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Sachsen, or a Brandenburg? Add the fact that regional distinctions between


Warmblood ‘breeds’ are disappearing. The big name stallions and best producing mother-lines, or stamms, are a staple in nearly every breeding district in Germany now. The Diamond Hits, Stedingers and Contenders born in Bavaria, Rheinland Pfalz-Saar or Baden-Württemberg, for example, lack nothing in comparison to their northern cousins except a bigger price tag and a ready road to an international market. Faced with these facts, and the prospect of dwindling


financials, directors from the small breeding districts of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Rhineland-Pfalz-Saar, Hesse (ponies), Saxony and Thuringia joined forces to create the Southern German Breeding Association (AGS). Brandenburg-Anhalt jumped on board in 2009 making the South Germans the second largest breeding association in Germany with 13,500 mares (the Hanoverians have 19,000). Don’t be fooled by the name. This cooperative


organization geographically now covers about 75% of Germany, from the Rhine river valley in the west, nearly all the way to ports on the Baltic Sea. The South German breeding association shares borders with seven different European countries: Belgium, Luxembourg and France in the west, Switzerland and Austria to the south, and Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east. The stallions, too, travel from all over Germany to take part. “Every registry has its own functioning team and


organization here. We just put a big, common roof over everybody,” says Thomas Münch, marketing director for the South Germans. This ‘roof’ now puts on not only the


South German Stallion Approvals and Auction in Munich in January, but also an elite foal auction in summer, and multiple smaller auctions for South German horses throughout the year. The January auction and approval is particularly popular with dressage riders looking for young horses ready for spring materiale classes, as well as stallion owners who want to give their two-year-old colts a little more time to grow up, as opposed to being prepped early for the fall approvals. A truly international mix of breeders, riders, trainers


and enthusiasts fill the stands. American rider and breeder Karin Reid Offield, whose dressage superstar stallion Lingh now stands at the Bavarian stud Gestüt Birkhof, was excited by the variety and number of young stallions. “I’ve seen so many nice horses today,” Karen says. “And it’s wonderful to come to an area that has really open arms. It’s kind of like the American Midwest, which is really welcoming. Certain areas in Germany are like that - genuinely happy to see you!” The Munich stallion approvals is now in its eighth year, and the quality, as well as numbers, is truly impressive. With bloodlines reading like a who’s who from the top of breeding and sport, the young stallions’ gaits and free jumping kept the crowd cheering and music pumping in the glass-sided stadium best known for hosting the equestrian events for the 1972 Olympic Games.


BIDDING EXCITEMENT Out of more than five hundred two-year-old stallions presented at various pre-selection sites, 79 were allowed to attend the approvals and auction, and in the end, 32 were approved by a panel of judges made up of breeding directors for each registry involved, as well as one jumping and one dressage expert. Thirteen stallions made premium status, and fifty were sold at auction the day after their approval. Catalog #39, an elegant dark chestnut Fidertanz x Wolkentanz II–Sixtus colt, sold to Swiss Olympic dressage rider Christine Stückelberger. Professional riders, dealers, breeders and registries representing Germany, the Ukraine, Switzerland, Australia, South Africa, and Libya spent 1,564,700 euros in Munich, for a sale average per stallion of 31,294 euros. Early in the auction a hush fell


LEFT: Judges confer with one another during stallion evaluations. Photo by Ann Daum Kustar


54 May/June 2011


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