> THIRTY YEARS OF HANOVERIANS IN NEW ZEALAND>
> By Judith Wear>
> The Hanoverian has emerged over the past three decades as New Zealand’s
> top performance horse.
> The breed was introduced in 1977 and since then New Zealand
> Hanoverians have had outstanding success at home and abroad in dressage, > showjumping and eventing.> The seed of an idea which led to the introduction of the Hanoverian > breed was sown during discussions in the drawing room of the Hill family, > in the rural area of Coatesville, just north of Auckland, in 1976. Kalman > de Jurenak, a very well known Hungarian horseman from Germany, was living
> in New Zealand at the time and coaching some of the country’s top young > riders including Louisa Hill, whose parents, David and Jenny, became his > close friends. He quickly came to see that the typical New Zealand > Thoroughbred – a dominant breed among the young riders’ horses – while > exceptionally fast on the track, did not generally have the temperament, > bone structure or movement to go to the very top in dressage, showjumping > or eventing.> Convinced that the Hanoverian had the attributes needed to lift the > level of the New Zealand sport horse, Kalman de Jurenak enthusiastically > sold the idea to many potential breeders and riders. The initial 10-member
> syndicate was put together before a stallion had been found. Kalman de > Jurenak’s long standing friendship with Dr. Hartwig, the director of the > Verband at the time, helped him and his wife Annabelle and members of the > syndicate, Eoline Stevenson of Southland and Ken and Robin Harrison of > Auckland to locate Winnnebago at the time of the 1976 Hanoverian stallion > sales.Winnebago already had offspring on the ground and the fact that the > stallion had no Thoroughbred blood in his pedigree influenced their > selection. Winnebago arrived in New Zealand in February 1977. He stood at > Ken and Robin Harrison’s Rundale Stud, at Clevedon. > In the same year Dr Hartwig, director of the Verband at the time, and Dr > Rappen, of the German Ministry of Agriculture, visited New Zealand and > Australia. They were very impressed by the horses in both countries and > saw tremendous possibilities for breeding the Hanoverian. They inspected
> and classified the foundation Thoroughbred brood mares, and donated all > the charges to the newly-formed Hanoverian Society of New Zealand > Incorporated, a daughter society of the Verband Hanoverscher > Warmblutzutcher e.v. of Hannover, West Germany.
> On September 15, 1977, the inaugural meeting of the Hanoverian Society
> of New Zealand was held at the home of Eric and Tiny White in Hawkes Bay. > Fifteen members attended and there were nine apologies.> The Hanoverian symbol was registered as a trademark in New Zealand and > Australia in 1978.
> Rules and regulations were laid out in an agreement between the
> president of the Verband, Burchard Muller, and Eric White, who became the > foundation president of the New Zealand Hanoverian Society. The 24 New > Zealand members were followed quickly by three Australian breeders who had > Hanoverian stallions and a number of Thoroughbred mares. (The Hanoverian > stallions in Australia were Domherr, Duellschutz and Adlerstein.)>
> Winnetahi, a brown filly by Winnebago out of a thoroughbred mare, was > New Zealand’s first registered Hanoverian foal. She was born in March 1978 > at Gaye and David Withers’ Tuahu Station, near Gisborne, and was among 15 > foals branded that season.
> Unfortunately Winnebago was at stud in New Zealand for only three seasons before he became infertile. He produced some well performed horses, however. Tempo with Blyth Tait won the Scottish Three-day Event, and Warendorf was a successful eventer with Mick and Sandy Fryatt in > Britain. Winnebago also sired two top performing dressage mares, Felicitation and Flair.The German society chose Witzbold as a replacement in April 1978. Witzbold was owned by a syndicate and stood at the Waipukerau Stud of the now late Eric Ropiha, a professional horseman with long-standing racing industry involvement. In 1978 Eric Ropiha went to Germany and trained with bereiters under the direction of Manfred Lopp, at Adelheidsdorf, the state training station. He later met up with Eric and Tiny White and together they received training in mare classification, attending mare shows and mare inspections.They were appointed the first New Zealand mare classifiers and were to work with Kalman de Jurenak as a team. Kalman de Jurenak was appointed public relations officer for the Verband responsible for the English-speaking world in 1979. Although he was then living in Germany again he and his wife came back to New Zealand and Australia regularly over the following years to brand mares and inspect foals and to act as a guide and interpreter for the frequent Verband representatives who have kept a friendly and helpful eye on breeding developments. By 1980 the New Zealand society had 55 members in New Zealand and 10 in Australia. In that year Eric White died and Nick Williams became president.
