A SUPER SIRE
As Heath explains, Regardez Moi was a bit before his time in terms of being very dressage bred. Heath followed the same path in terms of his use as a sire, however, in more recent years he’s realised the stallion’s value in breeding jumping horses as well. “Regardez Moi was so dressage bred that we just went straight dressage with everything. But in hindsight, it was a massive mistake, because he might have been straight dressage bred, but until more recent times all those [performance bred European warmbloods] were multi-purpose stallions.”
Today, Regardez Moi has produced numerous four-star and even five-star eventers, which Heath says isn’t something they ever really pursued — it was just through outside clients that recognised his value as a jumping sire that these progeny came about. “We didn’t ever really take that eventing aspect of him seriously, which was really silly because I was very full-on, and still am, with eventing. So I don’t know how we overlooked that!”
Today, Heath’s four-star eventer Bronze Boy R carries Regardez Moi blood, as does Jessica Rae’s four-star eventer Rascal. “[Rascal] is really good and you just don’t know how far he’ll go in the next few years,” says Heath of the 12-year-old son of Regardez Moi, who is now qualified to compete five-star.
Of course, Regardez Moi can be found in the breeding of hundreds of warmblood horses in Australia — including Utopian Cardinal who partnered with Heath to be crowned Australian Grand Prix Champion in 2016 and is now going great guns in the CDI-U25 Grand Prix classes with young rider Mary Nitschke. “Regardez Moi and [Rozzie Ryan’s successful Grand Prix stallion] Jive Magic came out together, and sometimes in the Grand Prix classes over the years here in Australia, half the class will have either had Regardez Moi or Jive Magic bloodlines,” notes Heath.
Breeding horses is certainly a never-ending learning process, and one thing Heath has learnt over the years is that if you want to get the best progeny out of a top stallion, you really do need first-class mares as well. “We were really silly; we didn’t have super-duper mares for him in the early days. We just thought we’d breed up. It doesn’t matter how good a stallion is, if you don’t have a really good mare you’re watering the progeny down. You just have to have a really good mare and a really good stallion if you’re going to have progeny that’s super-duper. So we were just fumbling along, making the rules up as we went. And sometimes they were great ideas and sometimes they were really dumb ideas. But we were having a lot of fun, and involving a lot of people. Having said that, Regardez Moi has been just sensational as a sire. Just about every single one of our broodmares carries Regardez Moi blood.”
One thing that has stood out with Regardez Moi over the years has been his soundness. He was always — and still is — a very sound horse, and this is a key ingredient in the making of a champion. “The horses that perform well are the horses that work every day; they’re not always the best horses. You can have really, really good horses, but if they keep having injuries, they just never get to a point where they achieve their potential. Whereas something that’s just resilient and comes out and works every day, they end up becoming the horses that are truly outstanding.”
Today, Regardez Moi lives a life of leisure and still serves the occasional mare at age 25. Remaining the king of the stable, Heath still loves to spend time with the stallion. “I still watch him and talk to him every day!”