Distelfink - NZ's best ever showjumping sire

1978 Chestnut Licensed Hanoverian stallion


DISTELFINK had been NZ's leading showjumping sire for over 14 years since computer records started in 1995. Bred by Hennig Bartels of Braunschweig,  Germany, DISTELFINK was licensed as a Hanoverian breeding stallion prior to importing into New Zealand in 1982.

A legend! Founding sire of LONGSPRING Sport Horses, DISTELFINK has earned a place in the NZ record books for producing winning horses, champions in all disciplines and export sales. We estimate that at least 150+ youngsters of his competed at some stage in equestrian sport - vitually all of them winners. 37% of these youngsters eventually sold overseas - particularly in the later years when they were snapped up before they finished their first year in the show ring.  

DISTELFINK produced Horse of the Year Winners, Young Rider of the Year, Show Hunter of the Year and national champions in dressage and eventing. He was 3rd on the WBCSH/FEI sires list for event horses in 1997/98 season. All this success has been achieved with very low number of foals per year (less than 10 a year after his first 4 or 5 seasons) as is typical for New Zealand.    

Overall Distelfink's most famous showjumping offspring was SUPER MOTH with Olympic rider John Cottle.  He won 75 classes   including 44 at Grand Prix level. Super Moth once won 10 Grand Prix in a row. He won over $92,000 (multiply that by about 10 to get   a feel for an American or European $ value!) and was NZ Showjumper of the Year 4 years in a row. He was also Horse of the Year   in 1998, National Champion in 1999 and won the NZ North Island Championship twice. Super Moth also won the Bell Tea GP at the Horse of the Year twice, the Norwood Gold Cup and the Wanganui Class twice in a row   as well as the Auckland Easter Classic three times in succession.

Super Moth and John Cottle are ranked third in the World Standing for the most World Cup wins on the same horse. Sold to the USA, SUPER MOTH won a Denver Grand Prix before a tragic accident meant he had to be put down.

In 2009, John Cottle and his wife Jackie have donated a trophy to be known as the Super Moth Cup for the winner of the Young Rider Class at the Horse of the Year Show – such is the esteem in which this horse is known.

DISTELFINK's other top jumper was DUTY FREE who with rider Maurice Beatson won over 62 classes and more than $72,000. His wins included 7 World Cup qualifiers - one of which was in Australia while competing on the NZ Showjumping Team with 2 other Distelfink's SUPER MOTH and with FALCON as an individual.      

In showhunters and equitation, one of DISTELFINK's most famous offspring was FALCON with 22 wins in showjumping including 2 World Cup Rounds and Showhunter of the Year 1993 and the Norwood Gold Cup 1995 & 1999. The pair competed in Europe where they had a high enough placing in an international class to earn NZ a place at the Barcelona Olympics - although sadly it was not FALCON that ended up going.    

DEALER LS, a full brother to DENVER LS was a top speed horse with rider Anna Stephen and won the Speed Horse of the Year Title at the Horse of the Year Show.  DIOMEDES LS was a top jumper with Philip Steiner before sale to Australia. 

Other top jumpers by Distelfink that were bred by clients of Longspring include SKY LARK who won 3 World Cup rounds in a row with Katie McVean before being sold to the UK where he won a Puissance class for a young rider; MR MAGIC who won the Speed Championship at the HOY; HUGO who won the Young Rider Championship at the Horse of the Year and BLONDINI who was a top young rider horse as well and is now at stud.

Also on the horizon is DAYLIGHT LS who won the 2006 Show Jumper Development Equitation Championship at the Horse of the Year and DARK MAGIC LS winning Young Rider classes with Helen Bruce.

Falcon's success in showhunters has been eclipsed by the exciting new talent DOUBLE O EIGHT who was Showhunter of the Year in 2004, 2005, 2006 and recently 2007. In 2006 he also won the Junior Show Hunter of the Year. 

Another top showhunter from the past was the mare DIVERSITY who won 57 showhunter competitions before she retired to stud.  One of her foals is ?? by frozen semen sire INDOCTRO who is jumping with Katie McVean and showing tremendous potential.


In eventing, DISTELFINK sired GV BRAVEHEART who with rider Olivia Bunn was 7th in the individual in the 1998 World   Equestrian Games. He also sired DENVER LS who won over $25,000 with Catriona McLeod. He was on the NZ Eventing team to   Australia in 1994 and won the Wandin Park ODE and was 2nd in the Werribee International 3DE***, and had 3 placings in NZ's CCI   *** events. Denver was shortlisted for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and ranked in the top 30 of the Worlds top event horses in the  World Breeding Championships. Currently carrying on the Distelfink success in eventing is Dark Magic LS with Helen Bruce who was named on the Young Rider Team for Australia in the Trans Tasman Teams competition which NZ won! (See article under NEWS).    


In dressage, the Distelfink's were actually quite talented but with Longspring's obvious bias towards jumpers, not many got through  to the dressage ring. But those who did included ST JAMES (Australia), DISPATCH, DREIK and CLEO.    

Distelfink Grandchildren

The next generation of progeny (the grandchildren) are also showing high levels of talent - take for example JEDI WARRIOR (by Wishing Well out of DISTANCE LS by DISTELFINK) who is won the 6 Year Old Showjumping Series and is now jumping at Grand Prix level for rider/owner Maurice Beatson.    A full list of progeny with pedigrees (where available) can be seen under the OUR HORSES area of this website.

Distelfink died in March 2004 and his last foals included OSCAR WILDE with Katherine van Tuyl who is doing some eventing but may be directed into more showjumping with his fabulous big jump. Also one of his last foals is the black stallion Darkminster that unfortunately for his breeder/owner Maurice Beatson injured a foot and has not come sound yet - but he is available for stud duties at Longspring Stud.

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