> In 1980 Hewart von de Decken, president of the Verband, made a brief visit, and in January 1982 Hans Joachim Kohler, director of the Verden Auctions, visited breeders in New Zealand and Australia.
> The next German-registered stallion to come to New Zealand was
> Distelfink. He arrived in 1982 and went to the home of his major
> shareholders, the Vallance family, of Longspring Stud, at Masterton. Tony Vallance had visited Germany the year before where he attended mare inspections and mare shows and gained approval to become a mare inspector.
> Kevin Cholmondeley Smith chose the elite stallion Allermund in Germany in 1983 and brought him to his stud at Howick, Auckland. He had two seasons at stud before tragically dying. Many of his dressage and showjumping progeny were sold overseas.
> In 1984, the stallion Genius arrived at Te Peka Stud, the Southland home of Rita and Neil Fox, who had chosen him in Germany. Genius offspring soon showed ability in all disciplines.
> By 1985 membership of the society had risen further, to 92 in New
> Zealand and 26 in Australia. Nick Williams resigned and Judith Simson was elected president. The position of secretary/treasurer/studbook keeper was divided as the mare numbers had increased. In those days all information was forwarded to Germany and the papers were sent to New Zealand for checking and dispatching to the owners. Pam Barnett became secretary/treasurer and Sara Williams remained the studbook keeper. In that year there were three stallions in New Zealand, 129 mares and 53 foals registered.
> In November 1985, Dr. Burchard Bade, the Celle State Stud
> manager,visited New Zealand with Karl and Annabelle de Jurenak. At Thoroughbred studs he looked for colts suitable as future refining sires, but although he saw several which he considered might be suitable, he was discouraged by the cost of purchase and shipping back to Germany.
> In 1986 Witzbold died suddenly, leaving a very successful line of
> progeny – he was the sire of most of New Zealand’s internationally
> competitive horses in the three disciplines in those early years. Several of his progeny were sold overseas including Ludo, Kohl, So Bold and Meissen to Japan and Get Real to America for showjumping .
>In response to a request from the German Hanoverian Society, the New Zealand society’s name was amended in 1987 to become the Hanoverian Society of New Zealand and Australia Incorporated.
The stallions standing in Australia by this time were Moselfischer, Daktylus and Winterkoenig, together with two of the three original sires, Domherr and Duellschutz. Economic uncertainty affected both countries in 1987, and membership of the society dropped to 70 in New Zealand and 18 in Australia. In that year the Verband approved the use of the Thoroughbred stallions Silent Hunter in New Zealand and Silky Baby in Australia to breed to heavier birth-branded Hanoverian mares.
> In 1988 Bago by Winnebago was in the New Zealand showjumping team at the Seoul Olympics, ridden by Mark Todd.
> Judith Simpon resigned in 1988 and Berny Maubach, a German immigrant, was elected president of the society. He soon started computerising the New Zealand Hanoverian Studbook, picking up on valuable earlier work done by Sara Williams, and work was begun to draft a contract with the Verband. Two years later membership had dropped to 59 in New Zealand and 17 in Australia. The Verband gave permission for the use of fresh transported semen from the Hanoverian stallions in New Zealand and Australia with the condition
> that the sire, dam and resulting foal be blood typed prior to the foal
> being branded with the Hanoverian birth brand. This opened up
> opportunities for using stallions from both countries without the mare travelling far.>
> Dynamit, a black Hanoverian stallion, was imported by Berny and Debbie Maubach in 1991 and was paraded at their Wanganui stud the following year for Dr Jochen Wilkens, managing director of the Verband, and Kalman and Annabelle de Jurenak. This visit heralded more changes for the society. As a result of the standardisation of regulations within the European Community, it became necessary for the German Hanoverian Society to
> establish new relationships with its overseas subsidiaries, and the
> decision to create separate societies for New Zealand and Australia under the oversight of the German society was made at the annual general meeting in July 1992. The new societies would run their own affairs and issue their own papers. On July 4, 1993, the Hanoverian Society of New Zealand and Australia met for the last time. Members travelled from Australia and throughout New Zealand to be present. Jane Vallings was elected the first president of the new New Zealand Hanoverian Society (Incorporated). New Zealand Hanoverians making the news at this time included Writzmarc by Witzbold, which was in the Dutch eventing team at the Barcelona Olympic Games, and Oliver, Witzstein and Mosaic, all by Witzbold, and Flair, by
> Winnebago, which were selected for the New Zealand dressage team to compete in Australia. The society gave a $500 sponsorship grant to the dressage team and also sponsored the New Zealand Warmblood Futurities with a donation of $150 for dressage and $150 for show jumping. Oliver and Witzstein were sold to Japan as top dressage horses, Playskool (later sold to Europe) and Waikare, both by Witzbold, were starting to dominate New Zealand dressage, and Falcon (by Distelfink), was an A-grade show jumper. Nineteen of Distelfink’s offspring were exported in 1993. Monopoly by Witzbold was in the Canadian showjumping team at the Barcelona Olympics.
