The Potent Ramiro

                   An illustration of "sibling power" in a Warmblood.

The Holstein Ramiro, was so renowned for his potency that while he was still living, he carried a breeding license for three other registries: Westphalia, Holland and Belgium. Today, his bloodline is sought after in every registry that promotes sport. When studying Warmblood pedigrees, it is usually difficult to trace enough of the lineage to determine with confidence the genetic strengths, because so many Warmblood and Sport Horse pedigrees are partial or worse, inaccurate. What good is a pedigree to a breeder if it is not the true picture of the genetics? But with Ramiro HO we have an excellent example to work with.

While running a ten generation pedigree calculation on Ramiro, I found he had an incredible thirty-four lines of the Holstein founding sire Achill HO in the 7th through 10th generation--this level of concentration is called 'critical mass' and is at the saturation point so that Ramiro HO is a faithful type of Achill HO. 

Achill HO is the only still active sire line of the original foundation sires in Holstein. The Holstein organization reports that Achill carries the jumping blood in Holstein. Thirty-four lines in ten generations is a huge amount of a single ancestor, this is like Achill HO was sitting in the 4th generation rather than in the far reaches of the pedigree. When there is a strong background strength, if it is reinforced in closer generations, it will show in the progeny. Focusing Achill HO in Ramiro HO was done through three son lines and two daughter lines 4x5x5x4x6, mainly through the 3/4 siblings Palisa HO and Tobias HO. Tobias HO was a coach horse sire. There is also reinforcement to this power (and complexity) with the 5/8 sister Vellada HO and the genetic 3/4 brother to Tobias HO: Rajah HO, through a daughter and on the bottom line. This design is an extreme consolidation of the background power and makes Ramiro HO an ever greater typesetter.

Ramiro HO is a typestter of the Achill HO genetics. So if we understand Achill HO, then we will understand Ramiro HO. Achill HO is described (Rossow and Tietz) as a coach horse, light bay, 17 1/2 hands, heavy boned but still shallow in body and not deep in girth. He was well muscled and had a high neck carriage, his back was a little weak, but he had an excellent hind quarter. Achill HO had good clean gaits and was very healthy, living until twenty-eight, and he produced his best son: Tobias HO at age twenty-six. The Holstein jump line started with him.

To get a clear understanding of this jumping trait, that is basis of the modern Holstein success, we can visit the time of the breeding of Achill HO and see what was occurring. This period was during the phase of German breeding when the state ordered an improved coach-carriage horse. East Prussia and Trakehner were ordered to produce a cavalry ready horse. That the government ordered the direction of breeding is a foreign concept to our American understanding, then and now. And it is at the root of our misconceptions of the modern warmbloods and what their registries are all about. The European breeds have always been a national product, overseen and structured by their respective rulers or government.

To the end of producing a superior coach-carriage horse, the Mecklenburg Stud especially was devoted to crafting this new model, although Holstein and Hanover did some direct importing of proper coach stock, Mecklenburg was the big center of this movement. The base of the continent's horse was DRAFT--not sport, the Black Marsh Draft, the Schwere Warmblood, Norman Draft etc were farm horses not sport horses. And with improved roads and commerce that needed swifter transportation they needed a lighter, faster horse for their country's market development. Where did they go to get this stock? The British Isles. Yorkshire Coach, Norfolk Trotter, Anglo-Norman were the best breeds for this endeavor, plus the continent had to add Thoroughbred and Anglo-Arab to produce more lightening of frame because they were starting not with a mid-weight breed, but the heavy draft base. 

So contrary to the general misconceptions, these breeds were farm horse breeds exclusively until the mid and later 1800s, when they imported enough breeding stock from Ireland and Britain to convert their draft horse into a coach horse. With that imported stock came an ability to jump, which is an inherent trait in the Anglo stock. (I have traced the jumping trait back to several main roots in both the Thoroughbred and Trotter breeds, and even back further to a common root of all in a early Thoroughbred--see Legacy of Lexington and Standardbred Sport Horses for the work on this).

Okay, so we are told Achill HO is the beginning of the jump trait in Holstein. Let's see what he is made of. Achill's sire and dam were 1/2 brother and sister, both out of Brilliant, a Yorkshire Coach Horse (in Ramiro there are at least sixty-eight lines of him--extreme critical mass). And Brilliant's own dam was out of a full brother and sister! And these siblings carried the Yorkshire Coach Horse Burlington Turk, who is also here in Achill's dam, so even more inbreeding. Most breeds start with inbreeding--even incest like you see here, for it consolidates the genes, and gives a reproducible type.

The Achill HO son, Tobias HO, is a good example of why genotype is more important to the breeder than phenotype, for physcially he was no prize. Today, he would surely fail a Warmblood inspection and be gelded. He is described as being light and wiry, with light boned legs, narrow hocks, short hip and average gaits. Yet Tobias HO became the most important carrier of the Achill blood and he consistently produced progeny far better than he was--with immense jumping talent. There is that pre-potence for sport again, even though his phenotype was far less than ideal, he became a genetic pillar of the Holstein breed--he was a powerful and reliable typesetter.

Favorit HO, one of Tobias' successful sons, is here in multiples, and while he was still the lean coach type, he brought forward the jump. And with Favorit HO the Holstein phenotype showed some improvement. Favorit HO is described as having deep well sprung ribs, heavy bone in front, solid hocks, plus he had good movement and he produced offspring true to his type.Ramiro 7 generation pedigree

Ramiro HO certainly got the vitality, pre-potency and jump ability of the Achill HO line. But Ramiro HO was more than that, he had "sparkle", charisma, a bigger frame but with refinement, and great movement, which he was able to pass on more consistently than most modern sires can claim. This extra "star" quality came from the Elegant HO line of the old Ethelbert HO line, Ramiro HO has twenty-two lines of this in ten generations.

When Holstein brought in the Yorkshire Coach Horse, and then added more Thoroughbred, they were well on their way to the modern Holstein type that has made Holstein one of the foremost Warmblood breeds- they are a world wide success story. They never lost the Achill jump, but they got elegance, "pizzazz" along with substance, size and quality from the Ethelbert line.

Ramiro HO refocused the sparkle of Elegant HO through the 3/4 brothers: Nordhauser HO and Lorbeer HO who are 4x4, close up and powerful. Lorbeer HO was described as "wide bodied, deep, high set neck, powerful, legs of steel, great gaits with impulsion, sound and good disposition."

Ramiro HO also got genetic power from his Thoroughbred ancestors, including the genetic 3/4 brothers Rochester/Tracery in Cottage Son. His pedigree is loaded with concentrated sport ability coming focused and expanded through sibling power.

Ramiro HO was a full bodied horse of 16.2 1/2 hands, with "enormous presence, fearless and extraordinary jumper, with a good disposition, strong bone, good legs and feet" and his progeny were large framed, elegant, almost all with a spectacular jump.

Clive Harper says: "Full and 3/4 relatives in a pedigree seem to be able to gather the strength from the past and bring it forward for utilization in the current generations."

Side note: The Yorkshire Coach Horse, a key ingredient in the German Warmblood (along with Thoroughbred) is an extinct breed- beautiful, elegant coach horses, a trotter, it was developed in England--not Germany. They were created from the Chapman horse crossed with the Thoroughbred. We know the Chapman horse today as the Cleveland Bay. You will find the Yorkshire Coach Horse at the base of not only the Holstein, but Hanoverian, Oldenburg and even Trakhner used some--most of the Yorkshire stock entered the continent via the Mecklenburg Stud importations.

Link to Noteworthy, an American bred stallion- with sex balanced inbreeding to Ramiro.