SKY HIGH (IMP)
Sky High representing Australia in the Paris World Cup
One interesting development in the 40 years since Flaneur arrived, has been the discovery by Australian showjumping riders that while every now and then an ex-racehorse would prove to be a super showjumper, there were hundreds, perhaps thousands of others that didn’t make the grade. Australian jumping riders have realised that they need purpose-bred horses of established jumping lines, to be competitive on the international stage.
The stallion, Sky High was one of the first to make a mark. Sky High, along with his full-brother, Skies Above was imported from the UK by Chris Howe. He was eventually acquired by one of the early performance horse breeders, Bev Chugg – now Bev Edwards of Jaybee fame – and ridden by her son, Chris.
According to Bev: “About 1977, I started to look at the Warmbloods. I decided I wanted a Hanoverian, and one with a Ferdinand background.”
“Then the phone rang one night and it was Vin Cummins from Shepparton who was a good friend of mine. He said do you want a Hanoverian stallion? What is it? By Ferdi by Ferdinand - there we go, the little fairy on Beverly’s shoulder again. I’m very lucky, I always seem to fall into exactly the horse I want.”
“Chris Howe had imported the horse and he was looking for somebody to take him on. Vin had broken him in - sort of - he could do a bit of this and a bit of that. They were old-fashioned gentlemen, Vin and Chris - you did business on a handshake. I took the horse home and my son Chris said, what is that? I said, I’ll ride him, which I did, and frustrated myself for 12 months, because you had to hit it with a whip every stride to get it to trot. Finally I said to Chris, ‘what does this horse need?’ He said let me have a try, took the horse over and went from there…”
The chunky stallion was a tough competitor, and won the right to represent Australia at the World Cup final in 1987. The following year, Sky High won an Australian Showjumping Championship. As a sire, Sky High has been a more than respectable producer – with World Cup competitors: Heza Skyhawk, Diamond B Ego, OT Flying High and Jaybee Schultz. Add to that a few other handy progeny sold overseas: Sky High 2, and Albrudee High Star, and exported grand-children, Southern Jester and Penrose Park Witchetty Grub. Sky High was the inaugural THM Jumping Stallion of the Year in 2002.
Excerpt from The Horse Magazine