Gold standard

By: Horse Deals

Gold standard
Treliver Devine, by Treliver Decanter out of a Lauries Crusader mare

Horse Deals visits Treliver Stud, where the aim is to breed top competition horses with trainable temperaments from proven bloodlines

Mention the name "Treliver Stud" and everyone calls to mind the charm and success of its eye-catching dressage star — the golden palomino British Warmblood stallion Treliver Decanter, who has justifiably earned rave reviews from fans and judges alike as "one to watch".

But it’s not only dressage Treliver delivers — according to owner Gill Clothier, the stud offers a much wider talent pool.

"As my stallion competes at dressage many people assume that is his main discipline, but although his father’s Dimaggio, his mother [Krystal] was a very talented show jumper before she had a terrible accident that cut her career short. She’s descended from the famous Hanoverian stallion Grande. Due to this mix of dressage and jumping lines, although my preference is for dressage, my foals would be able to compete in all three major disciplines," she says.

Situated near Leighton Buzzard on the Beds/Bucks border, Treliver Stud is based on part of the historic National Trust’s Ascott Estate. The stud offers 20 acres of grazing and 10 stables — four of them set up as foaling boxes. Gill runs the efficient operation with the help of her dedicated team members, Sarah Gaskin and Kat Forrest.

"We work together as a team and share duties, except for the AI, which I carry out because I’m a qualified AI technician — although to be fair they do most of the mucking out!" she says. "My aim is to produce top-class competition horses primarily for dressage and as a good temperament’s paramount, my youngsters suit most people and can quite happily match an amateur or a professional. Colour’s not my primary aim but is an added bonus. When choosing a stallion I think it is important to look at the horse, not the colour,
"I think I share many other studs’ policy of trying to produce the best horse possible for its job. For me, temperament, movement and conformation are paramount."

The stud has been operational since 1987, when Gill moved to Cornwall as a career step in the NHS.

"Land was plentiful and I’d always had a fascination with genetics. These two factors, combined with my love of horses, started me on my breeding programme," she remembers.

There are currently 13 mares, two of whom are retired and act as nannies for the weanlings.
"I’ve imported my mares from Germany from top bloodlines but temperament, movement and conformation also played a major part," says Gill. "I favour Hanoverian mares, as they suit my stallion. I’ve carefully selected my mares in Germany over the years and now have some excellent bloodlines in my herd, such as Lauries Crusador, Prince Thatch, Wenzel, Walt Disney, Di Caprio, Dornenkonig, Salieri, Del Amitri, Consul, Maestro and Roland. People tend to forget the mareline, which is vitally important. The stallion can only put so much into the equation to improve on a poor or average mare."

Temperament plays a vital role in the Treliver Stud breeding programme, as Gill explains: "You can have the most perfect looking horse with the most wonderful movement, but if it doesn’t want to work with you it’s a waste of time — you might as well leave it in the field."

Treliver Decanter, who stands 16.3hh and achieved champion status at his grading in 2003, is one of two stallions at the stud and is available by AI only via fresh, chilled or frozen semen.

"As Decanter’s in Oxfordshire with his rider, Jamie Anderson from Equine Reproduction collects semen from him and provides an excellent service for mare owners," explains Gill. "As a registered palomino, there’s a 50% chance of passing on the cream gene, which means Decanter can throw palomino, buckskin, cremello, perlino and smokey black foals, depending on the mare’s colour."

Decanter’s sire is the well-known Hanoverian Keystone Dimaggio, who is descended from no less than nine grand prix dressage stallions. These include Dimaggio’s sire Don Primero, grandsire Donnerhall, the most successful dressage stallion in the world to date, Davignon, Donnerschlag, Weltmeyer and Welcome.

"Decanter’s passing on his wonderful temperament and also his movement," says Gill. "Reports from his eldest progeny, which are three and four, is that they’re very easy to back and a delight to work with."

Decanter is competed by Danish dressage rider/trainer Ulrik Molgaard and has proved exceptionally trainable. He qualified for the 2008 nationals and the summer regionals at elementary and medium this year — collecting semen from him at the same time as competing is proving no problem, as his rider confirms.
"I’ve spent the past two years with Decanter and his temperament and trainability are fantastic," says Ulrik. "He copes very well with the pressure required of high-level training and I think if I train him correctly he’ll go all the way. He has the potential to be an Olympic horse. He has the most amazing range of paces and his shoulder movement is superb. Out competing, he’s a joy and concentrates totally on the job in hand. He shows no interest in mares at shows and is perfectly behaved in the lorry, travelling quite happily with other horses. He seems to know he’s going out to compete, not do anything else! He’s showing a natural talent for changes and I can’t wait to start at advanced medium with him this winter."

Treliver’s other stallion, the 16.2hh Irish Draught Kensons Aragorn, is now on permanent loan to Pentaran Stud in Anglesey.

"He was a super horse in his day, competing at every discipline and always trying to please," says Gill. "He’s in the top 20 RID stallions in the world for rare outcross bloodlines, so anyone wanting to use him should take advantage quickly because he’s now 21, but still fertile."

Treliver Stud has produced six foals this year and the future is looking good.

"I have six mares in foal and another five to scan, Most are in-foal to Decanter but two [one his full sister] are expecting foals by the cremello McJonas," says Gill. "I’ve sold a filly and a colt to South Africa. The colt Treliver D’Artagnan is now two and will stand at stud next year. He already has a number of mares booked in to him.

Decanter’s first Dutch foal — a cremello colt — was born this year, the filly, who’s three, has gone to Saratoga Stud and will start competing next year, a yearling filly was sold to Spain, where I hear she’s living in luxurious surroundings, and a three-year-old colt who was sold to Ireland has done exceedingly well in in-hand showing.
"I’m excited about all of them. This year’s foals are superb and, hopefully, they all have great futures ahead."