Wilga Park Morgans:Latest News
June - November 14
In June, we had an impromtu visit from a group of local ladies who wanted to meet our Morgans. It is such a small world, really! One of the ladies was an old friend of Suzanne Bendotti and Tammy-Lee Penney from Broome and another was an old trail riding friend of ours from years gone by. It was a cold, blustery day but nothing was going to deter them from spending time with Cortez and then admiring his foals. When I could finally convince them to come indoors we spent a very enjoyable time over a coffee talking Morgan horses. A great June day!
We also hosted our very first Equine event with the Darling Downs Western Dressage Group having a Schooling Show at Wilga Park, in June. The day ran very smoothly, though it had to be the windiest, coldest day of the year. Everyone rode their tests in their thick jackets and scarves, and then enjoyed the company of like-minded people over a BBQ lunch on our little front verandah, standing around the gas heater.
The Trail Paddock has a couple of additional ‘obstacles’ to maneuver now, as Tammy-Lee and Greg work on their ‘project’. Plans are in progress for the next couple to be erected, as well. Free weekends just don’t come around quickly enough to be able to put all these great plans into place.
I organized a ‘Morgan Owner’s Gathering’ at Plainlands Hotel. Thirty or so of us gathered to swap Morgan stories, and enjoy a great lunch on the verandah of the hotel. The temperature was a mild 23 degrees with no wind … Heaven for this time of year.
As I looked around the group, I realised that the majority of people there owned a Wilga Park baby ... a warm, fuzzy moment for me :)
It was wonderful to catch up. Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely and everyone is of the same thought … we must do it again soon!!
Cortez has been out of his semi-retirement of late. He and Mt Tawonga Oscar, with the help of Linda Shore and Wendy Brown, did their crowd-pleasing performances at EKKA. Wendy and Oscar did their very own bridle-less display as well.
Hats off to Lisa Wong (of Eaton's Hill Morgan Stud) for organising everything for us at Brisbane Royal Show (EKKA) – AND for putting us, and our horses, up for the night so that we didn’t have to travel the 2.5 hours each way on both days. Thank you, Lisa and Tim.
Shortly after EKKA Greg took possession of his new, custom-made John Allington saddle. It is a Beauty! John names each of the saddles he makes, and puts a photo on his website. This one is named ‘The Cortez’.
The day we picked up the saddle, Greg immediately put it on Cortez and they headed off to the Trail paddock to try out all the new things Tammy-Lee Penney and Greg have been building there. What fun they had! It was so good to see Greg in the saddle again.
We had a tremendously successful weekend at Total Equine Queensland Expo in Toowoomba, in September. It was a mini Equitana, with the stalls and presentations all under cover. We decided to have a Wilga Park Stall as well as having Cortez in the Breed Stables and we are so pleased we did. On Saturday, Tammy-Lee Penney, Laura Collier, Jane Parsons, Greg and I didn’t draw breath from 9.00am until late in the day – talking to people about our passion. On Sunday the crowd was not quite as huge (which we were a little grateful for). Tammie Pike and Gavin McEvoy joined our team. We so appreciate having such wonderful supporters. We would not have survived without them.
Linda Shore was a guest Presenter at the Expo amongst a great group of Presenters … Dan Steers from Double Dan, Adam Sutton, Sandi Simons and Wade Davison were also in the main Arena, whilst there were many varied and informative sessions in another area about all things equine. All were brilliant and entertaining.
As the Breed Display followed Linda’s Western Dressage segment, she simply swapped Cortez’s bosal for a rope around his neck and entertained the crowd for 10 minutes while the commentator introduced them to Wilga Park Morgans and the Morgan horse in general. It truly was a worthwhile, highly successful event.
Our three foals due for 2014 all arrived between 07 and 26 October. Red Bluff Paprika, Eagleview Skybeau (aka Calypso) and Haymeron Park Ruby Jane (aka RJ) were all kind and delivered their babies at a time that allowed me to be there. The deliveries were not without trauma, however.
Paprika, in her own un-demonstrative way, simply lay down and delivered her huge colt foal, Gambel Oak, without any pre-amble. She shows no signs of labour pains at all. I had popped down to the stables to do a final check before going to bed, clean out any manure and fill water buckets. Paprika was the final port of call. I checked her teats. Strings of ‘wax’ were there. I phoned Greg (rather than walk back the short distance to the house) and told him I was staying down at the stable as I thought we’d have a foal in a few hours time. The moment I finished that call Paprika lay down to give birth. Gambel Oak, the tall bay colt that emerged, is of the same ilk as his older siblings. Cortez and Paprika foals are an Awesome, Awesome cross!
Calypso, on the other hand, gave me conniptions when she was showing signs of serious labour contractions with no resultant foal, a week prior to her final delivery date. After the horrendous experience of Calypso’s butt first breach birth that would have ended in the death of both mare and foal, had it not been for the expertise of the brilliant vets at Oakey Veterinary Hospital, I was in total panic. Our Vets, knowing her history, were careful in their advice, but allayed most of my fears with the statement that ‘the foal seems to be in the right position, but no foal is going to come out of that cervix right now’. Maybe the foal was simply lying in a painful position, but those ‘labour’ pains lasted for most of the day.
