By Caroline Ironside (Mar 10)
"Quainton Stud" is a name that is prominent in the world of International Showjumping, through their flagship horses "Robin Hood W" by Animo ridden by Ben Maher who was the Leading British Show Jumping Horse of 2009, and more recently, the grey gelding "Wonderboy III" by Flamenco de Semilly. Wonderboy III’s victory in the Rolex Grand Prix in Zurich at the end of January was voted ‘Performance of the Month’ for January by the British Showjumping Association.
Besides the International Showjumpers, Mike and Emma Phillips have a state of the art Stud and Showjumping facility, that has also been nominated as one of the official training camps for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The facilities available at Quainton are second to none, with the Stud set in amongst 300 acres of beautiful countryside in Buckinghamshire. No expense has been spared on this lavish set-up, which can only be seen as a haven for breeding stock.
Emma took some time out of her busy schedule to speak exclusively to Horse Breeders Magazine.
Wonderboy III with Ben Maher
I asked Emma what the background to Quainton was:
"Quainton Stud was founded in 2005, we were fortunate enough to acquire the most ideal surroundings for raising young horses. We set out to source the best quality bloodlines available to purchase out of Germany at the time.
Everybody in the UK refers to Europe when talking about breeding Sport horses. We looked at some well established models of breeding farms over there, and recreated to the best of our ability the same thing but on a smaller scale here at Quainton."
Quainton currently stand four breeding stallions at stud - Quirifino Quainton, Chateau de Brion, Stallone Quainton and Lancelot Quainton. All four stallions have been selected from the best of European breeding and are all proving themselves not only in the sport, but also as breeding stallions.
The next question that I put to Emma was which stallion was her first, and what has he contributed to her breeding programme.
"The first stallion we owned was Lancelot Quainton (Lansing x Cor de la Bryere) (cover photo) he really was the talk of Southern Germany at the time of his grading, he was awarded Premium Stallion status. It was there and then we were approached by The State Stud in Moritzurg, they wanted to lease him from us for their breeding programme. Whilst in Germany Lancelot covered more than 500 mares. Some of these youngstock are 3 years old now and already making a name for themselves in the breeding world over there, having won a multitude of foal and young horse championships."
(Lansing x Cor de la Bryere)
I asked Emma to tell me more about the stallions that she has had over the years, and which ones she felt have been the most influential to sport horse breeding both in the UK and world-wide.
"Quirifino Quainton has made steady and continuous progress since purchasing him as a 6 year old. He now has his place in Ben Maher's top string, having won and been placed at top level International competition, such as the Hickstead Derby, Spruce Meadows 6 bar, Brazilian Grand Prix, Palm Beach Florida Grand Prixs and speed classes. He is very versatile and level headed, Quirifino really can turn his hand to any class and remain very competitive. His young stock all seem to be pretty laid back like him. Also he moves like a dressage horse! His eldest are 3 this year. "
(Quidam de Revel x Grosso Z)
Besides the already successful horses mentioned above, Quainton also continually look for new opportunities, and one of these was the purchase of the black KWPN stallion "Triple X III", as Emma explains...
"We are fortunate enough to have bought half of Triple X (black KWPN stallion by Namelus R), Ben actually bred this horse himself. He is a flashy black stallion, with four little white socks (think Moorlands Totilas), Ben loves him and is so very proud of him. We were delighted to have the opportunity to co-own him. He could even be a 2012 Olympic prospect which is obviously every owner/breeders dream."
As a stallion owner, I asked Emma what she thought was important to standing a potential top class stallion.
"I would say that being a stallion owner is the most difficult and trying element to the whole horse breeding puzzle. They have to tick so many boxes, be beautiful, trainable, successful, sire top quality progeny, be fertile, affordable. Combine covering duties with competition. Then when that is all taken into account, you have the rest of the world's top stallions to compete against for what is actually in the UK a very small pool of top class breeding mares. I prefer to be quiet about my stallions and let them and their results do the talking. "
Triple X III
(Namelus R x Catango Z)
Next I asked Emma what qualities she looks for in a breeding mare, and what she classed as being the most important aspects when looking for a mare?
"The mare needs to originate from great Stamm lines, these can be traced back several generations and are scored according to their successful progeny. It is ideal to have a mare with a proven competition record, however these mares can be pricey and very hard to come by as people tend to hold onto them."
St Pr St Holstein Mare
(Quinar x Lavall I)
As Quainton has a strong influence of German stock, I asked Emma where she found the majority of her breeding mares, and what % she purchased and bred?
"All of our breeding mares originated from Germany in the Holstein region. I have sold all the daughters from these mares and so have not yet bred from any of their off spring yet.
Having said that a few of our customers have kept their colts entire as potential breeding stallions, we shall have to wait and see."
With the amount of breeding stock at Quainton, I asked Emma what method she used when choosing what mare is suited to a stallion?
"I have always loved to pick people's brains and still do, there is so much to learn from people who have generations of horse breeding running through their veins.
The German State Stud are useful advisors as is Thorsten Feddern our vet who is German and has a keen interest in the young stallion coming through. He is very useful as he looks at the whole picture especially soundness and fertility of the stallion, not just fashion and its PR machine.
Once I have accumulated all the facts I then make a decision. Obviously I like to promote my own stallions and it makes sense for me to use them on my own mares. Having said that, I always have my eye out when at the big International shows for fresh bloodlines."
International Showjumping Stallion
With the amount of stallions available to breeders in the world, I asked Emma what stallions she currently rated in the sport of dressage, showjumping and eventing?
"Moorlands Totilas in dressage, Triple X III and Contendro I in show jumping. For eventing, I would say probably looking to the warmbloods as you get everything you need, especially if you are using them on a thoroughbred mare.
Oh and Cornet Obolensky, he is such a stylist!"