The Equestrian Empire of Paul Schockemöhle

The name Paul Schockemöhle is a direct synonym for quality in the sporting equestrian world. This German, an outstanding sportsman, has managed to establish a true empire around riding horses. His registered trademark P.S manages the complete cycle integrating the breeding and mating activities by selected stallions; the breeding, training, competition and marketing of sport horses; and even advice on sports management programs for international riders and teams and the organization of competitions and other equestrian events. Schockemöhle has recently been known for buying Totilas, the best dressage horse in history, winner of 3 gold medals at the 2010 Kentucky World Equestrian Games and until recently a world dressage record holder. Although the sale price of the Dutch horse remains a mystery, it is estimated that it was between 9.5 and 15 million euros (Eurodressage, 2010)

Before becoming a businessman, Paul Schockemöhle stood out as a consecrated athlete in the discipline of equestrian jumping. With his legendary horse Deister, he won the European Show Jumping Championships three consecutive times in 1981, 1983 and 1985 - a record still undefeated - and helped Germany win the silver medal for teams at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and the bronze medal for teams at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics (Paul Schockemöhle). Simultaneously, in 1974 Schockemöhle started breeding horses on his parents' farm in Mühlen with just 15 mares (The Horse Magazine). Although at first he specialized in show horses, the discovery of the sensational stallion Sandro Hit, who would later become his famous stallion, led him to expand his market towards dressage horses.

Today, Paul Schockemöhle's breeding business has grown to impressive proportions. With the opening of the German border, Schockemöhle bought a farm in northeast Germany where he established the Lewitz Stud - the largest in the world today. On this 3,000-hectare estate, the facilities, which include extensive paddocks, comfortable stables and a first-rate veterinary clinic, are designed to serve the more than 4,000 horses that the stud farm houses. The Yeguada operates with 200 employees and 14 are veterinarians who work hard to care for the more than 700 foals that are born each year (Gestüt Lewitz). The horses have been open for sale since they are a year and a half and prices range from $ 15,000 euros onwards, depending on the age, level of training and conditions of each horse. 90% of the horses at the stud farm are sold to foreign clients (International Trade News). The most important markets are the United States and Europe, but the Asian market of China, Japan and Korea as well as the Arab countries and Mexico are attractive and growing markets. Schockemöhle has gone further and has even established and presides over his own studbook or genealogical register. The Springpferdezuchtverband Oldenburg-International (OS) is a stud book of Oldenburg breed showjumping horses that, with just 18 years of operation, is the fourth largest in Germany and has already produced Grand Prix level horses.

The best horses that Schockemöhle produces are auctioned in the two auctions it organizes per year. The first is the Performance Sales International (P.S.I) auction that has been held in partnership with Ulrich Kasselman for the past 30 years at the Ankum Equestrian Center. The idea of ​​the auction arose to supply the shortage of high-level sports horses in the United States, so the first versions occurred in the United States. However, other European countries expressed the same need so the auction was moved again to Germany. Due to the difficulty of finding a considerable number of Grand Prix horses for show jumping and dressage disciplines, today the auction focuses on young horses of exceptional condition and with a promising future. In last year's version, the 26 horses were auctioned for a total of $ 8,682,000 euros, for an average per horse of $ 333,923 euros, with the SPH Dante gelding being the most expensive in the auction with a price of $ 2,800,000 euros ( Eurodressage, 2014). The second auction is the Ankumer Open Sales (A.O.S) which takes place each year at the Ankum Equestrian Center and features a variety of horses for all kinds of expectations, purposes and financial capabilities. For this reason, not only sports horses are auctioned, but also selected foals from German breeders, approved and in-approval stallions and even broodmares. However, in this auction high prices are also reached, such as the $ 220,000 euros for the 2-year-old Brilliant stallion or the $ 70,000 euros that were paid for the 6-month-old Greyhall foal during the 2014 version (Eurodressage, 2014).

Pero el negocio no termina ahí. En la antigua finca de sus padres en Mühlen, Schockemöhle tiene funcionando simultáneamente una estación de monta reproductiva y un centro de entrenamiento ecuestre. El complejo cuenta con 700 pesebreras donde se mantienen los sementales de la estación de monta, caballos propios del criadero que se encuentran en un riguroso proceso de entrenamiento destinados a la competición semanal o a las ventas, caballos visitantes en temporadas de concurso e instrucción y yeguas que ingresan y salen para ser inseminadas por los diferentes sementales con los que cuenta la estación (Cavalcup). Otras facilidades incluyen 5 pistas cubiertas y 3 pistas descubiertas que dan suficiente capacidad y adecuado entrenamiento a todos los equinos y un total de 10 cintas caminadoras de entrenamiento y 2 caminadores circulares para el acondicionamiento físico de los caballos.

The breeding season is authorized by the European Union and includes 42 stallions that are active for the collection of fresh semen throughout the year, depending on the demand. The collected semen is later used for immediate insemination, shipments by national and international mail or to be frozen. The veterinary team works together and in coordination to achieve the goal of checking up to 100 mares in one day in the months of May and June, inseminating around 25 at the peak of the season and finally ending up with around 10 mares scheduled to be inseminated with frozen semen (Cavalcup). It is important to highlight the presence and work of the group of Colombians who are in charge of the veterinary team of the Mühlen block in this process of artificial insemination. They are the veterinarians Sergio Botta, Janine Wernli and Isabel Gómez. It is estimated that each stallion covers around 6,000 mares per year (Rider and Horse, 2014) with the Schockemöhle riding station responsible for at least 20% of German sport mares annually (Cavalcup). On average, the price of the straw for one of his 42 stallions is around $ 1,800 euros and the most expensive semen is by far Totilas's, which costs $ 8,000 euros - $ 4,000 euros for the straw and $ 4,000 euros once confirm the pregnancy- (Jinete y Caballo, 2014). It is also estimated that in total, the reproductive chapter of Paul Schockemöhle's company has a turnover of between six and seven million euros per year. In this way, only through the sale of straws from their horses, Schockemöhle generates almost half of the 16 million euros it costs to maintain their stables, where about 350 people work

The equestrian training center constantly maintains around 250 horses in competition and for sale (Paul Schockemöhle). It also offers long-term coaching and training programs for riders and teams who have expectations of participating in international championships. The wisdom and worldwide recognition of German has allowed him to train and train other figures of world horsemanship such as the German rider Ludger Beerbaum, winner of 4 Olympic golds, the three-time World Cup champion Meredith Michaels Beerbaum, and the Olympic jumping team of Saudi Arabia that for the first time in its history managed to bring 2 riders to the final of the show jumping competition in Atlanta 1996 (Paul Scockemöhle). As if that were not enough, Schockemöhle also organizes and manages some of the most important international competitions such as the German Classics in Hannover, the CSI-W in Leipzig, CSI München or the Hamburg Derby (Paul Scockemöhle).

The equestrian empire established by Paul Schockemöhle is truly amazing. He has not only been able to expand his operations to impressive dimensions but is also present throughout the equestrian sport value chain, offering products and services of the highest quality. Replicating or trying to establish a similar business model in South America is practically impossible, starting with the simple fact that in the South American continent there is no equestrian hobby that can support an operation of such magnitude nor the purchasing power that supports it. However, breeders are already beginning to be established that have been improving the genetics of the sport horse, precisely by importing European blood of the best quality.

Credits: Universidad de Los Andes

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