A look at the breed of sire once again highlights the importance of the thoroughbred in eventing competition. One was by a Connemara Pony, one each by a Hanoverian, Holstein and Zweibrucker, three were by Irish Draught, nine by Irish sport horse and 13 by thoroughbred stallions.
One horse was a full Thoroughbred; two were traditionally Irish-bred, ie a thoroughbred stallion on an Irish Draught mare. Three were reverse-cross, ie Irish Draught stallion on a Thoroughbred mare
Four stallions were represented by two progeny each, Kiltealy Spring (ISH), Political Merger (TB), Puissance (ISH) and Taldi (TB), and all are well-known sires.
The others are also well-known sires of performance horses, namely: Cavalier, Spring Diamond, Crosskeys Rebel, Diamond Clover, Step Together, Furisto, Legal Pressure, Clover Brigade, Supreme Leader, Pallas Digion, I'm a Star, Billies Bank, Crosstown Dancer, Touch Stone, Petardia, Bolivar, Edmund Burke, Supreme Edge, Porter Rhodes, Sea Crest and Morgangold Major.
Common talk tells us the mare is the most important part of the breeding equation. She is very important to us as individual breeders. We must have a good mare. As I said above, 28 of the starters were geldings, so we must breed from siblings.
Of the 28 dams listed, I could only source information on 21. From the records I have, between the 21 of them they produced 107 foals -- an average of five each. Of these, 51 were filly foals.
So mares that are capable of breeding Badminton competitors will, on average, produce a replacement for themselves and one other filly.
If the average age of the Badminton competitors is 14 years, then the average age of these sibling sisters must be much the same.
Where are they now? Can they be identified? Should they be classified as 'elite' mares? Should they form the nucleus of our 'event' brood mare population?
We can talk all we like about the theory of breeding but we must start doing something. These are already 'old' mares.
We must identify young three-, four- or five-year-old mares with potential. We should put them through a simple performance test. Perhaps we should be identifying the dams of the winners of the four-, five- and six-year-old championships and starting with them as elite or superior mares.
Of the dams' sires, six were ISH, seven RID and 13 thoroughbreds.
Many of them are well known performance sires. They include Diamonds are Trumps and Clover Hill, who appear twice, and Imperius, Rossa, Nelgonde, Kiltealy Spring, Mizen Melody, Bulldozer, Cruising, Master Buck, Le Patron, Laughtons Flight and his brother Errigal Flight, Salluceva, Balgaddy, Kildalton King, Classic Secret, Puissance, Diamond Lad, Horos, Bassompierre, Western Light, Valitar and Buckskin.
Diamonds are Trumps, Kildalton King and Diamond Lad are full brothers by King of Diamonds. Laughtons Flight and Errigal Flight are also by King of Diamonds.
If you go back another generation to the dams' maternal grandsires for the 16 that are available, many are also well known. Twelve are thoroughbred and four are Irish Draught. They include the thoroughbreds Tepukie, Sunny Light, Matcklike, Quisling, Hildenly, Varano by 2, Rhett Butler, Bahrain, Bargello, Darantus and Bulldozer. The Draughts include King of Diamonds, Pride of Shaunlara, Ben Purple and Knocknagow.
What is in this for you and me? We know performance is heritable -- it is passed on from one generation to another. It can be improved through selective breeding.
If your breeding objective is to breed performance horses from your mare, she must have a performance pedigree. Remember the dams of Badminton competitors produced only five foals each in their lifetime, so you must aim to breed the best each time. As well as pedigree, she must be sound and have conformation and movement to suit.
The importance of thoroughbred in eventing cannot be over emphasised. Performance must be clearly identified in the back pedigree whether it is Irish Draught or thoroughbred.
Successful competition breeding must be performance-related. What can you say about your mare?