The diversity of Studbook Zangersheide

An amazing 28 out of 81 presented stallions were approved during the fall inspection of Studbook Zangersheide. It was the first time that jury members Paul Schockemöhle and Ullrich Kasselmann were assisted by Joris De Brabander, who had previously done some inspection work for Zangersheide in Normandy this spring. The first thing that caught his attention was the more international appeal of the Lanaken inspection compared to elsewhere, with input from Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy and Denmark. This diversity in stallions and presenters ensures the further growth of Studbook Zangersheide throughout Europe.

A total of 28 stallions were approved with five 2-year-olds and eleven 3-year-olds among them. In addition, seven 4-year-olds, four 5-year-olds and one 7-year-old stallion were approved on the basis of the saddle test in the Ramiro Z Arena on Saturday morning. Eleven of the newly-approved horses are Z-registered. In numbers, Zangersheide was by far the best represented studbook at its own inspection. This used to be different, as in the past mainly foreign blood was brought in to stimulate the growth of the young Z breeding stud. With the approval of Z-registered offspring by Calvino Z, Andiamo Z, Crown Z, Coriano Z and Zandor Z, Zangersheide proves to be increasingly self-sufficient. This is an indication that its own foals are rated just as high by the demanding judges as the very best stallions from abroad. Among them are three sons by Diamant de Semilly, a Plot Blue, a Cornado I, Clarimo, Clinton, Indoctro and a Cachas. So the Studbook remains on the lookout for the most modern sports blood in the world. It is a nice coincidence that Plot Blue himself won the Global Champions Tour in Wenen on the very same day when his son Power Blue vh Breezerhof Z pocketed his Zangersheide breeding licence.

Inspection-highflyer Cumano originally from the Z Quality Auction

This year, one of the most highly rated stallions from Z´s own Studbook was undoubtedly Cancellara from Second Life Z, an impressive gray by Cumano x Charmant X. On Friday he was unquestionably the talk of the day because of his extraordinary frolics. The Zangersheide team had already spotted his qualities two years before when this colt was on sale at the Zangersheide Quality Auction. At that time his breeder Thierry Hendrikx sold Cancellara Z for the sum of 22,000 Euros to Stud Zangersheide who have now entered him for this inspection. Cancellara Z is a mighty tall gray stallion with a tremendous jumping ability. His granddam Palma is a full sister of P.S. Priamos (Pilot), the gelding who continued to jump 1.60m classes under Dirk Hafemeister and Ludger Beerbaum for many years. He won several World Cups and between 1992 and 1999 represented Germany at the most prestigious championships. In 1998 he and Beerbaum jumped to team gold at the WEG in Rome. All this information was already available in this year´s catalogue, as Hippomundo has produced a complete ‘three-generation pedigree’ including a list documenting the results of the top performance horses. There is no other studbook where breeders are provided with so much information at the time of the stallion inspection.

And another son of the outstanding broodmare Cocaïne Z, the Zangersheide-bred bay Corico Z (Coriano Z x Caretano Z) also proved to be one of the top all-rounders. His striking exterior and his consistent picture perfect jumping style made him one of those 3-year-olds to remember. Following in the footsteps of Crowntano Z and Candico Z, Corico Z is already the third Cocaïne Z son who is approved at Zangersheide. Cocaïne is also the dam of Tabou Z, who won bronze under Christian Ahlmann in the WC´s class for 7-year-olds. This line has also produced Lord II Z and Venezuelan rider Emanuel Andrade´s WEG horse Hardrock Z.

Five 2½-year-olds approved

During Saturday´s second round of free jumping for the remaining stallions, Hanassi-H (Calvino Z) attracted the attention of all jury members. He was presented by Thierry Flandin from Normandy, but Paul Schockemöhle didn´t linger and bought this just 2-year-old cousin of ex-Olympic Champion Hickstead. Other stallions that have been approved at the young age of 2½ are: Hong Kong C (Charisma (ex-Stassino LVP Z) x Cantos), owned by Mr. Aerts from St. Willebrord, Uricas vd Kattevennen (Uriko x Cassini I), owned by Leon Spronken, Gold des Peupliers (Dollar de la Pierre x Papillon Rouge), owned by Eric Dekens and Cincinnati Kid (Clarimo x Carpaccio), owned by the combination Korte and von Allwörden. This last one, a son of Clarimo ASK, demonstrated the same spirit and eagerness as characterises his sire. On taking off, his jumping technique shows the same quality of impulsion. At present Clarimo ASK is acting at 1.50m level with Rolf-Göran Bengtsson.

