The story began in 1990, when top German dressage trainer and rider, Wolfram Wittig bred his mare Maya, to the Hanoverian stallion, Bismark. Bismark was one of the first products of Bolero, and the only son out of a mare by Duellant. The result was Breitling W.
The stallion, Bismark
The same cross also produced Breitling’s sister, Biagotti W, an advanced dressage horse with Makus Gribbe. Bred to Woodstock, Maja produced the mare, Watussi W, another international dressage horse. Maya’s full-sister, bred to Bismark, produced the Grand Prix competitor, Barnsby W.
Wolfram and Breitling – even when mares walk past, the stallion stands…
Wolfram is quick to point to the influence of Duellant:
“What was very important to me was Bismark. Bismark was Bolero / Duellant, and the most important bloodline for me in dressage was Duellant. But it is very difficult to find stallions with Duellant. Bismark was a very old fashioned stallion but the movement was unbelievable and he was totally balanced in all three gaits, so I used him for my breeding program.”
“Breitling W was not very striking as a foal,” Wolfram Wittig told Julia Hansen (The Hannoverian, 12/2014). “I did, however, realize right away that he was special and that, one day, he would secure my retirement. He always showed off his magnificent movement while in the field without exerting himself. His canter was exceptional.”
The stallion was carefully guided in his performance career by Wolfram. Starting at the Bundeschampionate for five- and six-year old dressage horses. As a seven year old, competitions at the S-level were the next step. One year later, the pair completed the final of the Nürnberger Burgpokal in fourth place.
In 2001, the pair won the Grand Prix and the freestyle in Hickstead, Great Britain and were members of the victorious German Nations Cup team. They won a bronze medal at the German Championship in the same year. Breitling W and Wolfram Wittig became regular participants at top competitions like Aachen, Stuttgart and Frankfurt. They shone brilliant performances at the World Cup Qualifiers in Neumünster, Aarhaus, Denmark and in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, in the Netherlands.
The pair had more than 170 top results up to 2007 and accumulated €132,818.00 Euros in life-earnings. The special strengths of Breitling W are his excellent temperament combined with very good basic gaits, his enormous rideability and his willingness to perform.
The rider realizes though, “When I compete a breeding stallion, then I have to reckon with finishing third or fourth at times. Every victory that slipped away, costs us mares, even though so many other producers never enter into competitions at all.”
As the sire Breitling W passed his talent on to his offspring even though he was little used – breeding a mere 79 descendants that are registered as competition horses with the German FN. Amazingly, 28 of them successfully compete in dressage at the S-level or higher!
His daughter Blind Date is now a top international performer with rider Victoria Max-Theurer from Austria. In 2007, Brigitte Wittig and Blind Date won the qualification at the World Championships for young horses in Verden. Due to an injury, Blind Date was unable to participate in the final. Two years later, she obtained the so far second highest score in the final of the Nürnberger Burgpokal and won this prestigious event.
Blind Date knew her fellow competitors at the time all too well. They were half-sisters on the sire side, Bertoli W and Biagiotto W. The W behind the name gives it away: they were bred on the farm of Family Wittig.
Blind Date competing at the 2015 Europeans at Aachen
Burlington FRH is one of Breitling W’s most striking sons. Charlott-Maria Schürmann rode him in the European Championships for young riders in 2012 and won team gold and individual silver. In the same year, Burington to out the final of the Nürnberger Burgpokal, the unofficial German Championship for seven- to nine-year old dressage horses.
Three sons of Breitling W are registered in the Stallion Book I of the Hannoveraner Verband; five daughters were awarded the State’s Premium. This privately owned stallion holds a top position in the FN-breed value estimation with these results. His breed value is estimated at 165 index points.
Today Breitling W enjoys his retirement at a proud age of 23 on the farm of Family Wittig. He is turned out on the fields for several hours each day. “I am always filled with enthusiasm when I watch him move with such suppleness and lightness,” says Wolfram.
Breitling W was the star of the 2014 Hanoverian Stallion Licensing when he was crowned Stallion of the Year. Wolfram Wittig received the award, an oil painting by the artist Manfred Busemann and a well-endowed cheque, on behalf of his deceased father-in-law, breeder Hermann Niehus from Rahden.
It was not the first time Breitling had starred at Verden.
In 2007, he performed his Grand Prix-freestyle during the gala show of the International Dressage and Jumper Festival. Ursula von der Leyen, now Germany’s defence minister, then the minister for family affairs, was his rider. The spectators honoured the performance with thunderous applause, and Ursula von den Leyen summed it up:
“This stallion is such a gentleman.”
Balmoral W and Brigitte Wittig at the Bundeschampionate
On the FN breeding rankings for 2014, Breitling is in =8th place with a dressage index of 165. On the 2015 Hanoverian rankings, he has a value of 132 for dressage and 85 for jumping – and yes, some of the Breitlings are a bit plain, and he scores a negative 87 for type, and a really low, 65 for the head. However his son, Burlington, proves that bred to the right mares, he can also produced pretty horses, still with that talent for Grand Prix, and with his super attractive son, Bodyguard, Burlington shows that he too can breed horses with beauty and talent.
On there 2016 FN values, he has slipped to a still very high value of 161 (0.91) for dressage and 66 (0.72) for jumping. Breitling’s Hanoverian dressage value is 119, with 78 for jumping and 86 for type.
The 2016 Hanoverian stallion book shows he has 88 competitors but they have won €345,926 (Breitling himself won €132,818), with Blind Date the most successful with earnings of €74,758. Ten of his progeny have won more than €10,000, including the stallion, Burlington who has won €45,589.