For the simple joy of it...
Monday, 16 March 2009
By Crispin Caldicott
About three years ago, Crispin Caldicott spoke with horse breeder Louise Dunn about a problematic Kaimanawa Pony he had obtained for his step-daughter. He recently caught up with her again to chat about horses for Rural Living.
| Adlou bred Holsteiner Lord Aragorn AF. |
As with many riders, Louise Dunn developed an interest in ponies as a child. She described her dad as a ‘townie’ and it took until she was 13 before she had her first pony.
“When I was 18 I managed to buy another,” she explained when Rural Living spoke with her, “and by then my ambition was clear – I wanted to own a farm by the time I was 28.”
Louise became very interested in the hardy breed of Welsh Ponies. Small, tough and fairly easy to cope with – as a ‘school’ for breeding, they provided the kind of experience Louise felt she needed.
“I basically practiced with them and learned how to make foals!”
After some success with her Welshies, Louise began to look around for something else, with potential.
“I was seeking a horse that was trainable, respectful and with a great temperament.
“The Holsteiner provides all of that, plus another level of performance, and it is only very recently that we have got the first licensed stallions in New Zealand.”
Bred originally as a carriage horse, the Holsteiner stands around 17 hands – the joke is the tiny Welsh Ponies shelter under them in the rain – and Louise believes the type is coming to the fore.
“A lot of European riders are using them,” she said, “they have been used for show jumping at the Olympics, and are good at dressage, as well as proving versatile in the eventing arena. They are a very noble breed with a lot of athleticism – I really think they are going to be one to watch for the future.”
As if to prove her prediction, five years ago Louise produced the massive Lord Aragorn AF who is now in the capable of hands of Tim Price as part of the New Zealand eventing development squad currently based in the United Kingdom.
| As quiet as a Welshie - Toi. |
“There are also Adlou bred horses competing in dressage, and some youngsters coming out shortly with some talented event riders,” Louise added.
To the question “Why breed horses?”, Louise chuckled before replying.
“It’s certainly not about making money at the moment! You pour a huge amount in and are unlikely to get a return for a long while. I maintain 50 acres here to support the 42 horses I have.
“I simply love all animals, and I take great joy in seeing my babies grow up, go places and start competing. In addition to the Holsteiners I still keep two Welsh Stallions because they are a lovely breed.
“I don’t have much in the way of ‘stock’ however as the foals tend to go quite quickly.”
And what of my step daughter’s problem pony? Well, Xena is still one of those ponies for which it is hard to find a proper role as she is not easy to handle.
We had therefore considered putting her in foal as an alternative, and wondered what kind of stallion we should subject her to. “Oh easy,” the ever down-to-earth Louise replied – “Whack a Welshie on her….”