Wilga Park Morgans:Latest News
February 2016 - May 2016
The first part of the year is always show-time for us, but this year, for the first time in many years, we were not at a couple with a Morgan or 5 in tow.
Though Wilga Park sponsors the Morgan classes at Clifton, we had a prior engagement with close friend Nila Latimer having an important birthday and wanted to be there to celebrate with her. We had a couple of wonderful days with Nila and her Morgans. I had the tremendous enjoyment of riding a very balanced, very smooth and very obliging Wilga Park Chancellor. Nila has done an awesome job of training him. It was also lovely to see how well Wilga Park Tarragon had blended in with Nila’s little herd.
On the way home, we stopped in at Newcastle to catch up with Liz Baynham and the beautiful Wilga Park Cabernet. Liz provided us with a lunch straight out of MKR and then we headed over to see Cabernet in her new residence. I have to say Cabernet looked very content in her new home.
Liz has managed to join Nila and her long time friend Helen in their riding sessions each Monday. Helen and Nila joined us for lunch and the visit to Cabernet. It was a superb way to end our little jaunt south.
The next exciting event on the agenda was a weekend of Cowboy Dressage with Ken Faulkner at Allora. John Kozicka was chatting with Greg and liked the sound of a clinic with Ken, so it was decided that John would bring his two lovely mares, Mt Tawonga Kia Ora and Colebrook Watching Ciara to Wilga Park, and the two boys would head off, with their trusty steeds, for some fun on the weekend. I just had to take an hour or so to get some photos of the fellows on their Morgans at the clinic.
As we were on a mission to catch up with as many Wilga Park Kids and the latest foals born around the region, we set a date for a day trip north to meet up with Shelby Williams, the Wongs at Eatons Hill and Steve and Leonie Smith at Leambro Morgans. (We had already ventured Warwick way and met Warrabel and Cockatoo Park babies). We had the most enjoyable day!! We really should mark a day on our calendar more often to do this stuff.
Pittsworth Show was a great ‘get-together’ of the Morgan crew … though, in reality, there is no real time to catch up at shows. We are all so busy with getting ready for the classes that we barely have time to acknowledge each other. However, we do manage to exchange at least one hug or handshake in there somewhere. We (no matter which Morgan owner it is) all know that each of us has the others support and encouragement, and that is the wonderful thing about Morgan horse ownership. We were very pleased that Silver Sabre received his very first Reserve Champion Morgan ribbon at Pittsworth show. He was lined up with another colt his age and two older stallions - all lovely specimens of Morgan horse flesh!
The next show on the Qld agenda was Warwick Show, sponsored by Warrabel Morgans. We all noted the lack of mares at Pittsworth Show so determined that we would have one at Warwick Show. Wilga Park had to step up to the mark and prepare a filly for the show. Wilga Park Boquila was the oldest (she was born on the same evening as Silver Sabre), so she got the job! We did a little test run to Cambooya Show Grounds to test how our Boquila would react to different surroundings, as she had not been out before. All I can say is … why do I put myself through all the worry??? She was just so accepting of all things new!
Once again Silver Sabre was awarded the Reserve Champion colt/stallion. I really felt that it would take another year or two for him to begin to be recognised by the Judges as he is a colt who will take time to mature. It is nice to know that his potential is being recognised now that he is filling out a little.
Our final local show for the year was the Toowoomba Royal. It was very gratifying to see Wilga Park River Gum (by Ragtime Oro Blanco) lined up with Wilga Park Silver Sabre (by RanchBoss Cortez) in the 3 years and under Colt class together. Ruth McGill from Cockatoo Park Morgans is doing a wonderful job with River's training. He is to be her future stallion. With three lovely stallions in the older age group, it was a very unexpected surprise indeed when the International Judge (UK) chose Silver Sabre as Reserve Champion Morgan. It is an understatement when I say we were extremely pleased.
