Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dressage Stallion Basics: Rubenstein

In 2006 I spent the spring looking for a baby horse, and finally I settled on Riley, a hanoverian from High Point Hanoverians in MD. He is truly my dream-horse, everything I want in a prospect. Big, smart, sweet, and quiet, and incidentally a pretty nice lookin' baby :-). I worried that I might get tired of waiting for him to grow up/be rideable, but it has been a great joy and a learning experience.

Before I took the plunge, I researched stallions who produce rideable dressage horses for amateurs. I spent a long time researching Riley's bloodlines: Donnerhall/Deniro/Delaurentis (last is his sire; and Rubenstein, who sired Riley's mom. Thought I'd share some basic info about Donnerhall and Rubenstein, two of the three stallions that form a trifecta of influential bloodlines (the third is Weltmeyer). Source: You Choose: who is the best of the Big Three?

Rubenstein I
Breeding Barn: Rubenstein

As a baby, Rubenstein was a people-oriented colt, and in an interview, his breeders recall that they sometimes wondered if he was sick or if something was wrong, because he didn't play with the other babies. He preferred the company of humans and in their company he possessed natural good manners. Apparently this trait endured, and he is legendary not only for his talent for dressage and gaits, but for his kindness and rideability. He passes on these traits to his offspring, and many of his get have the classic "Rubenstein head" -- broad forehead, delicate muzzle, huge, kind eyes, and a sculpted and elegant neck. I have also read that his offspring are late in maturing. They may show spectacular gaits as youngsters, but the gaits are "lost" during development, and trainers have to work with the young horses to bring out the gaits under saddle. At his stallion licensing, I believe he placed third, and one of the judges referred to him as "weedy-looking" (wait, was that "weedy" or "reedy?"). Rubenstein offspring are also seen in the hunter ring because he passes on jumping ability (scored 124 at stallion test), and again, that gorgeous head...

My baby's mom Rachael was by Rubenstein, out of a Parabol mare that may be one of the top hanoverian broodmares in the country -- SPS Pijou. When I saw Riley, I fell in love with his mother, she looked like a dark madonna. She was quiet and motherly, and had a huge, kind eye. She moved fluidly, and carried the stamp of her sire. Riley was a chestnut, not my favorite color. But he had a doe-like expression that just exuded surprise and joy. He was also bold and curious, and he gravitated to people. He was the best foal I had seen, but really it was a combination of the mom and the baby that led me to feel he was the one. Pix of Rachael are below, and below that, a video of the great Rubenstein. Donnerhal synopsis coming up next!

Rachael, a mare by Rubenstein I, out of SPS Pijou (by Parabol), and my baby Riley:

Rubenstein I


  1. hi.deja-vu. we have just had a filly that looks amazingly like your colt riley... ruby is chestnut with flaxen bits in tail (like riley) we were suprised.. mother looks like yours. dark, kind elegant , she is out of deniro and donnerhall, and the sire is rubenstein. and what a sweetie friendly, i would be intersested to see catch up photos. thanks

    1. I now own one of Rubenstein's sons, Rusty 223! He was born 6/3/2000, a big bodied 16.2 chestnut with an extremely thick neck and chest, impeccable ground manners, will gladly pack a six-year-old child around the ring for a pony ride, as well as take a vacationing hunter-equitation rider for a hack. Incredibly springy yet floating trot both at dressage work and in the hack, rocking-horse canter. Dam was Wondergirl.

  2. A German dressage trainer I had in 1990s raved about Donnerhall.

    Riley has that nice long neck, good shoulders and hind quarters with good angulation above the hock so necessary for a good dressage horse. Looks like you might have a winner there, Stacey.


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