Fabricius, top-sire in harness horse breeding

Fabricius as a 3-year-old. ©De Paardenkrant

Fabricius as a 3-year-old. ©De Paardenkrant

In 1989, the public was introduced to the KWPN harness horse stallion Fabricius. That was in the class for two year old colts at the fifth anniversary of the National Harness Day, which was won by the son of Renovo. Nowadays the impact of this stallion -whose name means ‘masterly’- in the breeding of harness horses is unmistakable.

The class for two year old colts was and still is a preview of what will be presented at the stallion show. No less than 72 young stallions were presented in the year 1989. The Association of KWPN breeders and users of the Harness horse, who initiated the National Harness Day, wanted to promote the rearing of young stallions and gave each contributor a fee of one hundred guilders, about 45 euros. ‘At the very end the very strong new champion was announced, the tall and well-built chestnut Fabricius (Renovo x Proloog x Gloriant), owned by C.H. van der Maat. The breeder of Fabricius is H.J. Visscher. The stallion showed himself like a king and offered unprecedented attitude. His trot is big, very strong and has a lot of action. He received 327 points and was also the star of all the two-year-old harness horses presented.”

Thus magazine De Paardenkrant introduced Fabricius, who won a two horse trailer for his owners father and son van der Maat. Second came Fernando (s.Wouter ) and Factor (s.Vulcan ), stallions who were licensed in the following year as well.


A special occasion brought Renovo and Voratiena, the mother of Fabricius, together. Ab Koetsier, then owner of Voratiena, had made his chariot available for a show at the UTV. Therefore he was given a covering from Fabricius for one of his mares from Henk van Tuyl, Renovo’s then owner. Voratiena was then passed on to Visscher, so he is known as the breeder. ‘Keur’ mare Voratiena was a daughter of Proloog and the ‘Star’ mare Oratina (Gloriant x Astor). Via Hoogheid, Proloog is a grandson of Koning Oregon, the progenitor of harness horse breeding. Proloog was the latest classic-bred stallion who received the predicate ‘Preferent’. Renovo, the father of Fabricius, represented the new flair which his father, the Hackney stallion Cambridge Cole, added to modern harness horse breeding.

In Fabricius the two sires were brought together. Fabricius was the sixth of the seventeen sons of Renovo who over the years were accepted by the KWPN as breeding stallions.

Shared fourth

At the age of three, Fabricius was approved by the KWPN. This after a performance test that in terms of points may not quite have lived up to the expectations. He finished in a tie for fourth place, according to the training report because of a difficult mouth, but according to the owners because of a sustained injury in the mouth. Fabricius received a 9 out of 10 for stable behavior, 8.5 for walk, an 8 for both trot and character, a 7.5 for the driving test and sevens for the training report and the show buggy test with and without artificial aids. Whatever the case, the time for Fabricius to impress in front of the show buggy would come. With Kees van der Maat he won the championship for breeding stallions in harness at the UTV three times and twice he won the stallion competition. A breeding stallion is judged by his descendants. The foal inspection report provides the first indication and for Fabricius this report was certainly satisfactory. It stated that he showed a collection of sufficient to well-developed foals. Most foals were of a very good harness horse type, varying from short to long- lined. The walk was sufficient and had flexibility. In trot the foals showed the desired harness horse allures. Though some foals could be a little stronger behind and could have more front leg action, most of them had an excellent posture and were able to come back on the rear legs and showed a convincing balance. Some of the better foals showed excellent movement with a use of the rear legs that didn’t leave much to wish for.

Manno. ©De Paardenkrant

Manno. ©De Paardenkrant

Keur and Preferent

In 1995, Fabricius’ breeding license was extended following the inspection of his three-year-old offspring. In 2000, the same happened after the inspection of his seven-year-olds. They were so good that he was rewarded with the title ‘Keur’. The accompanying report spoke of Fabricius’ positive contribution to the harness horse breeding and sport as well. “With the approved stallion Manno and the mare Kelly, Fabricius delivered two multiple champions that speak to the imagination, but fortunately he passes his qualities on to more of his children than just these two.”

In 2004 Fabricius was declared ‘Preferent’. “The influence of Renovo-son on modern harness horse breeding is overwhelming. His daughters dominated the inspections and we know Kelly as a multiple champion. Of his six approved sons Manno is the most successful and it looks like he is stepping into his father’s footsteps”, are excerpts from the text associated with the desired status.


Harmannus Boelens’ Kelly is one of the most striking Fabricius-daughters and even as an older horse the chestnut mare retained her distinguished and impressive allure. Three times she was champion at the National Mare Show, shown by Tienke Elzinga she became top sport mare at the National Harness Horse Show twice and she was also national champion in the elite class for breeding mares at the UTV twice. The three-year-old ‘Star’ mares Marika and Pauletta B, were crowned champions. Uwandra conquered both as a two- and three-year-old at the national mare show. Many of Fabricius’ descendants competed in harness. Horses that earned more than 200 points earned are: Kosmos of the Grol family, Kojack of Lambertus Huckriede, Kunstenaar of the van Essen family, Laren, owned by Wim Majoor, Monorel of the Vinke family, Odetzky of the Möller family, Princeminster of the Schaap family, Rijnberg of the Bruins family and Tiroon, owned by Alberd van Dijk. Like Manno, Kosmos was awarded the title Harness Horse of the Year. Fabricius’ offspring also manifested themselves in the sport of carriage driving. In 2008, in addition to full brother Mauritz, eleven descendants of Fabricius were registered for the World Cup Driving in Beesd, The Netherlands.


Fabricius had 1104 offspring registered with the KWPN and six stallions and six were approved. They are Kowalski (ds. Wouter), ‘Keur’ stallion Larix (ds.Wouter), Manno ‘preferent’ (ds.Zakerno), Saffron (ds.Renovo), Sander (ds. Harald) and Selleen (ds.Exponent). None of them were ever put on hold, though Selleen was not in service for very long due to his career in carriage driving. Together they fathered around 3.200 offspring, of which about half of them were by Manno. Noblesse oblige, but no son of Fabricius has succeeded in continuing the illustrious line Cambridge Cole – Renovo – Fabricius with a male descendant. Both Larix and Manno have approved sons and (great)grandsons, but they have not distinguished themselves at the same level as their ancestors did.

©Rosan Wilts

©Rosan Wilts


At the age of 13 Fabricius was exported to the USA. Around the year 2000 there was a great demand from the USA for Dutch harness horses and van der Maat had a worthy successor in Manno. Fabricius unfortunately died in 2004, at the age of seventeen. The eminent stallion was buried at the grounds of Gene and Erin LaCroix in Kentucky, who had him standing at stud on behalf of his former owners Tracy and Cole Burr.

Source: De Paardenkrant 2013-51
Translation: Matilda van Rijnberk

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One Response to Fabricius, top-sire in harness horse breeding
  1. 1

    I throughly enjoyed your article on Fabricius. I actually have a 12 year old gelding, who’s sire is Fabricius. I am gathering information about his bloodlines from any available sources. Thank you, for writing this. It was very informative and helpful.