REMEMBER when the internet first came on the scene and people spent hours browsing the wealth of information available? And of course, screening out misinformation and even ‘fake news’.

Similarly with the subscription-based Hippomundo rankings, users can easily refine sought-for information by a host of added-on features, including performance results for each horse recorded in the Hippomundo database, numbers and competition levels of stallions’ offspring and most successful dam sires when narrowing down suitable crosses.

Two of the most telling features are the number of competition offspring and the averages factor.

Any stallion, breeder or horse has the potential to springboard to the top end of a leaderboard, based on the performance of one or a handful of brilliant progeny. Sometimes once-off ‘freaks of nature’, often equestrian household names, always with an element of luck, such horses have earned their winnings on merit.

From the breeders’ viewpoint, the challenge is in breeding another such horse.

The numbers game always plays out in discussing sires and strike rates of 1.60m and five-star performers. Busy stallions have a numeric advantage of more progeny on the ground, there will always be the ‘stallion that got away’ and with the useless benefit of hindsight, breeders wishing that they had used a particular stallion.

The same applies to the studbook titles race where the ISH studbook traditionally has a numeric advantage. Take last year’s Hippomundo constantly-updated rankings which now has 1,500 Irish Sport Horses in its records. Their total earnings of €882,138 secured another well-earned title.

Average earnings

When we look though at the average earnings per event horse amongst the top-10 studbooks, it’s the third-placed Holsteiner Verband that actually records the highest average sum won per horse (€1,307 from just 349 Holsteiner horses, compared to €588 for Irish Sport Horses).

The lowest average was recorded by thoroughbreds. Not amongst the WBFSH member studbooks, pure thoroughbreds are recorded on the Hippomundo database. Some 460 thoroughbreds earned €110,878 last year for an average of €241 per horse. The KWPN (573 registered horses. €497 average) separates the thoroughbred and Irish Sport Horse.

So the picture always changes when rankings are drilled into. A handful of five-star winners skewing the rankings or a solid market base of numerous two and three-star horses clocking up points and prize money for both the WBFSH and Hippomundo rankings. Something for breeders to consider.

Conversely, the ISH studbook performs very well amongst the show jumping studbooks top-10. The Selle Français studbook leads the way: 6,918 horses won over €23 million last year, giving it an average of €3,356 per horse.

The best average sum is recorded by the eighth-ranked sBs: its 1,000 horses earned €5,612,296 last year for an average of €5,612. Right on the Belgian studbook’s heels is the ISH studbook: just 928 horses but their total prize money of €5,156,537 works out at €5,557 per horse, €55 less than the sBs average.

There’s another David versus Goliath scenario in the leading show jumping breeder rankings. Not surprisingly, the highest net prizemoney was recorded by the Gestüt Lewitz/Paul Schockemöhle empire.

A whopping 1,258 horses bred there are recorded on the Hippomundo database. Their total prize money amounted to €6,951,752 or €5,526, the lowest of the top-10 breeders.

The highest average sum breeder is Simon Scott with his Pacino Amiro. Two more show jumping breeders - Nathalie Beaufort (HH Azur) and Wim Impens (King Edward) - also feature on the top-10 with a single horse.

There are many more ‘one horse’ breeders dotted amongst the show jumping breeders while none compete with the numbers of the Schockemöhle-breds.

In the top-50, there are just 11 more breeders listed with 15-plus show jumping horses, of which Stal den Bishop (ranked 10th. 111 horses) and VDL (ninth. 87) have the highest numbers.

Another indication of the long road in breeding world-class performers and also of Simon Scott’s achievement of breaking into this top-10.

The sire rankings also need to be viewed in perspective. Again, a superstar can rightly catapult their sire up to the business end of the leaderboard.

One interesting example is Easy Game, the second-highest ranked dressage sire. This Trakehner stallion has just three offspring listed of which TSF Dalera BB (€193,947) and Hermès N.O.P (€80,290) contributed the lion’s share of his three recorded offspring.

The third is the six-year-old youngster Eros Krack van het Klaverhof, certainly not at top level yet. Which all makes Easy Game’s strike rate quite exceptional.

After Easy Game’s €91,496 average for this trio, the next best average (€15,293. nine horses) was recorded by European champion Glamourdale’s sire Lord Leatherdale.

