In the winter of 1991, a friend was heading away on a horse buying holiday in Australia. I mentioned to him, “Have a look around on your travels, for a nice, broken colour, Shetland mare for me”. The weeks went by and I never thought anymore about it. Then, one Saturday afternoon the phone rang. “Steve here” the caller said. “I'm still in Oz and I've just found you a nice piebald Shetland stallion”. Then, “I think you should buy it. He's nice and really well marked”. “Oh, what do you mean”, I said, “I'm not looking for another stallion!” But the conversion was taken over by, how nice this pony was, that he would be an asset to our stud and how he could arrange transport for me, on the same flight with the animals he had purchased, in two weeks time. You can imagine how my mind was now buzzing with thoughts of this stallion!
A few days later, photos of Magnum arrived in the mail. He was stunning, and only for sale because the owner was giving up breeding ponies. Magnum had sired a number of foals in Australia and from the photos, they did look like good Shetland type. Over the next few days and many phone calls later, the sale was finally made, blood tests done, and Magnum was on his way to Christchurch, on a direct flight from Melbourne.
At the airport we eagerly awaited for Magnum to be unloaded. We were not to be disappointed! Seeing him in the flesh, he was a 9.hh stunner, solid and full of himself, screaming out as he came down the ramp! I'm sure he was telling all the race horses on the flight, “Here I am and I'm all male!”
Over time we found that Magnum was a home body. Never happy unless he was in his familiar surroundings. We did show him twice, for two Reserve Championships, but he was never happy, would not stand still for one second, marching like a soldier on the spot and foaming at the mouth. He was so up-tight. I'm sure he thought he should be rounding up all the ponies at the show!
Over the years Magnum has sired some stunning looking ponies, in many colours and of good useful Shetland type. Magnum's progeny have also been consistent show & steeplechase ponies. Many of you would have seen photos of some of his well known steeplechase progeny. Archie, Freddy, and the photogenic Hawkwing, the pony on the cover of last year's Canterbury Royal show schedule. Then there is Cotswold Aristocrat, the very flashy stallion and multi Supreme Champion & Pony of the Year 2008-09, owned and shown by Andrea Price. He is the only colt by Magnum, we retained entire.
We have been very proud to have owned Magnum. He certainly has been an asset to our stud and the Shetland pony breed in NZ. His bloodlines are throughout this country and Australia. Like all the early imported Shetlands to NZ, they have given our breeders a valuable gene pool to breed from, now and in the future, and their pedigrees will remain always, as treasures in our stud books.
Magnum is buried overlooking the paddocks he grazed and loved. May he rest in peace and his bloodlines live on.