Triple strike at World Breeding Junior Championships
Irish competitors won three medals at the FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships in Belgium
Producing and selling young horses takes much time and patience, but it all paid off for Ger O'Neill at the recent FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships in Lanaken, Belgium as he lifted Ireland's third ever gold medal at these finals with the six-year-old Irish Sport Horse Killossery Kaiden.
This capped off a wonderful weekend as 16-year-old Mikey Pender also claimed silver and bronze in the year-younger equivalent with Z Seven Caretina and Z Seven Canya Dance.
Though previously involved with the production and sale of two former medallists at the venue - namely Ard Ginger Pop and Castlefield Denver - this was the first success in the saddle for O'Neill, who runs Castlefield Sport Horses from his base at Bennetsbridge in Co Kilkenny.
"I've been to Lanaken before and was there when Bertram (Allen) finished second on Castlefield Denver in 2013. He was co-owned by myself, Bertram and Neal Fearon. It was fantastic to finally get to lift a medal myself," he said.
On that occasion Ireland had won its second ever gold thanks to the five-year-old Arraghbeg Clover, ridden by Greg Broderick.
Both Ger O'Neill and Greg Broderick are hugely successful young horse producers in their own right, but also own several between them.
"Greg is a great friend and he was fantastic during the championships and really helped me a lot to prepare for the final, as did our team manager John Ledingham."
A total of 264 six-year-old horses from around the globe had started their quest for world championship glory, but just 40 made the cut for the final. At this stage just three remained to fly the Irish flag - O'Neill riding Killossery Kaiden, Broderick aboard Santa Catalina and Broderick's cousin and stable rider Darragh Ryan on Ballypatrick Flamenco.