The breeders of British gold medal-winning dressage star Valegro have been honoured at an international awards ceremony — for the third year running.
The World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) celebrated the breeders of the top dressage, showjumping and event horses of the year on 12 December in Geneva.
Martje and Joop Hanse, who bred Valegro, won the WBFSH Rolex breeder rankings dressage prize for a third consecutive year.
The Dutch couple sent their mare, Maifleur (by Gershwin), to the stallion Negro in 2001 and the result was Valegro.
Negro’s owner, Gertjan van Olst, bought the now dressage superstar and prepared him for the KWPN stallion show where he was spotted by Carl Hester in 2004.
The dark bay gelding — owned by Carl, Roly Luard and Anne Barrott — went on to win team and individual gold with Charlotte Dujardin at the London 2012 Olympics.
Since then, he has won both grand prix and the grand prix special titles at the 2013 and 2015 European Dressage Championships and individual gold at the World Equestrian Games in 2014.
He beat his own world record in the grand prix special at Olympia in 2014 scoring 93.4% and also won his second World Cup in Las Vegas in April.
Valegro will not be at Olympia this week, but is being aimed for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The prize for the breeders of the number one showjumping horse went to Belgium’s Willy Taets for Hello Sanctos.
Sanctos and his rider, Scott Brash, made showjumping history this year when they became the first combination to win the Rolex Grand Slam — winning the grands prix at Geneva, Aachen and Spruce Meadows consecutively.
By the international jumping stallion Quasimodo vd Molendreef, Hello Sanctos was bred out of Nasia van het Gravenhof (by Nabab de Rêve) in 2002.
His grand dam, Balin, was bought by Mr Taets in 1978 and he also evented her.
Hello Sanctos, who also won team gold at London 2012, is owned by Lord and Lady Harris and Lord and Lady Kirkham.
Taking the award for breeding this year’s top event horse was Dr Rolf Lück for Ingrid Klimke’s European team gold medal-winning ride Horseware Hale Bob.
The 11-year-old gelding, by Helokon xx, won Pau CCI4* in 2014 and this year has been runner-up at Badminton, Luhmühlen CIC3* and Aachen CICIO3*.
His dam, Goldige, is by Noble Champion xx.