Des Castine had given some thought to being a professional horseman when he was a young man, he worked with a Cutting and Reining trainer in Texas in 1973/4 and travelled with TBs to England and the US. But, when he came back to Australia he decided to be a professional farmer and to keep horses as a hobby.
After building a successful farming business in South Australia, together with his wife Pat and their son, D.J. in 2006 they moved to the grazing and fattened property “Toonga” near Tarcutta in NSW.
D.J. and his wife Freya, have now taken over running most of the property and whilst Des has his own steer fattening operation, he concentrating his attention on breeding Campdraft horses and competing.
Des and Pat have been buying and breeding elite mares to give them a strong base to breed their ideal type of campdraft horse and needed a sire to complement the mares that have been purchased over the years – Connies Destiny, The Ranch Copy Cat, Soda Marrea, Jayem Snipellieta and the recently purchased (2018) Westons Snuggle.
Des and Pat bred the mare Hazelwood Coraline to Chevin Ivory in 2013, by embryo transfer, and the resultant bay colt foal is everything that they could have hoped for. Des likes Ivory as he is a strong, gritty competitor, as well as having excellent breeding, so the resultant foal was called GRIT (meaning: tough and resilient.)
Hazelwood Coraline is herself by the legendary Hazelwood Conman and out of an Acres mare and is a much admired Novice Campdrafter.
Mares and fillies bred at Toonga that have been retained include Toonga Marina (Bonlac Gigalo x Soda Marrea), Toonga Twain (Brown Acres x Two Darts), Toonga Mink (Conman x Marrea) and the 2017 foals are a beautiful filly, Toonga Sheba (Dennys Acres x Two Darts), two grey, twin embryo filly foals out of Marrea by Keewong Combat (Toonga Cherry and Toonga Chirp) and the first foal by Grit (his only mating as a 2 yo) out of the Acres mare Connies Destiny, another filly Toonga Posh. Four or five more foals by Grit are expected this spring (2018) including an ET foal out of “Snip”.
Along with his lovely rich bay colour, good temperament, looks and breeding Des and Pat are excited about Grit’s future!