Built in the 17th century, Château de Fontaine still stands proudly in the north of France, nestled on 132-hectare of undulating ancient woodlands, dotted with glittering ponds and green fields, where powerful Percheron ‘s used to roam, when not working tirelessly in the woodlands or apple orchard.
Not more than one and a half hour’s drive west of Paris, in the Normandy region, internationally renowned for its centuries-old horse-breeding traditions.
In 2014 the Estate was purchased by the Danish Wandt family who have taken on the responsibility to awaken this sleeping beauty and transform it into a state of-the-art dressage stud farm, or in French; Haras Dressage, creating a welcoming and inspiring setting for outdoor activity and adventure.
Creative minds coming together usually results in some pretty inspiring outcome, just think of the Acne x Lanvin collaboration, Kanye West working with Louis Vuitton or H&M teaming up with Karl Lagerfeld. Like fashion, like breeding, real will always recognize real; working with Helgstrand Dressage who shares our outlook and mind-set, the aim is to breed on some of the best young dressage mares in the world, while they are pursuing their international sport careers at the very same time, on a level neither of us could achieve on our own.
The Château de Fontaine x Helgstrand Dressage mission is to buy, breed and produce high-end, in-demand horses; a true niche product in limited numbers available world wide. The number of individuals at stud will remain exclusive, while being available to purchase, to make sure our collection is always carefully curated, ever changing and on trend.
The Fontaine dressage stud farm welcomes our foals to the very world they are destined to conquer. While playing the fields at the Estate, in a region offering some of the best conditions in European horse breeding, the youngsters undergo careful selection while receiving the very best and loving care under the watchful eyes of our stable manager, Jérôme Pichereau, graduated from Haras du Pin, and his qualified staff.
A celebration of joie de vivre, re-discovering the history of the century old Estate to bring back the distinct and exciting warm scent of horses, softly blending with the richness of leather, apples, cider and timber; evoking and creating memories at the very same time.
Working with an international team specialising in architectural and interior design, inspired by the materials, colours and textures genuinely rooted in the château and it’s traditions as a fixture in the local community, we’re in the process of developing new spacious light-flooded stables including lab facilities as well as an indoor arena with lounge and living facilities. Not to mention the terrace, perfect for events and togetherness, with its wonderful view overlooking the outdoor arena, as the old trees on the hillside creates a magnificent backdrop.
The Chateau dates back to Louis XIV of France. Built in the greatest age of French culture and art; a period of flowering of painting, architecture and landscape gardening in France. The creator of the 700-room Palace of Versailles, the Sun King, knew a thing or two about luxury, he is also the founder of Haras du Pin; the oldest and most magnificent national stud in France, nicknamed “the equestrian Versailles”and chosen for its ideal location for horse breeding. Today the royal stud farm covers 1100 hectares, located less than one hours drive south west of the Château de Fontaine Estate. The uncompromised and timeless principles for horse breeding passed down for centuries at the iconic Stud farm, drawing from the equestrian culture genuinely rooted in the region, is a continuing source of inspiration to us.
We specialise in breeding dressage horses of the highest standard, from elite sport mares currently competing. Working with Prof. Cesare Galli at AVANTEA srl, Italy, Europe’s leading specialist in assisted equine reproduction, we’ve chosen the absolute most recent technology and modern approach to breeding, the OPU-ICSI technique.
The Ovum Pick Up (UPU) technique consists of the collection of oocytes from donor mares, their in vitro maturation and fertilization by direct injection of the sperm (In vitro fertilization by Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI) followed by culture of the fertilized oocytes, until they reach the stage of embryos suitable for transfer in recipient mares.
The procedure is brilliantly horse friendly, since no hormonal stimulation is required, and can be repeated every month without interfering with the normal activity of the donor mare. Also note how the OPU-ICSI technique can be performed throughout the year, even outside the breeding- and show season, meaning the embryos produced can be safely frozen and transferred at a later convenient time. C'est formidable.