Big is beautiful

Rebecca TurnerCountryman
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Breeding Clydesdale horses is not common in WA, but a Gidgegannup stud has had so much success it has expanded to meet demand.

Redbrook Clydesdale stud, owned by Andrea and Shane Fuchsbichler, relocated recently from a 25-acre property to one of 300 acres to gain enough space to expand breeding numbers and rotate and improve pastures as well as grow their own hay.

“It’s all coming together, but there is still loads to do here which will take time, ” Andrea said.

“At the old property we had everything set up perfectly, but it had got to the point where the choice was either cut down your numbers or move.

“Here the horses are all out in big paddocks and even though we have had no rain to grow pasture this season, when it does rain the pasture will come up very well.”

The Fuchsbichlers were at their old property for 10 years and in that time went from registering a Clydesdale stud with only a handful of horses to now having 27, including three stallions and 10 brood mares.

“So far this year we have bred seven foals and have one more due in January, ” Andrea said.

Shane and Andrea have always had horses. Shane grew up riding his father’s polocrosse horses in Wongan Hills, while Andrea gained her early equine experience going to pony club and competing in hacking, dressage and showjumping.

“It’s hard to describe how we got into Clydesdales, but we always liked and admired them, ” Andrea said.

“Our farrier had a Clydesdale in his paddock not doing much, so I asked if we could buy him so Shane and I could ride together.

“His name was Horace and you could do anything with him, so I decided I wanted one too.”

The Fuchsbichlers spent a lot of time with their two geldings doing fun things like taking them to the beach and hitching them up and putting their kids or friends on the back of a wagon to go for trail rides down a heritage trail.

“Then we ended up looking at a mare being sold over east and we thought we could put her in foal, ” Andrea said. “Before we knew it there was a lot of them, so we registered a stud name and off we went.

“It snowballed very fast. We are the type of people who go hard and if we like something we just put our all into it and do it properly.”

Andrea said they located the best breeders over east and also travelled to Scotland to learn as much as they could about Clydesdales.

After visiting Scotland, the breed’s country of origin, Shane and Andrea became inspired to continue sourcing new bloodlines to import into Australia. They recently brought in a two-year-old stallion, Dillars Spectacular, and a three-year-old brood mare.

“The mare we imported is nothing short of 18 hands, ” Andrea said. “It’s quite hard to get a mare of that height, especially in WA, and we were just so impressed with her size.

“We go to Scotland regularly and have made some good contacts with breeders over there.

“We also go to the Highlands and watch them compete at their biggest show, and every day would visit at least three studs just looking for the horses we wanted to buy.

“So we found our two horses and imported them together through IRT — it was a nerve-racking experience, but it went well.”

Andrea said the way Clydesdale breeding was set up in Scotland was really exciting.

“In Scotland, you have stallion men who own the stallions while all the other people breeding just have one, two or three mares and no stallion, ” she said.

“The stallion men get first refusal on all the colts that are born from their stallion and buy them back to sell to Budweiser or other clients.

“The stallion man we bought Spectacular from will have 60 outside mares on his property which live there just about all year round — maybe going home for three months of the year and then coming back to do the foaling down. It’s a big business over there.

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