Once again in 2016 a Hanoverian Hunter is leading the Hunter scene in the US. It is Mindful by Graf Grannus/Bold Indian xx. Bred by Manfred Schaefer, Vechelde, and owned by Kenneth und Selma Garber, Kensel LLC, the 12 year old Mindful was named US Hunter of the year in 2015 and therewith repeated his sensational success of 2014. His rider Kelly Farmer about the black: "He is a great horse. What else can I say? I am lucky to have him. It is an honor to ride a horse like him. He is ready to give everything, every time.” The US-Hunter market has found the export of Hanoverian Horses to be valuable as the Hanoverian is bringing exactly those traits needed for the Hunter discipline. The success of the German export label in a country where the Huntersport was created is not a single case.
At this point, no detailed description of the Huntersport is needed, especially not from a German editor writing a blog for the US audience. The Huntersport is a traditionally American discipline and almost every American rider is familiar with the requirements of this sport and its significance in the US. Still (especially for our European readers), I would like to re-emphasize the main criteria that outline the Hunter test on a show:
This is about perfection! The horse completes a course over fences and a test on the flat to examine gaits and ride-ability. The course is supposed to be quiet, easy-going, and over all absolutely smooth and consistent. Depending on the level, the fences have a height of 60cm to 120cm. The focus is not solely on ending the course clear, but also on the manner over the fence, the distances between the fences and the overall appearance and harmony between horse and rider. That said, what characteristics does the hunter need to bring to the table to finish a hunter class with a high score?
• Brings his weight on the hind legs before the jump
• Jumps with back and neck well rounded and arched upward
• Has a quick front leg, which has to be absolutely balanced and equal
• The front legs are bent high with a 90 degree angle at the knee and the fetlock joint
• Keeps the same stride length and tempo before and after the jump
• Completes the course in a perfect manner
One part of the hunter class is the examination of the gaits. Here also the principle: less is more. It is expected from the horse to move elastically and with minimal effort. The rider keeps the lightest contact, the nose is stretched out with a long neck. Absolute character feature of a hunter is its even-temperedness.
It is not a secret anymore that the auction place in Verden is known to discover hunters. Carlson has already shown it in 2009. Richard Rinehart bought him on the auction and then trained him as a hunter. 2013 Carlson (by Competent/Polydor, bred by Gerd Strothmeyer, Einbeck) won what may be the highest endowed Hunter Series in the US, the National Hunter Derby. Currently Carlson is winning at the Brownland Horse Show for the Team Meadow View/Tammy Provost, ridden by Alliy Moyer.
Like him, numerous Hunter careers have found their roots in Verden and have proven the Hanoverian Horse is perfectly suited for this riding discipline, just as it is for dressage, jumping, 3-day-eventing and leisure. The Hanoverian brings everything a hunter needs. Another prime example for excellent hunters from Verden is the story of Rotspon’s Crusador. As the name already reveals, he is by Rotspon/Lauries Crusador xx. In 2004, the then two-year-old stallion bred by Johann-Christian Eggers was licensed and in 2006 sold to the US through the Elite Auction. Before that he finished his stallion test with a total score of 123.83 and won multiple riding horse classes. During the auction training under Meike Vogel (now Möller) he showed perfect ride-ability and natural looseness in all three gaits. His attractive dark chestnut color and his dignified head with the alert eye made him an eye-catcher. That was recognized by expert Udo Wagner who then advised American Megan Udelson to the young talent. She secured the optimally constructed stallion and after only one year in Kentucky Rotspon’s Crusador won everything he could in his class. The foundation of his career in the Hunter domain was built.
Not surprising, the US-Hunter market is bidding on the Hanoverian Horse. The Hanoverians naturally bring many of the needed character features and the ride-ability that is needed, are reliable partners in the course, though equipped with capacity and mellow gaits. The collection of the Verden Auction (VA) in May had a number of riding horses to offer that meet these qualities. One ended as price leader of the auction. It was the four-year-old Belissaria that was sold for the highest bid of the day. A renowned US Hunter-Trainer secured the Belissimo M/Embassy-daughter for €32,000 ($36,000). Belissaria was bred by Carsten Cohrs from Scharnhorst and presented by Lena-Marie and Kerstin Klose.
In the dressage part she was shown by Australian Auction Rider Victoria Jade Harding – jumping rider Roman Duchac showed her over fences. As further prospect for the Huntersport the US Trainer secured a second horse. Number 38, Nice to Have by Now or Never M/Mont du Cantal AA will also move to the United States. The hammer for the gelding from Andre Vagts’ breed fell for €20,000 ($22,500). The horse was presented by the State Stud Celle.