‘He was something very special’: legendary stallion dies following an infection

  • The illustrious dressage stallion Sandro Hit has died aged 28, after suffering from an infection.

    Sandro Hit died at the Schockemöhle stallion station in Germany, where he has been based throughout his life. Bred by Reinhold Harder, he was by Sandro Song and out of the Ramino mare Loretta.

    “Sandro Hit was especially close to my heart. He was something very special and the real founder of my stallion station. We are very affected by his loss,” said his owner, breeding mogul Paul Schockemöhle, who bought him at auction in 1993 as a foal.

    Sandro Hit’s influence on dressage breeding cannot be underestimated – he can be credited as being behind a whole dynasty of modern dressage horses. He has more than 200 licensed sons, including top breeding stallions San Amour, San Remo and Sir Donnerhall I, and also has more than 490 daughters who have been awarded state premium status – including Poetin, the world champion and double Bundeschampion.

    Sandro Hit was himself world champion and bundeschampion as a six-year-old under Ulf Möller. He was trained to grand prix, but stopped competing as a seven-year-old in order to focus on breeding. 

    Among his offspring are countless horses who have made their mark in sport at top level. Among these is Dorothee Schneider’s world number three dressage horse Showtime FRH, winner of two Olympic team gold medals for Germany, most recently at the Tokyo Olympics, as well as being the individual European silver medallist in 2019. 

    Dorothee Schneider rides Showtime FRH at the Tokyo Olympic dressage grand prix (25 July)

    Dorothee Schneider and Sandro Hit son Showtime FRH at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021

    His influence as a sire of modern horses is shown by the fact that eight of the horses in the grand prix at this year’s Tokyo Olympics were sons or daughters of Sandro Hit, including Salvino, the ride of Adrienne Lyle, who won silver as part of the USA team. In fact, all three horses on the silver-medal winning USA team are descendants of Sandro Hit, with Sabine Schut-Kery’s Sanceo being by San Remo, and Steffen Peters’ Suppenkasper being by the Sandro Hit grandson Spielberg. A total of 14 horses who competed in the Olympic grand prix are descendants of Sandro Hit, with British reserve rider Gareth Hughes’ Sintano Van Hof Olympia also being a Sandro Hit son.

    He is also the damsire of the current world number four – and former world number one – dressage horse, Isabell Werth’s Olympic and European gold medallist Weihegold OLD (by Blue Hors Don Schufro).

    “I’m very happy to have quality sons of Sandro Hit who will secure his wonderful genes. It’s a very difficult farewell,” added Paul. 

    Sandro Hit is currently sitting third in the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses sire rankings, having been second in 2017 and 2018.

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