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Young Simon & Romeo

The name ‘Warrenbri’ conjures up sale toppers, campdrafters, performance horses and, of course, the mighty Warrenbri Romeo. The stud name has come from the late Peter Knight’s property at Merah North, where the stud was founded in the early 1970s.

Simon Knight respected and was inspired by what his father was doing with his horses and has carried on trying to promote and breed horses of which his father would be proud.

Simon commenced riding when he was a tiny tot. Peter Knight, at the time, had mainly Thoroughbred horses, and would head off across the property leading his little son who would be perched up on one of these big horses, with his hat down over his eyes and almost buried in the saddle. One day, crossing a creek, Peter wasn’t watching what was happening behind, and he arrived out of the creek and up the bank before he realised there was no one on the led horse. Looking back into the mud of the creek, Peter could see two tiny legs sticking up in the air. When he raced back he realised Simon has been whipped off by the branch of a tree and ploughed head first into the mud. Luckily, his trusty hat was still on his head and he was planted head first, feet in the air, awaiting rescue!

This early setback, luckily, did not affect Simon’s keenness. He and his brothers were eager horsemen from early days and almost drove their city-born mother to distraction - riding off on their ponies the minute they arrived home from school, generally arriving back with some sort of animal for their mother to help care for. In desperation, their mother took to dressing them in red clothing so they would be easier to spot if they were lost! This early riding set a great platform for Simon when he later rode in the Pony Club where he attained champion boy rider, played Polocrosse at state level, pick-up man and rodeoing at the National Finals in 1982 and made the final of the Warwick Gold Cup in 1992 and to this day is still an active campdrafter.

Today, Simon has worked very hard on his horsemanship and, although not a disciple of any particular school of horsemanship, he has evolved a method of schooling and training his horses that is reaping rewards for him.

“When I was about 16 years old,” Simon says, “people were still snigging horses to posts, saddling them up and bucking them out while breaking in. Pretty rough and ready. I thought, there’s got to be something better than this. My father was very kind with his horses and I started to take time to understand my horses. I like horses to think for themselves. Today when I am breaking in, if a horse bucks I am really disappointed as I’ve done my job badly.”

Bridget recalls them breaking-in with very few facilities before they shifted to ‘Sherwood’. “We didn’t even have a proper gate,” Bridget recalls, “I was the gate, and from there you were straight into an enormous paddock.”

Despite the lack of facilities they were still able to produce excellent horses for sale. Many experienced horsemen attribute the success of the Warrenbri horses at sales to Simon’s horsemanship. They suggest that the young “Warrenbri” horses are not pushed beyond their capabilities at a young age, which means buyers aren’t trying to undo problems with ‘overdone’ sale horses.

Whatever the reason, the percentage of return buyers is enormous. At the current sale 25% of buyers will have previously purchased a Warrenbri horse. A wonderful compliment to buyer satisfaction!

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