Posts Tagged ‘Woodlands Stud’

As I said in my last blog, going to stallion parades and yearling parades can be a great way for breeders to see types ‘in the flesh’.

It can challenge the prejudices or misconceptions that inevitably creep in when we base our views on promotional material or a bad experience with one individual horse or what we’ve heard on the grapevine.

I like observing the yearling parade day in a state of mind that says: “Just look at each yearling coming into the parade ring – ignore the lot number, ignore any practice commentary from the PGG team and just respond to the type of yearling in front of you before your vision is clouded by too much information.” If one grabs you then check out what it is – and the results might surprise.

American Ideal

American Ideal at Woodlands Stud parade 2011, photo Bee Pears

Last year I did this at the 2011 Australasian Classic Sale at Karaka, and rediscovered American Ideal. Four of the five yearlings by American Ideal were ones that appealed strongly to me on type, enough to make me jot down comments and note their lot number – and discover their common sire.

A couple of years before that, I had been the Woodlands Stud stallion parade and saw Bettor’s Delight, Pegasus Spur and American Ideal paraded up close. Perhaps I was distracted by the strong energy of Bettor’s Delight, a sire who is not big in size but has a big personality and is built like a brick shithouse! And perhaps I was too busy admiring Pegasus Spur, who has a heap of character, stands tall and looks a bit like a Friesian horse! Anyway, I came away with the impression that American Ideal was a smaller stallion and quite plain. He hardly registered with me.

But lo and behold, a couple of years later here were three yearlings for sale that, on type, I really liked – all by American Ideal. They weren’t big, bold horses but they seemed evenly developed and strong, and what you might call go-early types. I really liked them.

Lot 41 was sold for $80,000, Lot 92 for $10,000 and Lot 93 for $60,000. The only filly sold for $7500, and I hadn’t seen her parade. I’d be interested to find out how they are getting on (note to self).

So when I went to the Woodlands Stud stallion parade again later that year, I was keen to have another fresh look at American Ideal.  Again, all three sires were paraded – Bettor’s Delight still strutting like he owns the place (he’s certainly helping to pay for it!), Pegusus Spur checking out the crowd, chewing on the grass, happy to run up and show us what a lovely mover he is. And then American Ideal – oh not as small as I remembered (15.2h), very relaxed, very professional, a lovely walker, not showy but strongly built right through the body.

He’s doing a top job so far on the track in America as well as starting to show up here – Ideal Scott, Besotted, etc.  American Ideal himself performed well at 2 years and superbly at 3 years old.

And in North America he has crossed successfully with mares we can offer here from sires like Artsplace, Falcon Seelster, Life Sign (almost inbreeding, interesting).

So although he doesn’t have the glamour profile of a Bettor’s Delight or an Art Major, American Ideal yearlings certainly opened my eyes to a very nice type of stallion who seems to be stamping his foals.

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(Stamp of success Part 4 of 6)  Andrew Grierson from Woodlands Stud believes a focus on the sire alone can be misleading.  “Half the genes come from the mare, so it is a bold statement to say that a sire ‘stamps’ his progeny,” he comments. “However you can see sire lines that produce certain qualities. For example, Bettor’s Delight comes from a sire line that produces sound horses. His foals tend to have good feet, good conformation, and don’t break down. It’s about bone density.”

Bettors Delight is a smaller (15.1 hand) stallion, but like Courage Under Fire’s reputation for heart and gait, Bettor’s Delight offsets any size concerns with a growing reputation for leaving progeny with soundness and speed. “New Zealand breeders have to get out of the mentality that a small horse is no good,” he says.

Andrew Grierson points out that temperament is both a genotype and phenotype characteristic (governed by genes but also developed by interaction with environmental factors). So if a mare has a nervy temperament and the foal spends much of its formative months with the mare, she is likely to be more of an influence on the foal’s temperament than the sire’s genes.

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