New Zealand and Suffolks today

New Zealand and the resurgence of the Suffolk Horse

Both Australia and New Zealand owe a great deal to Mike Ashburn in New Zealand for the return of the Suffolk to Australasia.

Fulfilling a lifelong ambition to farm, Mike Ashburn purchased a stallion and two mares who were up for sale.   The original horses had been imported to New Zealand from the UK in the late 1980’s for a commercial undertaking which ultimately did not eventuate.     After securing the horses, Mike then found a small farm in South Auckland and began a successful breeding program.

Mistyvale Oberon, Foundation Stallion to the Calcott Stud

Mistyvale Oberon 8785 (above):  Calcott Stud’s Foundation Stallion to the bulk of modern day Australasian Suffolk Punches

Three of the five fillies bred were exported to Australia: two to Marge and Dennis Candy of the Capleach Stud Inverell, New South Wales for their breeding program.    In return, they sent back a colt, Capleach Jackson to Mike in New Zealand.  The third filly was exported to the WoodBarn Stud,  Southern Tablelands in NSW in 2004.

The trio of Suffolks remaining in South Auckland reflect their origins:   Calcott Calendula 28417, foaled in New Zealand;  Capleach Jackson, foaled Inverell NSW Australia, and the grand matriarch Colony Zodiac 28232, foaled in the heartland of East Anglia, Hollesley Bay, Suffolk, UK, in 1987.    Colony Zodiac died aged 22 years.

In 2008 Mark Benny took over from Mike with the Suffolks.     Mark, an enthusiastic supporter of the breed, stood Capleach Jackson at stud at South Auckland.   Mark used Capleach over light horse to produce performance, sports horses and hunters.   Despite all efforts, no Suffolk foals eventuated.

Capleach Jackson: New Zealand’s only Suffolk Punch stallion

One of Jackson’s foals, a sturdy and strong looking Kingston, taken October 2010, at only five days of age, with his TB dam.

In August 2017 Capleach Jackson died, following an injury which did not respond to treatment.

In New Zealand there is only Calcott Calendula 28417, now aged 21 years.