By Conor Sheridan / HSI
Photography: Jump In Action, Irish Eventing Times, Fiona Molloy
For all breeders, the dream is to breed a horse that will compete and be successful at the highest level. Long days, restless nights, confusion and worry over the decisions to be made; and that’s only just making the decision about which stallion to use.
Then there’s the wait until the foal is born and all the worry that goes along with that. There is also, however, the annual renewal of hopes and dreams that are carried on the shoulders of each newborn foal.
This story is true for Co. Offaly’s Fiona Molloy, breeder of World Championship debutant at the FEI World Championships for Eventing in Pratoni, Monbeg By Design (ISH). Ridden for Ireland by Susie Berry, ‘Arthur’, as he’s known at home, represents a dream come true for Fiona. “To say it’s a dream come true is an understatement,” she said.
“I was lucky to be in Italy to see Arthur compete. It was a very last-minute decision to go but I had to make the effort to be there and see him in action. It was wonderful to meet Susie, and the Canton’s who own him now. Seeing my name as a breeder for a horse representing Team Ireland is something I can’t describe the thrill of. There were more than a few tears of pride and joy. It was the most incredible feeling.”
Christened Eskerhills Elixir (ISH) at birth, Arthur was sold to Marti Rudd and Tomas Doyle of Monbeg Sport Horses in Co. Wexford and renamed Monbeg By Design (ISH) as a four-year-old. The story of Arthur and Susie Berry is a particularly special one given that Monbeg By Design (ISH) represents Fiona’s first foray into breeding, and the first foal from the mare Eskerhills Lexis (ISH). “Lexis was a really special horse. I was lucky to have found her when she was an unbroken four-year-old and I was just 16. My original plan was to have a nice mare to jump around and have some fun on.”
Bred in Co. Kilkenny by Teresa Walsh, Eskerhills Lexis (ISH) was sired by Puissance (ISH) who had showjumped at Grand Prix level with fellow Kilkenny resident Michael Hutchinson, who also stood the son of Imperious (TB) at his Gowran-based Ballyquirke Stud. Eskerhills Lexis (ISH) was out of the mare Castlemorris Hope (ISH), a daughter of Furisto (Hann). Castlemorris Hope (ISH) bred three full siblings by Puissance (ISH). Two mares, Eskerhills Lexis (ISH) and Miss Avaleen (ISH) as well as one gelding, Dromgurrihy Blue (ISH).
Dromgurrihy Blue (ISH) was an international eventing horse in his own right, competing first for Ireland by Co. Cork based Olympic rider Michael Ryan. Together they took the win in the 2009 CCI1* in Tattersalls. British European Young Rider Championship team member Harry Dzennis took over the ride from Michael Ryan in 2013. With Dzennis in the saddle, Dromgurrihy Blue made his CCI4* debut in Burghley in 2014... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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