Within a time frame of just six inspection seasons Norbert 444 (Tsjerk 328) has managed to collect so many points that he could be declared Preferent this early January. In doing so he treads in the footprints of Beart 411 who also pocketed Preferent status at the age of fourteen, at that time being the youngest stallion ever to pull this off. So this is quite an unprecedented success for the stallion who came very close to a premature departure from the Central Examination in 2008.
The successful Van der Zee breeding programme kicks off in 1988 with the purchase of the then 6-year-old Star mare Cevia (Peke 268) from pedigree 25. ‘With the first foal we bred from Cevia we instantly hit the jackpot: Sonjaa Model Preferent (Hearke 254).’ Three years later the same combination brought Amalia-Annie Model Preferent, who we know to be Norbert 444’s dam. At the 1996 Central Inspection Sonjaa and Amalia-Annie both received the Model predicate and Amalia-Annie also scored the Title for Overall Champion. In that same year she realised top scores in her IBOP: an 8 for walk, an 8½ for trot and a total score of 88 points. In many respects Amalia-Annie resembled her sire, the Preferent Hearke 254.
In 2003 Van der Zee opted to pair Amalia-Annie to Tsjerk 328 (Feitse 293). ‘Earlier on we had tried Tsjerk 328 on three of our mares, but without success. So I had ruled him out for further stud services, but when I studied his list of strong and weak points he seemed the perfect match for Amalia. So we used him anyhow and we all know the result: Norbert 444.
Amalia-Annie has been inspected seven times and as many times received a first premium. In spite of emergency aid by Paardenkliniek Emmeloord (Equine clinic, ed.), Amalia-Annie died at the young age of thirteen when pregnant with her eighth foal. Three years later Norbert 444 gave her posthumous Preferent status.
Very nearly rejected
During the Central Examination Norbert 444 came very close to a completely different result because during those last weeks of the test he wasn’t his usual self. ‘When he was due for his in-harness training after the saddle exam (76,5 points) he did absolutely nothing’, Van der Zee tells us. The vets diagnosed him with flu and he was given a week’s rest. After that his training re-continued but at the time of the final exam he was again out of sorts.
‘In consultation with the KFPS it was decided to let Norbert 444 go ahead anyway and he moved like the gods, scoring 85 points for the show driving test and 80½ for the driving test.’
Norbert 444 has built a phenomenal track record. In ten seasons he has serviced 1,485 mares with results so far standing at: a Star percentage of a whopping 65,2%, 7 Model mares, 29 Crown mares and five approved sons. ‘Norbert 444 is very clearly leaving his mark on exterior, most prominently on type’, KFPS Inspector Harrie Draaijer says.
The top list of 121 mares with breeding values of 105 or higher for exterior as well as sport aptitude boasts eleven Norbert 444 offspring. The top list of 106 mares with breeding values of minimum 107 just for exterior, sports 41 Norbert 444 daughters. His daughters Janneke B. Crown (in 2013 and 2014), Pleun van ’t Lansink Crown (in 2016) and Elza Maaike van de Noeste Hoeve Model (in 2017) managed to secure the Overall Champion Title of the Central Inspection.
Off to America
At the Stallion Inspection Norbert 444 became Reserve Overall Champion in 2010 and in 2012, 2013 and 2014 he won the Overall Champion Title. In addition to these achievements he was also announced KFPS Horse of the Year 2013. In 2015 Van der Zee made the decision to sell his pride and joy. ‘I had always claimed that if Norbert 444 came up for sale he would have to go to America. His demand in stud services dropped a bit and he, sort of, became his own competitor. That was when Pam and Matt Gish from Signature Friesians came forward.’ Norbert 444’s imminent departure from the Netherlands was announced during the 2016 Stallion Inspection. By now his star shines like no other in America too.
As posted in the April KFPS Newsletter
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