Questions/opinions about Fassbinder/Furst Heinrich vs. Blue Hors Romanov for TB mare?

Hello, I am in the preliminary stages of gathering information on breeding my mare, and was hoping the more experienced people on this board could help, please! Depending on what stallion/stallion line is chosen, I plan to try and get my mare approved by the appropriate studbook.

I have a very big-boned 10yo 16.3h Thoroughbred mare who is doing well in dressage (Storm Cat x Kennedy Road). Photos should be viewable in a folder at the link below. All photos are recent, except the loose trotting picture on grass, which was taken when she was just 4 years old.


She naturally uses her back when she moves, and rounds up during the trot and canter, and engages her hind legs well, and thus has unusually big gaits for a TB. She is in general a very friendly and happy horse that is quite bold/dominant in temperament (alpha mare of alpha mares), and is very hot in terms of being sensitive and forward to the aids, and is intolerant of unclear or bad riding, but she is not spooky at all. She can work all day long if she has a trusting/respected relationship with the rider. Because she is so sensitive, I would say she is a professional ride (I am ex-pro/semi-pro).

Per the attached photos, I think you will see that she does not look much like a TB, but her major weaknesses (in my opinion) are that her back is a bit long, her loin area could be strengthened, and she could be a lot more uphill with a slightly longer neck. (Please feel free to comment on other things you see). She definitely does not need more size or bone. She is very wide through the chest and back–she wears an XW-XXW saddle with a hoop tree!

Despite her weaknesses, in my humble opinion, I think she has many positive and fairly unusual traits worth preserving, and therefore her genes could benefit future dressage sporthorse breeding, but if I bred her, I’d keep the offspring for myself, not to sell. Although I love riding her personally despite her sensitivity, I believe that dampening the hotness/sensitivity in future offspring would definitely be a plus.

My “ideal” dressage horse is epitomized by the young mare Fiontini, whom I understand is a daughter of Fassbinder (Furst Heinrich) and a Blue Hors Romanov mare.

She seems to have a lot of the happy confidence and work ethic and size of my mare, but with of course much more natural elasticity and uphill self-carriage, and she also seems much less hot. I’ve never seen her in person of course, so I can’t say for sure, but she certainly looks very rideable in videos. Most importantly, I really like Fiontini’s hind leg. She engages her hind legs and brings them underneath herself in a way I’ve not often seen in a young horse. She also seems very well balanced naturally.

In comparison, I am not as impressed with her full embryo transfer sister, Fiontina, as she seems much hotter and also has a tendency to fall on her forehand, and her hind leg is not as active as Fiontini’s.

Of course, I know that we are only speaking in generalities here, but to help further my education/research on the different lines, please, here are my questions:

  • Do you think it’s the Fassbinder/Furst Heinrich/Florestan side that makes Fiontini so elastic and engaged? Or is it the Blue Hors Romanov? Or do both lines tend to produce active movers with quick hind legs? Again, I don’t know the warmblood lines that well, but I’m trying to do my research.

  • Does anyone have any comments on the temperament and rideability of either the F-line or the Blue Hors Romanov lines?

  • Does anyone have any opinions on how either of these lines crosses with Thoroughbreds? Especially because my mare is already so hot but does not need more size/bone.

  • I’ve definitely admired Florestan and Furst Heinrich for a long time, and it is tragic about the latter’s untimely early death. I thought I saw online that Fassbinder is now a gelding? If so, what would be some comparable F-line stallions? I know Furst Romancier supposedly is not recommended for a heavy/large mare.

Thank you so much in advance for any help or insight you can provide!!!

Added mare’s pedigree

You have a nice tb mare but I don’t think that Romanov would be a good choice. He does not reliably add strength in the back or in the hind leg (he himself is a bit weak in those areas). The Romanovs are often very slow to mature and can be quite big. I have used him myself and know a number of them from a variety of different mares.

Fassbinder is a gelding…not really sure what he was like so hard to say what stallion would be comparable.

That being said I personally don’t think your mare looks long or weak in the back. I would use a stallion with longer lines and a good shoulder that crosses reliably with mares that have a lot of blood. Unfortunately most of the stallions that come to mind when I think of such a mare are stallions that have a lot of substance/size.

