Many of our clients come back year after year, becoming good friends. They are extremely happy with the service we provide and our team of staff who look after all the horses as if they were their own
BRACKEN SPA STUD – MY EXPERIENCE
I delivered my heavily pregnant mare to Brackenspa stud in 2009. From the outset, Sally was professional, friendly, helpful and above all reassuring. I was kept fully informed of my mare’s progress at all stages and I was always made to feel that Sally had all the time in the world to discuss my one horse at her very busy yard.
On arrival of the foal, the service received from Brackenspa was exceptional. I received a text the moment the foal was born and a follow up phone call at a slightly more socialable hour. Being a novice breeder, Sally took the time to explain the next steps and within 2 days I received a recording of Midget taking his first steps alongside some still photographs. Any questions I had (and there were many) were answered with patience and helpful advice. Sally also took the time to give regular updates on the handling that had taken place, how his personality was developing and how my mare was coping with motherhood. I truly felt like I was the only customer in the world as the service was personal, frequent and thorough.
I decided to put my mare back on foal and having discussed the options with Sally, again the service was swift and professional and within the month my mare was pregnant again.
Despite being at the yard for sometime, the service did not diminish and I found Sally to be as enthusiastic with the second foal as she was with the first. The second foal arrived and all was not as straight forward, but I felt confident that the issues were being resolved as Bracken Spa stud sorted out all the problems and kept me informed at every stage.
Time marched on and I was now in a position to take the youngsters to a yard closer to home, by this point Midget was rising 2 and Nelson rising 1. I was nervous when collecting them – were they really good to load as she had said, were they really good to lead? Would they travel as well as Sally had assured me?
Dam right……….all my impressions over the last 3 years were proved to be bang on, both horses loaded beautifully and would put some broken horses to shame. They travelled like pros and on reaching our destination were calm and collected and walked down the ramp as if they has done it a hundred times. Despite the 3 hour journey they led quietly to the field and waited patiently whilst we unhooked the lead ropes…no pulling…no panicking, just exceptionally well behaved horses.
I cannot recommend Bracken Spa Stud highly enough. Despite being a long way from my horses, I always felt I was very much involved. My horses’ behaviour is down to the knowledgeable handling undertaken by the stud and the speed at which my mare re-took is largely down to the extensive knowledge of the stud and stress free environment which they cultivate. Always full of good advice, approachable and contactable, Bracken Spa Stud has been an amazing experience my only regret is that I don’t live closer to keep them at livery there.
An incredible purpose built facility with hard working staff led by an remarkable lady, Bracken Spa stud is truly brilliant.
Signed Vicki Sollitt
I just wanted to let you know how pleased I have been with the standard of care
my stallion has received whilst resident with you. He has always looked well and
happy, has received the turnout I asked for and you've never let me down on
supply collections to clients even with little or no notice.
I would be very happy to whole-heartedly recommend your services to other
stallion owners, and my decision to move him to a professional event rider's
yard was based purely on my desire to have him competing at a high level, not a
reflection of any dissatisfaction with your services (quite the opposite), and
was a decision made with not a little regret.
I look forward to sending you my young horses for backing and starting, my
broodmares for insemination, and my young colts for dummy training in due
Good luck with the 2012 season, you deserve it.
Future Sport Horses
In 2008 I was undecided in what to do with my 15.2 mare. She had done a bit of everything with success but my competing days had come to an end. I didn’t want to part with her or have her as a field ornament so with her good conformation, fabulous temperament and proven competition record I decided to follow my pipe dream and look into breeding a foal from her.
A good friend suggested I visit Brackenspa to have a look at the stallions and to meet Sally. The rest really is history!.... and it’s still being made !
On my first visit I was very impressed with everything in particular the atmosphere of very settled horses, obviously very happy in their surroundings. Sally was brilliant, she answered all my questions in a way that put my mind at ease immediately, she has a real passion for what she does and works extremely hard to make everything happen.
I was introduced to Athens Abercadabra, a good match for my mare and the decision to use him was made. Lilly was delivered to Brackenspa a couple of weeks later.
Sally kept me informed of every development, how Lilly had settled in, covering, scanning etc. Unfortunately it took three coverings and a caslick op to get Lilly to hold. Again, everything was explained by both Sally and Roger Lee of Tower Equine Veterinary Surgeons who, incidentally, are practically on the doorstep of Brackenspa so another plus point.
Lilly stayed at Brackenspa throughout her pregnancy which worked well for us both. For me as it put my mind at rest that she was in expert care and for Lilly as she could be happy with other broodmares.
I visited on many occasions and got to know the team and the stallions, one of which had always caught my eye. Multicolor II, he is my type and I loved his unstallion like characteristics, a really kind chap.
As Lilly’s pregnancy progressed we had a very nice little outgrown pony mare at home, again another one that needed a job. I sought Sallys advice as to whether she thought it a viable plan to try to breed a sports pony by using MC. The plan was put into action and Anna was duly delivered to Brackenspa. She was scanned the following day and inseminated the next…. Good timing ! Her first scan showed everything to be good so it was now a waiting game for Lillys foal which was due in June and Annas foal which was due the following April.
