Open Day thanks

Last Sunday we held our Autumn Open Day and Foal Showcase at Horse Creek Farm. The weather held in our favor and we had a wonderful day. We were overwhelmed by the amount of support that the day had and the number of people who came to watch us demonstrate this fantastic breed.

We would like to thank all of our spectators and everyone who has posted photos on Facebook and sent us messages of feedback and thanks – we really do appreciate it.

We would also like to thank our invaluable grooms Sarah Tibbles and Shane Tibbles who worked tirelessly to ensure the horses and the venue looked beautiful on the day. Thanks should also go to Olivia who made a great riding debut with us.


We pride ourselves in being at the forefront of promoting the American Quarter Horse – a breed we believe to be the perfect horse. We thoroughly enjoyed demonstrating what these horses can do for you and hope you did too.

As a token of our thanks we have uploaded a selection of photos from the day, on our Sovereign Quarter Horses Facebook Page, taken by three wonderful photographers Sandra Mortlock, Shaun Ward and Clive Turner who have done a fantastic job of capturing the day. Do check these photos out, we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

The Sovereign Team x

Welcome Olivia Lochhead to the SQH Team !

We are delighted to announce that Olivia Lockhead has become the newest member of the Sovereign Team. She is joining us as our assistant horse trainer, working alongside David and Sarah, riding our youngsters and finished horses.

Olivia started riding when she was 2 years old, initially in English disciplines but was converted to Western when she was introduced to her first Quarter Horse CB Hollywood Redgold, who she started at the age of 12.

She has been showing in WES competitions for the last 5 years and in AQHA competitions since 2015. This year she represented Great Britain in the Youth World Cup in Australia in Ranch Riding, Showmanship and Horsemanship. Many thanks to the Youth team coach Charlene Carter for her glowing recommendation.


Those of you who attended our Open Day would have seen Olivia make her fantastic riding debut for Sovereign, and we are looking forward to this long term partnership. We hope that you will welcome Olivia into the Sovereign fold.


Horse and Hound’s Storm Johnson gives reining a try at Sovereign

Sky Johnson Riding Sovereign Quarter Horse's Chex out this Action

Sky Johnson Riding Sovereign Quarter Horse’s Chex out this Action

If you’ve always been tempted to give reining a try, take a look at Horse & Hound’s Storm Johnson’s tips for first-time success.
Storm’s 14 tips for first-time reining success

1. Relax! For reining you need to be relaxed, particularly through your shoulders, as the horses are very responsive to changes in your body position.

2. Find a registered trainer — David and Sarah Deptford are UKCC level 3 & 2 coaches.

3. Ride at a licensed riding establishment — the same way you would with any riding school. Sovereign Quarter Horses is approved by Cambridgeshire County Council and the AQHA UK.

4. Don’t rush out to buy all the gear — a riding hat, some comfortable jeans and a pair of jodhpur boots are all you need for your first few lessons.

5. Be prepared to ride on a loose rein — many riders transferring from English-style riding struggle to let go of the contact, but you will find everything easier if you prepare to ride from your legs and seat.

6. Don’t worry if you’ve never ridden before — David and Sarah meet many first-time riders, some of whom are well into their 60s and 70s!

7. Start on a schoolmaster – I rode Sarah’s mare Chexy (Chex Out This Action), a 13-year-old saint who knew the handbook forwards, backwards and sideways – allowing me to concentrate on my riding.

8. Watch someone experienced ride first — it is much easier to get the hang of it when you’ve seen someone in action. Try attending a demo or a lecture first to get a feel for the style. David and Sarah perform several demos throughout the year – including this year’s British Dressage championships.

9. Ask questions — don’t be afraid to ask if something feels strange or counter-intuitive. If you are struggling with something during your lesson, consider asking your trainer to hop on and show you.

10. Take a support team — reining is a real adrenalin rush and having someone there to cheer you on will fill you with confidence.

11. Don’t over-prepare — the hardest thing for me was learning not to prepare for the movements a few strides away. Reining horses will pick up on any change in posture and you may find yourself starting the movement early.

12. Don’t click! Reining horses are very responsive to the voice, and where a click on your own horses may just give a little more energy, things are different on a Quarter — as David told me, “if you click, she’ll gallop!”

13. Learn how to dismount — don’t make the same mistake I did, or you may find yourself hung from the saddle horn by your sports bra…

14. “Forget everything you’ve ever learned” — wise words from Steph Hurst at Sovereign Quarter Horses.
Keen to give reining a try?

Lessons cost £48 for an hour. Visit

Don’t miss the full article about trying reining for the first time in the 1 January issue of Horse & Hound magazine


Western Horse UK Magazine reports on David Deptford’s European Championship wins at FEQHA 2015

Planes Trains Autos

All Our Stallions have NEGATIVE Five Panel Tests

home2There is a new rule from AQHA that all breeding stallions now have to have a Five Panel Test in order that their offspring can be registered with the American Stud Book.

