sires is needed to ascertain the full extent of Thoroughbred influence on Jumper performance. In relation to this, if you look at a studbook focused on jumping such as the Holstein, they hold Thoroughbred blood in high regard and have for many years utilized it to refine the type of their horses. The Holsteiner breeding program used Ladykiller XX extensively. He produced two great jumper stallions: Landgraf and Lord. Landgraf was one of the most successful sires of show jumpers the world has seen. He produced over 130 approved sons. Lord was a successful 3-day event horse. Despite covering far fewer mares than Landgraf, he still produced over 60 licensed sons. It would have been very interesting if Sitzenstock’s research had included a studbook such as the Holsteiner.
Prince Thatch xx. By LGST Celle
Very interesting is the relationship between performance (as measured by the German FN rating) and the percentage of Thoroughbred blood. Sitzenstock found dressage specifically had a positive relationship with Thoroughbred blood. He found that the group with the third highest percentage of Thoroughbred blood (25.1% - 37.5%) had the best score for dressage, while the group with the highest percentage of Thoroughbred blood (50.1% - 62.5%) had the worst score for jumping. So according to Saltzenstick’s results, for dressage any amount of Thoroughbred blood has a positive affect with the optimum being between 25,1 and 37,5 percent. However for jumping, above 25% has a negative effect while up to 25% has a positive effect compared to no Thoroughbred blood. This difference in results for dressage and jumping however must be viewed carefully. During the research period, the Thoroughbred sires that were used in the Hannover area were the likes of Lauries Crusador XX, Prince Thatch XX and Sunlight XX. All three of these sires were dressage oriented. If Hannover had used more extensively a Thoroughbred like Noble Roi XX who had a more dual purpose, the results may have been different in terms of jumping results. It is important that one must always look at statistics in a holistic light and not always on face value. The danger here would be to look at Sitzenstock’s study and say “Thoroughbreds don’t improve jumpers”. Indeed that may not be the case if the dataset were different. I think what can safely be said from the results is that Thoroughbred blood up to 62.5% can positively influence dressage performance whereas more research with jumping oriented Thoroughbred
Selle Francais, another well-known Jumping studbook also utilizes Thoroughbred blood extensively. The French Breed expert Arnaud Evain was quoted as saying “One of the major reasons that French breeding is appreciated in the world today is because of Thoroughbreds. We used the proper Thoroughbreds, the bad ones we used also, but no one remembers them, they disappeared from the dam lines. Now if you go into the pedigrees of the French book, and you find stabilized horses with between 15% and 20% Thoroughbred blood – the situation is much the same in Holland – and when you mix those horses together you keep 15-30% Thoroughbred.” And for Conformation? Sitzenstock’s research indicated that the input of Thoroughbred blood has had a positive effect on the conformation of the Hanoverian horse. Up to 62% of Thoroughbred blood increased the breed values for type, frame, saddle position and especially front legs. It must be noted that the period in which Sitzenstock did his research (1980 – 2006) was a period in Warmblood breeding that focused on refinement not only from use of the Thoroughbred but also the Trekahner and French Anglo Arab. As such this would have helped Sitzenstock’s research and possibly amplified the results. It should however be noted that the need for such refinement is not as pertinent now as it was in 1980. However, as many experts have pointed out, including Dr Ludwig Christmann of the Hannoveraner Verband, “That does, however, not mean that we want or can abandon Thoroughbreds as a refining breed. It means that we can approach the use of Thoroughbreds with a certain calmness, but also with a necessary consequence. Calmness means that only those Thoroughbreds are to be used, which are equipped with moving ability, rideability, and/or jumping talent; consequence means that we continue to carefully search for such Thoroughbreds.” For certain, I think the Thoroughbred will always have a place in the breeding plan of Warmblood breeders as a refining/ improving mechanism, though maybe not for immediate competition horses, but rather in a long term breeding plan that carefully combines the attributes of the breed with specific Warmblood lines. Issue 19 SPORTING HORSE
Published on Jul 15, 2014