Cwmcerrig Stud was established in 2003 with the purchase of Abercippyn Molly- with many thanks to the late Albert Lewis for putting us in the right direction!
I had previously owned a TB/ID for riding, but after many bouts of lameness I was beginning to loose confidence and give up horses’ altogether. Thankfully we were introduced to Albert Lewis by my husband’s grandfather, Ken Rodway. Albert told us the best thing to do is ‘sell the thoroughbred and buy a welsh cob!’ This is exactly what we did.
Ken had a market stall in Carmarthen selling fruit and vegetables next to Pam Preston- wife of the late Ray Preston of the Gateway stud. Due to Ray’s recent passing, Pam was dispersing of the stud. Albert instructed us that we should buy one of the young fillies or one of the mares in foal. We made arrangements and made a trip up to see them.
Pam had arranged for us to be shown around the ponies by a few of Ray’s old friends.
We gazed around the lovely cobs we were being shown, with one particularly catching our eye. She was a small mare, compact, bold eye, a little shy -the outsider of the herd. She was just touching 14hh, dark bay, with not a mark of white on her. Impeccably bred, she was by Cippyn Real Magic and out of Abercippyn Rosemary by Derwen Replica, her name was Abercippyn Molly, Molly was to be the first welsh cob we purchased. We were then shown to a small, dark stable, ‘come see what she’s in foal to’ they said.
Well I think our jaws dropped to the floor! He was the most beautiful horse we had ever seen, full of character and spirit yet he had the kindest eye. His mane was thick and long past his shoulder, with ears like bay leafs poking out the top, his tail was wide as his back end, he looked as wide as the door way with a massive crest and big powerfully body. ‘This is Brynithon Northern Wind’ (Thorneyside the Terminator x Nesscliffe Myfanwy by Mabnesscliffe Survivor) they said. He was full of himself, leaping round the stable like a 2 year old so sure of himself, so proud yet desperate for attention. After a brief conversation with Pam we decided to buy Molly and picked her January 1st 2003.
Months went buy, Peter and I constantly went over and over about the stallion we’d seen in the stable, there was something about him, we just had to have him. Peter was not horsy at all, however; he had grown up on the farm so was used to cattle and sheep. March soon came along, by this time even Peter wanted him, so I mentioned to Peter if you think you can handle him then we could see about buying him. After much persuasion to my father he paid for half of him and Peter managed to borrow the other half off his brother. By March 23rd he was in our stable.
My mother and father were gob smacked when we brought him home.
He was 5 when we brought him and hadn’t really been out his stable since a 3 year old and corn fed twice a day. Well; he literally bounced off the stable walls, I remember my father asking what on earth we’d brought, my parents’ really thought we’d bitten off more than we could chew. But we persevered.
May came along quickly; Peter and I decided to go to Glanusk show to see what it was all about. Peter had shown cattle and sheep in the past so was quite willing to give it a go. We saw Albert at Glanusk and he gave us a schedule for Cothi Bridge Show and said we should take Northern Wind there. Northern Wind was terribly head shy even getting a head collar on was a mammoth task so a bridle was just impossible. For those few weeks we tried desperately to get a bridle on him but he was so head shy, he hated his ears being touched so in the end we resigned to a head collar and bit attachments- not the ideal tack to show him in -but it were the best we could do at the time.
Northern Wind made his debut as a stallion at Cothi Bridge show 2003 with a full mane and tail and a head collar with bit attachments as a bridle. Peter entered the ring with Northern Wind or Lad –as he is affectionately known, hoping he could just copy what everyone else was doing. However; as he was walking around the judge – Mrs. Claire Willis-Burton stopped the line and put Peter lead file. Luckily Byron, Pam’s brother–in-law was at the side of the ring shouting orders of what to do next. The judge then started pulling horses in; Oxspring Prince stood in 1st place and to our astonishment we were pulled in 2nd! It was a very strong class with the likes of Gwenllan Brynmor, Brynmelys Cracker etc. After much anticipation she swapped us with Oxspring Prince we were now in 1st place, I couldn’t believe it the crowd went mental, we’ve never felt so proud. Cothi Bridge was just the start of a successful career for Northern Wind he has gone on to gain several championships and a bronze medal. The following year of having him 2004 we took him to the Royal Welsh for the first time; amazingly he we came 2nd to Mitcheltroy Welsh prince under Keith Spencer, it was un unbelievable achievement, with the following year 2005 he stood 5th 2011 standing 6th as a senior stallion.
I had always wanted to ride Northern Wind although it wasn’t until he were 9 that we had completely gained his trust and felt it were time for him to be ridden. I had previously sat on him round the yard at home; he was never bothered at all and was always fine with a saddle or a roller. In September 2007 we decided to get Northern Wind broken while we went away to Florida to get married. My farrier’s wife Ashely Davies broke him in for us; within 4 weeks he was hacking out with other horses – he absolutely loved it. I am now having just as much success with him under saddle as Peter has with him in hand.
However; Northern Wind has not always been everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ under saddle my usual comments being ‘too much action for a ridden cob’ or ‘too fiery to be under saddle’ I had always brush them away as it were only one persons opinion and I just love riding him so much. Then; luck struck! August 6th 2011 WPCS International show class 24 Traditional Ridden to be judged as ‘breed type, walk &trot, extravagance of Action’. At last we thought, a class that shows what a cob can really do, a class that I knew Northern Wind could shine in; that , he certainly did. It was probably the most fun I had ever had showing Northern Wind. He came alive in the main ring, the crowd was unbelievable, Northern Wind just rose to the challenge, the more the crowd cheered and clapped - the more he extended, he’d just sit back and go! He absolutely loved it; if anyone tried passing him he’d just take off again, it really took some riding I must say.
