In 2007 Heartbreaker was declared a ‘Belgian Ambassador’ and not surprisingly given the success of his offspring. On the list of the top 75 stallions for 2006, based on international jumping results, compiled by the French journalist, Bernard le Courtois, Heartbreaker ranks an impressive 11th, equal with the great Voltaire.
Like Voltaire, Heartbreaker is an exciting mix of German and French jumping lines, with a fair splash of Thoroughbred.
Heartbreaker is by Nimmerdor, out of a mare by the international showjumping stallion, Silvano, who was started in jumping competitions by Bert Romp and Henk Nooren before going on to success in Italy with Giorgi Nutti, placing in a number of World Cup qualifiers. In 1985 they were 2nd in Milan, 5th in Brussels, and 8th in Geneva.
Silvano is by Le Mexico, the Dutch based son of the French stallion, Mexico by the Thoroughbred, Furioso.
Despite his jumping success Silvano was little used by the breeders, but mares by him have produced many competitors and three stallions: Democraat, Glennridge and Heartbreaker.
On the dam side, the line goes back to Cleopatra – the foundation for the approved stallions, Gershwin, Ami d’Or, and Jenny Zoer’s international jumper, Wendela (by Purioso).
The pedigree of the Thoroughbred Uppercut features all the usual suspects – Teddy, Hurry On (twice) and Phalaris.
Heartbreaker was found by master Dutch breeder, Henk Nijhof as a youngster:
“I bought him from Meinte Jensma, thought it such a beautiful creature. We let him do a jump, and that was really special,” Mr Nijhoff told Horse International.
Nijhof was canny enough not to present Heartbreaker to the KWPN, since he reasoned that there were already numerous sons of Nimmerdor licensed and “Heartbreaker was an average mover and not very big. Not a chance, I thought. Because he jumped so damn well, I sent him to Hubert Hamerlinck in Belgium to try the BWP studbook there. They aren’t as fussy when it comes to the trot and it showed.”
In 1992, the Belgian Warmblood stallion selection committee approved Heartbreaker with a score of 74.02%, and in his first season he produced 63 foals.
At the age of six he placed fifth at the World Championships for young jumping horses, ridden by the New Zealander, Grant Wilson. A year later, he came back to finish fourth in the seven year old class.
At the age of eight, Heartbreaker commenced his international career in 1.40 classes. In 1968, ridden by the Dutch rider, Peter Geerink, he won the Nations Cup at Falsterbo, and finished third in the Grand Prix of Hamburg, Rotterdam and Geesteren… and he was finally presented to the KWPN stallion committee, and licensed.
The following year, Heartbreaker was fourth in the Grand Prix of London and fourth in the Grand Prix at Aachen. He was the winner of the Stallion Showjumping class at Zwolle. He finished his career with a win at Dortmund.
Heartbreaker has been equally successful as a sire, leading the Dutch breeding values for jumpers for five years in a row. International competitors by him include: Splendid van de Heffinck (James Paterson Robinson), BMC’s Skybreaker (Mikael Forsten), Thorax van ‘t Heikhof (Marc Wirths / Markus Beerbaum), Toulon (Hubert Bourdy), Vancouver d’Auvray (Danielle Toano), Uriana van Klapscheut (Frederica Franceschetto), Voice (Jose Larocca), Calypso VB (Marshal Field), Ups ‘n Downs van den Bandam (Clemence Laborde) Viva (Sergio Alvarez Moya), Radieux (Frederic Vernaet), Riant vd Mosselcentrale (Hank Melse), Unbreaker (Marco Porro), Vienna Rouge (Keean White), Up To Date van het Geelhof (Emile Martinsen), Clever-Boy vd Ruitershoeve (Antonio Portela), Quasimodo van de Molendreef (Jaime Azcaraga), Versace van de Ruitershoeve (Pauline Guignery). Action-Breaker (Sergio Alvarez Moya) and Orlando (Darragh Kerins).
