Which Famous Hanoverian Stallion is a Foundation Sire of the Belgian Warmblood Breed?
Lugano Van La Roche....
Born in 1963 on the farm of E. Börger, Lugano van la Roche became a pillar of the Belgian Warmblood breed, bringing his rich legacy of Hanover to Belgium. His sire, Lugano I was by one of the greatest Thoroughbred stallions to shape the Hanoverian breed, Der Löwe. During his time at Celle, Der Löwe sired progeny with winnings of over 845,000DM, including Liostro (a silver medalist at the 1972 Olympics), Lowenstern (a member of the Danish Olympic dressage team) and Lucky Boy (a Dutch Olympic team stallion.)
Although standing only 163cm, Lugano Van La Roche sired many approved stallions, the most notable being Darco, an international show jumper and reknown sire of show jumpers. Lugano Van La Roche sired so many successful international show jumpers in the 1990s that he was ranked 5th in the world as a jumper sire by WBFSH in 1995.
Darco, a bay 166cm stallion born in 1980, is not only a credit to his sire, but to his granddam, Atoucha, a Gelderlander mare. Born in 1959 in Holland, the mare was purchased by Fons Pauwels in 1960 as an "all rounder"; a mare for both work and play. And this she did, working in the fields during the day and in her 'spare' time competing in dressage, showjumping and eventing. In 1968 and 1970, she was the Belgian Eventing champion for Rural Riders and competed three times at the European Rural Championships.
According to her proud owner (quoted in Leen Devocht's excellent article on Darco in Breeding News, January 1997) her qualities were legendary: "very strong, healthy, not a single day of sickness in her book, an immense capacity for recovering; ever-lasting carefulness, even as an eventer; not a single refusal; always fighting and daring like a lioness - she could eat fences raw."
Ataucha gave birth to eleven foals - ten fillies and one colt, Salvador, who went on to win the Berlin Puissance. Darco's dam, Ocouchak is the eldest daughter of Atoucha's third daughter, Latoucha (by Faust.) Bred to one of the greatest of Belgian jumping stallion, Lugano van la Roche, Ocoucha produced Darco, who went to prove himself on the international jumping scene with Ludo Philippaerts. Ludo says, "Darco is one of the best stallions in the world. If you look at what his offspring are doing, he is very special - a top jumper and a top breeding stallion. He has been unbelievable for the Belgian breeding." His offspring include McLain Ward's international star, Sapphire, as well as Ublesco, Urioso, Parco, Sydney Olympic horse Otterongo van de Kopshoeve and many others. All are descendents of the great Hanoverian jumping stallion and sire, Lugano van la Roche.
(Source: C. Hector, "From Gotthard to Gribaldi: The Making of The Modern Warmblood, Sporthorse International, Australia, pp.280-287)