We are a small family run stud based in West sussex in the UK that set out to produce exceptional sport horses with exceptional temperaments. The name Bellegrace was in honour of my twin daughters Isabelle and Grace, who are very much part of the team!
It all began with a crazy road trip to buy a new broodmare but resulted in something so much more, the horse of a life time, a stallion no less!
Craig or Mouse as he's known at home, became our first steps developing into a true stud. Before this we had been a mare only operation, but when a horse such as him comes along, well, he was everything you look for in a horse, incredible conformation, such elegance, ability and natural presence, that legendary heart melting temperament and the prettiest head ever seen! I did everything with him evented, hunted, hacked all over the south downs, riding club teams, even side saddle. (He is still now hacked out by my 9 year old twins!) We were a team, though only on a complete amateur level, we had a blast! But, the truth is a horse this good deserves a better rider...
Then came the one who started Bellegrace in the first place, El Thuder, Sire of our first foals and in an incredible twist of fate he ended up with us. Here was a stallion brimming full of ability, something truly special! He began jumping again when we found the talented young rider, Biba McCaul, sadly this partnership was brought to a sudden halt due to a colic operations which we were so incredibly lucky to have caught in time. it was a very close call but with time, care and the best groom imaginable he made an outstanding recovery. It was a long road, but he bounced back and with his incredible new rider Greg le Gear, climbed up the levels once again. Together they reached a 1.45m Grand Prix, when the pair were chosen for the British Showjumping Step up to Gold programme.
In the meantime, Craig and I did the NaSTa performance test where he achieved a class 1 ranking, a task that should, in hindsight, have been carried out by a professional but he still achieved the 3rd highest ride ability score in its 30 year history. after this he started focusing on dressage, but due to illness i stepped down from competing. It really was the best decision, he had always been too good for a lower level rider. Now he'd have the chance to really prove his abilities. But, with his eager to please nature we had to make sure that wasn't taken advantage of, he would break trying rather then say no. I was very fortunate my good friend sam holland offered the ride, taking time to produce him correctly, they flew up the levels. For a time he also competed successfully with BYRDS rider Josh Hill another testament to his rideability.
Both the boys continue to amaze us, as do their outstanding offspring, although they are literally chalk and cheese, they compliment each other, their key attributes are so different but they offer the same vital qualities, with these two boys we really feel we have options for any potential mare owner wanting to breed event, show jumping, dressage, show, young riders, riding club horses or simply happy hacks.
Throughout, our key objectives have remained the same. Now as a stud we have evolved, offering two dual purpose stallions to breed good natured, trainable sport horses for all disciplines. Vital to us is that they are suitable for both amateur and professional alike.
the question is why should we compromise on temperament when we so clearly don't have to?