The bay stallion, Kneipps Ransom, makes little fuss as he enters a camp. To the onlooker it appears that this beautiful horse is as calm as the most placid kids pony. Yet it becomes quickly apparent that this cool customer knows his job, and as soon as it is time to work, he is all focus. From the moment he starts work in the camp, until the end of his run Ransom is completely committed and gives every single run everything he has. Once the run is over, he is back to his laid-back self and meanders back to his yard for a snooze. Despite his obvious athleticism and ability to rate a cow, it is this level-headed nature that endears Ransom to all that know him – and that makes his potential as a sire very special.
Lee and Tanielle Challacombe bought Ransom in 2017 as a rising 6 year old. The couple from Capella, Queensland were looking to buy something by Hazelwood Conman, and as fate would have it Lee’s sister, Jody Challacombe, knew about Ransom. He has exemplary genetics, being by Hazelwood Conman and out of the highly regarded mare Boonal Serenade. While Conman’s individual record and outstanding pedigree are well-known, the story of Ransom’s dam is a huge part of his appeal.
Boonal Serenede was bred by Stephen Knight and he describes her as a remarkable individual from a seriously impressive family, with a particularly strong female lineage. The mares in the family produced a long line of campdraft winners. Serenede herself won the Novice Horse of the Year for the Border Branch, and Stephen Kneipp gives her the highest praise. She was forced to retire early following Stephen’s spinal surgeries, but in his words “she had everything”. He started breaking the mare in as a big strong 3 year old, and she took everything in her stride. In fact, she proved to be easy to train. Almost immediately Stephen noticed her strength. “She had a big stop from day one”. That ability to shut down stayed with her. “Few horses showed the expression outside like she did. When you checked her she would just get into the ground, you didn’t have to haul her back to slow down. She travelled smoothly at whatever gear you wanted to go, and when you needed her to, she just went. She had a lot of speed”. Stephen also said she was dynamic in the yard and would get down and boogie given the chance.
Serenede has produced particularly strong male progeny. Apart from Ransom there is his full brother Kneipps Conray (winner of 2015 Warwick Stallion draft and 2014 Landmark Classic Open); as well as another open stallion Boonal Durack (by Docs Argyle).
Ransom was a rising 5-year-old, and had just 2 starts before the Challacombe’s bought him. By this time the couple had twin baby boys. “I liked the horse so much, but I just couldn’t spend enough time on him to do him justice. No-one was seeing him because I didn’t have time to campaign him – I was focussed on just staying alive with twin babies”. Lee made the decision to send Ransom to his brother Trent to prepare and compete. Trent jumped at the chance and the horse has been under his care ever since.
Lee was happy with the decision and was quickly impressed, watching Ransom compete. “Straight away I noticed his ability to work a cow. He tries so hard and absolutely loves it. He is good all-round, but I was really amazed by how good he is in the camp. He is strong in the hind-end and can really cut out”.
Both Lee and Trent believe his calm nature plays a huge role in Ransom’s ability. “He has an amazing mind, and does not get worried about the pressure of it at all”, Lee said.
Apart from his temperament, Trent Challacombe stresses that Ransom is very cowy and athletic. “He is good in both the camp and outside. Apart from his ability, he is a good type, strong through the back and has good legs. He has a big, long stride.”.
In 2019 Pete Comiskey also competed on Ransom at Willinga Park, where he won the 2nd round of the Gold Buckle draft; as well as at Paradise Lagoons.
There are some young progeny on the ground already and at this stage it appears Ransom is passing on his beautiful temperament. The oldest of the progeny is a four-year-old gelding, owned by Lee and Tanielle. Lee will start campaigning the gelding in 2020.
Kneipps Ransom has a bright future ahead. He is still very young and is already handling competition like a seasoned professional. He has the potential to breed a future line of calm-minded superior athletes like himself, and as such make a dramatic impact on campdraft genetics going forward. For this special young stallion, the sky really is the limit!