Owner’s Badminton dream for half-Fjord filly

The owner of a filly described as “a Fjord with more engine” says her dream is to qualify her for the British Eventing (BE) grassroots final at Badminton.

Kira Simpson bred Sula Borealis by thoroughbred event stallion Sula Blue, out of her Fjord mare Maddison, who herself evented at BE80(T) level.

The three-month-old filly resembles her dam in colouring, and with a version of the trademark Fjord mane, but is, Kira says, a more refined model.

“I said I wanted a V8 version of Maddison, with more engine and longer legs, and when she was born she was like a spider,” Kira told H&H. “I sent pictures of her to Sula Blue’s owner and she said: ‘Well, you’ve got what you wanted!’”

Kira was given Maddison free, when her owners moved abroad, and had competed at showjumping and dressage, but it was a friend’s chance remark that led her to eventing.

“People said ‘you’ll never get that round a BE event’, but my friend Rachel who events said she thought I could, and that’s all it took,” Kira said, adding that their one run was at Millfield in 2017.

“She ended up with a cricket score – 41 dressage, two rails and a refusal showjumping and two refusals cross-country – but it was the best day of my life,” Kira added.

“It was hers and my first event, and I really threw her in the deep end. She turned a few heads as you don’t see many Fjords eventing – but she was fantastic.”

A few days later, Maddison was slightly lame and it was found she had proximal suspensory desmitis and so would not jump again.

“We decided to put her in foal as she’s the nicest mare ever,” Kira said.

“I was sitting in the tack room with the friend who suggested eventing and she said: ‘Why don’t you put her to a thoroughbred? That would be a nice mix.’.”

Kira was impressed by Sula Blue’s record but also his “superb” temperament, and although the first season of trying was unsuccessful, last summer went according to plan, and “Winnie” was born in March.

“We were over the moon with her,” Kira said. “I always described Maddison as a Land Rover Defender, and Winnie’s more like a Range Rover Sport; still a bit heavy but with more refinement.

“Her mane is fantastic, like some sort of zebra mane. Maddison’s got the black dorsal stripe and hers is dark but this is like something out of a fairytale.

“I also often say I’m not sure if I’ve bred a Labrador or a foal, she’s into everything.”

Kira said Winnie plays with dog toys, is unfazed by anything she has yet come across and is proving to have a good temperament – so the idea is to event her in future.

“The big dream is Badminton grassroots,” she said. “Some people dream of Burghley or Bramham but if I could get there, that would be a lifetime achievement complete.

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“Maddison we plan to bring back into some hacking; it was my dream to event, not hers, but she went along with it and now she deserves a life of fun and hacking.”

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