Hanoverian Horse Society of New Zealand

Classification 2024 Tour by Katy Holder-Vale

Having been asked to be the classifier for the Hanoverian Horse Society of New Zealand Foal & Mare Tour I was thrilled to be invited for the 2024 tour. I flew out 16th January for 3 weeks of judging, travelling, and staying in breeders’ homes.  I thought that this would be a great way to see lots of New Zealand but more importantly provide a great insight into the horse community and their breeding programmes.

When I left the UK, it was only two degrees and when I finally flew into Auckland, the weather was beautifully sunny if not too hot.  My initial thoughts were that New Zealand was covered by lush green grass beneath big blue skies, and I was soon to be introduced to a new and addictive experience – that of a blended iced coffee.

The Tour started for real after a couple of days of acclimatisation, the first stop was at Stoneylea Farm where both foals were awarded Premiums:

  • Gold: Stoneylea Black Pearl (Furstenball Old/ Stoneylea Vitality by Vitalis) and Silver: Stoneylea Valerian (Von Und Zu/ Stoneylea Welt Princess by Weltmeyer)

Later in Pukekohe, a further two Premium foals were judged at Henton Lodge Hanoverians both were ET foals:

  • Silver: Unnamed bay foal (Contendro I Holst/ LT Holst Aunty Annette Holst by Cancarra Holst.)
  • Gold: Unnamed chestnut (Viscount DE/ Henton Faberge ET by For Edition). Dam Henton Faberge is an Elite and Sports Performance Mare

For additional information, LT Holst Aunty Annette won the Silver Fern Stakes at the HOYS in 2017 ridden by Helen McNaught-McFarlane.

Katy with the Contendro colt

The tour flew north in a very small plane to spend a day with Matthews Hanoverians, and this began with two deserved awards for Decadance MH (Dacaprio/Anamour/Weltmeyer):

  • Elite Mare – achieved through her Mare Performance Test in 2017 with Dr Ludwig Christmann, where she scored an overall 8 and with two 8’s in the Free jumping to be the best mare that year.
  • Sports Performance Mare – achieved through Dressage at the top level, retiring in 2020 after winning Grand Prix Champion at Waitemata Premier League Championships Show ridden by Wendi Williamson. Decadance MH was also NZ Young Dressage Champion in 2014 when ridden by Kaye Ahsam. Pictured below with her breeder Judith Matthews

A further Matthews Hanoverian mare, Felize MH (Furstenball Old. /Dancier/Weltmeyer), was recognised with Elite Mare status.

Six premium foals for Matthews Hanoverians – two dressage bred:

  • Gold: Lacey MH (Le Formidable KWPN/De Niro) pictured below with Katy and Judith and Sparkle MH (Secret DSP/Worldly)

Two jumper-bred – both ET foals and half siblings:

  • Gold: Anton MH (Arezzo VDL/Grosvenor xx) and Celine MH (Chacfly/Grosvenor xx)

A further 2 foals were awarded silver premiums.

5 Premium foals for David Woolley:

  • Gold: Fortune DW (Florida TN KWPN – Revolution), Imagine DW (Indian Rock KWPN – Rubin Royal), Joyful DW Rhein (Jovian KWPN – Rockstar WESTF), Jubilant DW (Johnson KWPN – Doringcourt)
  • Silver: Delight DW Rhein (Desperado – Johnson)

Two smart young mares for studbook inspection:

  • Righteous DW (Rubin Royal – Quattro B SF) and Ruby Red DW (Revolution – Rockstar (Westf)) Rhein Breeder David Woolley. Pictured below with Davis is Ruby Red and Fortune DW – her foal by Florida TN KWPN.

After a quick return to Auckland, there was another internal flight, this time to Palmerston North, with a first stop for a stallion licensing for 4-year-old colt by Secret which was well presented by owner Baldeep Dhillon.

We experienced a successful day for Russell Equine with their entire herd of mares receiving premium mare studbook status. We were pleased to see that Aloha (Aljano Holst) was presented with her two daughters Donneroyale and Secrets Kept REQ, for a whopping 8.75 mare family score. Breeder Dr Lucy Russell.

  • Premium: Donneroyale REQ (Donnerubin x Aljano Holst)
  • Premium: Secrets Kept REQ (Secret DSP x Aljano Holst)
  • Premium: Finest Hit REQ (Finest / Solitar Hit Old / Ramirez Holst)

Then followed a flight to Canterbury where amongst other venues, we saw the stock at Catherine Smith’s Rokeby Farm – and her three-year-old mare Rokeby Francette (Franklin /Dante Weltino Old) gained the top mare score of the Tour and her filly by Indian Rock was awarded Gold as was the Skyline to Be filly from her Ibizza/Sir Donnerhall I mare Rokeby Izzabella. New breeders Laurie Somers presented the top scoring TB mare, Snagol xx and Bev Uttridge gained Gold for her Bon Coeur/Worldly filly Bellini.

NZ Performance Horses – a wonderful sunny day with fascinating jumping pedigrees!

In 1965 NZPH was established in the Hawkes Bay by a group of showjumping enthusiasts by importing some Selle Francais mares for a jumping breeding programme. Over time their horses have achieved quite outstanding performance standards. Adele White who runs the mare herd and does all the breeding, in Hastings at the Okawa Stud (previously a famous thoroughbred stud in the Hawkes Bay) has slowly but surely over the past 3 tours entered the mares into the various Hanoverian and Rhineland Studbooks and is now registering some progeny. The day was attended by the President Judith Matthews and Vice Presidents Renai Hart and Angela Miller. My husband Peter Vousden was the trusty mathematician and photographer yet again.

