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AWHA Victorian Branch Gala Day
Werribee Park Equestrian Centre
Sunday 16th March 2003

Page 2  - Foal Show Highlights - Part 1
by Berni Saunders

Well - it is Autumn and that is the time of the year when the Warmblood and Performance horse breed societies and Associations have their foal and breed class, Annual events in order to show the approximately 6 month old foals from the previous breeding season.  It is a chance for the public to see what certain stallions are producing and what types of mares seem to be the best to use for a good quality result. 

Being a very keen performance enthusiast I am very pleased to be a part of the era that has seen the most significant improvement in the riding horse gene pool that we have seen in the long history of horse breeding in Australia.  I am sure that the trend will continue, but in the last 10 years there has been a huge leap, made possible by the every day use of frozen semen and artificial breeding techniques, which through widespread use have become cost effective and affordable to almost anyone keen to breed a quality horse.

danehillcherrygardens300.jpg (25104 bytes)The International Thoroughbred breeding program has not enjoyed the same 'percentage improvement', as they have prohibited the use artificial insemination using chilled or frozen semen - breeding is only possible through natural service.  This means that the on costs associated with breeding can be very high, transport, agistment, outside vets and the costs involved in getting other people to do all of the work. Many thoroughbred breeders are forced to take these costs into consideration when planning the mating for their mare.  And they may be forced to use their second third or lower down the list stallion just because of the economics.

It is only the very wealthy who can afford to send their mares to 'shuttle' stallions (these horses stand at stud in the Northern Hemisphere Spring (our Autumn) and come to Australia and cover a full book of mares in the Southern Hemisphere).  Danehill is a notable example, and while he no longer stands at public stud, his fee prior to retirement his fee was reported to be $200,000 and only available to select mares, by invitation (I am not too sure whether they got the candlelit dinner as part of the fee!!)  The most expensive dual hemisphere stallion at present is Giants Causway who stands at $135,000, plus the on costs.  This means that the hobby breeder or smaller trainer without access to wealthy owners will not be able to breed horses with internationally proven bloodlines - they are just too expensive.   The yearling above is by Danehill and from a well performed rare mare called Cherry Gardens.  He is from the 2003 Collingrove  Stud Yearling draft - he was sold at the Adelaide yearling sales and leading trainer Gai Waterhouse paid $250,000 for him.   He certainly took my eye as a nice type for dressage (and I thought that I could go to say $12,000!)

How fortunate we are that our sport has a different approach - Breeders recognise that the more mares from all over the world will mean a lower fee and this in turn attracts even more mares - it is an upward spiral and a true win/win situation.  This keeps the cost of using the good stallions to a minimum,  and almost everyone can afford to breed a  riding horse with proven qualities that make it a very worthwhile prospect for the job for which it is intended.

The AWHA 2003 Gala Day was a great day's fun and a showcase for some beautifully bred, well raised and nicely presented youngstock that would not be out of place at the top European Young stock competitions.

The Champion and Reserve Champion foals were outstanding types - very different, but correct in conformation and already demonstrated that lovely free flowing movement that has given the warmblood horse it's reputation for being the breed for dressage.  It was interesting to note that the Champion foal was from a Thoroughbred mare by Consolidate - she was the dam of the 2002 AWHA Champion Foal.  

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Champion Foal was Klassic Renomme - She is by the frozen semen stallion Regazzoni. who is by Rubinstein out of a Werther mare.

This foal is another example of the influence of Rubinstein.

His dam is a beautiful quality Thoroughbred mare by Consolidate, and he was bred by a very proud Willy Knauss

He is sure to mature into a very nice performance horse.

Australia is uniquely place to have truly outstanding thoroughbred mares - which is not the case in Europe.  Only Australia, England, New Zealand, the USA and Canada are know to have the wealth of thoroughbred blood that has proven to be such a great asset in breeding performance horses.

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The Reserve Champion was Hollands Bend Radium and he is by Rotspon from a Larundel Gandalf mare.
Larundel Gandalf is a Queensland stallion that keeps on producing very nice riding horses.  
The winner of the three year old class in the 2001 Queensland Young Horse Championships was by this stallion.  The tractable grey was later purchased by the riding judge Claire Wickens, and is now called Rolex and having great success at Dressage.

It is fair to acknowledge that not ALL thoroughbred are suitable for a performance horse breeding program  Where the European system that we have now adopted, shows its strength, is in the classification/assessment process.  Not only are the bloodlines looked at, but the desirable physical and temperamental characteristics along with the results of matings.   The process is quite different to that of breeding racehorse, where there is only ONE consideration - speed.

The Gala Day opted for the judging practice which sees a panel of three hold up cards with a mark out of 10 for conformation, overall type and movement in all three paces.  There is not enough time for the judges to discuss the marks before committing their thoughts to a number - rather like a dressage judge.  At the end of the round the scored are tallied and the winner of the class announced.  It is a very transparent way of judging and no one could complain that they were a victim of bias or poor judgment - well done AWHA Committee.

judges.jpg (22328 bytes)The three judges were well respected and knowledgeable and have a great deal of personal experience with performance horses.  They were Fred Hoevenaars (right) from the Bellarine Peninsula, Caroling Coleby from the Berwick district and John Petty.

It was great to see a hard working committee, who were also involved in showing.  It is very good to look at an event as a competitor would see it and I am sure that this is why the event went so smoothly.

There was a full program of Dressage events, with 5 rings up to Medium level.

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Hollands Bend Radium showing the style that
helped him to win his class.
He is pictured with his owner Jane Bartram.

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Silverdene Pharoah was so cool and relaxed for a young colt.  He took everything in his stride.  He was bred by Dr Barbara Burrows who did a great job as the chief organiser of the EFA dressage competition.  Pharoah is by Prince Noir and from a Calypso Classic mare.
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Windarra Aurelius
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Emma and Rasputin in October 2001.
Windarra Aurelius (above) is pictured with owner/breeder Adrienne McMahon.  This charming fellow is by the outstanding Swedish Warmblood stallion Rasputin - who was imported to Australia by leading FEI rider Emma Youngman.  Emma and Rasputin have been in Germany training with Michael Klimke for almost 12 months and she has just recently returned.  Emma was at the competition to see the babies.  Rasputin will return to Australia in September.  Rasputin started his training with Kyra Kyrklund at Flyinge.

AWHA GALA Day Results
Foal Show Highlights Page 1 Page 2
Dressage Results 

Dressage Highlights Page 1  Page 2
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