The most beautiful living legend of horse breeding: Caprimond
Four stallions side by side, four horses who have 'Trakehner' written all over their bodies: The audience at the Holstenhalle in Neumünster is enthused. Nobody, who is there in October 2010, will ever forget this picture. Nobody is able to stay seated. For there are not just four stallions passaging peacefully next to each other. There are father, son, grandson and – great-grandson! Yes, great-grandson! A unique moment in horse breeding: Caprimond, Hohenstein, Münchhausen and Tiziano. With 25 years of age Caprimond is not a retiree doing honorary laps but he delivers a brilliant performance under the saddle. Isabell Wahler is riding him, her brother Christoph is in the saddle of Hohenstein. Living breeding history to marvel at, to celebrate! Once more, Caprimond creates a very special moment. Goosebumps guaranteed. Like in 2006 in Aachen, when Christoph Wahler was riding him and the heels of then twelve year old son of Ingrid and Burkhard Wahler barely reached below the saddle flaps. Or like the unforgettable moment when Theresa Wahler – then a little girl herself – was riding Caprimond at the Trakehner Gala Show in Neumünster. At the end Theresa's proud grandmother Gudrun Wahler stood in the limelight with her granddaughter and this very special stallion, all out-beaming each other. The grande dame of Trakehner breeding knew what treasure the family owned in Caprimond. And how right it had been to set him a monument, a cast in bronze, which is welcoming the guests at the Klosterhof Medingen.
Moments like this belong to the unique success story of this stallion who was bred in Hameln by the Hanke family, raised by Hubertus Poll and bought at an auction by Burkhard Wahler in 1987. A stallion to found a dynasty and – as Burkhard Wahler accentuates – to teach two generations of Wahler's Grand Prix dressage riding. A master teacher, a professor. A stallion still successful in Grand Prix competitions at an age of 19 and who subsequently put Ingrid Wahler back into the saddle after her severe riding accident. A horse with a rare character. A virtue he passes on to his offspring. By the way, the stallion does not have any full siblings. In the face of the colt in front of him, breeder Jürgen Hanke felt certain: This horse is unique, beyond reach. One of a kind – he is proven to be right.
Modern times' Pythagoras
At Caprimonds 20th birthday, the head of Trakehner breeding, Lars Gehrmann summarized the lifetime performance of Karon's son with a unique compliment: The stallion was the “Pythagoras of Modern Times”. “If the label is Caprimond, you will find rideability.” This is a legitimate comparison with the legendary Trakehner stallion, who in the early 20th century had provided 70 licensed sons in barely 13 years – by natural mating, of course – until his career came to a premature and abrupt end in the fog of war.
Pythagoras? Caprimond does not have 70 licensed sons, so far, but his influence extends beyond his offspring. He, who has been awarded elite stallion as youngest stallion of Trakehner history and who was crowned Stallion of the Year in 1998. At an advanced age the Trakehner Breeding Association thanked him for his outstanding position, but at the beginning of his career this was not a given.
But, according to the wisdom that the good always prevails, the stallion with the eponymous half moon shaped marking on the forehead made his way.
His breeding statistics are impressive: In the year 2000, approximately a tenth (9.6 %) of all stallions, mares, riding horses and foals presented at the Trakehner Stallion Market carried Caprimond in one of the first three ancestral generations. In 2003 the number had more than doubled. In 2005 just under a third of all the candidates were marked by the formative stallion. And because these rising stallions prove themselves in breeding, it goes on and on. First and foremost the scene is dominated by Hohenstein and his son Münchhausen, the latter champion stallion, Vice World Champion of Young Dressage Horses and participant in the European Dressage Championships in 2005. Other stallions with a good reputation are Münchhausen's son Tambour, who is father of the German Young Horses Champion (eventing) Herzog, as well as Couracius, Okavango and Karolinger I by Latimer out of Kadenz IX by Hohenstein. Karolinger, who had realized a sensational price at the autumn auction in Medingen in 2005 and is now on the road to success for the Böckmann-Heinrich stable in Hamburg, became champion stallion in Sweden and most successful Trakehner at the riding horse tests of the German Young Horse Championships in 2005. In 2010 he qualified for the final of the Nürnberger Burgpokal. In 2010 he is heading for the Grand Prix. Karolinger carries Caprimond twice in his lineage: His father is German Young Horses Champion Latimer who's mother's father is Caprimond and Karolingers mother's father is Hohenstein.
In 2005 a grandchild of Caprimond, Herzensdieb was champion stallion and was auctioned for 275,000 Euros. The second runner-up Mon Baron stems from Münchhausen. The priciest foal was Kronprinz, a colt by Hohenstein-Sixtus, who became premium stallion in the state stud of Marbach and a very popular sire in the south. Unfortunately, he deceased prematurely, but two of his first sons were at the licensing in Neumünster in 2011.
And there is another side. Caprimond's genetic imprint you will find not only with his sons but with his successful daughters as well – that is the quality of a true formative stallion. This is a fact as early as in 1994, when his daughters from the renowned Donau-family won at the German National Mare Show, the nationwide comparison of all breeding regions. It continued to be that way. This is proven by a survey of the Trakehner mare registrations: In 2005, for example, 31 % of all premium mares carried the blood of the Medinger figurehead. To say it differently: If you want premium, you have to use Caprimond.
