If you ask most draft horse breeders, they’ll likely have had a few favourites over the years. It might be a horse that showed well for them, a horse that they bred that went on to become a great lead horse in a six-horse hitch or maybe a favourite broodmare. For those breeders that have managed to have success multiple times, this kind of question can be a real head-scratcher. However, if you were to ask Brenda Bradshaw if she’s had a favourite over the years, her answer would likely come pretty quickly and I would venture a guess that her answer would simply be “Queenie”.
Over the past 20 years, David and Brenda Bradshaw and their family have successfully bred quality Belgian show horses at their farm in Wilsonville, Ontario. They purchased their farm in 1993 from John and Hazel Race, who had been breeding their “Jade West Belgians” for a number of years. In fact, the first time the Bradshaws went to view the farm, John had one of his mares cross-tied and was brushing her. It was enough to induce the replacement of the Bradshaws' Quarter Horses and team of Percherons with Belgians–“Camelot” Belgians. For those unfamiliar with the Bradshaws, they embody six generations in the general Norfolk County area. Their horse “hobby” is supported by their petroleum business, Bradshaw Fuels, started by David’s family in 1956. After buying the farm and making the decision to convert to Belgians, John Race took Brenda to Beattie Brothers’ Farms in Stayner, Ontario, where she bought her first mare. That mare, Jade West’s Cindy, a daughter of Imperial Lad of Greentop, had been born and raised on Brenda’s new farm! Before letting the mare go, Ross Beattie offered Brenda a package deal: a mare in foal, with a foal at side and a yearling filly for less money than he wanted for Cindy. Needless to say, Brenda turned down Ross’ offer and learned that you certainly get what you pay for and feeding a great horse will cost just as much as feeding an average one. That starter mare, if you will, of Brenda’s is actually the granddam of her great show mare, Camelot Chip’s Bella and the North American Belgian Championships (NABC) VII Jr. Champion Filly, Camelot Elusive–pretty nice to start with a mare like that! But I'm getting ahead of myself ...
In this case, the Queen of Camelot is not Jackie Kennedy, but a mare named Marcon’s Queenie. Marcon’s Queenie was bred by Dan E. Kauffman of Hazleton, Iowa, and she was born on May 21, 1992. She was sired by Oakland’s Marcon, a Conquerais son bred by Eldred E. Pierce in Oakland, Iowa, that left a few good colts through the years. She was out of a mare named JK Gail who was sired by Cedar Lawn Terry, a son of John D’Boy and traced straight back to the heart of Meadow Brook breeding. Queenie’s first few years were relatively quiet. She was sold as a foal to Cletus H. Schwartz of Akron, Indiana, and he, in turn, sold her as a yearling to Frank and Debbie Taylor, then of Amherst, Wisconsin. Brenda and her husband, David, first saw Queenie at the Michigan Great Lakes International in 1995 when the show was still in Detroit. Brenda recalls, “She was a 3-year-old. I watched her show and noticed that she had a bit of an attitude, but I really liked that about her. She placed third in her class and I immediately said to David that I thought we needed to own that mare! Little did I know, one of the owners was sitting directly behind me in the very large and very empty coliseum. We made arrangements to visit the farm in Otter Lake, Michigan, to take another look. I already knew she was coming home with me ...” The mare cost the Bradshaws $7,000, but as Brenda would tell you, it turned out to be the best investment she ever made!
During her early years in Wilsonville, Queenie was part of the show string for Brenda. She’d won many first place ribbons at local shows and then one day while shoeing their horses, Don Lowes mentioned to Brenda that he thought Queenie and a few others were good enough to go to the “bigger” shows too. Brenda thought he was crazy and that her family just wasn’t ready for that. However, they soon took the jump into deeper water and were rewarded with Queenie winning the 1997 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (RAWF). It was an amazing feeling for the Bradshaws. They also drove her, but only showed locally at shows like Simcoe, Caledonia and some other smaller fairs. She was a solid hitch mare and halter mare, and was also the favourite for the kids to use for Jr. Showmanship. She even helped them get a few first place ribbons!
Although Brenda bought Queenie because she thought she was “a good one”, she was really going to make her mark as a broodmare. Her first foal was a stud colt that was born in April 1997 and was called Camelot Regal Marcus. This first foal was sired by Smithside Jim’s Clancy who had come to be standing just down the road from Brenda’s at Laurence Stratford’s farm. Marcus was shown as a colt and did well. He was sold at one of the U.S. sales and ended up at the farm of Andrew M. Yoder.
