Our German breeding expert, Jan Töenjes concludes his
series of articles on the revival of the Trakehner breed in Germany.
Ask a horse person for a Trakehner stallion that produces
horses with very good rideability, without the certain Trakehner type so
often requested by horse lovers. The answer will most likely be Caprimond or
his son Hohenstein or his grandson, Muenchhausen. If there is a still
flourishing sireline in modern Trakehner breeding then it is the one founded
by Arogno who was born only 30 years ago. Himself the picture perfect
example for a modern horse, the Trakehner society should raise money to
build a monument for this outstanding stallion, thinks Jan Toenjes and
that’s why he is concentrating in his final part on the modern Trakehner
breeding on the progeny of this legendary sire.
Top left: Pythagorus, born in Trakehnen in 1927, would
have been the most important stallion ever used at the stud, but evacuation
in 1944 put a premature end to his career, and right, and above, Arogno, the
‘picture perfect example of a modern horse’...
Talking about Trakehner is talking history. The old
breeders will always refer to the good old times in East Prussia. Names like
Dampfross or Pythagoras are being dropped as if these heroes of the first
half of the 20th century were still alive. But the by far most influential
sire in post WW2 times was Arogno. Not a product of one of the often praised
damlines from the Trakehnen main stud (who actually did not walk all the way
from East Prussia to Germany, like so many other mares, but were moved by
train to safe areas in Western Germany when it became apparent/obvious that
the Russians would sooner or later conquer East Prussia).
Arogno a bay stallion standing at 16.2 hands with a picture perfect
conformation and a beautiful face was a halfbred. His dam Arcticonius was an
Irish Thoroughbred inbred to Nearco. She was imported to Germany and entered
into the Trakehner main marebook. Later she recieved elite status. As a
producer she was probably the best Thoroughbred mare ever to be used in a
German Warmblood breeding programme.
Arcticonius gave birth to three graded stallions, Avignon (sold to the U.S.)
and Arogno, both by Flaneur and Acajou by Flaneur’s son Damaskus. Her
daughters Anna Karenina and Arktis also produced graded stallions. Anna
Karenina’s Matcho son Amatcho sired Miss Meller TSF one of Germany’s
most successfull eventers ridden by former double European young riders
champion, Michael Jung who in 2005 won the first two trials for the European
Championships beating several Olympians.
Arogno’s sire Flaneur was runner up at the grading 1968. His sireline (Maharadscha
by Famulus by Fetysz ox) is based on the Arab Fetysz. Maybe this is what
makes him so special. One last thing needs to be pointed out – to complete
the confusion: Maharadscha’s dam Marke is also very influential as
foundation mare of her own damline that produced sires such as Mahagoni,
Matador (Hohenstein’s grandsire) or Mackensen.
But enough of all this line breeding theory. The simple fact to remember is
that Arogno carries a lot of Thoroughbred plus a dash of Arabian bloodlines
added to one of the most remarkable dams of the Trakehner breed.
Left: This is the Trakehner stallion, Flaneur, the
sire of Arogno but this is not the Holstein stallion of that name who was
imported to Australia. Right: The international performer who was a
sensation in Denmark - Schwadroneur with World Champion Anne-Grethe Törnblad
in the saddle.
Dance 10, looks…10!
It wasn’t only the excellent conformation and his pretty head that helped
Arogno to win the Reserve Champion Stallion at his grading in Neumuenster.
It was his movement and his rideability. As a 3-year-old he was reserve at
one of the first Bundeschampionate and finished his stallion performance
test in Adelheidsdorf as the best Trakehner stallion to be examined that
Today Arogno would probably belong to the top stallions of which dozens of
doses of semen would be collected to be sent out worldwide. In 1979 it was
different. Arogno was popular but only among Trakehner breeders and it took
a while until his breeding career started to become really successfull.
Arogno often changed his stud. He served at his breeder’s farm and at
traditional Trakehner stud’s like Webelsgrund and Haemelschenburg. In his
later years, Arogno stood at the Amselhof Walle, built by Joachim Kemmer for
his daughter Heike.
