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Feedmark Focus - Judith Davis and Hawtins Stud

Feedmark Focus - Judith Davis and Hawtins Stud

This week we visited Feedmark customer Judith Davis of Hawtins Stud to learn about her passion for breeding, and which Feedmark products she couldn’t live without.


Set in over 100 acres of idyllic Gloucestershire countryside, Hawtins Stud is synonymous with talented dressage horses, with names such as Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin successfully competing Hawtins horses on the international stage.


With a focus on Hanoverian horses, Judith Davis established Hawtins Stud with the aim of producing the highest quality modern horses for the international dressage market. Judith is now Vice President of the British Hanoverian Horse Society which focusses on breeding British-bred Hanoverians that are recognised by the main German studbook.


The Hawtins horses turned out in the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside


“I’ve always loved horses but didn’t have horses as a child as we couldn’t afford one,” said Judith. “I had riding lessons and worked in a riding school and then went off and did other stuff. I then got my own horse later in life and rode and competed as an adult.”


In 2000 Judith decided to make a total change of her career path leading to the establishement of Hawtins Stud. The stud began with 6 State Premium Hanoverian mares, and all of the horses bred and produced at the stud descend from these mares. “I wanted to focus on Hanoverians because of the high standards they have and how successful they have been, and I chose dressage because it was what I was interested in personally as a rider. However, I didn’t start this because I wanted to breed horses for me to ride. For me it is about breeding and producing quality horses for the British market and overseas.”


A number of Hawtins horses have already made their mark on the international stage including Hawtins Delicato (by Diamond Hit out of Ravenna Elite) who made his first claim to fame under Charlotte Dujardin winning the National PSG title in 2016 before competing on two British teams at the World Equestrian Games in 2018 and the European Dressage Championships in 2019 with Carl Hester.


Hawtins San Floriana, by Florestan out of elite mare Hawtins Floriana, was competed successfully by Charlotte Dujardin with whom she climbed the dressage ladder and won the 2023 British Intermediaire II Championship.


“It means a lot to me to give horses the best start in life so they have a happy, long-term career,” added Judith. “I focus on the welfare of the mare and making sure the foals are well handled before producing the young horses to being ridden under saddle. They are constantly being educated while being allowed to be horses.”


Judith also likes her progeny to experience competing in young horse classes, but only if they are ready.


“Young horse classes give them an opportunity to travel, see another arena, trot around with other horses and then come home and go out in the field for the summer,” said Judith. “We don’t ever feel under pressure to produce results and therefore we don’t compromise on welfare and standards. If horses aren’t ready for young horse classes, they don’t go. We won’t tolerate abuse of the horse. The people who want to buy our horses appreciate and understand how we produce our horses with patience and compassion and welfare at the forefront. The main aim for us is that we do the best for every horse and find them the right home.”


Judith is very particular about the types of horses she breeds, with good conformation and sound temperaments high on her list of priorities.


Gijs riding one of the lovely Hawtins Horses



“If a horse is built correctly, it has an advantage over a horse that perhaps is croup high or with a low set neck,” she confided. “It needs to be able to move too. It’s a welfare issue when horses are bred for a fashion and a look. So many fall by the wayside and you never see them as older horses.


“I look for a good hindleg because it’s the engine. We’re fortunate that all our foundation mares are very good in the hindleg. The canter is another key fundamental because a lot of the work at the higher levels is centred around the canter. If you have an active, quick hindleg that is good in the trot and comes under the body, then you have what you need for the future in the piaffe and passage.


“You’re also looking for an uphill conformation with a good, correct walk that has range and activity and correct rhythm. Temperament is also key. It’s all good and well breeding something that looks fabulous, but if you can’t ride it, what’s the point? The most important thing is that they go to a home where they will be loved.”


It’s clear that Judith has a real passion for bloodlines, taking a lot of pride and care in selecting the right mares for the stallions.


“I love the breeding down the generations because to me, we’re just caretakers of that line – someone started that way back and hopefully someone else will take it on,” she told. “There is some fun in it, having a little gamble to see what you’re going to get. It’s like opening a Christmas present when a foal is born because it’s always a surprise.”


Watching the young horses grow and progress is another of Judith’s loves.


Judith and one of her foals.


“I just love being with the horses and watching their progression,” she said. “I love the journey of seeing them grow and change and seeing how they learn. I really love all the bits in between. It is tough physically and emotionally and not for the faint hearted. I never went into this to make money – it offered us that way of life and enabled me to do something meaningful.”


Judith works alongside a small, intimate team who all share her passion for horses and producing youngsters.


“It’s like a family – we all work together as a team,” she said. “My main rider Gijs van Vooren and I discuss things and we make plans together. It’s a small team but we work well together and we all have a shared passion for horses. It’s an amazing life.”


Judith and Gijs




Feedmark products

Alongside their overall welfare and education, Judith pays particular attention to her horses’ diet, including the supplements they receive.


“I’ve always been very sparing of using supplements and only really use products that have a specific benefit to a horse that needs it,” she said. “We feed in a way that ensures they have all the basic things they need. We focus their diets on good quality forage, chaff and a balancer. 


“We keep it simple and natural. We don’t want to force their growth because weight on joints is detrimental".



Hawtins' Feed Room - Full of Feedmark products!


“When it comes to supplements, I started with Feedmark Best-Flex joint supplement which we feed to our older horses working at the higher levels, and the Steady Up calmer which our young horses go on for a period of time. I wanted to feed products that weren’t full of unnatural ingredients for the horses, and sustainability is really important to me too, so using ingredients that are from sustainable sources. The composition of the ingredients is important too, and the amounts of fillers used. I picked Feedmark because it ticked my boxes in terms of the level of ingredients, the composition, and the sustainability of the products. Also, if I have an issue with a particular horse, I can talk through it with the team at Feedmark and they offer me a solution”.


Feedmark Muscle Fuel is one of Judith’s favourite products: “I wanted something that would help support the muscle development of the young horses but not necessarily give them lots of extra feed and make them fat. It helps muscle development and recovery. Gijs always knows when the horses are on Muscle Fuel. It’s a very important product to us, and one of the few products that you really notice a difference when you feed it.


“Steady Up is another good product we use with the young horses for a period of time especially when they are starting to go out for the first time, not because they are spooky or sharp, but just because they are young and sensitive and you want to give them a good experience.


“I picked Feedmark because I like their products against the other products on the market and they are very flexible. I am passionate about what they do and will happily recommend them to people because I believe that their products work. They have such a good range of products and I know that if a horse has a specific issue, they will find a product to help.”




Best-Flex HA® is probably the best horse joint supplement ever formulated to support your horse’s joint health and mobility. It contains the highest levels of the proven joint nutrients Glucosamine hydrochloride, Chondroitin sulphate, MSM and Hyaluronic acid (HA) at optimum levels to support flexibility and suppleness.





Muscle Fuel® helps to develop muscle mass as well as support muscle recovery and lactic acid recycling which is essential for performance horses. This effective formulation includes ProEquitin®, a unique blend of amino acids which have been scientifically proven to limit exercise induced muscle damage, aid muscle recovery post exercise and support protein synthesis.





Steady-Up® is our popular and effective horse calming supplement, ideal for horses of a nervous or excitable nature to aid concentration. Chamomile and Lemon balm are included for their calming and soothing effects on the nervous system, as well as Magnesium, an essential nutrient that helps with nervous tension.