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High House ECEET CIC
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We are a small stud in the Lake District, careful breeders of pure bred arab horses for our own endurance ridden use for nearly 25 years. We know how few straight and high % Crabbet stallions at public stud are left in the UK, and have expanded our breeding of pure Crabbet , GSB and Old English arabian foals at home and to visiting mares. Our 100% Crabbet endurance stallion Hanson stood here until his death in 2009. He had just been joined here by Winged Saint, also straight Crabbet. We now have Winged Saint's pure Crabbet 2013 successors to take his legacy into the future: Seren Altair, a grandson of Hanson, and Seren Sadrh. Altair has a confirmed pregnancy for 2018 in the only mare he has covered. Dandini our 2014 junior stallion, again "PC", has 2017 foals as well as pregnancies for 2018.
We now introduce our new senior stallion, who has just arrived from Holland:
Winged Saint 1990 - 2016
The bachelor herd playing: Seren Hanau, Seren Hanag and Seren Winged Shadow. (15MB)
Seren Vega finds a way of coping with being kept separate from the bachelors because of an injury. (8MB)
Traffic training: Seren Winged Shadow, Seren Vega and Merlin. (4MB)
More traffic training: Hanson and Shadowed Gold. DON'T TRY THIS ONE AT HOME!!! (3MB)
Our new senior stud stallion is
Aurilla Gold (Elegant Gold x Golden Auriole)
Originally from England, and reimported
to us this summer at 26 years old, he has an illustrious dressage career in Holland behind him.
Winged Saint's successors are now here:
While the preservation of certain bloodlines is very high on our list of aims, the overriding concern is that we produce young horses that are physically and mentally suitable for top level competition, with endurance as our main focus. We don't believe that good endurance horses are simply "the ones that are not successful in other disciplines" or "are arabs therefore good at endurance". We know what we are looking for in our breeding, both in the potential sires and dams and in the offspring.
Fortunately, among the Crabbet population in the UK and around the world are some eminently suitable horses for our purposes, which allows us to concentrate heavily but not exclusively on preserving pure Crabbet bloodlines without compromising our performance aims.
Another key area in our breeding aims is genetic health. All of evolution is based on changes to genes. Changes that result in improvement to the breed tend to be bred on to later generations, while changes that result in major problems tend to result in gradual or rapid loss of the resulting young animals. In between are changes that have small effects, or that have no effect at all unless the young animal receives two copies of the gene, one from each parent - "recessive" genes. Several of these genes, a tiny fraction of the genetic makeup of many horses, cause health problems which are often specific to particular breeds and their offspring. The ones that cause current concern in arabian horses are all recessive, and require both parents to carry at least one copy before they can cause any problems.
Huge advances in genetic research have meant that the three significant defects that are known to be in the arabian horse can now be identified simply and cheaply in the DNA of the horses by testing. This allows breedings that could produce affected foals to be avoided. We test all of our breeding horses for all three of these defective genes. This in turn means that we can be sure that our foals are healthy, and that we can select from the foals we have, keeping breeding stock that meet all of our requirements AND are clear of those genetic defects even if their sire or dam are not. By publishing the results, we can also inform owners of potential breeding partners so that they are making choices based on reliable information instead of blind hope.
This does not mean that youngstock carrying one or more of these defective genes cannot be part of the breeding programme. On the contrary, as long as they meet all of our other criteria, breeding from them passes on all of the good characteristics and will produce a statistical 50% of their own foals who are clear of the defect: preserving all of the strengths and "filtering out" the one defective gene which will not reappear in any of the offspring of those "clears". If a foal of a foal does inherit the defect, the harmless situation is continued until the next generation: a foal of a foal of a foal (and so on). Only when an equally good, clear foal reaches maturity would we take the decision to drop a carrier from the programme in favour of the clear - and even then it may be perfectly sensible to keep the carrier in the programme too, on its own merits.
