Rannock: and the story of Chalani
Peter & Jeanette Gower from Chilani Stud at Echunga in the Adelaide hills briefly visited ‘Tinagroo’ Scone in 1972 following a trip to the All Breeds Horseman’s Congress at Gatton College. Mine host at ‘Tinagroo’ was Bob Mackay who bred the might Panzer. Bob’s philosophies were simple: “Stick to the Thoroughbred. Nothing in the world can match it for versatility. Breeding for sheer speed produces the conformation required for athletic ability. Athletic ability is the underlying requirement of the Australian Stockhorse.”
Mackay horses were proven at polo as this tested everything; speed, stamina, soundness, athletic ability and that vital ingredient temperament. Good polo bloodlines could be converted to almost any other sport, but few non polo bloodlines would successfully be able to change their rules to polo. Bob Mackay was the owner/breeder of the mighty PANZER, the sire of Rannock.
The Gowers operated their Chilani Stud at Echuca in the Adelaide Hills without a stallion until the opportunity arose to purchase RANNOCK in September 1975 from Alan McGregor’s Roskill property near Mt Pleasant SA. Backed by three generations of A grade polo ponies in his pedigree, he was inbred to PANZER with both his sire DUNDEE and dam MERSA being by the famous horse. The inbreeding was their insurance for pre-potency. Some of the conformation features exceptional in RANNOCK were his throat room, well defined wither, elbow room, powerful loins and hocks, square stance, tough legs and all the balance required of a good saddle horse.
RANNOCK was exactly 15.1 ½” but rode like a 16 hand horse, with great length of stride. In fact RANNOCK had exactly the same length of rein as the famous racehorse SECRETARIAT, acclaimed for his length of rein and measuring a hand higher.
RANNOCK’s best feature was his temperament. He could be ridden anywhere and in any company, usually being taken from his paddock of mares to the show-ring, or he could be ridden bareback among his mares. RANNOCK had outstanding progeny in SA but sadly died at age 16 years following injuries caused by a kick from a mare.
Chalani Australian Stock Horses
Rannock’s record as a sire was unequalled by any other A.S.H stallion in S.A. and in 1986, the only year ASH Sires Ratings were published, he was listed in the top 20 sires of the country and was the only SA stallion on the list. He has sired International and State Polo ponies, Champion Led, Hacking, Dressage and Working Horses at all levels including Adelaide and Melbourne Royals and a State Endurance record holder. Rannock is honoured by inclusion in the ASH Societies Wall of Renown Exhibition.
Rannock was a beautiful looking horse with an outstanding head, a long arched neck, roomy gullet, well defined wither, short back and cannons, and strong square hocks. Although 15.2h he felt like a 16h horse to ride, with a brilliant walk and long, easy, low gallop. He was never known to disunite at the canter and his progeny inherited this attribute.
RANNOCK was bred by Bob Mackay of Scone, breeder of the famous Panzer, to whom RANNOCK is inbred. Mr. Mackay says “Panzer began his polo career as a rising five year old in 1949 and played until 1956 when he was 11 years old and about reaching his prime. I say this because each chukka he played was better than the one before.
“That year we won the Northern Challenge Cup at Quirindi for the third successive year but my health forced me to give up polo. Panzer retired with me, as did two of his daughters, Mersa and Misra, both of whom had been playing beside him for the past two or three years. It was unfortunate for Panzer as he would have played on for another four or five years at his top. He never developed a heavy neck as stallions do and become heavy to handle, but remained a very orthodox polo pony. He never pulled or ran on and always played off the single bottom rein of the curb.
“Although Panzer was a brilliant horse cutting out on a camp I always used him for this work on the property I never allowed him to competition campdraft as, for me, he was a specialist as a polo pony.
“Mersa (RANNOCK’S dam) was the first of Panzer’s progeny to play polo and was a beautiful mare to play on, being completely orthodox and simple to play in a single rein curb off the bottom ring only. Literally a finger tip control!” Her dam, Ranmena, was the best of three sisters I played in the 1930’s.”
The Panzer influence is now widely sought and is being felt through his sons Myra Bronze and The Gun (sire of Bobby Palmer’s Nabinabah Breezette, and $15,000 purchase Nabinabah Gunner; also sire of Sinclair Hill’s Terlings Mountbatten, sire of $15,000 purchase Colt 45). Other Panzer sires are Cairo, Alamein, Benghazi, Rommel, Prancer and Dundee, sire of RANNOCK.
