Germany Trip 2008

GERMAN TRAKEHNER VERBAND 2008 STUD TOUR

First stud Gestut Horstein which I visited before the tour started with Ken (my husband) and Bayley (my daughter).  Maren organized with Dirk, the stud manager for us to see the stud.  The English speaking person was Dr Brigitte Lutz the Vet for the stud.

We were warmly greeted and went to their indoor arena to view their stock.  The surroundings were very grand, built from stone and very old but very well maintained.  We first saw a mare that won their local championship and was representing the district in Neumunster.  She was very nice and moved well.  Following was their thoroughbred stallion Beg by Gelikon XX out of Baschma XX. He was in his twenties and quite impressive for his age.  Next another older stallion Lehndorff’s by Marduc out of Legende IX who was an older style Trakehner, with the lovely top line and quite solid, his movement was very good.  He seemed fairly quiet and Brigitte said he was a dressage horse who was so quiet that even the kids rode him.  Next Sky Walker by E.H. Beg XX out of Serenade XVI, who was very nice and Brigitte believed would have a good career under saddle as an eventer but hadn’t had his chance, he had been put to stud duties after he passed his 100-day test.  Cadeau next who is by Silvermoon (Kostolany) out of Cortina R (Caprimond) and really lovely.  A very upright stallion with a modern look and a kind and easygoing nature.   I think he was the highlight,  of course until Sixtus……….as soon as he came in he had presence that the others didn’t, but by what Brigitte said it comes with attitude also………. “he knows he’s the king!”  He oozed spunk and attitude and impressed us whilst moving around the arena.  We then went for a tour of the stables and met the stallions.  All were very kind and gentle except Sixtus who again showed his dominance of the stable block.  We visited some foals, broodmare, and yearlings, then into the car and over to their summer paddocks.  Here we saw about 10 yearling colts who were very friendly and inquisitive.  Past them were the rest of their broodmare herd.  The quality of broodmares was excellent many of course being daughters of Habicht!!!  They also like to use broodmares bred by Lehndorff’s because they find they cross well back to the Sixtus/Habicht line.  Back to the main stables and we said our goodbye’s.  Very friendly and warm people.

Below is Sixtus.

The next stud was Gestut St Stephens.  It was run by Dorothee Schneider.  It is owned by her parents and she has many stable hands and a nice simple set up.

We were greeted by Dorothee and the stable manager Carolin who was the English speaking person at the stud.  We saw Dorothee ride Polarzauber first.  He was a nice mover and she rode some lovely dressage moves on him.  Next, we were very privileged to see Dorothee ride Grand prix movements on Kaiserkult(by VanDeyk).  This had been arranged for us by Maren and it certainly was a lovely sight.  He was very supple, quiet and rhythmic.  They definitely had a partnership and you could see the connection between the two of them.  In Germany, he is a bit of a superstar having won everything on his way to Grand Prix and at still only 10 years of age the future ahead of him will certainly be impressive.  His movements were just superb, as good as any Grand Prix I have seen in Australia.  We then went for a tour of the stables and looked at some youngsters and also met the legend, Van Deyk.  We had a lovely time here and saw the creation of lovely dressage through a magnificent horse, a good rider and a wonderful relationship that has formed between the two.

Below is a photo of Bayley (my daughter) and VanDyke.

Next stop was Gestut Wiesenhof.  As you drive up to this stud it has a lovely big impressive entrance, it is fairly newly built and the facilities are really good.  We saw a few stallions here.  Firstly we met the representatives from the Verband Mr. Becker and Mr. Dahmen, along with Laura Schultz who gave us a warm welcome (in German, Maren translated). We also were introduced to the owner, Mrs. Huettner, who gave part of the tour in English as well.  We had met up with more of the travel group, so we now had 4 people from America, 2 from Canada, one from South Africa, 5 from England, 1 from Poland and several German people.  The first stallions we saw were some of the youngsters, one was called Tiziano, a lovely chestnut stallion with very good confirmation.  We then saw Hibiskus (by Latimer out of a Hohenstein mare) who was a lovely black stallion of modern type, athletic looking and well behaved.  Next came Munchhausen (by Hohenstein out of a Konigstein mare).  Wow did he have charisma, very nice looking but attitude plus, quite a handful in the end.  We also met Monteverdi up close, which was great. He is a substantial black stallion with wonderful hock action and a great temperament from what we could see. And the team at Wiesenhof treated us to see their stallion candidate for Neumuenster, the 2yr old colt Maniac by TB Faberger out of the full sister to Munchhausen.

We had a tour of the stud then saw Hibiskus under saddle he was really lovely but its early in his dressage training, they expect he will do well.