Of course, many other breeds also have genetic problems, but we are not concerned with them here.
As the economic uncertainty continues, we feel that it is very important to keep our programme of 100% Crabbet breeding going, and we would encourage everyone to try to do so, too. With a small and aging global herd, the loss of a few years as we all wait for the economy to pick up is having a disproportionate effect on the future of 100% Crabbet breeding. We aim to keep our stud and livery fees as low as we possibly can, and encourage mare owners to share transport if possible.
There is of course a responsibility upon breeders to make sure that the foals will have a secure future before they are bred, and we are very happy to talk this through with potential breeders as well as all who get beyond the stage of merely thinking about it.
This is the first year when we will not be welcoming 100% Crabbet, GSB ("General Stud Book") and OE ("Old English") mares for breeding lease arrangements. We have reached the stage where we have to look at a gradual reduction in our own breeding because of our own future age - to avoid needing to disperse a large herd in 20 years' time because we can no longer cope.
We can thoroughly recommend breeding leases and loans (which have been on either RIF return-in-foal or RNIF return-not-in-foal terms). Each arrangement has its advantages in addition to the preservation of bloodlines:
RIF gives the mare owner 18 to 20 months without her costs, plus a foal without fees for stallion covering or livery. We could afford to have a foal without the capital outlay and the long term outgoings of a mare we owned;
RNIF gives the mare owner the same "cost holiday", without the practical and financial burdens of foaling and a foal to bring on or to find a home for.
We have given another arrangement and motivation for breeding the rather catchy title "AARNIF" (but of course it could also be AARIF or even AAF!!!) (more to follow...)
Having changed the main emphasis of our breeding, from Crabbet/ Polish to pure and very high percentage Crabbet, we have never achieved what some others have: a distinctive lineage over generations. Instead we have concentrated on two themes: staying as few generations from horses foaled at Crabbet Park as we can and staying true to the type of horse we so admire.
Thus Hanson, and then Halal: both of their parents, Hanif and Sherilla, were foaled and bred from at Crabbet; Shadowed Gold, daughter of St. John; Silver Ingot; Silihah; and Winter Queen who is GSB and over 90% Crabbet. All of these epitomise the powerful, versatile physical horse with the temperament and intelligence that we insist on, the sort of horse we should be breeding from.
Once we admit to the limitations of our own age, we will probably reduce our Crabbet breeding contribution to a herd of stallions for public stud, each with all of the characteristics we want, and offering a wide choice of pure Crabbet bloodlines for visiting mares.
The way we keep all of our horses allows us to teach courses in equine ethology, equine behaviour and welfare, and also means that they are ideal for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning for people. All of these take place here at High House, where other highly skilled professionals also use our horses, dogs and environment in their work.
Equine ethology is the study of horses' natural behaviour when free to behave naturally! Weare absolute believers in the benefits of an ethologically balanced existence, to both horses and their owners. Thus we have natural herds for all of the horses, adjusting the groupings according to the situation, though that does point out the need for the horses to fit into the real world and not some ideological pipedream. Management is eased by the more mellow behaviour that results. Out of doors our stallions live with mares and youngstock, or as a bachelor herd in sight, sound and smell of the mares, separated from them by a wall topped by normal electric fencing. Indoors they all feed ad lib from shared bales and can mutually groom over the partitions. We have found that some of our own horses are happier sharing a large loosebox than occupying one on their own, so that is what they do. Visitors are often taken aback to find double-occupied looseboxes and correspondingly empty ones in the American barn. Some people are quite alarmed to be told that some of the double-occupiers are stallions. The fact that they have to be told before they realise it says a great deal ...
Winged Saint with 3 mares and 2 weanlings (colts by Hanson)
Training in good habits and sociability begins within minutes of every foal's birth. We like horses and foals to be happy and safe in a loosebox with people! Equally, herd behaviour is vital to their manners and wellbeing, and they live out in their natural herds for the vast majority of the time rather than in the stable block:
Hanson (grey, by the car) with mares, foals and yearling colt
The result is that we live with gentle, beautiful horses. Starting ridden work is an extension of their handling rather than "breaking". The youngest (lightest) child was always the first in a youngster's saddle. It's a matter of mutual trust ...
