Bloodlines in the event horse

“I have produced a tiny version of myself. World domination to ensue.”

Breeding Gina is something I think about very seriously and very frequently. She has many good qualities worth passing on to an offspring; her conformation is good, her bloodlines are good, and I firmly believe most of her personality quirks are due to nurture, not nature.

In breeding her, I’d ideally like to produce something that I could successfully compete as an eventer. One day, I’d like to compete at Preliminary level- maybe even higher, if I can dedicate myself to a lot of time, travel, and money. It would be great if Gina’s offspring could do that.

Kassandra, one of Gina’s daughters.

With that in mind, I’ve been doing some reading on the way bloodlines can influence a sport horse’s performance. If IĀ really wanted to produce a sporthorse, I’d clone Moe and keep the clone intact to breed to choice mares. Moe’s pedigree contains a lot of Turn-To, who appears in the bloodlines of many excellent event horses. That’s a bit further than I’m willing to go, as appealing as the idea of Moe #2 is.


Warmbloods Today recently ran an excellent article analyzing the bloodlines of the 36 Rolex finishers with verifiable pedigrees; it’s super interesting. Here are the main takeaway points:

  • Of the 40 finishers, 15 were 100% Thoroughbred
  • 24 were at least 50% Thoroughbred
  • Of the top 10 finishers,Ā none were 100% Thoroughbred; each had some amount of warmblood or Irish Draught in their pedigrees.
  • Jumping bloodlines appear far more often than dressage bloodlines
  • Most of the Thoroughbred ancestors were direct descendants of successful racehorses

I thought it was interesting that there wasn’t one specific breed of warmblood that showed up; rather, there were Holsteiners, KWPNs, Westphalens, and Hanoverians sprinkled throughout the horses’ pedigrees.

So, which stallion to breed Gina to? There are a couple of nice Hanoverian stallions in the area that are worth looking at, and a surprising number of Oldenburgs. I’m interested to do some more reading on warmblood lines- I’m woefully ignorant of what’s jumping, what’s dressage, and what’s pretty but produces ill-tempered or badly put together offspring. If you have any advice on where to look for this information (aside from simply combing through pedigrees), I’d love to hear it!

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

16 thoughts on “Bloodlines in the event horse”

  1. I had a TB/Holsteiner x before I had Chloe. Boy, was she interesting! You never really knew if you were going to get the lazy WB brain or the overactive, wild TB brain from one day to the next. Great gaits though and damn smart. I had to sell her when I went to Hawaii, but she’s done a bit of everything with the girl I sold her to – Eventing, Hunters, Dressage….

    I’d love an Irish Sport Horse some day. Chloe does like foals, maybe she needs her own?

    Kassandra is lovely! What is her breeding? Is she a cross?

    1. Kassandra has an Oldenburg sire, a stallion named Wradar. I wish I knew where she ended up. The bay filly in the top photo (Koko) went on to do jumpers with moderate success with an amateur owner, but I haven’t been able to find anything on Kassandra!

      I’d love to have an ISH, too!

  2. That is a great idea!!! I am totally clueless about breeding and what to look for… but I hope you decide to breed her so I can see the adorable baby pics šŸ™‚

  3. I’m very jaded on the breeding conversation currently. I have over a grand sunk into a baby horse that never existed. As much as I would LOVE to raise a baby on the farm, it looks like I’ll be resigning myself to buying my next prospect instead. If you’re a patient individual with plenty of spare $$, sure, go ahead and breed. Otherwise, run. haha.

    1. I remember reading a little bit about your breeding struggles a while back! That’s probably my biggest concern with breeding- that I will sink a lot of money into something that won’t come to fruition. Gina is not young and I am not super rich. I’ve been saving up for breeding expenses, but am concerned it won’t be enough.

      My first step for sure is to have my vet do a breeding soundness exam- no point in wasting money on insemination if Gina’s baby apparatus isn’t functional!

  4. I can talk about this for a couple million years. If you aren’t looking at a 3 or 4* horse, the quality of the gallop and the amount of blood becomes less important. You do still want one that is built well and isn’t too heavy though, to save the joints a bit. I personally would not pick just any random stallion that has not produced eventers or evented himself. Bravery means a lot, and spookiness can definitely be heritable. Not all of them have the brain for the job. You also probably don”t want to put a 100% dressage bred stallion on a TB to produce an eventer. In this day and age of fresh and frozen semen you certainly aren’t limited to what’s nearby. The stallion I’ve chosen for next year lives in Europe. It also really really helps to know your type. I personally am not a fan of Trakehners but others are. I love the L and C holsteiner lines and others don’t, etc etc.

    Join the Event Horse Breeding in North America facebook group as a starting point. Look up pedigrees of 1* level and up horses next. Not just the sires, but the sire’s sires and the dam’s sires. You will start to see a lot of the same names pop up. There is also a lot to be found on the internet about certain bloodlines, what they produce, and how they have performed in sport. Sporthorse Data is a great reference tool.

    And of course, I’m always more than happy to talk about breeding.

    1. I was just gonna suggest that she pick your brain! You know the most about this topic of my immediate friend group I think. šŸ™‚

      Good luck! Breeding is an intriguing topic for sure. Im not sure I’ll ever be brave enough to try my hand at it.

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