> The society’s membership grew steadily and in 1995 a syndicate led by Patricia Dalrymple – one of the original members of the New Zealand society – brought in the licensed stallion Anamour from Germany, via England, Ireland and United States because of strict quarantine regulations. He stands at Bilbar Lodge, near Palmerston North, with studmaster Gary Freeman.
> Joanne McNicoll imported two brood mares, Fabrice by Fabriano and Witsun, by Weltmeyer, from England. Witsun had previously produced a colt which later became a licensed Hanoverian stallion in Britain, and she went on to become one of New Zealand’s top brood mares. Her first foal in New Zealand was by Anamour, followed by two Anamour embryo transplant foals, Anja and Ave Maria – both in the same year, which also saw Witsun win the open medium dressage championship at the Horse of the Year Show. Anja recorded the highest classification mark when being presented for inspection for entry into the Hanoverian Studbook of her year and Ave Maria had the second highest.
> In 1995, too, the society’s members hosted the German Hanoverian Society president, Friedrich Jahncke, and his wife Elisabeth, who visited breeders throughout the country and conducted well-attended seminars. John and Angela Smith, breeders from the Kapiti Coast, took over the Studbook from Berny Maubach. In 1998 they took on the task of issuing the “Pink Papers” and dealing with public enquiries.>
> Denver by Distelfink was ranked in the world’s top six eventers in 1996, and Mosaic by Witzbold competed in dressage under the Australian flag at the Atlanta Olympic Games. Monopoly represented Canada again in the showjumping at Atlanta.
> The practice of regular, helpful visits by Verband representatives
> continued with the visit in 1997 of Ludwig Christmann, Keeper of the Studbook and editor of Der Hannoveraner. After seeing horses in the far south, Ludwig Christmann travelled to Awanui, the northernmost town of New Zealand, to visit the society’s secretary, Judith Matthews, who had mare families and young Hanoverian stock by Genius, Dynamit and Anamour. Of particular interest was her young German State Premium Hanoverian mare Wel-Kantje by Weltmeyer, imported earlier in the year. This mare won the > biggest-ever dressage prize in New Zealand history, taking all the novice dressage championships at three major shows. She later had a foal by Anamour using newly-developed embryo transfer technology. Judith Matthews became president of the society in 1999, when Jane Vallings retired. During his tour Ludwig Christmann conducted seminars at a number of centres and was a special guest at the New Zealand Horse of the Year Show, where he judged the led sporthorse section.
> Dynamit died in 1998 as a result of an injury, leaving behind him many high quality offspring.
> The Verband was represented in 1999 by Obersattelmeister Manfred Lopp, who for 30 years previously had been head of the Stallion Performance Centre at Adelheidsdorf. Like his predecessors, he visited Hanoverian breeding establishments throughout the country and dispensed a great deal of helpful comment and advice.