Below is Hibiskus.

Off to The Heinen Stud.  The stud is owned by the Heinen family. Here we also met Gottfried Hoogen, honorary president of the Verband and his wife Maria, who had great tales of old Trakehner days to tell.  This place was a little special, it is a mare stud, no stallions normally, but considered the best mare herd of Trakehners in Germany.  The stud is owned by the honorary president of the Verband and his wife and run by the family.  This stud does not normally have visitors but the Verband had arranged it for the tour and I am glad because we certainly did see the very best mares of the trip.  The stud is older looking but very well maintained.  They said normally they don’t have stallions there but Oliver Twist just happened to be at home!!!  He was truly beautiful.  Lovely lines, again very modern in look and superb conformation.  You can see why they produce what they do.  We saw many youngsters all of very high quality and a couple of their broodmares.  Then they brought out a mare called Aguilera, by EH Hofrat out of SPS+PS Aranja who is by EH Michelangelo, this was by far the finest animal we had seen.  Movement was fabulous and confirmation perfect, a little high spirited but what a performance!  We had food and drinks here as we did in all of the studs; the German hospitality was very welcoming.  On our way out of the stud, we visited the mare herds that are all kept in a large paddock until foaling time.  There were some very nice mares there and you could see why they produce the excellent quality foals they are well known for.

Above is Oliver Twist at Heinen Stud.

This morning we headed off to Hamelschenburg!!  When we arrived we were greeted by Otto Langels and his family who all work the stud.  For those of you who have seen the video of Trakehners in the 21st Century as many times as I have, one of the highlights of the tour for me was meeting Otto Langels, he was very hands on with his horses and much knowledge, this is where I definitely decided I will be learning German before returning.  We first saw the legendary Kostolany who is quite old now but looked fantastic, oh….. by Enrico Caruso out of Kapstadt.  What stood out is how easy going he was, there was certainly no fuss about him and he is well known for this.  He was obviously just a superb specimen of the older style of Trakehner and obviously part of the family at this stud.  Next, we saw Freudenfest, by Tolstoi (a son of Kostolany) out of Freundin IV (interestingly to us Australians she is by Amadeus who is by Kassiber who came to Australia) I was really very impressed with this stallion, again a lovely temperament really nice movement a truly excellent specimen of a Trakehner.  Otto made comment that he felt this stallion was very special and one of his very favorites.  For me, he certainly stood out as a quality sire.  We also saw Summertime by Michelangelo out of PrSt Sarogna (she has Arogno and Ibikus through her pedigree) again a very good class of stallion, next Symont by Monteverdi out of a Kostolany mare and Alter Fritz who was by Chardonnay out of Agatha Christie who has a double cross to Habicht in his 3rd and 4th generations.  Both very nice stallions.  We also saw Exclusiv by Starway out of St Pr St Elysee II.  An older stallion with lovely movement and a kind demeanor.  Next was Shavalou a very nice stallion by Freudenfest out of St Pr u Pr St Schwalbenspiel (on the dam side is Exclusiv and Enrico Caruso) he received 9 for character and 9 for temperament at his performance stallion test. A very good specimen of what his father can produce. The last stallion we saw was Showmaster by Kostolany, then we saw some of the stock to be sent to Neumunster.  We then went for a stable tour, first stop Kostolany for a cuddle (he was sooooo cuddly) and a photo, then onto Freudenfest who was equally as impressive up close as when I saw him outside.  We also saw a gelding there called George Clooney who was nice too.  Inside then, for more food and drink of course.  Whilst there, we had a short chat with Otto who was emphasizing the huge importance of dam lines and only breeding with good quality mares.  On our way out we went to the paddocks where the mare herd was.  I must say there were many lovely horses here which definitely emphasized the importance he puts on his breeding mares.  There was a standout mare in the herd for me, a black mare called Greta Garbo by Alter Fritz out of ES Gloriette III who is by Kostolany.  Our time here was really enjoyable and the quality of horses was excellent.

Below is the legendary Kostolany. Not bad for nearly 24 years old!!!!

