Jennie Loriston-Clarke is a household name amongst equestrians of a certain vintage, although many of the younger generation may not know that this charming English horsewoman rode at four Olympic games as well as countless other competitions in dressage and over jumps. Jennie, who has horse breeding and training in her blood, is still active in the running of Catherston Stud near Stonehenge, using young sires like Timolin (by Totilas) over the descendents of Catherston-bred stallions like Dutch Courage and Dutch Gold.
It was a major coup for the Australian Warmblood Horse Association (AWHA) Ltd to secure the services of such an experienced and knowledgeable Warmblood breeder to partner with seasoned local Judge, Joanne Verikios, during the National Championship Tour which ran for three weeks in February 2018.
That's right, three whole weeks! Every year since 2014, two Judges appointed by the AWHA have travelled the length and breadth of the country, with classes and classifications scheduled at venue days and stud stops. It's tough on the Judges but great for competitors, because it minimises the need for the entrants to travel. This makes the Tour particularly attractive to owners of young horses. Not only can they benchmark their breeding program on a national basis, it is a safe and gentle introduction to competing.
The Judges touched down in Perth, Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney and also travelled countless kilometres through rural Australia by car, thanks to local committee members.
There were four led and ridden categories in different age groups:
- AWHA Studbook Classes.
- AWHA Warmblood Performance Registration Book (WPRB) Classes.
- Open Warmblood Classes.
- AWHA-registered Foundation Mares.
The Tour is quite different from a normal horse show. Standard procedure is for both Judges to assess one horse at a time, and to provide a scoresheet with written comments before the competitor leaves the arena. These comments and the educational and constructive verbal feedback given on the day are greatly appreciated by entrants and spectators alike.
A Platinum Sash is awarded on the spot for exhibits which score over 85% and scores are progressively uploaded to the AWHA website as the Tour proceeds. State scores are finalised after the last day of judging in the area, but contestants have to wait until the last State is completed before they can be sure of their National placing. This can be both exciting and nerve-wracking but it's worth it because the national winners receive a beautiful broad sash with their name on it! All results are available on the AWHA wesite.
Jennie approved of both the process and the standard of entries, as evidenced by this letter to the AWHA leadership team:
"My Tour on behalf of the Australian Warmblood Horse Association to be one of the assessors of the young horses was a truly memorable one. Not only was the whole trip very well organised, but the standard of horses was good.
Joanne Verikios and I seemed to have the same eye for the quality that was before us. We saw some very high class foals who would stand up very well in Europe with elastic paces and uphill carriage with presence. A few of the older youngsters needed a bit more preparation in their ability to show themselves to their best, but others were beautifully turned out and shown in a correct way which did give them the best possible chance of a high mark.
The ridden horses were well presented and again the best shone through with correct training and balance with good rhythm and carriage. It was nice to see correct training with horses happy in their work and not forced to impress with overriding.
I am most impressed with the AWHA and their ability to run such a great competition to help the breeders and give them some feedback on their stock, certainly they are all on the right lines and we didn’t see a bad horse in the whole Tour.
Congratulations to you all and thank you for giving me the opportunity to see some really lovely horses." ~ Jennie Loriston-Clarke
Jennie is right, we did see some really lovely horses. As someone who has now judged four Tours, I can also say that the quality of AWHA-registered progeny keeps on improving. Take a look at some of these young prospects from around the stud stops, and judge for yourself. And all of them are for sale, so feel free to fall in love!
Westcoast Castle Equestrian at Darling Downs, an outer suburb of Perth, has been in operation since 2009 but only started its breeding program four years ago. It is run by Jade Edwards and her husband Chris Edwards, who met through eventing. "We are only a small stud and mainly breed for ourselves and sell off a few youngsters each year", Jade reveals. The purchase of Lord Larmarque (imp) from Kate Barton was the catalyst for the Edwards' breeding program. "Combining his temperament, rideability, trainability, movement and super jump with our athletic Thoroughbred mares and jumping Warmblood mares have produced some cracking foals", Jade enthuses.
WCC Legacy is a weanling chestnut colt by Lord Larmarque from Bromley Park Morning Spring (Barrabadeen Fortune). Legacy will mature between 16.1 and 16.2hh. He received a Platinum Sash with a convincing score of 88.74% and was the Highest Scoring Led Horse in WA in both the WPRB and Open sections. He also won WPRB Led Male Foal and was second in the Open Led Male Foal. The Judges awarded multiple 9s and 9.5s and described Legacy as "an upstanding modern sport horse type with presence, charisma, harmonious lines and a strong hindquarter".
WCC Lord Larrikin is a weanling chestnut colt by Lord Larmarque from Bellarossa Belle XX (Prince Domino). Lord Larrikin should mature around 16hh. He missed out on a Platinum Sash by 0.9%, scoring 84.1%, and was the third highest scoring WA Studbook Led Horse. Larrikin received no score lower than an 8 and was described by the Judges as "a modern sport horse type with elegant lines and a pretty head, very good shoulder and saddle position with a good length of rein". A rising three year old bay gelding by Lord Larmarque is also for sale.
