The story of Townes Performance Horses and being fortunate enough to have bred “Townes Metallica” has evolved over many years of hard work, sacrifices, huge risks and just as many lows as there have been highs.
It all started back when Chris was 21yo working as a stationhand on Strathmore Station in the Gulf of Qld when he purchased a mare named Leopold Miss Independence from John McKay (Dusty Devil Stud). On advice from John Breckleman a couple of years later he bred Leopolds Miss Independence to Admiral Oak over 2 breeding seasons and had 2 resulting foals, the first foal a colt he named Docs Crafty Oak and the second foal a filly whom he named Townes Miss Independence.
Sally came onto the scene around the time Miss Independence was 2yo when Chris was Manager of Augustus Downs and Sally was Stud Overseer of Fort Constantine. Over the following years Townes Miss Independence became an exceptional multiple Open Challenge, Open campdraft and TCO mare, anyone through the north at the time would remember her well. Chris had multiple offers over her time for people to purchase her, but he never budged on selling her.
Around the time Miss Independence was 9yo they decided as she was such a great mare they should breed her and as they were keen to get into breeding good quality horses they bit the bullet and sent Miss Independence south to Tamworth to do an ET program with Hazelwood Conman. This was very daunting and a huge investment for them at that stage and a big risk but they said looking back now it was certainly a risk worth taking!
They were extremely lucky to get a pregnancy first go and had some wonderful friends who agreed to look after the recip mare. They were absolutely over the moon, and little did they know at the time the impact that this resulting foal would make on them and how it would shape many of their plans into the future.
With the recip mare staying down south they brought Miss Independence home to Augustus Downs Station when tragedy struck, and they found her deceased in the paddock one morning. This obviously rocked their world as Miss Independence was to be the start of their breeding program. Their wonderful friends down south wrapped that recip mare in cotton wool for the duration of the pregnancy and towards the end of that year they foaled down a beautiful filly by Hazelwood Conman that Chris and Sal named Townes Serenity. This filly was insured immediately and was also totally wrapped in cotton wool as she was the only foal left with the original breeding from back when Chris purchased that first mare.
They had a plan for Serenity from the day she was born which was to aim her for the prestigious Cloncurry Stockmans Challenge, then commence ET programs with her to ensure they kept their breed going. She surpassed all expectations and in her 3yo year she won 7 out of 8 Challenge Starts throughout the NT, won the NT Challenge ASH horse of the year, won the NT Triple Crown 2 years in a row and then Chris and Serenity finished up with third in the Cloncurry Stockmans Challenge. She then went on to become an Open mare as a 5yo and has since won multiple Open drafts, Stockmans Challenges, Junior, Juvenile and TCO’s. She is that absolute once in a lifetime horse that they were so fortunate to have taken that risk and send her dam Miss Independence down south and do that ET program with Conman.
After the Cloncurry Challenge they stuck to their plan and sent her south to Carymle Vets and had Al Simpson commence the planned embryo programs with her. To say their embryo programs were a success is an understatement as over the next 4 years they continued to send her south every year and under the experienced and ever watchful eye of Al Simpson Serenity had 11 ET cycles with 10 live foals, 7 of which were fillies and 3 colts.
In Serenity’s first year with ET the resulting progeny (6yo a/o 2023) were:
- Townes Charisma, a filly by RS Chisum (ASH registered, eligible for AQH) – Challenge winner, TCO winner and Juvenile draft winner
- Townes Serene, a filly by Hard Hat Henry (ASH registered, eligible AQH) – Open mare, winner of multiple drafts, TCO’s, Junior, Juveniles and Stockman’s Challenges.
- Townes Serio, a colt (since gelded) by Daleys Playrio (ASH registered) – won a Maiden and a Novice, multiple Juveniles, Juniors, TCO’s
2nd Year with ET with Al Simpson (now 5yo a/of 2023)
- Townes Liberty, a filly by Lightjack Liberty Jack (ASH registered) – Multiple Challenge and ASH winner – sold in March 2023 for $47,500 at WA Elders Elite Sale and 2nd top of the sale. Since selling she has placed in Maidens and Novice drafts. First progeny to sell out of Serenity.
- Townes Miss Personality, a filly by RS Chisum (ASH registered, eligible AQH). She was owned by Wayne and Rachael Bean and the Townes bought from the Beans as a 3yo. First ever event she top scored in her dry work of the Challenge – sold in March this year for $52,000 at the WA Elite Elders Sale, she was the sale topper and 2nd progeny to sell out of Serenity. Personality has also gone on to place in Maiden and Novice drafts with her new owner.
- Townes Serenade, a filly by RS Chisum (ASH registered, eligible AQH) – Won Maiden, multiple Challenges, TCO’s, Juveniles.
