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 (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.
The trio of Suffolks remaining in South Auckland reflect their origins: Calcott Calendula, foaled in New Zealand, Capleach Jackson, foaled Inverell NSW Australia, and the grand matriarch Colony Zodiac, foaled in the heartland of East Anglia, Hollesley Bay, Suffolk, UK, in 1987. Sadly Colony Zodiac is deceased. She was almost 23 years of age.
Mark Benny has now taken over from Mike with the Suffolks. Mark, an enthusiastic supporter of the breed, is standing Capleach Jackson at stud at South Auckland. As well as using Capleach Jackson for draughts, Mark is using him over light horse to produce performance, sports horses and hunters.
One of Jackson’s foals, a sturdy and strong looking Kingston, taken October 2010, at only five days of age, with his TB dam.