MARES are the cornerstone of any horse breeding operation. Elite
show jumper Miss Cognac, a small statured, 15.2-hand brown mare, took Melissa Froesch to the pinnacle of the sport - World Cup events - when she was a junior rider in her teens. The little mare that travelled and jumped like a much bigger horse, competed in Grand Prix classes during the 1990s, winning and placing in several events over demanding courses up to 1.6m high.
Photo above is Miss Cognac jumping a 1.55m oxer at the Royal Melbourne Grand Prix Class in 1993 where she was only one if three horses that day to jump two clear rounds. Miss Cognac -
ridden by a then 16 year old Melissa Froesch, placed third on the day over a course built by Internationally acclaimed course designer John Vallace.
Miss Cognac became
the foundation mare for the Froeschs' breeding program, which aims to produce elite show-jumping horses.
Stallions obviously play a vital role,
but a mare can influence a stud with her progeny for years to come. Melissa Froesch is developing one such strategy. She and her family hope to make the most of the legacy of a champion little brown mare called Miss Cognac on their Glenara Park stud at Broadford.
"She has been a super horse for us,'' Melissa says. "Not only was she a freak jumper herself she has also bred good jumpers.''
In August 2010, in what was a heartbreaking decision for the Froesch family, Miss Cognac was put down at the age of 28 due to poor health. But thanks to science, her legacy continues.