Located 55 kilometres south of Perth at Serpentine, Foxleigh Warmblood Stud was established by Gabrielle Adam in 2002. "I have been involved in horses for 30 years", Gabrielle shares. "I started Foxleigh 16 years ago to breed eventers. As I got older I began to prefer all four hooves closer to the ground", she smiles, "so here at Foxleigh we have been focusing on breeding dressage horses for the last seven years". Foxleigh Stud stands Lord Deniro (imp) and uses a combination of imported mares and frozen semen to achieve a workable balance of bloodlines and characteristics. "The principle aim of the Foxleigh breeding program is to produce trainability and temperament, with a strong focus on longevity and ideally sized between 16-16.2hh. We want our owners to be able to go out and achieve their dressage goals so we breed so riders from all levels can have a choice of horse to suit them and which they can train and enjoy", notes Gabrielle.
Foxleigh Legendary is a modern, athletic bay weanling who will mature around 16.1hh. By Lord Deniro from Bella Madonna (imp), he is bred for dressage. Legendary scored just under 80%, placing 10th in the Open Led Male Foal and 11th in the Studbook Led Male Foal.
Pinkerton Plains in South Australia is home to one of the longest established studs visited on Tour, namely Ponderosa Stud Warmblood Performance Horses, owned and operated by Rob & Cheryl Hatswell since 1980. Ponderosa Stud began with the birth of Cheryl's foundation sire, the AWHA Premium Licensed Stallion Lontano. The stud currently stands the German-bred Hanoverian stallion Christos (imp). Horses for sale at Ponderosa Stud include foals, mares in foal & riding horses.
In her own words, Cheryl's aim is "to provide quality Warmblood horses, suited to the novice rider and the Olympic rider". "My motto", Cheryl continued, "has always been that temperament is everything, without compromise on conformation or movement".
PS Christmas is a dark brown weanling filly who will mature around 16.2hh.
By Christos from PS First Royal ( Furst Love/Lontano), this filly is bred for dressage.
Christmas won a Platinum Sash and her score of 88.39% secured her the honour of the highest score in Studbook & Open in SA as well as the Highest Studbook & Open Filly Foal in Australia. The Judges' said she was "an attractive modern sport horse type with presence. Pretty head, compact build, harmonious lines. Ground covering walk with good overtrack, trot has good hock action with cadence and activity, active canter, good rhythm and agility, overall a classy filly".
PS Chrimson is a chestnut weanling colt who will grow to approximately 16.2hh. By Christos (imp) from PS Royal Lass ( Royal Hit/Lontano), Chrimson boasts both dressage & jumping bloodlines. Chrimson won a Platinum Sash with a score of 87.5%. He recorded the Highest WPRB Score in SA and the second Highest Male Foal in Australia. The Judges described this foal as "an uphill built modern sport horse with a lot of presence. Very good neck, powerful back end, strong back. Lovely youngster with three good paces" and awarded scores of 9.25 for type and 9.5 for trot.
PS Royale Finale is a four year old liver chestnut gelding who will mature around 17hh. By Royal Hit from PS Lolita (Lontano), he is bred for dressage and to prove it, he won a Platinum Sash under saddle with a score of 85.5%, placing first in the National Ridden Studbook and Open Classes for geldings in his age group. The Judges' liked his style, saying he was an "attractive riding horse with good temperament. Uphill, good rhythm, well balanced, quite elastic. Showing engagement, impulsion & power".
Hollingrove Warmblood Stud at Warragul, south-east of Melbourne, has been operated by Bruce and Debbie Williams since the early 1990s. "We had been breeding one or two Warmblood foals a year", recalls Debbie. In 1997 after purchasing more land, we decided to expand our operation by buying several mares by stallions Valuta, Aachen and Romedio. We were also lucky enough to buy the famous Holstein broodmare Faleten, then 17years old, in foal to Don Ramiro, who really “put us on the map” as serious breeders".
After a trip to Germany and Holland visiting the famous studs, the Williams duo, who met through horses, decided to import a well-bred mare. This began what Debbie calls "the delicious addiction"! Since then, five imported females have made their way to Hollingrove. "Our focus was to have a small band of top quality mares with the temperament that made us want to get up in the morning - pleasant and willing but still with beauty, movement and presence that made us proud to show them off to visitors", says Bruce.
The formula obviously works, with Hollingrove Don Ameche winning the Open Led Male Foal class and scoring the highest overall percentage of any led horse in the Tour with a score of 90.71%! Don Ameche is a black/brown colt who will mature around 16.2hh. His sire is IFS Don Index. His dam is Amaris (imp) (Ampere/Weltmeyer/ Donnerhall). This youngster impressed by presenting as a complete package of type, conformation, and paces.
Beau Cheval Warmblood Stud, established by Gary and Claudette Johnson near Beaudesert south of Brisbane, offers a variety of horses for sale from two to six years old. The Johnsons' objective is to breed premium quality Warmblood horses for both the professional and pleasure markets. Breeding stock are carefully selected with an emphasis on using proven dressage performance bloodlines.
