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21 March 2009
 

ALL THAT JAZZ

By Tom Reed
Horse International Vol 2 2009


If there is one certain fact to be found in the WBFSH ranking of dressage sires it is that Jazz (Cocktail x Ulster) is in tune with Dutch breeders and their mares. The best sire in 2008 not only has 14 progeny in the ranking of 516 international dressage horses but Jazz also has an amazing 6 progeny in the world's top 100 dressage athletes. We can contrast Jazz with the number two sire Donnerhall: with 13 ranked progeny he is only one behind Jazz but Donnerhall has only one progeny in the world's top 100.

Jazz is known for producing very sensitive progeny and, as in all breeding decisions, care must be taken to match the correct type of mare with him. With the undisputed success of his progeny in international sport and the value of his pedigree (no Donnerhall, Weltmeyer, Rubinstein, or Sandro Hit in his bloodlines) Jazz could serve a very important role as an outcross sire for other dressage breeding regions and studbooks.

Another interesting result in the table below is the Swedish Warmblood stallion Master (Ceylon x Iran). This bay stallion, which under Kyra Kyrklund had a successful career in sport before being retired to stud after an injury suffered while breeding, is ranked 7th by the WBFSH. Master was recently proclaimed Stallion of the Year by the Swedish Breeding Promotion Society (ASVHE) and rightly so with three out of four of his ranked progeny being in the world's top 100. Master's bloodlines may seem a bit exotic to breeders accustomed to German and Dutch names but like Jazz he could serve as a valuable outcross sire for many breeders.

Readers of this column will remember that I have chided and cajoled the WBFSH on several occasions to improve their ranking system. One suggestion I made is that a ranking of damsires should be made. I examined the top 30 dressage sires to see if they are also important damsires. Unlike in showjumping, where many top sires are also important damsires, among the top 30 dressage sires only Donnerhall, Rubinstein, Ferro, Warkant, Wanderer, Schwadroneur, and Espri are the damsire of a dressage athlete listed in the top 100: each of these stallions is the damsire of one athlete in the top 100. This result raises some interesting questions about the heritability of the three gaits, rideability, and trainability and to what extent an excellent education and a dose of luck versus genetics are critical in the breeding of upper-level dressage horses.

What are we to make of a top 30 dressage sire that has only a single progeny in the ranking of the world's top 100 dressage athletes? Fully 23 out of the top 30 dressage sires has either one or no progeny on the world's top 100.

And what are we to make of a top 30 dressage sire that has only one or two progeny in the ranking of the 516 international dressage competitors. Are these one-hit (or two-hit) wonders? Of course we would have a greater ability to assess this issue if the WBFSH went back to reporting longitudinal data such as rankings and progeny over a five-year or ten-year period.

Finally, we must return once again to the issue of the denominator: how many chances did each stallion have to produce an international dressage horse? Unfortunately the WBFSH does not present this critical variable and therefore erroneous assumptions and conclusions can be made about the rankings.



Rank / Stallion / Points / Ranked Progeny / In Top 100 / Average Points
1 / Jazz / 12,397 / 14 / 6 / 886
2 / Donnerhall / 10,294 / 13 / 1 / 792
3 / Weltmeyer / 8,827 / 8 / 2 / 1,103
4 / Rubinstein I / 5,146 / 8 / 1 / 643
5 / Ferro / 4,897 / 5 / 2 / 979
6 / Flemmingh / 4,660 / 7 / 0 / 666
7 / Master / 4,638 / 4 / 3 / 1,160
8 / Rohdiamant / 4,086 / 6 / 1 / 681
9 / Ehrentusch / 3,895 / 4 / 2 / 974
10 / Gribaldi / 3,746 / 2 / 1 / 1,873
11 / Lauries Crusador / 3,707 / 3 / 2 / 1,236
12 / Florestan I / 3,234 / 6 / 1 / 539
13 / Warkant / 3,202 / 5 / 1 / 640
14 / Contango / 3,172 / 3 / 1 / 1,057
15 / Wanderer / 2,835 / 3 / 1 / 945
16 / Jetset D / 2,835 / 2 / 2 / 1,418
17 / Schwadroneur / 2,805 / 5 / 0 / 561
18 / Quattro B / 2,792 / 1 / 1 / 2,792
19 / Goodwill / 2,469 / 3 / 0 / 823
20 / Welt Hit II / 2,336 / 2 / 1 / 1,168
21 / Donnerschlag 2,302 / 6 / 0 / 384
22 / Continue / 2,280 / 2 / 1 / 1,140
23 / Salieri / 2,234 / 1 / 1 / 2,234
24 / Gardez / 2,218 / 2 / 1 / 1,109
25 / Carpaccio / 2,214 / 2 / 1 / 1,107
26 / Wolkenstein II / 2,128 / 2 / 1 / 1,064
27 / Sao Paulo / 2,115 / 1 / 1 / 2,115
28 / Espri / 2,114 / 2 / 1 / 1,057
29 / Singular Joter / 2,014 / 2 / 1 / 1,007
30 / Herzruf / 1,919 / 2 / 1 / 960