2013 Newsletter

Uploaded : 23 Dec 13

Newsletter 2013
I know full well that it’s a sign of maturing, not of getting older, that time gains momentum but it really doesn’t seem that 12 months have passed since the last up-date. As ever each part of Langaller Farm’s businesses over lap. The first foals are born whilst the hunters are still in work, show prep starts before coverings start and youngstock and later foaling mares are turned away; then when covering is full swing the shows start and before you know it the hunters are coming up from grass, coverings slow down, hunting starts and shows finish. Then it’s weaning, bringing the ‘herd’ in for the winter, and here we are again. A month or so ago we sat around the breakfast table and the girls drew up the list of horses that are here over the winter, which ones need individual stables, which ones are going into barns and which ‘darlings’ will be left out on the hill because they lack the tolerance required for happy barns!!!! I daren’t admit to the final tally but suffice to say we are full up. If anyone is looking for a smart youngster or a broodie then do come and look, make me an offer.
The first foals started arriving at the end of March and thankfully the spring was kind and we were soon able to turn out daily. Additional second-hand camera’s meant that we could monitor 4 foaling boxes and more often than not all were in full employment. Increasingly we foal mares for customers and I believe this year we foaled over 30 mares in all. Thankfully most were straight forward and by the end of May the fields were packed with mares and their foals. There are few more lovely sights than mares/cows/ewes out grazing with their offspring playing around them.
We attended a couple of stallion shows to help promote Langaller Farm and to show off our young stallion. Hartbury is very early in the year but it is a very well run show and very well attended and so we took Langaller Starring Role {Roly} as his first outing as a fully graded stallion. He is so amazing and takes everything in his stride and enjoyed showing off indoors, shown by his regular rider Lucy Loughton. Then we travelled up t’North for the Yorkshire Sport’s Horse Stallion parade in Richmond with Roly and our lovely Connemara Newtown Pedro. Claire Howarth came as co-driver, which is a luxury I could get used to, and Lucy rode both stallions. Roly, again, was impeccable and won many compliments and gained some new ‘wives’. Pedro thought going to a show where he could jump was the best fun and was jumping the wings; so much more fun than flat showing. He too attracted some new mares so it was worth the trip, but it was flippin’ cold, and it snowed.
Roly started his proper job at Larkhill. His first ever BE event. I shouldn’t have been surprised really but yet again he did everything that Lucy asked him and led after the dressage and duly won his section. First event, first win. He was 2nd in his next run and placed again subsequently before stud duties meant that he had to come home, initially for 6 weeks. However he covered 37 mares and so he didn’t go back to Lucy until the end of August. He instantly switched into ridden mode and with a few weeks was competing again and won his BE100 and was placed second in just 3 runs. Currently he is at home working with the hunters and taking his turn hunting. All being well he will be competing BE again early in the 2014 season.
In 2011 our home-bred mare Langaller Eve’n Keel won the local Hunter class at our Local Devon County show. It is always a very well supported class and I was thrilled. This year her half brother Langaller Eve’n So by Prince Of Darkness picked up the baton. He had been broken by Clare and had been with Matt Cadman to be ridden away. To be eligible for the class they have to be owned and ridden by a resident of Devon. Helen West had shown Pinkie {she was born pink} for us in 2011 and so she agreed to show Robot {don’t know why he’s called Robot} in 2013. His first ever ridden show and he won it! No mean achievement. He stayed with Helen for a couple of weeks after the show and she twice took him un-affiliated show jumping where he jumped double clears both times. Workers here we come! Devon County was a very good show for us. Chantry Clover Girl repeated her 2012 win in her Broodmare class which got her a pass for the Cuddy qualifier on the Saturday. Doreen Hoare’s Small Hunter filly Langaller Sun Bird won her class and stood reserve Champion. Doreen’s other filly, Langaller Diadem was 2nd in her Riding Horse 3 year old class and Stephen’s Riding Horse Broodmare and foal both won their respective classes. Marian Pascoe’s 3 year old Langaller Blue Print was somewhat thrown in at the deep end having only been with us 3 weeks prior to the show and hadn’t ever been shown. He coped well and was well placed, more importantly he travelled and loaded brilliantly. All Cuddy qualifiers are a lottery having to compete with Champions from every breed and type. I think at Devon County 20 individuals vie for their ticket to the final at Horse Of The Year Show. It is always a nail biting class as gradually the last 6 or 8 are pulled forward from the line, then the last 3 and eventually the overall winner and reserve are called forward. We have been fortunate to win a few of these qualifiers but never on home ground before. Chantry Clover Girl however put that right and was pulled forward as the Overall Supreme In-Hand Champion of the show and qualified for HOYS. A fantastic achievement for her and just the best feeling