The immortal Almé – an adventure story with a happy ending….

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1966 – 1991, 165 cm Bay

Served France 1971-74; Zangersheide 1975-85, France 1986-1991

Breeder – Alphonse Chauvin

Almé, a French showjumping stallion, was a significant figure in the sport. Born in 1966, he served in France from 1971-74 and Zangersheide from 1975-85. His most influential son, Almé, was born out of a mare by Almé’s grandson, Baloubet de Rouet. Almé continues to influence showjumping at the highest level, with the most successful sire at the Tokyo Games being Chacco-Blue. Almé’s grandson, Baloubet de Rouet, is the most successful representative, with his mare, Girondine, being a mare of Almé breeding. Almé was responsible for 17 of the top 75 jumping stallions in the world, including Quidam de Revel, Nabab de Rêve, and Guidam. In Germany and The Netherlands, Almé’s grandson, Acord II, was ranked 13th with 16 winners, while his son, Animo, was 19th with 12 winners and 64th with 5 winners.

Bernard, a leading breeder of jumping horses, is proud of the Almé legacy. He was the one who rescued the great stallion from Belgian breeder Léon Melchior in 1975. Melchior had nothing to do with his breeding, but he was already an established sire in France when Melchior acquired Almé in 1975. French breeders and riders became aware of the enormous loss represented by Almé’s exportation, but few were prepared to go abroad to have their mares covered. In 1991, some made the effort, and thanks to them, several five and six-year-olds in competition were created. Almé had been operated on for an inguinal hernia and in 1984 became mon-orchid. The Dutch then sold him and he returned to Belgium.

An offer was made by the UNIC on behalf of the National Stud Farms, with an offer of F350,000 for the best stallion in the World. Bernard, the Chief Editor of the magazine L’Eperon, went to Belgium to see Almé and discovered that two offers had been made for him, not from France but by Americans and Venezuelans. The idea became a target and obsession for Bernard, who decided to use the same principle to save their genetic heritage and bring back Almé to French Breeders. Negotiations were long and difficult, and Bernard was left with three points to argue with: French breeding, international commerce, and the financial structure that was to repatriate Almé. After nine months of negotiations, Bernard left Fontainebleau with his contract signed.

Bernard le Courtois, a stallion breeder, faced the challenge of bringing Almé back to France after his unhoped-for comeback at the Dinard European Championship. Despite facing criticism from authorities in the horse world, Almé’s presentation and charisma attracted thousands of spectators. Shares in Almé were successful, with 70-80 shares available for sale at F20,000. In just a few weeks, almost 400 requests were received to buy shares, and the owner decided to move to Normandy and set up as a stallion breeder.

During 1986-87, Almé’s fresh sperm was used for artificial insemination, covering 100 mares per season. In 1988-89, he limited Almé to 80 mares and in 1990 to 60 due to his age and health. Out of the 420 mares covered during five years, many products were exported, and roughly 20% gave birth abroad. Almé foals are not precocious and need to be patiently conserved.

Almé retired in August 1990, and it was satisfying to see him finish his days with him at the Brullemail stud farm. He was once named the “Golden Goose” by a journalist and was once named the “Golden Goose” by a journalist.

At the 2023 KWPN stallion show in s’Hertogenbosch, a new face in the sire’s lineup was the seven-year-old 1.40m jumper, La Costa. La Costa ES presented five at the pre-selection, with four getting the nod for the second round. All four are owned by La Costa’s breeder Egbert Schep, who had a total of nine colts qualified for den Bosch.

La Costa is by Mosito van het Hellehof, by the Diamant de Sémilly son, Elvis ter Putte, out of Ukas ter Putte by Darco out of a Quidam de Revel mare. Mosito is out of a Nabab de Rêve mare, out of a mare by Gratanus (Grannus / Pilot). The Sporthorse breeding world has many reasons to thank Bernard le Courtois for saving the great stallion and bringing him back to France.

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