Brendon Stud Interview continued...

With the varying choices of bloodlines available in the world today, and with so many of them accessible through AI, I asked Shirley what bloodlines she felt have had the most influence in the world of breeding?


In jumpers it would have to be Darco, Cor de la Bryere, Ramiro Z, Alme, Burggraaf, Argentinus and Voltaire………

There are some great sires out there in dressage and eventing, but you’d have to ask Sam Barr (eventing) and Jennie Loriston Clarke (dressage)!"


International Showjumper & Stallion
Lugano van La Roche x Codex

Moving onto Shirley's mare base, I asked her what are the qualities she looks for in a breeding mare, and what does she class as being the most important aspects when looking for a mare?

"Conformation, temperament and competition record. 3 equal parts. She needs to also have a full pedigree."

I was then interested to know where she has found the majority of her breeding mares, and what % do they purchase and breed?

"Probably 60/40 homebred, unless injured I like to compete the mares, both bred and bought ones; for a season or 2 so I know their strengths and weaknesses before they become a valuable asset."

Shirley has in excess of 150 horses at her Studfarm, comprising of foals, youngstock, mares, stallions and competition horses. Naturally with so much choice on offer for her breeding programme I went on to ask her the methods she uses when choosing what mare is suited to a stallion.

"Take off any rose tinted spectacles! There is no such thing as the perfect horse, so know your mares faults and complement them through the stallion. For example, one of my mares is super careful but lacks a little in length of stride, so she needs a long striding, scopey stallion."

Shirley breeds around 20 or so foals each year, so with the amount of experience she has as a breeder, I asked her what she looked for in the foals she breeds, and what she felt was the most important factor for them.

"Conformation. If they haven’t got this as a foal, they are already handicapped in a competition world."

Shirley already has a superb choice of stallions and bloodlines at her fingertips already, so I asked her barring her own stallions, what other stallions she currently rates in the sport of dressage, showjumping and eventing?

"Dressage – I’m firmly on the Moorlands Totilas bandwagon! He’d look great in my barn.

Showjumper – Arko can come and live with me!

Eventing – I recently saw Chilli Morning in the flesh, a good sort I wouldn’t mind looking at in my barn."

chilli morning

Chilli Morning
Advanced Eventing Stallion
(Phantomic xx x Kolibri)

Following on from those stallions that Shirley rates, I asked her which one she would like to own.

"Totilas, why ever not!"

Coming on to the end of the interview, I asked Shirley what has been their biggest achievement as a Studfarm?

"One? Can’t do that!

Homebred Hamilton Tropics being 4th in the Hickstead Derby and taking homebreds to the World Breeding Championships in Lanaken.

Unbelievable Darco’s wins in the Foxhunter at HOYS and the Gents Championship at Scope.

Warrior winning 10 x 5 yr old classes.

Caretino Glory being Champion at HOYS as a 4 yr old. Winning the Young horse championships at Hickstead."


Hamilton Tropics
Grade A Stallion
(Hamilton III x Tropic Star)

Besides the above achievement, I asked Shirley what other memories she had so far in her breeding career, as I was sure there would be many.

Shirley was short in her reply "see the answer to the previous question".

I went on to ask Shirley what their future goals were, and again her answer was short and to the point "Keep breeding winners. Keep owning winners."

As a Studfarm I asked Shirley what incentives they had for mare owners who are looking to use their stallions.

"We offer a discount to dams of elite winners in the BEF Futurity series. A top proven mare will get a concession too."

Following on from this, and going with the amount of experience that Shirley has to offer breeders, I asked her what was the best advice she could offer to breeders.

"Breed British! Try and visit the stallion at home and in competition and remember to remove those rose tinted spectacles."

Breeding not only in the UK, but world wide continues to grow and evolve on an annual basis. Sometimes you think that for someone just starting out that they must feel it is a bit of a mine field knowing what direction they should be going in. Not only do trends in bloodlines change, but so do trends on the type of horses that people are looking for as not just breeding horses, but future Olympic and International hopefuls.

So lastly to conclude the interview with Shirley I asked her how she would like to see breeding in Britain evolving, and what, if anything, her Studfarm could do to help this transition.

"I think we’re already evolving. Our stallions in this country are improving year on year. I’d like to see a national stallion show, run by the breeders, for the breeders……."

The one thing that strikes me with everyone at Brendon Stud is their drive to succeed, and this shows in the success they have year in, year out. The stallions and competition horses can always be seen out competing at the hightest levels, along with representing their country abroad at some of the most prestigious showjumping competitions in the world. If someone was to ask me who are one of the leading showjumping Studfarms in the UK, then I would have to reply "Brendon Stud" because their achievements over the years are not equalled by many.

Horse Breeders Magazine would like to thank Shirley for taking the time out to speak to us, and to give our readers the opportunity to find out more about what makes Brendon Stud "tick".

Past Issues

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