Hannoveraner Verband Breed Orientation Course 2023

Verden, Germany – Oct/Nov 2023

In late Fall 2023, your editor, Nat Masin, and her breeding partner, Lynn Masin, lived an experience of a lifetime at the Hannoveraner Verband Breed Orientation Course in Verden, Germany. Expertly administered by the Verband’s team of accomplished breed experts, including Maren Schlender (Deputy Breeding Director), Bo Eitenmüller (Studbook International – Foal Registration and Studbook Inspection), Juliana Küspert (Studbook International – Seminars/WebSeminars, Genomic Services), and the legendary Ludwig Christmann (retired Head of Development), we were treated with an impressive agenda complete with coursework on breed objectives, conformation, and notable breeding lines, as well as a long list of farm tours to stallion stations and breeders across the region. What we learned here will certainly have an enduring and profound impact on our breeding program in North America!

Perhaps my biggest takeaway from this course was the deep love and care for the horse, the breed, and the breeders, in Germany and Internationally. These seminars are a unique outreach event designed to strengthen the world-wide understanding of the breed and further the breeding objectives across the global population of Hannoverian and Rhineland breeding horses. The Team at the Verband are welcoming and engaging, excited to share their own love for the breed and registry, with ample support to international breeders through personal discussion, active social media, and endless registry resources to aid in making breeding decisions and drive education behind the studbook processes and requirements.

The collaborative atmosphere with the Verband and so many of the stallion and mare owners across Germany was truly a profound and rewarding experience as an outside to their country and homeland registry. We were welcomed into homes, family restaurants, and intimate barn settings, where each breeder described to us their own personal breeding objectives, successes and failures, and passion for the breed and horse. The breeding network runs deep in Germany, and you can feel the weight of the history in every facility and through every horse proudly presented to us in our journey. It is nearly impossible to describe in words.

I attempted to capture the most personally impactful moments in a few posts below. Enjoy reading and browsing the pictures! Most importantly, consider participating in this course yourself in the near future. Be sure to follow the Hannoveraner Verband on social media to stay abreast of updates to timing for the mare session this summer, as well as the next stallion/mare session in 2025. You don’t want to miss it!

I am forever grateful to Maren, Bo, Juliana, Ludwig, and the many other connections we made in Germany, for opening their doors to us and imparting their wisdom in support of the international Hanoverian breeder base. I cannot impress upon you enough the engagement and collaboration apparent between the parties, and the passion they have in ensuring the breed thrives and excels on a global scale. As a small North American breeder myself, I am grateful for the tutelage and for the many new breeding and equine enthusiasts we met on our journey. Cheers to an amazing experience, and lifelong connections!

Hannoveraner Verband Breed Orientation Course 2023
Hannoveraner Verband Breed Orientation Course 2023
“16 enthusiastic Hannoveraner breeders from Denmark, Great Britain, Canada, the USA and Switzerland took part in this year’s “Breed Orientation Course” organised by the Hannoveraner Verband. The week was packed with information on the breeding programm and stallion lines, the assessment of broodmares, visits to breeders and stallion stations and the stallion performance test in Adelheidsdorf. The aim of the English-language course is to show participants where Hannoveraner breeding originated, how breeders keep and raise their horses in Germany and how they make their breeding decisions. The conclusion and highlight of the course was the Hannoveraner stallion licensing of dressage stallions.” – Hannoveraner Verband E.V.

Class is in session at the Hannoveraner Verband e.V. in beautiful Verden!

Already learning so much about the history and goals of the Hanoverian breed. An eye opening, inspiring, and enlightening experience, complete with top hospitality and thoughtfulness accommodating breeders from all over the world.

We are quickly making many new connections and gleaning perspectives from breeders across the globe with varying years of experience and disciplinary focus. Just incredible.

Day 2 of the Hannoveraner Verband e.V. breed seminar delivered a wealth of knowledge and application regarding scoring and linear descriptions. We toured the beautiful and historic stables of stallion station Hörem and breeding farm Hermann-Jürgen Rump.

At Hengstation Gestüt Hörem, we were presented with top Trakhener stallions Schwarzgold and Ivanhoe (now on my short list), a variety of offspring resulting from 125+ years of Trakehner and, more recently, Hanoverian breeding, and a tour of the breeding shed, barns, and pastures. We enjoyed learning about the generational breeding programs at Hörem, particularly about the recent focus on Hanoverian breeding and the successful crosses between the Trakhener lines and typical European sporthorse lines. As we played with that cross ourselves this year (EH Herzensdieb – Qredit Hilltop – Graf Gotthard), we truly appreciated the additional context and considerations behind the breeding philosophy and aim at Hörem. After also learning about the deep history of the family and property, we ended this visit with cookies, sausages, and Schnapps, of course!

