Staying ahead of the field
Equestrian farmer of the year Daragh O'Neill talks horses and business
Holidays are a rarity for Daragh O'Neill, so it was just as well he headed to the sun for a week with his wife Grainne and their four children before business moved up a gear at Abbeyfield Farm outside Clane, Co Kildare earlier this month.
"We had been really busy up to then but the phone started ringing non-stop after we won the award. Everyone was delighted for us, which makes it all worthwhile." said Daragh, reflecting on a busy few weeks since he won the Equestrian Farmer of the Year at the recent Zurich Farming Independent Farmer of the Year Awards.
Having been pipped at the post to second place last year by Tipperary-based pinhooker Rory Maher, Daragh was thrilled to pick up the accolade second time round during the black-tie evening in the Ballsbridge Hotel.
"Several of our friends and clients nominated us for it again this year, which was very much appreciated.
"It's nice to know we can do the job, and do it well. It means a lot for us as a family to win an award like this, particularly for the publicity.
"Personally it would be great to see more awards for equestrian businesses. They are a good incentive for people to push themselves and get their name out there."
As many of their customers will testify, Daragh and his brother Alan are fortunate to have a super team behind them which makes the 240ac Abbeyfield Farm the success it is today.
Both Daragh's wife Grainne and Alan's wife Susie play active roles in the day-to-day running of the equestrian outfit, which has been in operation now for some 30 years.