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Glücksruf: The Lucky Stallion with Lucky Owners

Update August 2014:
Some great jumping photos!

Update May 2014:
Here's a short video of one of Glücksruf's latest foals

Here's Glücksruf, May 2014

Gluecksruf in handThere are now a number of Trakehner fans who are interested in our young stallion, Glücksruf, a flashy chestnut bred at Ganschow, by Dramatiker and out of a mare by Opernball.  This horse comes from Mecklenburg, part of what was East Germany, and thus carries a pedigree NOT part of the mainstream of currently popular bloodlines. Dramatiker is the successful Ganschow jumper (now sold and exported to China for their Olympic Team project). So this is a short introduction to Glücksruf, even though he is not available in North America (yet).

Why is he the Lucky Stallion? Well his name means something like “a shout for Good Luck”, and something lucky happened to him and us one day in 2011 that has changed everything in his life.

That lucky day was the day he was approved for breeding at Neumuenster in October of 2011. In truth, Cheryl and I went to Germany just to learn, renew acquaintances, represent the ATA, and to have some fun. There was NO intention to buy anything but maybe books or T-shirts. Three days of carefully watching the various parts of the colt approvals process (Hengstkoerung) left us both with a zillion notes in our catalogs, but not much real interest in what appeared to be the best of the colts to most of the thousands of Trakehner fans there. Way too much “and they all look just the same” for us, and all about dressage.

So as we sat with most of the American contingent at the moment of announcement of the approval results, Cheryl and I compared our notes about the colts, actually for the first time. I said to her: “Bottom line is: there is only one here that I would like to use for breeding mares.” She opened her book to Colt Number 10 just as I showed her the very same page, and we looked at each other with that sardonic grin we reserve for “Yeah, like DUH.” We both had him scored very highly on gaits and for temperament, and we both just liked him. Not real big fans of bright chestnuts, we have long known that many of our best homebred competitors and traditionally the best “show horses” in the breed have been chestnuts.

Just at that moment, I heard a German breeder/trainer friend behind me speaking to two Americans about the colts, saying something like: “There is only one here I REALLY like”, so I quickly turned around, just as she was saying, “and that is Number 10, the chestnut from Ganschow!”  Whoops! Same knowing grin exchanged between Stephanie Herken-Wendt and Tim Holekamp….

I guess none of us were too surprised that he was approved, that he was announced as the best free-jumper of the approved colts of 2011, and that he did NOT receive premium status. In a way, that was part of the lucky aspect of that day, since his price would have been through the roof if he were a top colt in the inspection.

Stephanie did not attend the market on Sunday, where most of the colts were offered at public auction sale, but Cheryl and I did. I sat there and watched some foals sell rather inexpensively, and the premium stallions sold for a bundle. As the afternoon wore on, the crowd thinned considerably, and I began to get the Itchy Bidding Hand Syndrome. After explaining to Cheryl that Glücksruf just might sell at a price we could live with, I extracted a tentative agreement from her that we try.

Those who know the atmosphere of these auctions in the Holstenhalle will sympathize with me, but if you haven’t had a chance yet to attend one of these moments, suffice it to say that it is “electric,” no matter how you feel about your bidding prospects. In came Number 10. On went the bidding. Slow…..not a lot of interest. I bid, then an elderly man and his wife down in the premium seats bid, back and forth. I couldn’t seem to get any traction and ran past the limit Cheryl had set. Finally I gave up, and just wilted in my chair, while the elderly couple signed the paperwork and took the flowers and champagne with big grins. RATS!

Just as I was silently bucking myself up with the sour grapes routine (Ah heck, he was probably a dud anyway….) a Verband representative came to my seat to say that the successful bidders were bidding for the owner/breeder of the horse, so it was a no-sale, and would I like to talk to Mr. Mencke about the colt? Sure, I donned my coat and met him out behind the arena, where I discovered a wonderfully congenial man, whose English was not much better than my German. After a while we gave up and phoned his fluent son to come translate.

Things got better after that, even though we found ourselves quite far apart. I offered to trade with him. What? Well, I have a very fine wife, a Grand Prix rider/trainer and upper level dressage judge? No thanks, he said. We eventually DID find a way to meet both sides’ expectations, shook hands on the deal, and that was that. I raced back to the hotel and telephoned Stephanie Herken-Wendt to see if she might be interested in training Lucky for a year or two.