for all of us involved behind the scene. Especially nice for her owner Richard Oliver. Bath and West follows on where Langaller Diadem was 2nd and Langaller Blue Print was 3rd. A very quiet day with just 2 horses on board. Royal Cornwall wasn’t so quiet! Doreen’s Langaller Sun Bird went one better than Devon County by winning and taking the Small Hunter Championship, Langaller Diadem won her class and stood Champion Riding Horse over Stephen’s broodmare Trenavey Irish Mist in Reserve. Chris Imrie’s Castletown, by Sandy’s Light, made his debut and stood a very commendable 2nd in a strong class for 3 year old geldings. Sadly although we had 2 Champions and so 2 chances in the Cuddy on the Friday I couldn’t show under the appointed judge owing to a business connection with her and so neither could compete which is very frustrating; thankfully Doreen is a very understanding owner. Three Counties turned into quite a marathon. Unfortunately their Hunter Breeding and Riding Horse Breeding classes are on separate days. So, not to have to keep horses on site for both days we chose to leave home at 2.30 am on the Saturday with the Hunters, then home in the evening and then set forth again at 3am the next morning with the Riding Horses! Langaller Eve’n Keel was second in the Lightweight Hunter Broodmare class and her foal by Roly won and was Champion Foal. The two 3 year olds went head to head in a very strong class. Oscar {Castletown} was 5th and B.P.{Blue Print} was 7th I think. Trenavey Irish Mist maintained her unbeaten record in the riding Horse Broodmares, Langaller Diadem won and stood Champion Riding Horse so well worth the effort. Sadly for poor Doreen another ‘connection’ with the Cuddy judge meant that her filly had to miss another chance of her HOYS ticket. It’s so rare for this to happen and we had it twice in 10 days.
Local one day shows run practically back to back in July and August we are very lucky to have them. Speaking to friends from other areas in the Country these shows seem to be unique to the Westcountry. We like to support as many as we can. Marian’s Langaller Blue Print and Chris’s Castletown were well into the swing of being show horses by now and I think I am right in saying that one or other won at every show. Castletown was Champion at Totnes and Liskeard, B.P was Champion at Honiton, Okehampton and Chagford where he was also Supreme Champion.
We have never campaigned Ridden show horses simply because we generally sell our horses unbroken however 2013 saw us dip our toe into the Ridden classes. Robot had returned to Matt after Devon County and was looking fantastic and going beautifully and so I took the plunge and asked Katie Jerram if she would take on a novice Middleweight for the end of the season. She agreed and so Robot was duly taken to Katie’s yard just 10 days before his first show at Wales and West in mid August. It was a HOYS qualifier, nothing like pushing him in deep but it was a good venue and not too far from home. I am not generally a very stressful person but then I am usually in charge! Now I was just a spectator. Needless to say that Katie’s girls had him looking great and he went in the ring and took it all in his stride. He was pulled in top of the line in a class of 12 or 14. Di and Clare were there to watch him too, and Matt had travelled down from Warwick to see his debut and he and I stood in silence. Robot stayed at the top and won and qualified for HOYS in his first ever open class. I was so delighted, words cannot describe it. Lots of hugs for Robot afterwards and kiss for Katie and I was flying. We returned to our viewing spot to watch the Championship and were chatting amongst ourselves and not really watching. Matt nudged me, ‘’ He’s got it!’’. I looked up and saw Robot standing forward and taking the Championship ribbon. I was quite literally speechless. My gast was flabbered! Not because he isn’t the most lovely horse, but because I bred him, he’s by my stallion and out of my mare and all of a sudden he is a fully fledged, grown up show horse. Needless to say I floated home. He went to Bucks County where he was 3rd and then onto the Hunter Show where he won the Novice middleweights. Bucks was also a good show for the in-handers. Castletown stood second in a very strong class of 3 year olds to the Champion and eventual Cuddy winner. Irish Mist won her section and Diadem was second in hers. Within a week we were back up the motorway to the National Hunter Show with both lorries. Chantry Clover Girl won her light-weight Broodmare class and was reserve Champion mare, her foal by Roly was second and Reserve Champion foal. Castletown was 2nd in his class to the Champion and on the last day was Champion British Bred. Result!! Langaller Diadem won the 3 year old filly class and was Champion filly. Langaller Sun Bird retained her unbeaten record by standing top of the 2 year old Small Hunters. HOYS is always the end to the season and to have a ridden and a led horse there was a dream, albeit a very expensive one. Matt rode Robot in the middle-weights, he behaved and went beautifully which was all I wanted. After all he is only 5 and it was only his 4th show. Chantry Clover Girl stood fifth in the Cuddy, very commendable when you think how few hunters even get there. We are already picking our ‘team’ for 2014 with some exciting new faces waiting in the wings. There is no denying it’s an expensive hobby but it is a lot of fun and we always welcome new owners to join us either with their own horses or with a homebred from Langaller.