As in previous years we had a half hour slot in the Breed Spectacular Arena at Royal Show (we have done this every year since 2009). In this half hour we take the opportunity to show off our Morgan horses. The display is only for 30 minutes, but it seems like a very long 30 minutes when we are planning the program, props, music and a nice smooth flow to it all. We started with Linda Shore and Ruth McGill doing some whip cracking - Linda on a glorious black Morgan stallion and Ruth McGill's leading the awesome young colt, Wilga Park River Gum. Cowboy Dressage was presented by Greg on RanchBoss Cortez and narrated by Rose Perna then Ruth McGill demonstrated some Quantum Savvy horsemanship. This was followed by some Western Dressage (Linda Shore on Cortez part bred daughter Boulevard Gabrielle) and to finish there was an obstacle course which some rode and some performed in-hand. We had many riders, handlers and helpers who took part to make the demonstration a really successful one.
In between our local Shows we had the ANMS Photo Show to consider! The Judges of the Australian National Morgan Show were presented with 5 photos of each horse and they judged them exactly as they would a Halter class at the show. I can say that I was not all that enthused, but given some encouragement by our good friend Tammy-Lee Penney, we decided to spruce up some kids and enter them in the competition. We even snapped some fluffy foals for the Photo Show. Desert Storm was awarded Reserve Champion Gelding out of 12 entrants over various age groups, which made it an extremely rewarding exercise.
Wilga Park Sassafras was one of the older kids (a yearling) chosen for the photo shoot. She was a real gem. Greg took her away from her mates and introduced her to a whole curriculum of ‘Wilga Park Trail’ and then brought her back for her first shampoo. She handled her first hosing so well, it became a full on pamper session. She was then ready to attempt some photos for the photo show competition. Though it was difficult to get ‘conformation’ photos and of the hundreds of photos taken, only a couple fitted the criteria, it was well worth the trouble. It gave us an excellent opportunity to take some other great photos of Sabre and Sassafras.
There is much excitement and feelings of great pride at Wilga Park Morgans as Tom Nobles of Noble-T Morgans in British Columbia, Canada, has decided that our stallion, RanchBoss Cortez, is the stallion of choice for his Ramul's Justin daughter and grand-daughters.
Tom says "We have been raising western type Morgans since 1973. We have used them for gymkhana, ranch work, competitive & endurance riding, calf roping, team roping, reining and 25 years of cutting."
Tom was looking for particular bloodlines to suit his very well bred working mares, Noble-T Lena Lui, Noble-T Miss Emaline and Noble-T Raven. We all know what a great Champion Primavera Valdez (Cortez’s sire) was, being a Champion reining horse in Open Competition, and the first, and so far the only, Morgan to hold a Stallion Certificate as an Honor Roll stallion in the National Reining Horse Association Sire & Dam Program. Cortez’s Dam, Teluras Black Gold, was also bred from highly sort after bloodlines, being 100% Foundation and excellent Western Working bloodlines.
As well as being particular about the bloodlines he introduced into his herd, Tom is also extremely particular about straight legs and good feet. Tom had an Australian friend visit Wilga Park to assess Cortez and his progeny prior to committing to breeding with him. Cortez ticked all the boxes for Tom Nobles, as he also likes that willingness and easy-going temperament that Cortez stamps on his progeny.
Cortez is the most prolific producer of all the Primavera Valdez sons and with the 2016 Australian foal crop, he will have produced the highest number of pure bred Morgans in this country. Cortez’s Australian pure-bred progeny count at this moment is 41, equal to the wonderful, now deceased, stallion, Marvelous Encore.
We have enjoyed the company of the vibrant young Canadian girl (funnily enough from British Columbia), Alysha Baxter. Alysha had a whirlwind holiday with her Aussie friend, Lanie Clover, and decided to meet as many Morgan horses as she possibly could in her month in Australia. It was a wonderfully social day, as we got to catch up with Linda Shore, Ruth McGill, Rhonda Menzies-Moreland and Wendy Brown. Alysha is currently pouring much enthusiasm into promoting the Morgan horse in the Show circles in British Columbia.
