Breeding Quality Horses in the United Kingdom
Correct conformation, overall balance and consistency are at the heart of Sovereign Quarter Horses' breeding program.
By Katy Krshka, AQHA international intern, summer 2015 | January 1, 0001
The moment I walked out into the lush green broodmare pasture, I knew I had stumbled upon something special. The scenery was dotted with sorrel mares and their beautiful babies. As we walked closer, one thing became very apparent about these horses: consistency. Sovereign Quarter Horses, owned and operated by David and Sarah Deptford, is located in March, Cambridgeshire, England. They currently stand three stallions and foal out around 10 to 12 broodmares each year. Half of those broodmares are home bred and raised. David grew up in an equine-centered family. David's grandfather was internationally recognized for the show ponies he bred and raised, and David's father began importing Quarter Horses in the 1970s, with David following closely in his footsteps. Needless to say, an eye for a good horse is a characteristic that has long been a trait of the Deptfords, and it carries on today.
I asked David what he specifically wanted to promote in the American Quarter Horses he breeds and raises. "I like to look at a horse that is overall balanced with correct conformation," he explains. "Something with a pretty head and neck, short back, good shoulder, with a big hip and strong hind leg. A horse that is going to be a good, balanced mover." Although this might sound like a lot, I think it is the reason he has been so successful in what he does. He knows what he wants and makes sure to select the types of horses that will pass down those traits. One important factor David relies on to ensure good marketability of his horses is consistency throughout his herd. Raising consistently well-built horses so they can perform to the best of their ability is one of the key factors along with a sound mind. The three stallions standing at SQH all possess the characteristics David is looking for. Take a look at the stallions. Also, be sure to follow the link about Snippers Heirogance and his AQHA Champion title.
- Snippers Heirogance (aka "Snipper") – The most renowned stallion of SQH's herd, this 1988 chestnut stallion is by far one of the most successful Quarter Horse stallions standing in the UK. Snipper earned his AQHA Champion award at 24 years old.
- Jays Smokin Story ("Jay") – This 17-year-old AQHA Champion was imported by SQH in 2002. He is a full brother to Jays Story, who is a two-time AQHA reserve world champion in the working cow horse. Jays Smokin Story is a grandson of the legendary Colonel Freckles and Mr Gun Smoke. Jay, as with all of SQH's stallions, has excellent conformation and temperament and is known for passing it on to his offspring.
- Blazin Chic Olena ("Blaze) – A 14-year-old son of the great Smart Chic Olena, Blaze has earned an AQHA Register of Merit in junior working cow horse, as well as placed fourth in the junior cow horse at the 2005 AQHA World Championship Show. He has also garnered points in reining, cutting and roping. After being imported into the UK, Blaze continued his success in the show ring, winning the open novice horse championship in 2007, 2007 AQHA-UK reserve high-point champion, 2008 AQHA-UK all-ages high-point champion, and 2008 AQHA-UK senior reining reserve champion.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"] Three curious 2 year olds, all by SQH stallions[/caption] Most all horses bred and raised at SQH will be sold as 2- or 3-year-olds with at least 90 days of training on them. They mainly sell them started in the western discipline and ready to compete in western riding events such as pleasure, western riding, reining and ranch riding. These horses are great beginner horses or lesson horses because of their outstanding minds. To learn more about SQH and their operation visit www.sovereignquarterhorses.com.