Continuing our Thursday lookback at previous cover stars, we feature another favourite of The Arabian Magazine, the dashing chestnut Crabbet stallion Marcus Aurelius. Many of you will recognise him nowadays as one of the mounts for The Girl with Jumping Arabs. This piece is as written for our October 2009 cover star.
Marcus Aurelius came to me from his breeder Diana Whittome of the very successful Coed-y-Foel Arabian Stud when he was just 18 months. I hadn’t been looking for another horse, but he looked at me and that was that. It is a look that has come down through the generations: Beatrice Paine, who brought Ben Rabba to the UK for the 1979 and 1980 breeding seasons, told me that she saw the same look from Aurab, Ben Rabba and also her beloved Aurelian.
Marcus Aurelius enjoying in-hand with Rowena at the 2009 Crabbet Horse Show. Credit sportysnaps.com
When I rode Marcus in the Premium Stallion Parade in front of the main stands at this year’s British National Championships, I felt as though he was individually making eye contact with every single person there and those watching have told me that they felt the same. I am told that it was pouring with rain during the parade, but I didn’t feel a drop – such was the joy of being on this horse while he was taking ownership of ‘his crowd’, albeit that he was graciously sharing them with the other horses present, including the great showman Rusleem!
Taking part in the cross-country – with one eye on the camera! Credit GR8 Pictures
Marcus’s story was told in the June edition of The Arabian Magazine. He has been very successful when shown under saddle and has also been placed third and Reserve Male Champion on his only in-hand appearances, when he showed under Crabbet Organisation rules.
But Marcus was never intended to be a show horse. After an early set back following an accident that we were both lucky to survive, Marcus was prepared steadily for the stringent National Stallion Association Performance tests in 2008, showing a particular talent and enthusiasm for the jumping disciplines. He performed well, partnered by the CCI 3* event rider Louise Scammell, and was only very narrowly prevented from achieving his target grade 1 by the mandatory deduction of 5% of the final marks for being over 5 years of age.
Marcus has passed on his athletic abilities to his progeny.
Marcus’ education has continued in 2009 and he made his one-day event debut in September, performing creditably and with huge enthusiasm to take ninth place in his section. Next year should be fun!
Marcus’ first offspring (two part-bred geldings) are now three, have been lightly backed and both are very kind and trainable. Marcus’ yearling colt AB Silver Augury (ex Caveland Calypso) consolidated last year’s success, where he stood Supreme Light Horse Champion at the British National Foal of the Year Show, by gaining his British Equestrian Federation Futurity gradings this summer in eventing and endurance. He was also the high point endurance yearling at his venue.
Rowena and Marcus. Credit sportysnaps.com
Amid all the excitement remains that underlying fact that Marcus is a horse who is a pleasure to have around. I allowed my then seven-year-old daughter to graze him in-hand at his first ever competition and when I looked around to check on them, I found that she was lying on the lorry ramp, loosely holding his rope while Marcus grazed quietly beside her. He may have all the power needed to be a performance horse, but he is as gentle as a lamb with us at home, just the way it should be.