Heartbreaker’s stallion sons feature in a number of studbooks. With the Belgian Warmblood Association we find: Actionbreaker, Boris vh Kluizebos, Del Piero D & B, D’Ukase, Dulf van den Bisschop, Echo van ‘t Spieveld, Quasimodo vd Molendreef, Quickfeuer vd Koekshof, Torino and Vancouver d’Auvry. Four sons are licensed with German Verbands: Pino, Herzblatt, Quickfeuer van Koekshof and Orlando (first licensed with the BWP).
Pino – out of a Burgraaf mare – was a silver medallist at the 2003 World Young horse champs, and won the Grand Prix of Eindhoven with Marielle Schröder in 2006.
Studbook Zangersheide recognizes six sons: Aertbreaker, Bamiro, Orlando, Pino and Untouchable Z. The Belgian Sport Horse Studbook features Doré van ‘t Zorgvliet, Quasimodo vd Molendreef and Toulon.
Heartbreaker was appointed an ‘ambassador’ of the Belgian breed and in 2004 was honoured by the KWPN with the title ‘keur’.
Heartbreaker leads the 2014 KWPN jumping index for stallions with a reliability of over 90%, with a score of 181 (reliability 96%). His son, Padinus (Grannus) is second on the same rankings with a value of 160 (91%) but while Heartbreaker has produced 919 progeny over the age of four, with 41.458% going on to compete, Padinus has produced 439, for 131 competitors – 29.84%.
On the 2015/16 KWPN standings, Heartbreaker is once again Number 1, with a value of 177 (96%), with 962 progeny over 4, and 422 competitors, a ratio of 43.866%.
On the 2016/17 KWPN breeding values for jumping stallions with a reliability of over 90%, Heartbreaker again heads the list with a jumping value of 175. He has produced 966 progeny over the age of 4, with 433 of them competitors, that’s a percentage of 44.824%.
In 2016, Heartbreaker had a breeding value of 161 to stand 6th on the German FN standings. On the WBFSH stallion standings for 2015, Heartbreaker is 6th.
On the 2016 WBFSH he has slipped to 12th, his top four points earners are all branded BWP: Gentille van Spieveld (Capital), Halifax v/h Kluizebois (Fetiche du Pas), Gigolo v/d Broekkant (Concorde) and Holland v/d Bisschop (Libero H).
Heartbreaker received the title KWPN Horse of the Year at the 2016 KWPN Stallion Show in ‘s Hertogenbosch. The Nimmerdor Trophy was presented to his owners, Team Nijhof and the Bosch Brothers, as a life-time achievement award. The citation notes:
As a young horse this Nimmerdor-son was already remarkably eager, with a fighting spirit and always super careful. He competed at the highest level with Peter Geerink and leaves his mark on his offspring like no other. His jumping abilities, reflexes, character and carefulness that he always showed in the course are now the trademarks of his children. In 2005 he was awarded with the keur predicate, four years later he was declared preferent.
At the moment, Heartbreaker is positioned sixth at the WBFSH-rankings for jumping sires The most remarkable direct son of Heartbreaker is Romanov, who won no less than three Grand Prix competitions and one World Cup competition with Bertram Allen last year.
Despite turning 27 years of age this year, Heartbreaker’s influence on the global jumping top is still significant.
Bertram Allen and Romanov
Representing Heartbreaker at the WEG in Normandy, Action Breaker and Sergio Alvarez Moya
Heartbreaker produced only one foal in 2012, and he is no longer fertile, although Jeanette Nijhof thinks she may still be using him for many years:
“In Italy they have a process called “ixci” – invitro fertilization.It is still quite expensive but we hope it will become less expensive in the coming years and therefore we have kept one thousand straws of Heartbreaker. Then we’ll have the chance of producing offspring by the real ‘one’. The other option is cloning but I don’t know if we will have to make that choice, but we have secured his skin to make the clone if we want to.”
“Hopefully for the future we will have many more Heartbreakers. At the moment, in the WBFSH top 100 world rankings there are many direct offspring of Heartbreaker and 21 have mothers by Heartbreaker so he is very influential on the sire side, but also on the dam sires’ side.”
Another international star by Heartbreaker, Zidane with Leopold van Asten
Heartbreaker seems to have found a worthy successor in the shape of Toulon – who was the sire of the winner of the Zurich World Cup Qualifier, Toulago (out of a Jokinal de Bornvial mare) ridden by Pius Schwizer.