Christan Trainor of Glenhill Sporthorses is always looking on with interest at the pedigrees on show at these key events — not only for bloodlines to watch in the future, but also with a sense of affirmation that her warmblood breeding operation in the Southern Highlands of NSW can produce horses of the same quality as seen on the world stage. For Christan, breeding is less about following trends and more about investigating what genetic crosses are likely to produce horses of the modern athletic type, with dominant traits of trainability and rideability. Incidentally, these are also the type of horses that appear to be the most successful on the world stage.
“Looking at the results and watching how horses perform at major international events gives you an insight into the current demands of the sport and the direction it might go in the future,” says Christan. “Just as an example, if you look at this year’s Bundeschampionate (German national championships for young horses), Morricone sired the winner of the four-year-old geldings. The top two six-year-olds were by Bon Coeur. The top two in the four-year-old stallions were by Secret. These are three stallions that I’ve always liked,” she says. “To me, they all have a definite ‘wow’ factor which goes beyond mechanics and scope; they seem to have a willingness and ease about them which is so important when you think about the qualities you want your foals to have by nature.”
Glenhill has multiple foals sired by these three stallions, with more arriving during Spring. To see the progeny of this trio garnering success at such a prestigious German event is heartening for Christan: “We have some very exciting foals already on the ground with more to come. We think prospective owners will be thrilled.”
Like many breeders, Christan has long been a proponent of the dam’s role in producing quality horses. Over the years she has carefully selected mares who have become invaluable assets to the Glenhill breeding program. During the 2022 calendar of international events, seeing the bloodlines of these mares well represented at the top of the sport was very exciting for her.
“We have mares by Don Schufro, Negro, De Niro, Totilas, Vitalis, Fürstenball and a Florestan granddaughter – stallions who were all represented in the Grand Prix at the 2022 FEI World Championships,” says Christan. When it comes to the dam line of FEI World Championship competitors, Don Schufro featured five times (and also sired one), as well as De Niro, Florestan I and Vitalis, Fürstenball, and Negro all appearing twice as damsires – the latter of course notably alongside gold medal winner Glamourdale’s name.