After lunch, we visited the farm of Hermann-Jürgen Ramp, who warmly welcomed us to his breeding farm and bravely shared his horses for our group practice in scoring and linear description! We were blown away by the quality of the deep generations of offspring presented to us. The thoughtfulness, commitment, and passion show through in every horse we met there, and the quality of the horses were absolutely top shelf. Jürgen described the history of his family’s breeding program, and the future of it in the next generation’s hands, as well as the way of life in their village. To be in a place steeped in generations of history with such a profound impact on Hanoverian breeding was such a special experience that often left me speechless. We ended this part of the tour with cake and coffee at their family coffeeshop in the village.

Maren Schlender has gifted us with an unbelievable start to this week of total immersion into Hanoverian breeding with absolute hospitality and passion for teaching us how to be better breeders and enthusiasts. What an unbelievable experience already!

It is impossible to describe just how much we are learning and experiencing here in Germany. With top guidance from the team at HV, including Maren, Bo, and Juliana, we toured the famous State Stud Celle and observed the second review of the riding portion of the 50-day test at Adelheidshof. To finally witness the professionalism and process of this prestigious testing practice was enlightening. Who knows – we have have witnessed the next top stallion!

At Celle, we “shook hands” with a variety of notable celebrity stallions, and watched as they trained a two year old prospect in the jump chute. We were fortunate to have stable master Axel Brockmann himself lead the tour, and he was happy to answer many questions we had about the stallion selection process, facilities, stallion management, and the future of the programs in Germany and abroad.

Complete hospitality and a desire to share their love, passion, and wisdom with us. Stallion facilities were top notch, clean, organized, and peaceful. Very impressive with all the young stallions on site for the testing. Already a trip of a lifetime!

This was an AMAZING day! The entire day was spent touring breeding farms, including the Kleemeyer family in Wehye, the Kreyenhagen family in the Ostercappeln area (including lunch in their fabulous restaurant), and the Thelker farm (also in Ostercappeln)

At Kleemeyer, we were immensely impressed with the care of the facility and horses, but even more so of the high-tech adaptations they implemented to keep the breeding farm running safely and efficiently. From automated feeders, to AI cameras in foal stalls, to their own stable management software (let’s not forget all the spiffy gadgety things all around the facilities, equipment, windows, and feed processing from their own oats), there were many takeaways for us to bring back to our breeding programs and facilities. So great to learn so many progressive ways of handling the workload. Not to mention, the quality of breeding stock and performance horses on sight was jaw dropping. We ended this visit with schnapps and cookies, of course.

Next, we went to my new favorite breeding farm lovingly nurtured and developed by the Kreyenhagen family, proudly presented by Dieter and his daughter Maren. Here, we were thoroughly impressed by the dams! We witnessed many mares all originating from the same foundation mare, split into two branches, all with incredible type, conformation, and offspring records. There was Trakehner influence throughout, which we now know is a new obsession for me. Truly lovely stock and truly lovely family! Hospitality was top here: we were welcomed off the bus with mimosas, and so many of the horses were beautifully braided, and all were impeccably groomed in fresh stalls (despite the wet weather in the region lately). We were honored to witness and experience the results of the heartfelt effort dedicated to their damlines, family, and legacy. Truly inspiring! Plus, their expertise in catering meant we enjoyed a delicious German meal over lunch. Lucky us!

Finally, we ended the day at another beautiful farm, Hof Thelker. This is a seriously well-developed facility, complete with refurnished old buildings dating back more than 100 years (including within the family ownership) and meticulously landscaped grounds around the barns. The tree-lined driveway takes you straight to the arena and barns. Here, you will meet young stallions, recently weaned foals, training horses, and even other livestock (including cows and pigs). Christian Thelker is an incredibly master of his stables. He walked us through the pedigree of EVERY young horse on his property, one by one. Some he bred, others he bought. He knew them all! Such commitment to the program is undoubtedly the reason for his great success over the years, including in the recent stallion Becks (Benecio – Desperados – Londonderry). We were presented with three glorious dams, including Beck’s dam, and a young stallion prospect. All were in excellent condition, particularly for the age of the older mares. All had been carefully bathed and prepared. This was a real treat!

I enjoyed this day immensely. From high-tech to hobbyist to professional luxury, we saw a variety of breeding programs, all producing top sporthorses for the next generation of breeders, riders, and enthusiasts. My favorite day, so far!

