Record average for elite dressage sale

The demand for potential dressage horses showed no signs of waning, with the majority selling well at Brightwells’ recent sale of European dressage horses.

Fifteen horses fetched five-figure sums and from the first lot they were flying out of the ring to new homes.

There was an average of more than £20,000, the highest mean price since the first sale nine years ago. The figure — £5,000 more than last year — is almost twice that paid in 2003.

Lot one, Shining Star, a three-year-old Westphalian mare by the Sandro Hit son Show Star, got arms in the air. The bidding reached £35,000 before she went to Ardenfield Equestrian in Henley in Arden. Although a potential competition horse, Shining Star will also join a future embryo transfer programme.

Prospective buyers were well into the swing by the time the German-bred Dream Of Reality entered the ring. This compact, athletic chestnut gelding — already a champion in Germany — by the Davignon son Di Versace went for £60,000.

New owner Elissa Barrett, a recent university graduate and a pupil of Carl Hester, admitted to being terrified and thrilled at the same time. “There really was only this one and I rode him during a 2min trial,” said Elissa, who took Dream Of Reality home to Nether Wylde in Hertfordshire.

The top lot was the three-year-old Dutch-bred stallion Van Damme, who made £65,000 and went to Derbyshire to be trained as a grand prix prospect. This good-looking stallion is by the popular Trakehner sire Gribaldi out of a Havidoff mare.

“It was him or nothing,” said Van Damme’s new owner, who prefers to remain anonymous. “This was a fantastic opportunity to buy a horse of a lifetime. I was glad I didn’t have to go abroad to find him.”

Andrew Gould has a new horse to produce courtesy of Surrey-based Lucy Smith, a buyer here on two previous occasions, who procured the four-year-old Typhoon. This gelding by the Ferro son Kennedy was knocked down for £32,000.

Mares, too, found favour, with a lovely four-year-old Westphalian by Laurentianer, Lasting Impression, living up to her name to reach £46,000.

“Ten years ago, people said we’d never get this venture off the ground,” said auctioneer Richard Botterill. “We had a stonking sale, and providing more quality proved the right move.”

  • This report was first published in Horse & Hound (8 December, ’05)

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