Richard Davison joins the Helgstrand Group
Four-time Olympian and British equestrian legend Richard Davison has joined the Helgstrand Group. His principal role will be to lead the group’s UK development across all its commercial platforms.
Richard, together with his sons Tom and Joe, runs a combined dressage and show jumping stable, and he is also involved in many aspects of the British and international equestrian community. He is a former British Olympic Dressage Team manager and former World Class Show Jumping Programme coach.
Andreas Helgstrand said: “Richard, together with his team and family, are involved in so many aspects of the UK equestrian world. They bring with them an unequalled breadth of experience and allows us to enhance the service we can offer to our UK clients. We are delighted to welcome them on board”.
The Helgstrand Group currently has sport horse sales stables in Denmark, Germany and the US. Its investment portfolio includes brands such as Kingsland, Riding Arena Robots and has further expansion plans to announce imminently.
Commencing his role with immediate effect Richard enthused “Andreas has created a mind-blowingly successful equestrian business. He has grown the Helgstrand Group into the global market leader for the sales of outstanding quality sport horses and after-sales service. With more than 100 employees the Group is an important employer of young equestrians and has a commendable policy for their health and wellbeing. With other exciting plans on the horizon, I am really looking forward to playing my part in this next phase of the Group’s journey.”
Westfalen Champion and Vice-Champion to Helgstrand
Picture: The Champion Stallion of the 2020 Westfalen Stallion Licensing by Fair Game/Destano - acquired by Helgstrand for 800,000 euros.
At the 2020 Westfalen Stallion Auction, Helgstrand was able to acquire the new Westfalen Champion Stallion by Fair Game/Destano and the Vice-Champion, which is by Diamond Deluxe/Lissaro. In addition the licensed stallion by Farrell/Lord Loxley. In other words, the two best stallions of the auction will next year be part of the impressive Helgstrand-Schockemöhle stallion collection.
- The Champion Stallion is very impressive - he is modern and beautiful and shows amazing gaits. He has no weaknesses, which the breeding commission also placed a lot of emphasis on. He is from an interesting pedigree, which will bring new bloodlines to the breeding world we know today - and at the same time we can tell that he will fit well with a large number of mares, Andreas says.
- The Vice-Champion possesses almost the same qualities as the Champion Stallion. He shows three superb gaits with absolutely extraordinary hind-leg action. Again, we are dealing with a state-of-the-art sports horse with an extremely exciting pedigree. I am sure that the breeders will welcome the two new dressage stars as part of the 2021 Helgstrand-Schockemöhle stallion collection, Andreas adds.
The Champion Stallion by Fair Game/Destano/Harvard is bred by Konrad Mensch, Germany and was acquired for 800,000 euros, while the Vice-Champion by Diamond Deluxe/Lissaro/Labrador and bred by Wilhelm Rüscher-Konermann , Germany, was bought for 600,000 euros. The stallion by Farrell/Lord Loxley/Damon Hill is bred by Karl-August Schulte-Varendorff, Germany, and was acquired for 250,000 euros.
For the 2020 Westfalen Stallion Licensing, Helgstrand also brought the young talented Floriscount/San Amour I, who even took the title as Premium Stallion. This amazing stallion is bred by Gestüt Elstertal, Germany.
Video of the Champion Stallion by Fair Game/Destano
Video of the Vice-Champion by Diamond Deluxe/Lissaro
Video of the licensed stallion by Farrell/Lord Loxley
Foundation/Quaterback OLD Champion Stallion
Picture: Catalogue no. 53 by Foundation - Quaterback - Weltmeyer - awarded Champion Stallion at the 2020 Oldenburg Stallion Licensing.
At the 2020 Oldenburg Stallion Licensing, Helgstrand was able to add another Champion Stallion to the collection; the picture-perfect and impressive Foundation son, who has Quarterback as damsire. Bred by Zuchthof Vogel in Germany.
Foundation is the father of many successful sports horses and breeding stallions, like Helgstrand's Ferrari OLD, which has just been sold to Gestüt Ammerland in Germany.
Foundation himself is successful under Matthias Alexander Rath at international Grand Prix level.
The Foundation/Quaterback impressed the judges with his extraordinary gaits, type and wonderful temper - and showed great balance both on hard surface, in lunging and in the free presentation. And he was not only awarded Premium Stallion, he also took the title as a Champion and was thus best stallion at this year's Oldenburg Stallion Licensing.
