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THE DUTCH EXPERIMENT

BY PATTI SCHOFLER

How has the American Saddlebred influenced Dutch Warmblood bloodlines? W

armbloods T oday

uncovers the mystery and presents the history.

I

n the early 1990s the Royal Warmblood Horse Studbook of the Netherlands (KWPN) was searching for a means to broaden the limited gene pool of their

own Warmblood breed known as Dutch Harness Horse or Tuigpaard and also develop a more refined animal. These substantial driving horses are known for their high- stepping gaits and are bred in all colors, although black, bay and chestnut are the most common. They are shown in fine harness classes but have also made their mark in combined driving competitions. This lead to an experiment with American Saddlebred blood using the two stallions Denmark’s Golden Playboy (later renamed Holland’s Golden Boy in Holland) and Callaway’s Mardi Gras (renamed Immigrant in Holland) both exported to The Netherlands and approved for breeding by the KWPN. Crossing the Hackney breed would eventually prove

to be their blood of choice. However, at that time, for the experiment the Saddlebred stallions were chosen because their movement and conformation were similar to the Dutch fine harness and driving horse that demonstrate a broadly moving foreleg with high knee action creating a high stepping trot, a powerfully carrying hind leg with conformation dominated by a long, vertically set neck creating high, upright carriage. The Dutch Harness Horse breed was based on the

Groningen from the north and Gelderlander from the south, both native horses used for agriculture and transportation. Dutch farmers chose the fanciest ancestral Tuigpaards, or harness horses, to show off at family outings, business trips and social gatherings. The most beautiful, highest stepping horse was then, as today, a measure of prestige and reflective of one’s position in the community. Like showmen today, a degree of competition arose during these outings. The Saddlebred’s history is similar to that of the Dutch Harness Horse. In the 18th century, American colonists

DENMARK’S GOLDEN PLAYBOY

a.k.a. Holland’s Golden Boy

THE 1986 DENMARK’S GOLDEN PLAYBOY was the epitome of flash: a dark palomino with a snow white mane and tail. Prior to the importation, he was the 1990 World Champion American Saddlebred Three-Gaited and Five-Gaited Stallion. Purchased in 1991 at a Lexington, Kentucky auction

through agent Joe Syfel, the 16 hand stallion became know in The Netherlands as Holland’s Golden Boy. It is said that his name was changed from Golden Playboy to Golden Boy because the Dutch word “plee” is pronounced play (“ee” is pronounced “a”), and the word “plee” is slang for “toilet.” One of Golden Boy’s winning traits was his personality. “I’ve only had three horses that I’ve loved and he was one,”

Warmbloods Today 41

crossed the Narragansett Pacer and the Thoroughbred to create a horse known as the American Horse. In the 1800s, the breed become known as the Kentucky Saddler and was used on plantations because of its comfortable, ground-covering gaits, and sure-footed ways. The breed became a stylish and fancy horse, one that was beautiful for harness while strong enough for farm work, and fast enough for match races. In the 1830s, Morgan and Thoroughbred blood gave the horse more substance and action, and it became known as the American Saddlebred. The stallion Denmark F.S., born in 1839, became the foundation sire, with over 60 percent of today’s Saddlebreds tracing back to him, including one of the horses sent to Holland for the experiment. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77
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