The next stop on our tour was Gestut Webelsgrund.  Again, we drove up to a very impressive stud; you could see driving up the driveway much money had been spent here.  This stud is owned and run by Burgi and Harad Erdsiek and is in partnership with the Heinen stud.  First stop inside for food and drinks of course!!  Then a tour of the stallion stables and yards.  The owners had taken much care to detail here and they paid much attention to the facilities and care for all the horses.  Unfortunately, many of their stallions were not there.  They have Polarion TSF by EH Van Deyk out of Polarlied (granddaughter of Habicht).  Michelangelo by Pasteur out of E.S. Miami died this summer, but this is where he usually stood.  Lord Luciano by Enrico Caruso out of Lily Of The Valley.  This is where we would usually have seen Oliver Twist whom I mentioned previously we had seen at Heinen.  We did see two young stallions that were going to Neumunster, one by Lehndorff’s and one by Checkpoint.  Both really beautiful horses.  The Checkpoint son was very hot to handle whereas Lehndorff’s son was more sensible.  Both good examples of the modern Trakehner look.  From here into the indoor arena.  We saw some mothers and babies than some of the stallions that were home at the time.  We saw their Thoroughbred stallion Betel XX who has been used very successfully as a breeding stallion not only to Trakehners.  He is well known for his excellent jumping ability and was a lovely stallion.  Next was Checkpoint, also known for his jumping ability, a lovely mover and very nice all around stallion he has also performed well in dressage.  Would be of use for breeding event horses here in Australia.  He is by Polarpunkt (who is by E.H. Arogno with Habicht on his dam side) out of Corna.  Checkpoint was the highlight here for me.

On to Horem Stud.  An interesting experience!!  The stud is run by Mr Hubertus Poll and his family he is indeed a character.  Again, inside for refreshments.  This stud has some very successful horses under its belt………….obviously, you have all heard of Imperio???  The stallions here at the moment are Buddenbrock, Connery,  Songline, Kaiserdom, and Imperio.  Mr Poll told us he had minimal horses around because they had all headed to Neumunster.  Not quite right as we found out!!!!  He talked to us about his thoughts on the future of the breed of Trakehners and his future with his stud.  He talked about some of the decisions he had made in the past and the consequences of his decisions, both good and bad.  He spoke also about the fact that he runs his stud to make a profit, which is in contrast to many of the other studs we had seen which he felt had lots of outside money to contribute.  He said his focus is on marketing the horses he produces and feels the most important things are movement movement movement and of course temperament which he suggested is why so many people still use Buddenbrock because his progeny is stamped with his impeccable temperament.  We saw Imperio’s magnificent win at the Bundeschampionate on DVD.  We then went for a walk outside through the facilities.  Whilst wandering, we came across a big black horse tied up…………….Buddenbrock!!!!!  In the stables none other than Connery and Imperio!!!!  No horses home, yeah right!!!  What stood out to me with all three of them as they were happy to be patted, touched etc…..  I even had a big cuddle with Buddenbrock and indeed loved him.  He certainly made a good impression on me, he is apparently very rideable as well, oh and the pedigrees although I’m sure many of you would already know, Buddenbrock by Sixtus out of Ballerina by Diamant.  Connery by Buddenbrock out of Caro-Dame II by Karo AS and Imperio by Connery out of  Isar VI by Balfour XX.  I must say all of these three impressed me with not only looks and movement but their temperament was very good.   When Imperio was awarded his Bundeschampion apparently the other awarded horses went a bit crazy from the crowd’s noise as we have all seen before, but he just stood there and looked around, not fussed at all.  This visit was certainly different from the others, informative but different.  Off to the motel, sleep, and Neumunster!!

We woke early, headed to the Holstenhalle in Neumunster where the stallion auctions and grading would be held in days to come.  The offices of the Trakehner Verband are right next to this also.  We met the bus and all the other people and headed off for a day of touring.  It was here I met up with Per and Kathryn Larson from New Zealand, both very lovely, and good to hear accents a little like ours.  Well from Kathryn anyway ‘cause Per is Danish!!