This year, after two previous weather shattered visits that caused much distress, the sun shone on Adele’s parade, and she presented 4 further mares and three foals for inspection.

The picture above shows premium colt Outlaw NZPH (Nibali de Jolie Z/Kannan KWPN) with dam Hazel NZPH.

There were visiting mares and foals as well from Sheena Ross Equestrian, Cindy Wiffin and Jenna Cann and Brittany Tilson. It was a superb day – and all the mares and foals were beautifully turned out. Apart from the young horses seen at shows in the Young Horse Series classes, NZPH has produced over 20 horses that have jumped to World Cup level.

Two horses have been exported to Mexico with Dakota Philibert, Bingo NZPH by Untouchable M (KWPN) and Hurricane NZPH by Kannan KWPN – both out of Question NZPH (Fetiche du Pas SF) jumping 140m and 7yr olds

Many horses have won at the Young Horse Championships and Series. Notably in recent years, age group winners Icarus NZPH (Up to You GFE*/Mr Blue KWPN) and Inca NZPH (Up to You GFE* / Pezetas du Rouet SF) were 1st and 2nd in the five yr. old last season at the young horse show and Inca NZPH was 1st in the 6yr old this year at the young horse show.

There are 5 NZPH horses in the GP series leaderboard – the highest ranked being: Cadillac NZPH (Jokus Latour SF/ Cabdula du Tillard SF) with Samantha Van Lierde.


Pictured below from the top

 Oracle NZPH (Corofino II Holst/Fetiche du Pas SF)

Goosebumps (Contenda/Up To You SF)

Orpheus NZPH (Ulhan du Temple SF/Pezetas du Rouet SF)

Onto a lovely lunch at Clearview winery with the hard-working classifier team Robin Potter, Angela Smith, and Katy Holder-Vale which was hosted by Rod and Angela Miller.  The day ended with a tricky situation when we got back to Napier Airport only to find that they had cancelled our flight, sadly at this point there were no hire car or alternative flights options and a very busy day scheduled for the next day.  The team’s only option was to borrow Angela Miller’s car, drive the 5 hours to Aukland, and in the morning, Peter drove the car back to Napier before taking the evening flight.

Christine Weal Equestrian both gold foals:

  • Bespoke CWE, chestnut filly by BE Sure and out of Sapphire Lady Imp (Shiraz Black)
  • Dreamland CWE, bay filly by Eurosport Diamant B and out of Stoneylea Furstin Fantasie (Furstenball Old).

Good thoroughbred mares add a lot to the breeding programme in terms of refinement of type, good limbs, athleticism, and good walks.

Here are three we have classified into the Main Hanoverian Studbook

  • Premium mare Snagol xx (Sapervari xx/Snilloc xx) Laurie Sommers, Rakaia (pictured below)
  • Platinum Promise xx ((Ifraaj xx/O’Reilly xx) Carys McCrory, Havelock North
  • Keltic Kitty xx (One Cool Cat xx/Keltic xx) Cindy Wiffin and Jenna Cann from Hastings

Snagol xx

On the final day of judging on the tour, River Park Farm presented two very correct and supple fillies for inspection, and they were both awarded a gold sash. The foals in questions were:River Park Valencia (Vitalis KWPN /Don Bosco) owned by River Park Farm and River Park Global Hit (Global Player KWPN /Worldly) now owned by Jenny-Lee Jorgensen.

Renai Hart with helper Tors Rattray of Cheleken Stud – Don Laura and River Park Valencia Photo credit – Supergroom and Phtotograher, Hannah Comrie

And the final special mare is Celebration Xtreme Rhein (Numero Uno Xtreme/Grosvenor xx) being the best Rheinland Studbook Mare of the tour.

So, in total for the tour’s 3+ weeks, the classification team and I evaluated 60 foals, graded 30 mares into the New Zealand studbook and considered 2 stallions for licencing.

Another 36 hours spent on the flights back to the UK, arriving very tired but full of great memories having made a whole group of new Kiwi friends, lots of positive memories and having an increased respect for the great understanding and passion that goes into the breeding of Hanoverians in New Zealand.

So, to conclude, I have some overall comments regarding my experiences on the tour in New Zealand.  I was so pleased by the very high quality of the mares presented by your breeders which were interesting modern pedigrees and resulting in some supple athletic types.  As a direct result it was great to see so many mares awarded Elite and premium sashes.  Also, I think that generally your breeders had made well thought out choices of the stallions they had chosen to complement their mares and we saw some very elegant foals with good walks and strong uphill conformation.

I was also pleased to note that most breeders showed their animals well by paying close attention to what they were presenting.  On a few occasions I remember thinking that a few could have been more aware of the foal’s movement and position in order to maximize their chances of gaining higher marks. The showjumping mares were very pleasing with some very successful competition careers and very current pedigrees, so it was little surprise that their foals were outstanding and some of the highest scores on the tour.

Thank you all for making is such a pleasure and privilege to meet you all and to see all your horses.Peter Vousden (Katy’s husband) – he loved the dogs he met on tour