I’m so excited to blog these images and this interview as it’s just right up my street. And for anybody interested in genetics, unusual colours, breeding or Welsh cobs, you’re going to love this one.
Sarah Fouche owns and runs Greenmeads Stud and is truly passionate and knowledgable about what she does. So, when we arranged for me to go over and photograph her herd of stunning ponies, I couldn’t wait!! I’m always mentioning that I love unusually coloured or bred horses, so I was in my element.
We had such an enjoyable evening, spending hours hopping from field to field, where Sarah just kept unveiling more and more beautiful animals. And I could have stayed all evening. I particularly loved the two little yearlings, Honey and Goldie, who just love to have their bums scratched. So every time I took my eyes off of them to photograph another pony, I’d look up and see two cute little bottoms gradually backing into me, wanting scratches. So adorable!!
Yearling fillies, Honey & Goldie
And Shadow, Sarah’s two year old cremello stallion is just the sweetest guy. When I arrived he was stabled next to a mare he’d previously covered, and wasn’t paying her any attention at all. He was like a little lamb. And as soon as he worked out that I’d scratch his whither for him, I was his new BFF. I can’t wait to see how he matures.
Anyway, I’ll stop waffling now and let Sarah do the talking, as she’s kindly agreed to answer some interview questions for us, and this is a really great read. So I’ll let you enjoy…
Sarah and two year-old cremello stallion, Tresorya Indian Shadow
Let’s start by getting to know you a little better, Sarah. Tell us three unhorsey facts about yourself.
Sarah: 1) Unexpected circumstances, over a decade ago, resulted in me finding myself a single parent of two children under 6. I made the heart-breaking decision to give up my ponies at the time and hold down two jobs, for 5 years, with very limited support from my family. I know how hard it is to juggle work and home life, have done more than my fair share of going without and worked hours that I didn’t know existed.
2) I have an honours degree in French with Business Studies, a post graduate degree in Education Studies, I speak 4 languages, have an A-level in Human Biology and have lived and worked in France and Germany. I was a Senior Lecturer in a university and a Lead Education Consultant. I gave it all up for my true passion – horses!
3) Seven years ago I married the man of my dreams. A South African, ex-international and premiership rugby player, who owns one of the fastest growing rugby consultancy businesses in the UK. I STILL have not got a clue how the game works, how to play it or what the difference is between a try and a conversion and why you aren’t allowed to pass a ball forwards!
And can you tell us a little bit about Greenmeads Stud?
Sarah: Greenmeads Stud is a small family stud on the Essex / Suffolk borders, 15 minutes from the A12. Our horses are an extension of our family and we know them all inside out. In addition to breeding we pride ourselves on giving each of them the opportunity to be broken to ride / drive and have a life outside that of broodmare or stud stallion. SOME prefer to stick to breeding and that is also respected. Happy horses make us happy!
We are home to some of the sons, daughters and grandchildren of the legendary Danaway Flash-Jack, Nebo Daniel, Croniarth Texas Gold, Trevallion Valentine, Terackie Winter Shadow, Davids Cymru Llwyd, Janton Renegade, Janton Meredith, to name but a few!
What made you decide to start breeding?
Sarah: In addition to a true and pure love for Welsh Cobs for the last 38 years, the stud was formed through a frustration that, at the time, all of the quality dilute Welsh Cobs were a million miles away from Essex! Along with the vast majority of little girls, growing up my dream was to own a palomino or buckskin pony. Having outgrown the Section A’s, B’s and C’s, Section D’s were a natural progression. Through genetic research I discovered that I could have my cake AND eat it, by owning a double dilute (cremello / perlino stallion) I could not only secure quality and type, but also guarantee my dream colours. It took us 5 years of scouring the UK to find Tresorya Indian Shadow, “Shadow”, our cremello lad and typically he was all the way in Cornwall. And then in 2014 we were also blessed with an amazing homebred, perlino colt, Greenmeads Buddleja Flash, or“Buddy”.
Shadow and baby Buddy
(Dilution gene is a popular term for any one of a number of genes that act to create a lighter coat colour in living creatures. Find out more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilution_gene)
Tresorya Indian Shadow
What is your favourite thing about what you do?
Sarah: I absolutely cherish my time with all of the horses. I appreciate how fortunate I am to be able to have the opportunity to follow my dreams. Planning coverings, complimenting bloodlines and types and then watching the newborn foals grow is my own highlight. I don’t think I could ever tire of the interaction and bond I have with my boys and girls.
Greenmeads Winter Primrose and mum, Lili
What is the worst part of your job?
Sarah: I can honestly say that even in the depths of winter in the freezing cold, mud and wind, I wouldn’t swap for any other profession in the world, therefore I would have to say that the worst part for me personally is cutting the apron strings and selling one. I always cry when waving off to their new homes. Even with a first refusal to have back (which we have done many times before if circumstances change) and having been terribly choosy on where they go I miss them all terribly.
What advice do you have for anybody considering breeding either as a one off, or as a business?
Sarah: Reasons for breeding are always a very personal matter. There are endless debates on social media any time anyone asks a breeding related question. We know that we are in the midst of a serious horse welfare crisis and it must never be a decision that is taken lightly or without motive. I would say that breeding for financial gain is a naïve reason to start. I don’t know of anyone that ‘makes a living’ from breeding. Take into consideration the financial support you have and look at the possibility of keeping the foal into adulthood. We will only breed 3 or 4 foals a year, which we know we can offer a permanent home to, should the perfect new owner not come along.
What are your hopes and ambitions for the future of Greenmeads Stud?
Sarah: In the forthcoming years we will be very proud to stand at stud two wonderful double dilute (cremello and perlino) stallions, Shadow and Buddy, that will produce quality cobs, with the emphasis on excellent conformation, type, movement and temperament. Tresorya Indian Shadow is fully licensed and will be available to a very limited number of approved visiting mares in 2016. Teamed with our hand picked broodmares we will be producing some excellent youngstock, who in the future will be offered for sale to 10* homes. Dilutes and in particular the double dilute Welsh Cobs have traditionally always been frowned upon in the show ring. Our dream, is to raise their profile and see far more out competing on a level playing field.
Tresorya Indian Shadow
Sarah has shared this great chart, that shows what colour foals her two stallions would throw, when put with different mares, which I found fascinating. This is what makes them so special.
And if people want to find out more about you, where can we find you online?
Sarah: Our new, improved website will be going live in the next week or two and will have all of our contact details on but in the meantime we can be contacted by email email@example.com or on Facebook at Greenmeads Stud.
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