Since any foal may be chosen to stay permanently, all have the same upbringing. The results have delighted our purchasers in the past, and will in the future.
The bachelor herd getting some serious eating done in the winter sunshine,
relaxing in the long view of the first snow of 2012/13 on the Coniston fells, the Langdales and Scafell Pike.
Video in context (same clip as reached by the links at the top of the page)
Many of our visitors from all around the world admit towards the end of their visits that they came with at least the half intention of proving to themselves that we are wrong. All have left knowing that we are not wrong, with many asking themselves whether they can use some of what they have seen for their own horses. We now offer structured courses here in herd behaviour and ethology, as well as welcoming informal visits as before. During the courses, we can give very detailed descriptions and explanations of what is happening as it happens, as well as the benefits of the situations and interactions.
The photo below caused quite a stir when we put it onto facebook, as so few people have seen a foal living together in a family group with the sire and dam:
For more on ethology and courses CLICK HERE.
lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of colts, serene as fill(ie)s
Beside the stream, beneath the trees,
Playing and dancing in the breeze.
There’s a rumour, which we are trying hard to start, that our lakeland neighbour William Wordsworth drafted those words after climbing our hill, only to be told that it didn’t rhyme properly and noone would believe it anyway. It might work with some tweaking… And so, Daffodils.
From 2015 we are offering a limited number of places for weanling colts from other studs to join our own foals until the autumn of their yearling or 2-year-old year. Each colt will be integrated into our nursery herd, then later with ours into a mixed herd of mares and other youngsters. At the individually, ethologically appropriate time, he will then move to join the bachelor herd. At the end of the contract, he will return to his owner. This service allows him to develop into the horse he can become, before a decision is taken on his future. Once he’s gelded, there’s no going back…But why, on balance, not just stick with the herd and carry on doing what has been done for so many years??? Simply because we have done the development work that shows us how to give entire males the same quality of socialisation as females and neuters. This leads to them behaving in equally acceptable ways.
Since 1993 we have had at least one entire male, stallion or colt; and
from 1995 always more than one, including at least one stallion. We soon
found that living in a herd they are much happier and easier to handle, but
we were always careful to avoid the dreaded
face-to-face meeting of entires.
In 1997, Hanson was introduced to his new colt foal. The instant calm showed us that a full stallion could coexist with junior
entires without certain doom for any horses or humans. We had already shown in 1996 that juniors could do it, in a three
colt group of 3 y.o., 2 y.o. and yearling.
In 2005 we began to take people into our herds to show how and why we do things, and to meet the horses including stallions and colts. Since 2010 we have taught structured courses here in horse behaviour and ethology.We believe we should keep them like this, and have built on it ever since. We love keeping multiple stallions and colts, either herded with mares and young stock, or in bachelor herds. Our experience is that colts raised in this way are as amenable as fillies and geldings, and grow into stallions who are kinder, more responsive and safer in the presence of people and other horses when compared with “conventionally” raised entires.
There is another, very serious purpose in this. With a dwindling gene pool, the future of pure OE, GSB and Crabbet breeding is in jeopardy. There are few mares of breeding age left. How many available stallions are there? Time and time again we hear that a colt has to be gelded because it is not fair, practical or safe to keep him entire.
However, having seen other people’s incidents and near misses with colts and
stallions, the approach comes with three very clear warnings from our
Ethologically based raising and keeping of colts and stallions mustn’t begin on a whim. You can’t “just do it” without proper planning and preparation;
Colts and stallions already raised in un-ethological regimes will have so-called “typical colt/stallion” characteristics, taking longer to adjust, if ever;
Progress towards paradise has to be appropriate in structure and pace. Getting it wrong leaves you in a harder place, not back where you started.
