Herzensdieb Honored As Elite Stallion by Trakehner Verband

Herzensdieb, owned by Leatherdale Farms and ridden by Steffen Frahm, was honored as an Elite Stallion by the Trakehner Verband in Germany. Photo by Kiki Beerlitz.

Elite Trakehner Stallion Herzensdieb, ridden by Steffen Frahm and owned by Leatherdale Farms.

Elite Trakehner Stallion Herzensdieb, ridden by Steffen Frahm and owned by Leatherdale Farms.

From left to right at the prize-giving ceremony: Doug Leatherdale, Louise Leatherdale, Jens Meyer, Damsey with Steffen Frahm, Prince Donnatus von Hessen. Photo by Kiki Beelitz. 

Neumünster, Germany - Oct. 25, 2013 - Leatherdale Farm’s licensed Trakehner stallion Herzensdieb (2003, sired by Tambour, TRAK) was honored by the Trakehner Verband at the 51st International Trakehner Hengstmarkt in Neumünster, Germany. Doug & Louise Leatherdale received the Elite title from Prince Donatus Von Hessen, Herzensdieb’s breeder, and Lars Gehrmann, Breeding Director of the Trakehner Verband. This is the third honorary title received by Leatherdale Farms after Damsey was awarded the FRH title from the Hanoverian Verband last month and Fairbanks was awarded the title of Champion Stallion at his licensing in 2009.

The announcement was made on Saturday, Oct. 19, in front of a crowd of about 15,000 spectators attending the traditional gala organized in the Holstenhalle. Herzensdieb’s get have received numerous accolades, with two young stallions approved by the Trakehner Verband, including one who was approved by the Hanoverian stud book, and 36 daughters who have successfully produced foals introduced into the Trakehner studbook.

“Herzensdieb embodies the perfect union between the most traditional German Trakehner blood lines founded 300 years ago and the Trakehner as it exists and as it is bred since 1945," said Erhard Schulte, a Trakehner specialist and author of reference books about this stud book. The presentation also marked the meeting of a new generation of breeders along with the oldest German breeding families. Above all, it’s most unusual to have three stallions honored in this way from the same stable.

The best of the best

To better understand how remarkable this nomination is, we need to go back to the history of the Trakehner studbook. Created in the early years of the 18th century by the Prussian families descending from the Teutonic knights, Trakehner horses are the products of the military horses trained for war. Often owned and bred by the German aristocracy, they remain the ultimate source of warmbloods for out-crossing with traditional studbooks.

The president of the North American Hanoverian Society for 10 years and a recognized specialist of Hanoverians, Doug Leatherdale, was looking for the best way to produce a modern sport horse, able to compete in jumping, dressage or other equestrian sports. When he saw Herzensdieb, he knew this stallion was the way to improve the already outstanding Hanoverian breed.

“Herzensdieb owns all the grandeur and the qualities to ennoble again the Hanoverian breed,” said Doug Leatherdale. “Impeccable bloodlines, noble, elegant and distinguished, Herzensdieb proved, at the age of only 10, that he was – and obviously still is – one of the best stallions in the world.”

“He is the blood of the blood,” Schulte said.

A long story

The story of the Leatherdale family and Herzensdieb started in 2005, Louise Leatherdale said.

“The Hanoverian and Trakehner licensing were usually taking place the same weekend, that’s why we were there actually,” she said. “We heard about this wonderful young stallion. We thought we would drive up here and look at him, but we arrived late at night. The organizers accommodated us by letting us see him on a lunge line. We were so impressed with him.”
The next day, the Leatherdales raised their hands at the auction and bought their first Trakehner. “We wanted to breed new bloodlines,” she said. “We knew that breeding him with Hanoverian mares would be extremely interesting. Herzensdieb is a very beautiful horse, with a lovely head, big expressive eyes.”

Another Leatherdale horse, His Highness, had Trakehner bloodlines the same as Herzensdieb.

“He has been very good as far as breeding and that’s why Herzensdieb has received this honor today and become an Elite Stallion,” she continued. “His offspring are so impressive!”

About Herzendieb

Herzensdieb was bred by the Prince of Hesse, who bred more than 60 famous Trakehner stallions. Herzensdieb was purchased by the Leatherdale family in 2005 after being crowned licensing Champion, and brought the top price ever of the Trakehner Verband annual auction. The Reserve Champion Stallion and Reserve Trakehner Champion at the age of 3, he reached medium level in young horse dressage classes and was second at the German Championships in Warendorf in 2009 as a 6-year-old. Herzensdieb was then named Elite Aspirant Stallion two years later. He is based permanently in Germany, along with all the other Leatherdale Farms stallions.