Coatesville, PA - Over the past few decades, North American breeders have been educating themselves on the best bloodlines and crosses required to produce top international talent. As a result, these dedicated breeders have traveled extensively in Europe and imported some of the best breeding stock. While trips across the pond will undoubtedly continue, North American breeders are no longer required to leave home to produce exceptional horses. Access to high-ranking international bloodlines has never been easier. In February, the KWPN (Royal Dutch Warmblood Studbook) released their 2012 Breeding Values and many of the sires and damsires are available right in the U.S.A.
The Value of Bloodlines
Each year the KWPN (Royal Dutch Warmblood Studbook) collects and analyzes extensive performance and health data for each Approved stallion and their offspring. It then provides an assessment of genetic ability and statistics with rankings for both dressage and jumping. The resulting report, known as the KWPN Breeding Values, can then be used by breeders to make informed decisions about their breeding programs. This data is among the most comprehensive within the warmblood industry and has helped make the KWPN one of the consistently top-ranked WBFSH studbooks. In 2012, Iron Spring Farm stallions' had historic rankings, including Contango Preferent, Sir Sinclair and UB40. In addition, their sires, grandsires and offspring were also highly rated, making a multi-generational influence on the modern sport horse.
Contango Preferent was ranked second among 78 stallions with offspring 10 years and older competing in dressage. Imported to the United States by Iron Spring Farm in 1995 as a seven-year-old, he had an unprecedented show career. Contango won more than 33 Grand Prix dressage classes, including those at Dressage at Devon CDI and the ABIG/USDF Region I Championships. He is also the sire of four Approved Stallions, 47 Star mares, 34 Keur mares, 10 Elite mares, 50 Sport mares, six Preferent mares and three mares with the extreme distinction of being awarded the Prestatie predicate. His exceptional get have won at both Grand Prix dressage and show jumping. He continues to be available via frozen semen.
In addition to his own impressive standing, three of Contango's sons were top ranked in their age group-Ravel (oldest offspring 7-9; 1st of 25 stallions ranked), Citango (oldest offspring 4-6; 1st of 27 stallions ranked) and Don Tango (no offspring yet competing; 1st of 35 stallions). Maestro, also by Contango, was sixth in his division (offspring competing at studbook competitions, but not yet competing in dressage; 6th out of 15 stallions). Three additional stallions, either by Contango or with him as the damsire, also appeared in the top rankings. The complete list can be found athttp://cms.kwpn.nl/mediafile/0004/0662/Bewaarboek_ENG.pdf .
UB40's Sons Impress in Holland
Another Iron Spring Farm stallion, UB40, has also been recognized as exceptional and is among the most sought after sires in Europe. After only one year of breeding in Holland, UB40 finished 17th in the ratings out of 27 stallions whose offspring are 4-6 and competing in dressage. UB40's Approved son Apache was ranked 19th out of 35 in the stallions with no offspring yet competing group. UB40's grandsire, Jazz, finished first and his sire, Olivi, was third in the older stallion category.
UB40's reputation as a sire was solidified at the KWPN Stallion Show where son Apache won the Z-level Championship (4th level equivalent). Because of exceptional movement and presence, the judges awarded him a 10 on his trot, 9.5 for self-carriage and suppleness and 9s for his canter, conformation and general impression. "Apache is so talented; he plays with the more challenging movements," said jury member Marian Dorresteijn.
Apache is noted for his excellent character and temperament. Meghan de Garay, breeding manager at Iron Spring Farm, explains, "He's one of the most amazing horses I have ever seen. I went to the farm where he lives and met him; he's a real sweetheart."
Apache wasn't the only UB40 son that was a crowd pleaser. During the presentation of the three-year-old stallions, Elcapone (UB40 x 00Seven) also brought the praise of the audience. This youngster was accepted for the 70-day stallion test at Ermelo.
Mares: The Top 500 List
Because mare lines are equally important, the KWPN also produces a yearly mare breeding value for the top 500 mares, both with and without offspring competing in dressage. The reliability of the breeding value must be 30% or higher in order to be considered for publication. According to the KWPN, "the greater a breeding value's reliability, the more estimated genetic ability coincides with actual genetic ability". Iron Spring Farm's stallions Contango and Roemer were well represented by their daughters and granddaughters in this year's report.
Contango was the sire of 23 mares and also was the damsire of eight mares in the rankings of mares with offspring competing in dressage, along with 10 daughters and 23 granddaughters ranked without offspring competing.
Roemer had two mares plus 17 granddaughters ranked on the list of those with offspring competing in dressage. His granddaughter Exquis Nadine competed in the Olympics, World Equestrian Games, numerous World Cup Finals and the European Championships. She was ranked second in the Top 500 dressage mares that currently do not have offspring competing, along with four other Roemer granddaughters. Roemer's son Darwin has also continued to be extremely influential with six daughters and six granddaughters in the Top 500 mares with offspring competing in dressage.
"Breeders know the power of mares on a breeding program and we are extremely proud that our stallions are producing several generations of influential mares," said Mary Alice Malone, owner of Iron Spring Farm.
More information about the 2012 KWPN breeding values and additional results can be found at www.ironspringfarm.com.
About Iron Spring Farm
For more than 35 years, Iron Spring Farm has been importing and breeding high quality sport horses. Iron Spring stands nearly a dozen warmblood and Friesian stallions and offers programs to help breeders produce, raise and market exceptional athletes of their own. Visit www.ironspringfarm.com for complete information.
Photo: Apache, by Iron Spring Farm's UB40, received a 10 on his trot at the KWPN Stallion Show. Photo by Sjoert