There is a stallion in Canada called Fabregas that I think would tick all the boxes for your mare.

Hi Donella, thank you so much for your thoughtful response and kind comments about my mare. I really appreciate your taking the time to read, reply, and offer your opinions!

Okay, I will stay away from Blue Hors Romanov, and look more into the F-line stallions. I was also surprised to read that Fassbinder was gelded so early (around the age of 5?)–what a shame, when he’s produced such nice horses as Fiontini and Fiontina! I will absolutely research Fabregas more; he looks lovely from the photos/video I found, and you’re right, he has a nice long neck and legs but isn’t heavy. I also agree that a more well laid-back shoulder would definitely benefit my mare. Thank you so much again!

PS I just figured out how to use the sporthorse-data pedigree database and saw that Fassbinder had sired one other horse in 2011 before being gelded, and this is a stallion, Double’s Fass, out of a TB mare (Royal Academy xx)!!! I will definitely look up this horse as well.

Edited to add PS2: that pedigree website is really quite helpful. It just allowed me to look up Caprimond, the damsire of Fassbinder, and there is a video (link below). THAT is the easy, balanced, lofty and elastic movement that Fiontini has that I admire so much. So I will also definitely look more into Caprimond as well, though I understand he’s both a Trakehner and now deceased. :frowning: Perhaps there is still frozen semen available. The website describes him as a refining sire with excellent rideability, so perhaps he might work for my heavier mare, as well, despite her being TB?

Caprimond was an legendary stallion (lucky me I got to meet him right before his death a few years ago…he was quite the charmer!) and a super sire but has never had viable frozen semen. His son Hohenstein was the same as are many of his sons.

Oh no! Thank you for letting me know about the semen quality of Caprimond and his sons! How amazing that you got to meet him!!! He indeed looks like such a sweetheart from the video. I don’t know too many stallions who could ride three abreast of each other without freaking out, or stallions that can be ridden successfully by children. He sounded like just the type I want. But I’ll keep looking!! At least it seems like I’m starting to head in the right direction in terms of lines. Thank you again!!!

If I had a nice TB mare I’d breed her to Lissaro van de Helle.

Lissaro is a good choice for mares with lots of blood but she doesn’t want more bone or substance and he has plenty of both.

To each his own, certainly, but the photos don’t show me a mare with too much bone and Lisarro is a direction I would consider.
Perhaps go directly to Florestan then? Available through Andrea Seig, Westphalians USA.

Hi RunningwaterWBs, thank you for your additional suggestions! I think Florestan’s hind end looks very strong and he is a lovely mover in general. He has that extra “lift” and air-time in his gaits that I’m looking for to add/improve what my mare already has; do you have any comments on his temperament?

From what I’ve seen, like Caprimond, Lisarro also seems like he has a very easygoing way about him, so I think he would fulfill my temperament/rideability criteria, but his back seems a bit long for my taste, though I haven’t seen a real conformation shot of him yet–just headshots and ridden pics. I also personally would prefer a quicker hind leg than what I saw in some of his videos, but I definitely like how fluid he is when he moves. Also, I’m not sure what age he was in some of the videos, but sometimes he looked lighter, and then in others, he looked a bit coarse. In general, indeed, I’m concerned about ending up with an even heavier mare than what I already have, so I am trying to avoid stallions who have any tendency to throw more size/substance.

Maybe it doesn’t translate that well in photos, but my mare is truly massive in person. To be completely accurate, I think it’s her overall height, length, and large amounts of muscle that cause that impression. She does not have long legs, and I would agree that perhaps she could have larger legs in relation to her size, especially in front. Her actual bone measurements are 8.5" in front at the point where the cannon ties in just below the knee, and her hind cannons just below the hocks are 10". Her fetlock circumferences are 11" in front and 12" in back. She definitely could have larger feet, as she wears size 1 shoes in front and 0 in back (2/1 in NB shoes). But overall, she’s indisputably tall at 16.3 hands–especially because she has only a moderate wither–and despite being in very fit condition, is also wide: she wears a 30" dressage girth, 56" jumping girth, XW-XXW saddle, and an 80-81" blanket (and even regular Rambos are too tight/narrow for her because her withers are so wide across the top, not high). Two different nationally known saddle fitters in the past month told me that they’d never seen such a wide TB before, and these are people who regularly fit dressage horses/warmbloods.

