Sunday, April 8, 2007

Holly Farm


Saturday March 31 2007

Trevor and I were away from his farm at 4:45 AM, headed north; he was dropping me off at David Marshall and Sandie MacLean's Holly Farm outside of Christchurch on his way to Nationals with Picksy. We left in a bit of rain and a thick fog; it took us 5 hours to get to Margaret and Allan's place for coffee, where we unloaded Picksy for a grass break and stretch. We were there an hour, and they talked solid horses. These people knew Trevor's uncle Brian and had some of his horses, and knew Trevor's horses and breeding, like he does, backwards and forwards. Allan was a beekeeper for 35 years, and has just turned 70 and is retiring from it. They sent me away with a homegrown jar of honey! (Which Trevor nicked.)

It was another 3 hours on to David and Sandie's, where Trevor unloaded Picksy again into the round pen, and we all had coffee before Trevor hit the road again. He headed another 2 hours north where he'd stay for the night, and pick up another lady's float and haul it with Picksy and her 4 horses to Nationals, catching tomorrow night's 7 PM ferry. We would pack tomorrow and head north by dark, to catch the 8 AM Monday ferry.

David gave me the history of Holly Farm, in his family for 4 generations, and the rundown on their horses and breeding program and bloodlines, which he knows upside down and inside out. Lots of fascinating history and stories there.

David's dad started breeding Arabians in 1961; David started riding their stallions in endurance in 1978, just to prove that they could do endurance. His dad had decided to breed purebred Arabians, and acquired 4 purebred mares to start, and a purebred Crabbet stallion, Silver Sparkle. David's father's lines carry select Crabbet, Russian, and Egyptian blood, and have proved successful in the showring and in endurance.

While continuing these lines, David and Sandie have decided to also pursue their passion ("I'm just obsessed with breeding!" said David) of breeding Straight Egyptian Arabians as Al Zayd Arabians. The horses are used for showing and endurance, an all-purpose Arabian. David's been all over the world studying breeding
and Arab bloodlines, as well as training them, in the US, Germany, and the UAE.
They've got four stallions: Imperial Maakir and Simeon Sapar are Straight Egyptians, and Zaddam and Pradaa are the mix of David's and his father's breeding. The young dark gray Zaddam was the one that made my eyes pop out. David and Trevor have a partnership in Whitestone's Silver Flame, the 24-year-old gray stallion with a band of mares at Trevor's.

The old homestead on Holly Farm dates back to the 1860's (about as old as you'll find in New Zealand). There's chickens and baby ducks, peacocks, pheasants, cows, and a miniature horse that is Trent's horse. Nobody but Trent can catch the little bugger, and his first day home, Trent led him right in the house. He regularly escapes out of his pen, and we had to run in a whole herd of 2-year-olds to separate him out back into his orchard pen.

There's paddocks of endurance horses in various stages of training, paddocks of two-year-olds, mares and foals, and just weaned babies. Another horse heaven in New Zealand!

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