By Caroline Ironside (June 10)
Old Lodge Stud is a Stud that has taken the showjumping scene by storm. With several big wins from their horses and stallions at National and International level over the past few years, including Brickfield Boy (Indoctro x Voltaire) who won at International level with Geoff Luckett, along with the homebred mare Little Lefanie (Indoctro x Damiro B), who won two International classes at Hickstead.
The most notable of these successes came at HOYS 2009 when Bruce Menzies on the home bred Sultan V (Irco Mena x Voltaire) won the Foxhunter and Grade C Championship, coupled with the 7/8 Year Old Championship being won by Nicky Boulter on Super Trooper de Ness (Vigo d'Arsouilles x Polydor).
Old Lodge Stud is owned by Rising Star Investments Ltd, where the owner, with a very keen interest for the sport of showjumping, prefers to remain anonymous, while enjoying the fruits of his labours through his horses.
Corrina Duncan who joined Old Lodge 10 years ago is the Stud Manager, and has taken some time out to speak to us about the Stud, including their hopes for the future.
Corrina gives us some background history to Old Lodge…
Brickfield Boy at Arezzo, Italy 2010
"In 1997 we bought a team of foundation mares from Holland - two with foals at foot - one of those foals was named Playboy but we changed his name to Brickfield Boy (our thoroughbred stud in Newmarket is Brickfield Stud)....he has been amazing for us winning all the way up to CSI 5*."
I went on to ask Corrina how she became involved in horse breeding:
"Personally I have always been involved with horse breeding - my mother bred us (my 3 brothers and I) a Shetland and Welsh mountain ponies and, with my stepfather, Thoroughbreds on their farm in Yorkshire. I also have some sport broodmares of my own.
Old Lodge is owned by a gentleman who has been breeding horses for many years, originally flat racehorses and now show jumpers. He moved away from racing into showjumping because of work commitments - racehorses run much less often than showjumpers - with the showjumpers we can find classes to suit his timetable more easily."
With the kind of top performances that Old Lodge is achieving I asked Corrina what she felt was the most important aspect to running a successful stud farm:
"Buy the best foundation mares you can - they are the most important aspect. Good quality grassland to give a good natural start in life. Good team to look after them."
Next I asked Corrina which stallion was the first to stand at Old Lodge, what he has brought to the Stud, and how they found him.
"The first time we took stallions to grading was in 2002 - we took two - Najed (Indoctro x Jus de Pomme ) who was a 4 year old homebred and Loulou de Villiers (Concorde x Starter) who we had just purchased in France - both were approved. Najed went on to Grade A and represent Britain at the World Breeding Championships, and Loulou won numerous classes and now stands at stud in France ... neither have had a huge number of mares as they have concentrated on jumping, but their youngsters are doing well BSJA."
Najed (Indoctro x Jus de Pomme)
Corrina told me more about the stallions that they have had over the years, along with which ones she felt have been the most influential to sport horse breeding in the UK:
"We have bred quite a lot of approved stallions, most of which we have sold, but our best stallion at the moment is the HOYS 7&8 year old champion Super Trooper de Ness. He is in his third season at stud and is very popular this year."
With the stallion compliment they have, I asked Corrina if she had a favourite:
"Super Trooper de Ness....he has it all - amazing dam line - his mother jumped Nations cups and has produced international horses, huge scope and power, clean x-rays and all wrapped up in a lovely kind temperament."
Super Trooper de Ness (Vigo d'Arsouilles x Polydor)
I went on to ask Corrina what she felt is important to standing a potential top class stallion:
"Good breeding, good fertility and talent. Later on to be shown to be passing this talent on."
When Old Lodge looks for potential stallions, I wondered how they selected one, and whether they looked to buy or breed their own:
"All....we don't really buy stallions - we look to buy top class jumping horses which, if they are stallions, is a bonus."
With the amount of new bloodlines coming to the fore, I asked Corrina if their breeding choices had changed over the years:
"Not much but as the youngsters come through, we have gone back to a few successful crossings from the past....for example we are breeding a full sibling to HOYS Foxhunter Champions Sultan this year basically because he is so good."
Sultan V (Irco Mena x Voltaire)
With many stallions doing two jobs, I wondered what Corrina felt was more important, a stallion who does well in the sport, or a stallion who does well as a breeder?
"Wow - I guess it depends what you are trying to breed .... initially it must do well in sport or we wouldn't keep it...then if the pedigree is right and he has no issues, then he should be a good producer but that takes time to tell."
With the varying bloodlines that they have on offer, I asked Corrina which bloodlines she felt have had the most influence in the world of breeding across the disciplines:
"Showjumping is our game, although we do have a homebred eventer on the Equine pathway. The Germans have been very good at producing horses keeping to tried and tested bloodlines and then you have the Dutch who are very open and are as equally successful...."
Old Lodge not only have success with their stallions, but they have also produced many top mares, so I asked Corrina what they looked for in their breeding mares:
"Damline, damline damline.....the mare must be proven as a sport line/breeding line ... "
As with the stallions, I asked Corrina where they found their mares, where they purchased or bred.
"Originally in Holland...now we have horses from all over - our horses represent a dozen different studbooks but our foals are all registered in British Studbooks."
It was very refreshing to hear that another top UK Stud has made the decision to utilise the British Studbooks and to register their foals in the UK instead of going with Studbooks abroad.
With regards to choosing the match of stallion and mare, Corrina said it all briefly:
"We choose the stallion to suit the mare"
Moving on to the end product - the foals - Corrina told me what they look for in the foals they are producing:
"All foals are beautiful.....The only foal we have ever sold was born out of a very old mare and only had one eye! At 1 or 2, they usually go though a rather ugly phase, and come out again at 3 or 4 looking good!"