BY FIONA OSBORNE
Swiftwood Arabians is located in Koo Wee Rup, Victoria, 63km south-east of Melbourne. Koo Wee Rup is popular with horse owners and riders and has a rich agricultural background.
The property is set on 17 acres of beautiful, flat, fertile ground, consisting of my home, stable complex, round yard, full size dressage arena, several paddocks including show paddocks, day yards and numerous shedding.
I have always loved horses. My parents purchased my sister and I our first horse when I was nine years old. He was an ex-pacer. What fun we had! However, my sister, being the elder, claimed ‘Red’ as her own, so I was always patiently waiting for my turn to have a ride – and it sometimes never came!
Eventually I got my own horse, a black pony foal. I raised her and eventually broke her in. If I wasn’t hooked on horses before, I certainly was from then on.
My first purebred Arabian was a grey gelding Kharine Rosaan (Dunwingeri Tahir x Desert Roseana), a grandson of Al Karim Sirhalima and Boomerang Muskateer. We successfully competed in halter and saddle. I knew from then on that it wasn’t just horses, it was Arabians that were to be my destiny.
Swiftwood’s dearest foundation mare is Swiftwood Tahiera. She was out of Swiftwood Meen (Sankt Georg RSI x Yasmeen) who was the heart of Swiftwood Arabians for many years. Swiftwood Meen was a true lady in her day and she was sadly missed when she passed away, many years ago now. Swiftwood Tahiera was sired by the tall athletic black stallion Joda Alabama (Joda Aly Dahr x Joda Gamil). This family has been very good to Swiftwood, producing a mare called Swiftwood Khashmir who yet again upped her family’s contribution to our farm with her sons and daughters.
Like many of us, it is not just one thing that attracts me to the Arabian. It is very hard to pin-point even just a few things for this interview, as they are countless and differ between individual animals. A fraction of this might be their gracefulness, I love a high neck carriage, pretty faces including a large eye and of course tail carriage. They are a very intelligent, proud breed… they are a breed not easily forgotten.
In addition to my love for Arabians, I have also loved black horses since that very first foal I owned as a child, who I picked out because she was black. Swiftwood Arabians has bred quite a few blacks over the years, and we have exported a number of them overseas. The colour black is always in the back of my mind, however, there are many more factors that are considered when breeding before colour. Good legs, strong body, tail carriage, big floating movement, high neck carriage and of course that beautiful, refined, chiselled face. And of course, it must look like something you can always put a saddle on and ride. I want the horse to be true in all ways to their name, Arabian.
Black is a colour that is noticed in the Arabian world as they are few and far between. I have bred some amazing black Arabians who have excelled in halter, saddle and endurance. Swiftwood is always striving for perfection and for me, that may just be my next black Arabian.
Five years ago I saw a photo of the European stallion Magic Magnifique (True Colours x Magic Mon Amour) and instantly decided that I had to breed my mares to this stallion. He is a horse that dreams are made of, the type depicted in fairy tales…and being black was a bonus! I was so taken by him that I researched all I could and viewed pictures and videos endlessly. We had nothing like him in Australia, so I started the process of importing frozen semen straight away.
I was so fortunate to breed two colts by him, both from my best mare family. One of my most memorable moments was in 2014 when my vet Dr Cameron Hickley informed me that Swiftwood Khashmir (Swiftwood Ibn Zamir x Kanavor Kashami) was in foal. I was so elated I nearly cried. All of my hard work was coming to fruition. Those eleven months of waiting felt like an eternity.
The bay colt My Magnifique SW arrived in September, 2015. He was, and still is everything I had strived for. The cross was so good I decided the next season to put my Crave FF daughter Black Beauty SW in foal to Magic Magnifique as well. As well as being by leading sire Crave FF (Mash x Bremervale Charmed), she is a grand daughter of Swiftwood Kashmir, the dam of My Magnifique SW. Black Beauty SW was a maiden mare who, against the odds, went in foal on her first AI attempt. This time there were tears!
A chestnut colt C’est Magnifique SW was born in December 2016 and once again, a spectacular result.
Both colts are very different although do have some similarities. Both are very correct, well balanced, strong bodied colts who have inherited their sire’s amazing face. They are quite different to anything that I have seen in Australia, and I am so proud and privileged to own the only two colts in Australia by Magic Magnifique.
This is a huge step forward and an exciting time for Swiftwood Arabians and for those other breeders who have decided to take the opportunity to breed to these colts this season, as they are unique in this part of the world. Magic Magnifique has taken the European Arabian industry by storm. Magic Magnifique is sired by the vibrant straight Egyptian son True Colours, himself a son of the living legend Thee Desperado. Magic Magnifique’s dam is the very beautiful and exotic mare Magic Mon Amour by another Thee Desperado son, the black stallion Windsprees Mirage. His Russian damline is very strong, with crosses to Aswan and Kubinec, and he is tail female to the great mare Mammona (Ofir x Krucica).
Like everyone, my time at Swiftwood has seen many highs and, as can be the case owning and breeding horses, a few lows. The Australian Championship wins are always special, and not just for myself…winning for your clients is a highlight for me. That wonderful feeling and the great satisfaction I feel when an owner has entrusted their horse to me as a trainer, that feeling of success is hard to beat.
I loved showing my two purebred geldings in halter and mainly under saddle, Swiftwood Jesse James (Swiftwood Ibn Zamir x Swiftwood Qani), who is now 24 years old living a life of luxury at Swiftwood, and Avondale Eternity (Abu Shaklan x Avondale Elite). I worked with them from the beginning, breeding to breaking them in, and then their education under saddle. Both achieved numerous Top 10s and Reserve Championship at the Australian Championships, and many more Supreme and Champion awards.
We also own an amazing Australian Champion Part Arabian stallion Mustang Lodge Sea El Paso. He is a very special boy, being by Meadow View Apache and from Naadora, whose dam was the lovely Naadya, a daughter of Naadirah (GB). What an absolute gentleman he is. He still stands at stud at Swiftwood producing lovely type and excellent temperament progeny, some coloured.
Swiftwood Arabians are so excited about what our two Magnifique colts are going to bring to my breeding program. My Magnifique sired his first two foals last season. The first is a purebred colt out of Swiftwood Tahiera. He is a tall, leggy, very upstanding, correct colt with loads of charisma while the other is a black Anglo filly. This is Swiftwood’s first Anglo we have bred and we are so impressed with her. She will be my next horse under saddle, but both will be out in the show ring as yearlings. It is exciting to know that even after all these years, the passion never wanes, and that life is wonderful.