Leon Spronken´s stallion Uricas was beyond doubt the most complete 2-year-old because of his striking outline and quick jumping reflexes. His sire Uriko, a 7-year-old Holsteiner by Untouchable, may not be that well-known himself, but his granddam Chika’s Way (Caretino) is none other than Katrin Eckermann and Janne-Friederike Meyer´s former GP horse. Last summer, at the grand age of sixteen, this mare triumphed in four international classes with Pius Schwizer. She is also a half sister of stallions Clearway and Conway and Jos Lansinks´ mare Ut Wodka.

Strong bunch of 3-year-olds

The relatively large group of eye-catchers in the category for 3-year-olds definitely included Zampano Z (Zandor Z x Cocktail Jet). This brown-black appearance is Christian Ahlmann´s first Z-registered stallion who is approved. And it´s not the first time that Ahlmann used Zandor Z for his own breeding programme. It´s no secret that he is very fond of this stallion, and the results are proving him right because Zampano Z is doing great on all fronts. In free jumping he impressed with his amazing jumping reflexes. And to top it all off he can boast a gorgeous exterior. A nice touch to this story is the fact that Christian himself has also ridden this horse´s dam, granddam as well as his great-granddam. In fact, great-granddam Little Queen was one of his first GP horses. Granddam China Queen has been a combination with Victoria Gulliksen for a few years now. His dam Chinatown is only eight years old with schooling still in full swing. Ahlmann´s 3-year-olds Liverno (Livello x Calypso II) and Lohengrin (Lord Pezi x Zeus) also received their breeding licence after the free jumping phase.

Mannfred von Allwörden received the green light for his Holstein-bred Cassius VA (Cachas x Contender). His dam is the mare No Time who also brought Mathieu Billot´s speed horse Cassandra d’Ick. And in combination with stallion Niagara d’Elle Z this Cassandra has also produced the SF inspection star Unik d’Ick in France.

The unusually coloured Gigolo vd Toekomst (Nothing to Lose x Jackson ) is the second son of the mare Nadinia to be accepted at Zangersheide. Before him it was Vengeance who earned himself the red-carpet treatment. At the start Gigolo vd Toekomst seemed a bit rushed, but he gradually improved and in the end he ticked all the boxes. The Mr. Blue son Mr. Cielo ODTH Z (Mr. Blue x Canabis Z) and Adieu Z (Andiamo Z x Quidam de Revel) were accepted because of their jumping capacity and interesting pedigrees. Mr. Cielo was bred from the half sister of Ducati vd Overdam, the horse which eventing rider Lara de Liedekerke rode at the WEG in Normandy. And then Adieu Z is a son of the full sister of Phentagera, Wil Schellekens´ 1.50m horse. From this line we also know Cor de Emilon, Henk Van De Pol´s former 1.50m horse. Adieu Z is one of the stallions who got a new owner thanks to the stallion inspection.

During Saturday´s free movement phase for 3-year-olds, Floyd van Schore (Indoctro x Burggraaf) proved himself to be one of the best jumpers. He is a breeding product from Winfried Lefevere´s yard in Schore, West Flanders and was also sold on the spot to Michel Spaas. One who certainly deserves to be rated among the stars is Crooner d’Hyrencourt (Crown Z x Ogano Sitte). This great-grandson of the magnificent mare Femke P was born in the yard of his owner André Henry, Luc Henry´s father.

Three times Diamant de Semilly among the 4-year-olds

On Saturday morning all 4-year-old and older stallions were presented under saddle. One of them was the macho Dominator 2000 Z (Diamant de Semilly x Cassini I) who is an absolute eye-catcher. It is not only for his tall and powerful physique that this breeding product of the loyal Z followers Corthouts and Foriers appealed to so many, he also demonstrated to have infinite capacity over jumps. For a split-second he even reminded us of the prematurely deceased Diamant stallion Pacino, who at the young age of eight turned out to be the best horse in the Nations Cups under Clement McMahon. It was because of him that Stud Zangersheide decided to buy this stallion. From the same dam line we know the stallions Lord Liberty, Carlow vd Helle and Fixdesign Chopin, owned by Filippo Marco Bologni.

