16 Nov From Foal to Fruition
In this latest blog from Caris and Britt Reside at Leeara Park, they talk about the journey as breeders from foal to fruition.
From foal to fruition – now that’s a long journey, but one that we have loved being a part of for many horses we have brought into this world.
One little pony comes to mind in the last six years – “Prince” or show name “Leeara Park Xutopia”.
He is an incredible pony, and this is his story all the way from a tiny foal to now, mixing it with the best of the best in the official show horse ring. This little guy is ultra special to us.
Breeding pulls on the heart strings some years. You have good years, and you have unfortunate years. Prince is out of one of our original foundation mares at Leeara Park, her names was Lilly (Leeara Park Royal Petite).
Lily was by our resident stallion Rolle (Royal and Regal of Sefton), who still resides at our stud at the grand age of 19years.
We have owned Rolle since he was 8months old. Lilly was Rolle’s first foal born and only the second foal born at Leeara Park. She was an exceptionally pretty mare, a little sassy (or a lot!) but very, very beautiful and highly successful. Prince is the only foal by Tigger (Xuphoria of Sefton), who was a charming young stallion, one we had planned a bright future for. We sadly lost Lilly in 2017 and Tigger in 2016 so Prince had exceptionally big shoes to fill.
We like to handle our foals while they are on their mums, teaching them to lead, have their hooves trimmed, be brushed / washed etc. But we also like them to be foals, and will put them in together with another mare and foal to have a play when possible. Otherwise, in the past, we have found that the foals can become ‘too friendly’ and not respectful of personal space. We like to have a happy medium.
Prince was born on November 12th, 2016. That foaling season, we also had 2 other pony foals born so they were able to play together in the large back paddock.
Our foals usually stay on their mums until about 5-6 months, before we wean them, when they are then stabled and start to become accustomed to daily handling and rugging. We continue with general life duties – washing, brushing, farrier, leading etc.
Once our foals are about 8-10months, we begin teaching them how to lunge, initially walking and trotting only for 10 minutes or so. This gives them a fantastic start to their education and does not put pressure on their young tendons and ligaments as we only do very short sessions with the babies.
Closer to when they are yearlings, we begin preparing them for their first in hand show. Prince competed at the Perth Royal Show in 2017 and was awarded Champion Part Welsh and Champion Riding Pony colt, an outstanding effort for a yearling against 2 and 3 year old colts.
Prince was very successful in hand at breed shows as a young stock colt and remained entire until mid 2019. He was gelded at 3 years and commenced being broken in to start his saddle career. He competed at the 2019 Perth Royal Show and won Champion Led Part Welsh Junior Gelding overall, another super effort.
Now here’s the exciting part! You never actually know, even after having a successful youngster, if they are going to continue to be as successful under saddle. Will it all come together? Do they have a nice temperament that is trainable? How much time will they need to be sufficiently educated to take on official show horse competitions? All questions you ask yourself as a breeder and producer of your stock.
Covid hit in late 2019, and Prince was in light ridden work up until mid 2020. Britt then had her daughter Paityn in October 2020, so Prince enjoyed a break to mature some more, which is never a bad thing! In around March 2021, Prince commenced his saddle education again, still just at home, and we ticked away with his flat work training.
June 2021 came around quick! This was Prince’s first ride around at a show. He was so brave riding around with the big horses as he had never done anything like this before. He took to this very quickly and competed at the Gosnells Masters GN Qualifier as his official ridden show in August. Gaining some extra confidence from this show, he then attended the EWA HOTY in the SEC indoor arena the following weekend and was awarded 2nd Runner Up Pony of the Year and Champion Child’s Large Pony, qualifying him for the EA Nationals in both events! A dream come true!
Success is always exciting, but we were just so happy with how Prince had taken to ridden showing life. He put forward some exceptionally good workouts for a pony just starting out under saddle, and carried the child riders around safely and beautifully.
Fast forward to 2022, and Prince had blown us away with the exceptional year that he has had. As a breeder, all you wish for is that your ponies are loved and cherished, success at shows is just the icing on the cake.
This year, Prince has won both the EWA and SHC Newcomer Pony of the Year, Champion Large Pony and Supreme Show Pony overall at both the EWA Autumn Pageant and EWA Winter Gala Show, Champion Large Show Pony and Champion Child’s Large Pony at SHC Classic and SHC Western Stars (both Grand National qualifiers), Runner Up at EWA HOTY Large Pony and Winner Child’s Large Pony EWA HOTY (EA Nationals qualifier), Runner Up at SHC HOTY Child’s Large Pony, as well as winning at his first ridden Perth Royal Show. An unbelievable first full season under saddle.
He is spunky, he is charming, and he is our Prince. It is so rewarding taking a home bred baby, all the way from conception, through to foaling, bringing up as a young stock, breaking in, educating and producing to compete in high level competitions. Prince always does us proud, he performs faultless workouts, and carries his child riders around in the child’s classes beautifully. Thank you to the three young girls who have guided him around his first season of child’s classes – Jane Gundry, Codie Lambert and Serena Smith, well done girls you are all very talented young riders. Happy showing all, on to 2023.
– Brittany & Caris Reside