Carole Mortimer: The British still don’t quite understand breeding *H&H VIP*

  • There is much to applaud about the progress in British breeding, yet there is one area that tells me that we still don’t quite get it. That is the lack of breeding details that should — in a perfect world — be routinely attached to a horse’s name in reports, programmes and on results sheets.

    This was brought home recently on receipt of a press release from one of the big shows. The release quoted the winner as saying: “This is the one every breeder wants to win”, yet was without reference to the breeder, let alone the breeding of the champion horse (both British).

    Not only is it disappointing for the breeder not to get a mention, but there are many who would have been interested to know who it was, and many more who should have been informed.

    And aren’t potential buyers curious to know the breeding of horses?

    Adverts that mention pedigrees are few and far between. Surely any horse for sale should have its breeding included as well as height, colour, age and the fact that it is “stunning” (apparently they all are these days).

    I am particularly mystified why an advert for a “home-bred” horse omits breeding information, while another advert for a horse “bred on classic eventing lines” gives no indication of what those lines might be.

    In my world, any horse that moved would have its pedigree (sire x damsire) attached to its name. The constant drip-feed of these crucial details informs and helps raise awareness of bloodlines. Without it, it’s hard for those of us who are interested — and there are plenty of us now — to routinely find the breeding of horses competing in Britain, unless they are affiliated to the FEI or British Eventing, which excludes a lot of horses.

    Of course, to be included, breeding details must be known and now is the season for registering foals, so get your covering certificates and DNA samples at the ready.

    All of this year’s crop must, by law, be microchipped and passported by 31 December. But please don’t confuse a passport with registration. Passports, often the cheap option, don’t necessarily hold breeding information. All animals of known bloodlines should be registered with a breed society or studbook. There is no reason why, in 2016 and beyond, a horse should have unknown breeding against its name. Sadly there are still British-bred competition horses that are “unknown” because they were not registered correctly.

    If I were granted one breeding wish for 2016 it would be to include the breeding of a horse wherever you can, please.

    Is R the new F line?

    Brookleigh, the horse who gave Emily King her first successful four-star ride is a Westfalian by Rockwell.

    The Westfalian stallion Revolverheld, by Rockwell, was second in the five-year-old world championship for young dressage horses in 2012, and is now successful at international small tour.

    Dressage stallion Rostropowitsch, another by Rockwell, won at grand prix in Florida this year. Rocky Rockstar, by Rockland (by Rockwell), was a member of the British gold medal-winning young rider eventing team in August. And Castlefield Rubinus by Rock Forever I (by Rockwell) competed for Ireland in this year’s world young horse showjumping championships.

    These are just a few examples of the successful horses from this relatively unknown line, which has rock-eted to prominence due to a colt by the young Westfalian stallion Rocky Lee (Rock Forever I x Justinian xx) making the record price of €1.2m at the Hanoverian licensing sales in October this year.

    The multi-disciplinary stallion Rockwell (Rocket Star x Grandus), a grandson of the famous Ramiro Z, has an extraordinarily high success rate. I anticipate an increased interest from British breeders in this Westfalian R line.

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 12 November 2015

    Stallions at Stud