Who's Who

Melchior, Leon

Discipline : Breeding

Born : 1926

Died : 2015


A wealthy businessman fell in love with the sport of showjumping, and as a result one of the world’s great jumping studs was established, and then, a whole new studbook: Zangersheide.

“The first time I started to ride was when I was thirty seven years old. I had some very good horses, and my favorite was the mare, Heureka. Ridden by Herman Schridde she won the Grand Prix of Aachen. You can understand what a good horse she was, but at that time the courses were not so difficult, the courses were not so related, the quality of the horses and riders was not so high. Nowadays all the standards are higher, and the course builders are much better. Before it was always higher and higher and higher and that is not an honest test of a good horse.”

“Heureka was one of my favorite horses and when we started to breed with her, every one was giving me different advice, and I started reading and talking with Agricultural breeders – the breeders of chickens, pigs, everything. They know everything, they are computerised, they can show you real inbreeding. What we are doing is not inbreeding. There are people who are writing about ‘inbreeding’ in the horse world, and they don’t know what inbreeding is.”

“I believe that if you have a horse like Heureka, the best of the best of the best, and then you breed with her and the results are not good, you do something. We tried a few stallions, then after the study, we tried another way, a way that was more objective. It’s not that we don’t love horses, we are lovers of horses, we do the best of the best for the horses, but you need an objective approach to breeding.”

“In everything you do, you need feeling – but the foundation of what you do must be based on strict rules that you can find in the commercial agricultural breeding industry. Don’t make their mistakes, take only the best of their advice because after all a chicken is not a horse.”

“So we started thinking, how to build up a stud. How to find a basis. We made a graph to find out which family was most successful in Germany. At that time it was Hanover – not now but then – and then we looked for the best lines in Hanover, and then we looked to see at what age they did it, to find out if they were able to survive in the sport. So we found the lines for our basis. The outcross principle was already accepted. That is why we found Almé, then we found Ramiro – and they were the founders of this circle.”

And Zangersheide was underway…

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