When Calypso did foal down it was a ‘red bag’ birth - something I have dreaded and hoped never to experience! I have always had a very sharp knife that belonged to Greg’s deceased Dad (Pop) in our foaling kit for this particular scenario. As that red velvet bag appeared, instead of the white amniotic sack, my heart skipped a dozen beats and I prayed Greg was not far away (he never makes it to the foaling stable as quickly as I do when the alarm goes off). I sliced the ‘red bag’ with Pop’s knife, then used my fingers to break the white amniotic sac that was enclosed. The foal was coming in the right position, but we had very little time to drag her into the world, as she no longer had oxygen flowing through the umbilical cord.
Greg and I used all out strength to pull that foal into the world. She took her first breath like all normal foals, and wasn’t gasping for oxygen, thank heavens. We had saved her life.
The look and temperament of the beautiful smokey black filly that Calypso delivered that night is almost indescribable. When it comes to the type of Morgan horse we aspire to breed, she exceeds our expectations.
My heart stops when I think that this perfect specimen of Morgan flesh may have been lost to the Morgan world if we had not been there. She is a total delight. We have, however, made the decision to never let Calypso carry another foal. We cannot risk losing this beautiful mare, the first Morgan we owned. We will only ever do embryo transfer with her in future.
Haymeron Park Ruby Jane was very considerate and foaled down on a weekend, a little earlier than her due date. Greg was away at the time, so I was, for the first time, delivering a foal by myself. The Ragtime Oro Blanco colt that RJ delivered wanted to be on his feet within moments. A very brave, confident boy! RJ usually restricts her foal’s interaction with humans, and did so for about three days. However, River Gum wanted to learn more about these humans he’d encountered and kept breaking Mum’s rules. He loves to gallop and he’s built like he’s been working out in his own private gym inside the womb. Though he is built like a body builder with such well defined muscle, he is as light as a ballet dancer on his feet.
Of course, as soon as the foaling is over, the breeding starts! We are hopeful of at least six foals next year. The really exciting news is that Wilga Park Malaynee is in foal to Wilga Park Conquistador – and we have our fingers crossed that Pelennor Belmarie is also carrying a Conquistador baby. Another thrilling bit of news - Red Bluff Evette is all set to deliver us a Cortez foal next September.
RJ is at the breeding centre with her buckskin boy, River Gum, and we are hopeful of another Ragtime Oro Blanco (Casper) foal again in 2015. Part of the reason for that decision was that Cortez was to be at Equitana just about when RJ was ready to go in foal. As it happened, Cortez had returned in time to do the job, as RJ is being a little slow with her follicle, but we didn’t hesitate to continue with our plan. River Gum is becoming nicer by the day and we’d like to see a similar foal next year.
We also decided that we may try our 5 year old mare, Wilga Park Desert Rose, with the Casper semen as well. It is quite possible that we may see 3 palomino babies running around Wilga Park by November next year.
We had a visit from a lovely lady we had met at the Equine Expo in September. Sue has a desire to own a horse and was at the Expo to look at all the Breeds displayed there. She wandered down the line of display stables and met each of the horses representing their breed. She said later that it was the Morgan who stole her heart, simply because of the interaction Cortez was having with the people. Sue and her step-daughter will be frequent visitors to get a ‘horse-fix’ over the coming months.
We managed to fit in a visit to Rhonda and Peter of Warrabel Morgan Stud in Warwick just after they had taken possession of their new mare, Shibui Cilla (RanchBoss Cortez x Tuis Diana’s Song), and their stallion, Haymeron Park Merlin Hawk had returned from his starting process with John Wicks. It was a delight to meet the young Cilla. Her photos simply do not do her justice. She is a striking mare with the most beautiful dish in her nose. What an awesome mare she will be when she matures!
Suz Bendotti and Andrea from Broome WA headed to Qld in November. We left at 5.30am to drive to Brisbane to collect them, giving Cortez a pat before we left, as he was off to Equitana at about 6.30, with Linda. Tammy-Lee Penney arranged for us to meet up at Kath Fry’s place on the way home, so that Suz could meet her Wilga Park Golden Ash’s younger brother, Grenadier. Kath had morning tea waiting for us, and so we enjoyed an hour or so swapping stories about our Morgans. We couldn’t help but comment on just how balanced and good looking Grenadier is at two years of age. No unbalanced growth spurts for him!
On Monday we had lunch at Wilga Park so that all the old Broome Buddies could catch up (and there are a few of them, as they seem to be all migrating to Qld) along with other Wilga Park Kids owners. Lots of fun and laughter was the order of the day.
Greg flew out to Equitana on Tuesday morning and he had a jam-packed few days. He managed to fit in a visit to Shibui Morgans at Bullengarook. Gillian was hectic getting organized for her Black Horse Clothing Stand at Equitana, but organized a young rider to ride Wilga Park Chambourcin, so that Greg could take some photos. I really loved seeing the mature ‘Champy’. He also braved the Melbourne traffic to make his way to the Mornington Penninsula to visit Jan Tucker and her two Wilga Park kids, 7 year old Serjania (aka Jack) and 4 year old Santa Cruz. Jan kindly organized her riding lesson on Jack to be a little earlier so that Greg could see him in action. I was hanging out for those photos as well!
Linda and Cortez had a wonderful time in Victoria. They were chosen, along with Warren Backhouse and his reining Quarter horse, for the Advanced Master Class in Western Dressage. Greg joined the crew on the MHAA Breed stand for a number of hours and really enjoyed catching up with the Victorians. We can’t thank Brenda King and Petra enough for their hospitality for hosting Linda, Cortez and Greg at their Riddles Creek property. Their generous offer made life so much easier for the Queenslanders.
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