Home In previous issues The breeders behind the Irish Army horses

The breeders behind the Irish Army horses

Captain Geoff Curran riding Kilrue (ISH) in RDS Simmons Court 2019

By Nadia Rea / HSI
Photography: Laurence Dunne, Stacey Babes

The Army Equitation School’s primary mission is to promote the Irish horse, support Irish breeders, and to advertise the Irish-bred sport horse through participation in international events in both eventing and showjumping at the highest level. Since its establishment in 1926, army riders have competed at top international events from Nations Cups’ to the Olympic Games, all the while riding and promoting Irish Sport Horses.

Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Freyne said, “Our mission at the Army Equitation School is to promote the Irish-bred sport horse through competition at the highest level. We’re very fortunate to have such competitive horses as Drumiller Lough in the School. His soundness and temperament have allowed him to be a consistent winner over the last decade. With Kilrue and the other young horses, we believe they are ideally suited to modern showjumping. These young horses are developing into scopey, athletic, and intelligent horses that are promoting the modern and traditionally bred top-class Irish Sport Horse on behalf of those breeders and producers.”
Drumiller Lough (ISH) is a 2003 bay gelding by Heartbreaker (KWPN) out of Pearl Diver (ISH) by Mountain Pearl (RID). This gelding was bred by Paul Dillon in County Armagh. Now 17, the gelding has been a loyal and reliable servant, partnering many successful riders throughout his career in the Army Equitation School.
His army career began in 2007 when he was ridden nationally and schooled by Comdt Gerry Flynn whose skills in producing young horses are second to none. He then progressed to international level where he was instantly effective, finishing second in the six-year-old final of the World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in Lanaken with Captain David O’Brien on board.
In 2013 Captain Michael Kelly rode Drumiller Lough to multiple international victories. For Michael, he won and was placed in numerous 1m40m-1m50 classes in CSI3* Vejer de la Frontera, CSI2* Odense, CSI2* Fontainebleau and CSI4* Harthill, Bolesworth. This partnership lasted until 2015, and in 2016 Captain David Power took up the ride and recorded great success with this accomplished horse. He had wins and placings in both CSI3* Arezzo and CSI2* Mullingar. Then Captain Geoff Curran took the reins in 2017 and enjoyed success with first, second, and third place finishes at the pair’s first international show together in Mijas CSI3*. Their victories continued on both the international and national stages with wins in CSI3* Carmona, CSI3* Liege, and CSI2* Millstreet. Their success continues today.

Captain Geoff Curran and Drumiller Lough (ISH) competing in the 2018 Irish Breeders Classics

Captain Geoff Curran says, “Drumiller Lough has always been extremely competitive. His technique, carefulness, and his overall willingness to win have always been his greatest attributes. At home he can be extremely lazy, but when its competition time he turns into the winner that he is, and has always been for the army.”
The breeders of Drumiller Lough (ISH), Paul and Louise Dillon, are located in Scarva, Co. Armagh. Just 10 minutes off the main Belfast to Dublin road where they run a busy beef cattle, sheep, and equine breeding farm. Paul tells us how he first came across Drumiller Lough’s dam. “I bought this mare as a three-year-old when I had her in for breaking. Pearl Diver, his dam, is traditionally bred by Mountain Pearl (RID) out of a Salluceva (TB) mare. She showed exceptional jumping ability and potential. I think that in order to breed from any mare they must have the ability to jump. In this case I think that Heartbreaker was a perfect cross for Pearl Diver to produce Drumiller Lough. This mare had six other offspring... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber