INTERVIEW WITH JAYNE BELLCHAMBERS
HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
I was born with an innate love of horses. Growing up on a large farm in northern New South Wales, my father and grandfather worked stock with horses, and whenever they were with the stock horses, I would be with them. It wasn’t until I was nine that my parents finally relented and bought me a pony of my own, a just broken in twoyear- old, hardly the ideal first pony.
However, when things went pear shaped, which they inevitably did regularly, with a beginner and newly broken in pony, my dad would get on the pony and straighten her out. He would then say to me, ‘if you don’t ride that horse, I’ll sell it’. Terrified as I was, as I loved the pony so much, I would get back on. The love of horses really took hold of me and it wasn’t long before I had horses from all over the district to ride, to quieten down for other kids.
an Arabian breeder I love how an Arabian horse looks, a more beautiful creature I do not believe exists WESTACRES INTERVIEW WITH JAYNE BELLCHAMBERS local to us, I would ride past their farm and admire the stallions showing off in their paddocks. I would later find out that both these stallions were bred by my now dear friend, Pam Morris of Avondale Stud. Of course Avondale has been pivotal in our breeding program. When I left school and got my first job, I bought my first partbred. Around this time, I met and fell in love with Trevor, and although at that point he had nothing to do with horses, he was soon as hooked as I was, and very quickly demonstrated an innate appreciation of beauty and balance in a horse.
Trevor influenced our decision to buy a purebred, an Ibn Antar daughter. She was in foal, and so Westacres was born.
I love how an Arabian horse looks, a more beautiful creature I do not believe exists. However, beyond that is the unique affinity they have with their people. I believe the bond you can have with an Arabian is like no other relationship.
We are a purebred breeding farm, however we have bred just a handful of Arabian Ponies and Arabian Riding Ponies. Just about all of them have won major titles at the Australian Arabian National Championships, as well as being successful in their other registry shows. Breeding ponies improved my exposure in the show ring and helped my training business immensely.
WHICH HORSES HAVE BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOUR FARM?
When we started we really just chose horses who appealed to us, which more often than not, were with high percentage Egyptian, or from the El Shaklan Family. It might surprise some to know, until this year, we have only ever purchased four breeding female Arabians, the first two both being daughters of the very classical Ibn Antar (imp). We were so very fortunate to meet Pam Morris at a time when she was still breeding, however not showing so much. Pam had noticed us with a filly having some success, and she offered to lease me one of her amazing fillies, in return for showing her. Her name was Avondale Salome.
Salome’s success was nothing short of amazing really. Here we were, relatively new to Arabian showing, and she really put us on the map. Over the years, Pam leased us two more Avondale mares to shape our program, the Monteego Bay daughters, Avondale Montaya and Avondale Grace. Grace would lift the bar again in the show ring for us.
Sadly Salome didn’t produce a filly for us so we no longer have her blood at the farm. Montaya also only left us a son, Mulahn sired by MB Mayal, who is the grandsire of our current superstar, Voyager W. Grace has been just an amazing mare, not only in the show ring, but also as a broodmare. She is the dam of our stallion, owned in partnership with Pam, Avondale Cruise, by Crave FF and in recent years has blessed us with two daughters. These fillies are by Pshalomar (imp USA) and Gai El Jullyen (imp USA) respectively, and both are being retained.
Alongside our successful Avondale mares were the other two mares we purchased, Coolrain Shanara and Bakyda, both out of Bint Bint Sascha FA and by Amir El Shaklan and Akid Geshan respectively. Shanara would be 18 before she produced a filly, and then she had two in a row, full sisters by Mulahn, Ajmala and Amira Mulahn, who is the dam of Voyager W. We have retained one daughter from Bakyda, Ezra W, by Avondale Cruise, who has just had an impressive colt by Ulysium (imp USA).
Our relationship with Pam and her influence on our program cannot be overstated. She was such a clever breeder, and I will forever remember long conversations in her office about horses, breeding decisions and outcomes. She was an amazing keeper of records and had pictures of everything she bred with notes on her thoughts of them. It was very exciting to show Avondale Grace, three times third at the Australian Championships (oh to have had Bronze Champions in those days!) and three times Supreme at the Classic, and to share these wins with Pam.
HOW HAS THE BREEDING PROGRAM EVOLVED?
When we were younger, our breeding decisions were very much influenced by what we could afford, and so rarely did we use outside stallions. We are now in a position to be able to utilise outside stallions more and we are enjoying this very much.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY AT WESTACRES
We are on 10 acres situated in the high rainfall area of Yarragon, West Gippsland, on some of the most fertile dairy country you could hope to find at the foot of the Strzelecki Ranges. The only horses we stable are those on the show team and weanlings. The rest of them enjoy spacious grassy paddock year-round. With my training business being full time, my whole day is spent on the farm, which I love.
My training business was born quite by accident really. I suppose Avondale Salome got us noticed as she kept winning, and I soon had people asking me to show horses for them. It ticked along slowly from our property in Colac when I still worked outside the farm. In 2002, we moved to our current property and I started training full time. I’ve been very blessed to meet many amazing people through my training business, even made life-long friendships. I have been lucky to have so many very special horses to show – I really have been living the dream.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SPECIAL MOMENTS THAT STAND OUT FOR YOU?
One sunny Saturday afternoon in October 2016 full sisters Amira and Ajmala both foaled within 30 minutes of each other. Amira foaled the colt Voyager W (by Sir Charmed) and Ajmala a filly, Pshamala W (by Pshalomar). In time, we took these two yearlings to their first show together, the 2017 Victorian Championships, where they would be named Supreme Champion Male and Female…now that was a special moment. And as if that weren’t enough, we also showed Jericho W (Avondale Cruise x Avondale Montaya) to Supreme Champion Gelding for his owner Stephanie Evans. I am not certain, however I cannot recall the same breeder and trainer winning all three Supremes at the Victorian Championships, it was quite an amazing day. We continue to be so proud of our colt Voyager W, what a star he has been. We are especially proud of him as his dam line features so many of our horses, giving us confidence in what we do.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU, AND WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Avondale is now finished, however there was so much to admire in what Pam did, often on a limited budget. Most impressively she started with one mare and her daughter, and kept those lines right up until the end, and managed to keep up with the times.
We recently had a fantastic visit to Mulawa, they have an incredible program, filled with world class Arabians. Marion Richmond from Simeon Stud has stayed so true to her purpose, producing so many world acclaimed horses along the way.
Over the next couple of show seasons, we plan to wind back the training business, so as to be able to focus on and enjoy our own horses more. After sadly losing one of our special mares last spring, we have recently purchased an exciting new addition, the exquisite filly, Emeeliah KH, sired by Emerald J and from the imported Marwan Al Shaqab daughter, HRA Unique. We sincerely thank her breeders, Steve and Sarah Muco for the opportunity to own this filly, and are so excited about the future with her.