A spectacular colt foal (ex Civil Affair) beat 1st of September by just a few hours; makes me suspect this son of National Emblem will be one to watch.
Meanwhile an unexpected frost gilded the blossoms with ice, and MALHUB took the honours of being the first sire to be led into the barn for the start of the 2006 Season.
Just after 8.20am Cataloochie negotiated the transition from racehorse to stallion. He is a very tall and solidly built horse yet he behaved beautifully for Greig, so alert and wondering, and intrigued by the mare standing so quietly for him. Greig, Scottie and their team were with him to educate, coax, relax him and provide constant praise and instruction. Anyone who has ever watched a young sire cover his first mare will know that it is quite a remarkable act to witness. Nature certainly provides the animals, but there is a distinct human factor involved with commercial thoroughbreds to ensure the right older mare is chosen to provide an easier right of passage for a young inexperienced stallion, handlers to ensure he doesn’t either rush the mare or get aggressive, the mare has been vet checked and teased to ensure she is fully receptive to the horse … and years of experience between the team on the ground ensure any frustrated roars from the (sometimes bewildered) suitor are minimised, the mare gets covered, and before long a young horse can be standing with steam rising off his coat and the look of the Gods on his face.
Better than morning trackwork one suspects!
(PS - Cataloochie covered his second mare after lunch and Greig reports that he took to the task like an old pro. A quick learner it seems. Way West and Solskjaer also successfully covered their first mares yesterday. The season is underway).