3rd year ET with Al Simpson (4yo a/of 2023)
- Enter into the world TOWNES METALLICA, dual registered colt by Metallica Cat – commenced competition in January 2023, multiple Juvenile draft winner, TCO winner, multiple Stockmans Challenge winner including Champion 4yo at WA State ASH Show, finaled in multiple drafts and 2nd in Novice.
- A filly by RS Chisum (ASH registered, eligible AQH) owned by Wayne and Racheal Bean, commenced competition this year with Challenge wins and draft placings.
4th Year with Al Simpson (3yo a/of 2023)
- A filly by Soda Justice (ASH registered), hasn’t commenced competition.
- A colt (now gelded) gelding by Wallabah Excel (ASH registered), hasn’t commenced competition.
After the fourth year of ET programs the Towne children commenced boarding school so all ET programs were put on hold while they were in the thick of boarding school fees so the next few years they concentrated on breaking and training Serenity’s progeny.
Townes Performance Horses started to become a reality when it was evident that Serenity was definitely breeding on her exceptional temperament and ability with her progeny all either winning or placing in their first years of competition.
21st November 2018 they still remember getting a photo from Dani Robson and Jim and Bettina Lyons of this cracker little colt that had just been born with a huge love heart shape on his face! Welcome to the world little Townes Metallica. Out of all Serenity’s ET progeny they were really hoping this little ET foal was going to be a colt so they were thrilled when they got the news. Chris and Sal are eternally grateful to Jim & Bettina Lyons and Dani Robson for looking after all their recip mares and foals like their own. Without them it would not have been possible for Sal and Chris to pursue all their ET programs.
With so many stallions being bred they were only ever going to keep Metallica as a colt if he exceeded all expectations, but as each year went by they were becoming quietly confident he was growing into an exceptional colt. Metallica stayed in Tamworth and was broken in by Dave Manchon who was very impressed with Metallica’s calm and trainable temperament and exceptional conformation commenting, “This is the type of colt that everybody would like to be able to breed.”
The Townes are very grateful to Dave for starting Metallica, and to Jane and the Rooftop Express team for looking after him until he headed north to Gogo Station just as he was turning 2yo.
Chris and Sal planned right from the start to take him nice and steady as they had with his older siblings and their hope was to aim him for Cloncurry Challenge as a 4yo and then have him stand at stud the following season. Unfortunately, due to covid Metallica was unable to get out and about at all as a 3yo so he only commenced his competition career in January 2023 as a 4yo, and boy did he hit the ground running with either a win or a place in almost every event he has competed in. To date in only 6 months of competition:
- Mt Barker campdraft – 1st Juvenile with an 89, TCO winner (first ever campdraft)
- Dardenup ASH Challenge – Youth Horse Champion
- Capel Stockmans Challenge – 1st 5 yrs and Under Challenge
- WA State Stockhorse Championships – 1st 4 yr old Futurity
- Williams Campdraft – 2nd Novice
- Eneabba Campdraft – 1st Juvenile
- Katherine Draft and Challenge – 1st 5 yrs and Over Challenge
- Katherine Draft and Challenge – 1st 4 yrs and Under Working ASH pattern
In July the Townes made the big trek to Cloncurry Challenge from Gogo Station. Getting back to Cloncurry to compete on Serenity and all of her progeny in the Challenge was a huge part of their plan. Serenity and Chris finished 3rd in the Open Challenge (blitzing the field with a 93 in the wet work), Chris and Serene finished 2nd on an 89 in the Dry work of the Derby and Bell and Serenade made it through to the Rookie final with Metallica missing the Classic final by only 2 points.
The feeling of not only getting back to Cloncurry but getting back there and competing successfully amongst the best in the business on all their own bred and trained horses was amazing and to top it off they were awarded the Most Successful Breeder award by Huon and Colleen Smith of Boonara Performance Horses.
After Cloncurry Metallica had a well-deserved rest and has recently commenced stud duties where he is standing at Murray Vets in Coolup, WA for his first season standing to outside mares.
Chris and Sal are extremely humbled with the huge amount of interest they have had in Metallica and are excited to say his semen is of exceptional quality. Murray Vets have sent his first shipment of semen to Tamworth, NSW where it arrived within 24 hours. They are currently in the process of freezing semen and once ready they will distribute the straws to a chosen vet in NSW and QLD.
Chris and Sal believe that with Metallica’s outstanding temperament, ability and conformation he will be an outstanding choice to breed the ultimate all-round ASH/AQH cross to suit the whole family for a large range of disciplines from campdrafting, Stockmans Challenges, ASH Showring and Working Classes, Reining, Polocrosse and everything in between.
Watch this space!