“It’s been a very busy week at La Granderie. We were visiting for the weekend and the first two days of the week, to play hostess to the associates of the FENCES sales for their regional selection event for la Manche. FENCES is one of the elite young horse sales organizations in France, and is owned by a group of guys who are all well-known and influential in the business.
One of the associés FENCES is Bernard Le Courtois, who I think I have told you about before. We’re clients of Bernard, and I guess he has taken a bit of a shine to us and decided he wants to be helpful, which is all to the good in my book.
The aim of the regional selections is to provide an assembly point for folks in different parts of the country to present the horses they would like to have sold at the FENCES sales, which take place in September in conjunction with the young horse championships at Fontainbleau, and November.
You cannot imagine the weeding, raking, sweeping, wiping, pruning and primping that went on in the days leading up to the visit. I even learned to ride the lawn mower – my new favourite pastime. We had no idea how many people to expect; it could have been a dozen or it could have been 50.
As it transpired, it was a very small turn out, but that was fine. There were a couple of good horses there, including an Iowa mare from our barn, that Pierre is working for a very nice guy who works for Equidia, the French horse sport TV station.
There was an unbelievable young stallion by Hurlevent Brekka that popped right over the barrier set up to divide the school in two – as well as the electrified ribbon on top of it; he must have cleared five feet, easily. The first time he did it, the door to the school had been left open, so he just waltzed out into the yard by himself! Needless to say, once he had figured out he could do this, he could think of nothing else, so everyone agreed to put him away and look at him again at the next viewing, which will be in St Lô in June.
The associés FENCES liked our indoor school a lot, and the coffee, water and little biscuits didn’t hurt either. So I think we will see them back next time, and perhaps with a bigger crowd of exhibitors.
Of course, sod’s law would have it that four foals arrived in the 24-hours either side of our world premier event last Tuesday. I passed the foaling boxes on my way back from dinner at Florian and Nathalie’s last Monday night, and found my mare Grace with a new baby on the ground. I raced back to their apartment and everyone came out to see the new arrival. Fortunately everything had gone well, and we had another pretty bay filly to our credit. I headed off to bed, satisfied that all was in order.
Not wanting to be outdone, the chestnut mare in the box next door decided she would also produce her foal some 30-minutes later. I had just turned out my light, so Pierre didn’t come and get me up, but I learned the next day that he and Sophie had hit the hay at around 3.00 am.
As if we didn’t have enough going on, on Tuesday Sophie found our mare Mamzelle had foaled down in the field at about one o’clock in the afternoon. She and Pierre managed to get the mare and the foal - another bay filly… it’s all we’re doing this year - into one of the boxes along the side of the barn and all seemed well. Enough excitement for one day!
After the FENCES event was over, I packed up the car and headed towards Caen and the ferry home. We were sitting at dinner at about 9pm when the phone rang. It was Pierre asking for Chantal’s home number, because her mare had just had her foal too. It never rains, but it pours!”