• Fran Cleland

Breeders unite to fight for greater recognition of Australian horses

Updated: Jul 31


ABOVE: Breeders want better recognition of Australian-bred horses competing overseas.

A GROUP has been established to work towards better promotion of Australian and New Zealand-bred performance horses as a distinct identity.


The initiative is being driven by Ulrich (Ulli) Klatte, who has been breeding top-quality performance horses at his Belcam Stud in Queensland since 1984.


Like many breeders, he has seen the Australian-bred Warmblood horses that are moved overseas to compete lose their identity, with their breeding neither announced or recognised.


A classic example of this is Melissa Froesch’s home-bred Glenara Cowboy. He competed and was used at stud in Australia, but is now competing as an eventer overseas (ridden for owners by Andrew Hoy) but is listed as Hasenacher Balou Couleur because there are no laws stopping the re-naming of competition horses that are moved overseas.


According to Wikipedia, “Most warmbloods were developed in continental Europe, especially Germany. It was once thought that the warmblood type, which originated in continental Europe”.


It goes on to cite that the “the best-known German warmbloods are the Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Oldenburg and the purebred Trakehner”. Others include the Württemberger, Rhinelander, Westphalian, Zweibrücker, Brandenburger, Mecklenburger and Bavarian Warmblood. Several of these breeds are also represented by ancestral types such as the Ostfriesen and Alt-Oldenburger, Alt-Württemberger, and Rottaler. Central European warmbloods include the French Selle Français, Belgian Warmblood, Dutch Warmblood, Swiss Warmblood, Austrian Warmblood, Danish Warmblood, and Czech Warmblood. Scandinavian countries also produce high-quality warmbloods such as the Finnish Warmblood and Swedish Warmblood.”


Warmblood registries that are not based in continental Europe include those that regulate the breeding of American Warmbloods and Irish Sport Horses, but any performance horse born here in Australia doesn’t get any credit because one of its ancestors happened to be European two generations back.


Mr Klatte feels strongly that Australian-bred Warmbloods should be recognised.


“Earlier this year I invited Australian and New Zealand breed organisations and breeders to a Zoom meeting to discuss and agree to the benefits of a united voice promoting breeding,

performance, and value – whatever the discipline and level,” he said.


“We also agreed that our region has tremendous international potential if the equine industry can be better seen and demonstrated in its size, vast variety and success. From this meeting, we established The Australasian Horse Breeders Federation (AHBF) working group.”


ABOVE: Glenara Cowboy is now competing as Hasenacher Balou Couleur.

The establishment of the group has brought some strong support, with Kerry Uytendaal, wife of well-known rider Art Uytendaal, describing the move as “great news”.


“I have seen various breed societies from overseas race out here to get their brands on the best foals and mares before others,” she said. “I have seen some with numerous brands on them – this can’t come soon enough.”


Long-time Victorian breeder Peter Powell said “a good lesson can be learnt from the Irish”.

“They have an excellent organisation representing and promoting the Irish Horse, which they have been very successful at. There's is a good model and well worth studying.”


NSW Warmblood breeder Suellen Saals believes Australian breeders were being left behind.

“Our voice is lost against the power and strength of the EU organisations,” she said.


The new group decided that their objectives, as an equine industry-led initiative, are to:


  • bring a united voice from Australasian breed societies to key external stakeholders

  • bridge the gap between equine breeding and performance for all Australasian horse activities

  • continue to support and promote Australasian equine breeders to the region and beyond

  • bring about meaningful change in the equine industry, and

  • target the specific needs and challenges faced by Australasian equine breeders and societies

“The group also discussed, and have since drafted, a working constitution to formally establish the AHBF as a not-for-profit organisation,” Mr Klatte said.


“We encourage all Australian and New Zealand equine breed organisation representatives, equine breeders, equine professionals and industry individuals to join this initiative.


“We have lots of interest from the equestrian horse breeders but would love more input from the western and stockhorse side.”


The group is now seeking industry participants to be a part of the inaugural AHBF board of directors to be established at a meeting on August 10 via Zoom.


Anyone who believes they can offer value in establishing and driving change within the Australasian equine breeding industry is asked to register their interest by July 31 by email to presidentacegroupinc@gmail.com.


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