The Breeding Breakdown: Pratoni 2022 Edition

Breeding a quality event horse capable of winning (or placing competitively, or in some cases even finishing!) a modern five-star is a feat that requires skill, creativity, bravery, and a little bit of luck. Breeding one that will make it to World Championships? A whole new challenge. In her latest column, owner of Breed.Ride.Compete and bloodstock advisor at Willow Tree Warmbloods Amanda Chance breaks down some facts on this year’s World Championships field.

Note: In this column, xx = full Thoroughbred, “second sire” = the sire’s sire

PS: Want your own guide to breeding at Pratoni? Download the full guide from Breed.Ride.Compete here.

Andrew Hoy’s Vassily de Lassos is one of five horses in this year’s World Championships field sired by Jaguar Mail. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

It might be FEI Eventing World Championships week in Pratoni, but if you look at the pedigrees of this edition’s entrants, you might also say that it’s looking like a bit of a family reunion.

There are a handful of sires that have multiple offspring representing them this week in Italy, with Selle Francais stallion Jaguar Mail leading the charge. He’s the sire of five horses competing at this Championship:

  • Vassily de Lassos (Andrew Hoy)
  • Colorado Blue (Austin O’Connor)
  • Ferreolus Lat (Miroslav Prihoda Jr.)
  • Box Leo (Frida Andersen)
  • Joystick (Aminda Ingulfson)

Though he was a 1.60m show jumper himself, Jaguar Mail has proven to be a very successful sire of event horses — something that perhaps is not at all surprising if you look at his pedigree.

I had the lucky privilege of meeting Jaguar Mail in the flesh, pictured here at his home in Normandy, France in 2019.

He’s 82% blood, by the full Thoroughbred stallion Hand in Glove xx, and also has a full Thoroughbred damsire in Laudanum xx. Hand in Glove xx had a remarkable career, starting out on the racetrack as a two-year-old before transitioning to a dressage career that took him all the way up to Prix St. Georges before transitioning again to a jumper career where he competed to World Cup level.

Laudanum xx was no slouch either, having also show jumped to the 1.60m level. Jaguar Mail lived up to his pedigree, competing in the 2008 Hong Kong Olympics for Team Sweden under the saddle of Peter Eriksson. Given his jumping ability and his high percentage of Thoroughbred blood, he’s been a popular stallion for eventing breeders, and well… it seems to be working.

If that isn’t enough to convince you that it is indeed possible to purpose-breed for eventing, the Trakehner stallion Birkhof’s Grafenstolz is the next most-represented stallion in the field, with four offspring:

  • Lordships Graffalo (Ros Canter)
  • Candy King (Holly Jacks)
  • Shjabrina (Mia Hastrup)
  • Absolut Gold HDC (Nicolas Touzaint)

Some of you may remember Grafenstolz from his eventing career in part because he was competed by a wee German lad (who at that time was only in his early 20’s) by the name of Michael Jung (pics or it didn’t happen). Together they won the six-year-old Young Horse World Championship title at Lion d’Angers in 2004, and Ze Terminator (was he Ze Terminator yet, back in those days?) took him up through the four-star level. Grafenstolz is a well-utilized stallion for producing eventers, and again, it’s easy to see why.

There is one more eventing stallion who shows up multiple times in the field – Yarlands Summer Song, sire of two entries.

  • Toblerone
  • Alertamalib’or

A World Championships horse himself with a 1994 silver medal and a 1998 silver medal to his credit, Yarlands Summer Song finished fourth individually at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He was also a very good producer despite getting a later start to his stud career, siring six 5* horses. In addition to the two direct offspring here at Pratoni, Yarlands Summer Song also appears in the pedigree of one other horse: he’s the second damsire of Spanish rider Gonzalo Blasco Botin’s Sij Veux D’autize.

A few other stallions also make appearances in the pedigree of multiple horses. Jumper phenom Diamant de Semilly, who himself competed to 1.60m level show jumping, is the direct sire of two entrants (Toledo de Kerser and Viamant du Matz) and his son Pacino is the sire of two more (Ballypatrick SRS and Monbeg by Design). Diamant de Semilly is also the second sire of Mahalia (by Elvis ter Putte).

One dressage stallion is also making his mark on this group here in Pratoni (perhaps trying to add a bit of propriety and civility to all this aforementioned “insanity in the middle”) – Fidertanz is the sire of both Fallulah and Fifty Fifty. Despite being bred for dressage (and indeed he competed through Grand Prix himself) Fidertanz does have some “jump” on the dam’s side of his pedigree, something that has probably helped him be a fairly successful sire of eventers. Thus far Fallulah is his only offspring to have made it to five-star level, but he has a handful currently competing at four-star as well.

While he doesn’t have any direct offspring in this field (fair enough, he was born in 1984) I would be remiss to write any type of article about eventing families and not include Contender. Looking at the Pratoni field he is the second sire of four horses (Goliath by Chello III, Fernhill Wishes by Chacoa, fischerChipmunk by Contendro, Calle 44 by Cristo), the damsire of one horse (Canvalencia by Verdi TN), the third sire of one horse (Swiper JRA by Contenda), and second damsire of one horse (Cartania). Contender, Contender everywhere.

If we look at the mother’s side of the pedigree (this is where things always get more fun, if you ask me) we have a couple of stallions that show up in the damsire position more than once.

Rock King, who was himself an Advanced/4* level eventer, is the damsire of three horses, all three of whom are British-bred and registered with SHBGB.

  • Lordship’s Graffalo
  • Colorado Blue
  • Menlo Park

Selle Francais stallion Bayard d’Elle, who competed to 1.60m level showjumping, is the damsire of two horses.

Fidgy des Melezes
Toubleu de Rueire
Toubleau de Rueire is registered Selle Francais, and Fidgy des Melezes is registered sBs (Belgian Sporthorse – not to be confused with BWP, which is Belgian Warmblood)

The most popular type of mare family in the field is Thoroughbred, with 24 horses hailing from a Thoroughbred mare line. The most represented are family 14 and family 1, with five horses from each. The only subfamily that shows up more than once is 14-b, with Virgil and Colorado Blue.
We also see two warmblood mare families with multiple appearances.

Selle Francais 20/21, descending from the mare Camera, has two entrants in Hermione d’Arville (Camera is her 5th dam) and Darmagnac de Beliard (Camera is his 3rd dam). This has proven to be a remarkable mare family, having produced dozens of 1.60m show jumpers and several 4* and 5* horses, including 2018 Pau winner Siniani de Lathus (ridden by France’s Thibault Fournier).

Holsteiner Stamm 4847 has two horses: Imperial van de Holtakker and Meyer’s Happy.

To sum up? When you’re sitting there sipping your coffee at 5 a.m., squinting at the Pratoni live stream and muttering something to yourself about how all these dang horses look the same… well… welcome to the family reunion.