When he arrived he was 6 months old. Seahorse Seafreight did a fantastic job getting him here on the ship and organizing it all so while that was worrisome it was in the end a breeze. He was such a sweet boy but a bit afraid by the time he got home, so we bundled him up into a covered yard for a few weeks and got to know him. Within days he was nickering at us through the kitchen window in the morning. I (pre-Claudia days), would just sit in his paddock and watch him for hours on end. That was when the stud name was devised. We would watch this dancing horse who would put on a little performance for us at our request, we also wanted to play on the DiCavalli Stud logo branded on his shoulder of DC and reverse that for Central District DC where we live. On the internet we discovered that Chevaux Dansants was roughly French for Dancing Horse. So the business and stud has finally found a name, Chevaux Dansants Stables or CDS for short.

Donnerubin is coming to the end of his colt days and slowly developing into a young Stallion. Never has there been a moment I have been scared of him or been anything less than amazed at his level headedness. I am a self confessed worry wart. I always plan and re-plan for any scenario for most things in life including Donnerubin. He is a young horse and a colt to boot and so I always prepare for the worst in his behavior, just in case he does something new or goes to a competition. Yet not once have my fears come to fruition. Hand on heart he is the most level headed horse I have ever met. He takes everything in his stride with an intelligent kind nature, my only corroborating evidence, despite the experience and length of time in knowing my other two retired Dressage horses, Oscar was the only one I felt safe enough to handle when I was heavily pregnant.

Everything he has learnt so far has been so easy I must confess I kind of feel like I’m cheating in some way! At his first in hand show as a yearling I asked Wayne to handle him because pregnant people look funny running and its probably frowned upon in public! While I had trained him at home waddling away, I still prepared for every scenario of the “naughty Colt” behavior that all my friends said would eventually come most probably I thought at first competition. But he got off the truck at the show, looked around like he owned the place, gathered a little crowd of people who wanted to pat him and within half an hour he was standing on the sidelines falling asleep. In point of fact he didn’t win his first ever class because as Wayne went to trot off for his turn in the class at presenting him and didn’t realize that Donnerubin was sound asleep in the middle of the ring waiting and so he plodded off like a donkey!

Other examples of this “cheating” he had only ever followed us onto the truck despite 6 month gaps in not traveling, he learnt how to lunge in one go and by the second go was walk, trot, canter on voice commands he learnt from doing work in-hand but the pinnacle of that cheating feeling was when Ben taught him to long-rein under lights on our arena one night a first for both things, after that I got really busy with work and got this dreaded flu, before I knew it a month had passed until I got back out to long rein him for the second time ever. I thought I’d test the waters and have a little go, thinking he’d have surely forgotten. He trotted off like a pro, walk, trot, canter on the bit on the long rein, yet again I laughed to myself for my “sheer stupidity” in thinking how could it have ever been anything otherwise!

You ask what makes him different from the other Stallions that have been imported, well his movement is just as outstanding as all those beautiful stallions, he is without question the most beautiful looking horse I have ever seen both for his conformation but also his beautiful head and his countless wins in the show classes is evidence that its not just me that has rose colored glasses on! His breeding is just as good if not better than all these beautiful stallions already in NZ, but what I think makes him different is his temperament. He is uncomplicated, trustworthy and completely levelheaded. These are things that he has inherited from the strong genes of his Sire and we have no doubt he will in turn pass down to his progeny. With my experience so far in Dressage, showing and indeed all equestrian disciplines that I have competed in over the years, while it one thing for fantastic professional riders in NZ, as well as the well known phenomenal international riders to ride hot sensitive horses to brilliance, in order for the normal non-professional rider in NZ (ie most of us!) to get to the top in our discipline, their horse must above all else be trainable. A horse can be the best looking and most amazing movement in the world, but if you can’t sit on it and train it then what’s the point. Good Temperament is half the battle won. Donnerubin has temperament in bucket loads, but couple that with his good conformation and world class movement and you have the best start conceivable when breeding your own little superstar.

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