From the rare breed to the dams of world medallists, meet H&H’s outstanding mares

With the nominations now open for the 2018 Horse & Hound Outstanding Mare of the Year Award, to be presented at the British Breeders Awards Celebratory Dinner on Saturday 12 January 2019, we take a look back at some of the fabulous mares who have been honoured with this prestigious award to date…

Faerie Dazzler (2017)

Jonelle Price in action with the Faerie Dazzler daughter Faerie Dianimo at Pau CCI4* in 2014

Last year’s winner was Trisha Rickards’ “brave and feisty” mare Faerie Dazzler, whose offspring went on to succeed at the very highest level.

Born at the Catherston stud in 1990, Daisy competed at the top level in eventing under David Green. Her best result was a ninth-place finish at Saumur CCI3* in 2001, before retiring from competition the following year.

She produced six foals, with the now 13-year-old Faerie Dianimo, by Keystone Dimaggio, finishing 17th individually at the 2016 Rio Olympics with New Zealand’s Jonelle Price. The 12-year-old Xavier Faer, by Catherston Liberator, has also followed in her footsteps with Jonelle’s husband Tim, finishing third at Badminton 2017.

“Being a breeder, I always think the mare is more important than the stallion. If your mare gives good stock you can do a lot with them,” says Trisha, who still has Daisy, now 28, at home at Brockenhurst Park in Hampshire.

“Daisy owes me absolutely nothing; she has a nice life and she’ll stay here in the park for the rest of her days. She still babysits her youngsters when they come back for a holiday — she likes to put them in line!”

World’s Finest (2016)

The Hawtins Stud foundation mare World’s Finest

When a mare’s legacy includes a world bronze medallist as well as national champions, you know she is something very special. Indeed, the 2016 winner was one of the Hawtins Stud’s foundation mares, the now 24-year-old World’s Finest (Wolfie, pictured above and top), by Weltmeyer.

Among Wolfie’s offspring are Carl Hester’s World Equestrian Games ride Hawtins Delicato, and Charlotte Dujardin’s multiple national champion Hawtins San Floriana, as well as several other regional and young horse champions.

“I love my mares so much. Everyone talks about stallions all the time, but the mare is such an important part,” says the Hawtins stud’s Judith Davis.

“As breeders, we’re the keepers of the marelines, with responsibility to move them forward. If you make bad decisions then you’re not progressing the line and building it for the future.”

Seven Percent (2015)

Canada’s Roberta Sheffield riding the Seven Percent granddaughter Double Agent at the Rio Paralympics

When Suzy Mainprice heard that her then 21-year-old Hanoverian mare Seven Percent (Shirley) had won the 2015 Horse & Hound outstanding mare award, she cried.

“I bought her in Germany with her dam for very little money,” Suzy says. “I was flabbergasted, particularly as people are importing mares costing £100,000 and we’ve only ever used our own stallions on Shirley, not top ones from Europe.”

The performance-tested mare by Sherlock Holmes has had 14 foals. Among these was the Pascal daughter Private Eye, who produced the Paralympic horse Double Agent.

“Seven Percent felt like she was designed with a place for you to sit and was so trainable,” says Suzy. “She’s the cleverest, kindest, most wonderful mare and her progeny inherit that.

“Everyone who’s had one from her is always after another. They’re so beautifully balanced and trainable.”

Whitton Daisy (2014)

Sandy and Tom Walne with Whitton Daisy and one of her foals Whitton Wild Heather

This award is not limited to sport mares, and the 2014 winner certainly proved that. The Suffolk mare Whitton Daisy beat a host of successful mares from the Olympic disciplines to pick up the prize, much to the surprise of her owners, Tom and Sandy Walne.

Daisy has produced six foals, providing a much-needed boost to this critically endangered breed, and of these have had significant success on the county show circuit.

“I just can’t believe that out of all the mares up for the award Daisy was chosen. I was quite expecting a polite letter saying she wasn’t what fitted the criteria for the award,” said Sandy.

Woodlander Dornroschen (2013)

Michael Eilberg riding the international grand prix mare Woodlander Dornroschen

The 2013 winner was picked up by the Woodlander Stud’s Lynne Crowden for the brilliant mare Dornroschen. This daughter of Dimaggio, bought in-foal from Brightwells Auction, went on to achieve much international grand prix success under Michael Eilberg, who also rode her daughter Woodlander Farouche to become double world young horse champion.

Both mares have since been retired from sport, but 16-year-old Dornroschen’s legacy is still going strong; she has two licensed stallion sons in Franz Ferdinand and Freddie M, and Farouche’s son Woodlander Wild Child is a champion stallion.

Waldfee (2012)

Michael Eilberg with Half Moon Delphi at the 2014 World Equestrian Games

The 2012 H&H-sponsored outstanding mare award went to Waldfee, John and Julie Deverill’s foundation mare at the Half Moon Stud. Her most famous offspring was Half Moon Delphi, ridden to team silver by Michael Eilberg at the 2014 World Equestrian Games, but among her 13-strong foal crop were several other advanced dressage horses.

Waldfee, a grey mare by the Hanoverian sire Westwall, died in the summer of 2012 aged 20.

Continued below…

Kings Mistress (2011)

Mary King riding Kings Mistress’ daughter King Temptress at Burghley 2011

It’s impressive enough for one of a mare’s offspring to reach the echelons of four-star eventing, but Mary King’s Kings Mistress was dam to three top eventers.

Her most well-known is the third of the three, Kings Temptress, a mare by Primitive Rising who clocked up 10,099 British Eventing points and won the Kentucky CCI4* in 2011. She also twice finished in the top 10 at Burghley.

Her other two daughters, Kings Gem and Kings Fancy, also went on to international success.

Nominations for the 2018 H&H Outstanding Mare of the Year Award close on Monday, 3 December. To nominate your mare, click here.

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