"On the wings of Olympus" "bred strictly according to the golden recipe", "a sire of the century". The eulogies to this brilliant black horse sometimes cross the boundaries of pompousness. Such high sounding praise is justified however. A stallion like Rubinstein, who departed from the equestrian stage in June 2000, aged 14, much too early, did not only deserve it, he also proved it, not once, but many times. He had 40 wins at Grand Prix level, was a member of the 1996 Olympic team, sired 89 state premium mares and 66 approved stallions and was the father of top auction horses and Grand Prix winners.
"A youth without a tail", remembers Gudula Vorwerk-Happ, was the first impression of the three-year old Rubinstein. The black horse was standing between cows and other young stallions in the entrance hallway of Herbert de Baey, his breeder. Still a bit thin and youthful then, certainly not the star of a horse that he would later be, when he would be at the centre of everyone's attention. Still he had his own way of making an impression. Even as a foal, Rubinstein was a horse that was noticeable due to his handsomeness and above all, his uncomplicated manner. He was almost a little too nice, so that people didn't notice that he was a stallion. In the herd, he preferred to stay out of trouble's way rather than becoming involved in aggressive behaviour. Everyone was able to handle him, remembers his breeder Herbert de Baey.
This quiet Westphalian man with a considerable amount of slyness in his nature succeeded in terzetto, what others didn't even manage to achieve once. He bred three Olympic dressage horses, that became a legend: Ahlerich with the unforgotten Dr. Reiner Klimke, two-time team Olympic champion of Los Angeles and Seoul, as well as individual gold medal winner of Los Angeles.
The double world champion and fourfold European champion was the world's most successful dressage horse for a long time. His full-brother Amon also took part in the Olympic Games three times (if one includes Rotterdam in 1980) and was the most successful dressage horse of the Netherlands under Annemarie Sanders-Keyzar, where he was considered to be unbeatable for a long time, gaining the Dutch Championship title seven times. In October of 2000, Amon passed away at the ripe old age of 32 years. Then there is Rembrandt, the elegant dancer, who with Nicole Uphoff glided through the big dressage arenas of the world, enchanting the public with his fantastic agility. He won individual and team gold with his rider twice, making her the youngest Olympic champion of all times, breaking the sonic barrier of the magic 1500 points delimitation in 1990 and becoming world champion.
Three exceptional horses that achieved great feats. The special thing about them being that they are all very closely related to Rubinstein. Rubinstein's dam Antine is the full-sister of Amon and Ahlerich as well as the mare Adone, who together with Romadour II gave birth to Rembrandt. What's more, Romadour II is the grandsire of Rubinstein with his gold plated pedigree. And what a pedigree it is! This was exactly what caused Gudula Vorwerk-Happ to take notice. A stallion from this world-wide probably unparalleled family, ritzy, black and what's more, cheap. The exceptional sire cost a mere DM 35.000 as a three-year old. Before this he had been rejected for the Westphalian approvals at an inspection meeting. The officials tersely said that he was "too small, not enough horse, with defects on the hind leg not suitable for approval". Yet De Baey had faith in the black horse, did not have him castrated and shortly afterwards welcomed Vorwerk-Happ with the Oldenburg approvals commission to his studfarm. They in turn were impressed and above all wanted to secure themselves the valuable blood for their breeding region. That confirmed it and Rubinstein went to Oldenburg where the black horse was given every opportunity to prove himself.
At the follow-up approval in 1988 he was accorded the recognition due to him and already during his first year of covering duty was in such great demand as hardly any other young stallion had been before him. The breeders waited apprehensively for the results of the stallion performance test. and were certainly not disappointed. As anticipated, Rubinstein absolved the test with flying colours, gaining high scores in rideability, achieving a score of 136,56 points and coming third of field of 66 contenders. His jumping ability was also evaluated as above average.
Then his first crop of foals arrived: Their exterior was very correct and stylish with delicate faces, even better than their sire as regards trotting. Sixteen foals alone received the premium of "stallion contender" and were awarded a straight score of 10.0 points. One even caused a sensation. The federal foal champion Rubicon changed owners at the Vechta autumn auction for the sum of DM 53.000, thereby being the most expensive auctioned foal of all times. And as if Rubinstein had wanted to prove the point to the Westphalians who had one year earlier spurned him, the four-year old won the "Optimum" in Münster, becoming the conformation horse champion! The award at the Oldenburg approval was the logical consequence of the extraordinary successes of the young stallion, both under the saddle, as well as in his hereditary transmission. In 1990 Rubinstein was declared the main premium winner accompanied by thundering applause.
