MONTANGO LODGE PERFORMANCE PONIES
For the next few months, Toni’s focus will switch from the competition arena to the arrival of three foals – and she can’t wait. “They’re little fluffballs…. like little lambs but with lots of bling. They’re adorable.”
Four years ago, she set up Montango Lodge Performance Ponies and has bred on a small scale since, with her first foal now just under saddle. “I’ve got three mares in foal this year, all related to Thom and Scooter. The mares are sisters; two of them are from Salient Park,” explains Toni, adding that they are in foal to German Riding Pony stallions.
“I’ve also bred a few of my Cob mares to Warmbloods. My eldest filly that I’ve bred, she’s a Welsh Cob x Warmblood and is about 15.1-15.2 hands, so a really good size. The foal that I bred last year to a Warmblood is probably going to be a bit bigger, maybe pushing 16 hands. They’re quite fancy and are nice types.” At the recent Brisbane CDI, Montango Lodge Comet, ridden by Anne-Marie Lasserre, was fourth overall in the AOR Novice Championship.
However, Toni says that this year could be her last breeding, as the logistics are a little challenging – and she probably also has enough ponies! With three teenagers as well, she’s certainly busy enough.
“I’ve got a few young horses; I’ve got two three-year-olds that have just gone to the breakers. I don’t have a lot of time… I’ve got three kids, and my daughters and husband ride as well. It’s a hobby, but it’s an expensive hobby!” she laughs. Toni’s youngest of two daughters, Annabelle, rides Thom as well and has qualified for the Australian Interschool Dressage Championships at Medium level (underway at time of print). Annabelle also loves to jump – however that skill doesn’t appear to be part of Thom’s repertoire.
“Some Welsh Cobs are super jumpers, but I can assure you that Thom is not. My daughter did try, and her jumping coach at the time told her that he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed!” laughs Toni. Her daughter did find out that Scooter has jumping ability, but Toni has since put her foot down at her rising dressage star being pinched for jumping purposes. “She’s had a few rides on Scooter and wants to take him jumping, but I said, ‘No, he’s not going jumping anytime soon… he’s too good at his dressage!’”
AOR CHAMPIONSHIP SUCCESS
At the recent 2023 Equissage Victorian Amateur Owner Rider Dressage Championships, Toni also enjoyed success with her ponies.