Shirley Light, of Brendon Stud
My day to the BEF stallion parade at Hartpury started early with getting the yard at home done first! Then the 5 stallions we were taking were plaited, groomed and socks washed [again]! – thanks to my sisters helping, one with an arm in cast! [They were all bathed and trimmed up the day before]. Leaving the 2 girls at home, me, Jim, Louise and Jane set off at 9.30am for the 4 hour ish journey. It was lovely to pull into the lorry park with the sun shining. The 1st thing we did was the interview with horse hero. Fred, aka Unbelievable Darco posed like a true star for about 20 minutes during filming. Then went to check the arena and timings, there were a couple of withdrawals so the pressure was on! Said hi to Jan and Cat from BEF, who were both very helpful throughout the day. Our times were very close so all the boys got tacked up in plenty of time. Lou had her number bib on with all the numbers just in the back so I could pull each number out as she changed horse; leaving the next number on display.
First on was Don vhp Z, he’s a big impressive type with huge scope and presence, involving the crowd I said “the bigger the cheer, the higher the jump…..” he finished up jumping about 1.50m! His stable mates must have heard the cheer and thought they’d better put on a flash too.
Warrior probably stole the afternoon performance when he jumped the top of the wings with plenty of air below him! Lynne Crowden did a great job on the mike, she was both informative and entertaining ALL DAY, she did spring a couple of unexpected questions on me! The stallions were then all loaded up, un-tacked and had a munch of well deserved hay! A few visitors into the truck to see the boys, [stables would have been appreciated, it was cosy in there!!] A bite to eat for us then tacking up again, our evening times were 8.10 – 8.16 – 8.20 – 8.24 and 8.30, no slacking then!
Thanks here to our extra helpers of Jane [who I entrusted with Warrior!] and Sacha [who got legged up on Caretino Glory to walk him round] Some helpful Hartpury students found themselves attached to the end of Fred and El-Thuder at this point! The stallions all behaved perfectly and with 2 mins to swap numbers, spurs and horses, the warm up consisted of 2 jumps and in! They were again all foot perfect both in the collecting ring and the Arena. I only got to see a couple of other stallions either in hand or being ridden, Legrande impressed me, a super compact little power house. Lynne Crowden’s young stallion, whose name escapes me, he looked to have loads of presence and movement. Also glimpsed Treliver Decanter with a BIG impressive trot.
A good day was had by all I think, though I cursed the road closed in Cirencester on the way home, and was very glad to see my front gate at 1.30am! The stallions, they all took a duvet day on Monday……
Lynn Al Redha, of Lynaire Sports Horses
My trip from Dubai to watch Legrande at his first ever stallion parade was certainly worth it, even the weather held out for the day, although I think I was possibly colder than most of the visitors there. It is a shock to the system being in 30+ degrees one day and then into below 10 degrees the next, but I coped.
The organizers of the Hartpury stallion parade deserve a pat on the back, apart from a couple of delays things ran fairly smoothly. Lynne Crowden was a super commentator and managed to keep the crowd well informed regarding each stallion's breeding and performance record. It was lovely to see some super stallions on display and the vast majority of them being so well behaved, both in their ridden work and in the collecting rings. It just goes to prove what a lovely selection there are available to UK mare owners. The Brendon boys were the parade stars, so professionally produced and ridden, it was a delight to be in their company.
Legrande had not been out in company since November due to the weather and the inability to keep his fitness levels up while there was frost and snow on the ground, but he behaved himself impeccably. For a horse that has only been jumping for less than 12 months, I felt he showed what an honest and talented boy he is. We were not informed until a couple of days prior to the event that an in-hand section was scheduled, he has not trotted up in hand since his grading 2 years ago, but again his temperament came through and he took it all in his stride. The final jumping session, a 2 minute jump off, as they called it, was quite exciting for the crowd, but a little worrying for the stallion owners. I thought that Shirley from Brendon Stud pulled out all the stops to get her boys ready for the arena in the time that was available, again the professionalism just shone through. Legrande came into the arena for his final session and jumped a bit sticky down the line, probably due to the fact that he has never seen anything like that before. His second attempt was much better, his confidence had grown and he finished off with a lovely pop over the triple bar.
We had lots and lots of visitors to the horse box to meet him, I think it would have been much better if the stallions could all have been in stables so that mare owners could get a better view of them. At times our horsebox was overflowing with visitors, so a small queue was forming. I am sure some people did not get to see some stallions as they did not want to enter a horsebox without permission, so they did not get to meet their favorites. I think that would be my only criticism the stallions needed to be in stables for the visitors to really appreciate them and view them properly.