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A rose like no other: Bella Rose

The Westfalian family of Heinrich and Wilhelm and Heike Strunk are the proud breeders of Bella Rose (Belissimo M - Cedra II x Cacir AA), who has achieved incredible success with the queen of dressage, Isabell Werth.  

Bella Rose (WESTF) ridden by Isabell Werth ot 1st place on the world ranking.
d. 07-11-2019 - 11:49

Written by Claartje van Andel

The founding mare of the Strunk brothers’ successful line is Pik Dame (Pilatus - Astrid x Allerhand), and Wilhelm and his wife, Heike, will be delighted to receive the breeding award in Lyon for Bella Rose. Certainly, the mare is one of a kind, but also only one of an amazing group of successful horses bred by the Strunk brothers. 

Heike Strunk remembers the choice of stallion Bellissimo NRW (Beltain x Romadour II) very well. “The moment I saw him as a young stallion at an auction, it was love at first sight. An amazing stallion who combines all the desired qualities you can think of, so we paired our best mares with him. And believe it or not, in the year Belissimo’s offspring became three, we celebrated two of his approved sons: Bravissimo (out of Lady Sinclair x Lord Sinclair I x Davignon I), and Belamour (out of La Rose x Lord Sinclair I x Pit I), alongside Bella Rose – a great-granddaughter of Frühlingsball. She became a state premium mare – you hardly dare to dream about success like this. Because of our ages, we slew down our breeding activities, in 2011. However, it’s strange to say our successes are difficult to count. It’s too much.”

Heike Strunk explained that she has been occupied with breeding for over 30 years, while her husband and brother-in-law, Heinrich, have been breeding for 51 years already. “And, still, watching the horses yourself and estimating their quality is the most important part of the process,” she said by telephone during the Hanoverian stallion show.

Systematic performance breeding 

Looking at the pedigree of Bella Rose, her look behind the pedigree of Bella Rose, her sire is the result of systematic performance breeding. His sire, Beltain (Bolero) comes from one of the most successful mare families in Hannover. Beltain’s mother, meanwhile, is a full sister to the Celle State Stud sires Garibaldi I and II (1971. 1974: Grande - Marbel x Marcio xx), and is the grandmother of Wolkenstein I, II, and III (1989, 1990, 1995: Weltmeyer - Wolke x Wendekreis), as well as Grand Prix dressage horse Little Big Man (Lauries Crusador xx). The Celle State Stud sires Brentano I and II (1980, 1983: Bolero - Glocke x Grande) also belong to this highly successful mare line. 

Damsire Romadour II (1969: Romulus I - Gunda x   Grünfink) brought the unforgettable Rembrandt under the saddle of Nicole Uphoff (the most successful dressage horse of his time), but also grounded the ‘R’ line with Rosenkavalier and Rubinstein – one of the most valuable bloodlines in global dressage horse breeding. 

Heike Strunk counts no fewer than 16 approved stallions born at their place in Bochum, Germany, all grounded on Pik Dame, bought by the Strunk brothers in the early 1970s from Heinrich Schulte from Dortmund. In 1974 Pik Dame became a state premium mare, and from ‘States premium mare”. She produced the Frühlingsball son Feiner Kerl, who became an international top-class showjumper with both Austrian Thomas Frühmann and Britain’s Nick Skelton.

Nowadays Heike Strunk is unable to count all the state premium mares and international showjumpers that came from their breeding. They are, of course, delighted with the skill and patience of Isabell Werth who is showing the qualities of Bella Rose like no other.