Her second foal brought Brenda her first Queenie daughter, named Camelot Vic’s Angel. A late-born filly, she was sired by Vicky’s Victor, a son of Gallo’s Duke that Brenda had purchased from Jacob A. Hershberger, and had shown with some success. This filly was shown as a young mare by the Bradshaws and won many first place ribbons and championships. Throughout the years, Keith Garner of Embro, Ontario, had asked Brenda several times to sell her, but she resisted. Angel ended up being bred to Remlap Chip Du Marais, the Laurence Stratford-owned stallion with which Brenda had so much success. This mating brought Camelot Chip’s Harry into the world. After several more attempts, Brenda finally conceded and sold Harry along with his dam to Keith in the fall of 2003. When in Keith’s ownership, Harry was Grand Champion Stallion at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and RAWF in 2009 and was subsequently named the All-Canadian Aged Stallion. Keith had continued to show Angel on halter and in his mare hitch while she also continued to shine as a broodmare. When re-bred to Remlap Chip Du Marais, she produced a filly named Highland View Hannah, a big filly who showed very well for Keith. Keith later sold Angel as one of the top-selling mares at the 2007 Ontario Belgian Horse Association Sale in Markham, to Joe Hannan of Orillia, Ontario. Unfortunately, Joe lost the mare a couple of years later.
After a year off, Queenie foaled her first Remlap Chip Du Marais filly in February 2000. This filly was named Camelot Marque Diamond Chip and Brenda felt right away that she would be “a keeper”. Milly, as she was known around the barn, was shown as a young horse but slipped on the cement at the CNE, marking up her leg which ended her halter career. As the years went on, Milly soon became known as the “bush horse”. After being injured, she was turned out into the bush at the Bradshaw’s farm where she grew into an impressive 18 hh mare. When Don and Kerry Lowes were working with the Bradshaws and putting together their successful mare hitch, Don told Brenda that they needed to find a good wheel mare. Brenda’s answer was to go out and get the “bush mare”. Don looked at her sideways and certainly had his doubts, but agreed to get the mare in and give her a try. Once brought in and harnessed, Milly proved to be a great asset taking her place in the wheel of the hitch and also being used in the cart. Many people didn’t believe she’d make a cart mare, but she managed to take on the geldings and prove she could hold her own. She even placed second in the mens cart class at the MGLI one year. Over the years, she proved to be steady and reliable just like her mother. She’s now used for breaking the youngsters.
After another year off and being re-bred to Chip, Queenie had another filly in February 2002 and this one was her best to date. Camelot Ice Chip, a.k.a. Shelby, cameinto the world and got her show career started off as a foal. As a 2-year-old, Shelby won her class at NABC V and was also named Jr. Champion Filly. She also teamed up with another home-bred mare, Camelot Graceful Chip, and won the class for Team of Mares Bred and Owned By the Exhibitor. She followed that up by being Jr. and Grand Champion mare at the CNE and finished the year by placing second and Reserve Jr. Champion at the Royal. As a 3-year-old she continued her winning ways and was named the All-American 3-Year-Old Mare. An interesting fact with this mare is that she has appeared at three straight NABCs: 2004, 2008 and 2012. At the most recent one, Shelby won the Progeny of Dam class with her sister, Camelot Crimson Summit–truly a great honour for their dam! Over the years, Shelby was driven in the lead of the hitch and also took her turn on the wheel with Milly. In fact, Milly and Shelby won the team of registered mares class several times.
Following Shelby, Queenie was then bred to a home-bred stallion and son of Chip named Camelot Olsson Du Marais. That mating brought a stud colt named Camelot Queen’s Ransom in April 2003. This colt ended up being sold and Brenda has since lost track of him.
