The NZWarmblood Association talk with dedicated NZWB breeders to find out where their passion for breeding lies.

Debbie and Peter Barke – Rainbow Mountain – Rotorua

How long have you been breeding?
Thank you for the opportunity to chat about our breeding, Peter and I bred our first foal together in NZ 2002. A chestnut filly by Witzbola out of our TB Mare Didi. That filly is the mother of RM All About Me the wonderful FEI YR mare of Amy Sage’s.

What stallions are you using at the moment and what appealed to you about them?
So why Fugato SW well where do I start. We wanted to use Foundation to complement our mare but frozen stats on his semen were not good enough for us to risk, so when Stirling Warmbloods imported Fugato SW we were thrilled the sire line is what we wanted and the dam line is superb. The horse himself it exactly what we needed as our mare produces tall horses we didn't want an over tall sire and he has very good shoulder and fore arm action, a point we are aware needs improving a bit with our mare. We bred two Fugato SW in the first year and have returned Ruby to him again as the foal is exquisite and a huge mover. We looked at all the frozen options and for us $ is a factor as we can only risk so many $ on frozen BUT we didn't like anything as much as Fugato SW and the fresh semen and price point is outstanding. As we are primarily breeding for us the lack of "frozen semen" or "latest sensation" premium that you can get for a frozen foal didn't add up for us and at the end of the day his pedigree is as good as the frozen and the proof is in the foals.

Tell us about your broodmares?
Didi Had 7 foals for us and the reason we started with a TB mare is we wanted to breed quality all-rounders as that was what the market needed then and we could breed, raise, start and produce them. Of her 7 foals she had a granddaughter that went to advanced, and three that evented up to 1* RM Limbo also won many championships at regional level dressage. Didi was also the Dam of Lady Mikayla a GP dressage horse.

In 2011 we realized that our goals had changed and that we could effectively and relatively economically "value add" to the foals we bred as we had the facilities and the skills so we thought we would try to breed the best we could for ourselves to ride in the dressage arena. We had limited cash a whole heap of passion and then we worked damn hard to see if our hobby (because its hard to justify it at the beginning to the accountant!) could produce us horses for the future. The broodmare line is very, very important so in 2011 we took the risk and imported our Main Dressage broodmare Mc Arthur Santa Ana and invested in frozen breeding. Ruby had a beautiful black Filly RM Suzie Q who is out competing now (attached photo) she was By Status Quo. Then we bred 3 more by frozen - 2 Don Frederic and a Desperando, This year’s foal out of "Ruby" is RM Fortune by Fugato SW

What improvements could be made to the breeding scene in New Zealand?
My only wish for NZ breeding is that breeders stay honest and buyers begin to understand or appreciate the time, money and emotion that goes into producing a live foal and then a ridden 3/4yr old, and the $ only really account for 50% of the time invested in reality and the emotional cost is only just outweighed by the emotional joy!

What is the ultimate aim of your breeding program? 
Our goal was to produce horses for us that were the best we could afford to breed and were competitive in the ever-improving quality dressage world. Well we are proud of what we have bred, One Merit and one Excellence in the last two classification tours. We really like the horses we have on the ground and look forward to producing them to be the best they can be. Of the total 12 fillies and 7 colts we have lost 4 (abortions/heart issues at 3 months and a paddock accident) the other 15 have either proved themselves in the competition arena or are waiting I the wings to do so that is very satisfying as a breeder. The losses were emotionally very hard, and they do always give me sleepless nights. We have had some good luck with frozen and some bad, again you have to be able to ride the financial loss. Never breed (gamble) with money you cannot afford to lose BUT it is very very rewarding and seeing our home bred horses out there competing and winning is very very exciting. I can tell you where each and every one was born, and I believe they know my voice from those very first minutes of life.

Are you breeding to sell or retain breeding stock or to ride yourself?
Have we sold horses? Yes because we can’t ride them all and some are better suited to other jobs, or different situations - like RM All About Me has excelled with Amy Sage and that was the perfect match all round. RM Limbo and RM Let It Be love to jump. Rm Suzie Q and Rm Astek Glamorous are learning the job of dressage horses and we are very excited about them. In the wings we have RM Donatella, RM Joyride, RM J Luv Me (by GT Jake) Rm Darwin and this year’s fillies by Fugato SW RM Fortune and RM Freedom.

RM Freedom by Fugato SW


Mc Arther Santa Ana and this year’s Fugato SW filly


RM Suzie Q the leap of faith into importing mares and frozen semen - 4 yrs old our first frozen for Merit at classification (Photo credit Anne Stewart)


Melanie Harris - Pokeno

How long have you been breeding?
I bought my first warm blood broodmare Vita in 2011 in foal due March 2012, but I had bred a crossbred pony several years earlier.
What stallions are you using at the moment and what appealed to you about them?
This year I’m using fugato over two of my mares, he looks to be a lovey modern type of stallion that should help to improve their confirmation and has great movement which I’m looking forward to riding.  My other mare is in foal to GT Jake he too has good movement and a nice active hind and I chose him to try and help lighten my mare (she’s nice and solid but could be refined a touch) and help to improve her hind leg.

Tell us about your broodmares?
My original mare vita is Voltaire II/Gibraltar II she has the most wonderful nature and has given me three very lovey mares one by Doringcourt and two by Worldly and she has just had a colt by GT Jake who is super special.  

My Doringcourt/Voltaire II mare Delite has been lightly competed however I am putting her in foal for the first time to GT Jake.  I’m looking forward to this foal as Delite was awarded a Merit last year in the tour and is a lovely type, Ive had a number of people comment that they want her on their studbook however she is to be my next dressage star so in the future we may look to do embryo transfer.

The last mare to go in foal this season in Willow, Worldly/Voltaire II she is 3 yrs and a maiden, will hopefully get her pink papers in this next tour.  She is also going to Fugato, apparently the W and F lines are a good cross so I’m interested to see what it turns out like.

What did you like about the Classification Tour last year?
Personally I enjoyed the tour last year as I had the four mares assessed and this has given me guidance in what direction to head with my future breeding.
What improvements could be made to the breeding scene in New Zealand?
I think the NZ breeding scene is still quite immature however with the quality of stallions we have in NZ and the availability of frozen semen from overseas this will help to improve our quality of horses/mares we have.  I think the issue with the breeding scene is the end market where breeders do not necessarily get the reward (financial) that they deserve, I understand this is not limited to nz though.  

What is the ultimate aim of your breeding program? 
My ultimate aim is to bred quality rideable horses for the amateur rider which they can be competitive on and still have fun.

Are you breeding to sell or retain breeding stock or to ride yourself?
I am breeding to retain to ride but as my husband points out I only have one bottom and as I’m putting three in foal I think I may have to sell a couple (unless I can hide them in the back paddock).

What horse has given you the most pride as a breeder?
So far Delite has given me the most pride, she was my first one and she is turning into a lovely riding horse and I’m excited to continue on my journey with her.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
My biggest disappointment is having to put one down, breeding is risky and there will also be heartache however it is luckily outweighed by the highlights.

Any tips for aspiring breeders?
My tips would be find a quality broodmare that you like and would want to ride as she is the base/foundation upon which your breeding program is built on, there is no point having poor foundations as the house may fall over.  
Also have a husband or supportive family/network around you as breeding can sometimes be hard emotionally and time wise.


GT Jake / Voltaire II