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   Analysis of 2008 Olympic Show Jumping Bloodlines

Roots of Modern Show JumpersWritten for Thoroughbred Heritage by Andreas Haberbeck©2009. All rights reserved.

View a chart showing the most frequently occuring ancestors in leading sires of modern show jumpers of the past ten years.

See Also:

The Thoroughbred Roots of the Modern Show Jumper
2002 WEG Show Jumping Bloodlines
2006 WEG Show Jumping Bloodlines
2010 WEG Show Jumping Bloodlines
2004 Olympic Jumping Bloodlines

This article was written in March 2009, while the decision to strip the Norwegian team of its team Bronze, due to positive testing for prohibited substances, was still subject to an appeal.

An Analysis of the 2008 Olympic Show Jumping Bloodlines

Those Who Came

77 horses participated in the 2008 Olympic showjumping competition. Of these, 41 were geldings, 25 stallions, and 11 mares. The oldest, at 17, was the Holsteiner Monaco, while the five youngest horses were nine years old.

In the qualifying rounds, the studbooks were represented as follows:

Studbook Number Percentage
Holstein 22 29%
KWPN (Dutch warmblood) 18 23%
BWP (Belgian warmblood) 10 13%
Selle Français 7 9%
Hanover 5 6%
Danish Warmblood 3 4%
Oldenburg 2 3%
Westphalia 2 3%
Baden-Württemberg 1 1%
Hungarian 1 1%
ISH 1 1%
NRPS (Dutch 1 1%
South Africa 1 1%
Swedish Warmblood 1 1%
Unknown 1 1%
Zangersheide 1 1%

In addition to the 22 Holstein-bred horses who participated, a further 17 were sired by Holsteiner stallions, so that the studbook's immediate influence extended to 51% of the participants. No other studbook had a comparable outside influence, with only five Selle Français stallions having sired offspring outside their own studbook.

Those who succeeded

Of the 34 horses who made it to the individual finals, 12 (35%) were Holsteiners, 6 (18%) were Dutch warmbloods, 4 (12%) Selle Français, 3 (9%) each Belgian warmbloods and Hanoverian, 2 (6%) Westphalian, and one each Baden-Württemberg, Irish Sport Horse, Oldenburger and Zangersheide. 16 (47%) of the finalists were by Holsteiner sires.

All three individual medals were won by Dutch warmbloods: The Gold by Hickstead ridden by Eric Lamaze for Canada, the Silver by Ninja la Silla ridden by Ralf-Göran Bengtsson for Sweden, and the Bronze by Authentic ridden by Beezie Madden for the USA. Ninja la Silla and Authentic are both by the Selle Français stallion Guidam.

Unfortunately, as in 2004 some horses tested positive for prohibitied substances, resulting in the Norwegian team being stripped of the team Bronze. At the time of writing (March 2009), this is still subject to an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but in the interim the team Bronze medalists are Switzerland. Moreover, the team Gold of the USA and the team Bronze of Canada are undisputed.

As far as jumping progenitors are concerned, the thoroughbred Rantzau is in 45 (58%) of the six-generation pedigree of the 77 participants, of which 40 (52%) and through his Anglo-Norman son Cor de la Bryère, who was stationed in Holstein until 2000. The Polish Anglo-Arab Ramzes and the thoroughbred Cottage Son are each in 41 (53%) of the pedigrees, followed closely by the thoroughbreds Furioso with 39 (51%) and Ladykiller with 37 (48%).

The top sires of the competition are the Holsteiners Burggraaf and Cassini I with 3 offspring each, with a further 11 with 2 offspring, namely the Holsteiners Acord II, Calido I, Chambertin, Clinton, Coriano, Corofino I, Indoctro and Lasino, the Selle Français Guidam and his sire Quidam de Revel, and the Belgian warmblood Darco.