The five-panel genetic test covers:

  • glycogen branching enzyme deficiency (GBED)
  • hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia (HERDA)
  • hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP)
  • malignant hyperthermia (MH)
  • polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM)

The effects of these equine diseases are wide-ranging, from mild and manageable to severe and terminal. Passing these diseases on to successive generations often causes unnecessary suffering and also leads to financial losses for horse breeders.

We are pleased to announce that our three stallions – Snippers Heirogance, Jays Smokin Story and Blazin Chic Olena have all tested NEGATIVE on the five panel test.

Dressage Meets Western at British Dressage Championships

Husband-and-wife team David and Sarah Deptford, of Sovereign Quarter Horses, showed off their riding skills to a new enthusiastic audience when they took part in a demonstration at the recent 2014 LeMieux National Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh Park.

Sovereign ­-  based at Stags Holt, March, Cambridgeshire  – has been breeding and training American Quarter Horses  since the 1970s and has been at the forefront of promoting both the breed and western riding throughout the UK and overseas.

The couple were invited to take part in a Quadrille demonstration with Dressage father-and-daughter team Paul and Bobby Hayler and proved a big hit with the audience, many of whom had never seen western riding demonstrated by Quarter Horses.

David rode his Stallion Blazin’ Chic Olena, and Sarah, her Mare, Chex Out This Action, during two demonstrations in tandem with Paul, who is the British Dressage Team Training Director, and Bobby.

And despite having just two informal practices and one official rehearsal, it proved a memorable experience for both riders and an enthusiastic crowd, with 2012 Olympic Gold Team Dressage winner Carl Hester and British Dressage President Jennie Loriston-Clarke hailing it the best demonstration they had ever seen at the event.

David said: “Dressage horses are much larger than Quarter Horses and stand about 17 to 18 hands, so consequently their movements are faster due their size, so it was quite difficult to be in sync all the time.

“We had only had two practice sessions before the event, one at Paul’s place in Chelmsford and one at ours, and then had a short rehearsal on the Friday before the weekend demonstrations, so we were delighted with how well they went.

“It was the first time that Sarah and I had taken part in this type of demonstration and it can be difficult to co-ordinate the different horses and styles but we were very pleased with how we all performed and more importantly so was the audience on both days .

“It is usually very quiet while the Dressage is being carried out, but the crowds were cheering and seemed to love it.”

After the Quadrille demonstration, David and Paul swapped horses and David performed a canter pirouette, while Bobby rode Sarah’s Mare.

Sarah said: “It was a really enjoyable experience and I was particularly impressed with how Bobby rode. It must have been very difficult for her to ride my Mare after her Dressage horse, but she did extremely well at western riding.”

Following the demonstrations many members of the audience were keen to discover more about Quarter Horses and western riding.

David said: “A lot of the people who attended the championships would not have seen such a demonstration before and wanted to find out more about Quarter Horses and western riding.

“Taking part was a lot of fun and I hope it has helped spread the western riding gospel to a new audience. Certainly the response from the crowds and also from such renowned Dressage experts as Carl and Jennie made it very worthwhile and a great experience.”

So much so that Sarah added there had already been discussions held for them to take part in another demonstration in the future.

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Jays Smokin Story – AQHA Champion – it’s official!

jay_rea_headWe’ve always said that SQH is the home of Champions.   Well now it really is! To add to the multiple grand championships and reserve grand championships SQH bred horses have earned in 2014, we’ve had confirmation from AQHA that Jays Smokin Story has been awarded his Open AQHA Champion Award.

This is a huge deal as there are only a handful of horses who win this award worldwide each year, and with Snipper winning his a couple of years ago (and being the oldest horse in AQHA history to win this award).  Jay  has followed on in 2014, and we’ve become perhaps the only breeding facility in the world to stand two stallions with the same award. Added to which, both horses have won the award at a later time in life (Jay is 16 and Snipper was 24 when he won his).  There are not many stallions who are breeding that still come out and compete to win awards like this at an age when a lot of people wouldn’t expect them to still “be going”!.