First, stop Gestut Tasdorf which is run by Petra Wilm and her husband.  Petra is the President of the Trakehner Verband.  The stud was very impressive lots of attention to detail.  Petra’s father used to breed Holsteiners, but now the stud has many Trakehners as well which Petra says is her influence.  The first stallion was Monseigneur by Cadeau out of Mariza IV by Herzzauber. His type and frame was very nice, but it was also very apparent that he still had to grow into his frame – he was only 3yrs old. Next was Easy Game by Gribaldi out of Pr St Evita XII by Schwadroneur, a really nice stallion, followed by Elfado who is a young stallion by Kostolany out of Eris VI by Roncalli xx.  Very impressive for a youngster.    Then, of course, the star of the stud King Arthur by Buddenbrock out of Konsula (who is by Consul).  He was really impressive, very tall and well put together.  We also saw one of her young Holsteiner dressage stallion Almoretto.  He was nice too and it was good to compare confirmation and frame of these horses with Trakehners.  Petra said she liked riding him but he was much harder than her Trakehners.  We toured the stud and saw some youngsters and some very lovely mares.  They have many young mares of lovely type and with excellent confirmation.  A good basis for their future breeding success.  We also saw some of the foals moving outside in the arena and their movement was equally of a high standard.  We then, of course, had more food!!!  Whilst inside we watched some horses in the indoor arena.  First was a lovely young colt that had a very supple and relaxed way of going for his age.  His movement was truly lovely to watch.  He was Elfado by Hofrat and had recently done very well in the Bundeschampionate in the 4 year old group.  They are expecting very good things from him in the future.  Next, we saw Petra on her very special Trakehner stallion King Arthur.  You could tell right away these two have an amazing partnership.  He moved with a gentle kind nature and a willingness to please her.  She and King Arthur were very calm and worked together in a way that made you seemed privileged to be looking on.  I enjoyed this immensely and some of the others present said the same as I did, it will leave a lasting impression on me.  Petra admits she adores him and even her husband says he tries to watch the two of them as often as he can because of how much he enjoys watching their connection and the movements they produce.  Look out for these two.

Back on the bus and off to Gestut Krotenbach.  This is a fairly new stud still under construction and has some interesting ideas on surfaces for riding, horse walkers, and stabling.  We saw Occacio by Cadeau out of Olympiade II by Angard, Latin King by Hibiskus out of St Pr u Pr St Lantana V by Tycoon, Irdenkreis by Cadeau out of Irdenglanz by Schampus and San Krotenbach by Sixtus out of Schwarze Schwalbe II by Arogno.   We had a tour around the stud, they have a large focus on the horses put in stalls together so they have company for each other and pay lots of attention to their happiness.  All the stock we saw were of a high quality and it was here that we saw Marilyn Monroe by Schampus who later did well at Neumunster.  Again food and drink and back on the bus.

Below is a photo of Marilyn Munro who was placed third in the National Mare Championships at Neumunster.

Next stop was Gestut Hohenschmark.  This farm is run by Birgit and Norbert Timm.   When we arrived here it was instantly impressive.  The stud was surrounded by a huge lake on one side.  When we got out we saw their very impressive stable set up.  It was a mixture of old and new, very well set up and lots of attention to detail.  They even had climate control here and the water that ran into the stables for drinking was heated so it didn’t freeze in winter.  We saw some of their mares and foals.  Some good quality stock and award-winning mares.  We saw some of their young stallions and then we saw a mother and foal this was number 92 in the catalogue for Neumunster Sirikit by Freudenfest out of Susuya (the dam is by Cadeau out of a Lehndorff’s mare)  this foal was absolutely gorgeous.  Would happily have taken her home in my bag!!!  We then headed over to the stallions and saw Axis by Sixtus out of Akansas by Angard.  He was nice although by this time we were losing the light so we didn’t get a good look.  We headed into the indoor arena………..oh my god, it was fairly new absolutely huge with a nice eating area than low and behold another indoor arena!!!  Well, we all would have killed for such facilities. We, of course, had more food here than back on the bus to head back to Neumunster.

When we arrived back we were all welcomed to the offices of the Trakehner Verband.  They are just a minute’s walk from the Holstenhalle which is where the stallion approvals and auctions are held.  I have never seen so many elkhorns in my life at the one place!!!  It is what we in Australia only dream of……… a whole building dedicated to Trakehners!!!  One of the ladies from America commented to me “It’s the mothership!!”  We were warmly greeted and offered food and drinks of course.  We then wandered through the offices.  All the walls were covered in horse pictures and of course, every one of the pictures was of Trakehners.  We met all the staff members and mingled with staff and fellow Trakehner owners, stud owners and Trakehner enthusiasts in one form or another.  This truly was an experience not forgotten and to think that Australia may one day have a building dedicated to the Trakehner Breed is something possible now I have experienced what the Germans have achieved.

Our time in Germany was truly an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget.  I have made friends that I hope to keep into the future and have tasted where we could head if we work really hard.  The experience of travelling to a different country that speaks a different language but shares your passion is quite unique, often I felt the language barrier wasn’t of concern when we all smiled at a truly fabulous stallion or a tremendous looking mare or when the most gorgeous looking foal went flying around an arena, it was then that we were all in tune with the experience we were having with these truly wonderful horses.

I also must say that Maren Engelhardt enhanced our experience by her never-ending patience with all who travelled with the group, her translating that we couldn’t have done without, (she lost her voice) and her friendly and welcoming nature that made being in a foreign country so enjoyable, nothing was ever too much trouble.

This is Maren with Jodie who was the representative from South Africa.  (Maren in the red)

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