"At Beau Cheval we exercise a holistic approach from conception through to training, to ensure the best start possible for our progeny", Claudette explains. "Great care is taken with nutrition, their physical care, handling, training and their social needs - with a balanced outcome being the primary objective. Whilst our horses are well handled, they are not started under saddle until they are at least four years old, in order to allow them to physically mature, with the objective being to set them up for success for a long career under saddle". Beau Cheval horses placed as the first, second and third Highest Scoring Studbook Led Horses in Queensland.
Beau Cheval Serena, by Sir Donnerhall (IFS) from a Lord Sinclair (IFS)/Glorieux mare, is a dark brown filly rising three years old. Serena will mature around 16.3 to 17hh. She has merited a Platinum sash in three consecutive AWHA Tours. Winner of the 2018 AWHA Open Led Class Horse in QLD with a score of 89.28%, Serena is very athletic with expressive and powerful movement. She scored a 10 for trot, 9 for canter and an 8.75 for walk. The Judges commented that she is an "upstanding modern sport horse type, lovely filly with above average paces".
Beau Cheval Sandrelle, by Sandrels (IMP) from a Prince Noir (IMP)/Lanthan (IFS) mare, is a dark brown mare rising four years old. Sandrelle currently stands 16.3hh and will grow a bit more. Sandrelle was classified during the 2018 AWHA National Championships and qualified as an AWHA Head Studbook Mare.
Beau Cheval Faith, by Fuesrt Nymphenburg (IFS) and a half sister to Serena, is a 16.3hh black mare rising five years old. Faith was the second highest scoring Studbook Led Horse in QLD, with 80.11%. The Judges' comments included "Strong type with nice outlook. A quality mare with powerful paces".
New South Wales
The Tour finished at Oaks Sport Horses, The Oaks, NSW. This stud was established by Alice Cameron and Hilary Scott in 1999, with the intention to use showjumping bloodlines and breed for the national as well as international markets.
"We imported our first four mares in 2000", Alice recalls. "We now have 11 imported mares and their many equally well-bred fillies. We breed for soundness, good limbs, type and temperament as well as jumping ability. We are finding that many of our progeny are particularly good movers and in the AWHA National Tours our foals get favourable comments from dressage Judges." A total of seven foals are offered for sale this year, including the three below.
Oaks Quasimodo is a bay weanling who will mature around 16.1hh. Bred for jumping, Quasimodo is from Miss Universe (Ultimo vd Moude x Jalisco B) by Oaks Quizzical (Quintender x Vivant x Landadel). Miss Universe is a half-sister to International World Cup Finalist, Oaks Constellation. Quasimodo received a Platinum Award, and his score of 89.82% ensured he was the National High Point Studbook winner overall and National High Point Studbook foal. He scored 9 and above for all three paces. The Judges commented on his "big walk with overtrack; self-carriage and engagement; cadence and rhythm; canter is ground-covering with good jump; a very smart foal suitable for any discipline”.
Oaks Pippin is another bay weanling who will mature around 16.1 - 16.2hh. Bred to jump, Pippin is by Palm Beach (Pico Bello) from Oaks Viola (Vivant/Pro Ratio). The Judges described him as an “upstanding modern sport horse type; strong back, loins, quarters, quality head; purposeful walk; nice uphill canter; quality foal with good conformation and ability”. Pippin placed fifth in his WPRB class, with a score of 84.28%.
Oaks Emperor is a tall chestnut weanling who will mature around 16.3hh. His sire is Emerald vh Ruytrshof, who is the winner of many European Grand Prix and consistently in the World Top 10 ranking. Emperor's dam is Oaks Victory Waltz (Vivant/Daley K). He placed fourth in NSW and eleventh nationally in the same class as Pippin. The Judges' noted that he was a “substantial, modern sport horse type. Muscular quarters, strong back, chest; long, strong legs; athletic foal with big personality”.
Not only does the Tour provide valuable feedback and encouragement to breeders, it also provides an impartial assessment to prospective purchasers. Feel free to contact the studs directly if you would like more information on any of these horses.
Joanne Verikios and Jennie Loriston-Clarke - Eric Lloyd Photography
Western Australia (WCC & Foxleigh) - Eric Lloyd Photography
South Australia (Ponderosa Stud) - Jim Hillman InMotion Photography (PS Chrimson and PS Royale Finale) & Cheryl Hatswell (PS Christmas)
Victoria (Hollingrove) - supplied by Hollingrove Stud
Queensland (Beau Cheval) - Sam Dawson - Flash Pony Photography
New South Wales (Oaks Sport Horses) - Niki Pollock Photography
Joanne Verikios is the international award winning author of "Winning Horsemanship: A Judge's Secrets And Tips For Your Success". She has been a judge, classifier and classifier trainer for the AWHA for nearly four decades and was made an Honorary Life Member in 2015 for services to the Association.
By Joanne Verikios
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