It always gives us much pleasure and great satisfaction when we can find just the right Morgan horse for someone who has fallen in love with the breed. Karin Bondarenko and 13 year old daughter, Sophie, who were on the search for their special Morgan, recently visited us to experience the Morgan horse first hand. I think they became even more enamored of the breed after that visit. Being surrounded by well mannered foals, yearlings and older horses who simply want to be rubbed and scratched gave them the perfect Morgan introduction.
Morgans under saddle are often hard to find, but timing is everything. Koolaroo Klasique Kaide and Indigo Roc the Boat had recently come back to reside with Megan Schimke at Toowoomba, as their owners were re-located to Vietnam and not likely to return. From our knowledge of Kaide’s history, we felt he would suit this family very well indeed. A number of weeks later Karin and Sophie and Laura Collier, owner of Wilga Park Tamarack, arrived for another visit. As Karin lived not far from Laura, we had hooked them up, with the thought that Laura and her awesome trainer might take Karin and Sophie under their wing.
After playing with the foals and yearlings, Karin and Sophie got to show us their riding expertise on good old Mt Tawonga Oscar and then, after a quick lunch, we were off to meet Megan and Kaide. The rest is history!! Kaide was awesome and Sophie fell in love. I just wish I had captured the beautiful photo of Kaide and Sophie as she groomed him after their ride. Pure love!
Liz Baynham, owner of Wilga Park Cabernet, has become a Morgan owner for the second time. How exciting for us! Wilga Park Boquila will join Cabernet after Terrance Rowe has started her in October. We are privileged indeed when people purchase a second Morgan from Wilga Park. Liz joins the ranks of Rachel Whan, Tammy-Lee Penney, Lisa and Tim Wong, Shelby Williams, Jan & Riley Tucker, Marissa and Jorjah Strom-Bennie and Nila Latimer, who have all purchased more than one Wilga Park baby.
We had a great excuse to give 18 month old Gamble Oak his first experience in the Trail paddock recently. A lovely lady drove 10 hours from Katoomba, NSW, to come visit for the weekend, so Gamble got to show her how the youngsters get some training. He was more than awesome. By now you would think I was used to the Cortez x Paprika babies total acceptance of new things. I was still in awe of this young horse’s obliging nature. Taking Gamble around the Trail was like leading good old Oscar around .
We have had some awesome reports from Angela Brown in Victoria who is the owner of Wilga Park Grenadier. Angela is an excellent horsewoman who attends Steve Brady clinics whenever she can. She also is keen on barefoot trimming and keeping her horses in good working order by having an equine body worker check her horses regularly. She has done all three with 3 year old Grenadier. Steve was totally impressed with Grenadier’s trainability, Andrew Bowe used Grenadier’s hoof as the example of what a great hoof should look like and Cat Walker was extremely happy with where Grenadier’s body was at for his age and stage of training. Along with some photos of Grenadier (aka Ren), came this message, “So, Steve Brady likes his brain, Andrew Bowe likes his feet and Cat Walker likes his body. You guys should pat yourselves (and your horses) on the back for those ticks of approval!”
Grenadier is just three years old. Tillandsia (RanchBoss Cortez x Mt Tawonga Marrella) is a beautiful 5 year old mare who has been ridden from 3 years of age by a (then) 13 year old girl. What an awesome team these two are. We recently received the photos above of this team. Tilly had been out of work for 6 months, but worked like a champion on her return.
Greg and Cortez, along with Oscar and I, have been to a Cowboy Dressage training day and, I have to admit, it has made me enthusiastic about getting into the saddle again. The horsemanship skills that go hand in hand with Cowboy Dressage (which is all about soft feel and kindness to your horse and others) make this discipline just so exciting and rewarding. My riding time is now spent riding Oscar ‘on the buckle’, encouraging him to use himself correctly without me micro-managing every movement. Oscar is at a level of training that he listens to my body anyway, but now he is given more choices about our riding relationship and I feel he is a happier horse because of it. Once we have established the rapport in this new discipline we will progress … my aim is to be able to dance La Garrocha with Oscar … eventually!
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