“What sport do you breed for?”aGI_at_Spruce

This is a common question that horse breeders encounter from prospective buyers. While some breeders do breed for a specific discipline, Jacquie McArthur was looking for a versatile horse breed that suited all types of riders and disciplines.

"Our interest in equestrian sports remains very diversified. We desire to own competitive show ring quality horses with the genetics and form to compete various equestrian sports at a high level. These same horses have to have the temperament and intelligence to adjust, allowing our children to ride these same horses safely and confidently. We knew this was a tall order.” says Jacquie. 


In 2003, the McArthur family took an eye-opening trip to Australia, which introduced them to a whole new breed of horses at a Polocrosse World Cup event. They fell in love with the Australian Stock Horse. These horses had the qualities they were looking for to start their breeding program at home in Canada. A return trip in 2007 confirmed their interest, so they began the process of importing the horses to their farm in Okotoks, Alberta.

It took years for Jacquie to set up what is now McArthur Stud Farms. “It was very difficult to purchase mares from Australia, because they covet their mares,” says Jacquie.

The Australian Stock Horse (ASH) was developed in Australia in the early 1800 and was influenced by various breeds including Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Timor and Welsh Mountain Ponies. These horses were bred to have strength and stamina – two qualities that were high in demand to settle the new Colony. In more recent years, the breed’s stud book was briefly reopened to allow select newly available genetics based on merit and performance.

The modern role of the ASH includes performance in disciplines such as Dressage, Polo and Polocrosse, Show Jumping, Eventing, and Pony Club. They are also excellent at working cattle.

Aidan__GIsm"Some of the qualities that we love about the breed include their athletic ability, trainable disposition and their undeniable eye-appeal as a bonus to breeders and owners they have no heritable diseases," comments Jacquie.

In 2009, McArthur Stud Farms imported their first horses from Australia. Not only was that a great success for McArthur Stud Farms, but also for Canada as it was the first ASH import in the nation.

Between 2009 and 2010, McArthur Stud Farm was the manager and sponsor of Cadabra, an ASH stallion. He travelled around the province showing off his breeds versatility at the Calgary Stampede’s Extreme Cowboy Challenge, Spruce Meadows, and Mane Event.

Cadabra was also shown in the Alberta Reined Cowhorse Association for two seasons. Jacquie comments, “As the first overseas ASH horse to compete overseas, his achievements are unprecedented placing reserve both seasons within the ARCHA. Cadabra has since returned home to his homeland of Australia, but his genetics lives on in some of our upcoming progeny.”

McArthur Stud Farms currently has six broodmares, four of which are foundation ASH. They provide a few horses for sale annually, plus offer access to their mares through an embryo transfer program to select outside performance horse breeders. Currently their main focus has been to offer frozen semen to outside breeders from ASH Stonebrook Finno, who is sired by Lindsay, a household name in the horse industry in Australia. 

Jacquie also hints about an exciting announcement in the coming weeks about additional proven ASH genetics soon to be imported at McArthur StudaYahoo_Picaboo_1 Farms that will be available for the first time in North America via frozen semen.

“Performance horses need to possess a quiet temperament, intelligence and conformation. These qualities are essential for a brilliant performance in all events no matter which side of the 49th parallel you live on.”

Answering the question, “What sport do you breed for” in regards to the ASH, then answer is clearly, “Every single one, mate.”


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