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Holstein Stallion Lines - Cottage Son xx

Cottage Son xx

Volume 1, Holstein Stallion Lines (Holsteiner Hengste); by Claus Schridde; Asmussen Publishing. Hardcover, in German language. 94pp. RRP €29.90. (English translation 20pp €14.90). ISBN: 3-935985-32-0; Translation: 3-935985-42-8.

July 15, 2008

You could be forgiven for thinking there is a path beaten from England to Germany by canny horse breeders looking to refine their warmblood lines. Several of the world's most influential sport horse sires started their careers as racehorses in Great Britain, before being selected for warmblood breeding programmes in Europe.

The influence of the thoroughbred in warmblood breeding is immense, but few stallions have had such a long-lasting impact as the English thoroughbred Cottage Son.

By the time he was selected for Holstein at the age of 15 in 1959, Cottage Son was already a proven sire of steeplechasers, with Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National winners among his progeny, as well as top-level sport horses. Indeed, several of his progeny performed as eventers at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960.

Cottage Son (1944-1963)
He was selected by the Holstein Association's managing director Helmut Horstmann. And what a choice Cottage Son proved to be. In only a five-year breeding period his influence in the holsteiner breed over the generations has proven to be huge and horses carrying his blood are found all over the world. Sadly, Cottage Son succumbed to the respiratory disease COPD in his 20th year.

"Of course he had his defects, but this great stallion carried so much breed-improving features that his faults were recognised and compensated for through corrective pairing," says author Claus Schridde. "That is exactly what constitutes the brilliance of a great sire."

He says that the Cottage Son progeny had "adequate movement, excellent jumping ability, were easy to ride, willing to perform, and lively". But unfortunately his sons and grandsons did not have great chances in the breeding shed. "It was often like they were discarded from the sire pool barely before their offspring were proven under saddle," Schridde laments.

Indeed, in the 1980s the Cottage Son sire line suffered a lull in popularity, but a concentrated effort by the Holstein Association saw these lines revived.

Through the book readers can follow Cottage Son's sire sons and their sons, and so on; more than 170 horses are described. Many of the subjects are shown in pictures, so it is possible to compare type between Cottage Son's descendents. We are treated to colour full page images of Cumano, Clearway, Calato, and of the striking Cassini I - a painting of whom also graces the front cover.

The English supplement of this book - translated very ably by Lynn Schwickerath - does not include the pedigree charts, statistics or pictures; the reader must refer to the original book for these.



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