When buying a horse, most of us have a checklist of credentials from breeding to height and even colour. But sometimes, it’s those that don’t turn heads that have the true superstar potential.
Australian dressage great and breeder Dr Kerry Mack was taught this lesson by ‘Limelight’, who has made his way from ugly duckling to the Grand Prix Dressage arena.
“Limelight was actually one of the least pretty foals that we had ever bred. That was his claim to fame,” Kerry jokes.
While Kerry had bred Limelight, she decided the youngster didn’t have what it took to be truly competitive and intended to sell him as a four-year-old. But in what would become a silver lining for them both, a serious weather event allowed Limelight to show that he had the ability to shine.
“We had a major flood on our property, and he got caught in it. That was when I realised that he was a very special horse,” said Kerry.
“Stuck in those rushing flood waters, he was just so sensible. He had been pushed all the way into a fence. Water was rising to his chest. The water was flowing really fast, and it was a pretty hairy situation,”
“But Limelight was just so sensible for a young horse. He was very nervous and panicked a little, but he just listened and managed it all. I realised then what a super horse he was,” she said.
Kerry said that it’s a lesson in not just looking at conformation, movement and breeding, and to reach for the feeling that you have with a horse.
“I believe that choosing a horse is a combination of using your left-brain analytics and right-brain processes,” said Kerry.
“It is important to think about the movement, conformation, and breeding. However, it’s also important to sense the feeling you have with the horse.”
“I think that was the thing for me in seeing Limelight’s true potential, in that challenging moment I just had a really good feeling about him,” she said.
Over the years, Limelight has gone on to prove his worth to Kerry and is now a leading horse in her stable competing at Grand Prix level.
He continues to prove he’s a well poised professional, recently turning it on for the cameras at a Lumiere shoot. Listen to Kerry talk about the importance of girth fit, as demonstrated on Limelight here.
Australian Dr Kerry Mack was born in South Australia and is now a leading dressage rider in Victoria. She has established ‘Mayfield Farm’, a well renowned warmblood stud located in Whittlesea, which produces top quality performance horses.
Mayfield Limelight is a testimony to Mayfields superb breeding program as he steps up into the competitive dressage field with promising scores.