Stallion Series IV: Accompanying Article
by: Young KWPN Ambassador Claire Robinson
BEHIND THE BARN DOOR: KWPN-NA APPROVED STALLIONS
Welcome to Carousel Ridge
PART I: GALLUP WF
Interview and article conducted by Young KWPN-NA ambassador Claire Robinson
Its hard to follow in the shoes of a stallion as well loved and successful as Gallup at Carousel Ridge, however, KWPN Erkend Approved Balounito certainly holds his own. A 2012 Stallion by Balou's Bellini x Cornado x Ladosimported in 2017 with over 30 foals already on the ground in Germany, Balounito (or “Louis” as he is affectionately known at home) has already made a splash of his own into the Alberta breeding and sports scene. Young KWPN-NA ambassador Claire Robinson sat down with rider and trainer Shauna Cook to discuss her more recent partener.
THE HORSE With two such impressive stallions now in her stable, Shauna finds each very individual, saying: “Balounito is a different stallion altogether, they are very different”. She claims that “temperment wise I would say he is medium, he is not hot, not cold, he’s just right down the middle. Of course, he has his “stallion bravado” and that brings a bit of blood with it, which I like”. However, while you might miss Gallup politely waiting in the shadows of his stall, she finds Balounito quite a different character. “The thing about this horse, he sells himself. He walks out of the barn and everybody notices.” His dashing good look are not lost on anyone, apparently including himself. “He is very much a stallion, he comes out of the stall every morning announcing that he is here and everybody pay attention. Gallup is a little bit shy and Balounito is more of a “look at me” *laughter* so two very different personalities but tons of fun.”
THE JOURNEY Relatively new to her barn, Shauna says about the exciting addition: “I’ve had Balounito now for almost a year, we were able to find him in Germany late in his six year old year” On finding this promising young horse she says: “He was very successful in the springpferde classes (which is the young horses classes in Europe where they are judged on their style and scope and technique), he hadn’t really gone against the clock but had very good scores and many successes in those classes”Starting off with a new horse both offers its own host of excitement and challenges with the young talent. “This horse, Balounito — differently than Gallup — jumps in classic, and I mean the best technique I have ever ridden. Its beyond incredible how classic he is and he is a real perfectionist, he wants to jump every jump high, scopey and technically perfect. Which also makes it a little bit challenging for me because with Gallup I ride off of my feel, and Balounito is by the book, my technique also has to be just as good, just as spot on. I’ve always kind of ridden on my feel so its been a challenge for me as well to work on my technique and its been a great challenge.”Its been some ups and downs, of course, with a new horse — and this one I haven’t raised and gone through all the steps myself — so they come with their own background and training program. He was ridden mostly by German men so now he has a lady rider and we’ve had some adjustments with that *laughter*.”
TRAINING FOR THE FUTURE “As far as my riding goals and plans we got a little bit sidelined this year with Balounito, just when things were coming together and we got a very good result at Thunderbird in the 7 year old class (he jumped 1.35m) where we were double clear. We were not quite fast enough, again, he didn’t know going against the clock so thats something that he is learning. It was shortly after that when I was like “ok, things are coming together, I got this” and we were starting to gel and figure each other out, he got sick. He had a viral infection and was extremely sick so we lost most of the summer so now we are sort of starting over again, just getting him back fit and back on form. So that was disappointing, but as you know, it can happen! Its horses right? *laughter*.”
BREEDING With such success in his young horse classes in Europe and over 30 foals already on the ground overseas, there has been quite the excitement for his introduction to the Alberta breeding scene. Shauna says about her program: “we bred quite a bit with him this year, we don’t have any foals on the ground from him yet. Getting him late in the season last year so his first breeding season is this year. However, the owners we bought him from in Germany, they just rave about his foals and how could they not if they look anything like him, my goodness! We bred also to some outside mares, but I think we have 3 personally that we are really looking forward to”. Balounito will be offered for limited breedings in 2020. As a final comment on the newest addition to her string, Shauna says about “Louis” that “he looks like a Breyer horse, and jumps like one too so for him it will just be developing him through the young horse classes and getting him to reach his potential. Hopefully no more setbacks, but that’s all part of the journey!”
Thank you to Shauna Cook at Carousel Ridge Stables for granting the opportunity to interview and observe Balounito “behind the stall door” at home.
Interested in seeing Balounito in action? You can find the online VIDEO interview with Shauna and Balounito on Facebook at the Young KWPN-NA page.
*STAY TUNED FOR PART III: CR DAILY ROUTINE COMING SOON*