The exciting young sire Durkins Gunman, is the product of 5-generations of breeding exceptional quality horses by the Durkin family. Rob and Wendy Durkin are continuing the bloodline that Rob’s family have been breeding for 40 years. Rob and Wendy have extremely high standards in the quality of horse they want to produce; and Gunman is the first colt they have bred that they decided to keep as a sire.
Rob is a firm believer in breeding from a line of proven horses. Saying, “I believe if you want to breed a good horse, start with a mare or stallion from a family that’s been producing good horses for a long time – and go from there”.
Gunman is out of the best mare the family have owned – Durkins Pearl. Pearl is special, not just because of her excellence as an individual, but also because her bloodline is quite different to a lot of horses going around at the moment. She is by Stanton Stud Black Breeze, who Rob rates as one of the best horses he has ever seen campdraft. The family have had other progeny by Black Breeze and they have all been outstanding individuals. Being out of that very special mare, and by the ultimate modern campdraft sire, Hazelwood Conman – makes Durkins Gunman genetically very exciting.
Rob describes Pearl as being an outstanding mare. “I realised very early that she was something special, and that she could breed very good horses down the line”. Pearl’s competitive career got off to an incredible start, when she won the Horse Of The North Challenge as a 4yo, then came back to the same event the following year and won the Open Challenge.
Rob says that she was the first horse to ever win those events back-to-back. Unfortunately, some bad luck with injury and illness have affected her ability to compete consistently. She has had 3 years off, due to a tumour on an ovary that was successfully removed; and more recently she contracted Ross River Virus, from which she has almost recovered.
Pearl’s mother, Durkins Diamond, also bred a line of top campdrafters, that won a significant number of drafts. As an example of the quality of horses she has produced, Diamond had 3 progeny win separate events at the same draft, on the same weekend at Charters Towers, quite a special achievement in itself.
The original mare from the family was called Ieta. She was an outstanding mare. Rob said she was a great competitor herself from limited starts. Her daughters also went on to breed top quality competitors, with those grand-daughters of Ieta winning a lot of drafts between them.
Rob says that Gunman feels like he possesses the best traits from both his sire and dam. As a rising 5yo, in 2021, Gunman is preparing for his first events. He gets plenty of work mustering and a lot of general riding. Rob hopes to start him in futurity drafts as well as challenges to start with. He said Gunman feels exceptional at this stage. He has excellent conformation; and is a good size at 15.1hh, and still maturing. Indeed Rob is clear that he cannot fault anything at all in the horse’s conformation.
Rob started Gunman as a 2yo, and he has shown a lot of intelligence and ability all along. Gunman is no push-over and Rob says that he knows he is a stallion. Rob is particular to handle him well to ensure he matures to be a confident yet respectful horse. Rob has let Gunman have the time necessary to mature, saying that like other horses in the family, once they mature you get a whole other gear to what most horses have. These horses have a little extra heart, and a whole lot of desire. “Once they know what their job is, they give you something special”, Rob explained.
Gunman is fast and strong. He is a very nice horse to ride and is very smooth – that for Rob and Wendy is no small thing.
Gunman was bred to 2 mares as a 2yo. Since then word-of-mouth about his exceptional breeding has ensured that he is already attracting outside mares.
Gunman’s progeny will be started in late 2021. Like him they have exceptional conformation. Rob and Wendy are understandably very excited to watch the progeny mature.