Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping


Pedigree Stories by Adriana Van Tilburg - Stargold

Stargold (Photo : Private archive)

The stallion who lives up to his name Stargold

The Oldenburg stallion, Stargold (Stakkato Gold - Charme x Lord Weingard, bred by Gestüt Sprehe GmbH), produced four clear-rounds out of five in the two most important classes at the CHIO Aachen. In the first round of the Mercedes-Benz Nations' Cup, he and Marcus Ehning picked-up eight faults, but in the second round they jumped clear. In the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix, they rode an impressive three clear rounds and, as the last rider to go in the jump-off, set the fastest time, claiming victory of the historic Major. What is the story behind Stargold?

Holsteiner roots

Stargold's pedigree takes us to Schleswig-Holstein, more specifically to the town of Haselau and Hetlingen. It was in Haselau that most of the stallions stood which formed the early generations of the motherline of Stargold. The line was formed by the breeder Hans Hatje from Hetlingen, and has produced top-quality horses for over 40 years. In 1980, Canaris 17 (Calando I - Ditlena x Ladykiller, breeder: Hans Hatje) was born. This gelding had more than 140 placings at 1.40m and above and jumped at 1.55m,all under the rider Holle Nann.

Hans Hatje died about 15-years-ago, and with no children to continue his breeding work, theHolsteiner Verband stallion station in Haselau was taken over by the Lienau family. Although stallions no longer reside at the yard, the legacy remains. Otto Lienau grew up with all the breeders in his area who brought their mares to the stallions at the stud. Looking back, Lienau recalls: "I remember very well the mare Ditlena by Ladykiller xx (born in 1967). She was a very important and beautiful mare. She was selected by the Holsteiner Association to represent the Holsteiner mares at the DLG show in Munich, and they travelled there by train. Her grandmother, Edelia, by Loretto, was also an important mare for this line. At the end of the Second World War, Hans Hatje was forced to hand over his mares to the German army. He was allowed to choose a filly from another farm here in our area. If you look at his line, you can see that from the mare, Norwegen, by Farnese, born in 1976, down to at least Erle, by Omar, born in 1908, were 'made in Haselau'. Contender also played an important role at our stud. He is in the third generation of Stargold. It is a good feeling to see the genetics I know so well in one of the best jumping horses of today.”


Andre Emke explains the story behind the mare, Charmonie, by Contender, the second dam of Stargold: "My parents found the Contender mare by chance at a horse dealer in South Oldenburg. At the time, the Contender mare was in poor nutritional condition and had a foal at foot. When my parents saw the mare with the foal, they took pity on them and took them home with them. After the mare was cared for and nursed at our home, her nutritional condition improved. My parents then decided to inseminate the mare with the stallion Lord Weingard. The decision to inseminate the mare with this stallion was based on the fact that we value the Landadel blood very highly. In addition, the dam's sister (Lady Weingard) was a highly talented show jumper under Markus Beerbaum, which convinced us very much. This foal was a filly, Charme, and is the dam of Stargold. From this line we currently have a direct daughter out of Charmonie, a mare by Stakkato (Stakko`s Girl), with a filly by Conthargos at foot. Stakko`s Girl is a half-sister to the dam of Stargold. She has already produced her first successful advanced (S) level offspring (Quid Primaire-H) as well as several auction foals. We also have two daughters by Stakkato (granddaughters of Charmonie) on our farm. A two-year-old mare by Quidam de Revel and a seven-year-old mare by Quasimodo van de Molendreef (Quantica), who is currently carrying a premium colt by Diamant de Semilly. Charmonie is also the dam of the Hanoverian approved stallion Statis Conti (Stakkato), who is competing at 1.45m with Bronislav Chudyba. Her son, Contenders XC (Concetto I), jumped at 1.50m with three different riders.”

Gestüt Sprehe

Stargold was licensed as a three-year-old and became champion for the jumping stallions at the Munich-Riem Stallion Licensing. The Sprehe stallion then passed his 30-day test with a score of 8.7 for jumping ability. Jan Sprehe remembers: "We were very lucky with the dam, Charme. We bought her from Klatte at the EOS foal auction because she had a good pedigree and she became a very good mare. We were lucky with Stargold too. He was champion of the show jumping stallions at the stallion approvals in Munich-Riem. We started him under saddle. I rode him for a while. Vanessa Meyer started with me as a groom, but she did all his training in sport. I always had a strong feeling about him. I took him over from Vanessa when he was six-years-old and then rode him to qualify for the Bundeschampionat and the Youngster classes. He was always a top horse, he always jumped clear and he was always successful. Tobias Meyer also rode him very successfully – they won several young horse classes and the Bundeschampionat for seven-year-olds. Then Marcus Ehning noticed him and called me. That's how we got in touch. Marcus is of course a world-class rider. I took Stargold to him to try and the rest is history. His sire, Stakkato Gold, has been number one in the breeding index for a long time and ultimately we owe a lot to Stakkato Gold. He has passed on his incredible jumping ability to his offspring. Nine out of ten of his offspring can really jump. He now has several offspring at the highest level! We have always concentrated on sport with Stargold, because sport and breeding are very demanding, however we do still have frozen semen from him.”

Sprehe continues: “Stargold’s full sister, So Charme, also has a lot of quality and is doing well in the youngster classes with Tobias Meyer. The combination of Stakkato Gold and Charme has proved to be a good one, already producing two outstanding horses. It was a certain feeling that we had with this cross and you also need a lot of luck in breeding and training these horses.”

Vanessa Meyer, who was instrumental in the training of Stargold, recounts: "I got Stargold at the beginning of his  fourth year. He had a great attitude to the sport from the start, always over-enthusiastic. Stargold won almost every showjumping competition we entered, and I knew after two or three competitions that he would always be patted on the neck after the last jump to reward his efforts. From then on he always bucked after the last jump – as he still does today. I was certainly no pro and often made mistakes, but he always saved me. We rode our first international competition in Italy and brought home three wins in 1m40 classes in three weeks. Stargold has always been a very special horse to me. Tobi took over with him at the beginning of his seventh year and there was hardly a show where Stargold didn't bring home a winning ribbon. Tobias Meyer still rides his full-sister, who is now seven-years-old."

The last words are for Jan Sprehe: "There's no need to talk about Stargold's qualities, he's one of the best horses in the world with Marcus. We are very proud of him and we cheer with every success! We are also very happy that it has worked out so well!”



Stargold and Marcus Ehning Photo by Tiffany Van Halle

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