It were a very tense moment, I was pulled in 2nd, once we were all inline the first 6 were sent to trot out again, I really had to put him to go now, but he just lapped it up, every time we turned for the grandstand the crowed would cheer and clap, I could even her my husband cheering ‘Com’on Lad! every time he did that I could feel him really sit back on his hocks and really throw his legs forward, it was breath taking. After what seemed like forever the stewards were calling me in 1st. I was in total shock once the rosettes were being handed out I was overwhelmed, he then went on to win the Traditional Ridden Championship and was awarded a silver medal, a Welsh Crystal Bowl and Commemorative plate. We’d done it; I cannot express in words how I felt at that moment I was very emotional it was an unbelievable achievement. The next day of the International Northern Wind competed in hand in the senior stallion class and stood 2nd again to Mitcheltroy Welsh Prince. Northern Wind has shown us he can do more than one job and do both just as well.
Abercippyn Molly and her special ‘Gift’
1996-May 6th 2012
We purchased Abercippyn Molly new years day 2003 at the time she were in foal to Brynithon Northern Wind.
produced us some fantastic stock notably Cwmcerrig Will Bach and Calzaghe.
It came as such a great shock that on May the 6th 2012 we had to put Molly to sleep.
Molly was a very quiet and private mare, she never was ill, never coughed or had the vet out. She never had trouble foaling, they were always up and about by the time we ever saw them, she’d show us them and then would keep them to herself till it were weaning time.
It came as a surprise April 20th 2012 when Molly became very anxious that afternoon, I was late mucking out and noticed she was becoming quite restless almost as if she were telling me to ‘hurry up’. I looked at her udder and noticed she started waxing – something I had never seen her do, so I quickly proceeded to make her a large bed. No sooner had I made her bed she started to run milk, I waited quietly outside her stable so not to disturb her; she started to foal. I stayed with her outside watching patiently; she struggled a bit- though this were the first time I’d ever seen her foal so was difficult to say if it were normal for her. Very soon before my eyes lay a rather large bay foal, I creped in the stable to remove the bag from the foals head so it could see and checked the sex- it were a filly to my surprise. Within a few hours of being born we sold the filly and named her Cwmcerrig Maggie May.
Very soon after the birth Molly would let me spend time with her filly, almost push her to me, very odd behavior for her. Molly didn’t really like being in and seemed off her food so after a week or so turned the 2 of them out to fresh grass. Molly would often call and every time I went to the field to see to her she would bring her filly to me.
Sadly on the morning of May 6th when taking Molly’s feed out to her Peter found her in great distress, disorientated and struggling to breath. She was rushed to Cotts Farm Equine Clinic where immediate bloods were taken and a emergency tracheotomy was performed. I stood outside the treatment room with the foal by my side unhaltered, just standing very quietly. We waited outside the treatment room for nearly an hour; it was a very emotional time for us all. Molly’s breathing sounded quite loud I found it very distressing and on several occasions had to leave the building but the filly foal would call at me making it difficult to leave so I had to return and be strong for her. Bloods came for what seemed like an enternity, sadly she’d lost all liver function and she was fighting a severe infection; there was nothing they could do for her, it was best for her to be put to sleep. With Molly’s last breathe her filly foal gave a large sigh, dropped her head and followed us unhaltered back to the lorry. Heartbroken we drove home with the filly; she did not call for her mother at all after that day. Then, the greatest challenge of all had begun, we had to hand rear her. Peter had, had pet lambs on the farm but certainly not a foal. We tried a bottle that night but she refused it, she was more interested in a feed bucket. We tried adding the milk to some feed and as luck would have it she gobbled it down. Soon we then just put the milk in the bucket and she would drink from it straight away. The hardest part for me was phoning the lady that had paid the deposit on the foal, there was no way I could let her go now, but as it happened Maesyrafon Isobel had foaled the morning Molly was put to sleep and also had a beautiful bay filly. I explained the situation to the lady; she was more than happy to have the other filly which we named Cwmcerrig Isobella. 2 weeks followed of feeding every 4 hours and even through the night- it was so exhausting, but she was so strong we just had to keep going.
After the first few days of hand rearing both Peter and I decided to change the filly’s name from Maggie May to Molly’s Gift in honor of her dam.
Weeks turned into months and Molly’s Gift grew from strength to strength, she’d befriended her half sister Super-Star- a yearling filly which meant we could turn them both out together. It was so lovely to see her out and being a ‘horse’. As the months went by we decided to enter Molly to a show. She debuted in the ring August 3rd at Gower Show where she was placed 2nd . We were over the moon with her, she’d traveled to the show that day in the trailer with her 5 year old full brother- an entire Will Bach. This caused quite amusement amongst friends seeing a big cob stallion in the trailer with a foal but both was so well-behaved.
This year we were invited to do a stud display at Aberaeron Festival of ponies and cobs, due to the death of Abercippyn Molly we thought it appropriate to bring Molly’s Gift as her representative of our much loved foundation mare. She really did us proud that day it was very emotional for both of us. We were lucky enough to have 2 of her sons at the display Calzaghe and Will Bach and her granddaughter Welsh Lady a daughter of Will Bach.
Abercippyn Molly has really left us some fantastic stock. Calzaghe was Supreme Champion at this years Barley Saturday sired by Crugybar Carlo Morganna Mai, Calzaghe has since been sold and is now broken to ride. We have her son Will Bach who has been a consistent 1st prize winner in hand and successful under saddle. Molly’s Gift is now retained as a future brood/show mare for us and we look forward in watching her mature into a beautiful filly. We lost something great when Molly died but we are left with something greater with Molly’s’ Gift and for that we are truly thankful.