On a lovely hot sunny day in the summer of 2011, I met up with Sue Loveridge & we went to visit Gadebrook Stud to look at a young mare for Sue to buy as she recently lost her grand old lad Dancer (Gallant Cavalier). Gadebrook Stud is situated at Tansor Lodge Farm, near Oundle. We drove up the gravel drive to the beautiful farmhouse. It is a lovely, quiet haven, just off a major road. Sue and I wandered up the track to the barn looking for Anne Brown, who owns the stud and found her there, with a wonderful selection of mares. They were mainly Russian, along with the predominantly Crabbet mare we had come to see, Bright Dawn.
Dawn was gorgeous, stood there waiting patiently whilst we introduced ourselves to each other, then her. A chesnut girl, with plenty of white and the sweetest temperament. After seeing Dawn lunged, then ridden, Sue rode her in the field, then asked to ride her up the bridleway that runs alongside the farm. Dawn had been backed the previous spring by dressage expert Emma Thomas
As they went off, Anne gave me such a treat, a guided tour of all her horses. We started with two younger girls. First asking for attention was the 100% Crabbet filly Silver Sunbeam, the 2-year old daughter of Binley Prince Salim (who has successfully started endurance with Susan Hawes and is now in his second season and qualified for Advanced level). Sunbeam looks as though she will become a real athlete & very elegant. In the field with her was Rhapsody in Blue, a 6-year old 100% Crabbet mare by Shaded Silver out of Summertime Blues (by Indian Idyll - sire of Crystal Eyas). A very different type, tall & strong, with that wonderful temperament that Anne's horses possess. Rhapsody is being retained by Anne as her riding and show mare.
After that we went the field containing the Russian mares. First up was
Al Wajbah, a bay mare by Anne's AHS Premium racing champion and leading
racing sire, Sambist. She was a gentle, upstanding mare, enjoying the
shade of her shelter. I learned that she is an AHS Premium mare with several
successful offspring on the racecourse. With her was GAS Pepelka, another
AHS Premium mare through her race-winning offspring Iin foal to Sambist
for 2012), and Jazmyn, a third AHS Premium mare in foal again to Sambist.
This will be her fourth by him. All were lovely athletic mares, so it
is hardly surprising their offspring have achieved such success.
Finally, came the moment I personally had been waiting for - an introduction to Anne's absolutely drop-dead gorgeous 15.3hh mahogany bay stallion, Sambist. Whilst he is an older lad, now 24 years young, he still covers naturally, showing an excellent fertility rate. We entered his paddock, and Anne called him over. He came across with the poise, movement and charisma of a stallion who knows he rules his kingdom, but yet again with great care and gentleness of a real gent.
He came up to me, and promptly announced he really would like me to scratch his head, which he brought down low for me. It was wonderful to be able to fuss Sambist, who was loose in his own territory, with absolutely certainty that he would be a true gentleman. He is a tall boy, with great power coupled with outstanding conformation. It was instantly clear why he sires such lovely, athletic stock who produce results on the racecourse.
It would be wonderful to see more Sambist progeny on the endurance circuit, as he will improve the quality of any mare to produce a serious foal for the future in ER's. That coupled with his excellent, chilled nature, should make them easy to handle in vet gates. He has won the AHS Champion Racehorse Sire of the Year seven times, he was an outstanding champion himself, in Russia, the Middle East, Europe and the UK in races up to 2 miles 7 f. He won 18 races & retired sound, that's one helluva record.
I hope more endurance mare owners do make use of Sambist whilst he is still available. Horses like this don't come along very often.
After cuddles from his mum, Sue and myself, we left Sambist to keep a close eye over his visiting mares who had recently arrived. After a tasty lunch cooked for us by Anne, we headed home, discussing Dawn all the way. I then left Sue to mull over everything and make a decision whilst I carried on to visit my parents.
Since then, Anne has sent me a wonderful photo of one of her new arrivals this year, a gorgeous chestnut filly, Palmyra, by Klinta Sultan out of Palma Benay. Another fine youngster to continue the heritage of breeding quality at Gadebrook.
The final note is Sue bought Bright Dawn and collected her that weekend.
Dawn settled within minutes, telling Spyde (Siberiia) that she was the
new boss to which he instantly agreed. Sue and Dawn have had a great time
together this summer, and Sue absolutely adores her sweet girl. This is
only possible because of Anne's exemplary breeding programme & the
wonderful way the horses are handled there, then dressage trained for
4 months. After Dancer's passing, the future for Sue has started with
a Bright Dawn.