The individual Gold medal was decided in a jump-off between Hickstead and Ninja la Silla, and the Bronze medal was decided in a jump-off between seven other horses. The breeding of these best horses in the competition can be summarized as follows:


Lucky Boy
Lucky Boy

Fra Diavolo
Fra Diavolo




Hickstead is a Dutch warmblood stallion foaled in 1996 by Hamlet out of Jomara, by Ekstein. His breeding combines many of the best foundations of Dutch breeding, and has few immediate outside influences. Hamlet is a Dutch warmblood by Nimmerdor out of a granddaughter of the thoroughbred Courville. Jomara is a daughter of the Dutch warmblood Ekstein, a grandson of the thoroughbred Lucky Boy, while her dam Fomara descends from the Anglo-Norman Mexico, a son of Furioso. Prior to their Olympic success Lamaze and Hickstead had won the prestigious Calgary Grand Prix in 2007.

Ninja la Silla is a Dutch warmblood gelding foaled in 1995, by Guidan out of Olympica, by Lys de Darmen. Guidam and Lys de Darmen are Selle Français, as is Olympica's maternal grandsire, Ursus, so that 7/8th of Ninja la Silla's breeding is Selle Français, with 5 x 5 x 6 linebreeding to the Anglo-Norman Ibrahim, and 5 x 5 linebreeding to the thoroughbred Fra Diavolo.

Already a team Gold medalist at the 2004 Olympics and the Silver medalist at the 2006 World Equestrian Games, Authentic can be counted among the greatest showjumpers of all time. The Dutch warmblood gelding was foaled in 1995, and is also by the Selle Français Guidan. His dam Gerlinda is the daughter of the thoroughbred Katell (a grandson of Nashua), and the granddaughter of the thoroughbred Lucky Boy.

Fourth-placed Shutterfly, ridden by Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum for Germany, is another horse whose place among showjumping's all-time greats is secure, with two World Cup wins and the European Championship among his honours. A Hanoverian gelding foaled in 1993, he is a son of the Oldenburger Silvio I out of Famm, a daughter of the thoroughbred Forrest (by Gernegross, a great-grandson of Nearco). Shutterfly is inbred 4 x 4 to the Hanoverian jumping progenitor Gotthard.

In fifth place is the Dutch warmblood gelding Rufus, ridden by Rodrigo Pessoa for Brazil He was foaled in 1999, by the Holsteiner Landaris out of Imevina, by Renville. Landaris is by Landgraf I, the most prolific son of the thoroughbred Ladykiller. Imevina's is a classic Dutch warmblood pedigree, with the thoroughbreds Courville and Compromise among her ancestors.

Ridden by McLain Ward for the USA, the Belgian warmblood mare Sapphire (nee safari van het Merelsnest) came in sixth place. Foaled in 1995, she is by the successful Belgian showjumper Darco, a son of the Hanoverian Lugano van la Roche, and a grandson of the Holsteiner Codex. Sapphire's dam Idjaz-c is by the Selle Français Hedjaz, a son of Ibrahim and grandson of the thoroughbred Ultimate. Idajz-c's dam Chiquita is a Hanoverian by the thoroughbred Cardinal (a grandson of Nearco) out of a daughter of the thoroughbred Julius Cäsar (by Ticino). Seven of Sapphire's 16 ancestors in the fourth remove are thoroughbreds.

Seventh placed All Inclusive, ridden by Ludger Beerbaum for Germany, is a Westphalian who was foaled in 1999. His sire Arpeggio is a son of the Holsteiner Acord II, who descends from the French stallions Almé and Cor de la Bryère. Further Holsteiner influences come through All Inclusive's granddam Lady, who is a daughter of the Holsteiner Lord Liberty, a son of Lord (by Ladykiller). However, All Inclusive is inbred 4 x 4 x 4 to the Westphalian jumping progenitor Pilot, so that his Westphalian ancestry clearly is the strongest influence.

Another Westphalian, the stallion Opium, came eighth, ridden by Marc Houtzager for the Netherlands. Foaled in 1996, he is by the well-known Westphalian jumping sire Polydor out of Ballerina, a daughter of the thoroughbred Bormio (by Ti Amo, a sire line descendant of Asterus).

In ninth place was the Dutch warmblood stallion O'Brien, ridden for the Netherlands by Angelique Hoorn. Foaled in 1996, he is by the Oldenburger Peter Pan out of Vonia, by Goudsmid. Peter Pan is a son of Pilot, to whom All Inclusive is inbred, while his Oldenburger dam Gethsemane is essentially a Hanoverian-bred. Vonia's breeding is a mixture of Holsteiner, thoroughbred, French and Dutch bloodlines.

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