The Beeston Hall Arabian Stud

In 2000, Bill and Vicki Dorsey took on the mighty responsibility of stepping into the shoes of Maureen de Popp of the Milla Lacquen Stud, originally founded in Argentina in 1947. The de Popps sourced horses from Hernan Ayerza whose stud, for several decades ran parallel to the Blunts, making his horses effectively “Argentinean Crabbets”. In 1972, the de Popps moved to England, reportedly riding their horses two at a time from the South Coast to Norfolk. This was not the first grand adventure for Maureen who had previously ridden her own mare Ets-Tsalets (Rimadi x Achbaa) across the Andes and back to prove that her little Arabian could outstay any other horse. It is clear then that at the root of this stud, now at Beeston Hall, is a bedrock of sound, sane and trainable Arabians.

Vicki tells me: “We want our horses to look and act like Arabian horses; to be suitable for showing, endurance riding or simply hacking and to have curious, affectionate and laid back temperaments.” The stud has two stallions and a unified herd of mares descended primarily from the de Popps herd of imported and UK-bought stock. Most of this “Ayerza cross” family are daughters of Kildimo (Greggan x Ghadaffa), leased from the Doyles in the USA, and range from 70% to 83% Crabbet. This year, they are expecting four foals including a straight Crabbet and two Ayerza crosses.

Aisht (Rafid x Aisha) was the starter stallion sourced from Maureen. His sire was the last horse to be born and bred by George Covey at Crabbet Park and he is a compact and pretty chestnut. Now well into his 20s, his suave manner has earned him the nickname “Maurice Chevalier” and his eight offspring have been so adorable that three will remain at the stud.

In 2004, the then eight year old Klinta Bashir (Nefeuret x Star Solitaire) was purchased from Ireland in order to broaden the genepool. The specific aim was to breed pure Crabbets from the two straight mares Moongleam (Kildimo x Magic’s Moonlight) and Rabiah (Rafid x Palmyra), and to boost the percentage in the Ayerza/Crabbet crossed family. A filly from Moonbeam, Mohtarma, is retained to be her dam’s eventual replacement while a colt from Rabiah has since been sold entire to Scotland. Vicki states of Bashir: “In the flesh he is exceptional, bringing a more modern, lithe look without sacrificing the essential Crabbet qualities. He is also of a more sought after, taller frame at 15.2hh. He is highly pre-potent – giving his four straight Crabbet heirs to date a sleek conformation, magical movement and just enough attitude.”

Of the females, Vicki’s favourite line is descended from Ets-Tsalets, the mare that crossed the Andes twice. Needless to say, they have lots of stamina, good bone and are extremely level-headed. The 1980 mare Bint Amaana (Rafid x Amaana) is a granddaughter of this remarkable mare and was originally borrowed as an auntie to help settle in the youngstock. She is now joined by her daughter Arrahma (by Kildimo) and two of Arrahma’s three fillies by Aisht: the seven year old Aysha, a 15.2hh solid dark bay who is the image of her grandmother, and the lighter bay two year old Ayaan. The Dorseys love these fillies and so Arrahma is currently running with Aisht once more in the hope of getting a strapping colt foal in 2010 to eventually replace the delightful senior stallion.

Vicki tells me of their naturalistic regime, saying: “We have devoted nearly 40 acres to horses so that they can run free and develop their bone and muscle from an early age. The herd structure ensures that the youngsters learn discipline early. The mares and stallions run together until just before the foals are born, which we believe makes for a happy, natural pregnancy. We begin handling our foals as soon as they are born, giving them plenty of attention and contact, so as to develop their natural curiosity and affection. We believe this helps to start them off as confident and ‘bombproof’ as possible.”

June 2009 – The Arabian Magazine

The Beeston Hall Arabian Stud
Beeston St Lawrence
Norwich
Norfolk NR12 8YS

Tel: +44 (0) 1692 631000 - Fax: +44 (0) 1692 631010
Mobile: +44 (0) 7885 218104
Email: vdorsey@beestonhallarabians.co.uk