There is probably no breeder’s name better known around the world on the eventing scene than that of Friedrich (Fritz) Butt. Riders and breeders from all equestrian disciplines pay tribute to the breeding performance of a man who, especially in the beginning, did not receive much acclaim for his idea. Ever since the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, when two of the successful gold medal-winning teams‘ horses bore the ‚Butt‘ prefix, these four memorable letters have been considered a trademark.
Following Euroridings Butt’s Leon and Butt’s Abraxxas, who both contributed greatly to the victory in the Olympic team classification, the next generation of ‚Butt horses‘ are gaining international success; in particular Butt’s Avedon, who became the 2010 Vice World Champion of 7-year old eventing horses. But there were sporting successes, which are the ultimate measure of a sporting horse breeder’s prowess, before this. In 1997, Andora by Kronenkranich xx, dam of Wiesenbaum xx, ridden by Andreas Dibowski came in 11th in the European Championships in Burghley, United Kingdom. She was to become one of Fritz Butt’s key breeding mares.
‚If you always do the usual thing, you will never achieve unusual success!‘ This or similar is what Fritz Butt’s breeding work boils down to. Fritz Butt went his own way and initially only bred horses for himself, with which he was champing at the bit to win the annual Duhner Watt race. The breeding breakthrough came when he got to know the then still relatively unknown Andreas Dibowski, now an internationally highly acclaimed event rider. The Hanoverian breed owes a lot to Franz Butt’s obstinacy, which started it all.
Fritz Butt had his own ideas and eventing firmly in his sights. ‚Blood to blood‘ was his motto and he implemented it consistently, even though it should have been ‚thoroughbred to Hanoverian half-blood‘ at the start: high-blood mares that he had personally put to the test in the sport, were paired with talented jumping thoroughbreds who were to pass on their quality. Kronenkranich xx (sire of Andora), Gernegroß xx (sire of Amadeus), Star Regent xx and of course Heraldik xx are the most famous stallions of the Butt pedigree. This formula was intended to breed extremely high-performing horses with great jumping abilities. They were to be horses that could also keep up with the previously unmatched English and Irish eventing horses in the field. As well as his persistence in implementing his philosophy, Fritz Butt had an extraordinary hand in choosing his mares. In this area, Fritz Butt was led exclusively by his own feelings. He wanted to be able to personally feel the performance. So he got into the saddle of his own horses for half-blood races or eventing tests and looked back on a career as an active rider that lasted more than 50 years.
Fritz Butt saw Euroridings Butt’s Leon as his greatest breeding success. He had achieved his breeding goal with this world-class eventing horse. Unfortunately, he did not witness the very great successes of this exceptional horse himself.
Today, too, breeding horses for eventing is associated with high economic risks. Eventing horses have to be all-rounders and such horses are difficult to breed. Breeding eventing horses requires the breeder to undergo many hardships, many unsuccessful years and to have a very high level of passion. Fritz Butt had this passion. Success vindicated him and the world of eventing bows before this great breeder who departed this life far too soon.