Since I’m only 5’4.5", and any foal I breed would be for myself to keep and train, anything much bigger than what my mare is, would be too big for me. I don’t mind how big she is now, even though sometimes I feel like I’m riding a stegosaurus, lol, but again, if I have the option, I would want another horse that is the same size or smaller, not the same size or bigger! When I bought her as a 4.5 yo, she was only 16 hands even, but then she decided to grow in height, length, and width past the age of 6. :stuck_out_tongue: Of course, I don’t know how well size transmits from the mare, especially since I don’t think her sire/dam/siblings are anywhere near as large as she is, but I would imagine that in general, taking a large mare to a large stallion could result in a large/even larger foal, so that’s why I wanted to avoid stallions that are known for throwing size. Hope that makes sense!

Lissaro is built like a cob…he is wide and substantial with a lot of bone…have seen him on a number of occasions both in the stall and out. I bred my full Trak mare to him but she can take the substance.

The Florestans are not always the quickest behind.

Donarweiss has Caprimond in the dam line, and IME does not throw size.

Ah ok, thank you Donella for the additional info on Lissaro. I did see one shot from the front when he is standing in some water, and yes, that and his head shape in general were what made me think he was on the coarser side.

About Florestan, I realize now that I was watching the wrong video; apparently I was looking at a son, Flore Star, due to a misleading video title. I agree his hind leg was not the quickest but it engages underneath himself well (though not as well as Fiontini, which again is one of the things that attracts me most to her and why I started researching her pedigree). But as I mentioned in my previous post, Flore Star seems to have good natural suspension. Then I saw another Florestan son, Freestyle, and indeed, his hind leg is slower and did not engage as well as Flore Star, but he also has good suspension. I have to look further into the Florestans, it seems.

Thank you Magienoire for suggesting Donarweiss! He’s definitely the right size, but I think I would still want a quicker hind end than that and more natural suspension. My mare has those characteristics already and I don’t want to lose them, especially again as I think they’re quite unusual in a TB.

In researching all of the suggestions previously made, I came across Benidetto. He reminds a lot of Fabregas but with more suspension, and he does not look heavy. Any thoughts on him?

I had started looking up Bugatti Hilltop due to his temperament characteristics, but was not crazy about the way he moved, and also was reading that his foals tend to be huge. But in going to that website, I also just found Ampere (Rousseau x Flemmingh). I realize that he is from totally different lines (KWPN) than the ones I’d originally been asking about in regards to Fiontini, but WOW, his movement. Especially his canter!! Super wow. I think he has all the natural suspension, elasticity, and fluidity I want, and at 16.2 with long legs, long neck, and short back, he seems neither huge, nor heavy! Admittedly I haven’t researched that many stallions yet, but so far, I think his hind leg and overall way of going comes closest to what I see in the mare Fiontini that I’m hoping to both preserve and improve in my mare, who does engage her hind legs in a similar way, but needs to be more uphill, more free in the shoulder/front end, and more naturally balanced. Ampere’s walk is apparently the “weakest” score he has at 8, and my mare has a fantastic swinging walk with enormous overstep, so perhaps this could be a good match! He actually was born the same year as my mare, lol. Does anyone have any thoughts on his temperament? I’ve started researching both Rousseau and Flemmingh and it seems that they are both known for their easy temperaments?

PS - I added a new loose trot photo of my mare from last year at the link in the first post that shows how much she can lift off the ground using her back, so again, that’s what I’m trying to preserve and even, hopefully, to improve. I also just saw this young horse, a gelding by For Ladys Only (?) x Weltregent, whom I really like. I can find videos on neither For Ladys Only nor for Weltregent, but I will keep trying to look. I had forgotten about the Weltmeyers–I’ve ridden some sons, and they were all sweethearts with lots of suspension and huge uphill necks, and none were particularly huge in size. This one doesn’t seem to have the suspension, but even so, if I somehow managed to breed a horse out of my mare that had an easy, balanced, uphill trot and canter with great hind leg and freedom of shoulder like this young horse, I would be more than happy. And then if I had the dumb luck that the offspring moved like this one but with a tiny bit more fluidity, elasticity, and suspension (again, more like Fiontini), I would probably quit my day job and just start breeding professionally. :stuck_out_tongue: I know with added strength and training comes more suspension, but it doesn’t hurt to have it to start with! I’ll start looking at the Weltmeyer sons, too!