She said that she had been following the auction on the internet from home and learned that Number 10 sold to someone. Yes, to me, I said. WHAAAAAT? And would you like to train him for me, I asked? The “yes” came SO fast that it almost canceled out the question, and before I knew it, we had a deal. A Lucky day? Oh yes, for all of us -- because the picture of this horse and his accomplishments that has developed since then keeps getting brighter and brighter.

A year of very careful and slow-progress work by Steffi and her talented and tactful rider, Tanya Kuhn, led to a 30 day test at Redefin, where Lucky pretty much dominated, winning the dressage part of the testing with the highest score any Trakehner colt earned in Germany in 2012, plus the same in rideability. We visited Mr. Mencke, Ganschow, Dramatiker, etc., in August of that year and all agreed that Lucky was doing brilliantly, but the 30-day test endorsed our optimism. We watched him at Steffi’s farm, and at a training park. All looked good. This colt is certainly not a fire-breathing super stallion, but he is a phenomenal “workman” and an upper level quality mover. He is slow in developing, just now leaving the gawky adolescent stage, and filling out into a Horse-In-Full, so to speak.

In February, he visited the annual winter approvals and stallion show at Muenster-Handorf, a Trakehner lover’s winter dose of stallion-watching and quite well-attended.  There, due to some shenanigans, the other coming-four-year-olds that were supposed to go into the arena with him declined, and the only option was to go by himself. Steffi and Tanya said, “No problem”, and sure enough it was no problem for this obedient young horse. At the end of his little “tour” of the arena, showing off his gaits, Tanya just rode him to the center of the arena and dropped the reins. The applause was loud, but the announcer said something like “Is that all you can come up with?” And they stood and cheered. Most four-year-old colts would have immediately exited, with or without the rider. Lucky stood there on no rein and just looked around calmly, figuring he had earned the accolade, I guess. Doubt it happened like that? Go here and watch it happen:

Gluecksruf first foalThis spring his first foal was born (photo left), from a good mare of similar type. Everyone seems quite pleased:
Because of his prominence at Handorf in February, he had more mares this spring. All are in foal.
On June 28, 2013 Lucky went to his first “real” competition show at Eutin, in East Holstein, where the under-saddle division for four-year -olds (Reitpferdepruefung) had 41 entries including the reserve champion of Lucky’s approvals in 2011. When it was all over it seems that the top horse was indeed Lucky, with an 85% score, the reserve Siegerhengst second with an 83% and the rest in the 70s or below. Wow! That definitely got some attention.

So now what comes next? He has been working slowly and calmly to the level needed for doing the much more demanding 70 day test, starting in August, 2013. There we will see what progress he has made and how other testers like him. Our initial plan was to go back to nearby Redefin, so that Steffi and Tanya could visit and keep an eye on things, but the number of applicant stallions was not enough to hold a testing there, and so we became part of a large group accepted to test at the prestigious and ancient state stud at Marbach (birthplace of our departed Amethyst), in the far South of Germany. The plans are laid. I recommend that you stay tuned…. We sure are.

Tim Holekamp

Glücksruf update August 2014

Here are some really choice photos sent by Glücksruf's new rider, Miriam Bray, who in late July, 2014, placed second at the Trakehner National Championships in Hanover, Germany on him in a class open only to five- and six-year-olds in showjumping (in other words, a Young Jumper class). Subjectively scored, he got an 8.2, which is quite a very good score. This from a horse that won the dressage at his stallion testing both as a three year old and four year old.

Miriam and her husband are very enthusiastic about Lucky's "all-around" potential, and were amazed at his perfect manners at the big Hanover competition, called the Bundesturnier. Photos by Tierfotografie Huber.

Lucky jumping. Photos by
                              Tierfotografie Huber.

Lucky jumping. Photos by
                              Tierfotografie Huber.

Lucky jumping 2.Photos by
                              Tierfotografie Huber.

Lucky jumping 3. Photos by
                              Tierfotografie Huber.

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Tim and Cheryl Holekamp
New Spring Farm

7901 Highway 63 South
Columbia, MO 65201
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