Saint's two 2010 home coverings also achieved confirmed pregnancies. Sadly, Canopus twinned yet again after losing her 2009 covering Winged Saint twins 28 days before they were due. An attempt to reduce her to one single pregnancy failed: she lost them both and then refused to come back into season for the rest of the year. We hoped that she would at last conceive a straightforward single in 2011, but she had her fatal accident before being covered.
On the other hand, Shadowed Gold had a single pregnancy, this time a filly as you can see clearly from the ultrasound scan:
Seren Golden Wings (Winged Saint x Shadowed Gold), chestnut filly 2011, ultrasound scanned at 61 days gestation.
(Actually, we couldn't see how it shows she is a filly,
either. We also have an annotated copy that makes it oh so clear when you are
shown where to look and what to look at...)
(And notice a reflection in the scanner screen: no, the chestnut isn't the foal at all. It must be Silihah watching the scanning!)
One of Saint's 2010 visiting mares emerged from her transport in full season, so ready that we decided to cover her half an hour later. 52 days after her arrival, she left us with a 50 day confirmed pregnancy.
The other 2010 visiting mare, who has a long history of great difficulty in breeding, did not conceive. As part of the drive to preserve 100% Crabbet lines, we are happy to accept "difficult breeding mares", though they may distort our success rate statistics as in this case.
Our breeding emphasis in 2009, 2010 and 2011 was the Hanif / Sherilla programme, and we used Saint just enough to safeguard his lines. His three 2009 coverings produced a superb colt for us, Seren Winged Shadow out of Shadowed Gold, and a filly for Rebecca Kinnarney out of Seren Capella.
Meanwhile Halal had his first AI pregnancy in a mare in Wales, and a super foal resulted in 2010.
April, 2012. Seren Capella, daughter of Hanson, owned and ridden by Rebecca Kinnarney successfully competed for the Endurance GB team representing Great Britain at Mont le Soie, Belgium. Rebecca and Capella completed the course, one of only 7 finishers out of 22 starters in the 120km FEI**. The GB team had 4 of the 7 finishers, and 2 Young Riders (YR) also completed the 120km FEIYRJ** with YR Cari Ann Dark coming 5th in the 160km FEI***. These are superb results for the team and the individuals. Huge congratulations to Rebecca and Capella, their crew Sarah and Sarah, and the whole team.
During the summer, we were emailed by the owner of another of "our" horses, Shaiman, trying to find out more about him. We had lost contact with him in 2006. He has re-emerged as the ride of Amy Lennon, placed 3rd in the EGB 2012 young rider national championship at King's Forest. We hope to meet Amy and Shaiman soon, to catch up with him and to see what we can do for them!
In 2013, Seren Rigel progressed from novice to open with Rebecca Kinnarney, and should continue his development in 2014. The steady progression is to ensure that he reaches his potential without the damage to his health that over ambitious programmes can cause to horses. Meanwhile, Serinah started her endurance career with Vivienne Knight. At the end of the year we heard the standings of both of "our" novices:
Seren Rigel won the Cromwell EGB Group 2013 Novice High Points trophy; Serinah came second in the Northumberland and Tyneside Group 2013 Newcomers trophy and second in the Barefoot trophy. Our congratulations to both teams.
|Seren Capella crossing the finish line at Mont le Soie||Team GB congratulates...|
|Seren Rigel. Photo: www.west-end-photography.co.uk||Serinah. Photo: www.west-end-photography.co.uk|
We welcome older mares as well as young, "easier breeders". Our equine vet Jane King and her team from North West Equine Vets have and deserve our admiration for the way she has helped us to breed some superb youngstock out of some very challenged mares over the years. She works closely with us to achieve and support pregnancies, with many of our home foals being out of aging "difficult" breeders, whose lines might otherwise have been lost.