Another stallion you might look at with Caprimond in the damline is Dacaprio. He is modern type, considered to be somewhat of a refining stallion. He sired many successful horses in Germany before being imported by Bridlewood Hanoverians.

How small do you want to go? The Donarweisses I’ve known have been small (as is the stallion).
IMO, it seems like your mare could use a bit of bone to match her body mass, but again, that is my preference.

Does it matter whether the stallion is available fresh or frozen?

Dacaprio is a great choice, based on your requirements. I’d also look into Benidetto.

Hi Clint,

Thank you so much for the suggestion of Dacaprio. I just started looking into his videos, and he’s lovely! There was one where it looked like his hind leg was slower, and then another where his hind leg seems exactly what I want, so I’ll research him more, for sure! He really has an easy way of going that I like quite a lot! He’s also not too tall at 16.2 but seems to have quite a lot of bone. That seems promising!

How small do you want to go? The Donarweisses I’ve known have been small (as is the stallion).
IMO, it seems like your mare could use a bit of bone to match her body mass, but again, that is my preference.

Does it matter whether the stallion is available fresh or frozen?

Dacaprio is a great choice, based on your requirements. I’d also look into Benidetto.[/QUOTE]

Hi RunningwaterWBs, thank you for your additional comments! Fresh vs. frozen is not a consideration at this time, as I’m just trying to narrow down what I want in a stallion first, and then I’ll worry about the technicalities. I’m also sorry if the information I provided got buried in the long replies I was writing above, but I’m not trying to breed a “small” horse, per se; I tried to clarify that yes, I agree that although my mare is really tall and big-bodied at a true 16.3 (weight tape says 1300 lbs but since that seems quite high, I don’t know if that’s accurate), her bone could be better in proportion to her size, as she has 8.5" in front and 10" in back, which equates to medium/large boots in front and large/x-large boots in back depending on the brand. She’s never had any leg injuries in the entire time I’ve owned her, but I can’t argue that larger legs should promote a greater chance of long-term soundness. There is no question that she could use bigger feet, too. Her heels in front are fine but her heels behind are a bit low, as well. (As a side note, I saw on the super helpful Iron Springs website that they actually recommend against certain stallions depending on the mare’s heels! Interesting!)

But in my (fairly extensive) experience with TBs, even some horses 17h and up had legs smaller than my mare’s, let alone the more typical narrow, shark-finned horses 16h and under, so I was under the impression that she has decent bone for a TB-- especially as her legs compare favorably with a lot of the warmbloods I’ve worked with as well, but please correct me if I’m wrong about that (again, she’s 8.5" where the front cannon ties into the knee and 10" where the hind cannon ties into the hock, with 11" fetlocks in front and 12" fetlocks in back).

I had also said that I would not mind having a foal that matured at her size. I just don’t want something that is going to be much larger than her (so, not over 17 hands). Again, because she is not the typical lighter-boned/narrower TB, I was afraid that if I bred to a stallion that is normally recommended for mares with blood because he is known to add bone/substance, I will end up with a 17.2 offspring with a more phlegmatic temperament and XXL legs. The XXL legs and docility, obviously, are not disadvantages, but since they usually accompany huge height and an XXXW back, that’s what I’m trying to avoid. I’ve worked with such Hanoverian mares before, and they are just simply too big for me to manage or ride comfortably at my short height of 5’4.5". I luckily have long legs in proportion to MY height, but even with my 32" inseam, I still have overall short legs compared to the average 5’8"+ rider! Even as my mare is now, I’ve already had to buy several custom saddles to fit her, as standard W/XW tree sizes are far too small for her. It’s not something I hope to have to go through again with a future offspring of hers!

