The Day of the Thoroughbred

By Pat Adams

I first met Witches Broom (Bea) through a post on Horse & Hound forum asking if anyone would be interested in loaning her for broodmare duties as the present owner was expecting her first child and it was a shame to waste her.

I was shown several photographs, some of which had been taken while they competed (and were placed, albeit towards the wrong end of the line!) in the new Racing To Riding classes.

There was something about her that I liked and after long talks with Anne Marie, plus a visit from her to 'inspect' both the premises and myself, it was duly arranged she would travel up from Sussex to here in Shropshire (by postcode only, we actually live in Cheshire!) and be covered by a stallion of my choice as it was to be my foal.


Witches Broom (Bea)

Just Finished Her Last Race

The day came, she duly arrived and my mouth was hanging open once the ramp was dropped. She far exceeded my expectations as she calmly stood and surveyed her new home, walked down the ramp and into her box as if she has always lived here.

From day one, she has never been anything other than calm as long as she gets done first whether that be feeding, turning out or fetching in; she soon made herself Headgirl and everyone else bows down to her authority whereas in practise, she is one of the kindest mares I've ever met!

Coincidentally, she was bred by the father-in-law of someone I used to baby sit over 30 years ago!

Seriously, she is a great horse to deal with except for pulling her mane which is a no go area by any means so now it is just razored when she needs a tidy up. Bea comes from a winning family and her sire is the successful Fraam out of Carte Blanche by Cadeaux Genereux who stands at Whitsbury Stud.


One More Tiger

After lots of study of stallions to use, as we all do, I eventually settled on the Thoroughbred, One More Tiger, by Java Tiger who has been a very influential sire for event horses.

My choice was helped by the fact that Tiger had moved into the next village to us and I had met him several times when my husband did some fencing work for the owner long before Bea came on the scene.

It was a logical choice for a first foal from her and I don't regret that choice one minute. She sailed through pregnancy and bloomed the whole way too. She was even copy book in that she had a smidgeon of wax the night before, the tiniest speck of milk the next morning (which happened to be one of the foulest we had had even through the previous winter and as a result, the horses were standing in until it blew over) but without any other sign and within half hour of being fed and while we were eating breakfast, she produced a filly foal all by herself then went back to eating her hay! That's Bea for you, she doesn't make a fuss about anything which is strange considering she would get so stressed out when she was racing and wouldn't know what to do with herself.

This filly, MF Tawny Tiger, Kitty to her friends, I hope to retain and have evented for me after she does some BYEH too; I'm keeping my fingers crossed anyway! Later that year, I was given the chance to buy Bea which I did of course but because she had been going back to Anne Marie at weaning, it was too late to cover her for that year.


This year, because I had too many others, I found her a wonderful loan home not far from here with Zoe Taylor who owns and runs the Taylored Equestrian Recuperation and Therapy Centre which also stands Valeur R. a SHBGB graded stallion which Zoe also competes with.

Duly in foal to Ronnie, Zoe started mutterings of taking her for grading with the SHBGB with me asking whether she thought Bea was good enough but we decided to give it a go anyway. It's quite amusing when you realise my thoughts on using ungraded stallions don't match up for a lot of people; to me, grading is not the be all to end all, there are many excellent stallions (and mares) unpresented but still perfectly capable of supplying you with a top class youngster and with results to prove the point; but that's another story!

MF Tawny Tiger

Not Long Born

Anyway, Zoe did try to hold a grading at her own yard but she couldn't find enough mares so she entered the one at Addington which coincided with the National Hunter Show and all that bustle made Bea's eyes stand out on stalks, she must have thought she was back on a track; it certainly put a spring in her step!

Valeur R

Zoe said the judges/graders didn't say a lot, just umned and sighed a lot so she didn't have much of a clue what they were thinking until they nodded and said OK.

While she waited for the marks she was told how much they liked her, what a cracking sort and just the sort to breed from so she asked them where Bea could be improved on and there was deathly silence then a bit of spluttering as they told her Bea had gained 9.64.

"But you do realise what a good score that is? It means we think she's very near perfect and I wish I had mares of her type at home!"

Valeur R


Zoe text me with the score ( we were sunning ourselves in the blue rinse and zimmerframe -neither of which I use just yet! -capital of Wales - Llandudno to you!) and that she had passed but I didn't have a clue what the score meant until I spoke to her later.

I honestly couldn't take in that Bea had scored so highly; made me feel very humble - and proud of course and for once, I do have to owe it to the Horse & Hound forum; without that, I'd never have found her.

But isn't that what luck is all about?


Taken From Her Mare Grading

Her Overall Mark was 9.64

Comments were "that she was oozing quality and was a delightful and lovely mare - just the type to breed from. "

We have since heard that she is THE top scoring mare from all SHBGB gradings for 2009, a huge compliment and a real boost to us from when we were asking whether she would be good enough!

Needless to say, I am now almost converted to gradings for mares!

Past Issues

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