Songline: Siegerhengst and Bundeschampion SONGLINE is now in America!
The most stunning news of 2013 was that ATA life member Gustav Schickedanz of Schonberg Farm near Toronto has imported his champion Trakehner stallion from Germany. Gus, at age 84, describes himself as a “horse nut,” much like his late brother, founding ATA member Gerhard Schickedanz. The Schickedanz boys were raised in Lithuania, just across the border from Trakehnen, East Prussia, on a farm where their parents bred Trakehner horses, among other livestock. The brothers were taken up into the ravages of World War II and afterwards emigrated to Canada, where they went into the construction business and later became very successful developers, a business that continues today.
The East Prussian Warmblood Horse remained a passion for Gerhard and also Gus, though Gus made himself famous breeding some of the top Thoroughbred racehorses of Canada, and is now in their Breeders’ Hall of Fame. The special place that Trakehner horses have in the hearts of old East Prussians is still a powerful motivator, as they are actually the only remaining physical vestige of East Prussian culture, the land itself forever Russianized and forbidden to them.
The beautiful “type” and the incredible bravery and endurance these horses had as cavalry horses has been preserved though efforts of a relatively small group of committed people, among them the Langels family of Haemelschenburg Stud in Westphalia, Germany. Five or six generations of carefully selected breedings on their farm led to an exceptional premium mare named Schwalbenspiel, the daughter of a spectacular mare named Schwalbenlust that Cheryl and I tried to buy from them in 1988 when she was a two year old, but were refused.
The Langels bred Schwalbenspiel to the very prominent young stallion Summertime (Michelangelo/Arogno) and in 2004 she foaled Songline, a medium sized black bay, who was invited to the 2006 Stallion Approvals in Neumuenster, which is where this story really gets exciting.
Songline blew away the competition there, won the Champion Stallion rating, and was especially complimented on his gallop and free jumping. The next day he was offered at public auction, and Mr. Schickedanz faced pretty aggressive competition in his bidding for the colt, finally prevailing at the knockdown price of 320,000 Euros, a record for a just-approved Trakehner stallion.
He chose to leave Songline in Germany, in the very capable hands of Grand Prix dressage trainer/rider Katrin Poll, of the Hoerem Stud. Her evaluation suggested that Eventing would be the best sport for him, and so he was entrusted to the Poll’s associate, four-star rider Andreas Dibowski, who had also trained Fontainbleau and Buddenbrock. This was a good match, as Songline qualified for the eventing National Young Horse Championships in both 2009 and 2010 (Bundeschampionat) and WON it in 2010, the best 6 year old in Germany. Dibowski’s student, Franziska Haunhorst WON the CIC* at Bad Harzburg that year on Songline, and was 2nd at the CCI* at Kreuzau. The pair competed at the 2010 FEI World Young Event Horse championships at Le Lion d’Anger in France and finished 23rd of 70 starters.
The following year they took 2nd at the Bad Segeberg CIC* and went again to Le Lion d’Angers as a 7 yo and WON the dressage phase, but had a careless stop on xc and finished 33rd. In 2012 Dibowski took back the ride and won or placed highly at four FEI horse trials, including a 3rd at the CIC*** at Arville.
Songline has already one approved son, Eiskoenig, who was sold to Belgium, and numerous good daughters, who are now winning in competitions.
Many of the mares he has been bred to were more of the dressage type than jumpers or eventers, so the foals in Germany will reflect his exceptional gaits and beauty of movement.
Gus Schickedanz has decided to entrust Songline with me, and I in turn have placed him with my friends and associates, Michael and Nathalie Pollard, of Dalton, GA and Ocala, FL, where he will be ridden by Michael and stand at Chatsworth Stud. Songline is fully approved by the American Trakehner Association. For breeding questions please contact me, Tim Holekamp, at Holekamp@aol.com. For a breeding contract and arrangements visit www.ChatsworthStud.com.
All of us in North America’s Trakehnerdom thank Mr. Schickedanz for his generosity and commitment to the Trakehner breed!
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and Cheryl Holekamp
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