British-bred horses, and British breeding in general, don’t have enough recognition. Many people are still buying horses bred in Europe, but there are so many good horses bred here, and they must be better promoted.
It’s been shown time and again that foreign judges do appreciate them, so why do so many riders favour Dutch and German horses, for example? We herald our good horses that have come from abroad, but we don’t receive the reciprocal treatment in other European countries. We must all work harder to change this.
Breeders and breeding should be given much more recognition, being listed on databases and in show programmes. It can often be difficult to find out how horses are bred. It was a good move of British Dressage (BD) to include breeding details of registered horses on its website — I had been pushing for this to happen since I was BD chairman six years ago.
Most international shows now list horses’ breeding on their start lists, but this should be the case at national shows as well. It would be even better if the breeder was listed, then anybody interested in a similar horse could contact them. A lot of breeders aren’t very good at promoting themselves, and as a result can be overlooked.
It also doesn’t help when British breeders register their horses with foreign studbooks, instead of a British one. I can see why they do — it makes horses easier to sell, but it’s a missed opportunity to promote British breeding. Without the kudos and promotion they deserve, horses registered with British studbooks remain less desirable in Europe.
We take plenty of well-bred foreign horses to put into our sales over here, but where are the British horses being sold in Europe? It’s not a fair playing field, but we have to be brave enough to stand up and fight for British breeding.
Many more people seem to be using cross-discipline sires and mares — for instance, several dressage horses seem to have the thoroughbred stallion Heraldik in them, who was primarily an event sire. And our stallion Timolin is by Totilas, but competes successfully in eventing as well as dressage.
I watched Isabell Werth win with Bella Rose 2 at CHIO Aachen, and noted that, although the mare is by the dressage sire Belissimo M, her damsire is the Anglo Arab stallion Cacir, which is certainly not typical dressage breeding. But there’s no reason why Anglo Arabs can’t do dressage if they can produce the power required for the modern dressage horse. This is certainly shown in the elegance of this lovely mare and her ability to piaffe and passage in a wonderful rhythm — she is elegance personified.
Ref Horse & Hound; 22 August 2019