My Vitaliy wins DWB stallion performance test
Today, our young stallions finished their 35-day performance test in Danish Warmblood, and Helgstrand's My Vitality (Vivaldi/D-Day) finished first with impressive 902.5 and 9/9 from the test rider Allan Grøn.
The top 3 from today dominated by Helgstrand's stallions:
1. My Vitality by Vivaldi/D-Day - 902.5 - video
2. Iron by Asgaard's Ibiza/Hohenstein - 894.5 - video
3. Rockabye S by Revolution/Belstaff - 890.5 - video
All the videos from today's final test - follow this link
The final result of all stallions - follow this link (only available in Danish)
When horses leave an everlasting impression
Picture: Ulf, Alexander and Andreas Helgstrand from the 2019 Gala Show in Herning
As some might have heard, a very special horse has left Helgstrand Dressage – a horse that not only has drawn attention to himself on the national and international showgrounds but also a horse who has been a goofy movie star on the social media accounts of Helgstrand. Obviously it is the 8-year-old stallion Ferrari OLD by Foundation/Hotline, who can look forward to an exciting future in the home of one of Germany’s leading dressage stables: Gestüt Ammerland.
- Not only will my groom Mikkala, who has been responsible for Ferrari during his time at Helgstrand, miss him, I certainly will as well. Every horse has its own personality, but Ferrari’s is just unique. He was the Labrador of the stable and with his funny acts he could bring out a smile of everybody, Andreas tells.
Many might remember when Andreas achieved a silver medal for the 5-year-olds at the World Championships for Young Horses in Ermelo in 2017 – or when he received the bronze medal at the Danish Championships for young horses the same year. The powerful horse makes a huge impression when being in the arena. Not only is he burly and big but he also has some exceptional gaits and is well known for his rideability. The apple does not fall far from the tree, as his father Foundation also has had impressive success on international Grand Prix level with Matthias Alexander Rath in the saddle. And as an 8-year-old Ferrari did his first Grand Prix at a national show where he invincibly took the victory.
- It was a day of sorrow when we had to say goodbye to Ferrari, cause he has been a real pleasure riding. He has been a part of Helgstrand for several years and I have had so many great experiences with this horse. When they stay around for so long, it is impossible not to become very attached to each other, Andreas says and adds: It is not many 8-year-olds, who you can enter a Grand Prix on with such great success. He has got the talent and the drive, and therefore I am also thrilled that Rudi Widmann from Gestüt Ammerland is taking over the reins.
Ferrari attended the gala show at the Stallion Selection in Herning, where he was a part of the remarkable show where three generations of Helgstrand were represented. This show was afterwards reputed as one of the highlights.
- The most memorable experience, might be the gala show in Herning last year, where my father Ulf rode him. It was an incredible experience entering Boxen with full stands, with my father and my son by my side. It was really overwhelming… Three generations in line – I guess it is only a handful, who have tried this. And here Ferrari also showed off his qualities – he didn’t strike one wrong move and did everything he could to keep my father safe in the saddle. Certainly, a memory that is imprinted in my memory, Andreas concludes.
Ferrari OLD has already moved to his new home, Gestüt Ammerland by Dietrich von Boetticher, placed a little south of Munich. Here the experienced Grand Prix rider, Rudi Widmann, will take over the training of Ferrari.
Master rider in new clothes
For those who know Allan Hansen, they are already aware that he is a very experienced gentleman. Besides from being able to boast of his title as a master rider, he also has many years of experience as self-employed with his own sales stable in Middelfart. Additionally, Allan is an extremely dedicated and motivated coach, who put a lot of pride in the development of each individual rider. Competences that Helgstrand advantageously has used during the past years, but how did this beneficial partnership actually start?
- I met Andreas by a coincidence around the time, where Marianne and Andreas founded Helgstrand. We quickly became friends privately and since I also was self-employed we spent a lot of time together at stallion selections in Germany where we helped each other with the horses. During time, we have also co-owned a lot of horses, which my wife Rikke is educating, Allan tells. Approximately 2,5 years ago, Andreas asked me if I was interested in teaching and coaching, and that I of course accepted.
A dedicated coach
I have always spent a lot of time on the ground in many different arenas, where I’ve helped many talents on their way to success. And now, when all the education of our horses has been assigned to Rikke, I can focus more on coaching and other tasks. I find it very interesting to follow the riders and experience how they develop from time to time, especially some of the younger riders. And then I’m also thrilled that, despite my age, I still can impress some of the more experienced riders, such as Betina, Allan says with a smile.
