It’s in the Blood: Luhmuhlen

If you’re getting tired of these pedigree breakdown posts, I’m sorry. I won’t stop. I’ve become dangerously obsessed with studying this stuff and my spreadsheets are out of control. But also this time I’ve tried to pull in a few more “fun facts” as I’ve gone through the field, so hopefully it’s a little more interesting even for those who aren’t breeding nerds.

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Today is Day 2 for dressage at Luhmuhlen, which is always one of my favorite cross country courses. It looks like something straight out of a Grimm Brothers fairy tale, like you might turn the corner and run into Hansel and Gretel. If you have a Horse & Country subscription (do I have a subscription to pretty much all of the streaming equestrian event channels on the internet? maaaaaybeeeee…) you can watch the live stream online. If not, Eventing Nation has pretty good coverage.

This year there are only 34 starters in the 5*, an even smaller field than Kentucky, but it’s chock full of an interesting mix of heavy hitters and first timers. My usual disclaimer: if I was unable to find enough of a horse’s pedigree to calculate a meaningful stat, they were excluded from the numbers.

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Leader after dressage, Irish Sporthorse Brookpark Vikenti

As usual, the most represented stud book is Irish Sporthorse, with 10 entries. Of those 10, 4 have traditional Irish breeding (no European warmblood). Despite the Holsteiner studbook having only 3 horses representing, 55% of the field carries some Holsteiner blood within the first 3 generations.

The average blood percentage of the field is 56%. I looked at the pedigrees a little differently this time in that I broke out one more generation of sire information. This time I looked at the entrant’s sire, the sire’s sire, the dam’s sire, and the dam’s damsire. This revealed something kind of interesting. If you look at just the sire, sire’s sire, and damsire, the number of full thoroughbreds is about the same – 7 horses have full TB sires, 7 horses have full TB sire’s sires, and 8 have full TB damsires. But if you go back a little more and look at the dam’s damsire, the number of full thoroughbreds doubles – to 15. That’s exactly half of the pedigrees that can be verified that far back. Is it an important place in the pedigree to have blood, or is that just a coincidence?

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Seigneur d’Alleray xx, full TB sire of Soraya 243

This field is chock full of horses that came up through the FEI young horse classes – 62% of the field participated in 6yo and/or 7yo 2* and 3* classes.

Several sires show up more than once throughout the field, with Irish Sporthorse stallion Touchdown being the sire of two horses and the sire’s sire of another. Touchdown (now deceased) was a 5* showjumper, sired by the Selle Francais legend Galoubet and out of an Irish mare that had a full TB sire. Touchdown has been a successful producer of showjumpers through the 1.60m level and eventers through the 5* level.

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The stallion that shows up the most throughout the field, despite having no direct offspring, is Contender. He is represented via his sons Contendro I, Contendro II (full brothers), Con Air, and Cristo.

For the thoroughbred stallions we see a lot of the usual names like Heraldik xx, Master Imp xx, Mytens xx, Damascus xx, and Sir Ivor xx.

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Sir Ivor xx

The most eye-catching horse in the field is probably Tullabeg Flamenco, who is hard to miss with his buckskin coat, 4 white socks, and a blaze. I am admittedly a little obsessed with him, so I fell down a rabbit hole while looking into his breeder and family. Bear with me here. Tullabeg Flamenco is one of at least 6 full siblings, out of a skewbald Irish mare named Tullabeg Heidi and by the dun stallion Tullabeg Fusion.  One of the older full siblings, Tullabeg Vision, is competing at the 3* level. Another, Tullabeg Tango, is being produced by 2018 WEG silver medalist Sarah Ennis and currently competing at the 2* level.

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Tullabeg Flamenco. If there isn’t already a fan club I would like to start one. Who’s in?

If you dig more into the families and siblings of the entrants, you find some other very successful mares. The dam of Ascona M, Naomi IV, is also the dam of Clifford M, a 4* horse ridden by American rider Charlotte Collier. Ascona M is by Cassaro, while Clifford M is by Cristo (one of the Contender sons mentioned above). Cristo is also the sire of  Luhmuhlen entrant, Calle 44.

Clifford M

Paulank Brockagh’s dam, Calendar Girl (by TB stallion Triggerero xx) is also the dam of 4* horse Paulank Kings River. Both horses are ridden and have been brought up through the ranks by Australian Sam Griffiths. Palanks Brockagh is by Touchdown, and Paulank Kings River is by Kings Master (by TB stallion Master Imp xx).

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Paulank Brockagh

On a sort of interesting note, American hunter stallion Ultime Espoir also has an offspring in the field – Efraim. Of course, as is typical of many hunters of these days, before Ultime Espoir came to America, he was a jumper in Europe. Efraim is one from one of his earlier European crops.

Ultime Espoir in his second career

Let’s see how the weekend unfolds! The leader after dressage is Brookpark Vikenti, a traditionally-bred Irish horse with 81% blood by the TB stallion Master Imp xx. Can he keep his lead? Who are you rooting for?

16 thoughts on “It’s in the Blood: Luhmuhlen

  1. Not so much rooting for anyone in particular but I am very interested to see how Jung and Klimke are doing, especially the latter since I like her Asha quite a bit.


    1. Yeah, I didn’t even touch on the 4* class! I too am particularly keen to see how Asha develops considering she has a full sibling that is a stallion standing at stud (and competing in the jumpers) and available in the US via frozen semen. We’d like to use him on a mare next year!


  2. I love these posts! Pedigree data geekery is TOO MUCH FUN.

    Please forgive a dumb question, but why do the Irish sporthorses show up so prolifically?


    1. The Irish horses have really been bred for the hunt field for a very long time, and now for eventing specifically. Most of the other studbooks breed for dressage or showjumping. Because of what they’ve been bred for, the Irish horses tend to be brave and rugged. Most of the modern ones carry a good bit of european warmblood, which makes sense given how important dressage and showjumping have become to the sport. If you can combine the Irish boldness with the warmblood elegance, movement, and carefulness, and put a good bit of blood in there for type, stamina, and fitness, it’s a pretty fantastic combination.


      1. Oh, interesting, and that makes a ton of sense. (I wandered down a rabbithole about foxhunting in ireland the other day and now I’m wondering how the hound pedigrees line up with coyote hunting dogs in the US, particularly in the longdog/lurcher community more than the horse-focused-hunt-club kind of things- looked like some really serious groundcovering gets done!)


  3. Yep, these are my favorite things ever and have inspired me to do some similar research in the dressage databases… Working on those posts. Might run em by you!


  4. I love these posts! I enjoy learning and geeking out too… plus it’s fun background! And I will join yellow pony’s fan club.

    I jsut finished the Major League Eventing episode with Frankie Thieriot Stutes so I’m rooting hard for her!


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