The Selle Français stallion, Almé influenced show jumping bloodlines all over Europe. Almé was by the great French stallion, Ibrahim out of Girondine and was bred by Alphonse Chauvin.
Almé at the age of five, showed great potential, ridden by Bernard Geneste. After his first season at stud, he was sold to the American Fred Lorimer Graham, who competed him for the next two years. Almé went on to compete internationally with François Mathy and Johan Heins, and sired many international performers. Before he left France for Belgium, he produced the stallion sons, Galoubet, I Love You, and Jalisco, all of whom competed internationally.
At the time, Almé stood at Zangersheide, the horses bred there were being registered in the Hanoverian studbook but this did not prevent the Almé genes making their way to Holstein where they were happy to use Ahorn Z (out of the Holstein mare, Heureka and Aloubé Z and Athlet Z, both out of Hanoverian mares of Gotthard breeding.
In France the breeders were also keen to use the blood of Almé. There is one drawback to the Almé line – many of his sons and grandsons, like him, suffer from scrotal hernia, and many after colic have had a testicle removed, still he is acknowledged as one of the all time great stallions of Europe.
But from 1981-83, while Almé’s small production was winning titles world wide, Ibrahim’s son was covering mares for the Benelux countries.
Despite the expectations of some of his best production (I Love You, Herban, Jolly Good, Joyau D’Or) Almé was placed 2nd in the list of French stallions in 1980 -81, preceded by Uriel who had fathered 2.5 times as many foals.
This is when French breeders and riders became aware of the enormous loss represented by Almé’s exportation, but few breeders were prepared to go abroad to have their mares covered.
The Americans were willing to pay a lot of money for Almé who by 1986 had returned to the Zangersheide Stud. It should be remembered that his son Galoubet, had been bought by syndicate in the USA one year before for the sum of $2,000,000. At a time when the dollar was worth F 10, this represented F 20 million. Almé could not go to the USA however because he showed positive on a biabose test. Unwilling to give up completely, the Americans decided to leave Almé in Belgium and import his frozen sperm, but Almé’s sperm could not be frozen! Almé was then eventually returned to France.
During 1986 – 87 Almé’s fresh sperm was used for artificial insemination, 100 mares per season. Mares came from all over France as well as from Belgium, Holland, Great Britain, Switzerland and Italy. Almé, once named by a journalist the “Golden Goose” was retired in August 1990. His deteriorating health over the last year had pushed him into retirement. Despite an excellent appetite Almé grew thin.
Today Almé is the only stallion in the World to have fathered 2 World Champions and 3 Olympic horses. He died in 1991 at the good age of 25 yrs.