After Rubinstein had already achieved a number of wins and placements in dressage horse classes at the elementary level in 1991, his first appearance in front of a large audience was accompanied by great expectations: Rubinstein started at the 1992 federal championship in Verden. Would he be able to leave the strong competition among the six-year olds behind him? In the decisive final test win, which he was ridden by Detlev Nesemann, he only had to give precedence to the Hanoverian Don Juan son Don Johnson with Heiner Schiergen, by whom he was just beaten to become vice-champion.
The first age-class was expected with great suspense in the Weser-Ems Hall in Oldenburg in autumn of 1992. Would the young stallions be able to fulfil the expectations placed in them? Would they be able to verify the run on their sire? They certainly could, in superior style! Four Rubinstein sons received the "approved" seal of quality and two were awarded a premium. Not only that however, Rohdiament, a dark tan with powerful motions carrying a great deal of noble blood was announced as the champion stallion. What's more, the later stallion performance test champion and federal champion belonged to the American Olympic team under Lisa Wilcox during the millennium year in Australia. What an entry!
News of the quality of the stallion quickly spread far beyond the confines of Oldenburg. Interest was expressed in Rohdiamant and the Vorwerk studfarm from all over Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, the USA and almost all over the world. Up to 400 broodmares were inseminated by sperm from Rohdiamant per year. Gudula Vorwerk-Happ thus demonstrated after the death of her unforgotten father Georg Vorwerk, that she had inherited the phenomenal horse sense of her father.
Up to that point in time, Rubinstein had only demonstrated that he could deliver stylish foals and young stallions with powerful motions. But how would his progeny perform under the saddle? The first riding horse was auctioned for DM 41.000 in 1993. Only six moths later, a Rubinstein son cost far in excess of double that sum. The auctioneer's hammer was only dropped at the sum of DM 90.000 for Rod Stewart.
In the interim, Rubinstein had had his first wins in advance dressage classes. He won ten starts out of eleven under Martina Hannöver. Rubinstein was an incredible fighter with a hardly envisageable sensibility He had a top character too, one that every rider wishes for but only rarely finds, reminisces Hannöver.
His offspring likewise followed in the successful hoofsteps of their sire. Rohdiamant three times received the score of 10.00 from extraneous riders, becoming the sensational unequivocal winner in the dressage index with a score of 150.01 points, ahead of his half-brother Rubirando. The dark tan horse left no doubts as to his class at the federal championship of three-year olds, becoming champion under Martina Hannöver. The success story of the undoubtedly most outstanding Rubinstein son thus far was just as skyrocket like as that of his sire: Federal champion 5-year old dressage horse, wins in Grand Prix competitions on the international stage, selected for the American Olympic team under Lisa Wilcox. The breeding aspect is likewise dotted with exceptional situations.
At his premium age class of 1994, a Rohdiamant-Landadel foal was sold at the Vechta May auction for the sensational sum of DM 50.000. Two years later this young stallion was approved and awarded the 1-e premium under the name of Rabano. Then in 1998 Rohdiamant, who was awarded the main national premium in 1994 demonstrated what he was really worth. At the Rastede Schlosspark, he presented the spruce mare Reine Seide as the champion of the Oldenburg Elite Show. Not long after, at the Federal Three-Year Old Riding Horse Championship, the Warendorf state stallion Roman Nature was at the very forefront. What's more, at the Oldenburg stallion Days in the Weser-Ems Hall, the sire from Cappeln stole the show: Royal Dance, a noble liver chestnut with strong gaits was declared champion stallion. What a feat !
In the FN breeding value rating for dressage, Rohdiamant received second place with a score of 154 points in 1999. Ronaldo, the year 2000 vice-champion five-year old dressage horse in Warendorf had one year earlier been the glorious champion of the four-year olds. The covetousness of the dark diamond horse remains unbroken. The top horse of the autumn 2000 Vechta auction Royal Olymp, who was sold for DM 520.000 has no less than Rohdiamant as his sire. To date, Royal Olymp is the second most expensive horse ever auctioned in Vechta.
Rubinstein too, was close to breathing Olympic air. In 1996, following several grand Prix wins he was a member of the team destined to go to Atlanta. The elegant, thoroughly harmonious appearance of the pair always caused the audience to be spellbound. Rubinstein attracted attention not through pompous affected behaviour, nor through suspense filled paces, but rather by means of exceptionally high rideability and concentration. "Rubinstein has given me my great successes, I have to thank him for everything" praised Martina Hannöver, who took over the stallion as a seven-year old. The first Grand Prix win in Nörten-Hardenberg in 1994 appeared to her as a good omen at that time - the premiere not only for Rubinstein, but also for his rider. "The night following the win, my self-bred Ratino H was born, naturally a Rubinstein son". Hannöver placed great hopes in the stallion who was highly ranked in the finals of the six-year old dressage horses in Warendorf in the year 2000. Apart from that, her training stables in Lütjensee in Holstein are full of Rubinstein progeny . She had eight under instruction in October 2000 alone.