The following year brought another filly when re-bred to Chip. In May 2004, Camelot Chip’s Carpe Diem, a.k.a. Lexy, was born. Brenda describes her as, “beingmade just a little different from the other girls Queen had.” Lexy was a little draftier and was probably the shortest of all of Queenie’s offspring. However, she had a huge foot and could really move. Not shown extensively as a foal, this filly proved the old adage that good things do come to those who wait. Once again, Queenie had helped Brenda hit the jackpot. Lexy, who’s registered name means “seize the day”, certainly did just that at the NABC VI in Indianapolis. It was there that she was named Senior and Grand Champion Mare. The Bradshaws and their crew were ecstatic! Lexy went on to win more first place ribbons and championships in her career, but ended up being a mare that didn’t care to drive. This was alright with Brenda because she showed on halter so well.
Camelot Chip’s Inspiration was born in June 2005 and was, of course, sired by Remlap Chip Du Marais. As a young mare, she had to have some surgery on a hock which did not go well. As a consequence, there was always fluid around the joint, which meant she couldn’t be shown. This mare just grew and grew and ended up being 18.2 to 18.3 hh. If not for her injury, Brenda would have loved to have seen her in the show ring and in the hitch. Inspiration was sold to Lowell Skinner of Monkton, Ontario, in early 2012 as a broodmare. I’m sure we’ll hear more of her offspring in the years to come.
In June of 2006, Queenie had her first stud colt by Chip named Camelot Chip’s Image. He was a big colt with great bottoms, and as his name would suggest, he reminded Brenda somewhat of his sire. He was consigned and sold at Carson’s Spring Draft Horse Sale as a coming 3-year-old in 2009. He was sold to Melvin A. Byler of New York, where he was to become a herd sire.
Following the death of Remlap Chip Du Marais and a couple more years off, Queenie was bred to Camelot Chip’s Summit–a home-bred son of Chip and another horse that provided several show ring wins for the Bradshaws. Summit had sired some good foals in Ontario and the United States including Lor-Rob Bradshaw and Ry-Mar Full Nelson, both of whom had won multiple championships. In April 2008, she foaled a filly named Camelot Taboo. This filly hit the show ring as a big, rangy yearling placing second at the CNE and the Royal. In June of 2010, she was sold to Keith Garner who, having had some success with the Queenie line before, was looking for an opportunity to add a young daughter of hers to his show string that showed some potential to hitch. Keith showed Taboo with great success in her second year winning the Ontario Belgian Horse Association 2-Year-Old Filly Futurity and qualifying her for the All-Canadian Contest. She had placed first and was Jr. and Reserve Grand Champion at Simcoe, was second and Reserve Jr. Champion at the Royal and placed second at the CNE. In 2011, Taboo once again qualified for All-Canadian by being named the Sr. and Grand Champion mare at Paris and placing second at the Royal, CNE and Rockton. Not only did she do well on halter, but she took her place in Keith’s mare six.
In May 2009, Queenie had her last foal and once again, it was a filly by Camelot Chip’s Summit. This filly was named Camelot Crimson Summit. This filly probably reminds Brenda the most of Queenie, with the same kind eye as her mother. “Red,” as she’s sometimes known, was not shown extensively in her early years; she started hitting the show ring a little harder in 2-year-old form. In 2012, she came out in the hands of Don and Kerry Lowes, who had been instrumental in so much of the success over the years for Bradshaws' Belgians. She had an outstanding year beginning with placing 1st at NABC VII in Brandon, followed two weeks later being named Sr. and Grand Champion mare at the CNE. She finished the year being named Sr. and Reserve Grand Champion Mare at the Royal. Red has now been started in harness and shows a great desire to hitch.
Queenie was bred to a few different stallions through her years as a broodmare, but her niche was certainly with Remlap Chip Du Marais. Once that was figured out, the Bradshaws made sure they continued along that road. The mare who was purchased because she had a “bit of attitude” turned out to be a great broodmare and produced a lot of great horses with the “Camelot” prefix. Brenda is also quick to credit Don, Kerry, Donna and Sara Lowes for helping make their show careers so successful. “They definitely helped us take Queen’s offspring farther than we ever could have ourselves,” says Brenda.
Unfortunately, Queen contracted EPM (Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis) in late 2010. David and Brenda doctored her through it as best they could with mega doses of antibiotics. She was able to recover somewhat but had severe damage to her neurological system and muscles. Not wanting her to suffer any further, she was put to rest in the summer of 2011 at the age of 18.
Her legacy at Camelot Belgians certainly lives on through her offspring. There is absolutely no question that Brenda would tell you that they were indeed very fortunate to have this great mare in their lives ... she was the Queen of Camelot!