From Farmer to Quarter Horse Breeder
They say that from little acorns great oaks grow. David and I understand what this really means. In 1976, David’s Father, Henry created a one-man band hobby business that grew from his passion for American Quarter Horses. By 1998, it was still very much a hobby business when Henry handed over to his son, David, and I. At the time, David had a full-on career as a farmer and horses were also a huge passion for us both. Sovereign Quarter Horses continued to grow and soon a full time commercial family business took shape. We took great care to retain the same heartfelt passion that originally launched it as we expanded.
Quarter Horses Breeding Programme As An Idea
By the late 1980s, the idea of the Sovereign Quarter Horse Breeding Programme was growing. The catalyst which really nudged the Breeding Programme into reality was a visit to Horse Creek Farm from David’s good friend, Pete Bowling in 1988. During this visit, Pete suggested that we should breed our own horses to make life a lot easier.
First Brood Mares Found for Snipper’s Heirogance
David visited the USA a year later to buy three brood mares, namely Leo Money Step, Maygun Smoke and Dyna Mito Belle. At the time, Dyna Mito Belle was in foal to Hobby Doc (who stayed in the USA) and in February 1991, soon after arriving in the UK, Sovereign Hobby Doc (“ Hobby”), was born at Horse Creek Farm. Hobby
went on to become our first home-bred stallion, breeding mares for eight years and remains among our Quarter Horses stock today. One of Hobby’s successes was siring a mare, Doc’s Summer Sky, who went on to be the first in Europe to win no less than 50 AQHA Superior All-around Awards. That is an amazing achievement for any horse.
Those three mares were the cornerstone of the Sovereign Quarter Horse Breeding Programme with a herd of 12 or 13 mostly sired by our first stallion, Snipper’s Heirogance, who was purchased in 1993. Both David and I really hoped that Snipper’s beautiful eyes and head would come through in our future foals and this wish was very much fulfilled. Snipper’s quiet demeanour also came through just as strongly. This lovely temperament allowed most clients to easily train the foals themselves and so the big plan backfired. David had hoped to train the young horses for clients himself. Instead a different but, very exciting, Quarter Horse breeding success story was achieved with an array of awards to go with it!
Having proved that Snipper’s offspring were easy to ride with a very nice disposition, David and I wanted to breed more of the same. It has been wonderful to see Snipper’s strong influence appear for three generations so far among his foals and it continues to be the case even now.
Snipper’s demeanour was such that both our daughters rode Snipper from young ages. In 2009, when Ellie was just 13, she rode Snipper for her first demo at the Country Land Owners (CLA) Game Fair in the main arena. Performing at the largest country show in the world could well be quite a daunting prospect for any young child but Snipper’s temperament was perfect and he was very much up for the challenge. Now an adult, Ellie told us: “I loved riding Snipper, as even at a young age, he made me a more confident rider in front of big crowds. I really I knew I could completely trust him.”
Snipper was a real show horse and an AQHA champion in his own right. The success of our Sovereign Quarter Horse Breeding Programme is really down to having such a wonderful stallion from the start of the programme. We could not have done it without him.
Jays Smokin Story – the Stallion for the Daughters of Snipper’s Heirogance
Ten years after Snipper joined us it was time to begin breeding his daughters. It was obviously not an option to cross father with daughters so a new stallion was needed. By that time another (four year old) stallion had been in training in the USA preparing to join our Breeding Programme. We visited the USA with this new stallion in mind but as we drove up the approach road to Pete’s ranch we saw three year old Jays Smokin Story just standing there. In a split-second David knew Jay Smokin Story was to be our next stallion and no other would do. Jays Smokin Story had the perfect confirmation, balance, amazing bloodlines and an incredible temperament and so the die was cast. The fully trained four year old stallion was sold and Jays Smokin Story was bought and imported to the UK instead.
Granddaughters and grandsons from Snipper’s Heirogance are still being ridden and trained at Horse Creek Farm to this very day. It is wonderful to reflect that Snipper’s Heirogance and Jays Smokin Story both became champions in their own right and their offspring are now very much in the forefront of Western riding in the UK and there are European champions among them.
The Sovereign Quarter Horses Breeding Programme now produces approximately 8-10 foals each year with the same qualities of their ancestors. Three daughters from the original Sovereign mares are among those expecting beautiful new foals for the 2021 Breeding Programme.
Confirmation of a Horse
When choosing a Sovereign Quarter Horse stallion David has specific criteria in mind which are non-negotiable. These very qualities we believe help the horses’ trainability, athletic prowess as well as making them amenable and responsive to their rider and include:
- a very nice temperament, exceptional confirmation and soundness.
- a pretty head. The horse must be attractive to look at.
- a good horse structure – 100% sound in its balance with a balanced length of neck to the length of the back to the length of the horse’s hip. Colour is of no interest.
- researching the horse’s background to establish pedigree – complementary bloodlines are essential as we are mindful that some horse pedigrees do not mix.
The Sovereign Quarter Horse Breeding Programme includes bloodlines from performance crosses for ranch riding, reining, working cow horse and cutting. Overall balance, structural correctness and muscle definition is the source of power.
The horses we breed are ideal for:
- multi-disciplined show classes.
- the average person who wants to keep them as a family horse.
- enjoying a hack round the countryside.
We aim to breed safe, sound horses with good bone strength, endurance, great temperament and longevity.
With our reputation firmly established as a breeder of award-winning Western Quarter Horses a visit to view our Quarter Horses is likely to be on the serious enthusiast’s list when researching their next horse. David, myself and the team love to introduce the horses to other horse lovers equally passionate about Quarter Horses.
You might also like to keep an eye on the foals for sale page and follow us on our social media for updates.