You have probably already met Allan, when Helgstrand has been present at competitions both national and international, as he is an obvious part of the team. His eagle eye sees everything and he is doing his utmost to make sure that every rider is sufficiently prepared for the task when entering the show arena, as well as providing feedback as the rider finished their ride.
-What really characterizes Allan, is his ability of being so sympathetic. It shines through his way of teaching. You will not be in doubt, that he takes very good care of you, he is fast as a lightning to shift and adapt to the next rider and then he can quickly tell, what challenges the rider is having. Additionally, he does everything on the premises and tempo that fits every single horse, which I highly appreciate, Michael Grønne, master rider at Helgstrand, says.
- Allan is technically a very good teacher and he focuses a lot on having the rider stable in the basics before moving up on the level of difficulty. And then he is not only good at developing the horses, but the riders as well. He works a lot with your mind – here you really gain a lot of tools for personal and mental development as a rider. And then he is always smiling, and it really comes off at us riders, Tobias Hewlett tells. He has now been riding for Allan for 2 years.
Much more than teaching
Even though there are many riders at Helgstrand eventually, Allan’s workweek consists of much more exciting tasks, which though have changed during the last time as to the corona-situation.
- The teaching has taken over a bit during this corona-time, since it has been very complicated to travel. But as soon as the world opens again, my first task will be to assist the riders, who buy horses from Helgstrand. It is some kind of after-sales service. Our success is highly reliant on these customers and the results they obtain with their new Helgstrand-horse. And concurrently with the clients becoming better and better, new goals arise and this is where I step in – in the assistance with finding a new and brilliant match, Allan tells. Not only has he an eagle eye for spotting a talented horse, but he also has the ability to find the perfect match between horse and rider. This reputation spreads as rings in the water – Allan is well-known for noticing all the small details, which easily can be overlooked by many – this has undoubtedly something to do with his 30 years of experience.
- And to make sure that I always have work to do, Andreas often asks me to look for potential horses in Denmark, because even though his and Thomas’ biggest wishes are to be able to be at more than one place at the same time, they haven’t succeeded with that yet, to Andreas’ big sorrow, Allan tells with a glints in his eye.
Would not trade for anything in the world
When you talk to Allan, there is no doubt about his passion for this job – and who doesn’t dream about such a balanced everyday life with these amazing horses that manage to impress us so deeply.
- Imagine being surrounded by so many passionate and dedicated people every day – it really influences you. Simultaneously Helgstrand offers so many opportunities not only on at their own locations, but also the possibility to travel, see the world and the global horse industry. I can almost cut off 10 years of my age, because when you are at Helgstrand, you will be in a whole other gear, but, well… This is necessary to keep up with the Helgstrand journey, Allan finishes.
Helgstrand as the main sponsor of the World Championships 2022
Denmark has become one of the leading nations within the equestrian industry – we really proved that, as Herning was honoured to become the hosting of the four-times World Championships in 2022 – namely the ECCO FEI World Championships 2022 Herning Denmark with World Championships in showjumping, dressage, vaulting and para-dressage – thereby the four biggest disciplines within equestrianism.
It was a Saturday evening when the danish show organizer was awarded the hosting by FEI – the international equestrian federation. This was certainly a festive evening, where champagne was floating and the Danish news streams were overwhelmed by the many visitors. Especially on social media, the news spread with euphoria, and the comment fields couldn’t keep up.
- We are looking very much forward to putting Denmark on the global map and join the sensation when the World Championships take place in Herning, Andreas says and continues: The World Championships are very important for Denmark and we will of course be very supportive, trying to create as big and impressive an event as even possible.
- The huge support we get from all other Danish actors in the industry is very remarkable, Casper Cassøe states. Cassøe is, together with Jens Trabjerg, the organizer of Herning2022. He continues: We experience a full endorsement from everyone in so many ways. It is really nice, especially in these difficult times – so we really look forward to the World Championships in August 2022.
Have a look into the Helgstrand universe
In August 2022, everyone from the equestrian world will look towards Herning, that in fact is as a city that is used to having both national and international guests from the horse-industry – Herning will tough really have to turn up the hospitality as several of people will flock to the location. This big audience is seen by Helgstrand as a great opportunity to let more people gain knowledge about the many different areas of business in Helgstrand. Helgstrand will raise a big VIP lounge just outside the big arena. This is supposed to be a place where all of the many businesses of the Helgstrand group are being presented. Eventually, this is becoming a wide selection as a result of the latest acquisition of majority shares in Kingsland Equestrian and the exciting investment in Riding Arena Robots.
