‘She was part of the family’: legendary broodmare honoured with H&H award

The Horse & Hound outstanding mare award for 2019 has been won by Sarah Oppenheimer’s prolific broodmare, Rubinsteena (Rubinstein x Donnerhall).

The fantastic foundation mare of the Oppenheimers’ Headmore Stud, in Hampshire, died last year at the age of 22, leaving behind an extensive dressage dynasty who are winning at national and regional level.

The award was presented to Sarah by Horse & Hound’s dressage and sport horse breeding editor Polly Bryan, at the annual British Breeders Dinner and Awards Ceremony, organised by the British Horse Foundation.

Sarah Oppenheimer bought Ruby (pictured below) from Julie Deverill at Half Moon Stud, who herself had bought the mare as a foal from Christian Heinrich.

“Ruby has produced so many lovely horses for us; every single one of them has been a superstar, and we still have some of her offspring that haven’t been seen out yet,” Sarah told H&H. “She was just amazing — it didn’t matter which stallion you used on her, you got a star. She will leave a total legacy for us — we’re starting to have her grandchildren now. Ruby really was part of the family, and we owe her everything.”

Founder broodmare of the Headmore Stud, Rubinsteena

Among Ruby’s most successful offspring currently on the circuit are Headmore Wimoweh, an 11-year-old by Wiowode who recently made a successful grand prix debut, Headmore Dirubinio (by Dimaggio), who was reserve winter advanced medium music champion in 2018, just behind his full sister Headmore Davina, an inter I winner at Hickstead CDI in 2018 and third at the nationals, and Headmore Bella Ruby, who was fourth in the national six-year-old final in 2018.

“Without Ruby we would have only one horse on our yard— everything else I ride is one of hers,” said Alice.

“All of them have a temperament and rideability that you can’t train — they have to be born with it. They all have this desire to work and please their rider; you get them between the white boards and they just seem to know their job.

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“We used to laugh about Ruby and call her cantankerous, but in a good way,” she added. “She was a very strong mare, who really liked people but wasn’t such a big fan of other horses. If she had a foal at foot she wouldn’t let any other horse near her — she was a really good mum.”

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