Family Trees: The Warmbloods

Henny got his own TB family tree post, so I figured I’d throw in the other two equine kids as well: Sadie, and her still-in-utero Nugget (she’s currently 240 days pregnant, but who’s counting?). I’ve talked plenty about their parents before, but I’ve never really delved further back into their pedigrees because I felt like most people eyes would start to cross and they’d fall asleep. But since we’ve already opened this can of worms all over blogland, and because I think it’s really interesting to see what all is hidden in those warmblood lines: get your pillow ready, because here we go.

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Sadie

Sadie is kind of fun because she’s half Hanoverian and half TB… the warmbloods are so easy to trace back, because there’s so much info and even videos (I’ve linked to lots throughout this post). Her sire, as everyone has heard a million times by now because I love him, is Westporte.

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Westporte wearing a top hat, because duh

Westporte has mostly produced hunters, obviously, since that’s what he was shown and marketed as, but he’s also had a few babies show up in the jumper ring, and one is even a 2* eventer. His offspring are generally known for being good movers and amateur-friendly.

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2* eventer West River

Westporte himself was bred in Germany for dressage. His sire is the well-known Wolkentanz I, who won his stallion licensing and was also known for his good movement and good rideability.

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famous red pony

Wolkentanz was by the legendary Weltmeyer, also winner of his stallion licensing. At the Bundeschampionate he earned a 10 for trot, 9.5 for canter, 8 for walk, and 9.5 for conformation and general impression. So… I guess he was alright. While Weltmeyer ended up becoming a phenomenally successful dressage sire, it’s interesting to note that at his stallion testing he managed a jumping score of 141.44 – almost as high as his dressage score of 143.94. There were some hops hidden in there, even though he never went down that road.

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really famous red pony

Wolkentanz’s dam was named Lovely (ok that’s cute) who was by Ludendorff

Not that famous and not a red pony

known for producing – you guessed it – excellent rideability, although he sired horses that were successful both in showjumping AND dressage. Ah, finally, some variety.

You can keep going back into these lines for a long way with plenty of pictures, thanks to the excellent record keeping of the Hanoverian Verband, but I’ll stop there on the sire line before anyone becomes comatose. On to the damline!

Westporte’s dam was Farrah, a bay (yay) Hanoverian mare by Fabriano.

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Fabriano was another excellent dual-purpose stallion, although he is probably best known for his dressage offspring. He also won his stallion testing (this is a trend here) with high marks for rideability (also a trend here). Farrah’s damsire was Egerländer 

who actually sired mostly eventing and showjumping offspring. Believe it or not, Egerlander’s sire Ecuador was full TB. Other well-known stallions in Westporte’s pedigree include Absatz , who at the time was used to bring more “type” and help lighten the Hanoverian breed (although these days we would look at him and call him a heavier horse),

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and the prolific Hanoverian showjumping sire Gotthard.

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So although you glance at Westporte’s pedigree and immediately think “dressage”, there were definitely some jumping influences in there. That mixture obviously served him well as a hunter.

Sadie’s dam is a full thoroughbred – Hope’s Secret Port. She raced a little and then pretty much just lived the broodmare life. She was presented to RPSI while pregnant with Sadie and missed Premium by one measly point. They liked her type, walk, and trot, but Hope decided that that particular moment was the best possible time to canter around like Pepe LePew, so she got dinged a bit for that.

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Hope says “don’t hate, sometimes you just gotta bounce”

Hope’s sire was Porto Varas, who won a little bit of money at the racetrack and then sired a bunch of horses who also won a little bit of money at the racetrack. At one time I swear I had a picture of him but I can’t find it now so just use your imagination here.

Chestnut Stallion

with

Big Butt

Porto Varas was by the much more successful Miswaki, a stakes winner who raced in Europe as a 2yo and then the USA after that.

