Why is Woodlander Farouche so good?

  • Woodlander Farouche (Rouchie) has been dubbed the supermodel of the dressage world.

    Standing at 17.2hh she dazzled in UK young horse classes, before being crowned the 5-year-old champion at the world breeding championships in Verden, Germany, in 2011 with Michael Eilberg — a first for British breeding.

    The Hanovarian chestnut mare, by Furst Heinrich out of Woodlander Dornroschen, made Germany sit up and take notice.

    “Have you ever seen a horse as good as this?” asked St Georg magazine.

    Espayo National Dressage Championships 2012 - Stoneleigh Park, W

    In 2012 she topped her success taking the world breeding championships for 6-year-olds — twice posting the top score of 10.

    She became the only mare ever to have won the competition for both age groups, and joined the elite group of double winners that includes the stallions Florencio (WEST) and Astrix (KWPN).

    “This ride was almost impossible to top,” said one commentator.

    Michael added: “She has three outstanding basic gaits and such a wonderful personality.”

    But the mare’s breeder and joint- owner, Lynne Crowden, joked that, as a foal, Farouche was “definitely not very attractive and had a pink nose like a little pig — she was called the ‘Ginger Pig’”.

    Michael Eilberg Shoot 191012

    At the central regional championships earlier this month (9-10 August 2013) Michael and the double world young horse champion posted the highest mark of the show at advanced medium with 77.11%.

    “She has real clarity in her walk steps — it’s not easy to find a horse that has all three [collected, medium and extended] there,” he said.

    “It’s amazing to have horse power like this.”

    But just why is Farouche so good?

    “There is no one reason,” says H&H sport horse correspondent Carole Mortimer.

    “It’s a combination of several factors that have come together to make a whole.

    “First and foremost are her genetics. Through considered breeding they have given her the perfect conformation and mechanics for super uphill and expressive paces — as well as a temperament that ensures she has a trainable mind.

    “Secondly her upbringing has meant she has grown strong and is well educated in the basics.

    “Since being ridden, her management — in conjunction with the considered and progressive approach to her training — has kept her physically and mentally fit.

    “It has allowed her to develop her balance and power to use those naturally impressive paces to their best.”

    With Farouche’s credentials it is no surprise that she’s in high demand for embryo transfers (ET).

    She has 2 ET foals, including the colt Woodlander Wild Child, who scored a record-breaking 9.79 at the 2011 British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Futurity.

    But she shows little maternal instinct towards her ET offspring. “She once met Wild Child and found him quite irritating,” says Lynne.

    “We’ve got an interesting photo of them glaring at each other in a car park.”

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