By far the most successful offspring was TCN Partout out of Pedola by
Donauwind (Abdullah’s sire). Purchased at the Trakehner grading 1989 by
several Dutch Trakehner enthusiasts and brought to Anky van Grunsven who
took Partout on to an international career. He was Dutch champion in the
small tour, two times 2nd in the Dutch Grand Prix championships only beaten
by Bonfire, won several Grand Prix specials and claimed the victory at the
World Cup qualifier in Amsterdam. He was also named Anky’s reserve horse
for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
In breeding he was equally successful: His son Monteverdi was champion
stallion at the Trakehner grading and already has international placings
under the Danish rider, Fie Skarsoe from Wiesenhof stud in Germany.
Monteverdi himself sired Oliver Twist who himself looks not really like a
typical Trakehner but according to the evaluation board produces lovely
Another son, Halbgott, is successful in the U.S. with placings at several
shows of the prestigious winter circuit in Florida. A couple of mares by
Partout won breeding shows in Holland.
It seems the best offspring of Arogno sooner or later left Germany, like
Schwadroneur, born in 1983 by Arogno out of Schwalbenburg (another producer
of four garded sons) by Ibikus. Schwadroneur was reserve champion at the
stallion performance test and made his career in Denmark. Ridden by Anne
Grethe Törnblad (born Jensen, famous for riding Marzog in the 1980s)
Schwadroneur had 36 wins up to Grand Prix Special. In the 1990s Danish
dressage breeding had only one name: Schwadroneur. He sired and incredible
number of sporthorses, champion mares and graded stallions.
German sport statistics list an index of 151 in 2003 – a top score that
gives him a place somewhere up there amongst Weltmeyer, Rubinstein and
Donnerhall. In 2000 and 2001 he had the top priced mares at the
International Trakehner Stallion Market, Tamara was sold for 140.000
deutschmarks, Evita for 110.000 deutschmarks. In 2000 he was named Danish
stallion of the Year and also Trakehner Stallion of the Year in Germany.
Esprit by Schwadroneur and Nicole Ahlefeld were 10th in the world ranking
His best son is Hertug, like Partout out of a Donauwind mare. As a young
horse Hertug won everything a horse can win in Denmark. Three years in a row
he was unbeaten at the young horses championships. Later he won PSG and
Inter I ridden by Andreas Helgstrand. In 2005 Blue Hors stud sold Hertug,
whose charming appearance can be compared to George Clooney’s – women
simply die if they could touch him once. Well, Clooney has the Oscar, Hertug
hasn’t yet. But his promising offspring is still young and so far it seems
they are well aware of the reputation of their sire’s family. He is also
approved for Sweden and Oldenburg.
Left: Partout - A reasonable international performer
for Anky van Grunsven, and then a respectable breeding stallion;
Right: Herzensdieb - the new stallion star at the Jens Meyer stallion
At least PSG
It seems that success at Prix St Georges level is the least thing an Arogno-offspring
wins. Many of his graded sons were successful in the small tour, and a lot
of them also performed all the Grand Prix movements. Rideability and
trainability has become a synonym for Arogno’s offspring.
Before focusing on the biggest and most successful branch of Arogno’s
line, the one based on Caprimond, just some brief notes on Arogno’s son
Ivernel. This leggy chestnut was top priced horse at the Trakehner auction
at the Klosterhof Medingen stud where he later performed a very good
stallion performance test. It was Petra Wilm, member of the German B squad
and heir of a big company who fell in love with the chestnut.
Ivernel proved to be a super sensitive horse who though trained to FEI level
was unable to concentrate throughout an entire test in the dressage ring.
His offspring however showed typical Arogno qualities. His son Pret à
Porter died as a 5-year-old but sired Le Rouge who in 2004 was awarded
Trakehner champion stallion in Neumuenster and was in the finals of the 2005
In 2005 it was Arogno again. Herzensdieb (i.e. thief of hearts) by Tambour,
was everybody’s darling right from the beginning and the Trakehner grading
board agreed with the audience and named Herzensdieb Trakehner champion
stallion 2005. Arogno can be found in Herzensdieb’s fifth generation. When
the wooden hammer of Germany’s top auctioneer Uwe Heckmann knocked down
the young stallion at the price of 275.000 Euro, the historic Holstenhallen-indoor
arena almost collapsed. Never before was a champion stallion sold for such a
It was the American couple Douglas and Louise Leatherdale who were willing
to pay that much money for the champion. The also bought the Hannoverian
champion stallion His Highness a couple of years ago for 515.000 Euro which
turned the entire horse community in Germany wild. Both stallions, His
Highness (by Hohenstein) and Herzensdieb (by Tambour), found their new home
at Jens Meyer’s stud station in the small village of Dorum close to the
North Sea coast. Both can be traced back to Caprimond, an Arogno grandson
that many think of the picture perfect example of a beautiful horse.