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considering Sadie had two bay parents, there is no shortage of RED in this pedigree

Miswaki was by Mr. Prospector, who I’m not particularly a fan of, but both Miswaki and Mr P have managed to show up in the pedigrees of many successful sporthorses so I’m learning to live with it. Miswaki’s damsire was Buckpasser, both a great racehorse sire and a great sporthorse sire.

Porto Varas was out of a mare by Arctic Tern, a french stakes winner (who was apparently blind in one eye) that went on to be a leading sire in France.

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he looks like a warmblood

On Hope’s damside there are a few random little sporthorse lines further back, but the most well known name that would immediately jump off the page to anyone is this guy:

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Hope’s pedigree actually has one mare, Hopespringseternal, in there twice, through two different offspring of hers. It’s pretty uncommon to see the same mare show up twice.

As for Baby Nugget, obviously his dam is Sadie, so see all of the above for damline info. His sire is Mighty Magic, who I’ve already talked about a lot here. Summary: won the world eventing championships as a 7yo and is now an international level dressage horse with a child rider. He’s also homozygous bay, because omg that’s enough with the red (even though Sadie is brown, she still has a chestnut gene. Yes I had her tested. Yes I am crazy.).

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I’m adorable, love me!

Although Mighty Magic is registered Holsteiner, he’s actually 88% thoroughbred, with both a full TB sire and a full TB damsire. His sire Mytens

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was bred in the USA and then sold to Britain as a yearling. He ended up being a good sire for all 3 Olympic disciplines, as well as producing offspring that made their way to the US and were successful in the hunter ring.

Mytens was by Spectacular Bid

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out of a mare by Hoist the Flag.

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Pretty classic American breeding, and no surprise he was a successful sporthorse sire.

Mighty Magic’s dam Neika was by Heraldik, who has been ranked somewhere in the top 3 eventing sires in the world every year since at least 2008.

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Heraldik started his life as a racehorse (flat and steeplechase) in Europe before retiring due to a tendon injury. After that he became a very successful showjumper, competing up through 1.50m. He has sired A LOT of upper level eventers and is also the damsire of Michael Jung’s famous ride, La Biosthetique Sam. Heraldik has had offspring at the Olympics for both eventing AND dressage… pretty impressive, especially for a full TB stallion.

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yes, these are 3 DIFFERENT horses by Heraldik… he certainly throws a type.

The actual Holsteiner blood in Mighty Magic comes via Neika’s dam Fiona, who was by Lavall.

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Lavall’s sire was the famous Landgraf, and he was out of a mare by Sacramento Song – another Thoroughbred who became a well-known showjumping sire in his own right.

Fiona’s dam was by Ladalco

which gives her two crosses to Ladykiller, perhaps the most influential thoroughbred in warmblood history.

It’s not hard to find a lot of information about Ladykiller, such as:

He was an averaged sized, clearly masculine type with a beautiful head, really heavy neck, good shoulder, rather flat loin, and a nicely coupled, heavily muscled croup. He had first-rate legs and feet for a Thoroughbred and was an elastic mover. Today he must be viewed as one of the most important jumper sires of modern time. Ladykiller offspring correspond more to performance, jumper types. As a rule, they are strong horses, they are not, at first, very tight with their front ends. This however, quickly improves with increasing maturity.

Passed on a good temperament, although sometimes a little hot. In spite of his early injuries he did not pass on any defects in the limbs.  Ladykiller xx passed on specific characteristics, such as a fine head, an often light brown colour with white on the legs, sometimes less coupled loins, good, powerful and correct bones, very good jumping qualities (lots of guts, power, fine technique and rounded back over the fence), excellent basic gaits and on average, good sized products.

At the 2014 WEG, Ladykiller’s line is responsible for 11 of the entrants in the showjumping championship.

So, while Sadie’s sire line might have been a bit lacking in blood, her full TB dam combined with the 88% TB blood from Mighty Magic means that Baby Nugget will be 73% thoroughbred, representing many of the great thoroughbred sporthorse lines. Just goes to show how vital the thoroughbred has been in shaping the modern warmblood, especially the jumpers and eventers.

