Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Morning turnout

The weather was good enough for our thoroughbred mares to go out without their rugs for once and a wonderful time was had by all..............scratching rolling and then rolling and rolling again. it took an hour or so to restore their glossy bay coats but they had a wonderful day out in the winter sunshine.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Charlies Angels

Marwen Lissie
Our little brood mare band know as Charlies Angels started with the purchase of Lizzie and April just before Christmas in 2007.
I spotted a small advert in the western morning news, after months of religious trawling, for a
Holstein brood mare. We raced off hot foot to the outskirts of Redruth to see a powerful black boat of a mare, deep bodied, with short cannon bones, she floated over the ground like the morning mist towards us, bold and confident.
Marwen Lissie (Lizzie to us) belong to a stud, and had been outcrossed to their resident Welsh cob stallion but now that they were just closing down. Lizzies foal had just been weaned and Lizzie was looking for a new home and came with a Pink papered passport. She was by an imported Holstein stallion called Leonard that Charles used to jump for Mrs Wason at Trenawin stud and she was out of a Holstein mare Durfee Apres who was by the influential stallion Atlantus. And so we had our first mare for our young Pura Raza stalion Danilon!

She would need a companion though and looking around the stud a pretty mare, unmistakably stamped by Shaab the wonderful HIS stallion that has got so many good eventers, caught our eye. A neat little bright bay mare, Shabril Wil or April to her friends, had the looks of a show hack and had been together with Lizzie since she was two years old. April had enjoyed cross country with the stud owner before starting her stud career and had produced a county show winner to her credit.............and so we came home with not one but two horse for our bachelor Danilon and our breeding project was under way.

Shabril Wil (April)

Before long, a new tiny advert caught my eye in the Western morning news, this time for a thoroughbred brood mare in foal to Respendant Cee.

Divers Perk (Diva) proved to be a rangy individual, bred for chasing in Ireland by Executive Perk out of Deepwater Woman built like a show hunter she had a quiet, sweet temperament.
Although Diva had not enjoyed racing career, her jockey recalled she had performed wonderfully on the gallops at home. A virus had been suspected and eventually, after a fall she was retired to stud. West Down Stud had got her in foal with her first foal but as they wanted to downsize........and so Diva came to Ednovean Farm.

Diva and Lizzie grazing in our front field at Ednovean Farm, spring 2008.

Divers Perk in her racing days

Diva settled in well with us and produced a beautiful filly foal as I mentioned before by Resplendant Cee, in May. The little filly was three weeks premature and needed careful treatment for the first few weeks of her life. Diva although shocked by the birth of her first foal has proved to be a gentle, kind mother to little Dolly.

Dolly and Diva this summer

Dolly just before Christmas - a bright perky individual

Diva in her box - every inch the brood mare, she is now in foal to Danilon

Throughout the summer of 2008 Danilon got his first mares in foal and we hope for the new arrivals this year!!

We approached West Down stud again this Autumn and secured Joyces Hope (Belle) again in foal to Resplendant Cee. Belle is a half sister to the good Grand National horse Nil Desperandum (Nil Desparandum ran forth and fifth and was due to start anti poste favourite but broke a leg prior to the race) out of the same dam Still Hoping. Again, Belle was bred in Ireland for chasing but for us the attraction was that she had been graded Elite by the Hanovarian society after producing a cracking foal by a Hanovarian . And so the neat mare with a massive raking walk came to join us but alas she had already slipped her foal and arrived in season. She is a really charming mare with delightful manners and an optimistic outlook.

Belle at West Down stud in 2008

Belle yesterday evening waiting for her tea!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Danilon's Mares in the snow

Our little family of horses had quite a shock in the normally balmy Cornwall.

We have divided the mares into two groups - Lizzie (Marwen Lizzie - Holstein) and April (Shabril Wil TB plus?) live on the front fields with access to their own private stable throughout the day and they are shut in for the night.
Whilst the Irish Chasing Thoroughbred mares Diva (Divers Perk) and Belle (Joyce's Hope) live in a separate group with Diva's 2008 filly Dolly (Dolly Dimple) at the back of the farm coming into the main stable yard with Sootty (23yr old Holstein gelding) and Dani (Danilon Pre stallion) for the night.

