Putting together stats on younger horses is always a bit more difficult. It’s harder to find info about them and harder to dig up complete pedigrees, which makes all the stats more challenging. I spend a lot of time digging through the depths of the internet trying to piece things together. One day we’ll have a nice, official, all-inclusive database right? A gal can dream.
But anyway, it’s Mondial du Lion time again, one of my favorite events of the year. It’s the World Championships for 6 and 7yo horses held every fall in France, with 6yo’s competing at 2* and 7yo’s competing at 3*. Some of the very best 5* horses in the world competed at MdL on their way up the ranks, with a whopping 35% of 2018’s entire WEG eventing field having competed at Lion. My research has shown that it doesn’t even necessarily matter how they place – some future superstars finished way down the leaderboard in their year – but just having competed here seems to give them a leg up. Lion is touted by riders as being a fantastic and essential learning experience, with a bit tougher courses than these horses have seen so far, and certainly A LOT more atmosphere. They tend to leave MdL much more seasoned, regardless of the score. Last year’s 7yo winner, Asha P (who has a stallion full-brother, Araldik), was just part of the gold medal winning Nation’s Cup team for Germany at Boekelo.
Looking at this year’s 6yo field, we see a lot of the typical bloodlines we’ve come to expect from watching the 4* and 5* horses: a lot of jumper breeding, largely holsteiner and selle francais, mixed with blood. The average blood percentage of the 6yo’s (the ones that I could verify for sure, anyway) is 51%. Six horses (14% of the field) have a full thoroughbred parent, and another 3 have a full thoroughbred damsire. The thoroughbred stallion Esteban xx has two offspring in the field, one Belgian Warmblood and one Holsteiner. Esteban is well-established as a sire of eventers, with multiple offspring having competed through 4* and 5* level.
The 7yo field boasts a similar average blood percentage at 50%, and also has 6 horses with a full thoroughbred parent. Interestingly, only one of those is the sire, the other 5 are full TB dams. An additional 7 horses have full thoroughbred damsires.
Several other stallions are represented by multiple entries across the two divisions. Trakehner stallion Grafenstolz (who we met in France last month) is the sire of 5 horses, Mighty Magic (also met in France last month) is the sire of 3, Quite Easy is the sire of 2, Rock Forever is the sire of 2, King Size is the sire of 2, OBOS Quality 004 is the sire of 3 and damsire of 1, Shannondale Sarco is the sire of 2, Ramiro B is the sire of 2, Cavalier Royale is the sire of 1 and damsire of 3. Spoiler alert: you’ll see some of these names again next week in the Young Event Horse Championships recap.
A few dressage stallions are represented as well, something that you see sometimes at the middle levels but is quite rare at 5*. Most of the ones in this field, though, are not too surprising if you look at the actual pedigree. Rock Forever, while a Grand Prix dressage horse himself, is quite jumper-bred, from Ramiro, Landgraf, and Grandus lines. The stallion Catoo (sire of one of the 7yo’s) has a similar story – he had a GP dressage career but is completely jumper-bred. One stallion that is perhaps less expected to see as an event horse sire is Vitalis, sire of 7yo Victor 107, from dressage lines Krack C, Jazz, and Donnerhall.
As we’ve become accustomed to seeing by now, the French and Irish are sat almost exclusively on horses bred in their home countries. Only two French riders have non-French bred horses, and only two Irish riders have non-Irish bred horses.
Another fun fact – Leprince des Bois, another horse that we saw last month in Europe, was a 5* event horse in his own right (competed at Pau, Badminton, Luhmuhlen, and Burghley under Kai Ruder) and is the damsire of one horse – a Selle Francais ridden by none other than Chris Burton. He finished 7th in the 6yo class here at Lion last year.
Want to watch Mondial du Lion and try to pick out your favorite future superstar? The live feed is on their home page, along with links to the start lists and results.