Caprimond – a modern Pythagoras
The crowd went berserk when Lars Gehrmann, breeding director of the
Trakehners, at the 2005 gala show of the International Trakehner Stallion
Market named Caprimond ‚the Pythagoras of today’. To compare a stallion
to legendary Pythagoras is like comparing a contemporary scientist to Albert
Einstein, a musician to Leonard Bernstein or a composer to Mozart.
Pythagoras sired the unbelievable number of 70 graded stallions in only 13
years. And that was between 1932 and 1945.
WW II ended Pythagoras life but his name has got a somewhat magic touch ever
since then. Gehrmann for sure knew about the meaning of this comparison but
he also knew how much Caprimond has improved the Trakehners’ image in all
Warmblood breeds in Germany. Up to today his name is to be found in one of
the first three generations of 52 graded stallions! And in sports he was
still going strong! As a 19 year old he was still in the ribbons in Grand
Prix shown by his owner Burkhard Wahler’s eldest daughter, 17-year-old
Above - the ‘modern Pythagoras’ Caprimond - always
top of the rankings for type. Below - Far and away the most popular
Trakehner stallion in Hanover - Hohenstein. Grand prix performer, and super
Caprimond and Hohenstein
Caprimond’s career started in 1987 when he was runner up at the Trakehner
grading beaten only by Kostolany, Gribaldi’s sire. Caprimond was also
chosen best type stallion. As a three year old he was 2nd at the
Bundeschampionat and did an oustanding stallion performance test with high
scores in rideability. For his entire career Caprimond stayed at the
Klosterhof Medingen stud an hour drive south of Hamburg. As a 10-year-old he
recieved the elite stallion status as the youngest sire ever to be awarded
with this title.
In 2002 Theresa Wahler, then only 14 years old, won her first PSG on
Caprimond. The stallion always impresses people when he is presented by the
Wahler’s children: 10-year-old Christoph, who, like his father Burkhard a
former German eventing champion is more into 3-day-eventing, rode Caprimond
at several stallion shows and showed all the Grand Prix movements, even a
piaffe pirouette. The classical like father like son situation was even
stressed by the fact that Burkhard Wahler accompanied his youngest son
Caprimond’s most successful son so far and sire of His Highness and
grandsire of Herzensdieb.
Caprimond’s official retirement from sports is scheduled for August 28
when the big stallion parade will take place at the WEG in Aachen. His
influence on his home breed is constantly rising: In 2003 18 per cent of all
stallions presented at the Trakehner grading carried Caprimond, in 2005 it
was almost a third (32.7 per cent). In 1994 the Wahler’s mare family of
Donauquelle (all by Caprimond) won the German mare championship.
In the past decade Caprimond and Hohenstein were always among the tops in
the statistics of the Hannoverian association. They often stood in front
when it came to the aspects riding horse type and rideability. Caprimond’s
Hannoverian son Contucci (out of a Lungau mare) is very popular in the USA.
Several graded Hannoverians have Caprimond dams, the top example is Dacaprio
Hohenstein, like his sire, is trained to Grand Prix and a winner at Prix St
Georges, is considered one of the best dam producers in Hannover. His sons
His Highness, who qualified for the Bundeschampionate in 2005, is a
promising FEI horse says US dressage coach Klaus Balkenhol who has kept an
eye on the huge black stallion ever since his spectacular win at the
Hannoverian stallion grading of 2002.
Another almost black son of Hohenstein, Insterburg out of Indira by Giorgio
Armani (by Arogno!), was third at the 2005 World Championships of Young
Dressage horses and the Bundeschampionate ridden by Carola Koppelmann.
Experts think the combination has a big potential for an international
career. And then there is Münchhausen.
Left: Putting Trakehners on the map at the
Bundeschampionate - Insterburg and Carola Koppelmann
Right: Stars at the Bundeschamp, now starring at Grand Prix - Münchausen
and Fie Skarsoe
Danish, Fie Skarsoe is the rider of Münchhausen. This Hohenstein son has
had a dream of a career. Champion stallion at his grading, super stallion
performance test, runner up at the World Championships of Young Dressage
horses in Verden beaten by Karin Rehbein and Cherie FRH. Two years later he
performed at the Nuernberger Burgpokal championships – the unofficial
German championships for FEI prospects. Finally in 2005 Muenchhausen was
chosen for the Danish team at the European Championships in Hagen a.T.W. and
in Aachen he was placed – in the consolation finals.
