Uploaded : 17 Feb 09

Maybe it is peculiar to Devon, or just the fact that I’m getting older but I don’t remember noticing the autumn colours ever being so vibrant and rich before. For at least 3 weeks every time I drove anywhere or even looked across the fields at home I was in awe of the bright orange and rich gold and fire red. With no significant frost these leaves lasted until the end of November. On the whole the autumn weather has been reasonably kind to us, it is now early December and we still have a number of youngsters living out although not for much longer. Whilst musing about the weather {I am aging all too rapidly, I know} we had a lovely summer, the sun shone and the birds sang and the early foaling went well. Then by the second week of April it clouded over. By the third week of May it was raining continuously, by June I think the average temperature was around 10 degrees and it felt more like Christmas than mid-summer. To celebrate we lit the fire. And so it remained throughout most of season. Surprisingly conception rates were good. However the adverse weather did make for a lot of extra work for Stephen, Sarah, Steph and Dani. As well as the stallions and show stock in stables, at the end of July we had as many as 16 mares with young foals stabled at night.
We had one new stallion this season namely the Irish Draught Sandy’s Light. Although not really my type I just love this horse. Tall for a Draught standing probably nearly 17hh, he is very light in his action and movement and has the kindest temperament. He is more like a dog really, very affectionate and gentle in an oafish kind of way. He reminds me very much of that big, hairy character in Harry Potter played by Robbie Coltrane…….can’t remember his name. We have used Sandy on some of our own mares and will certainly do so again in ’09. I am quietly a little excited by him, I really think he could prove to be a star.
Catherston Dazzler again covered a number of very good mares, and all bar 2 I think, are in foal. He has an incredible record for fertility. I’m guessing that in the last 3 seasons he will have covered about 100 or so mares with conception rates of 95% plus. I think that is fantastic for an older stallion.
Leo is as busy as ever. His popularity just grows year on year which I guess is no surprise. Where else can you find such a versatile stallion with the conformation and temperament that he has? He is 17 now but fit and hunting this season.
Daws Firebird belies his 22 years. Again he attracts a good book of mares each year. We have a lovely filly by him this year who is a definite show prospect for next season and we have a 2 year old hack filly coming here to be produced for ’09.
No Submission, again in advanced years now, is climbing to the top of the tree as a sire of top class show horses. A 4 year old by him qualified for Horse Of The Year this term, no mean achievement for a first season horse. Trenavey Consent by No Submission was unbeaten throughout the summer and again we have another 2 year old by him for next season. No matter what sort of mare he covers you can guarantee very smart, good moving, good fronted off-spring.
Prince Of Darkness, of course, is perfect in everyway! Biased, me? Its no secret that the sun does indeed shine from his every pore. I think he now has 7 Advanced Eventing off-spring and numerous others coming through the ranks as well as his team of in hand and ridden show horses and working hunters.
Weld features in practically every list of sires for National Hunt and Point to Point horses. In Horse and Hound last week the first horse listed as one to watch for the coming season is Chesnut Annie by Weld. As his racehorses have proven that his progeny can gallop and jump he is rightfully popular within the Eventing field and has covered 2 4* mares this season, and both in foal on 1st covering. Weld would be every bit as ‘potent’ as Dazzler.
Catherston Liberator is such an impressive stallion. Although standing at just under 16.2hh. His carriage and stature show him as much stronger type. We have a couple of outstanding foals by him and he does seem to be a stallion that when you have used him once you use again. He already has Advanced event progeny and there are many more in the pipeline. Liberator has returned to Catherston for the time being and is back competing in the Dressage arena.
Shipton Teasel is another of our more senior stallions. He runs with his mares and lives out 24/7 with Clover. She is an old barren mare, neither green, four-leaved nor lucky. But Irish! Teasel is such a good cross on the TB type of mares as well as the pure-bred Connemara’s. I have in fact just agreed a deal on a pure bred son of his……….watch this space.
Our show season started as usual at our local Devon County. A quiet start for us numerically with just 3 youngsters ready. My 3 year old filly {Langaller Eve’n Keel [Pinkie]}by Kuwait Beach out of Eve’s Wish had her 1st outing since a foal, She stands a good 17hh and has taken until now to mature and body down enough. She won her class and stood Champion. That’s my girl! Eve’s Wish is THE most consistant breeder. She has had 5 foals for us and every single one a Champion. Trenavey Consent {Connie} bred by Stephen and now owned by Jane Ellis, by No Submission out of Irish Breeze won her 2 year old Riding Horse class and stood Res Champion. Jane’s other filly the 2 year old hack Delta Tango {Lupin} by Delta stood second in her class and was Res Champion. 