My stallion licensing adventure: Francesca Newman and Velvet Dancer (aka Peanuts)

  • In this five-part series, Francesca Newman shares her first-time journey to get her talented young stallion licensed for breeding in Germany

    Preparing my young stallion Velvet Dancer (Peanuts) for the new licensing and 50-day test that is available in Germany has taken a year, a lot of stress and considerable finance.

    My name is Francesca and I’m a dressage rider from Surrey with two lovely competition horses that I’ve produced from foals. I work for a design agency in London and invest all my time (and money) into my horses.

    I trained in Germany many years ago and have always been fascinated by the rigorous training and testing process they adhere to.

    When I went looking to buy a horse the plan wasn’t to purchase a stallion — I was actually looking for a filly — but I was so impressed by Peanuts that I bought him with the intention of gelding him and having him as my competition horse.

    As I watched him develop, I increasingly realised that I had something really quite special. I felt that if he was good enough to complete the test and be licensed, then I had to give him that chance to follow a future as a breeding horse as well.

    I bought him from his breeder Reiner Bockholt as a yearling. He is by Vitalis out of a state premium Hochadel x Fidermark mare whose whole family on the mother line has reached grand prix, so he had the right breeding to become my future dressage star.

    He grew up in the UK, then in February 2015 when he was four, I sent him back to Germany to be prepared for licensing.

    I had spent the summer of 2014 backing him, doing plenty of hacking and had taken him to a clinic with Leanne Wall, before giving him five months off. Leanne was the first person to give me an indication that I had a potential superstar.

    Follow Francesca’s journey:

    In an ideal world I would have kept him in the UK. However after doing some research into UK-based stallion licensing, I decided that it would be best to send Peanuts to Germany.

    Unfortunately, I felt that the UK did not offer a licensing or testing of a standard that would give me the reassurance, as a breeder, to the type of stallion I was planning to use and hoping to produce. So it was time to take that big step.

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