Mares must be of good quality; in good health apart from any injuries which do not affect their ability to breed, foal or nurse; and with up-to-date vaccinations and certificated current clear test results for CEM, EVA and strangles in accordance with the guidelines issued by the HBLB and BEVA. We require that your vet certifies that your mare has been on premises free from contagious and infectious diseases for the 60 days prior to her travelling to our premises. These are routine procedures for your vet, and also ensure that your mare is safe from infections which could otherwise be brought in by others.
We keep an eye on the situation with respect to EIA since the outbreak of 2010. There were two cases in Cornwall and Devon in October 2012, but the outbreak was declared closed by DEFRA on 1st February 2013, and we are therefore not asking for negative EIA test results from mares who have not been outside the UK. We will reinstate the requirement with immediate effect if there is another outbreak in the UK. Mares from outside the UK must be tested for EIA and the original certificates seen by us before they commence travel to the UK. They will also be retested for EIA on arrival here and quarantined until the results are received by us. These tests and quarantine are at the owner's expense.
More information on EIA is available on the DEFRA website.
As in previous years, our own stallions will have clear test results for CEM, EVA, and EIA for the 2018 season before any visiting mare travels to us, and before we begin to dispatch chilled semen.
All of these diseases and their tests are routine considerations, and there is no need for alarm. However, good health means both awareness and management of risk.
We will want to know your future plans for the foal before accepting your mare. We fully endorse the BHS responsible breeding campaign, while keeping the cost of breeding affordable.
Mares are accepted for covering and livery at the owner's risk. For safety reasons, we need them to be un-shod front and rear.
SCID, CA and LFS
All of our stallions have tested clear (N/N) of SCID, LFS and CA.
SCID, CA and LFS information and advice pages will be available shortly in the public section of our advice pages.
If the mare is violent during covering attempts, we reserve the right to change from natural covering to AI where AI is available. We reserve the right to terminate the covering agreement if the mare is violent and AI is not available.
We can do any covering style and care package, but prefer a first covering on sand & rubber. This allows us to rescue the stallion if the mare turns out to be violent. We don’t do ”cover on sight” as it can teach the stallion to be insistent, and because the young stallions will be ridden regularly on public roads and in the company of mares in the future. Instead we prefer a gradual introduction before she is in season, then a civilised courtship, then the first covering. We are set up to intervene at any stage to prevent either from having a nasty time.
Drive-by mares can only be covered by AI, as we have no way of assessing the risk they pose to the stallion during a natural covering.
Covering and Livery Fees, Travel-distance related discount and carbon offsetting:
Our standard stud terms are NFFR 48; The fee is calculated on an individual basis, to ensure that mare owners know exactly what the normal cost will be. The fees should then only rise if a mare requires more than the agreed package, i.e she needs to stay more than 70 days (10 weeks) if she is a visiting mare; or she requires AI rather than natural covering if she is a visiting mare other than a "drive-by"; or she requires more than 3 cycles/4 doses of AI if she is a mare receiving transported semen elsewhere; or she is a visiting mare and requires more than grass keep and basic care.
NFFR 48 means: if no live foal (surviving for 48 hours) results from covering, a return visit by the same mare will be free of covering fee, but subject to livery fees. The mare must still meet our full health, safety and behavioural requirements. Loss of the foal as a result of accident or acquired infection is excluded but may still be considered at our sole discretion. A returning mare's owner may choose a different stallion standing here in preference to the original stallion.
Returns by a different mare will not be considered unless the original mare has been lost through insurable circumstances or it is agreed at the outset of the agreement.
Nomination fee £50. This secures a pace on the stallion's list. It is not transferrable to another mare except by our prior permission and is non-refundable unless in exceptional circumstances. It is transferrable to another of our stallions, but the timing of the mare's visit must dovetail with pre-existing bookings for that stallion. It is certainly non-refundable once any covering attempt has been made.
