With more and more quality sport horses being proudly British-bred — and getting the recognition they deserve — H&H talks to those behind Woodlander Farouche to find out why she's set to excel in 2015

Name: Woodlander Farouche
Foaled: 2006
Breeding: by Furst Heinrich and out of Dornroschen (Dimaggio)
Breeder: Lynne Crowden
Rider: Michael Eilberg

Woodlander Farouche is one of the most exciting small tour dressage horses. Her career began with a bang when she became the first British-bred horse to win the World Breeding Dressage Championships, taking the title both as a five- and as a six-year-old.

Under Michael Eilberg, the 17.2hh chestnut mare won on her first attempt at prix st georges (PSG) last year, and wowed the crowds at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) with her inter I debut in the Mount St John Future Elite championship, prompting judge Stephen Clarke to call her “the best young horse in the world”.

But Farouche was not intended for a star-studded dressage career, as her breeder, Lynne Crowden of Woodlander Stud, explains: “Farouche was a very serendipitous piece of breeding. She had an amazing mother in British-bred Dornroschen, whom I discovered was from the mother-line of Florestan.

The most important thing in breeding is to have an outstanding mare. Research the damline and breed with prolific and successful female lines. Those mares will do business for you,” she says.

“Farouche was very tall and narrow as a foal, and we could see by the time she was six weeks old that she was a huge mover. She was very strong and powerful and was a foal champion and a Futurity champion as a two-year-old. After that, we decided that she needed to go under saddle, and she has kept surprising us ever since,” says Lynne.
“Her paces are effortlessly big and she has real energy and stamina. She is very uphill; her only challenge is learning to manage all her power.

“As for her character — well, she’s a queen. She believes the world is there for her, and needs everything doing for her. As a yearling, she wouldn’t even break the ice on the water.”

Farouche has proved herself able to cope very well in the spotlight — a big plus for rider Michael Eilberg.

“She was thrown in the deep end at HOYS, but she’s able to handle the pressure. Plenty of good horses have something missing, but she has it all,” says Michael.

“The plan for 2015 is to consolidate her small tour movements. I’ve always thought that you never really know how good a horse will be at grand prix until you actually get them in the arena at that level. I hope she can go all the way.”

Don’t miss our Best of British special issue of Horse & Hound magazine in the 8 January issue, where we look at more British-bred horses to watch and round up some of the best British equestrian events