First Dance: Lyrical Movement and Expressive Conformation

First Dance. Photo by Kiki Beelitz. 

Dorum, Germany – October 9, 2014 - With a clear focus on performance, First Dance impresses in breeding through his outstanding offspring and in sport through his continued success in upper level dressage. First Dance, by Florestan I out of a dam by Donnerhall, brings together the most valuable dressage genes in the world.

First Dance ridden by Steffen Frahm. Photo by Kiki Beelitz. 

Florestan I and Donnerhall: A guarantee of world-class sport and breeding
Florestan I was a horse in a class of his own. At the stallion performance test in 2011, he was named among the most successful dressage sires in the world in the WBFSH ranking. More than 2,000 of his offspring are registered as sport horses in Germany alone. Among them are World Champions, German National Champions, and internationally successful Grand Prix winners. Their lifetime earnings amount to more than 1.8 million euros.

In breeding, as a line founder with numerous offspring, Florestan I leaves behind a valuable heritage. Ninety of his sons received a positive licensing judgment and 222 daughters were awarded the state premium honor. The descendants of Florestan I impress through their rideability, performance, willingness and excellent gaits.

First Dance’s damsire Donnerhall is, without question, the most famous stallion in the sport horse world. Under his trainers, Karin and Herbert Rehbein, he earned 118 victories from Prix St. Georges to Grand Prix. The sporting highlights of this stallion of the century included earning team gold at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in 1994, where he also won the individual bronze for the freestyle; team gold and individual bronze at the 1997 European Championships; and team gold at WEG in 1998. Seventy-seven sons and 450 registered mares carry on valuable genes of this exceptional stallion.

Thus it came as no surprise that First Dance captivated both the audience and the licensing commission in 2006 in Verden. The combination of Florestan I and Donnerhall has been impressively confirmed with the elite stallions Fürstenball (two-time finalist in the World Championships for Young Dressage Horses), Follow Me (2012 Champion Stallion at the Oldenburg licensing), French Kiss (German National Champion) and Prince Henry (Premium Stallion in Westphalia). The combination of Florestan I and Donnerhall is a guarantee for world-class dressage horses in sport and breeding contexts.

At the European Championships in 2013 in Herning, Denmark, a pedigree analysis showed that among the participating dressage horses, five direct offspring of Florestan I and 15 finalists all carried the blood of the Oldenburg Donnerhall. All horses of the German silver medal team at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games trace back to Donnerhall: Damon Hill (Donnerhall son), Desperados (grandson), and Diva Royal (granddaughter).

Excellent quality of movement: An essential characteristic of world-class dressage horses
"He has always been a great horse,” said First Dance’s trainer, Steffen Frahm. “Therefore we have given him time to develop physically. He has repaid us greatly for this patience by qualifying for the German Bundeschampionat. His cadenced trot is impressive and his basic gaits leave nothing to be desired. They’re very relaxed with great transitions, a trait he passes on to his offspring.  He has a pleasant personality and tries to perform everything properly, which has a very helpful impact on his training.”

German national trainer Jonny Hilberath confirmed the stallion’s qualities. "From the very outset of his basic training, he showed the riders three beautiful basic gaits that were also highlyrhythmic and regular. Now we have begun to do everything with Grand Prix elements.”

“We’re eager to see how long it will take until he has internalized it all,” he continued. “He has obviously inherited much from his prominent fathers. We’re hopeful that he will soon be a Grand Prix horse. His one-tempis are already quite sure and he is already piaffing beautifully. Everything is looking very promising at the moment.”

When asked about his forte, Hilberath responded, "He has a very good canter which can be collected very nicely. This is an important prerequisite for success in the Grand Prix ring because a great number of points can be picked up in the canter tour, as the canter pirouettes have coefficients of two. Thus it’s very good to have a horse with a strong canter."

Extensive pedigree of outstanding dressage performers
First Dance has made a name for himself as a talented stallion, with offspring bearing his hallmarks of beauty and strength of movement. He finished his 30-day test with flying colors, receiving a score of 9.0 for the walk, an 8.75 for rideability and a score of 8.5 for character, constitution, trot and canter. This, together with qualifying for the German Bundeschampionat in 2009, represents the full recognition of the Hannoveraner Verband. He was victorious in dressage tests in the elementary (Class L) level and, in 2010, repeatedly won dressage tests at the medium (Class M) level. Meanwhile, he was shown successfully in the Prix St. Georges. The next step will be the Grand Prix dressage arena.

In his first year as a sire, First Dance impressed the Hanoverian licensing commission. With First Flush bred by Helmut Feindt, Ringstedt, First Dance sired a son who was approved at the main licensing in Hanover and also won notice as the premium stallion. At the late licensing in Verden in December was First Duke, another First Dance son out of a Feiner Stern dam.

First Dance has a licensed full brother named Firenze who was licensed in Verden and is active in Sweden as a stud. The dam of these two stellar stallions, St.Pr.St. Dorina, won an IA prize at each of the association shows in Aurich-Tannenhausen from 2003 to 2006 and has the impressive sire Donnerhall, a model of the synthesis of sporting and breeding success.

In addition to First Dance’s dam Dorina, there are three other state premium mares from the granddam St.Pr.St. Andi. In the third generation there is also the valuable thoroughbred Aarking xx, who successfully raced between the ages of two to seven and came to a GAG (handicap) of 82.5 kilograms. Additionally, First Dance’s damsire, Donnerhall, possesses elite dressage bloodlines from Lungano II and Der Löwe xx der Lorista, who became one of the most important Hanoverian sires of all time.

First Dance earned the title "Novice Sire Special Class" (Nachwuchsvererber der Sonderklasse) for his confirmation and dressage skills in combination with his elite bloodlines.