John Stiven and his Arden Lodge operation are the biggest Standardbred breeders south of the Waitaki and are currently breeding from sixteen mares including for the first time a newly arrived trotting mare.
John is based in Tapanui, a town that’s produced two prominent harness names in the last four decades; Stiven and Lischner. John Lischner, the town’s butcher and small time trainer, became New Zealand’s leading trainer in 1997 and 1999 while based in Canterbury. He was also a breeder.
John Stiven’s parents Doug and Noreen operated a milk run in Tapanui and started breeding from their first mare Stormy Star in 1969.
In 1974 they registered the name ‘Arden’ (a name that John believes came from the television series Doctor Findlay’s casebook) with the New Zealand Trotting Conference. Doug passed away in 2001 and John helped his mother to continue the Arden operation, doing the hands on work and also in an advisory capacity. Noreen passed away in 2012.
John started his working life as a carpenter and working at local sawmills.
He formed Deloraine Timber in 2005 which takes timber orders and manages the product from the sawmill to the client.
“Eleven years ago we started out own little business buying and selling timber. It’s not as big as it used to be because a lot of sawmills have closed but we’ve got some pretty good clients that we’ve had from early days,” said John.
John admits breeding started as a hobby but with fifteen mares now on the books it’s certainly become a business.
“It’s a full on busines’s what we’re doing now. I guess we’ve grown to where we are now, and it just proves we can cut the mustard.”
Of all the horses Arden Lodge has had on its book Stiven rates Winter Rose as the best mare he’s had on the property.
She recently received the 2015 Broodmare Excellence Award. Her progeny include Bettor’s Strike, Rocknroll Arden, Southwind Arden, Arden’s Choice, Bella Arden, Winter Strike, and Garden Rose.
The Stiven family has also been honoured with Southland Broodmare Awards through mares Arden Regal, Arden’s Dream and Winter Rose.
The best horses sold away from the Sales are Arden Meadow which won the WA Derby in 1986, and last year’s New Zealand Cup winner Arden Rooney.
The best sales results have been Arden’s Place—an Artsplace colt out of Winter Rose which sold for $110, 000, Arden’s Ruler—a Bettor’s Delight colt out of Achieve A Dream which fetched $100,000, and Bettor’s Strike, a Bettor’s Delight colt out of Winter Rose which was knocked down for $70,000.
As the next round of yearling sales draw near John’s excited about his eight colts and two fillies mix.
“It was pretty exciting getting the calls from Mac (Brent McIntyre from Macca Lodge) when all the colts were coming. It makes a huge difference commercially. When it’s a colt you can do what you want – take it to the sales or race it.”
When you run over John’s current mares, many are in foal or being served by Somebeachsomewhere. That’s because he’s a big fan.
“Through the trip Brent McIntyre, Mark O’Connor and I had to the states to see Panspacificflight we got to see Somebeachsomewhere. I was always a fan and we got one of his first foals in New Zealand – Someardensomewhere who we syndicated. There’s no doubt the buyers are warming to him as the years have gone by and he sold well at last year’s sales. He quinellaed the Fan Hanover in Canada recently with Pure Country beating Darlinonthebeach.”
Three of the colts Arden Lodge are taking to next February’s sales stand out at this stage.
An Art Major colt out of Rock N Roll Arden – her first foal, Somebeachsomewhere colt out of Winter Rose and a Somebeachsomewhere colt out of Arden’s Darlin.
Stiven says it’s easier to sell colts but the top end fillies also sell well.
“The thing is though, they’re the ones (fillies) you want to keep to go forward with. If we hadn’t kept Arden’s Darlin we wouldn’t have been where we are now. She’s been a huge help. We took her to the sales and didn’t sell her so we just got lucky there.”
Arden’s Darlin is the dam of four win Rock N Roll Heaven gelding Celestial Arden who looks as though he will improve with age.
“We’ve got a half-sister to Arden Rooney by Well Said which we’ve kept on purpose and she’s going into work shortly, and we’ve also kept a Somebeachsomewhere filly out of Garden Rose. We’ve also put two Somebeachsomewhere colts into the one syndicate. They’ve been broken in and look promising. One’s going to the All Stars Stable and the other is going to Barry Purdon.”
John sees this option as a way of spreading the Arden name and introducing new people into the industry.
“It takes the risk out of the sale. It’s another way of doing it. It’s got a whole lot more people that know a bit more about Arden Lodge now. They become interested in all of the Arden horses not just their own one. It’s been a new exciting part of Arden Lodge and we’ve really enjoyed it.”
Showing faith in the industry, John recently purchased mares off Tuapeka Lodge in Lawrence. The first was leased mare Ruby Morn.
“We were attracted to her because she was by Presidential Ball and they cross well with Panspacificflight so that got us into the Tuapeka Lodge breed.”
He later took up the option to buy two more; Real Wing and Raindowne.
“I was talking to Dan (Cumming) later on and they’ve decided to cut back. They had a list of eleven mares and we took a couple of those.”
He also purchased Tuapeka Art.
Earlier this month they also purchased a trotting broodmare Sufin Sunsation off Terry and Andrea Taylor of Pleasant Point.
This young unraced Sundon mare is closely related to Cabaletta (7 wins), Allegro Agitato (22 wins) and Skyvalley the winner of 24 races including the Group One ABC Three and Four Year Old Finals and the 2009 Bill Collins Sprint.
At the administration level John is also the current President of the Southland Breeders Association.
“It’s been going for a long time and there’s a handful of us that are second generation. It’s good to be a part of. We raise money to put into fillies races and support the breeders with stallion seminars.”
He’s also one of the driving forces behind the South’s breeding banner Southern Bred Southern Reared.
“It’s a wonderfully positive group to be a part of. Everyone has grown together.”
Over the years they’ve been able to access some nice mares to lift our broodmare band quality.
John says he enjoys the total process from researching the pedigrees and stallions, to rearing foals, to seeing them succeed at the races.
Broodmare Band and stallion/mare/foaled/served by:
Tosca Hanover (Walton Hanover) Panspacificflight colt – mare served by Bettor’s Delight).
Winter Rose (In The Pocket) Somebeachsomewhere colt –mare served by Somebeachsomewhere).
Achieve A Dream (In the Pocket) –mare served by Sweet Lou
Young Tegan (In The Pocket) Net Ten EOM filly – mare served by A Rocknroll Dance
L’oiseau de Nuit (Christian Cullen) Well Said colt – mare served by Bettor’s Delight
Arden’s Darlin (Bettor’s Delight) Somebeachsomewhere colt – mare served by Somebeachsomewhere
Ardenart (Artsplace) Somebeachsomewhere filly – mare served by Somebeachsomewhere
Southwind Arden (Bettor’s Delight) Rocknroll Hanover colt – mare served by Somebeachsomewhere
Ruby Morn (Presidential Ball) Panspacificflight colt –mare served by Art Major
Ardensplace (Artsplace) Somebeachsomewhere colt – mare served by Somebeachsomewhere
Garden Rose (Artsplace) – mare served by Somebeachsomewhere
Rocknroll Arden (Rocknroll Hanover) Art Major colt – mare served by Somebeachsomewhere
Rockahula Arden (Rocknroll Hanover) Panspacificflight colt –mare served by Somebeachsomewhere
Tuapeka Art (Art Major) – mare served by Shadyshark Hanover
Real Wings (Badlands Hanover) – mare served by Somebeachsomewhere
Sufin Sunsation (Sundon) served by TBC Read the full article at Southern Harness Racing