By George Newtown.
The thirteenth annual Newtown Farm ISR/Oldenburg NA mare and foal inspection took place on Saturday, 16 September 2017, in Benton, Louisiana. It was the year of the fillies. Inspector Helmut Schrant assessed the six fillies presented this year—a more modest number of foals than in past inspections, but an array that still maintained the level of quality visitors have come to expect at the Newtown Farm inspection.
Paperwork began over coffee and biscotti at 9:00 AM, while the actual inspection of animals began at 10:30AM. The day was sunny and mild and the setting green after a wetter-than-usual August in Louisiana. Once again the triangle was marked with the traditional pots of yellow chrysanthemums. Julie Norman again did the honors as official runner, and Barbara Newtown served once more as the official photographer.
This inspection had been declared an unmounted meeting of the local Adult Pony Club, and as a consequence a knowledgeable gallery appreciated the judge’s generous explanations of his scoring. The Pony Clubbers conspired with Judge Helmut Schrant to celebrate the birthday of club member Haley Glick, who, at the end of the inspection, was awarded an official score sheet and designation as a “Premium Mare”—followed by much whooping from the crowd.
The inspected foals (actually equines, not humans) included four Oldenburg fillies by Balanchine* and one by Landkoenig, all bred at Newtown Farm. The sixth filly, the offspring of a Thoroughbred stallion and a Belgian draft nurse mare, was presented for a certificate of birth in anticipation of joining the breeding program of her owner, Hanna Gamble of Benton, Louisiana.
Two daughters of Balanchine* were awarded premium plaques. High scorer of the day (at 8.1) was the elegant dark bay filly Harper Lee, out of Hermione -/*/- (by Coeur de Lion). Harper Lee is Hermione’s sixth premium foal in eight years—a remarkable record for a young mare. Also awarded premium status (at 8.0) was the colorful bay filly Zelda, out of the Dutch mare Zoe */-/- (by Juventus). As Zelda raced around the inspection field, she flashed her blaze face, her four long stockings, and her three generous belly spots like a painted pony on steroids.
At noon, participants, spectators, and the judge all retired to the Newtown kitchen for lunch. Once again Barbara Newtown and her mother Priscilla Claflin had prepared a rich spread that included chicken salad, egg salad, pigs in blankets, croissants and whole wheat rolls, cut up veggies, and numerous kinds of cookies. The final piece-de-résistance was a moist, succulent tiramisu cake provided for Haley Glick’s birthday celebration by the other “Premium Mares” of the Pony Club.
Helmut Schrant and the Premium Mares:
After much food, washed down with sodas and beer, we marked the ending of official business with the branding of the fillies. Then the judge joined the site hosts for more cold beer and for warm reminiscences of Helmut’s Oldenburg stallion Frohwind. The blood of this magnificent horse has flowed through all Newtown Farm offspring since we began breeding warmbloods in 1989. In fact, Harper Lee, this year’s high point filly, traces to that elegant sire in both halves of her pedigree.