Dundee was purchased from Bob Mackay in 1962 and played A grade polo for a number of years. Progeny of this great horse formed the nucleus of all teams of polo ponies played by Angus and Hamish Munro. Some of the most noted of these were Swallow (twice champion at Quirindi) Mandy, Sarich (played two chukkas in every international match by Hector Grotto for Argentina). Rommel and Sonny (R.A.S. Champion and played in all International tests by Joe Barry for U.S.A.). Two full brothers to Sonny are sires on other Munro properties. Of Dundee’s dam, Roseita, Mr. Mackay says “I played her first chukka for several years: a very fast mare and top quality. Her dam was also a polo pony by Nassau (imp.).”
As a yearling, RANNOCK was sold to Alan McGregor, S.A. to be used for polo. Unfortunately as a two year old he received an injury which blinded him in one eye. Although he had been broken in, he was used only for breeding purposes until purchased by Peter and Jeanette Gower as a seven year old. Straight from the paddock he placed in all his led classes including Champion A.S.H. at the 1975 S.A. Light Horse Breeder’s Show (judge Maurice Wright) and Reserve Champion at the S.A. Joint Palomino & A.S.H. Show 1976 (judge Mrs. June James). In one season of ridden competition he won and placed at dressage, English pleasure, Western pleasure, trail and Western riding. Despite being blind in one eye he showed a natural aptitude over jumps and was able to be ridden bareback amongst his mares.
RANNOCK’S progeny excelled in all types of competition. His progeny include Holly (Hugh MacLachlan’s brilliant polo pony), Question (played by John Kelly) Adelaide Club’s Champion Novice polo pony 1978 and second placegetter at an open campdraft at her only start (field of 83), Swop (played by John Patterson) and Finalist S.A. Campdraft Championships, Narrator (played 1981 Easter International Polo Tournament under Aust. Team Captain and coach Jim McGinley), Action and Brittle. At the 1979 Australasian Gold Cup RANNOCK progeny played in three state A teams.
RANNOCK progeny continued to dominate the S.A. performance scene. In 1980 he sired no less than half the winners of the 22 classes at the S.A. Central Branch’s A.S.H. Show, including the Supreme Led Exhibit, three Champions, both Yearling Futurities and the Three Year old Maturity a record unlikely to be broken!
Both novice and experienced horsemen have won with RANNOCK stock performing in every mainland state, in every type of event. Listed below are just a few of the multitude of show winners by RANNOCK.
CHALANI RIMFIRE: At the 1979 S.A. A.S.H. Feature Show he won the Three Year Old Maturity (Led, Hacking, Working), took out the trail class 2 years running at the All Breeds Gelding Show, then won at the huge EXPO 80 Hack Show (English judge).
CHALANI GARNET: Winner of the 1980 Q.H.A.S.A. Reining Futurity, the 1980 Three Year Old A.S.H. Maturity and undefeated in Open A.S.H. Reining Patterns. Sold to Greg Edwards, Marulan N.S.W. for Championship polocrosse.
CHALANI SKELTER: Winner of the EXPO 80 Trail Class, High Point Q.H.A.S.A. Snaffle Bit horse for 1980, and runner up to Garnet on numerous occasions.
LITTLEWOOD MONTEGO (Monty): Well-known sire of outstanding polo ponies leased by Andrew Gray to Kerry Packer, Ellerston. Reportedly the best polo sire in Australia of his time.
GYPROCK – Sire of Show, Polo ponies and Endurance progeny.
MASTER HERBERT – Progeny have competed in Polo, Challenges, Campdrafting, Hacking, Dressage and All-round competition.
Rannock’s temperament was outstanding, particularly in regard to boldness and calmness (required by novices for confidence and demanded by serious competitors). His amazing athletic ability was evidenced by anyone who had the opportunity to witness him running with his mares as he was blind in one eye.
The majority of horses at Chalani contain Rannock in their pedigree. Rannock descendants have competed in a wide variety of competition at top levels and are all over Australia. He has 83 Australian Stock Horse registered progeny.