Irish Draught-type horses are back in vogue
Wexford-based horseman Aubrey Chapman will spend the winter schooling young sports horses for potential export
The coming few weeks mark an exciting time for hunting enthusiasts across Ireland, but for the Chapman family it also signals the start of a busy season producing sport horses which, ultimately, will be aimed at the export market in 2016.
Well-known for their long association with the Island Hunt, George Chapman has been a joint-master for some 40 years, while sons Wayne and Aubrey also take an active role when time allows. Along with their mother Pam, the family specialise in other areas of equestrianism, particularly eventing and, in Wayne's case, thoroughbreds.
However, it is in the hunting field where the majority of these young horses get their early grounding, and Aubrey will spend the next five months schooling the large selection of young horses currently at their base in Glandoran outside Gorey.
"We produce a lot of young sport horses out of the hunting field each year, and many of those come with Irish Draught breeding being produced for the amateur market," Aubrey commented.
Over the years Aubrey and his family have built up a strong relationship with clients and a large percentage of their stock is now sold privately, particularly to the UK but also further afield to Holland and the USA.
"The demand is always there for a forward-going horse and we find that those by Irish Draught stallions are particularly well suited to our type of client."
Rather than go down the conventional route of the sales, Aubrey prefers to source his horses privately. He also keeps a handful of broodmares with traditional Irish Draught bloodlines, while some also boast sport horse breeding which makes them ideal for producing horses for the eventing circuits.
"Sires such as Classic Vision and Crosstown Dancer have produced lovely stock for us over the years, but more recently we have used Grange Bouncer and also Rebel Mountain."