April, 2017

Catani thoroughbred horse breeding were on the Women on Farms’ calendar for April! From selecting a stallion, to foaling, the racecourse and race fashions – WOFWG members heard it all from Denise Butler and her daughter, Karlie.

The Butler family bought their Catani farm twelve years, having had other horse properties. Prior to their purchasing this land it grew potatoes. They put considerable planning into constructing horse paddocks, shelters and treed shelter belts, and installing horse-safe fencing.

With thirteen horses currently on the property, this is a small scale enterprise, one which gives pleasure and challenges to these horse lovers.

The first foal they bred, from a mare with impressive, winning genes has been followed by another twenty three. They have no stallion, taking their mares to carefully selected stallions. Denise explained that not all births are trouble free. Indeed one maternal death and the subsequent foster mother search was a sad and notable experience. There was a happy ending however, with that foal now a strong youngster.

Another foal needed an hernia operation. Clearly one has to anticipate vet bills, on top of the cost of sending young horses to trainers to start their preparation for the race track. Denise explained the work undertaken from the age of 18 months, to prepare youngsters for their barrier certificate, a vital step towards a racing career.

Race track success is the reward for the costs and upsets. One Butler horse has won the Penshurst Cup and the Woodend Cup. Further wins have been had at Moonee Valley, Yarra Valley and Caulfield.

Yet another winner is Karlie, who, while a competent rider and employee of an equine pharmaceutical company, is also an accomplished, self-taught milliner. She proudly showed off hats and fascinators which have won awards during the fashions-on-the-field component of the Victorian Spring racing carnivals. From this visit to Karbri Farm, the Women on Farms group got more than they imagined. The Butlers are a talented horse family with a fashion flair as well!