PEDIGREE STORY is a series produced by Adriana Van Tilburg for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
The dam line of United Touch S is based on the memorable Olympic winner Classic Touch (Caletto II – Sevada x Landgraf I, Stamm 4025, breeder: Hans-Werner Ritters).
Ridden by Ludger Beerbaum, the daughter of Caletto II won a gold medal in Barcelona in 1992, which brought Beerbaum his only individual Olympic gold medal.
There are two breeders that play an important part in the story of United Touch S. First, the van der Vorn family, who bred Touch of Class and who owned Cantate Touch. Secondly, the breeder of United Touch S, who made the combination between the half-brother and sister that led to United Touch S.
The van der Vorm Family – De Margaretha Hoeve
Cantate Touch—the first foal of Classic Touch—was sold through Joop Aaldering to the van der Vorm family in the Netherlands, who owned de Margaretha Hoeve. Annemiek van der Vorm says on behalf of her family:
“Classic Touch had just become German champion, which my family already thought was a great horse. We heard from Mr Aaldering that she had a daughter by Capitol I: Cantate Touch. We were always Holstein-oriented, my father invested in good mares at the time and bought her then. She was a fantastic mare.
“Over the years, we became owners of Lux Z and my family thought this was a perfect match for Cantate Touch. Lux Z had a lot of scope, length, power and was hugely flexible. According to them, this was the perfect stallion for a super careful mare like Cantate Touch.
“I think we, especially my parents and brothers, have bred some fine horses for several people at Margaretha Hoeve with about 60 foals every year. Of course, we are super proud of United Touch S.”
Cantate Touch jumped at 1.60m with Ben Schröder, who rode for the van der Vorm family at that time. The partnership won Nations Cups and, amongst others, the Grand Prix in Modena in Italy.
Julius Peter Sinnack
Julius Peter Sinnack, who was awarded the Breeder of the Year Prize in 2015 in Westphalia, tried to buy the mare Cantate Touch from the Margaretha Hoeve for many years having seen her success in the ring.
Sinnack did not give up and in 2003, he was able to purchase a filly by Lux Z out of Cantate Touch. Sinnack baptised this promising filly Touch of Class.
Sinnack recalls: “I always wanted to have something out of the line of Classic Touch. In the nineties Classic Touch was THE horse that made everybody’s heart beat faster. I saw her after her Olympic victory in the stable with Ludger Beerbaum. She impressed me very much! I asked my good friend Joop Aaldering, who has a lot of connections, if he could help me in finding an offspring from this line because he purchased Cantate Touch from Hans Werner Ritters and sold her to family van der Vorm originally.
“Cantate Touch was active as a broodmare after her sports career. I tried to buy Cantate Touch but she was so expensive that I didn’t purchase her at first. In 2003, she had a filly by Lux Z, which I was interested in, and purchased.
“I still remember when she arrived here at my farm—I am a quite emotional breeder—but when she stepped out of the trailer I thought, here comes Classic Touch, that was quite an emotional moment.
“At that point in time, I couldn’t know how she would be as a broodmare. I let her do some loose jumping as a yearling and that was not good at all, I was quite disappointed. I covered her as a two-year-old and flushed an embryo. I didn’t wanted her to carry her own foal at such young age. That embryo became a colt by Diamant de Semilly, Deauville S, who later turned out to be her first offspring with top-level victories—he had many top placings with Laura Kraut, both in Nation Cups and 1m60 Grand Prix like in St. Moritz.
“I used Diamant de Semilly because Touch of Class was a very blood typed mare and built slightly downhill, so I really thought she could work with Diamant de Semilly and it did. I used him later again for Touch of Class.
“It takes me weeks and sometimes months to figure out the right crosses for the mares. After Diamant de Semilly, I used Canturo for Touch of Class, this filly turned out to be Zypria S who jumped at 1.70m with Willem Greve. They were part of the Dutch Olympic team in Tokyo in 2021 and part of the winning Dutch team for the Nations Cup Final in 2019.
“Canturo gave many traits like scope and a good technique to Zypria S. She was maybe a bit tight in her body, and that sometimes gave her difficulties, but she made it up with her good traits.
“At the moment I finished the embryo transfer of the embryo that became Deauville S, I could purchase Cantate Touch. I bred Cantate Touch then with the stallion Con Cento S (Cento x Polydor). This colt, Con Touch S, was jumped at international level with Laura Kraut and Simone Blum, reaching1.60m with Blum.
