Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Spring :)

Spring has definitely sprung in our little micro-climate of Western France. I'm trying not to be smug here (as I know all of my UK friends and family are struggling through deep snow and icy winds worthy of Siberia) but we've had a succession of sunny days with the temperature occasionally scraping 20 degrees C. The daffodils and crocuses are in full bloom and my 2 Dales stallions King and Wilf are becoming increasingly impatient to start the 2013 covering season. With the sun on their backs, they cannot understand why they have to wait for "lady friends" to appear. However, we do not want any February foals, so wait is what they must do!

This seems the ideal time to introduce our Dales stallions to anyone who is new to our stud: Firstly we have our senior stallion Wilf - Thornville Pride, by Wheatside John out of Wheatside Lady Rose, foaled in 1999. Wilf is whole non-fading black. ie. he does not have any white markings whatsoever, and his coat does not fade in bright sunlight. He stands just over 14hh and is the sire of  9 purebred Dales foals to date.

Wilf is broken to ride-and-drive. In his younger days he achieved show success at County level, both inhand and in Trade Driving classes. He also worked commercially as a wedding carriage pony and competed in endurance rides of distances up to 60km. Whilst training to move up to 90km endurance rides, Wilf was involved in a road traffic accident when a car mounted the verge and crashed into his hindquarters. Fortunately, Wilf was not seriously injured, but he lost his confidence and became unpredictable when riding or driving on the road, so the decision was made to fully retire him to stud.
Wilf is beautifully bred with classic and sought-after Wheatside bloodlines. He is very well-mannered and a pleasure to do in all respects. He stamps correct conformation, true Dales Pony traits, and unlimited stamina on his foals.
Wilf has 1 Dales foal due in April 2013. This foal will be black, and will be available to purchase.

Our second stallion is King - Coverdales Carnival King, by Wharfedale Prince Regent out of Colliery Black Bess, foaled in 2004. King is a very rare bay roan Dales Pony. Infact, he is the only licensed bay roan Dales Pony stallion in the World, so we are delighted to play a role in safe-guarding this rare colouration within the Dales breed. King is a tall example of his breed, standing at just over 14.3hh. He has a beautiful, proud head, a kind and gentle temperament and a superb trot with high knee action and lots of impulsion from behind. He is a delight to watch on the move!

King was broken to drive as a 3 year old, then turned away to mature. Subsequently, he has only been used as a breeding stallion but we do plan to resume his ridden and driven career at some time in the future. King is the sire of 6 purebred Dales foals to date, plus 2 part-bred fillies. He has 2 Dales foals due in May 2013, both of whom will be for sale. Since King is heterozygous for the roan gene, there is a 50:50 chance that these foals will be roan. Advance enquiries welcome. 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Baby Bedrooms ready. Stallion make-over not so successful

Martin and I had a very productive morning getting the foaling boxes ready, so the broodmares can move into their "baby bedrooms" at night. The boxes have been scrubbed and disinfected, deep straw beds have been laid, and the cameras are up-and-running.
Feeling enthusiastic for all things equine, I decided I would give King, our bay roan stallion, a bit of a groom. Not a single brush has touched him since the farrier came 8 weeks ago. It didn't take long for my enthusiasm to wane. As you can see from the picture, he is taking "roughed-off for the Winter" to a whole new level. I can't imagine any mare will be impressed by that look. Scruffy boy!!!


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Lowhouses Fiona

Fi will be the last of our mares to foal this year. Her baby is due towards the end of May. Fi is getting a special mention because she is one of my favourite mares. However, because she is so gentle, quiet, and unassuming, she often gets overlooked amongst the more boisterous or flashy members of the herd.
When she is not in-foal, Fi is my principal riding pony. To me, she epitomises all that is good about the Dales breed - honest, loyal, steady when needed, full of energy and spirit when asked, always ready to take on new challenges and try her very best.
She is also a wonderful mum and has stamped her pretty head, correct conformation and gentle nature on all of her foals to date. All of Fiona's foals have achieved success in the show-ring, and the oldest are just starting to be produced under saddle with promising reports from their new owners.
This is Fi (Lowhouses Fiona) when she's in fit (ridden) condition :
This is one of my favourite photos of Fi standing watch over her second foal Kingmaker Union Jacques who now lives in County Durham :
Fi and our bay roan Dales Pony stallion King (Coverdales Carnival King) "making" this years' foal :
Fiona's third foal Kingmaker Adventurer, aka Finn, being shown as a yearling at the Royal London Show in 2011 ;
Fiona's fourth foal Bryher de Kingmaker aged 6 days, playing chase games with her own shadow! We would love Fi to produce  a "clone" of Bryher this year. She was a small, but perfect baby, who everyone fell in love with. Bryher now lives with Dawn in Staffordshire in a showing/breeding home. 

Foals due in Spring 2013

We are starting to get cautiously excited about the impending patter of tiny hooves. We have 3 purebred Section A Dales mares due to foal this year. Wolsey Quebec (Inca) should be the first to foal. Her baby is due in just less than 3 weeks time, so I really need to get organised and get the foaling boxes ready. We prefer to foal inside, with the mares being watched on CCTV, so that we are close at hand in case of any (fortunately rare) complications. We also tend to know precise due dates as we always have our mares scanned to confirm pregnancy and to eliminate the risk of twinning. However, nature always has the upper-hand and there have been a couple of occasions when a mare has caught us out and foaled out in the field or earlier/later than expected.

Here's a couple of photos of the expectant parents.
Firstly the very beautiful Inca who is a really super, typey mare with excellent action. Seen in this photo achieving Champion success with her former owner Michelle Low :

...and secondly Wilf (Thornville Pride) our ever dependable whole black stallion, who stamps true pony traits, action, stamina and classic Wheatside bloodlines on his offspring :

Please keep everything crossed for Inca that she has an easy foaling and a happy, healthy baby.

Welcome to our brand new blog

Welcome to the brand new blog for the Kingmaker Dales Pony Stud in France.

This blog will replace the 'News' page on our stud website (www.kingmaker-dales.com) which I'm ashamed to say I have been woefully lax in updating!
I'm hoping that it will be much quicker to post photos and news in a blog format, and that people will enjoy being part of the excitement, fun, laughter, frustration, and occasional sadness, that are all part and parcel of stud life and life as an ex-pat in rural France!

The blog will be very informal. We don't take ourselves seriously and hope you won't do either! We are, however, passionate about our Dales Ponies and strive to produce beautiful, well-mannered foals to be sold on to approved new homes, where we hope they will be excellent ambassadors for their breed.

Calissi de Kingmaker (bay roan Dales filly foal born in 2012) has donned her specs and is ready to read the new Kingmaker blog!