Harold McGahern

By Antonette Doran / HSI
Photography: HSI

Horse Sport Ireland hosted their biannual Coaching and Breeding conference on December 3, with over 400 delegates in attendance. The day promised to be full of insightful tips from the esteemed panel of guest speakers: Dr. Gerd Heushmann, Judy Reynolds, Richard Waygood MBE and Comdt. John Ledingham.

The conference theme focused on the best methods to produce young horses in line with their developmental stages. This information was then supported by a practical coaching session demonstrating the appropriate strategies, empowering riders to deliver these training programs.

Dr. Gerd Heushmann

Dr. Heuschmann presented an excellent session discussing the philosophies of classical riding and the application of these theories from an equine biomechanical perspective. He explained that ‘good riding’ is driven from culture and good breeding. This was then expanded to look at the musculoskeletal development of the horse and how correct or incorrect training techniques affect equine development and welfare. Further to this, emphasis was applied evaluating the horses’ natural balance and how to develop self-carriage in the absence of artificial tools or tie downs.

Comdt. John Ledingham

Judy Reynolds’ horses were then stripped and presented to the delegates where Comdt. John Ledingam demonstrated the linear profiling method used in studbook breed inspections. Delegates were invited to complete their own linear profiles contained in the conference packs, where Ledingham discussed the reasoning behind his scoring and he and Reynolds highlighted how these con-formation traits would effect the rideability of each individual horse, and how training methods could be used to assist their development as young horses. This further enhanced the musculoskeletal and conformation dis-cussion Dr. Heusch-mann presented.

Richard Waygood MBE

Irish Olympian Judy Reynolds re-turned aboard her eight-year-old old up-and-coming com-petition horse, dis-cussing how, as observed during the linear profiling session, this horse is built a bit downhill. She explained the value and importance of transitions in creating uphill movement in this particular horse. Reynolds and Waygood then reflected on their preference for a horse with a good character over exceptional talent. Their ideal horse has just enough talent to get by but plenty of character, and it is this character which helps the trainability and rideability. Both agreed that the perfect balance of both is rare to find, but what the breeders should strive for. The breeder achievements of 2019 were recognised and awarded by Michael Slavin and HSI’s Breeding & production Chairman Mr Edward Doyle. The following Breeders received awards.

WBFSH rankings

Breeder of the Highest Placed ISH in the WBFSH Eventing Rankings 2019

• Ballaghmor Class (ISH) 2007 gelding by Courage II (Holst) out of Kilderry Place (ISH) – Breeder: Noel Hickey

Breeder of the Highest Placed ISH in the WBFSH Eventing Rankings 2019

• Vanir Kamira (ISH) 2005 mare by Camiro De Haar Z (Zangersheide) out of Fair Caledonian (WNTR) by Dixi xx (TB) – Breeder: Kathryn Jackson

Breeders of the Highest Placed ISH in the WBFSH Eventing Rankings 2019

• Ivar Gooden (ISH) 2007 gelding by Young Convinced xx (TB) out of Ballybrohan Diamond (ISH) by Coevers Diamond Boy (ISH) – Breeder: Pat Coffey

Breeder of the Highest Placed ISH in the WBFSH Showjumping Rankings 2019

• Loughnavatta Indigo (ISH) 2009 gelding by Luidam (KWPN) out of Loughnavatta Sabrina (ISH) by VDL Arkansas (KWPN) – Breeder: Rory Costigan

Lanaken 2019

Breeder of the ISH Gold Medal Winner at Lanaken 2019

• Cuffesgrange Cavadora (ISH) 2012 mare by Z Wellie 72 (KWPN) out of Cuffesgrange Cavalidam (ISH) by Luidam (KWPN) – Breeder: Eamonn Sheehan

Breeder of the ISH Gold Medal Winner at Lanaken 2019

• Rockwell RC (ISH) 2014 mare by Kannan (KWPN) out of Urban Sea (ISH) by Guidam (SF) – Breeder: Ronan Byrne

Breeder of the ISH Silver Medal Winner at Lanaken 2019

• MHS Cardenta (ISH) 2013 mare by Cardento (Holst) out of Willow Point (ISH) by Diamond Serpent (ISH) – Breeder: Tom and Sinead Brennan Le Lion d’Angers

Breeder of the ISH Silver Medal Winner

• Cooley Moonshine (ISH) Cobra (HOLST) and out Kilpatrick Duchess (ISH), by Kings Master(ISH)[TIH] – Breeder: Michael J Kavanagh

Breeder of the ISH Bronze Medal Winner Brookfield

• Benjamin Bounce (ISH) by Nazar xx (TB) and out of Ashmores Zoe (ID), by Grange Bouncer (ID) – Breeder: Stuart Collier Showing

Breeder of Top Irish Sport Horse Showing Mare 2019

• Parkmore Evita (ISH) 2010 by Ghareeb xx (TB) out of Parkmore Sunrise (ISH) by Coolcorran Cool Diamond (ISH) – Breeder: Patrick Wafer

Breeder of Top Irish Draught Showing Mare 2019

• Strictly Come Bouncing (IDC1) 2011 mare by Moylough Bouncer (IDC1) out of Robeen Lass (RID) by Glenagyle Rebel (IDC1) – Breeder: Sean Ruane

Outstanding contribution to the Irish Sport Horse Sector, the late Harold McGahern

The equestrian world was deeply saddened by the passing of Harold McGahern who passed away just this time last year, but the memory of his vision and dedication to the Irish Sport Horse Breeding industry and Irish Horse Sport lives on. He was husband to Margaret and father to Joy, Angela, Una, and Aonghus. A teacher and farmer by profession, but quality mare owner, breeder, and producer of young horses by choice. He went on a student visa to the USA in order to get the money to buy his first mare and his equestrian foundation was cemented. During his lifetime he bred some wonderful jumpers, like the Army’s star mare Rincoola Abu (Cruising). Her daughter Rincoola Rua (Diamant de Semilly) and Will Wimble (Touchdown) jumped to the top level with the Butler family. The recent International Grand Prix winner here at Cavan for Kenneth Graham also came from him. This is Beir Bua (Lancelot), out of a Cruising dam. During his lifetime McGahern also gave of his many talents for forward thinking, innovation, and a great deal of voluntary time to the betterment of the Irish Sport Horse industry. He was a Horse Board member for many years, Lanaken committee chairman and always spoke his piece. Along with Ronnie MacMahon he created the superb Future Event Horse League which is still going strong in today’s industry. He helped found the Longford Pony Club. He was a member of the RDS Equestrian Committee for a number of terms and a RDS Council member. He also had a very visible presence at the RDS as steward of the Irish Field Breeders Championship and Young Event Horses. McGahern was also a hunting enthusiast, who was proud to have hunted with every pack in Ireland and he always looked forward to a great day’s hunting. The Irish Sport Horse breeding sector will for years to come benefit from McGahern’s insightful thinking, innovative initiatives, willingness to teach and encourage, and the ability to progress both horses and students to international level. His overall passion and love for the Irish equine industry will be deeply missed by all. With complete justification, Harold McGahern’s name has been now rightly added to the illustrious list of stalwarts in recognition for his outstanding contribution to the Irish Sport Horse industry.