The Highfox Stud is is based at Queensbury in Yorkshire and is the oldest and most successful New Forest pony stud in the north of England. 2008 saw the Stud celebrating its 21st anniversary. Although we have had a connection with Foresters for a long time (since the 1960s) and bred successful part - bred New Forest Show Hunter Ponies in the 1980s, the first pure bred New Forest pony that we owned, was Kingsbury Love Affair II (Gosden Jon Step x Burton Love Affair of Tomatin).
Love Affair was given to us, as her owner was ill and the pony's future uncertain. She was black, with a lovely pony head and stood just 12 hands/122 cm. Love Affair proved to be a super child's pony and a great character. She won in hand, as a lead rein pony and was also broken to drive. She became our foundation broodmare and stayed with us until her death aged twenty four. Her first foal by Val and Owen Dibden's very well known stallion Beechwood Comet was not a great success. The resulting filly Highfox Royal Romance was pretty and an extravagant mover, but lacked New Forest type. We began to look for an alternative stallion to try on Love Affair.....a bit tricky without going back to the Forest, as at the time there was no New Forest stallion standing in the north.
In 1992 we saw an advertisement in a local paper 'For Sale bay, fourteen hand, New Forest stallion'. This stallion turned out to be Fijal Maestro. He was by the French stallion Iceberg, out of Fijal Prelude (four times Supreme Champion at the Breed Show) bred by Mrs.Barbara Stiles. We didn't want to buy a stallion, but rang and left our telephone number in case he stayed in Yorkshire, hoping that we might be able to use him on Love Affair. The vendors couldn't find a buyer, they rang us and eventually we went to have a look.
Maestro was being kept on an allotment, just off the M1 near Rotherham. He was well under 13.2/138 cm, in poor condition, but had a fabulous head, huge front and tons of bone. We made an offer and it was accepted, so we went back for the wagon and brought him home the same day. The rest as they say, is history.
Now we had a stallion, we really needed a second broodmare and were pleased when we saw another advert in the paper that Maestro had been advertised in - 'For Sale: New Forest mares and youngstock'. Rainy Day Girl (Tiptoe Firelight x Sally III) was one of these, Forest bred, she had been bought with a number of others at Beaulieu Road Sales and ended up on a small holding in North Yorkshire. When we went to look we found a bright bay filly standing about 13.0 hands (she still does). She had lots of bone, a lovely head, with a big kind eye and good free movement, but she was very wild, rather slim and at only two, was not really what we were looking for. However we couldn't quite forget her and a few weeks after first seeing her, we threw caution to the wind and made an offer. Rainy Day Girl has been with us ever since.... she is still semi-feral, but a great character and a wonderful broodmare. In February 2019 she was awarded the highest accolade by the Breed Society for her progeny; she is now a Gold Status Broodmare.
This pairing also produced Soloist, Hosanna and Evensong all very big winners.
Evensong (right) was Supreme Champion at the Centenary New Forest Breed Show in 2006 and Maestro's last foal before his untimely death as a twelve year old.
We bought Fijal Gemstone (Prelude's full sister) from Lizzie Briant in 1997 but although she was very successful in hand, standing Supreme at a number of shows and winning as a novice under saddle, we didn't breed from her. She went on lease to Jo Jack in 1998 and they were so happy with each other, that we eventually decided to sell her to Jo. She had a successful career under saddle and as a broodmare and her foal by Furzley Charaide, Mitton Springtime qualified for the HOYS ridden class.
Pattie Pinchbeck another Forest bred mare (Obershade Highland Fling x Mill Meadow Zinc) was sent by Mrs.Stiles, to be covered by Maestro and then broken and sold on. This union produced yet another lovely chestnut filly Highfox Finesse (sold) who tragically died as a three year old. Another of Mrs.Stiles' ponies Fijal Polka (Maestro's sister) also came on loan, but she sadly failed to get in foal to the small stallion Longcopse Elton by AI and so moved on to Fiona Kings Greencottage Stud in Dorset.
In 2001 to our great distress Maestro was diagnosed with a tumour. He was in the prime of his life and just twelve years old. The tumour ultimately led to his death. He is buried at home, he is still very much missed, will never be forgotten and remains impossible to replace. He was a fabulous stallion and a great friend.....life will never be just the same without him.
In 2002 Mrs.Stiles bought a colt foal for us to run on to try as our next stallion. This was Furzley Charaide (Luckington Sportaide x Sophia) bred by Mrs Sandra Kilford. He proved to have a fabulous temperament and to be a really good strong Forest stamp. He was very successful for us at a handful of major shows when shown as a youngster, standing Champion at the Great Yorkshire Show, Youngstock Champion at the The Royal and Reserve Champion at the NPS Summer Champs. He ran with Rainy Day Girl as a three year old and the result was a strong, bay filly foal Highfox First Love (sold - she is a real performance pony like her sire).
However sadly Charaide wasn't quite right for our mares, so he was reluctantly sold to an excellent home, where he has pursued a very successful performance career with Cath Harrison, being consistently placed at HOYS in Working Hunter Pony classes and winning the WHP at the Royal International . Charaide is pictured below as a two year old winning the Mixed Mountain and Moorland Championship with us at the Great Yorkshire Show.
Spy was left to mature slowly and was only shown a handful of times as a youngster for education. He was however successful at a number of large shows including Cheshire County, the Great Yorkshire and Equifest.and he eventually made his ridden début in 2014, winning at his first attempt. He showed a talent for dressage and jumping. Licensed as a two year old he has produced several foals out of Rainy Day Girl; the bay filly Highfox Faith (sold - but now back home), bay colt Highfox Hallelujah, brown filly Highfox Destiny and the brown colt Highfox Skyfall all of who are now in new homes. His last foal was Highfox Hunky Dory (2016) .
Highfox Finale produced a tiny lead rein Forester Highfox Hope, as the result of running with Spy in 2011. His first foal out of Highfox Evensong a beautiful bay filly Highfox Felicity, was born in May 2014 and will be retained. Sadly Evensong's second foal, a big colt was inexplicably stillborn in 2016. However Rainy Day Girl produced another super Samsons Spy baby the same year, a bay colt Highfox Hunky Dory. He passed his stallion NFPB&CS inspection in April 2018 he is now licensed and currently retained.
In 2017 after much soul searching, Spy returned to his breeders, to be a ridden pony for the family. He has settled to his new life well and has a fabulous home, which he really deserves.
We also had our first foal born by AI. Highfox Evensong produced an outstanding filly foal by the late Luckington Sportaide. Pictured here at just one hour old, June 2017.
She will hopefully join her half sister Highfox Felicity and Highfox Faith as the 'next' generation of mares here at Highfox,
At the present time our main breeding mare is Highfox Evensong and we have the veterans (all now twenty years plus!), Rainy Day Girl, Highfox Forever; Highfox Faith; the youngsters Highfox Felicity and Highfox Heaven Sent; the big part bred NF X TB Trenley Tomorrow (by Hollybrook Tinker) and of course Highfox Hunky Dory. Pictured here after standing Mountain and Moorland Champion at his first show in May 2018.