In 2017, Thomas and Teegan Mills decided to look for a young colt. They were after talented campdraft prospect, but also a horse with just the right breeding to put over their own mares. They found an ideal candidate with trainer Rob Leach. In his line-up for the Landmark Classic Sale was a stunning young colt called Western Duck.
Prior to that 2018 sale, Rob had given the colt just 10 weeks work in total, including breaking. For anyone who saw him presented through the sale, this is quite shocking because of how broke and calm the colt was. The video footage of the sale is well worth a look to see just how amazing Western Duck has been right from the word go.
Thomas went to that sale with Western Duck firmly in his sights. He had been to see him at Rob’s and watched him prework before the sale. Apart from how broke he was, the colt was big, strong and well put together. He travelled well and his breeding was exemplary. Thomas was very keen to get some Conman blood to put over his own mares. He also knew the dam Duck N Weave, having seen her draft with Todd Hammond many times. “I always thought she was a good, honest mare; and to me, they are the ones that breed good progeny”.
Thomas would have to wait until late in the sale for Western Duck to go through. “I waited until Sunday to have a go at buying him. There was a lot of interest in him and I thought he could make up to $50,000”. In the end, after some heated bidding, Thomas was the highest bidder, paying $42,000.
The colt had earned a spell and went back home for a good rest and to be joined to some of the Mills’ family mares. Following that, he went back to Tamworth to Rob Leach. He was all set to have a big season of competition in 2020 but Covid19 got in the way, and with no campdrafts to attend plans had to be changed. Following the Koobah draft, where he scored 90 points in the first round of the Maiden, things had to get creative to get him out and about. Rob was taking some horses to the Australian Reining Cow Horse Association show at Scone and although it’s not what Western Duck is bred for, Rob and Thomas decided he had enough ability to hold his own and took him along. He ended up placing 4th overall in the Derby.
At this point Thomas hadn’t stepped on Western Duck for two-and-a-half years. He was entered in the Dalby Stock Horse Sale Draft and Thomas was thrilled to feel the same horse underneath him that he had a couple of years before – although stronger and more powerful. The pair made the Novice final and ran off for the cut out.
Although he is still a young horse himself, Western Duck already has progeny on the ground. In late 2020 his first progeny were headed off to be broken in as rising 2-year-old fillies.
Like their sire, the progeny are typey and strong. With the trainable nature inherited from their sire, they are bound to be exceptional. Indeed, Thomas says that Western Duck has the greatest mindset of any horse he has encountered.
“Anything you ask him, he just does it. He never says no. He is a pleasure to be around, he wants to be around you.
He is thinking all the time and can rate a cow really well. He is very quick and powerful and he can really flatten out and travel nice on a cow. Being so well broke is a huge advantage because he can also shut down and soften back up quickly”.
The future is undoubtedly bright for Western Duck. He grabs attention wherever he goes. “If people don’t already know him, they sure come and ask about him, Thomas admits”.
Western Duck really is a unique and special individual.