Open House at Gadebrook 2008

(A personal comment by Margaret Bower of Northern Star Arabians Aberdeenshire)

The weather was on our side for Anne's Open Day, with field to field sunshine. On arrival, we discovered that numerous visitors had preceded us.

Rosemary Archer, her daughters Caroline Sussex and Elizabeth Archer, along with Valda Angier her daughter Lorna Ewin, Faye and Bruce Copeland from Koah Stud in Australia were all tucking into mouth-watering dishes of fresh blackberries with meringues and cream. I almost forgot the Crabbet horses at the sight of these delights! Unfortunately we missed meeting Amanda Bourne from South Africa and Andrea Orr of the USA.

Having poured over Anne's Arabic stylized pedigrees, admired wonderful art work by Peter Upton, depicting Summertime Blues and her filly Rose of Summer, and magnificent portraits, including one of Sambist, by Catherine Putnam plus authentic illuminated pedigrees by Lady Wentworth of Rissalix, Silver Fire, Indian Gold and Rishafieh, it was time to tour the stud.

The house stands at the heart of the stud with a traditional U-shaped sheltered yard surrounded by well planned paddocks. Our first pleasure was the majestic Premium stallion Sambist (Balaton x Stihia), a tall dark bay of Tersk breeding who at 15.3hh with plenty of bone and substance looked every bit the racehorse that he has already proved himself to be having achieved nineteen wins, AHS "Racehorse Sire of the Year" on four occasions and twice UK Long Distance Champion. We were impressed not only by his stature but by his large jowl, considerable kind eye and gentle temperament.

The next stallion paddock revealed the handsome head and long neck of an elegant Binley Prince Salim. Bred by Caroline Sussex by Prince Sadik out of Silvern Image his lineage is of the purple. Two of the stud's pure Crabbet mares are in foal to him for 2009. The first of these, a three-year old grey aptly named Rhapsody in Blue, by Shaded Silver out of Summertime Blues is a classical Crabbet filly, well-muscled, with deep body, good width of chest and straight strong limbs. PHA Silver Heart, a grey 17-year old by Silver Fahd out of Magic Heart. Their progeny must surely be a hundred percent success. Salim is booked for training with Ben Martin who has achieved so many ridden championships with his full brother Ikoni.

Having seen, in an earlier Crabbet Journal, the advert for a bay filly from Leon Bennett's Pevensey Stud in Australia and having longed for a bay, particularly one of pure Crabbet breeding, I was really keen to see Palma Benay by the beautiful Pevensey Safari out of Petra Benay. At three years old, she has more time to grow yet already sports a good front and stands over plenty of ground. Not having the resources to import a bay myself, I had to suppress the ugly head of the green eyed monster! I do wish Anne every success in reintroducing bay Crabbet genes to Britain.

Next to arrest our attention elegant, rich bay Rizaari of the pronounced dish and jibbah, who last year won Crabbet Class at the South East Region Spring show as well as the Wessex and whom Anne has happily obtained on loan from Valda Angier. For 2009 she is due to foal to Sambist. A blend of the best features of these two could produce a statuesque stunner.

Rizarri greets visitors at Gadebrook's 2008 Open House

The four-year old home bred Kalish (Crystal Magic x Kumasha) is another pretty bay who already has a foal at foot by Sambist. Hussam, a bay colt has now booked a new home and future endurance career with Fiona Dillon in Shropshire.

It cannot be common to see so many bays at a British Arabian stud, yet it must be equally rare to see more than one AHS premium mare. Gadebrook has THREE. Eleven year old bay Al Wajbah (Sambist x Siena by Banat), is of this category along through her race-winning offspring, and Jazmyn is another. Out of Sophy, the latter is a divine deep-bodied chestnut, 93% Crabbet from Harwood and a reflection of her prepotent sire Kasadi. Her impressive chestnut colt foal, Sakr by Sambist had eyes that caught mine. Gadebrook's third Premium Mare, Sunne in Silver, is under saddle at Kit Rolfe's enjoying a meteoric dressage career that saw her 4th, at her first attempt, in the 2007 Performance Awards.

Next, we met the attractive, well grown chestnut, two-year old Bright Dawn by the Sequin Stud's celebrated Bright Cavalier out of Anne's gorgeous old mare Zaharina. She possessed a long swinging stride, good head and eye. Later, her aptitude impressed us when she and stud groom Jackie Pringle illustrated a few Richard Maxwell techniques.

Her companion was the grey gelding Remynisce who, very tall for his age, is a rather interesting yearling being bred by Anne using frozen semen from Remington Steele, American "Living Legend", Tevis Cup winner and the 2005 WAHO Horse of the year in the USA.. Anne represents Remington Steele in Britain and is an agent for his top quality frozen semen.

Why is it that I always fall for the oldest mares at a stud? Here, Zaharina (Ludomino x Zarah whose lines trace back through Ziree el Wada), 20-year old chestnut, with short cannons, good straight legs high set tail and 45 degree shoulder was no exception. Whilst Nishtar (Jubilee Star x Bint Nishida), pure Crabbet and at 15 a comparative youngster, was another lovely chestnut of gentle nature and honest eye to demand several second glances that revealed the same attributes.

We had a very enjoyable time in a congenial atmosphere attributable not only to Anne but also to her dedicated and happy team of helpers. In general summary what we had seen at Gadebrook was a collection of horses of substance, depth of body, strong limbs, high set tails and long croups. Anne clearly aims to produce horses that can perform, to maintain the Crabbet tradition, increase the number of pure Crabbets available whilst trying to avoid too narrow a gene pool and to re-establish the bay Crabbet. These are goals with which I imagine we all empathies.