I’m just not sure how the genetics works when it comes to something like this, since I know my mare’s relatives are not nearly as big-bodied as her, and are mostly finer-boned as well. So does she possess recessive “typical” TB genes somewhere in there? As in, if she is crossed to a refining stallion, will I end up with a petite, fine-boned horse that is smaller than both dam and sire? I’ve no idea. Is finer type dominant over coarser type? Again, I have no idea–I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen it discussed before. So that’s why I came to this board to ask these questions, in case anyone had previously encountered this issue.

Bottom line: although I don’t want to breed a dinosaur, I also don’t want a pony. Ideally, the offspring would finish not less than 16.2 and not more than 17h, with bones at least as large as my mare’s, but not much wider in the body than she already is. So, I think this equates to a larger than average dressage horse but not a GIGANTIC dressage horse. BUT, I thought trying to be aim for something so specific was foolhardy, especially for a maiden mare and an uneducated breeder (me).

Again, as I mentioned in this thread title, this all started because I noted some similarities between my mare’s personality and movement and the Danish Warmblood mare, Fiontini, and I was hoping that through strategic breeding, I could end up with something that preserved the best qualities my mare has and then improve upon them, with Fiontini’s conformation, movement, and rideability as a goal to illustrate what I find appealing, not that I think I could actually breed another Fiontini from my TB. At least from videos, it looks like Fiontini and my mare are approximately the same size/build, but for me, the movement and attitude/rideability are of far greater precedence than actual size. If I DID end up with a 17.2h giant that somehow moved like Fiontini, trust me, I’d still keep her. :stuck_out_tongue: But if I had the CHOICE, I would prefer something 16.2-16.3.

So, again, that’s why I was asking what approach more experienced breeders would take to choosing a warmblood stallion for a hot TB mare who happens to be larger in bone/size than the norm, and when a large, heavy offspring is not desired. I am also very particular about wanting a quick hindleg that engages well underneath the body, as my mare has that already along with some degree of natural suspension, but she NEEDS more uphill carriage, greater freedom of shoulder, and more elasticity. I can personally deal with how hot/sensitive my mare is currently, but I would not hope for hotter, so maintaining or dampening the temperament is also desired. Hope this better clarifies my end goals for you. I think there have already been a lot of excellent suggestions on this thread that have gotten me researching in the correct directions, so thank you again to all for putting in the time to help me! I really appreciate it.

Last question: if anyone has any thoughts on Ampere crossed with a TB, please let me know!! Thank you again.

One more clarification that’s much more brief: however you consider Fiontini to be (in her current videos at her current size as a 5yo), according to your own tastes–whether you think she is large/small, refined/big-boned–that’s the breeding goal I’m trying to achieve out of my mare. I personally would say that Fiontini is a modern, medium-to-large-bodied mare with bone that is proportionate to her size. I think her overall size is perfect and I really like the way her hind legs move–easy, but very well engaged and giving the impression of power in reserve. She has naturally uphill carriage and a light-footedness that seems completely comfortable to her. I haven’t often seen a young horse that did not naturally fall on its forehand from time to time, but she seems to stay up and rocked back with hardly any effort at all, especially compared to her full embryo transfer sister, Fiontina, who does fall on her forehand. Fiontini also has lovely freedom of shoulder but I would not say her trot is “flashy.” It just looks “correct” to my eyes, ground-covering, supple, with adequate suspension and great elasticity as she can shorten and lengthen seemingly at will. And her canter is even better than her trot, in my opinion. All very appropriate and extremely impressive to me for a young horse just starting out. Her front legs look larger in circumference than my mare’s, but her hind leg circumference looks about the same. In comparison, Torveslettens Fifty-Fifty, who was test-ridden the same day by Charlotte Dujardin, seems lighter in bone and smaller in size than both Fiontini and my mare, but I would not say that he is “too” small. But I do not like his hind leg movement at all–the hind leg “hovers” too long in the air before setting itself on the ground, and it does not engage as well underneath the body as Fiontini’s. I saw another Trakehner stallion, Holme Grove Prokofiev, who is also sired by a TB stallion, and I believe he is far too small in all three categories of height and body size and bone for my taste. Of course, these are just my personal opinions. I hope that serves better to clarify. Thank you again!