Success without limits
Caprimond is successful beyond the comparatively small Trakehner population with less than 2000 registered foals a year. He is hitting it the big time. The Hanoverian breeders learned from Caprimond and later on from Hohenstein that a change of philosophy is worthwhile. At mare shows the daughters of both stallions are always leading in dressage assessments. Hohenstein is continuously ranked among the top ten since the millennium change and for several years Caprimond was ahead regarding the heritability of his riding horse points. It is all the same at competitions.
In peak years, up to 40 % of Hohenstein's daughters have been awarded premium. He is ubiquitous at auctions in Verden, for which he has provided more than 60 offspring so far. That is not the only reason for the foregone conclusion that he will obtain his fathers breeding status in the future. No other stallion features so many offspring at the European Championships of the Juniors and the Young Riders: For example, Highlight with rider Thea-Felicitas Müller (European Team Champion 2008/Young Riders), Habitus with rider Louisa Lüttgen (European Team Champion 2009/Juniors) and Hohenstaufen with rider Kristin Schütte (European Champion/Young Riders).
2002 marks a special year. Hohenstein's son His Highness became champion stallion in Verden and was sold for 515,000 Euros. His premature death at the age of seven prevented an even stronger establishment of Caprimond's genotype in the Hanoverian population.
In 2011 His Highness' breeding value was estimated at 150 points. One point more than his sire Hohenstein (149 points), who was represented by 19 sports horses being successful at S-level in 2010 – one out of eight offspring from Hohenstein (12.5 %) competing in sports was placed in the advanced level. Caprimond was 25 years of age in 2010; naturally the breeding value abates at this point. But the grand seigneur is among the oldest in the national ranking and still very successful with 129 dressage index points and 134 rideability index points.
15 times Caprimond was leading the lap of honor after advanced level dressage competitions with the golden rosette fixed at the double bridle - and there are 32 S-level horses among his offspring. One of them is ten times winner of advanced level competitions Hohenstein, who has been placed more than 50 times at S-level. Without being deployed excessively. But whenever the black stallion has left the Klosterhof Medingen heading for a tournament, he has produced another S-level placing.
Not only His Highness contributes to the glory of his father Hohenstein. The state stud Celle stallion Hochadel, who's mother originates from Donnerhall as well, raises desires among the breeders. Bred by the Berger family and with a foal sister having been auctioned in Medingen in the autumn of 2005 - he has provided nine licensed sons to date, great-grandchildren of Caprimond, adding to the success story of his great ancestor.
In the year 2008 the official FN-assessment has estimated Hohenstein's breeding value to be 150, one of the best 15 dressage stallions in Germany. In 2011 his breeding value is 146 index points – he is ever popular, like his father. In 2011, Hohenstein's son Horatio with his rider Dorothee Schneider was finalist at the World Championships of Young Dressage Horses.
Hohenstein's son Hudson, former state stud stallion in Saxony-Anhalt and Schwaiganger, who has a Prince Thatch xx-mother, holds another point: With his rider Marie-Therese Neuer-Roth-Gschwender he became National Vice-Champion of the Juniors in Austria. The Hanoverian Harvard (dam by Ortelsburg), who was sold as a relatively young horse to Canada, has an absolute top position with an index of 138 (certainty 90 %). On the top rung is Münchhausen, who at times is ranked fifth in the elite club of Germany's best dressage stallions (index: 163 with a certainty of 92 %). He has provided S-level winners in succession.
In 2010 Münchhausen was ranked seventh (160). Tambour and His Highness are equally ranked with their father Hohenstein (150) and Insterburg TSF is even one point better (151). The black stallion Insterburg is a Caprimond-grandson from tip to toe: Beautiful, powerful, rideable and sought-after. His career: Auction foal in Medingen, discovered by Claudia Schultze, premium stallion, bronze medallist at the World Championships of Young Dressage Horses, victorious at S-level with eight years of age, Grand Prix-winner. In 2010 he was sold to Sweden.
Caprimond - connecting horses
And the father, respectively the grandfather and great-grandfather of the success? Caprimond himself belongs to the giants of breeding; his heredity can be calculated by statisticians with almost 100 % perfection. Precisely 98 % are attesting the dressage index of 129. With this, careers in dressage are pre-programmed. A tenth of all Caprimond-children actively competing in dressage are successful at advanced level in 2010.
Internationally, Atterupgaards Cassidy, a Danish son of Caprimond knows how to score. In 2010 the gelding won two silver medals and one bronze medal at the European Championships of the Young Riders with his rider Cathrine Dufour. In 2010 he returned to his Danish home adorned with medals after competing at the European Championships.
At the sporting (and breeding) mega-event of the year 2011, the World Championships of the Young Dressage Horses, Caprimond brought himself into the equation once more: World Champion Woodlander Farouche from Great Britain took Verden by storm. She carries Caprimond in her third ancestral generation. De Champ, outstanding winner of the small final stems from a Caprimond mother. His half brother Zucchero by Depardieu is licensed in the Netherlands.
This all proves: Nationally, internationally and about everywhere! Caprimond will make history as one of the formative stallions at the time of the millennium change. Just as Pythagoras once did in Trakehnen.