By Sonja Grob Photography: Coraline Vallini
Since 1992, Andrea Etter has managed and operated Belmont House Stud, situated in the centre of Ireland. Her parents Gerhard and Hedi Etter bought the farm in 1987 and since then it has been a guarantee for quality horses and ponies for professionals as well as for amateurs, according to their slogan ‘Breeding and producing future champions’.
Belmont – An Lios Dearg in the Irish language, meaning ‘the red ring fort’ – is a village of just 200 residents in County Offaly, close to the absolute centre of Ireland. Belmont House Stud farm includes an 18th-century manor house, with 30 stables and all the modern facilities typically associated with a thriving modern-day breeding enterprise.
Q Andrea, you had a promising career as a showjumper in Switzerland, including European championship appear-ances as a junior and young rider. After apprenticing as a saddler, you left Switzerland for further education with horses in the Netherlands and the United States. What was the reason that you went to Belmont – and the decision to stay?
Basically, the plan was to learn English in Ireland. I came over at the beginning of October, that’s 28 years ago. During the winter there were not many indoor shows in Switzerland at the time, so I had the time without competitions and wanted to stay for half a year. At home in our dealing stable it wasn’t always easy for me since the horses came in and left again soon when they found a new owner. And here I realised that I could keep the horses for a longer time and in the way I wanted to, with a lot of space and the big fields. And I could still work together with the family, but independently from each other. That was perfect for me.
Q Besides 30 stables, large loose sheds, the sand and indoor arena, the horse walker and many other facilities you have 80 hectares of land, some your own, some rented. How many mares and stallions are in Belmont?
There are around 30 broodmares, young horses, sport horses, and our four resident stallions. All in all, about 150 horses are at Belmont House Stud, including liveries for clients that keep them here at our farm.
Q Among all your horses, there are many that are outstanding. One of them is your home-bred stallion Celtic Hero B Z (Calikot Hero - Cricket Z x Caretano Z). Can you tell us something about him?
He is my heart horse, my darling! He is so special for me since I bred him myself, and from the beginning he gave his best and just wanted to please you. He is such an uncomplicated and special horse. I bought his mother as a three-year-old from my friend Aukelien in the Netherlands and she was in foal to Chellano Z. This resulted in the mare Carolina B Z, who is now back here again as a broodmare. I still have Celtic Hero B Z's mother Cricket Z and another sister (Cera Cara B by O-Piloth) in our breeding program.
Calikot Hero, Celtic Hero B Z’s sire, whom we leased for one breeding season was bred by Luc Henry (Belgium). When Luc saw Celtic as a foal, he really liked him and we did a deal for a half share. Celtic was sold to the United States as a six-year-old and is being ridden successfully by Heather Caristo Williams up to 1m40. Frozen semen is available from us and his offspring are showing his exact same characteristics. They are very careful, easy to work with, nice types, horses that always want to perform at their best. I visited Celtic this spring and was very pleased to see him, he has a special place in my heart!.. To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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