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Bred by Michael Harris in Devon
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World Champion Rumak

20 years of knowing Rumak (photo of him in his 20's)

By Michael Harris

Rumak was bred at the famous stud of Eric Sorensen, at Blommerod in Sweden. His mother was the beautiful Excelsior daughter Rucasja, and his father the Polish National Champion Partner. He inherits the swan like neck of his mother and the strong, level croup and quarters of his father. He is one of those rare horses who combines a generous, elegant front with powerful quarters and always carries his tail.

I first saw Rumak in 1987 at Holger Ismer's stud in West Germany. He was four years old and in quite light condition. He had energy, style and stance. He had height and scope, with a low centre of gravity: a rare combination. I didn't see him move at the time, but instinctively knew that he would. He is the only horse I have seen of whom I could say "This horse could be World Champion". And he did become just that.

Madge trotting

Madge by Rumak ex Marie Antoinette by Madour

madge stood

Lady Jane Grey by Rumak ex Lily Of The Valley

I negotiated terms to lease Rumak from Holger for two months and from that season ten foals were produced, two of which were fillies: Anastasja, who was virtually unbeaten in the show ring, and Lady Jane Grey, who won the mare class at the National show three times and was reserve British National Champion.

Anastasja by Rumak ex Orange Blossom

Rumak returned to us for a further season in 1988 when he was shown very successfully, winning almost every stallion class in which he entered, culminating in the Supreme Championship at Haydock Park at the end of the season. He then returned to Germany where he was bought by Paolo Gucci, who always had an eye for a champion. Paolo showed Rumak extensively in Europe, ending his show career by winning the World Championship in Paris in 1991. He was shown by Emma Maxwell, who commented on many occasions that Rumak was one of the best horses she ever shown: he could maintain energy and posture for longer and with more presence than any other stallion in the ring. Having ridden Rumak in his later years, I can say that he is one of the most beautiful horses I have ever ridden, both in looks and the way in which he moves under you.

On Paolo's death I borrowed Rumak for a season with a view to covering mares, but found him to be infertile. In the dispersal sale of the stud I bought him in the hope that his fertility might return. Fortunately, with alternative medicine, the help of Suyen Talken-Sinclair and a quiet lifestyle living with a mare, we have restored his fertility; so far breeding 22 foals by him.

As a sire Rumak has passed on his outstanding qualities many times. With four of our homebred mares he won the Sire Produce Group at the National Show, he sired the race winner Astal Wind, who won by 20 lengths and has produced us some of the most beautiful mares at the stud today.

Now in his 25th year and with as big a personality as ever, Rumak continues to display all the excellence of his blue-blooded Polish ancestors. He lives with one of my older mares and on many occasions I have led him in one hand and his wife in the other. Rumak is one of the greatest horses of my life and I feel very privileged that I was in the right place at the right time to include him as part of my stud and enjoy his presence at Combe Farm.

Rose Bay Willow by Rumak ex Polly Marie

Sarazenaa by Rumak ex Shalia

Photographs © Ella Galinski

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