Christian Ahlmann´s gray Cornwell (Cornado I x Grossadmiral) made all heads turn because of his flawless jumping round, great technique and exquisite bloodline. Right now his sire Cornado I is the crème de la crème of Westphalia. His dam is the half sister of Granie 5, former GP horse of Lesley McNaught and Marcus Fuchs. Christian has high hopes for this stallion. He also received the green light for Leander (Lord Pezi x Calato), a stallion scoring high on rideability and born from the half sister of Loro Piana Las Vegas and Charles 56 (Calato), on which Ahlmann became World Champion of the 6-year-olds in Lanaken in 2009.

Under co-owner Nick Vrins, Karmel vd Watering (Diamant de Semilly x Quickstar) jumped a nice course. This Belgian horse has French roots and was bred by Marcel Broeckx out of the Quickstar mare Samba des Etisses. Over the jump this horse shows a remarkable likeness to his granddad Quickstar, especially regarding his speed and reflexes. After the saddle test three 4-year-old stallions from the Netherlands were approved. With James Billington in the saddle Fort Medoc VDL (Baltic VDL x Cosimo) from the VDL Stud was a natural over the jumps. You would be hard-pushed to find a horse with a better jumping technique. Fort Medoc stems from the Holstein line 2067 and is therefore related to stallions Conrad de Hus, Canturano, Carthano, Houston and Gin Duidam. At the stallion inspection we also came across a Ramiro Z son with a rather more modern build. Because of his bloodline, type and qualities, Fanmail D (Ramiro Z x Purioso), who is jointly owned by Berkhof and breeder F.J.Beckers, automatically qualified for the inspection. As did Power Blue vh Breezerhof Z (Plot Blue x Heartbreaker,) the eldest approved son of GCT winner Plot Blue. Power Blue was presented by Brinkman Stables and B. Blauwgeerts.

Four 5-year-olds received their definite approval. Elion V (Applaus x Goodtimes), owned by Egbert Schep and Champion of Picobello Z (Contact vd Heffinck x Orlando), owned by Luc Ruant, Lowie Joppen and Van De Kop, made all heads turn. After the inspection Egbert Schep revealed that he has closed a deal to sell his horse to the USA. He also admitted he would like to collect some frozen sperm from him because there is no one like him in terms of speed. Champion of Picobello Z is one of those horses who combine incredible jumping power with agility. Back home Eric Lamaze has Check Picobello Z (Cardento) who comes from the same dam.

The other stallions who received stud licences are Diamond Z (Diamant de Semilly x Contender) and Dimitri Z (Diarado x Carthago Z). Diamond Z is an exceptionally tall, well-built bay stallion and belongs to his breeder Nico Wouters-Van Den Oudenweijer. His granddam Femmenor V (Nimmerdor) has brought several international show jumpers, such as Samantha McIntosh´s Olympic horse Royal Discovery. Dimitri Z, the last of the 5-year-olds, is the number four approved son of the mare Larthago who belongs to the Van der Bruggen family. Dam Larthago´s other approved offspring are Z stallion Cevin Z, AES stallion Cassago and of course VDL Harley, who is the sire of Maikel Van Mierlo ´s World Champion of the 5-year-olds, Earley. Ruben Romp´s EC horse Hopes are High Z was also bred from the dam of Dimitri Z. The stallion Caritano Z comes from a half sister of Larthago. Under Koen Leemans and Mathijs Van Asten Larthago has competed at international level. The young stallion was presented by Baekgaarden Youngsters Stables from Denmark.

Bringing up the rear was Dirk Demeersman with 7-year-old Hooligan de Laubry (Clinton). Hooligan is a strapping gray with loads of jumping power. At this year´s Belgian Championships for 6-year-olds in Gesves his half sister Isis de Laubry came in second place. For a while now Dirk Demeersman has been overheard saying that he has his eye on Hooligan to become the successor of his sire Clinton.

Joris De Brabander: ‘Z approved stallions must prove themselves in the sport’

We have tried to give a short summary of those stallions who caught everyone´s eye at the 2014 fall inspection, although at Studbook Zangersheide we normally don´t like to draw too much attention to the stars. In any case, this is Joris De Brabander´s impression after three days of inspecting. ‘The Zangersheide stallion inspections don´t end with the selection of overall champions. Even though the stands are jam-packed with visitors they tend not to make too much of a fuss about the outcome. There´s no tradition of glorifying young stallions here, so inspection results will not automatically make them the most sought-after in breeding, as is often the case with other studbooks where they indulge in ceremonies to celebrate the champions. The concept of Z inspections is founded on the belief that approved stallions still have some way to go and must first prove themselves in the sport before they can convince the breeders.’