The gorgeous bay is now supposed to concentrate on the sport. Breeders may
only use frozen semen. Three sons are graded, two out of Thoroughbred mares,
Sambataenzer and Meraldik. The latter out of a full sister to Heraldik, one
of the most influential Thoroughbreds in Germany in the past 15 years. A
couple of excellent mares put emphasis on the fact that Münchhausen is
fitting well into the scheme laid out by his legendary ancestor, Arogno.
Same is true for Herzensdieb’s sire Tambour by Hohenstein out of a mare by
Consul. Again rideability is the point of interest.
No matter in what direction Germany’s breeding policy may go, one thing is
for sure: The Trakehner horse is here to stay. Within all the other breeds
Trakehners are gaining more respect than say, 15 years ago. With
performance, not beauty being the emphasis, the Trakehner horse has managed
to improve its reputation and the number of breeders thinking about using a
Trakehner stallion or at least one carrying the famous bloodlines from East
Prussia, is increasing. The way back to the top where the Trakehner once was
may be long but the direction is clear. So here you go, Trakehner horse!
History: The breed was developed at the Trakehnen stud
in East Prussia, which was founded by king Friederich Wilhelm I in 1732. The
main reason for its founding was to supply the royal stables with fresh up and
coming young horses. Different breeds were used for its creation, above all
however, East Prussian Landschlag horses. Today's Trakehner type was developed
by means of systematic upgrading orientated breeding with Arab and English
thoroughbreds. Prior to the Second World War, East Prussia was the largest
closed breeding region of Germany with approximately 40.000 horses. At the end
of the Second World War, about 1.000 horses were able to be rescued to West
Germany in a legendary and dramatic flight, which enabled the survival and
further breeding of the Trakehner breed. It is the only riding horse breed in
Germany where breeding is carried out with pure-breds.
Stallion bloodlines and sires: Of the 25 existing
stallion bloodlines, four have had an especially strong influence. These are:
- The Dampfroß line (via Ablanz and Pregel by
Termit; Neumond; Komet, Gabriel and Totilas by Pythagoras)
- The Fetysz ox line (via Flaneur)
- The Perfectionist xx line (via Patron,
Humboldt and Tempelhüter)
- The Pasteur xx line (via Mahagoni)
The most significant sires of the past few years
include inter alia, Arogno, born in 1976 (Flaneur line), his son Partout, born
in 1987, his grandson Caprimond, born in 1985, Consul, born 1980 (Swazi xx line)
as well as his son Rockefeller, born in 1984.
Breeding: The Trakehner breed encompassed a stock
number of 4.529 registered broodmares and 194 sires in 1999. It is striking that
all the horses, both mares and stallions bear names beginning with the initial
letter of the mother's name. By this means, the importance of the maternal
origins is honoured.
For this reason not only the names of famous stallions
are provided here, but also the mare lineages, that are the basis of the
Trakehner breed. Here the family of the mare Kasette which has produced
the most offspring ranks at the very forefront. This family is followed by those
of Kordel, Polarfahrt, Herbstzeit, Tapete, Donna, Paraea, Corrida, Pelargonie
and many more which had a very big influence on today's breeding during the
Characteristics/Application: Trakehners are blood
imprinted strong performance horses, with a great deal of stamina and a
sensitive character, who require riders with empathy. They are represented in
all fields of the riding and driving sport, frequently also in top performance
sport, but in particular, in three-day eventing.
Horses in top performance sport: During the 1970ies and
1980ies, the dressage horses Ultimo (Gabriela Grillo), Fabian (Dr.
Reiner Klimke) and Kleopatra (George Theodorescu) belonged to the top
performers. At the same time, the Habicht son Livius and Abdullah
(by Donauwind) were successful international showjumpers. Significant sports
horses of the past few years include the dressage horses Biotop, born in
1985 (by Blesk), Caprimond, born in 1985 (by Karon) and Partout,
born 1984 (by Arogno), and furthermore Peron TSF (by Mahogoni) as well as
Merlin TSF (by Mahagoni).
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