The stallion, Ampère is perhaps the perfect example of the multi-national reality of today’s breeding world. Born and bred in Holland, owned by an American, and based in Sweden at the dressage stables of Jan Brink…
Not only based in Sweden, but the most used stallion in Sweden in 2011 with 141 mares, reversing the customary Swedish focus on breeding jumping horses, although the next three most popular stallions were all jumpers: Cabachon (Casall), Cohiba (Chacco Blue) and Corlensky (Cornet Obolensky).
Ampère is also a wonderful example of how the Dutch have taken jumping lines – mainly from Holstein – and forged a new style of dressage specialist. Consider the fourth line of Ampère’s pedigree: the Selle Français Le Mexico, the Holsteiner Farn (twice), the foundation sire of the modern Westfalien jumpers Pilatus (sire of Pilot and Polydor), another Holstein great, Landgraf, and the Cor de la Bryère son Carneval. In the third line we find another of the Holsteiners that shaped the Dutch Warmblood, Amor.
It is then, something of a triumph of breeding, that such a mix should produce such a refined, modern type of horse and in the process transform the emphasis from jumping to dressage.
Ampère is by Rousseau, another multi-national. He too was born in Holland in 1998, but since 2006, has stood in the United States, after two seasons at the famed German stallion station of the family Pape.
Rousseau is by Ferro, an international dressage competitor, and out of a mare by Roemer, another stallion exported to America, where after a jumping career in The Netherlands, he morphed into a Grand Prix
Ampère adds to the mix two more of the golden threads of Dutch dressage breeding: Flemmingh and Amor.
When the famous Dutch breeder, Wiepke van der Lageweg purchased Flemmingh as a colt in Holstein, I am sure he had jumping on his mind, certainly that is what his pedigree would indicate, and sure enough at the performance test in Holland, one of Flemmingh’s three scores of 9, was for jumping, and when he was advertised in the 1992/93 edition of The Leading Sires of The Netherlands, he was pictured over a jump. But it turned out that his progeny excelled in the dressage arena, and Flemmingh became one of the most important of the early dressage sires in Holland. Two of his stallion sons – Krack C and Lingh – were members of the Dutch dressage team, and his qualities as a dressage sire were even recognized in Germany, where in 2009, his son Fairbanks, was champion of the Oldenburg licensing, and sold to American Hanoverian breeder, Doug Leatherdale for a sale-topping price of €250,000 to stand at Hengststation Meyer.
Ampère’s dam is a grand-daughter of Amor who was imported from Holstein at the age of three. Since Amor lived from 1959 to 1990, he was enormously influential, and Dutch pedigrees are dotted with his name, often several times on the same pedigree. The famous Dutch breeder, Huub van Helvoirt, based his breeding program on two Amor mares – producing amongst others, the great sire, Jazz, on this mare base.
Ampère’s first crop produced five sons who were selected for the KWPN Stallion licensing in 2012 and they were a lovely line of horses – really stamped with the mark of their sire. Three of the Ampères were approved for performance testing, with Excalibur (Ampère / De Niro / Lord Sinclair) one of the seven into the championship.
Dutch equestrian journalist and breeding expert, Dirk Willem den Rosie nominated the Ampères as the stand out group of the 2012 stallions:
“We thought we had lost Ampère but we haven’t because we’ve seen a couple of his best sons here. It shows that Holland has the ability to draw the best lines and the best genes to its population. Although we lost our Ampère, now we have a couple of sons to equal him – maybe they are even better than him.”
Certainly Ampère is much appreciated in his new home in Sweden. According to Jan Brink: “One of his greatest strengths are his amazing gaits with great movability, a lot of air, always uphill and with his hind-legs very well placed far in underneath his stomach.”
“His offspring seem to have inherited his great gaits as well. Considering the fact that he is still so young and his first crop are just this year getting old enough to be tested as breeding stallions it is quite unique that he has already three approved stallions in the KWPN. Further to this one of his foals was sold last year at the Vechta auction in Germany, for not less than 200,000 EUR – a record amount for a foal, which I believe speaks for itself. I myself have never seen a foal move with such gaits. Even on the two weeks old foal on our webb tv from our stallion show you see an Ampère foal already showing sequences of a great canter with his hind-legs well placed far in underneath the stomach so I believe that despite his young age the pattern seems to be very good gaits with great freedom of movement.”
And what sort of mares fit best with the stallion?
“When looking at mares and bloodlines I believe that his great gaits can be an asset for all combinations. However, it should be kept in mind that he is of medium size so depending on what size you wish for the offspring, it can be an advantage to take a medium or large mare.”
The official KWPN report on Ampère’s progeny notes:
“A uniform collection of riding type foals with more than sufficient development and more that sufficient rectangular-shaped conformation. The trot shows good stride length and very good body use. The foals pick up the canter easily and show good stride length. They move uphill with abundant balance and carriage, and they collect well.”
And the breeding recommendation?
“Ampère can benefit dressage horse breeding by passing on very good movement. He is best paired with long-lined mares with long and correct front leg conformation.”
Since 2007, Ampère’s breeding value has tumbled from 181 to 144 (reliability 69%) and he languishes on the table of stallions with more than ten progeny in the sport but with a reliability less than 80% in 15th place. He has 139 progeny in Holland over the age of 4, and off these, 14 have competed, that is a very very low percentage of 10.144. Ampère seems to have fallen from favor in Holland and there were only two of his colts at the licensing, one, out of a Lord Sinclair mare, made it through to the performance test.
Ampère has yet to record a performance on the FEI database… although he did make his first public appearance in two years at the April 2014 stallion show at the Hannell Dressage Stables. Jan Brink commented that the reason for the horse’s disappearance was that when he arrived at his stables, he ‘was totally crazy in the head.’
On the latest, 2015 FN standings, Ampère has a dressage breeding value of 138 and a jumping value of 102. His Hanoverian breeding value is 115 for dressage (with a negative value of 99 for walk) and 89 for jumping. He scores 132 for type.
Ampère is another of the hot young Dutch stallions who have fallen from grace, three years ago, his KWPN breeding value was 147, in 2016 it is 133 (83%). 374 progeny over 4, 76 competitors, that’s 20.212%.