According to De Brabander, the international status of the Studbook leaves room for a generous inspection policy. ‘Stallions come here from as far as Scandinavia, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Stud Zangersheide covers a much wider range across all Europe than any other studbook. Other studbooks are usually focused on the selection of stallions for use within its own country, whereas Z-stallions tend to have a far wider activity radius. So we factor in whether a stallion could be of any added value in Denmark. We also make some allowances because we know that French people tend to present their horses in a less professional way and we know all the professional presenters. More often than not they have already spotted and bought the best horses. You have to keep that in mind.’

It didn´t take the new Belgian representative long to get the hang of being a member of the jury team. ‘I had to develop a feel for it, though. Paul Schockemöhle is an incredibly strong negotiator but never biased. We are not always of one and the same mind, but I can appreciate his views. He is more focused on riding type than on jumping ability. The Germans are generally more on the look-out for overall quality and when assessing youngsters jumping capacity is not their top priority. I got enough leeway to have my say and he listened to me with an open mind. It proved to be relatively easy to reach a decision we were both happy with.’ For Joris, this stallion inspection was a fantastic experience, even though it made him miss the initial round of his winning stallion Fantomas de Muze during Saturday afternoon´s Sires of the World. ‘I felt privileged to be a member of the Zangersheide judging team. As a jury member you are made to feel just as welcome as the breeders and riders. Everybody who visits the WC values the sociable atmosphere. The Melchior family and the Zangersheide team will bend over backwards to please all visitors, purely because of their passion for breeding. For me, being a stallion inspection judge never was a childhood dream, but at Zangersheide it has turned out to be a very pleasing pastime.’

Tom Lemmens explains his choice to select Belgian stallion keeper and top breeder Joris De Brabander for a place on the jury team: ‘He is highly respected in Belgium as well as the neighbouring countries and therefore we are convinced that people will accept his judgement. He also tends to have a slightly different approach to judging horses than our German judges so we can expect an interesting selection of newly-approved stallions.’

Christian Ahlmann values the springboard quality of the Zangersheide stallion inspection

Christian Ahlmann´s first involvement with the Zangersheide stallion inspection left him with no less than five licensed stallions. Christian is thrilled with his horses´ performances in front of the judges but just now has no plans to cash in on their breeding potential. ‘The stallion inspection was an experiment. Now I am going to consider the options for each stallion and who I would like to work with. I don´t think I´m going to run a stallion station. There are plenty of other options to consider, such as in trade, at Zangersheide or in Germany.’ His father Georg Ahlmann tells us that some of the stallions are Christian´s own breeding products. ‘Christian has taken over my broodmares and mostly pairs them with Zangersheide stallions, promptly achieving some stunning results. Personally, I was quite taken with Zampano Z´s (Zandor Z) exceptional performance.’ Christian Ahlmann shares his views: ‘The 5-year-old Cornado son Cornwell is also one of my favourites, but I think highly of all stallions I presented. There is something special about Cornwell. In every respect he resembles his father who was on the German team with Marcus Ehning at the World Equestrian Games. He was bred from the half sister of Swiss GP mare Grannie which gives him a particularly interesting pedigree. I took the stallion inspection very seriously and the 3-year-old stallions were all worked on the lunge to get them in shape. We didn´t particularly focus on free jumping. Taking my horses to the inspection has taught me a few things about them and I came home a happy man. None of them disappointed me. Being away from home for several days was a new experience for my 4-year-olds too. Cornwell and Leander only jumped unfamiliar courses on three previous occasions. For them this was a complete novelty. They had never spent a night away from the yard and now they were out and about for four days. So I have reasons enough to be pleased with how they performed together with my rider. The stallions have all moved up one step in their career but we still have a long way to go’, Christian tells us. He had been monitoring it all from some distance though, because his main focus was on the World Championships.

Eleven 5-year-old stallions approved for life

On Saturday morning around twelve 5-year-old stallions were presented under saddle in the Ramiro Z Arena where they had to jump the standard course which is mandatory for this age group. Approved for life are Cavalo Z (Carthago Z), Jaguar (Catoki), Vantast Z (Va-Vite), Europe RV (Mr. Blue), Cyrano VDV Z (Colmander), Quilimbo (Quidam de Revel), Big Star Jr. K Z (Big Star), Air Jordan Alpha Z (Argentinus), Charisma Z (Calato Z), Jaguar van Paemel (Cicero van Paemel Z) and Levisto Alpha Z (Leandro).

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