Celle’s sizzling stallions

Now the areas where stations opened in the 1970s are closing again because there are not enough breeders to hold up these stations. In Celle we’ve gone down from 6,000 annual coverings to 4,500; in Hannover it’s gone down from 13,000  to 9,000, and generally in Germany it’s gone from 50,000 to less than 30,000.  Breeding is going back to the old areas where there’s a tradition because of good pasture and a not too heavy soil. Westphalia, Oldenburg and Hanover are the most important areas on a large scale.

 

How much ground does your stud cover today? 

 

We have three places. Seven hectars in Celle and 40 hectars at Adelheidsdorf where the horses complete an 11 month performance test. We have trained stallions there for nearly 90 years.

Then there’s a farm of 500 hectars where we grow sugar been, oats, wheat and so on, and where we have pastures where we every year bring up 50 foals that were bought by myself and my employes. When they reach the age of two and a half we make the selection. As the public relations part is difficult with the all round horses we need specialized horses. All the breeders associations are going to specialised places for dressage, show jumping or three day eventing.

 

You have more dressage horses than show jumpers.

 

The dressage market is 70 per cent for us and it is the same in Hanover. However, when you look at the competitions, show jumping has a much bigger influence. During the WEG it was fully sold out for the show jumping whereas the stadium for dressage was not even half full.

The show jumping market is much better but it’s very different. The way to sell jumping horses is a very long way. With an excellent pedigree you can sell a foal with a jumping pedigree but all the other foals have the problem that the genetic correlation between the type, confirmation, movement and jumping is negative. That means if you improve the jumping the type, movements, correctness and confirmation can become worse.

 

“The cavalry traditions and the schooling system is the reason why dressage is more important. Most of the riding masters always came from Germany.”

 

So if you have jumping mares they often don’t have the type and the movements and they’re not really easy to sell.

So normally the breeders have to keep the foals and have them ridden and then there’s a market starting at age five. But most breeders can’t keep them for that long. That’s much easier with a dressage foal; it sells more easily.

 

Some people think there’s such a strong tradition for dressage because the horses of the north were traditionally heavier than those in the south – that they were more suited for dressage.

 

Tradition is the reason why dressage is more important here than for example in France. The cavalry traditions, the schooling system is the reason for this, and most of the riding masters always came from Germany.

In comparison, there’s nearly no dressage in Belgium.

The breeds in the north are not heavier – there have been very light, modern type mares through history. Historically the horses were heavier everywhere because they were used for the artillery and as working horses.

The only horse which was always light was the Trakheners because they were used for the cavalry and not for the artillery.

The reason why the Hanoverian was very fast in the 1950s and the 1960s was due to change of the breeding from working horses to riding horses. They were covered with Trakheners when the flew the horses from East Prussia to the western part after the war when they stopped at Hanover. With the Oldenburgers they used French horses. But in Hanover and in Baden-Würtenberg the Trakheners had a very important influence and they were the first to present a sport horse.

 

You’re celebrating the 300th anniversary of the union between the Kingdom of Hanover and the United Kingdom..

 

Yes, we are celebrating the 300 years since the union in 1714 when King George of Hanover became King George Ist of Great Britain and Ireland when both Kingdoms had the same King until 1837.

We’ve had four big exhibitions about this where Prince Albert came for the opening.

 

We have four King’s coaches at the stud. Two came from the King of Hanover and they were used by him in Hanover and the other two came in 1837 with the King after these two kingdoms were separated. These two red King’s coaches are the original coaches that were used by King George Ist, IInd and IIrd in London. One of them was used for an actor who looks like King George I in a reanimation tour from Haag to Hanover earlier this year. The coach started at the royal gardens of the Hanover House and ended in St. James Palace in London.

 

During the union many thoroughbreds were imported to Celle. In some decades over 40 per cent of our stallions were thouroughbreds. The attillery then found that they became too light so they lowered the numbers.

Between 1990-1990 we had about 15-20 per cent of thoroughbreds in Celle. However, these days we only have around one per cent and it is the same in Westphalia and the Netherlands; it goes up and down.

 

Rearing in Celle

 

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