With everything happening last week I kind of ran out of time to finish my “In the Blood” post before Kentucky, so I decided to turn it into a post-show version instead. Plus, like, if y’all thought you were gonna escape me gushing about Presto’s “brother from another mother” Mama’s Magic Way (Mason) and his spectacular performance in his first 5*, you were sorely mistaken. I’ve been a Mason stan for a while now and this weekend just put it on like level 10.
With his LRK3DE completion Mason also becomes his sire Mighty Magic’s first 5* offspring, and I highly doubt it will be his last. MM’s oldest crop was born in 2007, and for the first few years of his stud career he was bred to quite heavy/cold mares in the thought that, since he was 88% TB and very typey, he would really refine them and blood them up. Once those initial offspring started to mature a bit it was clear that MM actually does best with a mare that has some blood herself and isn’t too heavy, so breeders switched tactics on the type of mares they bred him to. Those offspring are just starting to “come of age” and there are quite a few currently ticking up the levels, so I’m excited to see what happens over the next few years! Mason himself is out of a mare by Star Regent xx out of a Hano mare (making him 80% blood) so he’s a good example of using MM on a mare who has some blood herself. I was cheering like crazy for him and he made easy work of a tough Kentucky, still looking full of run when he crossed the finish on Saturday and bright and fresh on Sunday. Really really exciting horse for the future, and no of course I’m not biased at all.
Yes you’re right, they should hire me to his PR team. ANYWAY, on to the rest of the field I suppose.
Two stallions had two offspring each in the field – eventing stallion Windfall and showjumping stallion Diarado. The Diarado’s won that particular head to head battle in the final placings, with Diachello finishing 11th and QC Diamantaire finishing 19th. Showjumper Stakkato was the sire’s sire of two horses, Superstition and FE Stormtrooper. Other stallions did show up multiple times across the pedigrees of different horses, names you should probably be familiar with by now if you’ve read any of these posts before – Cavalier Royale, Clover Hill (ISH), Contender, Heraldik xx, Indoctro, Landadel, Capitol, Voltaire, and Master Imp xx. Basically TB and showjumping lines with a dash of Irish (which is pretty much all you see if you look at any of the Irish Sporthorse pedigrees).
The blood percentages across the field ranged anywhere from 27% (Bolytair B) to 100%. If you discard all the full thoroughbreds and the full Anglo-Arabian, the highest blood percentage was a whopping 99.8% from German-bred Hanoverian (lol) FRH Butt’s Avondale.
The Butt’s breeding program has produced a lot of good eventers, always with very very high blood, and it was fun to see one competing on this side of the pond. Super nice horse and really fun to watch, another good one for the future I think!
If we dig into the pedigrees of the top 10 finishers (as much as we can anyway, Ballaghmor Class is at least 50% but his pedigree has large chunks missing and I don’t like using inaccurate numbers in my stats, thus he’s excluded) the average blood percentage of those horses is 61.25%, a bit higher than average for a 5*. We’re used to seeing more like 53-56% from the European 5*’s.
If we look at the top 10 fastest clear rounds on cross country, the average blood percentage of those horses rises to a whopping 74.5%. Alternatively, if we look at just the horses who turned in clear showjumping rounds, the average blood percentage is 57.3%. Read from that what you will, if anything.
On the American Thoroughbred side of things we again see the lines we’ve gotten accustomed to seeing at these top levels – Danzig xx, AP Indy xx, Deputy Minister xx, Count Ivor xx, and Affirmed xx just to name a few.
If that’s not enough to convince you of the thoroughbred influence, 16 of the horses who started cross country have at least one full TB parent, and it was just as common to see the TB parent on the bottom of the pedigree (the dam) as it was on the top (the sire). As we’ve seen over and over again by now, the old adage of “blood on top” doesn’t seem to apply to event horses. They just need blood period.
Out of all of the Irish Sporthorse entrants, none of the ones that completed this year were of Traditional Irish breeding – all had some Continental (ie European warmblood) mixed in there as well. It’s proven to be an extremely successful formula for Ireland when it comes to creating modern event horses.
While it’s most common to see sires that were showjumpers (there are very few stallions that compete at the top levels of eventing) five of the entrants were by stallions who competed at upper level eventing themselves – Oratorio by Oslo Biats, FE Lifestyle by Leo von Faelz, Mama’s Magic Way by Mighty Magic, and of course the aforementioned Vandiver and Tsetserleg by Windfall. It used to be thought that you can’t really breed eventers, which is obviously quite false!
On a more personal note, I think my favorite horses of the weekend aside from Mason were FE Lifestyle and Jakobi (by Ustinov, who has sired a lot of good event horses), who both looked extremely genuine and honest on the cross country. My type! Who were your personal favorites of the weekend? Did any stand out to you as ones to watch for the future?