Equestrian: Bi-colour magic from Sorcery

By Anendra Singh


He's talented, rugged, sweet natured, gentle and easy to deal with - well, just about fitting the wishlist of mothers whose daughters are on the cusp of bringing home that ideal first date to meet the family.

But this stud will take to the air, covering about 25,000km as the crow flies, from Virginia to an expansive home in Hastings next month with nowhere near as much fuss as Usain Bolt's arrival caused here.

Nevertheless, this stallion will make a colourful entrance in Hawke's Bay on November 23 and, with a bit of magic from Lisa Beck, of Bridge Pa, he'll be taking the showjumping scene by storm in this country.

Sorcery, a 5-year-old pedigree horse, stands head and shoulders above any other stallion in New Zealand because he is "homozygous" for the pinto gene.

Put in layman's terms that equates to the fact that all of his progeny will be bi-colored no matter what the broodmare's pigmentation will be - except for grey mares.

He is the acquisition of American couple Maria Partlow and John Hines, of Louisville, Kentucky, who also have property at Waimarama.

"I don't know of any other homozygous showjumping stallion in New Zealand," says Beck who, with husband/farrier Malcolm, runs the Golden Oaks Stud here where they came not long after arriving from North Devon, West Country of England, in March 2010.

Beck visited Partlow and Hines in Kentucky in July where she free-jumped Sorcery who showed tremendous ability.

"He's beautiful and I'll have him out in some form or shape, bearing in mind he's only 5 years old," says the former equestrian who has won several UK grand prix titles and was also an amateur steeplechase jockey who "never finished below fourth except for once when the horse pulled up lame".

"I think he'll go on to do big things in showjumping around New Zealand."

In a press statement, Partlow reveals Sorcery is a warmblood breed, specifically a Rhineland-Plaalz-Saar registered stallion of German origin.

Sorcery is by the well-known and successful warmblood stallion Sempatico, also homozygous for the coloured gene, out of the Art Deco mare Deco's Diva. Sempatico is approved by the Rheinland-Pfalz-Saar (RPSI) and the Oldenburg NA and ISR and as a foal in Germany was "Budeschampionat", the national champion. He completed both the 30-day and 70-day test in Germany with excellent scores before his trip to Silverwood Farm in Virginia.

Deco Diva received a premium mare status by the RPSI and received a nine for her trot and she has been successful in show hunters, showjumping and eventing. Career highlights include a 5' 6" jump at the Upperville, Virginia horse show 6 bar class, jumper wins at Culpepper, Virginia, and finishing as the fifth-rated event horse in the open novice division in the mid-Atlantic region, the nation's most competitive three-day eventing region. She also had wins at recognised dressage shows. Her sire, Art Deco, is one of the most successful sport horse sires in America and one of the few pinto warmbloods to successfully compete not only in Grand Prix dressage but also hunters, eventing and showjumping.

"We're so pleased to have acquired Sorcery and to be able to bring him to New Zealand," Partlow says. "Looking for a homozygous warm-blood stallion is a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack, they are quite rare. Sorcery offers not only a guarantee that his foals will be coloured, except when bred to grey mares, but also the genes of great allrounders like his sire, dam and grandsire. He is a beautiful mover and shows great scope free jumping."

No doubt, Beck is honoured to have the privilege of training and riding Sorcery in showjumping competitions.

"Sorcery is of impeccable breeding and he shows tremendous scope and athleticism over a fence," she says.

Says Partlow: "When he's settled, the first mare we will put in foal to him is our thoroughbred half-sister to the great show jumper Cortaflex Tinapai, and we are very excited about that mating."

Golden Oaks Stud is spread over 6ha split into 19 paddocks and offering 32 stables, a horse treadmill and a mile-round track.

The stud also has an agistment service where owners can pay to have their horses looked after. It offers rehabilitation services for injured animals.

The Becks own two stallions - 13-year-old Sequels Samista, a Dutch warmblood, and 5-year-old Ballineen Blue Mountain, a pure Irish draft.

Partlow, who had spotted Sequels Samista in an equine magazine, brought her mare from Waimarama to Beck to fix a neck problem and the rest is history.

A breeder as well, Lisa Beck learned her trade from elite showjumping stalwarts Lionel Dunning and Ernest Dillon, in England.

She started competing with ponies at the age of 8 and by the time she was 16 Beck was teaching others the art of showjumping.

Ask her what is the prerequisite to becoming a fine breeder, trainer and rider, Beck replies: "Hard work, dedication to a seven-day-a-week work and talent."

So what brought her here?

"The weather, good living and a gap in the market to create our business."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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