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The ‘mare line of Norm’ celebrates its 100 year anniversary

Sunday, 05 December 2021
Advertisement by Böckmann Pferde

Photo © Lafrentz. Checkter with Leonie Böckmann. Photo © Lafrentz.


Advertisement by Böckmann Pferde, text written by Adriana Van Tilburg



Breeding is thinking in generations. That definitely applies to a promising eight year old OS bred stallion. His line is build up through two studbooks. The Hanoverian part is the foundation of this story and it continues in the Oldenburger Studbook. The name of the stallion? Checkter (Cellestial – Ilonka x Lord Pezi, breeder: Böckmann Pferde GmbH) competing currently at 1m45 under the saddle of the daughter of the breeder, Leonie Böckmann. 

Where it all started

The mare line of Norm originated with family Habermann in 1921, where it is still maintained today. However, in the meantime it has found an international spread, which has produced top horses for various breeding areas, especially in show jumping. Norm herself, born in 1928, was the name giver of this mareline. She was the daughter of the foundation mare and was a rather large mare at 1m75. I quote from the article Nation Cups for five Nations written by Ulrich Hahne in 2018: “The key mare of this mare line is Feldblümchen (Feldhahn – Allroeschen x Allwieder), born in 1947. She is a granddaughter of Heideröschen and with her began the sporting rise of this line.The fact that Feldblümchen has 13 times Norfolk, (Young Seymour xx – Napoleon mare x Napoleon AA, who is born in 1843) in the pedigree shows the importance of this stallion for the founding period of the Hanoverian. With Feldblümchen, a mare from the Norm line was bred for the first time to Hanover's Century Jumper sire Gotthard. With Gotik, a very special mare was born out of this combination, even if this was not the expected when we read the judgement from at the time of the studbook "On the whole coarse” and "without poetry" is written there.

However, in the breeding of Heinrich Habich she brought, in mating with Furioso II, the licensed stallions First Gotthard, who worked in the USA, Fürstengold and Fürstenstolz, Rincon Furioso as well as Ingold by Inschallah AA. The combination of the half-bred Furioso II and the Anglo-Arabian Inshallah AA with the solid Hanoverian mare line and the Arabian influences via Gotthard made this breeding success possible. Georg Vorwerk was certainly not entirely uninvolved. He was not only the stallion owner of the aforementioned sires, but also gave the breeder Heinrich Habich the necessary second home in Lower Saxony at that time. Without this it was not possible to breed Hanoverians in Hesse and the other federal states at that time. Today, this approach is unthinkable.


It is interesting to learn more about the foundation of this line and tradition is the key word in this part. The stallions that were used for building up the line stood all at family Habermann's stud. I quote from an article written by Claus Schridde : “The common ancestor of all horses of this Hanoverian dam line is the bay mare Feldblümchen, born in 1947, who was presented for studbook registration by her breeder Gustav Habermann (Hänigsen) in 1950. Her sire Feldhahn had only spent three years (1946-1948) as a Celle state stud stallion at the Hänigsen station, whose stallions had also had a decisive influence on this line before. Allwieder, Feldblümchen's dam's sire, for example, is also dam's sire of the 1976 Olympic winner, Warwick Rex/Alwin Schockemöhle. The bay Allwieder had covered exclusively in Hänigsen from 1937 to 1951 and can therefore still be found in numerous strains in the region. At that time he produced 20 daughters with state premium, among them Feldblümchen's dam Allröschen. The black stallion Heidjer, the next member of the falling dam line, was also used exclusively for breeding in Hänigsen from 1931 to 1941. Then follow the chestnut Norisander, who was only used in Hänigsen for one year (1928), and the bay Nortoba II (Hänigsen 1919-1920), further Hänigsen sires in the dam line, which can be traced back to 1869 in the annals of Hanoverian breeding.”


Photo © private. Ghana in the middle with two of her offsprings - Lady Liberty to the right and Lila to the left. Photo © private collection.

An important daughter of the Feldblümchen is Dorfmeise (Dominus), born 1962. Breeder is Gustav Habermann. This branch leads to today's mares of the Habermann breeding station. Their descendants have competed for five different countries in Nations Cups. With Garant (Goodwill) and Gallus (Gotthard), Dorfmeise produced two successful show jumpers up to advanced (S) level. 

The stallion Gotthard (Goldfisch II – Ampa x Amateur I, breeder: Richard Kords) plays an important role in this mareline. Through his daughter Ghana the line continues in the careful hands of family Böckmann. Gotthard is now known for his absolute qualities that he brought to the world of breeding showjumpers. This was not the case when he was younger. He was born in 1949 and was purchased in 1951 by State Stud Celle. Breeders weren’t so keen about him because his offspring were not so modern. However after 1970, when he appeared year after year in the top producing sire list, the breeders changed their minds and gave him their best mares. He could not establish a real successful stallion line but he did outstanding work as a damsire.