> Another exceptional stallion, Dream Boy, was imported from Germany by Dressage International Ltd (Shelley Williams) in 1999. He stands just north of Auckland.>
The new millenium saw a dramatic surge in the New Zealand Hanoverian breed and in the society itself. Marketing took on new importance as a series of advances helped raise the profile of what was fast becoming the country’s most successful dressage horse. Waikare by Witzbold and her rider Kallista Field became the first New Zealand dressage combination to compete at the Olympic Games, held in Sydney in 2000. Hanoverians took the top four placings in the New Zealand Young Dressage Horse Competition, and a hugely successful Showcase of Hanoverians was held at Auckland, with prominent Australian breeder Holger Schmorl as guest commentator.
> The society set up a website, and a regular and effective marketing
> campaign, with articles and paid advertising, was launched in equestrian publications, taking advantage of the breed’s competition successes. The society’s distinctive logo was featured on a range of clothing and other merchandise sold to members and at equestrian events throughout the country. A series of fund-raising raffles was initiated, offering the services of licensed Hanoverian stallions as prizes. Publicity pamphlets were revamped, and in 2001 the society’s informative quarterly newsletter moved to colour printing.
> John Smith was elected president in 2000. Helena Leanne took over the Studbook from him, and she was succeeded in 2001 by Robin Potter. Meantime, frozen semen from overseas had become available to breeders. And in 2001 the society’s first mare performance test was conducted at Judith Matthews’ property by Manfred Lopp, back in New Zealand on a return visit. While in New Zealand he also judged the led sport horse class at the Horse of the Year Show. An annual New Zealand premium mare competition was introduced at that time, initiated by Jane Vallings, to be won by the three or four year old mare with top marks at classification. Prize money goes towards the cost of a first breeding within the following next three years. A new Studbook category, for brood mares with highly successful progeny, was also introduced.>
> A training programme had started for new classifiers in 1997, whose
> services were increasingly in demand as the number of Hanoverians in competition grew steadily. Angela Smith and Robin Potter subsequently joined Eric Ropiha and Tiny White on the classifiers panel. Tony Vallance had retired a few years before. More foals were branded in the 2000-2001 breeding season than in any previous year. Six of the 10 finalists including the winner at the 2001 New Zealand Young Dressage Horse Competition were Hanoverians.
> The society adopted the slogan for use in marketing outlets: “Be a
> winner – go Hanoverian!” And also in 2001, for the first time the
> increasingly high-profile and successful society adopted a sponsorship role, at the International Dressage FEI World Challenge Welcome Dinner in Taupo.
> Emma Blair, a young rider, won the New Zealand qualifier of the P.S.I. World Challenge for Showjumping on Antipodes by Allermund, out of a Witzbold mare. Stephanie Tovey, another young Hanoverian rider, competed in Sydney on Dominik T by Dynamit, as a member of the New Zealand team at the Australian Young Dressage Rider Championships. Several of the society’s members made the trip to Germany in 2002, to attend the Hanoverian Breed Orientation Course and experienced warm hospitality. They returned to New Zealand with renewed enthusiasm for the outstanding qualities of the breed.
> Bridget Sutton became secretary in 2002.
> Heinrich Heemke, then second vice president of the Verband, and his wife Ursula made an inspection tour the North Island of New Zealand in 2003.
> Long-serving vice-president and member of the Winnebago, Witzbold and Anamour syndicates, Pat Dalrymple was made a life member of the society. She bred the first Hanoverian dressage horse, Waldebago by Winnebago, to be exported from New Zealand.
> DNA testing of mares and foals was introduced in the same year, to
> replace blood typing. The society’s website was becoming increasingly popular at this time, with more than 1000 hits in some months.
> Genius, then aged 23, was put down in 2003 because of ill health. His progeny included international competitors in all three disciplines – Tielcey Glenbrook and Winter Ginkgo in eventing, Gabana, Garibaldi N.Z. and Great Gadsby in dressage, and Dunstan Guinness and Godfather in showjumping.
> Genius’ death was followed by Distelfink, who died early in 2004.This stallion left many outstanding progeny. Super Moth, Mr. Magic, The Dealer, Blondini, Falcon, Double O Eight, Duty Free and Daylight were all successful showjumpers. Denver and Danzar were international eventers. Nine Distelfink showjumpers between them won 14 New Zealand Horse of the Year titles.>
> The society introduced awards dinners in 2004, held annually after the annual general meeting, with the aim of encouraging breeders and rewarding commitment and success.
