, not very attractive with a roman nose, poor shoulder and saddle position, but what he did offer was an incredibly strong back, correct legs and good movement.
Grande sired Graditz, who breeds very trainable horses with a lot of talent and big movement. They are late developers though, so regardless of their value later on, they are not readily sellable as foals. Another Grande son is Graphit who in turn sired the famous Grannus. Although Grannus wasn’t the prettiest, he sired top competitive horses who were a little short-legged but incredibly tough and sound. His progeny, however, were not suitable for young horse classes. A wonderful dressage sire by Grande is Garibaldi II, a gifted dressage horse, who has gone on to produce a lot of Grand Prix horses. He sired Grand Garcon, who in turn sired Grand Cru.
Grannus in turn sired Graf Grannus – who also wasn’t a great type but ironically bred very good performance horses. An exciting young stallion descending from Graf Grannus is Grey Top, who is a much better type and conformation, showing a beautiful jump. You may wonder why in this section we have referred to some predominately jumping lines, we have done so as these lines are prevalent in our older warmblood stock, and it benefits us to know how best to utilize it to its full potential.
To sum up the G line’s value to dressage breeders is that the line is incredibly versatile and not so easy to get hold of, the Hannoveraner Verband is motivating breeders to use this line to prevent it’s demise.
(Source: http://www.dressageafrica.com/stallion-lines-hannoveraner-breed-dr-ludwig-christmann & http://www.hanoverian-gb.org.uk/TheHanoverian/BloodlinesoftheHanoverian/tabid/213/Default.aspx)