- We are soon starting to plan the concept of the Helgstrand VIP lounge. The facilities that are being presented for us, look incredible. Our aim is to advantageously use these facilities to become visible throughout the whole championship. This prominence is important to us, but the same is the fact, that we can help and support the World Championships in Herning, Andreas says.
The main sponsorship includes several elements: Helgstrand Dressage will be the named sponsor of the big VIP lounge at the main arena: HELGSTRAND VIP-LOUNGE. Additionally, Helgstrand Dressage will be the presenting sponsor for several of the competitions within the dressage championship at the Stutteri Ask Stadium. And finally Helgstrand Dressage will also be the presenting sponsor of several of the showjumping competitions at the same location.
Janeiro sold to Christinelund Dressage
Picture: Janeiro Platinum with Helgstrand's rider Anne-Mette Strandby Hansen.
The picture-perfect Janeiro Platinum (Sezuan/ UB40) has managed in embedding himself in most people’s memory, not only because of his outstanding performances but also as a result of his very impressive qualities, which is seen to be carried on to his offspring. This special horse caught the eye of Grand Prix rider Sofie Lexner, on her recent visit to Helgstrand. Sofie is master rider at Christinelund Dressage in Sweden.
- He is an athletic horse, with amazing rideability and a charming personality – actually he possesses all qualities it takes to reach top level of dressage sport. Already the first time I tried him, I was convinced that he was just right for what we were searching for here at Christinelund Dressage, master rider Sofie Lexner says.
Billede: Sofie Lexner and Inoraline W winning Scandinavian Open for 5- and 6-year-olds
Sofie is one of Sweden’s best dressage riders with numerous victories up till international Grand Prix, and she has also gained a lot of respect for her work with developing the younger horses.
- It is no secret, that the success of our business among others is based on positive results that horses from Helgstrand can deliver with their new riders. Therefore it is of our utmost interest, that Janeiro will move on to a place, where the focus will be on his future development, as this stallion holds unimaginable amounts of possibilities, Andreas says and continues: and then we are thrilled on behalf of the breeders, as Janeiro still will be available for breeding – he has been one of the most popular stallions in our collection.
The Danish Warmblood stallion Janeiro is by the triple world champion Sezuan, who is one of the most famous and desirable stallions nowadays. Sezuan has already secured his place in history as he has several victories with the German Dorothee Schneider in the saddle and is already promisingly working towards Grand Prix level with Patrik Kittel. Patrik will also have a great impact on the future development of Janeiro as he is Sofie’s dressage trainer. Janeiro has undoubtedly inherited a lot of great qualities from his father; not only the exquisite black colour but also his excellent gaits and rideability, looking absolutely promising for taking part of future top sport.
From now on Janeiro will be based at Christinelund Dressage near Helsingborg, with an outstanding view over Öresund, where Sofie will be in charge of his future development. The place oozes of high ambitions for developing talented horses, which is why they continuously invest in young promising talents.
- We have over time bought several horses at Helgstrand Dressage, among others Felina Lightfoot by Floricello/Onassis and Kavira by Franklin (Fierce-S)/ Sorento. We return to Helgstrand, as we always succeed in finding the right horses. We always receive outstanding service, while we are certain that the horses are of absolute top-quality.
Helgstrand invests in robot company
Picture: Andreas Helgstrand and Anders Bjørnstrup.
Helgstrand Dressage ApS and X-Drive Robot ApS jointly invest in the new company Riding Arena Robots, which, as the name might indicate, shall develop and sell autonomous robots that even and maintain riding arenas all over the world.
- It takes a lot of man-hours and tools in terms of tractors etc. for our riding arenas to be maintained and always primed to ensure the best ground for the horses to work on, Andreas, owner and CEO of Helgstrand Dressage, says and continues; We have been introduced to a business project that has been thoroughly worked through – it involves the development of an autonomous robot that can prepare riding arenas, and as we find a huge potential in this field of business, we have chosen to invest in it.
The new robot has already been projected, technical requirements are specified and the product development has got off to a good start. Prototypes will be ready for launching before summer 2021 and will afterwards go through numerous tests before the product can be released to the market, expectedly ultimo 2021.
