My horse of a lifetime ‘Bannerman Breeze’
by Debbie Tems
Bannerman Breeze aka Ferdie is a 19 year old Irish Draught. He is by Springpark Easy Breeze, out of Springpark Banner Girl. I bought him as a just backed 5 year old. I got him originally to hunt, and for two seasons we were out nearly every Wednesday and Saturday with the Laois and occasionally the Ormond. He proved himself to be a super hunter, never saying no to anything and extremely clever and surefooted. During this time I also did a bit of show jumping with him up to 120cm and again he took to it as if he’d been doing it forever.
I decided after a couple of seasons hunting that he had more to him and started to show him in Show Hunter, Working Hunter and Ridden Draught classes. His wins are too numerous to mention but those that stand out are as follows.
Supreme Ridden at Tullamore twice.
Third in a class of 17 at the inaugural Ridden Draught class in the RDS.
Twice Supreme Ridden at the annual IDHBA National show.
Reserve Champion in the All Ireland Working Hunter Championships.
Ridden Champion and Supreme of Show at the Wicklow Draught show.
Ridden Champion and Reserve of Show at above the following year.
Ridden Draught Champion at the Show of the South at Kill E.C.
Voted Performance Horse of 2009 by the IDHBA.
Many wins in Hunter classes at County shows.
He was also very successful under side saddle, winning and placing every time out including Balmoral and Tattersalls.
When he reached the age of fourteen I decided to retire him from showing and started his career with Dressage Ireland. I was lucky to find a really good and sympathetic dressage rider/trainer, Jo May, from New Zealand, who understood that whilst he wasn’t bred for dressage there was no reason that with the correct training why he couldn’t excel in that sphere.
Our first few outings were interesting as he wondered why he was the only horse in the ring at the time and where was his rosette! He soon realised that this was a new game to play. He is competed by both myself and Jo, with her competing at a level above me. He has qualified for the National Championships at every level from Novice to Prix St Georges, doing his first PSG this year and coming 6th at the Nationals and also taking Reserve Champion at Advanced, and the trophy for the highest placed ID. He has more to give and is loving his new career.
He still hacks, jumps and goes X Country so has a varied lifestyle! I am so proud of the fact he has reached such a level in dressage and all being well will go higher. Not bad for a horse that didn’t start dressage until the age of fourteen!
He is very trainable and quick to learn new things and what really makes him special is his honesty, temperament, rideability, character and intelligence. He is not afraid mentally or physically of the challenge that dressage requires. When pushed to the edge of his comfort zone he trusts. For his breed, his ability is above average in that he continues to meet the challenges and degree of difficulty that is needed within the movements that are required at each new level. If ID’s are given the chance and produced correctly, they are the epitome of a “sports” horse.
He certainly ranks as my horse of a lifetime!
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