1 Champion and 2 Reserves! Liz May’s coloured filly by Leo won the very strong Coloured Yearling class. On to Bath and West with just Pinkie and Connie next. Pinkie won her class and stood Champion Youngstock and Reserve Champion Led Hunter to the lovely broodmare Nutwood Exhibitionist. Connie took on the 2 year old hunter fillies and won. 2 horses, 2 wins, 1 Championship. Royal Cornwall is usually a good show for us. Again we set off with the girls. Pinkie stood 2nd in the mixed 3 year old class. Connie won the 2 year old Hunter Filly class. Lupin was second in her 2 year old hack class and Reserve Hack Youngstock Champion. Connie then won her 2 year old Riding Horse class and stood Champion of this section. Cheshire County was to be Eve’s Wishe’s {Fanny} only outing this year and I think sadly probably her last show as age is catching up with her and having had a number of foals we are now struggling to keep enough condition on her. Mother and daughter {Pinkie} headed North and Pinkie retained her run by taking the open 3 year old class and the led Championship. Fanny twisted herself unloading and so wasn’t just level and so although pulled top of her class initially we asked to be excused. However her colt foal by Prince Of Darkness won the foal class and it was really for his benefit that we had taken them. He is such a lovely foal and I am looking forward to showing him in youngstock classes. He is offered for sale as a matter of policy but I hope he stays. The Royal was next and the first outing this season for Stephen’s Riding Horse Broodmare Endeavour. We were delighted with her 2nd place in a very strong class. Connie won her 2 year old Riding Horse class. Next was our annual pilgrimage to Yorkshire for the Great Yorkshire show. This year was the first time that we didn’t take any broodmares but again Pinkie and Connie were our representatives. These two have been absolute stars throughout the year and again both won their respective classes. Connie and Lupin then went home to Jane’s for a well earned rest and Pinkie was turned out for a month. It is so tempting to over show youngsters when they are doing well but you have to remember their age and too much travelling is not good for their limbs. It sounds as if mine travel a lot but in fact Connie only did 5 shows and Pinkie 7. We finished our show season at The National Hunter Show where Pinkie won both the 3 year Hunter and Sports Horse classes. Producing young horses to be shown in hand has always been part of our business plan at Langaller and it is the aspect of the business that we may well try to expand. It is particularly gratifying to show off-spring of our stallions although we by no means limit our ‘team’ to fit this criteria.
Most of you will know either through visiting us at home or through these letters that hound puppies are an integral part of life for us. In 2007 we walked Steward and Stylish, and then later in the season Dollar and Dorcus. Dollar was quite an independent soul and was soon starting to wander and so didn’t stay with us too long. However Dorcus was the absolute opposite and stayed with us until early May this year and only then went to kennels reluctantly so as to be ready for the puppy show in June. This years couple arrive quite early, by the end of March I think and Dorcus immediately took charge and looked after his younger ‘brother and sister’. Bashful and Barnacle. Sadly Barnacle met a premature end when he was trampled by an over protective mare. Over the years I’ve lost count of the number of hounds that we have walked and this is the first one that we’ve lost. Not the first to be stood on but the first that we have lost. There was another dog hound puppy from the same litter still to be placed and so number 3 arrived. As I said a dog puppy, from the same litter but un-named. So his name had to begin with BA. And so we called him Barry……obviously! Bashful was never bashful, in fact completely the opposite. She was very self-assured and self confident and didn’t take telling from man nor beast. Barry was just Barry. Happy, loving, quiet and contented, and happy just to be around the yard. Well initially anyway. As always with a good hound he did start to get the wander lust and he and sister started to go hunting and so they went back into kennels in September. Bashful did have one ride in the dog wardens van but I evaded being charged as she had been picked up in Ashburton Road and although we never use it in our address we actually live on Ashburton Road and so I claimed that in fact she hadn’t gone anywhere. I think Barry has had to adjust to ‘Barrister’.
All the foals are now weaned, the hunters are up, clipped and fit, broodmares and youngsters are in the barns and we will soon be turning our attentions to 2009 and whatever it holds for us. We have put all of the foals and yearlings up for sale simply to reduce numbers and workload and they are all listed on our website [www.langallerfarm.co.uk}. I am not good at selling horses that I like, it is very satisfying to see a field of beautiful home bred horses but with my commercial hat on we have to breed to sell. The two young Event stallions are also for sale. Langaller Bisto is a coloured 6 year old colt by Leo out of good Thoroughbred mare. He has been placed PN and N this season. Trenavey Matson is, we believe the only stallion son of the Advanced stallion Matinee Du Madon and out of a Shaab mare who was just 4 points short of Advanced herself before she broken her pedal bone in a cattle grid. Matson is 5 and has had 2 runs at Intro at the end of this season just for education and will be up and ready for 2009.
We have had our first prospective viewings of stallions for 2009 matings and so we roll on into 2009. It is such an uncertain time with everyone’s financial status somewhat unstable but I do feel that if you have mare that you wish to breed from then you should, whether it is for your own use or to sell on. I am very proud of our stallions but they are ageing and if you want to use them I would urge you to do so sooner rather then later. There is always a demand for good stock whether they are horses, cattle or other and in these less than certain times…………..quality will out.

May we wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

From all of us at Langaller Farm

Charles, Stephen, Sarah, Steph, Dani and Rose