Poetry in motion

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

Poetically perfect in every step.

And yet this visit to Spruce Meadows is playtime for the Celle Stallions.

With their work of breeding behind them for the year, it's time for the prized Hannoverians to please the equine enthusiasts -- rather than the many mares -- with a performance that leaves even the experts of the industry awestruck.

Certainly, Spruce Meadows spokesman Ian Allison and other officials here are tickled to have the tall, dark and handsome European warmbloods captivate the Masters masses with their natural grace, balance and movement.

Every five years, the Celle Stallions make their way to Calgary from Germany for elegant, precision performances of dressage during Spruce's concluding event of the season.

"They are immensely important for many reasons at Spruce Meadows," said Allison of the Hannoverians' visit this year to help celebrate the facility's 30th anniversary.

"They represent the founding breed of Spruce Meadows and the great tradition of the Hannoverian breed, which dates back to 1735.

"And I think for anyone who has any appreciation for horses, they are the ultimate."

Fans of the Masters have a chance to take in the spectacle of athletic equine perfection throughout the weekend.

A select group of eight stallions are here from the Hannoverian State Stud in Celle in northern Germany.

It's one of about a dozen tour stops annually for the Celle Stallions, which mostly showcase their dressage ability in their home country, said spokesman Burchard Bade.

"This is just for fun because of our good connections to Ron Southern's family and to lots of Hannoverian breeders in Canada and North America," Bade said.

"The main work for our 125 stallions is breeding until the middle of July -- they have 8,000 mares to service.

"We work with artificial insemination, and we sell frozen semen of the stallions all over the world.

"Being at Spruce Meadows is good public relations for us -- for our stallions, for selling semen and for the Hannoverian breed."


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