29 thoughts on “Family Trees: The Warmbloods

  1. SO interesting! I find it fascinating how the Warmblood breeds come to be; especially how the registries/breeders are really after more of a ‘type’ than a specific bloodline, allowing other breeds to be accepted into the registry to improve the breed as a whole. I think that, in part, is what makes WB’s such quality, desirable horses – breeders aren’t stuck with one gene pool to work with and can add in any bloodlines that would be beneficial as long as the individuals in question are of high enough quality. So, so interesting!

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    1. I agree. Having inspections, approvals for breeding, keeping such detailed records of results and heritability… that combined with taking the best of a few other select “breeds” is really what has created such a phenomenally successful sporthorse.

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    1. March 17 would be 340 days (average gestation). Last year Sadie went 330… we’ll see how she’s feeling this time around. Hopefully she doesn’t go too “late”, my blood pressure can’t take it.

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  2. I thought this was very interesting! Question and a tiny correction – as a huge fan of Secretariat, I have to point out that his dam was Somethingroyal, by Princequillo.

    My question is, given the EXTENSIVE record-keeping done by the Warmblood Verbands, going back many many years, how is it that when I read articles in COTH about hunter competitions and winners so many of them state the horse’s background as “Warmblood of unknown breeding?” 🤔 Hmmm… Surely there isn’t that much fence-jumping going on in the tightly controlled world of European WB breeding. Maybe the new microchip rule will put a dent in this?

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    1. Oops sorry, you’re right, secretariat was bred to hopespringseternal (also owned by Penny Tweedy). My eyes started to cross.

      As to the hunter thing – super simple answer to that question. A lot of those horses are not tracked by their owner’s on purpose. Horses are imported and the ages are conveniently changed, horses change hands and change identities in such a way that their show record doesn’t follow them and they can show in divisions that they technically aren’t qualified for. It’s been a huge problem in the hunter industry forever. That combined with the fact that most of those listed as “unknown” are actually just horses with owner’s who didn’t care enough to go get the papers and enter the horse’s bloodlines when they registered them. Any record is really only as good as the person entering it, unfortunately. But yes, the new microchip rule should start to help straighten out a lot of the shady crap that has tended to go on, which will hopefully lead to a better, more complete database.

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  3. This is all really interesting. Warmblood breeding is completely foreign to me, but I like looking at the fanciness. Also, when I did Highness’ family tree, I included a bit about Secretariat…I think his dam was Somethingroyal, not the horse you have listed. :/

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    1. I like him more through a few particular sons (Fappiano being #1) but I don’t like seeing him more than once. I’ve had/seen too many issues with feet and knees. I prefer it when he’s further back, and definitely not line-bred.

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  4. I have to say I am super impressed with your research! You are now my go to person for anything relating to lineage. And getting Gypsy Vanner out of that lineage. I also love that you’re breeding so responsibly and really thinking about what you want and like. I cannot wait to meet your baby in approximately 100 days!!

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  5. Thank you for the warmblood post! Clearly all these crosses were so carefully considered, it’s amazing. From what I’ve gathered, Frankie was likely an oopsie baby by an unapproved stallion, and it bums me out that I can’t track down more information.

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  6. Cosmo’s grandsire is Landgraf. Lemgo was Cosmo’s sire and I think Cosmo looks a lot like him. I dig that line. I did a little research (mostly on who they were, not so much what they offered) when I got Cosmo’s papers and did a quick post on my blog way back but maybe now is a good time to dig a little deeper.

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  7. Just a leetle behind here, but holy cow by the end of this my thoughts were basically “Yes, that is horse, and he has legs.” But crossed eyes aside, I love seeing all of the thought and work that goes into creating a sporthorse. So many people forget how much went into creating their fancy creature, but I think taking the time to at least do some research really helps to give a whole new appreciation for a horse.

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