Horseware Stellor Rebound (VDL Ricochet - Teachan x Parliament xx, bred by Rhona Barnwall) ridden by Sarah Ennis (IRL) at WEG 2018 - PhotoFEI/Martin Dokoupil

By Susan Finnerty
Photography: FEI/Martin Dokoupil

So, for only the third time in the history of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) eventing studbook rankings, the Irish Sport Horse studbook was dislodged from its customary leading position. The Hannoverian Verband (2010), Selle Français (2011) and now the KWPN (2018) have won this title, so long regarded as Ireland’s own.

Of course credit where its due, and a strong performance by KWPN-breds, including the individual gold medal winner Allstar B (Ephebe Forever - Narenca B x Ekstein, bred by F.A.J. Van der Burg) at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, was a major boost.
Close behind was Ireland’s silver medallist Padraig McCarthy on a horse with time-honoured Irish Draught-thoroughbred bloodlines. The only ‘problem’ from an Irish viewpoint of course is that Mr Chunky (Jumbo - Avin Fun Bar, by Sergeant Drummer. Mrs. S.M Trump) was bred in England and registered with the SHBGB studbook!
That said, Mr Chunky’s impressive WEG result is also reflected glory for traditional Irish bloodlines. And one that the Irish Draught Horse Society (North America) were quick to capitalise on at Tryon with a special award by the society for his achievements.
The 13-year-old produced one of the rare showjumping clears on the final day. Another was recorded by Horseware Ardagh Highlight (Puissance - Gentle Servant x Kings Servant, bred by Teresa Walsh) whose breeding is also about as traditional Irish as you can find nowadays.
Interestingly, the fact that Ardagh Highlight competed in the Pony Club combined-training final at Dublin and was hunted for several years by the Whyte family from Co Longford, who bought him at Goresbridge foal sales, is another selling point for the Irish Sport Horse.
Both Teresa Walsh and Rhona Barnwall will also receive their due reward with the just-announced news about Horse Sport Ireland’s breeders awards. Several breeders of the top-three Irish-bred showjumping and eventing horses in the WBFSH rankings, regardless of studbook classification, will divide up €6,000 in prize money.
Horseware Stellor Rebound (VDL Ricochet - Teachan x Parliament xx, bred by Rhona Barnwall) is the highest Irish-bred (11th), followed by Horseware Ardagh Highlight (13th) and Ballaghmor Class (Courage II - Kilderry Place x Young Convinced xx, bred by Noel Hickey)...

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