Cover Story - Vol. 49, No.3, Issue #8
Cover Story: Coltrane SS—In The Rhythm Of It All
by JENN TRICKEY
In jazz harmony, the “Coltrane changes” were introduced to modern jazz by the world-renowned saxophonist, John Coltrane; harmonic variations that he substituted in common jazz chord progressions. In other words, taking “common” to a level of anything but. Perhaps this is why Conway Arabians’ 6-year-old stallion, by IXL Noble Express and out of the legendary Brassmis, is so appropriately named. Woven into his unique characteristics, lies the perfect harmony for an extraordinary show horse. A perfect fit for long time breeders, Lori and Peter Conway.
A true reputation of quality has persevered at Conway Arabians because of their careful selection of bloodlines, strong vision for what they breed, and the people they surround themselves with. Without a solid foundation, you don’t have a leg to stand on, literally; so the Conways value the importance of substance, soundness, temperament and beauty. Yes, beauty. “I come from a background of liking really pretty horses,” states Lori Conway. “That is so important to me. It’s not just about the trot. It’s the whole package. Strong, solid and pretty on top. I want to walk down my aisle and see pretty horses who are unmistakably Arabians.”
“Coltrane brings a different dynamic to the table,” Lori continues. “We bought him to be a breeding stallion, and he has surpassed every one of our expectations. We had the opportunity to buy already proven winners, but we chose him. Attracted to ‘something different about him,’ in hind sight, makes me happy I trusted my gut.” Due to an injury, catching his leg on the breeding phantom, the young stallion’s performance career started a little late. An unfortunate incident, but one that actually showed everyone just how special this individual is.
“We sent him to Joel Kiesner, basically un-broke, as a 5-year-old, with the simple goal to show people he was the real thing. People will always question a breeding horse who is never seen ‘walking the walk’ or in this case, ‘trotting the trot,’ so we wanted to give him a chance to show people he could put his money where his mouth is. Not giving Joel much time with him, however, our goal was to simply get a video of him doing what we knew he could, even if it was only in lines.
“Then we saw it! And like anything, once you get a taste of something fantastic, you just want more. We wanted more! Little by little, this horse kept giving more! With everything we asked him, he kept rising to the occasion.”
Now let’s talk work ethic. “The Coltrane Theory,” as Team Kiesner coined it. With his injury in mind, there was question on how much more he could do. But the group agreed to cautiously continue his work with the full understanding Coltrane was either going to get stronger or not. Really it was up to the horse to work through the scar tissue, and he would ultimately be the one to decide. He answered that for himself with his 2017 U.S. National Top Ten in the English Pleasure Jr. Horse class.
Now, add a new property to his list of qualities. Substance, soundness, pretty and … heart.
“He’s got tremendous heart” says Joel Kiesner. “He is always willing; a real warrior.”
With now three young foal crops on the ground, the Conways never lose sight of tomorrow, nor how their hunch that this horse would make a big impact on their lives was proving to be spot on. They are thrilled to have foaled two El Ghazi daughters this year; one out of a full sister to SF Specs Shocwave and the other out of an Afires Heir x Ames Deja Vu cross. “They will be life-timers at the farm,” says Lori, “and they will definitely be bred to Coltrane.”
“This horse has perfect proportions.” Joel adds. “Certainly, gifted with his legs, low hocks, and really compact body, he’s a perfect reminder of how this conformation propelled the English pleasure horse into what it is today. Yet, all this will contribute to current pedigrees.”
The snowball effect continued with Joel Kiesner. The idea of the Park arena came to the surface … enter Scottsdale 2018, exit 2018 Scottsdale Park Champion; enter Buckeye 2018, exit 2018 Buckeye Park Champion.
The rhythm and crescendoing composition this horse continues to write, brings him to the in-gate at the U.S. Nationals Park Championship, where he will represent all the dynamics the Conways have valued for decades, and 12 years after Joel Kiesner did it with his sire.