An impressive crowd descended on Harthill Stud for its debut Open Day on Monday 9th April. The equestrian enterprise based in Malpas, Cheshire, opened its gates to give some 600 members of the public an opportunity to experience first-hand, the enthusiasm and experience behind the venture. Despite relentless rain, spirits remained high and attendees previewed the state-of-the-art facilities with all members of the knowledgeable team on hand to answer questions.
Bolesworth’s Estate Team ensured that guests were well cared for with extensive free refreshments, free bar and a popular hog roast. Official charity Claire House continued what is a great partnership with the team and offered plenty of children’s entertainment alongside a rather novel ‘Rodeo Easter Egg’. Long listed Olympic Event Rider Oliver Townend acted as ‘pathfinder’ aboard the easter egg, lasting just 68 seconds before being ejected.
The Hospitality Marquee proved the ideal place for an Easter Social with a buzzing atmosphere that kept guests entertained throughout, as well as offering an impressive amphitheatre from which to witness the spectacle of the Harthill Stallion Demonstration. With two world class riders – Emile Faurie from the world of Dressage and Oliver Townend from the world of Eventing, the crowd enjoyed an educational and informative display of each stallion, with some of the stud’s mares and youngstock also making an appearance. Ever-witty Oliver Townend was on top form ensuring humour was never far from the agenda, and several of the equine stars created their own reaction from the crowd with flamboyant displays coming from both ridden and in-hand stallions.
It was a dressage themed opening that started proceedings with Emile Faurie aboard Sandro Hit stallion - ‘Smash Hit’. Performing intricate movements and highlighting exactly what is required from a dressage athlete, Emile gave the crowd an awe inspiring display. Harthill resident Sternk?nig (also by Sandro Hit) appeared alongside, and similarities passed on by their sire were clear. Bringing a real European flavour to breeding and being a truly modern dressage stallion, he has already sired over 200 foals who all inherit movement, athleticism and temperament, making him Harthill’s ‘continental dream’.
The young stallion Honour Cruise proved popular with the knowledgeable audience as he demonstrated an exciting future as the sire of successful event horses, combining some of the most desirable Irish bloodlines including Cruising, Clover Hill and Sky Boy. With the first crop of foals on the ground in 2011, the stallion is a bright prospect, and will be eventing with Oliver Townend during 2012. Oliver acknowledged the stallions ‘outstanding jump, fantastic outlook and 100% classic Irish bloodlines’.
Stormhill Miller and Power Blade proved that Thoroughbred’s are still all the rage and Director Nina Barbour was keen to highlight their love of ‘old fashioned’ thoroughbreds at Harthill – ‘Stormhill Miller and Power Blade are both really strong thoroughbreds who have an exemplary jump as well as super movement. Their record of producing super talented progeny speaks for itself, and they both bring some of the finest thoroughbred bloodlines to Harthill’.
Director Nina Barbour took time out to showcase the resident show jumping stallion Lord Luis. The charismatic chestnut showed all his class and gave an entertaining display over some seriously imposing fences, highlighting his talent as a sire to the modern sport horse. The scope, attitude and character carried by this stallion were evident and the relationship between Nina and Lord Luis highlighting the ‘fun’ partnership these two have built up.
The event came to a climax with Ramiro B, followed by three of his progeny showing exactly why he is so widely regarded as a top sire for horses in all disciplines. Despite an outburst of drenching rain, Oliver and two members of his team showcased the young horses over fences displaying the great attitude Ramiro’s youngstock carry. With so many progeny going on to compete at the highest level, it’s hard to mention the many successes they are enjoying on the National and International Circuits. Laura Collett’s Badminton-bound and Ramiro B sired - Noble Bestman, is just one competing at the top of his game.
There was just one absentee, in the form of world class and Olympic long-listed show jumper Locarno 62. Busy with competition duties in Austria, Locarno has an exemplary record both through his own competition results and his progeny, and this is yet another significant achievement for Harthill Stud to be able to offer this jumping superstar to the market.
It wasn’t just the exciting display that entertained. Guests perused the state-of-the-art facilities, inspired by the team’s many trips abroad, that bring together some of the best industry practices and allow Harthill Stud to be able to fully cater for every stage of the breeding process. The AI packages along with exemplary mare, foal and youngstock care offer a really attractive proposition to breeders.
Nina Barbour addressed the diversity of the stud along with the array of services on offer in her interview with Ed Holloway ‘Our stallions are an exciting collection for outside breeders, with options to suit most mares. The services that we offer at the stud mean we can take care of every need for mare, foal and youngstock. We can also cater for mares not using our resident stallions’.
The display was followed by drinks and questions, where guests networked with the stud team, and Oliver and Nina were on hand to meet and chat with guests personally. As the day drew to a close, guests left armed with the knowledge of this prosperous facility and brimming with some of the enthusiasm so evident in each member of the team.
Tuesday morning saw local press and industry figures attend a press morning combined with media photo-call. The attendees enjoyed further hospitality from the Bolesworth Team, an introduction from Press Officer Mark Hayward, Nina Barbour and Oliver Townend and then an extensive tour of the facility. The photo opportunity came with Oliver on board young stallion Honour Cruise who looked a picture in the morning sunshine – a stark contrast to Monday’s weather!
The finale of two successful days saw Oliver, Nina and Honour Cruise ‘cut the ribbon’ in the stallion barn, cementing the official opening of this supreme establishment.