"Those were certainly great moments, when our stallion stood at the very front during the presentation ceremonies and the German flag was hoisted, reminisces Gudula Vorwerk-Happ a little wistfully when she things about the heyday of the stallion. Following Hannövers move to another location, Rubinstein was briefly trained and ridden by his permanent attendant Ferdinand Krogmann before Heike Krogmann took her place in the saddle.
Then the inevitable happened. Those that were destined to be together were brought together. Nicole Uphoff moved to Cappeln and introduced the Vorwerk sires to top competition sport. With Rubinstein she quasi rode the cousin of her memorable. Rembrandt, who spent some of the sunset of his life at Vorwerk. As a result of injury the pair, which radiated with charisma had to suspend its course of success and not long after, Nicole Uphoff went into self-employment. The black diamond had disappeared from the international dressage stage - with a life-winnings sum of DM 240.000. A magnificent result for a breeding stallion who was always utilised for covering duty to a maximum.
Already during his lifetime, Rubinstein was regarded as one of the most accomplished contemporary dressage sires. He produced horses that could be ridden by all and sundry, level headed, easy to get along with, prepared to perform and endowed with a high rideability. Horses which in the hands of good trainers were often master scholars that could easily learn even the most difficult lessons. Up to the present day they have won in excess of DM 700.000 at competitions and brought their sire a dressage breeding value rating of 155 points (1999 FN). This has placed Rubinstein the ranking among the Top Ten of the Senior Stallions I.
Horses whose names begin with the letter "R" often have Rubinstein as their sire. The Oldenburg auctioneer Uwe Heckmann rhymed "Oh how fine, Rubinstein". When the black stallion livened up the auctions in Vechta with promising young talent. Not infrequently, his offspring attained prices, like the approved Rosenstar S, who was auctioned in 1994 for DM 200.00. Or the charming mare Rose of Jade which brought the sum of DM 310.000 in 1995, or then again Royal Jubilee, who was sold in Vechta for DM 380.000 in 1999. The other breeding regions were not sparing in their efforts to acquire a good Rubinstein for their stables either. At the North-Rhine Westphalian approvals of 1996, Robespierre was the highest priced stallion at DM 350.000. Even after Rubinstein's death, his popularity has not declined. The prime foal of the autumn 2000 Vechta auction which fetched the price of DM 100.000 was from no less than the dazzling black Rubinstein.
"R" like Rubinstein, "R" like rideability. Numerous sons of the black legend were able to decide the stallion performance test in their favour. Rubioso N who is meanwhile enjoying successes in Prix St. George and Intermediaire tests under Ellen Bontje is one example, another is the federal champion six-year old dressage horse of the year 2000, Royal Diamond. Regazzoni who caused a sensation in 1998 with a phenomenal approvals age-class, including the Hanoverian Riccione who was sold for DM 350.000, was at the forefront in Munster-Handorf in 1994. Rubinstar, the 1996 Nobilis Cup winner, Ruizsoler and the Celle state stallion Rotspon have achieved similar successes.
The oldest Rubinstein progeny will be eleven years old in the year 2001. One can only speculate about the great things that the future has in store for them! Renoir, a nine-year old Oldenburg chestnut gelding demonstrated at a schooling performance at the federal championship of 2000 under his rider Ann-Kathrin Kroth, what grandiose collection ability and quality of movement he has in him. He is being celebrated as an absolutely exceptional horse. Relevant, a chestnut stallion with grand basic gaits was brought to peak performance under Nicole Uphoff, to win the 1998 Nuremburg Burgpokal (Cup). With a winnings of in excess of DM 16.000 in 1999, he was the most successful Rubinstein offspring in sport. At present he is being exclusively utilised for breeding purposes.
One would have wished the stallion many more years in his loose box in Cappeln as a sire, yet this was not to be. On the 18th of May, the stallion did not touch his feed and was checked up by a veterinarian who noticed a swollen testicle. In the veterinary clinic the diagnosis was a twisted testicle with colic like pain. Dr. Friedrich von Saldern was forced to remove a testicle. "Following that, the stallion was for all intents and purposes already on the way to improvement. We went to the pasture with him for grazing and he seemed quite sprightly" remembers Gudula Vorwerk-Happ who was quite hopeful after the operation. Yet suddenly his condition rapidly declined. Rubinstein got toxic laminitis on both front hooves, circulatory debility and on the 5th of June 2000 he had breathed his last breath. This was a sudden heavy blow for dressage horse breeding in Germany, Europe and the whole world.
Johann Hinnemann, the former federal trainer of the German dressage elite once said "when we consider a stallion of the century, we refer to Rubinstein. His hereditary transmission is unequalled in respect to rideability seating comfort, affability and preparedness to perform". Truly a legendary stallion" - and already part of the annals of history.