Eight things we learnt at Jennie Loriston Clarke’s Catherston Stud
 
Jennie Loriston Clarke MBE FBHS is perhaps the most famous name in English dressage. Now in her 70s she runs the family’s Catherston Stud, as she has for decades, and is still breeding and teaching. She hosted 25 Harry Hall guests in early June, and here is what we learnt...

Eight things we learnt at Jennie Loriston Clarke’s Catherston Stud

1) One of the biggest hits of the day was also one of the smallest - Littledale Bright Star (also known as Titch), an elite graded sports pony stallion. Aged 21, he pinged over a fence on the lunge with vim you rarely see in a horse half his age, “and he’s done everything,” added Jenny, “from dressage to showing, he goes in harness and has even tried vaulting..”
 
2) Young foals rarely trot, says Jenny, they usually walk or canter in a bid to keep up with mum. Trotting comes later as they develop and build up strength.
 
3) Jenny is clearly a great believed in letting horses do what they show you they enjoy. When their young stallion Timolin (by the magnificent dressage horse Totilas) showed them a spectacularly clean pair of heels when they loose jumped him they could not overlook his evident zeal for jumping. He is now eventing successfully at the lower levels with event rider Gubby Leach.
 
4) Safety is paramount when dealing with stallions and young stock. The field is the best place for mares and foals as much as possible since more accidents and injuries occur when they go in barns, Jennie explained. The horses stabled in the airy American barn may see through their bars but are not permitted to stick their heads out into the central passageway. “If a mare were to try to nip a stallion, he would throw his head up and you could have an injury,” explains Jennie. Meanwhile each horse has a peaceful window they may stick their head out of at the back of their box, looking outdoors.
 
5) Stallions are kept on the side of the barn that does not have a view of the mares and foals at grass. “They would become stressed looking out over them,” explains Jenny. “They have that instinct to round up the mares.”
 
6) Jenny, Anthony and their family’s Catherston Stud has been based at its current home in Over Wallop, Hampshire, for 17 years. Previously this yard was owned by circus manager Mary Chipperfield, and tigers and chimpanzees once lived where the horse walker now stands!
 
7) Though a very sprightly 70-something Jenny does not herself ride any more. “I don’t feel as balanced as I used to,” she explains, “and if I’m not going to help the horse, I’d rather spend my time teaching others.”
 
8) Jenny believes the word “stallion” goes back to Tudor times and derives from the words “stalled one”. Stallions do have to be stabled more than geldings owing to their habit of being quite dominant and frisky in the company of other horses..!
 
Jennie Loriston Clarke’s Catherston Stud | Yard Visit
 
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