By Nadia Rea
Photography: Laurence Dunne, Susan Finnerty
Horse Sport Ireland’s breeding department recently sat down with the Rothwell family in Tinahely, Co. Wicklow to discuss the history of their breeding operation in the Wicklow hills, and, their future plans. ‘Greenhall’ is the prefix of the Rothwell family farm and all their stock. It originates from the townlands of Greenhall, Tinahely where the farm is located.
It’s a family-run farm, with Derry, Emily, Sharon and Mary Rothwell all actively involved. It’s a mixed farming enterprise, of horses, cattle and sheep.
Before the Rothwell family were resident in Greenhall, Derry’s grandfather John Rothwell farmed in Courtown, Gorey, Wexford, but moved to Tinahely when his son Derek senior was just two years old back in 1924. The farm in Tinahely then continued to be farmed by Derek Snr.
Derry tells us, “It was always a mixed farming enterprise and in those days the broodmares would have also worked the farm, so they needed to be very versatile and bred to function. As time passed, my father focused more on breeding the traditional quality sport horse, and Thoroughbreds. Dad was an active member of many organisations. He was county chairman of the IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association) and played an instrumental role in setting up the equine section of the IFA while acting as vice chairman. He was a loyal supporter of point-to-points and kept many point-to-point racehorses over the years. We actually still have four Thoroughbred mares breeding today.”
Mary continued to explain; “Derek was very passionate about the conformation of horses, so much so that he was a founder member of the Irish Shows Association and one of the instigators behind the junior judges’ course. Derek Snr bred many RDS (Royal Dublin Society) winners but held the Pembroke Cup (owner/breeder prize) in the highest esteem, as the pinnacle for any breeder.”
“Derek had a mare, Miss Muffet (ISH), by Darantus (TB) out of Battlemaid (ISH) by Battle Burn (TB) who bred Jack Horner (1986) by Varano (TB) that won in HOYS”.
Derry added; “I retained two of her fillies by Laughtons Flight (ISH) – Miss Flight (ISH) and Darantus Flight (ISH). The purpose of holding onto these traditional bloodlines was to breed event types that would hopefully perform to the top level. I was very fortunate that this paid off and that these mares bred five-star eventers. Brave Heart by Billies Bank (TB) and stallion Barnaby Flight (ISH) by Young Barnaby (TB).”.. To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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