In eventing, leading sire Camiro de Haar Z has eight horses listed for an average of €19,935. The highest average is recorded by sixth-ranked sire Top Gun Semilly (four. €26,123) and the lowest, somewhat surprisingly, by a numerically-strong and eighth-ranked Jaguar Mail (56. €1,362).

And in show jumping, the richest of the three sports, no surprise here to see Killer Queen VDM’s sire Eldorado van de Zeshoek recording the best average for his progeny. From just 239 offspring, (the second-lowest figure amongst the top-10 show jumping sires), their average take home pay is €12,555.

The Clinton son ranked fourth overall on this leaderboard, headed by Diamant de Semilly, Chacco-Blue and Kannan.

Another BWP-bred Thunder van de Zuuthoeve, (ranked ninth overall), has the smallest number (179) of progeny within the top-10 show jumping sires and the second-highest average of €10,363 per horse.

Much food for thought, planning and hours of happy Hippomundo browsing ahead for sport horse breeders. The end result of the ‘winter months of dreaming’ may well figure in future rankings results in the years ahead.

Leading dam sires

While the understandable instinct is to fast-track sport horse breeding by using a ‘super sire’, the key to success is often in pairing the right bloodlines. The mare line is revered by European breeders and so, what ‘second line in the pedigree’ stallions were the Hippomundo leading dam sires?

In show jumping, For Pleasure is the clear-cut leader. He tops the leaderboard with 226 descendants listed. Their total winnings of €3,327,151 last year also yielded the best average amongst the top-10 stallions of €14,722.

The Hannoverian sire is followed on the leaderboard by Cassini I (HOLST) and Nabab de Reve (BWP), while the remaining top-10 dam sire stallions are Contender (HOLST), Kannan (KWPN), Chaco-Blue (MECKL), Concorde (KWPN), Quidam de Revel (SF), Diamant de Semilly (SF) and Indoctro (HOLST).

Two Irish-based sires feature around the top-20 mark. The Hannoverian Lux Z (19th) has a variety of Irish Sport Horses and more European studbook-registered descendants from his time standing both on the continent and latterly at Kedrah House Stud.

The highest-earner, amongst three Irish Sport Horses in his top-10, is Sea Topblue (Chacco-Blue. €238,757 Breeder: John & James Meade). In second place is another Irish-bred Maxwin Kinmar Agalux (Aganix du Seigneur Z. €89,697. Gerry Marron/Kinmar Stud) and seventh on the Lux Z list is another 1.60m horse in Templepatrick Welcome Limmerick (Limmerick. €59.013. Dorothea Wilson).

Cruising (21st) is well represented by his daughters through James Kann Cruz, his top descendant, followed by ABC Quantum Cruise (O.B.O.S Quality 004. €123,300. Pat Kehoe) and FTS Killossery Confusion (SIEC Livello. €103,728. Frank & Laura Glynn).

Fourth amongst the Hartwell Stud stalwart’s group is Rincoola Milsean (Aldatus Z. €78,390. Harold McGahern), a half-brother to the Luidam-sired European pony champion Rincoola Babóg. Definitely something about that damline.

NC Amiro (28th) makes a top-30 appearance by a third Irish-based sire courtesy of the star of the 2022 Hippomundo rankings for Irish show jumping breeders: Pacino Amiro.

By the numbers

Six - dressage horses earned six figures in 2022: TSF Dalera BB (TRAK), Vamos Amigos (WESTF), DSP Quantaz (Berlin-Brand), Glamourdale (KWPN), Heiline’s Dancer (DWB) and Touchdown (SWB).

Five - eventing horses won more than €100,000 in 2022: Vanir Kamira (ISH), London 52 (HOLST), fischerChipmunk FRH (HANN), Banzai du Loir (SF) and Coup de Coeur Dudevin (SF).

Three - Irish Sport Horses: HHS Calais. (Cavalier Royale. Breeder: Ita Brennan. €556,367, James Kann Cruz (Kannan. Patrick Connolly) and Pacino Amiro (Pacino. Simon Scott), all earned more than €500,000 last year.

Two - Irish Sport Horses: Sea Topblue and James Kann Cruz are their top-10 show jumping sires Chacco-Blue (ranked second) and Kannan (third) leading earners.

One - Killer Queen DVM (€1,049,436) was the sole horse to break the seven-figure prize money barrier last year.