By Helen Sharp PhD
Photography: Leo Monaghan
Over thirty years after his semen was frozen, legendary Connemara stallion, Ashfield Bobby Sparrow, has sired a beautiful filly here in Ireland. Timid of temperament but mighty in influence, Ashfield Bobby Sparrow was the son of one of the most influential Connemara bloodlines in the world, Carna Bobby.
Carna Bobby was by Gil out of Carna Dolly by Buckna xx. This stallion was a real sire of sires, producing numerous registered Connemara stallions, including Ashfield Bobby Sparrow, The Admiral, and Leam Bobby Finn. His dam was 13.2hh Wise Sparrow by Dun Lorenzo. With Thoroughbred blood on both sides and lineage all the way back to Cannonball, Ashfield Bobby Sparrow (stable name Nicki), represented Ireland and was the first Connemara ever to win a European showjumping championship gold medal. He sired Grade A Grand Prix son Glenayre Mystical Bobby; Cuffesgrange For Sure; European performance pony Some Man For One Man, bred by the great Peter Meehan, who also bred Grade A showjumper Bobby Sparrow Blue.
Nicki's dam Wise Sparrow carried one of the most influential bloodlines in Connemara history. Her dam Lor Sparrow was born in 1947; her sire was Keehaune Laddie. Her granddam was Sparrow (Noble Star). Sparrow was tragically killed in a traffic accident when Lor Sparrow was only a foal of a few weeks old, and she was bottle-fed by hand. Lor Sparrow was a stunning, correct mare and had won at the prestigious Clifden Show with her first foal at foot: that little filly was Wise Sparrow.
Before the late great horseman Jimmy Jones bought Wise Sparrow and covered her with Carna Bobby, she’d had a filly by Carna Dun. Born in 1948, Carna Dun was one of the most influential Connemara stallions in Ireland, and is out of the dun mare Double Dun who is out of a Rebel mare, Dun Heath. That filly went on to be the foundation mare at the now renowned Grange Stud in Wexford. Under Jimmy's care, Wise Sparrow gave birth to Ashfield Bobby Sparrow, his full brother Ashfield Sparrow, and a third Ashfield Gealbhan sadly passed away after castration complications.
The recent one-straw breeding was done at Mary McCann's Hartwell Stud (home of the world-famous Cruising), where Nicki lived much of his early and later life. “We are extremely choosy about the mares we allow for the semen,” Mary explained. “They must be excellent mares with good fertility.”
The owner of this particular special dam is Leo Monaghan, and the mare is Venus d'Hyrencourt by Udancer Hero out of White Love d'Hyrencour. In writing this, I already knew of the mare as she was the mother of one of the most beautiful pony stallions I have ever seen and who I have never forgotten – Cap Nord d'Hyrencourt (now castrated). He stood at Belmont House Stud for a while, and I was lucky enough to meet him up close; he would take the light from your eye with his beauty. Venus is also the dam of Cap's full-brother, top pony stallion Machnus d'Hyrencourt Z, both by Welsh wonder pony Machno Carwyn. She is also dam to a very nice three-year-old filly called Tullamore Evening Star... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO BREEDING NEWS
SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE BY LOGGING IN AND RETURNING TO THIS PAGE