Lizzie enjoying her morning water after Charles had broken the ice for her

We brought the TB mares in at lunch time yesterday just as the snow started to fall in earnest so it was with slight trepidation that we turned them out this morning. The two sensible veteran of many a race course and days hunting carefully escorted the young filly away to the top fields to search for the grass and stretch their legs for the day.

Dolly nearest camera with Belle and Her Mum Diva first thing this morning

Lizzie and April ready to go this morning

Monday, 2 February 2009

Dressage Course with Peter Madison Greenwell

Danni has been attending regular clinics with international dressage instructor Peter Madison Greenwell and this weekend Peter again made a flying visit to Cornwall to teach at St Piran's Stud just across the road from us.

Danni has been worked to strengthen and engage his back, over the last couple of years and we have worked on his paces with the aim of producing a loose, swinging, elastic stride, taking his energy through a softly swinging back. By the summer of 08 Peter thought he was ready to come up more in front, raising the shoulders and getting him to "sit" more into his paces to produce an more uphill outline. So with this history in place for you this was Danilon's clinic report.

We had ordered a new El Cabollo de Espania continental saddle for Danni from Peter's new range and it was especially measured to fit him by Master Saddler, Jill Thomas who produced an accurate template. The Template, supported by extensive photographs Danni's back were then e-mailed up to Peter. And then all we had to do was wait.........would it come for our course - well yes it did Peter drove up to Walsall to collect our order and brought it along ready for us to present ourselves on the first morning!

We had booked two sessions with Peter and thank you Val for letting us use your sessions to give Danni an hour and twenty minutes under Peter's watchful gaze each day. Charles and Pete always have a lengthy conference about progress as I work in and once I had moved up into canter Peter judged it time to start work. My personal idiosyncrasy is to ride everywhere with an inward bend Peter again reminded me to keep Danni absolutely straight on the line of the circle and not over flex him to the inside. Whilst Peter liked Danni's relaxed, rhythmic canter, he wanted much more engagement and sit, pointing out that the energy would never truly travel through the horse if he was lateral flexed, leading to the often heard judges remarked "Did not come through from behind" He then worked on our long rein walk to give Danni a break before examining my position under his microscope in leg yield. Oh dear the position of my pelvis ........To the left I had no problem in advancing my inside seat bone but to the right my brain determinedly cancelled out any efforts to change.
As this was to be an extended session the next part of our session was going to include some work in hand. Normally I take a stab at this in our car park at home so the provision of walls was a nice innovation for me. Peter pointed out that I adopted the same slightly advanced position in hand as I did under saddle and stressed the need for positive body language. Peter took the reins for a few minutes to get Danni more forward into the outside rein and there was distant improvement in he shoulder in after that, and strangely I found I had more weight in my heels as I walked, as Danni took me forward around the school.
Peter again rechecked the saddle as we finished and decided that he would move the point strap forward to slide through a specially designed pocked concealed under the knee roll. This innovation, provided especially to allow correct positioning and balance of the saddle for the Pre allows the saddle to be place a fraction further back and incidentally, showed off Danni's front to perfection!

Charles collected the saddle the next morning and it sat beautifully on Danni, for the rider it provides enough support whilst allowing you room to step back a shade in the saddle if you need to. Danni is now approaching more collection in his movements and Peter spent some time kindly riding him for us to work him truly into the outside rein. When Danni was returned to me I viewed him with the same trepidation as expertly finished piece of art handed to you with the invitation to try a few brush stokes. But what a horse I felt, engaged, submissive, powerful and focussed. We worked through a series of lateral flexions to halts concentrating on bringing the transition about from behind so that Danni halted on the deepening of the heels and nothing else at walk and trot. But the time was all to short to experience this newly reborn Danni or as
Charles said when he at last got to sample the horse and the saddle this morning "Some ones taken the weight of off your shoulders sunshine!" Three weeks until the next course!