Lorenzo, a 12-year-old chestnut gelding, was born on a breeding farm in Bavaria, Germany. Like his dam, Bologna (by Rubin Royal OLD), Lorenzo is registered with the Bavarian Regional Horse Breeders’ Society (Landesverband Bayerischer Pferdezüchter). His sire, Lord Loxley I, is a Rheinlander. Discovered and introduced to sport by German trainer Uwe Schwanz, Lorenzo would later be ridden to FEI level by Spanish rider Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez. Together, Lopez and Lorenzo would exceed expectations—in February 2016, they debuted Grand Prix; six months later, they were competing in the Rio Olympic Games, finishing fifth individually. Shortly thereafter, Lorenzo was sold to Charlotte Jorst, a Danish-born American rider who recently turned professional, fully committing to her own Olympic dreams. Lorenzo, she hopes, will carry her there.
As he has changed hands, the good-natured gelding has also touched hearts. (Jorst jokes that her grooms have nicknamed Lorenzo “the Labrador” because he’s both so easy to handle and eager for attention.) But the first hearts he touched belonged to his Bavarian breeders, the Niedermair family of Gut Spielberg breeding farm. In addition to horses, the family raises free-range cattle—that’s their primary business—and rents their farm for weddings and other special events. According to family patriarch and respected breeder Martin Niedermair: “Patience, persistence and 50 years of experience are a good foundation for our successful warmblood breeding program.”
Like larger German breed registries (Hanoverian and Trakehner), the Bavarian Regional Horse Breeders’ Society has an open stud book that relies on a process of inspections and testing to approve breeding stock. In The International Warmblood Horse, author Celia Clarke describes the Bavarian Warmblood (BAW) as “a state-based breed developed relatively recently, [relying] very heavily on traditional and modern Hanoverian bloodlines, particularly those of the D-, F/W- and G-lines, plus occasional influxes of Trakehner and R-line Holstein blood.”
Once again, when reviewing Lorenzo’s pedigree, we discover that he embodies the successful outcome of a predominant breeding strategy executed faithfully over the long term (with perhaps a greater lean toward more diverse Holsteiner blood further back in his pedigree).
Niedermair elaborates: “Through the combination of Lord Sinclair I and a Weltmeyer mare on the sire side of the pedigree, and from dam sire Rubin Royal, we get Lorenzo’s brilliant movement.” Weltmeyer is, of course, the world-renowned Hanoverian sire known as a powerful action trotter who tends to pass strong performance drive to his offspring. Dam sire Rubin Royal was named Supreme Oldenburg Champion 2001. Having himself competed through Grand Prix dressage, Rubin Royal has many approved sons and is known for passing on his large size and brilliant movement to his offspring (think tall, dark and handsome). His sire, Rubinstein I, was known for passing along exceptional rideability in addition to producing many Grand Prix winners among his offspring. (Readers can find more discussion of Weltmeyer in the April installment of this series as part of our feature on Don Johnson FRH and of Rubinstein I in March as part of our feature on Showtime FRH.) Lord Sinclair I is a robust Bavarian Warmblood who was also bred by Niedermair at Gut Spielberg. Here, for the first time in this series, we see the influence of the Holsteiner L-line, descending from its founding sire, Thoroughbred Ladykiller, through the world-renowned Holsteiner show jumper Landgraf I.
Ladykiller was a Thoroughbred imported from England to Germany in 1961, whose influence on the breeding of show jumpers world-wide has been immense. Tricia Veley, who breeds Holsteiners, Oldenburgs and other warmbloods intended for upper-level performance sports at her Texas-based First Flight Farm, elaborates on his influence: “Ladykiller was athletic, correct and handsome with a well-shaped head. Though a Thoroughbred himself, he possessed features common to the Holsteiner, including a high-set, crested neck, flatter loin and well-muscled hindquarters. As a sire, he’s known for passing on good gaits, good looks, good temperament and, most importantly, exceptional jumping ability. Landgraf I is widely considered one of his best sons.”
While it might seem surprising to find the influence of show-jumping lines on both sides of a dressage horse’s pedigree, Veley says it is really not that unusual. “Both dressage horses and jumpers are athletes that depend on strength in their hindquarters. It’s what allows a dressage horse to perform upper-level movements and what propels a jumper over the fences. In this pedigree, the Holsteiner L-line carries forth the exceptional athleticism of Ladykiller and Landgraf I.”
Veley notes that Holsteiner breeders have historically been known for putting extra emphasis on dam lines and taking great pride in their mares. In addition to the duplicate influence of Ladykiller and Landgraf I on this side of Lorenzo’s pedigree and the already-mentioned influence of Rubinstein I, we see the influence of older, highly prized Holsteiner lines. Niedermair describes the importance of the mares in this pedigree: “Lorenzo’s mother, Bologna, was also bred here, along with her full brother Ruling Pedro [who is a decorated upper-level dressage horse in Germany]. Bologna is a robust, striking broodmare with strong nerves.” He says she is of the “old type” Holsteiner, which Veley clarifies to mean of a heavier build with a more phlegmatic disposition and type. Niedermair describes Bologna as “descending from Holsteiner Stamm Line 241.” Holsteiner breeders identify the female side of a pedigree by referring to numbered stamm lines, which are also sometimes simply called mare lines or stem lines. The lower the number of the line, the older and more valuable it is considered to be. Line 241 traces back to Madam, a mare born in Germany in 1935.
Niedermair also points out the influence of exceptional sires and established crosses on this side of Lorenzo’s pedigree—Landwind II (Holsteiner L-line) is crossed with a daughter of Wodka (a Hanoverian who traces back through the F/W-Line to Flick, an influential stallion of the 1800s) and Marlon XX (a Thoroughbred imported from Ireland who had great influence on the Holsteiners, siring 21 graded stallions and many exceptional competition horses) is crossed with a Raimond daughter (Holsteiner R-line). The convergence of these tried-and-true breeding lines, combined with modernizing Oldenburg influence, would finally produce Batonia, Lorenzo’s grand-dam, a broodmare who Niedermair purchased many years back.
For Niedermair, Lorenzo and the horses of his generation bred at Gut Spielberg are the culmination of 50 years of thoughtful crosses. He reminisces: “Even as a foal, Lorenzo was attractive, elegant and long-legged with very good basic gaits. Even then, we could imagine greatness for him.”
This article first appeared in the May 2018 issue of Dressage Today.