Darren Palmer knew Metallic Jaguar was something special from the start. The young colt was sent to him to be broken in by breeders Jenny Kingston and Wal Shepherd. He was one of the first of the Australian foal crop by world leading sire Metallic Cat. Darren, at the time, wasn’t sure what to expect of the first Metallic Cat colt he would start, but quickly realised that this horse was special.
“He had an extra something I had never felt in a horse before. He was the best horse I had ever ridden. I knew I was on something special”.
Darren said that right from the get go Jaguar was easy to train. He had a good, natural low head carriage; a good stop; and a nice turn. He was quick footed, sharp and quick into the stop.
“He was just easy the whole way through. He is naturally a really intelligent cow horse. He is never a handful and he has never fought me”.
Sadly, Wal Shepherd passed away and Darren put Wal’s sale horses through the Landmark Classic Sale. After the sale, Darren acquired Jaguar and gave him a spell for a few months before starting his cutting training.
Throughout his training, Darren never wavered in his belief that Jaguar was going to be a great show horse. By the time he started taking Jaguar to preworks, leading up to the Futurity, he was feeling confident.
“I knew I was on a Futurity contender. I knew he was a horse with the ability to final”.
At this stage, Darren was still developing his showmanship skills, and is the first to admit that his nerves got the better of him in the first Go round of the Open Futurity. “I was lacking experience and my nerves kicked in – I kicked too hard when I shouldn’t have and sent him passed the cow”.
Darren was disappointed in himself at the time but came back in the second round, wiser and instead of feeling defeated he was determined to show his horse off. The pair put together a nice run which bumped their aggregate up nicely and qualified Jaguar for the Limited Open Futurity final. Darren and Jaguar finished as Reserve Champions and Darren said by that final, Jaguar was really hitting his stride.
“He got better every round and I was happy with the result – I would have been devastated not to final him in anything, because I knew he was so good”.
By this time Darren and his wife Danni, already had progeny on the ground, having joined Jaguar to 3 of their own mares as a 2-year-old. Even as a 3-year-old the colt was appealing to mare owners and was already standing to outside mares.
Jaguar demonstrates his outstanding temperament at breeding time and is no problem for Danni to handle and conduct the breeding work. Darren and Danni praise Jaguars cool mind and he is proving to be an exceptional sire over hotter mares, still throwing his cool-minded nature even with mares that normally breed hot progeny. His progeny, like him, are resilient and able to handle training, and pressure. This is a huge asset in a sire.
Jaguar has another exceptional feature that is highly sought after – he is a Metallic Cat with size! Standing at 15.1 hands, with a beautiful length of rein and good stretch. He travels well because of his type. He is truly an exceptional individual.
It didn’t take Darren long to realise he had a very versatile horse on his hands. While it is now a common occurrence to see good cutting stallions cross over to campdrafting, and to go on to sire competitive progeny across disciplines; this horse had the goods to really stand out as an exceptional multi-discipline competitor and sire. Once again, it became quickly apparent that Metallic Jaguar was a very special individual.
As soon as Jaguar finished his last run as an aged-event horse in the NCHA Classic Challenge, Darren handed the reins to Mark Buttsworth for an assessment of his potential.
“We put a stock saddle on him and Buttsy rode him in the AELEC campdraft arena”.
Jaguar went home with Buttsy, but it became apparent that the talented stallion was sore somewhere and upon veterinary assessment, an injury to his meniscus required surgery. This ligament injury was the result of Jaguar’s big stopping and turning moves. Following surgery and a year off he returned briefly to cutting, placing 4th in his first start back at the Open at Condamine before winning the Open at Goondiwindi a few weeks later. That was to be his final cutting run and his future in the campdraft arena was to follow.
In January 2021, Darren and Danni donated a service fee to Metallic Jaguar to the Ride for Baz’s Evie Charity Campdraft at Pittsworth. It was the perfect opportunity to give Jaguar his first run in a draft. Knowing that he was soon heading to Buttsy, Darren just gave him a couple of steady runs.
Jaguar then went to Buttsy and at their first campdraft at Burrandowan in February 2021, they made the final of both the Maiden and Novice drafts.
Buttsy is taking his time to get to know Jaguar, and says that at this early stage he is showing his great temperament and a good ability to rate cattle at speed.
It is now a case of “watch-this-space”. The future of Metallic Jaguar in his next chapter as a competitor is very exciting. His first cutting progeny made their debut in 2020 and Darren is quietly confident in the mare he has trained for the 2021 NCHA Futurity, out of Miss Badgerette.
The first of Jaguars campdraft progeny will also start competing in 2021.
Darren and Danni recently expanded their breeding herd, acquiring a line of well-bred mares to be bred to Jaguar. They aim to produce their own competition horses as well as to start and market a line of horses to the campdraft market.