Lilly foaled without complications albeit at a not too sociable hour so a very excited me flew over to Brackenspa early the following morning. I was greeted by a chestnut filly (don’t quite know where the colour came from as both parents are dark bay) who was very unsteady on her legs but in fine health other than that. David presented me with a CD of the birth and the first few hours of her life which is a fabulous special touch and something that can be treasured forever. Both were vet checked that morning and given clean bills of health. After a few days it became obvious that ‘Hollys’ near fore was turning outwards slightly. … Another brilliant thing about Brackenspa is that they have a fabulous farrier who fitted an extension to the hoof which helped sort the problem.
Lilly and Holly came home after a week which I have to say was quite daunting for me but Sally was always at the end of the phone if there was anything I was unsure of.
My attempts at weaning were pretty poor and we don’t have the fabulous facilities at home that they have at Brackenspa so Lilly and Holly went back to be weaned. Another brilliant service offered by the stud. Holly seemed to go as a foal and come back as a lovely little filly. A lot of growing up done in a short space of time in ideal surroundings!
Anna’s foal was due April 17th 2010 and as with Lilly, she had enjoyed being with other broodmares throughout her pregnancy. Being a very small pony amongst some rather large broodmare Sally ensured Anna had a good friend… this turned out to be Braeburn who is a 17hh Shire X… It really was a case of Little and Large !
Anna’s due date came and went, and went and went… All previous scans had showed that she was infoal but after being four weeks over her due date doubt seemed to be creeping in. She wasn’t huge by any stretch of the imagination but she was a maiden mare so wasn’t expected to look too big. I really was worried but was assured by the vet that ‘it will come when it’s cooked’ and as the mare was absolutely fine there should be no intervention. Bets were placed, the farrier, David & Roger all decided there was no foal, Sally had great faith in Anna and said there was one. An internal examination proved that there certainly was a foal in there but it was quite happy where it was for now.
Anna decided to foal at a sociable hour on the 14th June 2010 after a whopping 399 days, 59 days overdue. Sally phoned me immediately to tell me we had a coloured filly. I flew over to Brackenspa as soon as I got the call. This time to be greeted by a very weak coloured filly with more mane than most weanlings have! The first few days were rather touch and go, Darcy weighed less than 18 kilos and had to be stood up every couple of hours to feed. Foal rugs were far too big for her so she had a 22in dog rug on that was still plenty big enough. She is only here today due to the expert care she received at Brackenspa.
Darcy had been entered for the BEF Futurity Grading at Arena UK towards the end of July, at just 6 weeks old she was presented and got a First Premium in the Sports Pony Eventing Section. A fabulous achievement for a foal that looked so ‘overcooked’ when she was born. Sally also suggested I should have them both graded with the ZfdP. This happened at the end of August. Anna was graded into GRP Studbook and Darcy got a first premium.
Due to Anna having Darcy so much later than planned we decided to leave her empty for the following year. I spoke with Sally about which stallion to use next time ‘why change stallion when you like what you’ve got this time’ were Sallys words (She is always right!!!!) Anna now has her ‘own stable’ at Brackenspa and yet again, made good use of it….401 days passed this time before ‘Percy’ made an appearance! A much stronger foal this time but his blood count was a little low. Roger and Sally suggested some plasma, this had to be administered in two parts due to Percy being too small for it to be administered all at once. This was all taken care of at Brackenspa, nothing is ever too much trouble. A week later, Anna & Percy came home.
As with Darcy, Percy had been entered for the BEF Futurity, I was getting the hang of all this and knew he was probably a bit nicer than Darcy, stronger and more unfolded than she was at the same age. Sally and the team hadn’t seen him since he was a week old so it was great to meet up with them at Arena UK. Our turn to strut our stuff came so we went for it, I’d learned a huge amount from Sally and the last grading so knew exactly what was expected. Percy rose to the occasion and gained a Higher First with a fabulous score of 8.95 just 0.05 off Elite. There were a few tears as we left the arena!!!
That was it, we wouldn’t have been there without Brackenspa!
In July, I was left with our little PC horse doing nothing due to his jockey going on a school trip for a month. Knowing that Brackenspa also do liveries of all shapes and sizes I got in touch with Sally to see if she would have Archie for a few weeks to keep him ticking over. He arrived there looking like a rather fat, overgrown pony. Whilst there I think he had actually attended the Brackenspa Boot Camp….. He came home looking and feeling like a Super God!!!
Anna and Percy have just been back for a holiday (weaning to be exact) Sally was very careful and considerate in picking another mare and foal to wean my two with. Percy is now having an extended holiday at Brackenspa with his half brother ‘Luther’ and Anna has come home…. for now….. I’m sure she will be back again in the spring in our hope for another MC baby
I cannot ever imagine entrusting my equines with any other establishment now. The service given by everyone at and associated with Brackenspa has been truly exceptional.
Tilney St Lawrence