£7 per extra day handling, grass keep and basic care, use of covering facilities and scanning stocks as required, plus emergency/contingency use of loosebox;
Quarantine £15 per day.
“Special arrangements” and hard feed costed individually;
Vet’s / farrier’s / trimmer’s / dentist’s and other professional's fees charged directly to the mare owner;
All visiting mares must leave our premises by 31st August unless by arrangement prior to arrival.
Free tree planted here for each 50 miles of double-round-trip as above for carbon offsetting (they will fuel our central heating in a few years’ time). You may also take a free tree to plant at home.
Please Contact us before sending nomination fees, as we will want to talk through your plans for the foal and your stallion choice.
All fees must be paid prior to the mare leaving our premises, including fees to outside professionals.
The excellent North West Equine Vets are available here for scanning; for fixed priced scanning and washout packages; and for mares who need reproductive system treatment rather than routine AI procedures. All of these maximise the chance of a pregnancy while keeping the costs under control. For mares with breeding difficulties, we recommend this from the outset. For mares in the favoured age group with no history of difficulty, you may prefer to assume all is well and think about a vet package if she does not conceive in the first one or two cycles. The advice is to investigate any reason rather than hang on and hope, as resolving issues is less expensive in the medium and long terms.
Both of us are qualified, and recognised by DEFRA, as Equine Artificial Insemination Technicians. Aurilla Gold is available by fresh and chilled semen from our own collection and processing facility, both here and by next-day-before-0900 guaranteed, insured special delivery. Seren Altair, Seren Sadrh abd Dandini are planned to have collection training and semen freezing soon, after which they will also be available by fresh and chilled.
For mare owners in dire need, chilled semen can be picked up from us directly. Sunday and Monday inseminations are for those who enjoy driving... We need to be contacted by 1100hr (11 a.m.) at the very latest. This lets us organise the collection and processing of the semen in time to get it away for next day special delivery and insemination. The more notice we have, the more likely we are to be able to collect and dispatch semen to you. Advance warning is definitely in your interests as we may otherwise be out with your chosen stallion on a distant mountain summit while you plead desperately with the answering service...
Note that our standard charge does not extend beyond dispatch by Royal Mail Special Delivery. If the timing of your mare results in your vet calling for semen for a Sunday or Monday delivery, it is your responsibility to arrange pick up from us by yourself or a courier at your expense, though our fee is then lower in line with the Royal Mail fee.
Our mare insemination facilities are long established, and our stallion collection area and semen processing setup are very successful.We do not inseminate here with frozen semen, as the repeated scanning is a procedure that must be carried out by a vet and is therefore beyond our competence.
Fresh and chilled semen costs for extra collections and assessment, and for
extra dispatch or insemination, are additional to the standard fees (valid
Collection, processing and insemination here £80;
Collection, processing and client/courier collection from here £80;
Collection, processing and dispatch by Royal Mail Special Delivery by 0900hr Next Day £105*; *liable to change if Royal Mail prices for the special Delivery service change.
Replacement charge per shipper if not returned in reusable condition £20.
Vet's fees will be invoiced directly to the mare owner.
Winged Saint was collected from by the reknowned Martin Boyle at West Kington Stud in the autumn of 2009. We now have a small amount of good quality frozen semen in store at West Kington that is of commercial quality and certified for Australia, New Zealand, USA, EC and the UK.
While Halal was with us, we took a very small collection of frozen semen from him at West Kington, too. Some of this may become available to mares, provided that we achieve the live foals we are planning to be sired from it for ourselves and subject to the agreement of his owner, Ali Cox. It is not certified for export from the UK.
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Dom and Jan Atkinson,
Upper High House, Over Staveley, Kendal, Cumbria. LA8 9QX, U.K.
Telephone (U.K.) 01 539 821 019
(International) +44 1 539 821 019
(Mobile) 07 582 528 518
EMAIL IS ALWAYS MOST LIKELY TO BE SUCCESSFUL, especially to book AI collection.
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