A sustainable solution with huge potential
- The robot is power-driven and should be able to drive all by itself. It can be compared to an autonomous lawnmower and the way it works in peoples private gardens. It will be able to charge itself and with built-in sensors, it can steer around fences as well. That way the robot can both be used on dressage as well as showjumping arenas. As the robot is electric, it is concurrently a sustainable solution, not only climate-wise but also in a way where it doesn’t pollute the same way a tractor does, Andreas concludes.
Helgstrand Dressage has chosen to inaugurate their commercial director, Anders Bjørnstrup, as the CEO in the new firm, Riding Arena Robots. This is partly to manage the supervision of the process of development, partly for quality assurance as well as preparing the products for an introduction to the market, including organizing the company to ensure abilities within sales management, support and further product development.
- There are lots of advantages for the end-user by using this product: it is time-saving, it cuts costs related to tractor and fuel, the robot can work during the night, when the arena is empty and then such a quality robot will be more precise and careful, making sure that the arena will be absolutely perfectly evened, Anders says, and continues; When we look at the market potential, there are more than 33.000 riding arenas only in Europe, so we see a lot of potentials.
- We could not find a more suitable partner for this project, says Klaus Kesje, sales director for X-Drive Robots and adds; Helgstrand Dressage has the complete knowledge about the market and the customer needs, which would be hard to find in another partner. At the same time, Helgstrand Dressage is a very big international player, which creates an even better opportunity for us to pursue our common ambitions about going global.
Helgstrand Dressage acquires the luxurious horse farm Gestüt Famos in Germany
Picture: Gestüt Famos - indoor arena and the stable area.
In December 2019, Helgstrand Dressage acquired the property Windsome Farm in the horse mecca Wellington in the American state Florida, and now all the final details with the acquisition of Gestüt Famos are falling into place. Gestüt Famos can from a breeder’s perspective be seen as the German counterpart to the property in Wellington. As a result of the acquisition, the name of Gestüt Famos will be changed to Helgstrand Germany.
The German cities Vechta and Verden constitute the heart of the German world of breeding, and it is completely intentional that Helgstrand Dressage decides to invest in this luxurious farm in Germany, that is founded by the now-deceased rich man and legend in the field of bread production, Klaus Ostendorf. The place is located half an hour drive south of Bremen and is thereby just in between Vechta and Verden, which every year is hosting the joint stallion shows between Helgstrand and Shockemöhle.
- For a long time, we have been looking for a base in this area, that has the potential of redeeming our high ambitions. Not only in relation to responding to the demand of sales horses on the German market, but also allowing us to expand our stallion station, that until now has been run at Sudenhof in Hagen. Germany is one of our biggest markets and the potential is even bigger, if we are present with an independent sales division, in order to appear where our customers are, Andreas states.
Picture: Eva and Ulf Möller standing with our breeding stallions, Valverde and So Unique.
Gestüt Famos was founded in 1906 and has in 2002 gone through an extensive renovation, making the place appear state-of-the-art with a main house made in timber frame and facilities allowing the absolute best training also securing the possibility of hosting major events. In unique park-alike surroundings like the property in Wellington, Helgstrand Germany is soon ready for the family Möller consisting of Dr. Ulf Möller and his wife Eva Möller. Ulf has since 2017 been the head of both the German and American departments of Helgstrand and will now be the daily manager of Helgstrand Germany, where his wife Eva as well will be employed full time as a rider.
- The fact that Helgstrand Dressage now has acquired Gestüt Famos is strategically a good decision, as the location of the place is very attractive. Right in between Hannover, Oldenburg and Westfalen, which are the three biggest breeding associations. The place is the best foundation for running a solid sales stable, as we can now welcome clients here as well, and not only in Northern Jutland. At the same time, it is not further away from the Headquarters, that by special wishes from clients, we can transport the horses from there to the department in Germany, Ulf Möller states and continues: we are additionally very pleased with the possibility to control and further develop the place as we wish to, and in line with the established Helgstrand concept.
- It is an amazing opportunity and challenge for my family, and I am pleased that Andreas and Waterland Private Equity are trusting us with this decision. It will be very exciting coming along on the journey of building Helgstrand Germany with a sales stable and a stallion station. Moreover, I am looking forward to ascribing all my time to Helgstrand Dressage, as I think the last 4 years has been an absolute pleasure. The future looks bright and brings a lot of challenges, but we are very excited to see where it takes us, Eva Möller narrates.
Picture: Indoor arena at Gestüt Famos.
Picture: One of the stable areas. There is room for 45 horses.
Picture: The house, where Eva and Ulf Möller are going to live, only a few metres from the stable area and indoor arena.