“To see the mare’s face when she first meets her bub is priceless,” Lee-Ann says. We speak with Lee-Ann McClelland about her journey with horses – and the joy that she finds in foaling time on her family operated stud in south-east Queensland.
“Sierra Lodge Coloured Arabians is a true family owned business,” Lee-Ann begins. “Together with my husband, Neil, and my daughter, Ashleigh, we produce the highest percentage of Arabian blood into palominos, buckskins and cremellos within Australia.
“We have been breeding horses for almost 28 years. In the early days, we would produce just one foal here and there. But, today, at our 40-acre property in Glamorgan Vale, we produce seven to nine foals each year.
“The Arabian is such an intelligent horse, then adding colour to the mix and they become breathtaking. We compete most of the year between Arabian shows in Queensland and New South Wales, agricultural shows and even to the Royals.
“It takes a lot of time to prepare a team of horses. It may be three or it could be six – now that’s when things get busy,” Lee-Ann laughs. But, in breeding and showing the Coloured Arabian, Lee-Anne and her family, by far, find the greatest joy in foaling time.
“We love foaling time. You watch the mares for so long being pregnant and then finally having their foals. Then to watch those bubs grow up is very rewarding. We love seeing them head off to their new families and begin their own adventures.”
At home on her stud, as the foals begin to grow, Lee-Ann cherishes so many of the moments with her young horses. “To walk into the barn first thing and be greeted by whinnies is very special. Yes, they want their breakfast, but it is still nice.”
However, it is not only their remarkable colouring, but their intelligence and and inquisitive nature that makes the Coloured Arabian her breed of choice. “The Arabians are very social horses, so much so they are sticky beaks. When they see you come, they have to see what you are doing.”
With 30 horses currently and 7 foals expected this coming breeding season, Lee-Ann is always vigilant about the health of her horses. “With so many to look after, worming, teeth and general care is very important. My oldest girl is 29 this year and she has her teeth checked very regularly.
“We use Exclusively Equine for our horses’ health issues. Luckily few and far between the serious ones, but it is reassuring to know they are a phone call away if needed. Even just a phone call to ask a question can be very helpful when you are concerned.”