June 23, 2007

Contango, who died recently at the age of 18.
Picture: Terri Miller
The legendary KWPN stallion Contango died unexpectedly at the age of 18 on April 17 earlier this year, but has left a lasting legacy of progeny who have reached Grand Prix ranks in both dressage and jumping.

Owner Iron Spring Farm reports that the dark bay stallion died peacefully in his pasture. He was the only Preferent stallion in North America.

"Even though he was getting older, you're never ready for something like this," said Mary Alice Malone, who rode Contango to 29 Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle wins. "Contango was the horse of a lifetime. He brought so much to the farm, the breed, and me personally. It's a very difficult loss. The only consolation is that he has left us with many exceptional offspring."

Contango's contributions to sport and breeding are nearly unmatched. His sire is the legendary Contender and his dam is the States Premium mare Adisa III by Kronprinz.

Contango began his career by winning his 100-day test in Medingen, Germany with scores of 9s on temperament and trainability, as well as top honours in both dressage and jumping. The extremely rare feat of winning both sections of the testing immediately distinguished Contango.

He stood one season in Germany before he was purchased by Nol Gerritse and Frans Koeman from de Dalhoeve and imported to Holland. Contango was approved by the KWPN after the short test where the jury noted he was very obedient, honest, easy to handle and had a lot of willingness to work. He showed at M level jumping and won the stallion competition. He then competed through Prix St. Georges before his move to Iron Spring Farm in Pennsylvania.

Contango's many Grand Prix victories from 1996-2001 with Malone included the USDF/ABIG Region 1 Grand Prix Freestyle Championship, Grand Prix for Special at Dressage at Devon and CBLM Championships in both Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle.

Contango has sired two approved sons, Citango and Maestro, and two approved grandsons, Tango and Westenwind. His offspring are competing at the highest level of the sport in both Europe and North America. Among his international jumper offspring are Carousel, Nouvelle, Broere Newton, Broere Maroon, Minneavera, Nada Penny, Mompty and Vereist Maranci. Contango's Grand Prix dressage offspring include New Tango, Nanou, Maverick, Madoryke, May Fair, Maestro and Steffen Peter's new ride TC Ravel with nearly a dozen others competing at the FEI level. Contango won the Get of Sire class at Dressage at Devon in 2004. His sons and daughters have won numerous breeding championships and are frequently in the KWPN-NA Top Ten.