Full sister of Gallus is the mare Ghana, born in 1976. She was the start of the very successful branch that was founded in the Oldenburger breeding area. Ghana competed under the saddle of the brothers Klaus, Gilbert and Roger Böckmann successful up to 1m35. She is also the dam of Corghano (Cordalme), who competed under the saddle of Max Kühner up to 1m50 and he was active as a stallion at the Böckmann breeding station. Mario Stevens rode Laghano (Landadel) out of the Ghana successfully up to 1m40 and Stefan Witte rode First Ghana (Furioso II) up to 1m40. Böckmann's Lady Liberty a.k.a. Gilana (Lord Liberty) was perhaps the most successful horse out of Ghana. With Gilbert Böckmann, Richard Grom and Fritz Fervers she collected ribbons in 1m50 jumping competitions and is the dam of the Redefiner State Stud stallion Caravazzo (Cordalme). 

Photo © 1clicphoto. Checktet is currently jumping at 1m50 under the saddle of father and daughter Gilbert and Leonie Böckmann. Photo © 1clicphoto.

Ghana was crossed several times with the Selle Français stallion Furioso II (Furioso xx – Dame de Ranville x Talisman, breeder: Henri Lemoine). Furioso II stood in Normandy in France at the stable of Alfred Lefévre. This person has played a very important role in the influence of French stallions through Europe. Georg Vorwerk wanted to have a new French bred stallion at his station and went to Normandy in 1967. The stallion Vertuoso received from his new owner Georg Vorwerk the name Furioso II and wrote history in the German breeding. He won his 100 day test in 1968.  His full brother became a very important stallion in France, Mexico. With Furioso II came new blood in the Oldenburger breeding area. For Georg Vorwerk he became the most important stallion from his career as a stallion owner. Maybe the most important son of Furioso II was Voltaire. He really made his own advertisement through his offspring at mare approvals or stallion approvals. Gilbert Böckmann says: “Furioso II really knew how to present himself. He knew that he was something special. If you would take him out of the box three times on one day he would shine during these three moments. Furioso II would still today be a good stallion.”

From the branch of Ghana are coming furthermore two 1m60 horses; Laricello (Lord Pezi – Cunterbunt x Cordalmé Z, breeder: Yvonne Böckmann), this horse was very special for Helen McNaught, she recalls: “That is quite a story with Laricello. Duncan bought him from Gilbert Böckmann as a five year old. I think he was second in the Bundeschampionat. Duncan wasn’t a match with Laricello so I got to him and I actually won my first World Cup in America on him. He had all the scope and he was a very very special horse. I think he was the scopiest horse I ever rode.”

Ghana produced the licensed son Corghano by Cordalmé Z in 1990, who made his breeding debut in Hamstrup and later successfully went advanced (S) level show jumping in Southern Germany. Her most successful product is the black mare Lady Liberty, born in 1988, out of a trial jump by Lord Liberty as a two-year-old. Lady Liberty (breeding name Gilana) was internationally successful under Gilbert Böckmann and Malin Baryard-Johnsson/SWE before she was integrated into Böckmann's mare herd. Gilbert Böckmann recalls: “Lady Liberty was a very special horse for me! She was only three years in the sport before my dad took her back in breeding. She was a bit hot but unbelievable careful and was top quality.” She herself produced the licensed black stallion Caravazzo (by Cordalmé; State Stud stallion in Redefin). Her daughter Ila (Ile de Bourbon) went up to medium (M) level show jumping and grand - daughter of Lady Liberty,  was a finalist at the Bundeschampionat in 2005 and an advanced (S) level winner. 

Ghana's three years older full sister Gescha, also grey, is the great-great-granddam of the internationally successful showjumping stallion Firth of Lorne (born 2004, by For Pleasure-Stakkato-Calypso II-Antrieb-Gotthard), bred by Meinolf Rölleke and who was a very successful German showjumping horse under the saddle of Katrin Eckermann and Marcus Ehning. His dam Starlight, bred by Helmut Habermann, was a multiple advanced (S) level winner under Manja Gille when owned by Meinolf Rölleke. 


The latest upcoming star from this family is the OS bred stallion Checkter (Cellestial – Ilonka x Lord Pezi, breeder: Böckmann Pferde GmbH). He is approved for BADWU, HANN, HOLST, OS, RHEIN, Südd. Verb. and WESTF. He is currently jumping at 1m50 under the saddle of father and daughter Gilbert and Leonie Böckmann. His sire Cellestial placed highly in Nations Cups and was one of the best German show jumping sires with 77 S-successful and 25 licensed offspring.

