This year has been a remarkable one for Irish breeding – horses bred in Ireland have had national and international successes across Show Jumping and Eventing, showcasing the skill, stamina and adaptability of the Irish horse.
One of the greatest achievements for an Irish horse in Show Jumping is Suma’s Zorro’s (Douglas X Horos) outstanding results. The mare is co-owned by Joanne Sloan Allen from Co Antrim and Sameh El Dahan (EGY), and was bred by Marily Power and Susan Lanigan O’Keeffe of Suma Stud. Suma’s Zorro and Sameh El Dahan claimed first prize of $1 million in the $3 million Rolex Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows, Canada, the richest prize in Show Jumping in September 2018.
Also in Show Jumping, Irish riders and Irish Sport Horses filled the podium at the FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Jumping Championships for Five-Year-Olds 2018 in Lanaken, Belgium, in September this year. Bronze was taken by Kildare’s Michael Pender and HHS Vancouver (ISH), by Indoctro and out of a Don Juan De La Bouverie mare. The gelding is owned by Bravo Hughes Ltd and bred by Marion Hughes. Silver went to Tipperary’s Darragh Ryan with CSF Sir George (ISH), by Sir Shutterfly and out of a Cavalier Royal mare. He is owned by Molly Tracy and was bred by Shane Connolly. The Gold medal went to Sligo’s Richard Howley and Uppercourt Cappucino (ISH) who is by Pacino and out of an OBOS Quality 004 mare, bred by Paul O’Byrne and Ger O’Neill, was owned by HK Sport Horses at the time of competition and was recently sold to Stal Tops. This was an incredible clean sweep for Ireland in the Five-year-old class, showcasing both the Irish horsesand riders on the world stage.
Darragh Ryan, Richard Howley and Michael Pender on the podium at Lanaken, 2018.
Irish horses also had great success at the FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses which took place in October at Le Lion D’Angers, France. In the Six-year-old class, both the Silver and Bronze medals were claimed by Irish Sport Horses – Emerald Jonny (Waldo Van Dungen X Rubels) claimed Silver with Piggy French (GBR), and Bronze went to Cooley Moonshine (Cobra X Kings Master) and Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA). Also inside the Top Ten in the Six-year-old class were Universal Cooley (ISH) ridden by Camilla Dumas (GBR) in 4th, and Jewelent (ISH) ridden by Ireland’s Clare Abbott in 8th.
In the Seven-year-old class, Irish Sport Horse Capels Hollow Drift (Shannondale Sarco St Ghyvan X Lucky Gift) claimed the Silver medal under Tom Jackson (GBR) and also inside the Top Ten were Cooley Quicksilver (ISH) with Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA); Carnival March (ISH) under Piggy French (GBR) and OLS King Aragon (ISH) with Cathal Daniels (IRL). It was following these successes that the Irish Sport Horse Studbook was again named the leading studbook at the FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses 2018.
At Four-star level, Irish horses dominated the top placings. At the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, the final standings consisted of seven Irish Sport Horses in the top ten placings. Third was taken by Andrew Nicolson (NZL) after he climbed an impressive 13 places from 16th after dressage with Irish Sport Horse Swallow Springs (Chillout X Cult Hero). Second place went to the current number one event rider in the FEI Eventing rankings Oliver Townend (GBR), with Irish Sport Horse Ballaghmor Class (Courage II) who were victorious last year. The Gold medal ultimately went to Tim Price and Irish Sport Horse Ringwood Sky Boy (Courage II X Sky Boy), who have been close to the prize for so many years. Oliver Townend and Irish Sport Horse Cooley Master Class (Ramiro B X Master Imp) also claimed second place at The Land Rover Kentucky CCI4* this year, and he also claimed second place at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials with Irish Sport Horse Cooley SRS (Ramiro B X Kiltealy Spring).
Finally, perhaps the greatest achievement for Irish horses this year, was in Eventing at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon. Flying the flag for Irish horses were three horses on the Irish Eventing Team, and two horses on the Great British Eventing Team. Claiming Team Gold, on the Great British Team had Piggy French riding Quarryquest Echo (ISH) (Clover Echo X Cavalier Royale), bred by John Dooley finishing 10th individually, and Gemma Tattersall with Arctic Soul (TB)(IRE) (Luso X Roi Danzig) finishing in 30th position individually. These horses both jumped clear cross country and finished with 31.8 and 44.4 points respectively, showcasing the ability of the Irish horse at the very top level of Eventing. On the Irish team were three Irish bred horses – Sarah Ennis’s mount Horseware Stellor Rebound (by VDL Ricochet) finished in 5th position individually on a score of 30.3 helping the team into Silver position. Sam Watson aboard Horseware Ardagh Highlight (Puissance X Kings Servant), bred by Teresa Walsh, finished on their dressage score of 35.5 in 14th position individually. Cathal Daniels with Rioghan Rua (Jack of Diamonds X Flagmount King), bred by Margaret Kinsella, finished in 26th place individually as one of the smallest horses and youngest riders in the competition, on a score of 41.6. The turbulent weather and changing arrangements at the Games meant challenging conditions for the horses and riders, but the wind and rain proved no inconvenience to the Irish horse or rider!
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