American Trakehner Association
Reprinted from the January/March 1982 - Stallion
1981 Palmenblüte winner
By Dr. Robert Baird
Dr. Baird is the chairman of the Canadian Three-Day Event team and treasurer of the ATA. A medical doctor by Profession, he is becoming a North American authority on Trakehner pedigrees. Blessed with a good eye for a horse. Dr. Baird also personally events horses in Canada.
In the summer of 1970, after 19 years in Canada, Gerhard Schickedanz and his wife returned to Europe for the first time.
Having obtained a number of Trakehner broodmares from Mrs. Gerda Friedrichs some years earlier, he was now ready to enlarge his herd and at the same time move seriously into a breeding program by acquiring an approved stallion from Germany. So it was that, during this visit, he purchased the stallion Händel (by Carajan out of Hapag by Komet) from a private breeder, and two broodmares from the Trakehner Verband breeding farm at Birkhausen, near Zweibrucken, in South Germany.
He experienced considerable difficulty in making any kind of deal for the mares, and in fact had to travel to Hamburg to speak directly to Dr. Fritz Schilke, who, at that time, was in complete control of the Verband. Gerhard had his eye on two grey mares, both by Maharadscha, both seven-years-old and both in foal to Donauwind. The mares were Fawiza, (out of Feine by Suomar) and Abiza, (out of Abendrot by Absalon). But Dr. Schilke was not interested in parting with either mare, and made other suggestions of very good horses. Some hard bargaining followed, and Dr. Schilke, being aware of the potential for the Trakehner in North America, eventually relented, and agreed to sell one of the mares, leaving the choice up to Gerhard. In conformation and bloodlines there was very little to choose between the two, but two of Abiza's three foals were still at Birkhausen, and had been seen there -and so the decision was made.
The purchase price was 20,000 DM, (about $6,000 at that time), but nevertheless Dr. Schilke said that it was "schweren Herzens" (with a heavy heart) that he parted with Abiza. Another mare, Polemik (by Carajan, out of Polonaise by Horus xx) had also been purchased from the Verband, all all three arrived in Montreal in mid-September after a difficult journey by sea.
Händel and Abiza had travelled well and were in good condition, but Polemik had sustained a severe ropeburn injury around a rear leg and had massive swelling and widespread infection which ultimately took her life about six months later.
Händel rapidly established himself as a stallion of significance on this continent, and, although he is now dead, numbered among his offspring are horses of outstanding performance and conformation.
Of the three, Abiza became the star, in December, after her arrival, she delivered her foal by Donauwind, a colt which was later bought by Terry and Sue Williams of Middleport, New York and to the present time, the most famous Trakehner in North America. Abdullah needs no introduction and has told his own story in the results of the many open jumping competitions in which he has competed including winning the Cleveland Grand Prix, Detroit Grand Prix and Cheltenham Gold Cup in Canada.
Very little is known about the three fillies in Germany, but there is no lack of information on the nine foals she has had in Canada. As well as Abdullah, Amiego is another breeding stallion, standing in Illinois, and Astor has only recently been approved as a stallion in Columbus, Ohio. Adora was a large chestnut mare who died of a twisted intestine after having had three foals, and Aida, also after two foals is presently in training in Canada on the preliminary jumper circuit with Jim Elder, Canada's Olympic rider. Archibald, ridden by Gerhard in the Exhibition of Trakehner horses in Columbus in November, is now also with Elder and shows considerable promise. Allouette is being used as a broodmare, and is perhaps closest to her dam in conformation and type, while Anton, a large 16.3 bay, has been recently broken and is being worked lightly.
What is it that is so special about this mare Abiza? What makes her such an outstanding producer? Most important, what lessons can be learned from her by those who are keen to acquire a comparable animal, if such is available?
The answers to these questions are by no means easy, but a look at the facts might help.
As a 3-year-old, her measurements were 161 cm, 190 cm, 19.5 cm, that is a height of 15.3 1/2, girth 75" and cannon bone 7 1/4". She now measures 16 hands, 78 1/2" and 8".
Her "Bewertung", or evaluation marks, as given by Dr. Schilke are 2,2, 2/2, 2. These numbers indicate the assessor's opinion of a mare as to type, conformation, gaits/impulsion, and overall impression, and before 1978 signified the following:
0 - Excellent
1 - Very good
2 - Good
3 - Satisfactory
4 - Sufficient
5 - Insufficient
6 - Bad
When first seen, she is an attractive horse, with a rather heavy coat, large intelligent eyes, a very compact frame, with a deep barrel and square solid, hind quarter. The neck is perhaps slightly shorter than ideal and the pastern might be longer, but she stands squarely on four very good legs. Undoubtedly there are prettier mares, but the best broodmares are not always the prettiest. She is a very feminine horse, perhaps less elegant than some mares which exhibit a more masculine appearance and create a more striking initial impression.
Abiza has an outstandint temperament, is an easy keeper and invariably delivered her foals without difficulty or assistance. She is a fertile mare, requiring but one cover, and is a very good milk producer.
She has produced nine foals in North America by four different stallions. A producer of both performance and conformation horses, no matter what the type or conformation of the stallion, Abiza produces high quality conformation horses that can perform!
Through her sire, Maharadscha, she is a paternal half sister to the outstanding West German breeding stallion Flaneur who has 15 approved sons to date. Stallions frequently gain early recognition through their sons, but in the long run the outstanding ones make their mark through their mares, at least as far as breeding stock is concerned. Abiza unquestionably is one of those rare ones . . . a super mare.
This article could have been titled The Abiza Story - Part I. Part II has not yet been written because it has not yet occured, and there are some who believe that the best is still to come.
But even if the story were to end today, there is no doubt that Abiza has already served the breed with a nobility and distinction given to very few. Through her progency, her name will remain a force in North America for a long time to come.
1966 (Dec) - chestnut filly by Carajan (in Germany)
1967 (Nov) - Absage 4559, gray filly by Carajan (in Germany)
1969 (Dec) - Andact III 5505, liver chestnut filly by Carajan (in Germany)
1970 (Dec) - Abdullah, gray colt by Donauwind
1972 - Adora, chestnut filly by Händel
1973 - Aida, chestnut filly by Händel
1974 - Amiego, gray colt by Händel
1975 - Archibald, gray colt by Händel
1976 - Alouette, gray filly by Tannenberg
1978 - Anton, bay colt by Tannenberg
1979 - Astor, bay colt by Merkur
1981 - Adrian, gray colt by Merkur