EQ LIFE: How do you look to try something new or keep ahead of the curve being here in Australia?
DAVID: I think it’s really important to have an educated eye for a horse and look at horses through multiple lenses. Looking at a horse through its basic qualities, type, movement, conformation and obviously its temperament. Also, it’s important not to forget the family: look at what the mare has produced, look at what that mare’s mother has produced and that mare’s grandmother, and whether there are successful relatives. And then also look at whether there are similar crosses across the sport. Generally speaking, if there are, it’s a good pedigree match and we can hopefully see more representation of that bloodline in our sport.
It’s really important for us that we are breeding sport horses. They don’t necessarily need to look like show hacks, like they’re ready to win the Melbourne or Sydney Royal. But when we have our youngsters under saddle, that’s when we really want the quality breeding and the quality education to kick into gear and hopefully give their riders a bit of an advantage through the development of these horses.
EQ LIFE: You’ve got some exciting partnerships in the works that you’re launching soon!
DAVID: We do. It’s incredibly exciting that European establishments recognise the opportunity we have here in Australia. We’ve currently, as I said, got two stallions at stud and it’s been on the cards to increase the stallion part of the business. We have purchased two stallions from Gestüt Bonhomme. We have a stallion called DeLorean who is by Dancier x Weltmeyer, and joining him is a really well-known young breeding stallion and performance horse called Maracaná, who is by EH Millennium x Lord Loxley.
Quite often because I’m tall, I search for tall horses, and we have found that there is a gap for the riders that would like something around that 16.2/16.3hh mark that is a really rideable, neat type, and that consistently produces really nice horses. In speaking to DeLorean’s previous owners, he produces temperament, and he produces really good mechanics.
In speaking with the manager of Gestüt Bonhomme, he laughed and said, “David, we could put DeLorean over one of the dairy cows and the offspring would really move!” And I said, “Excellent! Sign me up!”
We want stallions that are going to improve the offspring that are being produced, and we want stallions that people are really, really happy with, that tick the boxes and that they can meet in real life. Frozen semen is absolutely wonderful and pivotal for my business as well to identify these young horses, but there is such a wonderful connection the breeders get when they come and meet the stallions in person.
EQ LIFE: How do you ride them all?
DAVID: With help! There are quite a few horses here. I’ll ride Maracaná. He is a similar style of horse to Toto Nation. He’s tall, 17.2 hands, and as mentioned, is by the wonderful Trakehner stallion Millennium. Millennium was ridden by our Australian Olympic rider Simone Pearce when she was riding for Gestüt Sprehe. We’re very grateful to Simone because it was her contact with Gestüt Bonhomme that led us to these stallions. DeLorean will be ridden by my partner Holly Stansfield-Smith. He’s a bit smaller than Maracaná and Holly has been an exceptional Grand Prix rider, so it makes sense to share the load!
Acquiring these stallions was an opportunity that came up, and I think that now and then if you really believe in something, it’s worth taking a calculated risk. My hope is that, if we work really hard, that calculated risk becomes a really good investment. Not only for my business here and for Salisbury Dressage, but to our breeders and the community that breed with our stallions.