No limits - succesful breeder is pushing equine genetics boundaries
Ronan Rothwell is pushing new boundaries in equine genetics
As a successful breeder of sport horses, and founder of the well-established Irish Breeders' Classic, Tinahely-native Ronan Rothwell knows no limits and has recently gone one step further in developing a new business within the world of equine genetics.
It is this business acumen that saw him scoop the Equestrian Business of the Year accolade at the recent Zurich Farm Insurance Farming Independent Farmer of the Year awards in Dublin.
"I really was delighted to win the award as it not only meant a lot to me, but also my staff at Boleybawn Horses, my wife Suzanne and my family who have supported me throughout," he said. "It is great to have something so prestigious to your name."
For decades the Rothwell name itself has been synonymous with both thoroughbreds and sport horses, so it would be hard to have imagined Ronan pursuing any other interest outside of the industry, although dairy farming did cross his mind at one stage.
"Dad always had dairy cows and after a stint with showjumper Marion Hughes I came home with a view to getting back into that, but I soon realised that the horses were more of a draw to me. We always had a few mares at home and instead of me getting further into farming, the equine herd began to grow."
From there he dabbled in thoroughbreds through his brother, trainer Philip, and trained a few point-to-point winners before switching his focus to sport horses full-time.
While his father Noel had little interest in the equines on the farm, Ronan's time with him in the milking parlour was certainly not wasted, but only as he was to discover later in life.
"Dad has always been fascinated in bovine genetics and I remember as a child watching the cows being covered by AI. I suppose that is how I developed an interest in the area of embryo transfer in mares, although it was 15 years ago when I first tried it on a mare we had here. It was so expensive back then I said I would never do it again."