“After Con Cento S, I used the Hors la Loi II son, Untouchable, for Cantate Touch. This colt became the stallion Untouched—the father of United Touch S. He was a spectacular jumper as a young horse and was sold to an owner of Nick Skelton, who was the first to have international success with Untouched.
“Later Ben Maher competed with him, but Untouched passed away too soon. I am sure he would have achieved some incredible things in the sport.”
United Touch S
Sinnack recalls: “The fourth foal of Touch of Class was United Touch S by Untouched. This was a big risk. A breeder’s experience that could have gone completely wrong. That was very risky, but there was never a moment that I had doubts.
“United Touch S was very pretty as a foal and could move well. When United Touch S was born I said right away on the first day, that this colt will breed the filly that was born on the same day. It also happened like this afterwards.
“I already had in mind that United Touch S could become an approved stallion. United Touch S could have been registered as a Holsteiner horse, but the Holsteiner Verband didn’t accepted his father as a stallion, they did not approve him when he was presented. So United Touch S became a Westphalian registered foal. He is actually completely Holsteiner bred with connecting French blood.
“At the time I used Untouched as he already showed promising things as a sport horse. That also convinced me for a part to use him, because of the way how he used his body. I wanted to consolidate those traits. I also wanted to have a lot from Classic Touch back in the line.
“Again it also could have worked completely different if the foal wasn’t sound, or he ended up with negative traits. Inbreeding is there for that you consolidate certain traits, that is the goal behind inbreeding. I really thought it could work between Touch of Class and Untouched. The combination should work, also based on the conformation of both.
“In the end, United Touch S turned out to be good. I know it was a risk to make this cross.
“As a young horse he had a good way of jumping. I always thought positively about him. I remember that when he was two and was in the field with other young colts, we had there an open stable and during the winter they were in that stable. I have spent so many evenings sitting before that stable and observing him.
“He just had something special and I also looked closely because he was inbred. I could never discover something negative about him and I really observed him for many hours.
“He was ridden by Hendrik Dove as a four-year-old. I take lot of my young horses to him. He was already very enthusiastic about United Touch S—about his rideability and the handling, he was a very easy stallion. At my stable I have stallions, geldings and mares and that didn’t bother him.
“As a young horse he had a fantastic jumping technique, however scope was difficult to judge at that age. As a four and five-year-old he covered at Stud Schuld. He was second as a five-year-old jumping horse at the Westphalian championships. Three weeks later he was second again, this time at the Bundeschampionat.
“After the Bundeschampionat (young horse championships in Germany) he went to Willem Greve who gave him an outstanding education. I also wanted to ensure that he would cover mares in the Netherlands and therefore the semen was sold through Willem’s father, Jan Greve. He also had his half-sister, Zypria S, in his stable and with her he was in the national show jumping team.
“After Willem Greve, United Touch S went to Bart Bles. He was a nice combination with United Touch S but through certain circumstances he couldn’t really compete him in many classes and in the end I had to take him away.
“I got in touch with Sophie Hinners at a show at Holger Hetzels place and I talked about United Touch S with her. We agreed that I would stop by with him so that she could try him. Sophie thought he might be too strong for her but Richard (Vogel) would like to ride him.
“That was 10 days before the Bundeschampionate, but he called me to see if I had anything against United Touch S starting there in the class for the eight year and older horses. I was a bit surprised because every breeder would watch him very closely. I thought if that would go wrong everybody would laugh at me. The first day he had two down and he didn’t jump very well, but the second day they won the class.
“I am happy and also a bit proud that it worked out so well with United Touch S in the end. Again I have to say that it was a risk, it could have gone wrong. It was not easy to make this decision but because it worked out well, that makes me happy.
“In breeding you sometimes have to try things. For me, it can mean making progress in breeding. Sometimes you have to take risks.
“Breeding also has lot to do with luck. You have to be lucky for your horses to find the right rider. Plus, I was lucky that I could breed with a dam line like Stamm 4025. If we go back a few generations we can see that Feldtor was already a mare with an outstanding willingness to work. Every time a farmer wanted to buy a tractor she was sold to the next farmer because they all wanted her.
“This characteristic is still in the line today, that these horses want to work.”