In the Paradise of Horses
Review of some of the most sumptuous stud farms in the world.
Gilltown Stud Farm
Gilltown Stud is a magnificent typical Anglo-Irish estate. It welcomes external horses in a prestigious environment that includes a 9 ha lake and splendid 17th e century buildings, located at the end of an oak-lined avenue. Gilltown, estate of Aga Khan, and the adjoining Sallymount, dedicated to mares, cover approximately 500 ha (1,250 acres). The stud farm’s facilities, including the stallion barn and the covering barn, were entirely renovated to meet the requirements of a 21st e century stud farm. Gilltown Stud also has a pre-training centre for yearlings, with a peat gallop and the famous 100 acre field (40 ha): yearlings are educated here, before being sent into training with their respective trainers in Ireland or France. The stud is currently home to the following champions: the white stallion Dalakhani, the stallion Born To Sea and the pure bred Sea The Stars.
Pin National Stud Farm
Give honour where honour is due. Among all the stud farms in the world, the most royal is the Pin National Stud Farm, rightly named the “Versailles for Horses”. Created under the reign of Louis XIV, it is situated in Normandy, in the heart of a green haven covering more than 1,000 ha (2,471 acres), and its architecture is reminiscent of the Versailles School. It houses brawny draught stallions, such as slender flat racers, winners of a string of victories on the racecourse. Every year, it organises major show jumping competitions or horse trials. In the equestrian universe, some of these “chefs-de-race” have become legends, like the pure bred Furioso, the horse of many champions and the only horse to have its headstone on the stud farm.
Like in Ireland, Coolmore Stud in Australia is largely open to external clients, for both breeding and raising. More than half of its residents, of which 200 are broodmares, do not belong to it. This stud farm, the largest in the world, is situated in the heart of the Australian bush, four hours north of Sydney, in the Hunter Valley, the best Australian region for raising horses. With over 4,500 hectares entirely dedicated to raising purebred stallions and with kangaroos and vineyards for company, Coolmore has become a fantastic “Home Of Champions”.
In the United States, the most prestigious stud farm is the Clairborne Farm, in Kentucky. It was built in 1910 by Arthus B. Hancock, who imported his first horses from Europe. A century later, this stud farm has become one of the world leaders in the raising of purebred horses and has been awarded numerous prizes. Some of the most famous breeding horses of the 20th e century came from this stud farm, such as Vigil and Sir Gallahad, champions of the 1920’s, or Princequillo, the 1957-1958 champion, as well as countless winners of the Kentucky Derby.
Dubai Arabian Horse Stud
Finally, Dubai Arabian Horse Stud was opened in 2007 with the aim of raising the best Arabian purebred horses in the world, which it very quickly achieved. Nowadays, it is home to 140 horses. Horses that come from the stud have regularly made their mark at all major international Arabian horse shows, such as the Bergamo Arabian Horse Show in Italy.
Crédits photo : DR