After a few very harsh years I did come to conclusion that the old saying - 'fools breed horses for wise men to ride' - was true, and made the decision to sell or loan my wonderful brood mares.
However breeding still absolutely fascinates me and is my passion, and so I decided to attend the British Stallion Event at hartpury, my first stallion show in the UK since I moved to Germany.
Firstly I was very impressed that the number of spectators is continuing to increase, and the overall standard of stallions available to breeders over here continus to rise. I still feel there are areas of presentation that need to be slicker, especially with the jumping stallions, and the commentator for the jumpers lacked the ability the German commentators have to really get you into the moment and deliver what is essentially quite dry facts on performance and bloodlines, with passion and excitement.Anyway on to the stallions themselves. In order of presentation these are my brief views on the stallions forward.
Coronado Son - Quite an eye catching trot in front with suspension. Good size and filled the eye. Didnt use neck and shoulders well enough over a fence, and toungue hanging out.
Lord Luis - Better technique and looked to have a nice mouth.
O Combo De L'Eau - unfortunatly only shown in hand and looked in soft condition. Quite typically stamped by Samber.
Palousa San Sebastian - Given his genetics, interesting to see him presented in the jumping section. Felt may have not been totally comfortable in front and not showing the scope of the more purpose bred horses.
Russel II - Showed the best hind leg engagement in canter of the stallions so far. Looked well in himself.
Odermus R - Canter was very good but has a head/neck set I am not keen on.
Ramiro B - Powerful with plenty of size. Interesting presentation that included showing him with a son destined for eventing out of a Master Imp mare.
Romulus - Pony stallion. really like this type and for a very young stallion looks like he will have considerable scope.
Danny Kannan - really liked this horse in the stable, he wasnt overly big, neat little head, good limbs and a very nice nature. However he was not well presented under saddle, struggling with his changes and in too horizontal a frame.
Univeau - Only shown in hand and hard to judge based on that.
Cash Point - Quick off the floor, and neat in front, but as a type there are other stallions I prefer.
Silvio I - A stallion I know very well from Germany so it was great fun to see him under saddle at 26 years old and looked very well in himself. A smaller neat type who looks very modern considering his age.
Arko III - Even if you didn't how successful this horse was, he had obvious quality and no wonder he is attracting such good books of mares in Europe.
Marcus Aurelius - As a big fan of incorporating Arabian blood in sport horse breeding programs, I was disappointed with the presentation of this horse, as I felt it did nothing to promote him to the sport horse breeders there.
Littledale Bright Star - A little naughty when it came to jumping. Shown with a son who looked like a nice show hunter type.
Langaller Starring Role - Very quiet and well mannered in the stable. A nice looking horse, but lacked presence, but improved under saddle. Could be looser in the hind end over a fence.
Honour Cruise - a more blood type than I was expecting based on photographs. Quick over his fences but had the odd pole down when rushing, one to watch for the future.
Carousel - Having bred a now yearling colt from him out of my ex advanced eventer, i was pleased to see what a delightful temperament he had in the stable, and how good and free he moves with the shoulder. Still clean limbed despite being well into his 20s.
Britannia's Mail - A nice stamp and very well presented. Clever over a fence and certainly interesting given his pedigree.
Uptons Deli Circus - Still very athletic for 23, and actually has a really good active trot. Obviously enjoyed himself over the fences.
Diamond Design - For me this horse didnt jump in a style that would suit a cross country course, too measured and round. A dressage horse that can also jump does not necessarily mean it is an eventer.
Catherston Liberator - Looked well for 20yo. And a very versatile horse.
Opposition Bombshell - Quite a solid type, nice frame but for me a little ordinary.
Chiron - Have seen this horse in Germany as he is owned by the leading Sprehe stallion station. Thought he had improved and was carrying himself well up to the bridle. Was shown in hand and moved in a good elastic manner for a Thoroughbred. It will be interesting to try and see his first foal crops in Germany. Light of bone.
Persiflage - A little hot and is not the strongest across the topline, but very brave and careful and looks like he could really open up and gallop.
Primitive Proposal - Looked well and moved well for a Thoroughbred but lacks elasticity. Looks like he would improve the gallop.
Wickstead Didgeridoo - Not a stallion I know but by the eventing sire Mayhill and of interest. Well schooled with three time tempi changes and really opened up when asked, A good walk and a very blood type so one to watch.
Opposition Supremacy - nice to see Mark Todd and hear his views on breeding. His horse has a very strong motherline and I liked the style in which he jumpd. But very green and so one to watch for the future. Would need a mare with a good throatlatch and neck set.
Flashpoint - Presented in hand, looked nice and loose in the back and a very nice type.
Amour G - Shows good ability in the hind leg for collected work. maybe not the flashiest but clearly very trainable.
Catherston Springsteen - I have seen this horse over a number of years and he is always very consistent but never wows me.
Classics Charmeur - very nice pony stallion who has superb reach with the hind leg.
Wolkenderry - Super temperament and as his training advances he is showing very good ability to collect. My only critism is he has an under neck that I am not keen on.
Landtanzer - offers plenty of Holstein power, with a big trot.
Clapton - For a very young stallion showed a good quick hind leg with a good canter in a very modern type. A little stressed in the stable with all the activity.
Danger 36 - For me a little flat moving in a show horse sort of way. Needs more suspension but clearly a successful competition pony.
Treliver Decanter - since he first caught my eye as a 4yo, this horse has trained on very well with his power really coming to the fore. A little short of length of rein.
Don Dante - Good elasticity especially in the trot. The canter not quite on the same par, and loked very ridable.
Debonair - Very green so difficult to judge but could be interesting given the bloodlines he carries.
Supertramp - very elegant and calm beyond his years.
Elroon- very stamped by his sire and suffers in comparison with the more extravagent moving types.
Flammengold - Clearly has a very good attitude and very kind horse. A good stamp and well made but I would like to see him under a different rider.
Furst Wilhelm - Another stallion over from Germany and probably my favourite of the dressage horses. Super in the back, very loose, and connected back to front. Lovely canter. light of bone and slightly long cannon bones.
Destano - The third stallion from Sprehe, again very well presented. very balanced canter and moved forward with power.
Keystone Rhondeo - Strong, butty stamp. Good cadence and a good walk. very rideable.
Bubble Up - Very calm and a very nice type. A little plain in the head.
Woodlander Del Amitri - Very tense and sharp. Afraid I just dont like this horse.
Woodlander Rockstar - Well trained and well presented.
Woodlander Wavavoom - Super walk, excellent balance and a very good canter. Very nice young stallion to have in the UK.
Chippendale - very Dutch in type, elegant with huge movement. For me needs to bring his back up more and the canter got a little weak in the lateral work.
Diamond Hit - an incredible finale to see this legendary stallion retire and he handed over to Gestut Sprehe. barely a dry eye in the house. A really quality horse whose record speaks for itself.