On the stud side, which we mustn’t forget is the core of Langaller Farm, visiting mare numbers were up on 2012. Plenty of grass and fantastic weather no doubt helped but 2013 was our best season to date for conceptions. Our vets. are simply brilliant and play a vital role. A number of mares visit us to be A.I.’d to outside stallions with either chilled or frozen semen. Again Richard and Jamie achieve a fantastic conception rate, thanks in no small part to their dedication and passion for breeding resulting in a few inseminations at silly o clock but the results speak for themselves. There was a noticeable increase in interest in the ‘traditional’ Irish Draught and Connemara cross on to Thoroughbred mares which do make such lovely all round horses. Keady Star is producing so many beautiful coloured horses that his popularity is secure and Colbeach Nightlight is confirmed as one of the top producers of Hacks and Riding Horses. Sea Heir ticks all of the boxes if you are looking for a full Thoroughbred specifically bred for the competition sector.
Roly was only a 4 year old when he graded with SHB and so he had to return for his second assessment in 2013. Again he wowed the judges and for the second year running was Champion of the grading. That really is no mean achievement. To have been Champion once is fantastic, to repeat it is incredible and real conformation of just how exciting this young stallion really is.
2012 was my sabbatical from hound puppies and it looked like 2014 was going to be blank too but thankfully Bounty and Bother joined us in mid summer. They are draft puppies to The South Devon from Michael Scott at The Old Berks. They were slightly older than we normally have them and were definitely slightly more ‘independent’ shall I say. They very quickly settled though and have become the most genuine, lovely pups. They are still here and seem perfectly content to hang around the yard, moving from stable to stable as we muck out and come exercising on most days. Thankfully we have some very quiet lanes and it is lovely to hack out with the 2 pups, an Irish Setter and a JR all jogging on ahead. A fellow puppy walker called in and couldn’t believe that they were out all day without running off. And I’m not sure if he was appalled or impressed that they sleep by the Aga, curled up with the other dogs and the cat. And they are house trained!!
There is more to life at Langaller than just horses, thankfully. 2013 included Dad’s 80th birthday and so that had to be celebrated, of course. One of Dad’s passions is Male Voice Choirs and so I contacted a friend of his who conducts the Petrockstowe Male Voice Choir back in April. Norman agreed to bring them to Bovey to give a concert. It was going to be a surprise. At Devon County Show Dad saw another friend who is a member of the choir and who didn’t realise it was a secret and he said to Dad that the Choir was coming to Bovey. Dad rang Norman to check, Norman rang me and said ‘’What do I say?’’. We came clean and in fact it added to the enjoyment because Dad had 6 months of looking forward to the concert and telling and inviting many, many friends. We did manage to keep a birthday lunch party for 40 odd friends and family on the day of the concert quiet and we all enjoyed a lovely time with so much laughter and leg-pulling. {Not all of the 40 were odd} As a family we are blessed with the ability to laugh at others!!
Stephen’s Call Duck flock have become more stream lined and now consist of just either Apricots and Butterscotches, oh and a pair of Yellow Bellies. At one point I think he had every colour possible. I have to say I quite like the Whites. They are lovely ducks and so cheeky, real characters. The last of the Whites now reside at East Lockinge with Henrietta Knight as she lost her drake to a fox.
When I first had Irish Setters I wanted to breed them but neither bitch would even come into season let alone breed so that plan went out of the window. However my JR bitch came in season in the spring and a JR dog duly arrived in a van, served her once and left and 8 weeks later she had 7 lovely pups. She hid upstairs and we thought she was starting, then she came down to the chair in the kitchen and had 4, one after the other, with all of us around her. She had a break for about an hour and then had 2 more. We lifted her and her family into the whelping box in the hall and left her quiet. Later when we counted there were 7! Bless her! She reared all 7 on her own, all of them of equal size and strength and all 7 found homes and most come and visit from time to time.
I’d like to thank Stephen, Steph and Kelly for all their help throughout the year, I know that without them Langaller simply wouldn’t function. Also to Di, Clare and Loraine for all the hours they give to helping at shows etc. And to Matt, Lucy and Katie for producing the ridden horses so beautifully; Stuart Taylor, our farrier and Richard Stringer and Jamie Gibbs whose veterinary care is second to none. All of the above mentioned play an integral part in the running and success of Langaller Farm.

May I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and successful 2014, I hope Langaller can be part of it.