The last day of farm tours came with visits to three iconic stallion farms, including Helgstrand Dressage Germany in Syke, Gestüt Sprehe in Löningen and Leistungszentrum Lodbergen also in Löningen. These professional facilities are nothing short of impressive, boasting expansive, well-manicured grounds, large and perfectly maintained stables, and names on stall placards that make your jaw drop immediately. Throughout this day, we were treated to tours of the facilities, exhibition of training rides, introductions to celebrity stallions and young stallions, and, of course, delicious coffee and snacks.

Note: We did visit Helgstrand to be personallhy introduced to so many notable stallions. The editor does NOT support nor condone Helgstrand or any of its associates for unethical training or business practices. Commentary below is from personal impressions on the grounds of the Helgstrand Dressage estate and should be construed purely as informative and without opinion regarding those matters.

The grounds and facilities of Helgstrand Dressage Germany are straight out of a magazine, with rolling lawns, perfectly trimmed hedges, and facilities fit for a king. I was most impressed by the layout of the barns and training arena, complete with attached round pen. The round pen was within a walker under the same roof, which I figured was rather genious and made for a beautiful architecture. However, it was described that the arms of the walker are not quite high enough to allow them to free lunge all of the stallions for risk of them knocking their heads when they get amped up. However, it is still quite useful in their seasonal weather and environment, and conveniently tacked onto the barn to allow for efficient rotation of stallions through the walker throughout the day. The turnouts for stallions were strategically placed within view of the indoor riding arena to allow for observation and safe-keeping of these prized horses. We watched a number of young stallions work in the indoor while we were treated to coffee and sandwiches in the lounge. Most impressively, the entire facility is maintained by ONE groundskeeper (and an army of robotic lawn mowers)…in a place where sci-fi meets farm living and an aura of incredible wealth.

Gestüt Sprehe in Löningen hosts a large-scale export facility for breeding stallions and semen shipping, hence we were not able to meet all the celebrity stallions that live there now due to quarantine requirements. We did, however, get the pleasure of meeting the stamping stallion Millenium (Easy Game – EH Ravel – EH Consul), who is perhaps even more impressive in person than he is in his marketing materials, which is truly saying something! This big, black stallion knew how to pose for the audience and maintained perfect composure for the extended time period that we all gawked over him. This is a stallion that imparts absolute confidence and presence. There are few words to describe the feeling of standing ten feet away from him while he poses in perfect stance and expression. What a treat after meeting his licensed son, Ivanhoe, earlier in the week!

Leistungszentrum Lodbergen in Löningen was one of my favorite tours of the week. Beautiful grounds and facilities support the highly professional dressage training program here, carefully curated and managed by Wolfgang Stagge, Operations Manager, and his team of top trainers and staff. Wolfgang eagerly and proudly presented stallions to us and guided us through a tour of the barns, facilities, and lounge (complete with wall after wall of awards). We were treated to an introduction to world-famous stallions, including world-renowned Dante Weltino (Danone I – Welt Hit II – Noble Roi xx), young champion stallion Bellany (Bon Coeur – De Niro – Langata Son), and the very special For Romance (Fuerst Romancier – Sir Donnerhall I – Don Schufro). The name plates throughout the barn made reference to so many other impressive stallions, including Juwel (Janeiro Platinum – Sir Donnerhall I – Arpeggio), La Vie (Livaldon – Scolari – Wolkenstein II), Rock for Me (Rock Forever I – Florencio I – Longchamp), and so many other top prospects. This is a truly professional program raising young stallions for performance and breeding, with a mindset for doing what is right for each horse. Wolfgang comfortably discussed situations in which young stallions purchased as top breeding prospects (and priced accordingly) were ultimately gelded and trained for performance and competition based on each horse’s aptitude and composure in each line of work. Horses in this program are cherished and carefully managed, which can be felt in the ambiance of the barn and in the demeanor of every horse throughout the facility.

We enjoyed our final three days in Germany at the Hannoveraner Stallion Licensing in Verden. Here, we experienced the entire testing process for dressage stallions, with educational insight from our tour guides. In such an impressive venue as the grounds at the Hannoveraner Verband in Verden, we witnessed many young stallions perform in free lunge, on the iconic triangle, and on the lunge in the main arena. We studied each stallion, noted our favorites, and then had fun comparing our notes to the results of the testing (and, of course, the prices in the concluding auction). It was a fun and insightful experience, providing us with a much deeper understanding for the licensing process itself. If I could go every year, I certainly would!

Follow this link for the pictures of the premium stallions from this licensing.

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