As part of our series of stories catching up with breeders across the UK to find out how they are coping with the coronavirus outbreak, today we caught up with Peter Greenaway of GreenLane Stud. Peter runs a small breeding operation single-handedly, and has recently moved into being a stallion owner, with his two homebred stallions GreenLanes Jester and GreenLanes Le Bambalou. When news of the lockdown broke, Peter, who has a range of horses out competing with riders, decided to take stock:
“As a small stud with only me running it, working with some excellent riders and producers and with some highly professional specialists to look after the horses’ needs, we are just taking a bit of a breath this year and contemplating where we are.”
Peter’s philosophy has been not to sell his youngstock as foals, but to run them on and produce them, first. He only has 5 broodmares, along with a few youngsters he is planning to breed from before they start their competitive careers. With pre-breeding veterinary procedures no longer available to him, he had to put his plans on hold:
“I have 3 foals due this spring, but I am also the primary carer for my elderly mum – and I am now 60 as well – so I have sent them away to stud for the first time in a number of years to foal down so that I can spend time looking after mum and not worrying about the mares and foals.”
“However, with current restrictions in place, it looks unlikely that the mares will be able to go back in foal – although of course this is a very fast changing environment and BEVA announced yesterday that they would review the position again in 3 weeks. Let’s all hope that we may be able to start then.”
The first of Peter’s two homebred young stallions, GreenLanes Jester (Negro x Florencio), stood at stud for the first time in 2019 so his first foals are due this year and are eagerly awaited by Peter who has seen a lot of interest from breeders to use him this year. Because of the current situation, Jester will not be available for chilled semen, but Peter has a small number of frozen semen straws which can be made available to those fortunate enough to have access to AI procedures, which are still allowed where a vet is resident on site and directly employed by a stud.
Peter’s other stallion, GreenLanes LeBambalou (Balou du Rouet x Warrant) is only rising 4 and Peter had planned to have 3 mares put in foal to him this year to give breeders the opportunity to see his stock next year. Peter is quite philosophical about the situation:
“We do have a sneaky unplanned filly from last year so that is lucky! We hope that we will be able to get some of our mares in foal but if not, we’ll do it next year.”
“I know that I don’t rely on the horses for an income – which is just as well as I rarely make a profit on anything sold – but a year off – whilst disappointing – isn’t going to make a difference in the great scheme of things.”
Peter recognises that it helps to see things in perspective:
“A lot of people are impacted, not least farriers, vets, stallion owners etc. but also many people not involved in horses are facing a very uncertain future as well with their day to day jobs. At least those of us with horses are doing something we love – heaven knows we wouldn’t be doing it otherwise – and most have other work to pay the day to day expenses.”
With youngstock unable to go out and compete, they have decided to take the time to school the youngsters and get them trained and fit, ready for when competitions start again. They will have a break as well so that they are mentally ready to start for return to a competitive career.
Peter’s final message to the community is:
“These are uncertain and very difficult times for many, but personally the horses keep me sane in these things. Please all look after yourselves and if you want to chat to someone do message or call me – we all need to look out for each other.”