Writtle College recently received the opportunity to have three mares inseminated with semen from the superb World Ranked stallions Grafenstolz and Royaldik. This opportunity was presented to the College by Ken Rehill, owner of ‘The Stallion Company’, when he visited Writtle to lecture to undergraduate and postgraduate students on equine breeding programmes earlier this year.
Ken described his sponsorship offer to the College: “This offer was born out of my visit to the College in April this year. During my visit, when talking with academics and students about the future of British sports horse breeding, I discovered that Writtle College were trying to improve the quality of young stock that they are breeding but that they were not always able to afford the highest calibre stallions to cover their mares. It occurred to me then that I could offer the students something different as a focus for their studies, and wanted to see them using the top stallions in the UK. This forms part of The Stallion Company's ongoing project to put something back into British breeding each year, hopefully improving the standards as we roll out more and more foals. I feel that it is particularly important that we educate the students, who will become the breeders of the future, for the long term benefit of the industry as a whole”.
Pennie Wallace, Senior Lecturer in Equine Studies at Writtle College, said: “We hope that by breeding these three mares to Grafenstolz, the 2004 World 6 Year Old Eventing Champion and international three star eventer, and Royaldik, a Bundeschampion, that we will produce foals of the highest calibre for the next generation of British international riders to produce. We are thrilled and really excited with the opportunity to use The Stallion Company's stallions this season - it will certainly provide a vital boost to our breeding programme and also to the education of Writtle College students who are already involved with the British Young Breeders teams going to France for the World Championships in July, and are also producing horses for the BEF Futurity being held here at Writtle College.”
The three mares selected for these sponsored breeding’s are all very good candidates with top quality bloodlines. Cornish Queen, who is on loan to Writtle College for breeding purposes, was bred by former Olympic rider Bridget Parker, out of the four star mare - Cornish Faer, who was shortlisted for the Atlanta Olympics with Bridget’s daughter Katie Burton. Cornish Queen's sire Rock King was an international eventer himself, whose career was unfortunately cut short by an accident whilst competing.
The homebred mare Lordships Lollipop is a granddaughter of the first horse that the College ever owned - Lordships Blodwen. Lollipop’s mother, Rosie May was sold by the College as a four year old and went on to compete in the Burghley Young Event Horse Final and then progressed to Intermediate eventing with her owner Rosalind Cecil-Platt, before being loaned back to Writtle as a broodmare. The sire of Lordships Lollipop, Broadstone Landmark, previously stood at Writtle College when he was owned by senior lecturer Tim Whitaker. Broadstone Landmark is also the sire of Mark Todd's 2011 Badminton winner and exciting 2012 Olympic prospect – NZB Land Vision.
The third mare, the Thoroughbred Mizz Southgate, has already produced a BEF Futurity Eventing Higher First Premium winner – Lordships Australis who was also produced by Writtle College students to contest the National Eventing Championships at Osberton last year.
All three of these mares became pregnant on their first cycle; such is the quality of the semen from both of these UK top selling stallions, and the veterinary work at Writtle. One of the mares was inseminated by final year student Jessica Gunnulfsen, under veterinary supervision. Congratulations to Jessica, who with other final year breeding students had recently completed her AI Technician’s training at Twemlows Hall Stud.
For further information about the Stallion Company please visit www.thestallioncompany.com
The College offers a number of courses in Equine related studies from short courses right through to postgraduate level. Please visit www.writtle.ac.uk to find out more.