Jays Smokin Story

Jays Smokin Story

At 16 years old, Jay really hasn’t been shown much over the past few years, he had points in reining, halter and hunter under saddle (yes, David wore jodphurs, although it was such a long time ago hardly any of us can remember it!). Part of the reason for this is a freak paddock accident around 3 years ago where Jay came in from turn out in his paddock unable to lift his head fully.  Xrays revealed he had broken a vertebrae in his neck, apparently it is a reasonably common injury for steeplechase horses who fall, but we still don’t know how Jay did it!    The cure?  Well, it was for Jay to be box rested for nearly 10 months.  He didn’t come out of his stable, his shoes were removed, his feet were trimmed in the stable, he didn’t step foot outside for all that time.   Most horses in these circumstances would get a little tetchy, but not Jay, he remained the same calm horse he always is, a trait he passes on to his offspring.  After all these months and more xrays, it was felt that the bone had repaired as much as it could, and David was told to walk him around.  Now in most people’s horses lives, this would involve sedation as any horse coming out of a box for the first time in months could be excused a little bit of exuberant behaviour.  Not Jay.  again, his fabulous temperament came to the fore, David tacked him up, and walked him around the arena, no drama, no issues…  Jay has been fine ever since!

jay_side_standNow, we knew David was up to something earlier this year when suddenly Jay was entered into some shows, this resulted in his Open Performance Register of Merit being awarded in June.   We still hadn’t twigged to what David was up to (he’s secretive like this!), then at the Fenland August show, with 5 Open AQHA Points in various categories to get David showed Jay in Green Trail, Senior Trail and Ranch Horse Pleasure.  Guess what, he got the necessary 5 points required for his AQHA Championship, which is quite a feat in one weekend.  Then came the wait to see whether we had added up everything correctly.   AQHA rules state

An AQHA Champion title will be awarded in the open division to any stallion, mare or gelding, or in the amateur and youth division to the contestant and his/her horse in their respective division, that earns a total of 35 or more points in AQHA-approved competition or races (for open AQHA champions only), providing that:

  • Points have been won in five or more shows and under five or more different judges;
  • A minimum of 15 of these points have be earned in halter/performance halter classes, with a minimum of eight points being earned during or after the horse’s 2-year-old year. In open division only, at least two grand championships with five or more horses in the sex division must have been earned under two different judges with at least one of them being earned on or after the horse’s 2-year-old year and/or two performance halter champions, with five or more in the class;
  • A minimum of 15 of these points must be earned in performance events with a minimum of five points having been earned in each of at least two categories of performance events.

We did our calculations, and re did them, and then just to be safe, we spoke to AQHA who were pleased to confirm that the AQHA Championship Award is being processed and now David is waiting (reasonably patiently) for the postman to arrive (probably moaning and whingeing) with a very very large parcel which will contain Jays rather large and magnificent AQHA Champion Award trophy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJay is probably the leading sire American Quarter Horses who stands in the UK. Although Jay himself was initially bred to be a reiner, (representing Great Britain on Team GB) he has proved himself very versatile in a number of events (remember, David wore jodphurs once or twice!), As well as competing in AQHA events, he’s been one of our popular demonstration horses going to county shows around the UK, in fact around the world, as he flew to Dubai for one demonstration, promoting the American Quarter Horse, and he’s even competed in Unaffiliated Dressage with David and Sarah’s daughter Amy, qualifying for a winter championship.  His offspring have also proved to be conformationally correct winnng numerous grand and reserve grand championships, as well as earning points in all around events in all divisions.

David says “Jay is a wonderful horse to be around, nothing phases him and we’re very lucky that Pete Bowling of Oasis Quarter Horses made us aware of him when he was a youngster.  Pete thought an awful lot of his sire Master Jay, and when he bought Master Jay, he also bought Jay with us in mind.  Pete has always said that Jay was a horse he should have kept…  sorry Pete, we’re glad you didn’t!”

Sovereign At The British Dressage Championships..

002sqhwebsiteYes, you read that right, however, David and Sarah won’t be donning jodphurs, top hats and tails, but they are joining forces with International Dressage riders Bobby and Paul Hayler to put on two demonstrations (Saturday  20th and Sunday 21st September) at the forthcoming British Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.  This is the second time we’ve been invited to demonstrate, and we were delighted to accept!

Snips Silver Dollar Earns Halter Register of Merit in Open

dollarlrSnips Silver Dollar, who is out of a Snipper daughter and by Jays Smokin Story has earned her AQHA Open Halter Register of Merit.  This mare has been very lightly shown, and is never out of the top two, and is normally Grand or Reserve Grand Champion when shown.  Sovereign Quarter Horses – The Home of Champions

Jays Smokin Story Earns AQHA Open Performance Register of Merit

jay_side_standWe’re really proud that our stallion, Jays Smokin Story has earned his AQHA Open Performance Register of Merit in June 2014.

Jay has been really busy the past few years with his breeding duties, and demonstrations, and hasn’t been shown much.  However, 2014 is his year so far.

After earning his AQHA Performance ROM in Open in June, he just needs 5 points we think to earn his AQHA Champion Award.

Well, at the August Fenland Show, we think he did it, earning 5 points overall in Trail and Ranch Horse Pleasure – we’ve got fingers crossed and our calculators out, and we’re just waiting for confirmation from AQHA.

Just goes to show, although he is best known for reining, he is a true all around horse, (as his offspring are proving) because he has earned points over the years in Trail, Reining, Ranch Horse Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle!