A former championship medal-winning dressage pony who has sired top-class offspring celebrated his 32nd birthday with banners, a party hat and a cake.
Caesar 171 enjoyed all the attention, as well as the banana-apple mash cake, at his home, Bev and Sam Brown’s Godric Stud, on Easter Monday (5 April).
The 13.3hh stallion himself won silver and bronze medals at pony European championships, and three of his offspring have represented Britain and Ireland at the same level making him, the Sports Pony Studbook Society has calculated, the most successful UK-based dressage pony sire.
Bev told H&H she bought Caesar some 16 years ago as a schoolmaster for Sam.
“She hadn’t competed dressage at all, just a couple of unaffiliated shows on her hairy Welsh, but a local trainer said ‘I think she needs something to teach her the ropes’ so we went on the hunt and found him,” she said.
“He arrived and she had a sit on him, and immediately, he had her sussed.”
After a couple of unsuccessful canter-walk transitions, Bev added, something clicked.
“From them on, Sam was smiling,” she said. “That was it; they just smiled at each other. It’s been a true romance.”
Sam and Caesar competed at novice level then, after some unkind comments about Caesar’s being a schoolmaster competing at that level, they went on to succeed at a high-profile show at Addington, then as part of the winning northern British young rider dressage scheme team in Ireland.
Sam’s experiences and successes with Caesar laid the foundations, and she went on to compete at the junior European championships on Kwadraat.
Caesar went on to kick-start the Browns’ breeding programme, siring ponies including Cruz III, who with owner Jayne Turney is hoped to make his grand prix debut this year, and graded stallion Le Chiffre, who has also represented Britain at the pony Europeans.
“Sam brought him out in 2011 for a stallion parade, aged 22, and he got a standing ovation,” Bev said. “He’s full of character, in the greatest possible way.
“When we first got him, he didn’t like the coldness of the metal bars on the stable door, so he’d put straw on it to stop his chin getting cold, and he loves a gum rub; he’ll come and stand next to you and pull his lips back for one. If he was a person, he’d be a perfect gentleman, in a top hat and tails, who’d open the door for you, but wouldn’t suffer fools.”
‘You’d have thought at the age of 30 he would have mellowed but not a bit of it!’
Credit: Aleksi Karjula
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Bev said Caesar, who will still put in the occasional piaffe or passage en route to the field, thoroughly approved of his birthday cake, although possibly less so the hat.
“But if we’d had louder music and more sparkle, he’d have loved it more,” she said. “He knew it was all for him, and that was that; ‘this isn’t a party, just what should happen to me every day’.
“He loves the pomp and attention and this was all about him; he loved it.”
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