St Susan Finnerty looks at the stallions who dominate the world rankings for producing event horses 

EVENT horse breeders may choose a longer and sometimes less commercial path in comparison to the demand for show jumping-bred foals and the quicker turnover of the show jumping trade.

For those breeders aiming for this market however, the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) studbook and international sire rankings provide information and promotional opportunities for studbooks, stallion owners and breeders.

The WBFSH, British Eventing (BE) and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) rankings for 2015 have once again yielded a variety of results for interpretation and, while there is a strong Irish theme across the board, the growing influence of Continental sires is also apparent.

We begin with the WBFSH rankings, where last year Master Imp overtook another thoroughbred, Heraldik, to be the leading event horse sire. Twelve months later and with several of the key players on the Master Imp team, including High Kingdom, Master Crusoe and Ringwood Magister sidelined, the 2015 rankings see the Imperius son slip to fourth place.

Moving up two places to take this year’s title is the Holsteiner sire Contendro I. The chief points-earner for this Cor De La Bryere descendant, who has also proved a notable show jumping sire, was Mark Todd’s NZB Campino, ranked 24th individually in the event horse rankings.

Finishing a close second was the Belgian-bred Ramiro B, ranked 10th last year. His Irish-born crops, before the stallion’s move to Harthill Stud, include the bright prospect Cooley SRS. The Oliver Townend-partnered gelding was also part of the six highest Irish-bred horses who retained the WBFSH leading eventing studbook title for the Irish Sport Horse studbook last year.

Heraldik’s offspring continue to keep their sire to the forefront and the Czech-bred took third place in a year which saw the number of thoroughbred sires (namely Master Imp, Heraldik and Ghareeb) in the top 10 drop by 20% compared to the 2014 rankings.

The ‘Jung factor’ sees the Selle Français stallion Jaguar Mail climb 15 places in 12 months to fifth this year in the world rankings.

Jaguar Mail has a couple of offspring out of the dual Badminton-Burghley winner Headley Britannia listed amongst his points-earning progeny. However, it was the European gold medal-winning performance of FischerTakinou, under Michael Jung, that propelled Jaguar Mail, a result of Bernard Le Courtois’ breeding programe to a top 10 place.
Five more Irish-based stallions round off this year’s WBFSH rankings, including another top 10 regular, Ricardo Z; the double-listed Limmerick, whose main points-earner Loughan Glen is listed under his sire’s ‘Limerick’ alias; the traditionally-bred Puissance; Ghareeb and the Holsteiner, Courage II.

With the cross-channel market being the main market for Irish-breds, the British Eventing (BE) rankings and results are of particular interest here. Again, there is a strong Irish presence in the various categories, which becomes even more apparent in the upper levels.

Ghareeb, whose last crop are now four-year-olds, leads the novice level upwards category with Shannondale Shinawil and the full-brothers Kilronan and Strike Smartly amongst his main winners.

He is also the highest-placed Irish-based stallion in BE’s 2015 overall awards amongst a contingent, containing Ricardo Z (third), Master Imp (fourth), Harlequin Du Carel (sixth), the since exported Ramiro B (seventh), Puissance (eighth), Ard VDL Douglas (ninth) and Courage II (10th).

The United State Equestrian federation (USEF) leading sires scoring system sees Riverman, one of three Holsteiners in the top 10, head the transatlantic list.

In second place is Master Imp, the only stallion to record a top 10 place in all three sire rankings for 2015. His best points-earner was Master Frisky, sold by his breeder Sean Power as a foal through an Irish Farmers Journal advertisement.

Just outside the leaderboard in 11th place is Coevers Diamond Boy, while another Irish traditional-bred in Brandenburg’s Windstar (16th) and then Ramiro B (19th) complete the top-20 line up.

Of all sire rankings, the eventing section often produces the most diverse range of breeds and less choice and availability of living stallions. Spotting the potential sire of the future is often the greatest challenge of all for event horse breeders.


1    Contendro I
2    Ramiro B
3    Heraldik
4    Master Imp
5    Jaguar Mail
6    Ricardo Z
7    Limmerick
8    Puissance
9    Ghareeb
10  Courage II


1    Jumbo
2    Mill Law
3    Ricardo Z
4    Grafenstolz
5    Ghareeb
6    Master Imp
7    Medoc
8    Jaguar Mail
9    Chacoa
10  Bazaars Chief

*Foundation = BE90/BE100 classes.

1    Ghareeb
2    Jumbo
3    Master Imp
4    Harlequin Du Carel
5    Courage II
6    Ard VDL Douglas
7    Ricardo Z
8    Fines
9    Ramiro B
10  Limmerick

** Points = from Novice level upwards.

1    Jumbo
2    Ghareeb
3    Ricardo Z
4    Master Imp
5    Mill Law
6    Harlequin Du Carel
7     Ramiro B
8    Puissance
9    Ard VDL Douglas
10  Courage II