Dam Ilonka, who was a finalist at the Bundeschampionat in 2005, was herself successful in advanced level show jumping under the saddle of Phillip Lever and gave birth to none other than the licensed and 1.60 m successful World Championship 2018 participant in Tryon Check In by Cordalmé Z, reserve winner of the OS licensing in 2005, under Samantha McIntosh as well as the S-successful Check Up by Cordalmé Z under Vincent Elbers. Sire of the dam is Lord Pezi, who had a very good career up to 1m40 under the saddle of Gilbert Böckmann until he died way too soon. Lord Pezi already produced several 1m60 showjumpers. 

Checkter received for his sport test as a four year old a 9.66. For his scope a 9.6, for his rideability a 9.8 and for his canter a 9.2. He has now three approved sons, two for OS and one became this year a premium stallion in Westphalia. 

Photo © 1clicphoto. Checkter received for his sport test as a four year old a 9.66. For his scope a 9.6, for his rideability a 9.8 and for his canter a 9.2. Photo © 1clicphoto.

Gilbert Böckmann is emotionally attached to this line and he feels that Checkter is going to be a very special stallion. This is what he shared about the line and Checkter: “My father started with two mares. With Ghana and with Aleska Z (Almé – Landdorne Z x Lavendel), the latter would become the mother of the Oldenburger stallion Cordalme Z (Cor de la Bryère). We competed with Ghana when she was one year not in foal. We jumped her at 1m20 and 1m30, if I recall right she was then six years old. All horses that are coming from the line of Ghana can jump. No matter what stallion we used for the mares. The hereditary strength of this line is so powerful. For example Kashmir van Schuttershof is also coming from this motherline and that is very impressive and speaks volumes for this line. It is a special accomplishment that we build up this branch of Checkter with our own stallions. I have two four year olds also from this branch and they jump unbelievable. I have high hopes for Checkter, he didn’t competed so much this year because my daughter Leonie had COVID and she is currently in New York at the university. That is why I started to ride him in Spain. We were placed at 1m50 and now I wait until Leonie will come back at home and will start riding him again at competition. I actually didn't want to ride at shows anymore but with Checkter I could not resist. The horse is something different and very special. I had some very good horses to compete with and I believe that he will become just as good. I believe that if he stays sound, he will be able to jump every grand prix in the world. We are very proud to have bred a stallion like Checkter. This line brings rideability, a top canter and carefulness." 

This line is very interesting, so many top class sport horses are coming from this line. They have spread their wings to several breeding areas. I wrote in this article about the Hanoverian breeding area and Oldenburg. We should not forget a very interesting stallion that is currently in the top 10 Sire Ranking of the WBFSH; Kashmir van Schutterhof (Nabab de Reve – Fines van Kameren x Tenor Manciais, breeder: Willy van Impe). He also comes from this very fascinating mareline.

Checkter becomes VTV stallion of the year for the OS Studbook. The Oldenburger Studbook writes the following in their press release: “Checkter, OS, born in 2013, by Cellestial out of Ilonka by Lord Pezi - Ile de Bourbon - Lord Liberty - Gotthard, licensed in 2015 at the Oldenburg Horse Centre Vechta, breeder and owner: Böckmann Pferde GmbH, Lastrup, sets new standards in the breeding of show jumpers. After the grey stallion passed the first part of his stallion performance test Sport in Munich-Riem in 2017 with an unprecedented top score of 9.66, he also belonged to the absolute top group of his year in Verden with a score of 9.13 of his year. Carefully and gently built up, but still decorated with victories in novice (A**) to medium (M) level tests for young show jumpers, also internationally, under Heinrich Holtgers, Leonie and Gilbert Böckmann, Checkter was awarded the Ic main premium at the Oldenburg Stallion Days in 2018 due to his sporting development and especially the quality of his first foal crop. In 2020 he produced his first two licensed offspring with Checkorado, OS, born 2018, by Checkter out of Paula by Pilothago - Diarado, breeder: Peter Engel, Hünxe, as well as a beautiful dark bay stallion, OS, born 2018, by Checkter out of Utasha by Ustinov - Contender, breeder: Arndt Schwierking, Barver. This year the phenomenally jumping grey stallion made the jump to the advanced level and placed third in Mühlen under Leonie Böckmann, who also placed internationally with him for the first time in advanced (S**) level jumping competitions in Pinneberg. The origin of this success can be found in his exemplary performance pedigree, which is like a firework of international show jumping genetics.”

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