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Callaho Class Act


By Brigid Thompson

On the 31st of May 2014, close to 700 horse-lovers from all over South Africa converged on the picturesque Callaho stud just outside Christiana to enjoy what has become one of the most popular events on the country’s sport horse calendar – the annual Callaho Auction.


ix years ago Callaho Warmblood Sport Horse Stud introduced South African buyers to their unique and transparent auction process which has become the stud’s trademark. Each year a crop of elite, competition-ready young horses are sold on open auction with no reserve, together with a handful of broodmares in foal to one of the Callaho stallions. The varied talents and temperaments of the horses on auction each year offers something suited to riders from a wide range of disciplines and abilities. Two months before the auction takes place the horses are available for try-outs by interested buyers, and all information relating to the horse is freely available in the form of X-rays, video footage of the horse under saddle and jumping (available online and on the CD included in the auction catalogue), objective assessments of the horse’s utility, temperament and rider compatibility, as well as the opportunity to discuss any aspect of the horse with the veterinarian and the Callaho training staff. The auction process is completely transparent and buyers know exactly what they are getting when they buy one of the Callaho horses and where their money is going. Of the buyers interviewed by Sporting Horse, the majority had attended try-outs and ridden between five and twelve of the available horses before shortlisting two to five favourites. Buyers who had attended try-outs unanimously recommended the tryout process to future buyers. During the auction itself, the horses were free-jumped on the



Friday evening, and then on auction day morning each horse demonstrated its talents under saddle - doing basic flatwork and then jumping a simple line which was raised to a final height of approximately 1.1m.There was much to be admired in the talents and professionalism of the team of riders who presented the auction horses, which included Mandy Johnstone, Rainer Korber, Carl Boonzaaier, Jaco Theron, Hedda Roggenbuck and Chatan Hendriks. Spectators took careful note of the horses’ jumping techniques, response and recovery from small mistakes as well as their general way of going. Buyers who had not attended the tryouts thus also had the opportunity to see the horses being ridden. Everyone had free access at all times during the day to assess the horses in the stables and to speak to the handlers and riders. Bidders who were unable to be present themselves could arrange for telephonic bidding or proxy bids. After the lunch break, the gavel was formally handed over to auctioneers Rogan Asken and Günther Freimel, and then the real excitement began. Callaho stallions Lissabon, Con Coriano and Victory for Ever showed off their talents in individual performances before bidding commenced. Lissabon, the clear favourite, enchanted the crowd with advanced dressage moves and a breathtaking jumping display, while Con Coriano showed that he has matured into a phenomenal showjumper who simply oozes class. Before the auction of the flesh-and-blood horses began, a toy “Harry the Horse” in the image of Lissabon was auctioned in aid of the Highveld Horse Care Unit. Foreshadowing the bidding duels to come, the sale of the plush toy was hotly contested,

Sporting Horse Magazine Issue 19  

July 2014 Edition of Sporting Horse Magazine