> In 2004 Gabana, by Genius out of a Winnebago mare, ridden by Louisa Hill, represented New Zealand in dressage at the Athens Olympics.
> Jochen and Ulla Wilkens returned to New Zealand in 2005. Classifying mares at Bilbar Lodge, Dr Wilkens told onlookers that the mares were of good quality, especially in conformation and type, although gaits generally needed some improvement. “We had some eights today, where it’s more usual to see total scores of between six and seven,” he said. “If the total score is near to eight it’s a top mare.” Dr Wilkens also judged the first Hanoverian led class at the Horse of the Year Show, and later addressed an attentive crowd on breeding in Germany for the Olympic disciplines. Hanoverians were the big winners in the show’s dressage classes, and for five days long-standing committee member Sara Williams was kept busy answering queries arising from her comprehensive display of information on Hanoverian blood lines.
> A new Hanoverian stallion, Limonit, arrived from Germany in October 2005, going to Chris and Pam Wills’ family stud, Ad Astra, just north of Auckland. Another stallion, Riverdance, came to New Zealand from Kinnordy Stud, in Queensland, for the 2005 breeding season. He was in the care of Bill Noble, of Auckland, who enjoyed riding him in dressage competition before his return to Australia.
> The versatility of the breed was demonstrated at the Christchurch Royal Show in 2005, where the open medium dressage mare Winter Acacia (by Anamour), owned and ridden by Laurel Cross of Blenheim, took six championship ribbons in the in-hand and ridden classes, and was given the Supreme Champion Hack award by the four judges. Winter Acacia, which was among the Hanoverians given an eight-point classification score by Heinrich Heemke in 2003, later went on to compete successfully at Advanced level and is currently in the New Zealand dressage developmental squad.
> And in a totally different field of competition, D’Nazeer, a striking
> black gelding by Distelfink, was chosen to star in the award-winning movie set in New Zealand, Lord of The Rings.
> In 2006 John Smith retired as president after six successful, eventful years in office and Bridget Sutton, a well established south Auckland breeder, took office. A new breeder, Janine Scott, travelled to Germany to buy a Hanoverian brood mare, settling on a States Premium mare, Wiona B.by Waterford. By this time the society’s records showed that there were 155 active Studbook mares in New Zealand and 59 foals were branded.
> The society celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2007, marking the
> occasion with the biggest Showcase of its history, at the Abderry
> equestrian centre in south Auckland. Dr Wilkens headed the team conducting the mare classifications and mare performance tests. The programme included displays of mares, foals and young stock and ridden displays of young horses. Limonit was also put on show, and Dr Wilkens gave an illustrated talk on the future breeding of Hanoverians in New Zealand. A colourful new publicity pamphlet was published for distribution at equestrian events, with the title You Could Breed a World Champion Hanoverian, featuring on the front cover a picture of triumphant world champions Anky van Grunsven on Salinero by Salieri.
> New Zealand Hanoverians were outstandingly successful in dressage in 2007, taking four championships at the Horse of the Year show and eight titles at the New Zealand Dressage championships, where Dream World MH won the Horsepower Young Dressage Horse champion of champions for the second time – the only horse ever to have achieved that double. Dream World MH is by Dream Boy out of Welkantje, the imported Hanoverian mare owned by Judith and Peter Matthews.
> Hanoverians by Anamour were also coming to the fore in eventing, with successes in United States and New Zealand horse trials.
> The Studbook Keeper, Robin Potter, announced during the year that the German Society had approved the introduction from 2008 of a Pre-Studbook, listing approved mares which had not been birth branded, for whatever reason. The foals from Pre-Studbook mares by Hanoverian licensed stallions will be eligible to be birth-branded, and their daughters will be eligible for the main Studbook. Robin Potter said this would give the society an opportunity to achieve growth in mare population, and expand the membership base, which Dr Wilkens had suggested was a necessity during his latest visit.
> In 2007, the 30th anniversary year, the New Zealand Hanoverian Society had grown to 91 members and 153 Studbook mares. Young horses by Anamour are excelling in dressage and eventing in New
> Zealand and Dream Boy youngsters are starting to be noticed in the show ring and in dressage competitions. Limonit is competing in dressage as well as carrying out his stud duties and he has been champion of his class
> The future of the New Zealand Hanoverian looks very exciting.