1973 – 2001 166 cm Chestnut
Breeder: Hans-Joachim Schrader
When Werther died at the age of 28 he was, in the words of Dr Axel Bröckmann, Director of the State Stud Celle, ‘in many aspects, he was number one.’
Right until the time of his death, Werther was one of the most sought after stallions in the Hannoverian breeding district – and fame came to him quickly as a young stallion, no mean feat considering he stood at the same stallion station as the famous duo of Gotthard and Graphit.
His first really successful offspring was the mare, Weltdame, who caused a stir at the national shows. By the time of his death, he had sired 53 descendants who had won dressage competitions, while 35 had won Grand Prix jumping contests.
Amongst the most famous were: Werra, ridden by Nick Skelton, Wahre Liebe with Hugo Simon, and Silwa Wapiti and Helena Weinberg, all jumping horses although Werther was an equally successful producer of dressage stars. Indeed based on the results of his 897 progeny to compete (winnings of over two million deutschmarks) he has a dressage breeding ranking of 127 and a jumping ranking of 106. These figures are from the Hanoverian Stallion Yearbook 2000, and will no doubt continue to grow even after his death.
It was therefore no surprise when Werther was selected as the very first Hanoverian Stallion of the Year back in 1992.
Werther was bred by Hans-Joachim Schrader, who in 1963 purchased a bay filly, Meisterkrone, by the influential Thoroughbred sire, Marcio xx out of a Dolman/Amateur I mare. Entered into the main studbook as a three year old, Meisterkrone was an all-round competitor, winning in riding horses classes, dressage and jumper classes and group riding classes.
Retired to stud, she was bred twice to Wöhler before he left the breeding district. She then went to Wendekreis (by Ferdinand out of a Domspatz mare). Four times Wendekreis covered Meisterkrone, and the second foal was Werther.
According to Dr Bröckmann: “Werther influenced the breed like hardly any other stallion can. Every breeder will recall this typey, bold chestnut. Next to his breed performance, his appearances will also be called to mind: when he performed as an auction trotter with vigour, or in passage on a long rein at an older age, and when he showed off his Spanish walk to his audience.”
As the sire of 548 mares, and 39 approved sons, Werther will continue to influence the breed for many years to come, but perhaps his influence will come as a brood mare sire since he has failed to leave a stallion son of note, although his grand-son Federweisser (Feiner Graf / Graphit) briefly shone when he was the winner of his licensing in 1997.
At the 2001 Bundeschampionate, the Champion of the Five Year old dressage horses was Wanesco – by that other great icon of Hanoverian breeding, Weltmeyer, and out of a mare by Werther.