Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Hughes' inspiration lands top honours at Equus Live

TOP PERFORMANCES: Vaulters Andrew McLaughlan and Rebecca Norval thrill the crowds at Equus Live 2013
TOP PERFORMANCES: Vaulters Andrew McLaughlan and Rebecca Norval thrill the crowds at Equus Live 2013
Marion Hughes with Prof Pat Wall after winning the inaugural Irish Sport Horse Studbook Mare Championship
Lucy Millar during the Dressage Masterclass with Dane Rawlins at Equus Live 2013 LAURENCE DUNNE/JUMPINACTION.NET
PARADE: The Parade of Breeds featured horses and riders of all shapes and sizes LAURENCE DUNNE
VETERAN: Showjumping hero Cruising, now aged 28, pictured the Parade of Breeds at Equus Live 2013 LAURENCE DUNNE
Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

HHS Inspiration, owned by international showjumper Marion Hughes, took the honours in the inaugural Irish Sport Horse (ISH) Studbook Mare Championship at Equus Live recently.

The three-year-old grey mare, by OBOS Quality out of Inspiration (ISH) by Balboa (TB), was bred by Marion at her base in Graigue, Cuffesgrane, Co Kilkenny.

As both owner and breeder of the mare, Marion collected a total of €2,500 in prize money.

The championship showcased the top three-year-old and four-year-old mares that were presented for inspection in 2013 and were assessed by Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) inspection panel on the basis of their pedigree, conformation, movement and athleticism.

A total of 15 mares qualified for presentation at the crowded event centre in Punchestown and received an ISH Studbook mare premium of €250 for the owner and €100 for the breeder of the mare.

HHS Inspiration was awarded 26 pedigree bonus points during the inspection process for having a five-star rated sire in OBOS Quality, a five-star dam in Inspiration, a one- star damsire in Balboa and a five-star second dam, Twinkle (ISH).

The dam of the winning mare, Inspiration secured a five-star rating for producing progeny that jumped at Nations Cup and Grand Prix level.

Among her 14 ISH foals (five colts and nine fillies) was HHS Cashmere, a mare by Cavalier Royale (HOLST), who has a four-star rating for her own performance at 1.35m and above.

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Inspiration's dam was Twinkle (by King of Diamonds IDC1), who was also the dam of Marion's famous mare Flo Jo, a crowd favourite of the 1990s and a daughter of Clover Hill (IDC1). She also produced the five-star mare Gifted, by Cavalier Royale (HOLST), who is the second dam of Echo Beach, ridden by Cian O'Connor.


The well-known sire, OBOS Quality 004 (OLD), has a five-star rating for his showjumping progeny's performance, a four-star rating for his progeny's eventing performance and a one-star rating for his own performance.

The class attracted a large crowd of interested breeders to Equus Live, which proved to be a fantastic showcase for the breeders.

A useful addition to next year's championship would be a demonstration of how the inspection panel assess the mares, perhaps including a jumping demonstration from a mare likely to meet the judges' approval.

Meanwhile, visitors to Equus Live were treated to an enormous range of displays and entertainment, ranging from show horses to the breath-taking vaulting display and the mischievous showjumper Geoff Billington.

Children were well catered for, with miniature horses dressed up as fairies and jumping the Puissance wall, as well as a bouncy castle area hosted by Equipeople au pairs to wear out even the most energetic of kids.

One area to improve for next year will be the sound system quality and, after such a successful first event, much more seating will be required.

Show producer Katie Jerram had her work cut out for her in the working and show hunter demonstration, with some of the horses intimidated by the crowd on the long side.


However Rosemary Connors, as was to be expected, put in a foot-perfect display with her young working hunter, leaving her English colleague confined more to traffic control than critique.

Being the prolific show producer she is, Jerram was quickly able to identify how each rider could improve their horse's way of going.

Personally, I would have preferred her to be more direct about what was right and wrong with each competitor's turnout and be more forthright about what the judge looks for in each class.

Dressage coach and competitor Dane Rawlins produced a great dressage demonstration with the help of three Dressage Ireland riders, including the bling-tastic Yvette Truesdale.

The Irish international sported diamante not only on her hat, but also on her horse's plaiting bands.

Despite being the last demonstration scheduled for Saturday evening, the eventing master class featuring Piggy French and Elizabeth Power drew a large crowd.

While the sound system made it difficult to hear the British rider at times, the pair worked well together, showcasing the type of work they would focus on for horses of different ages.

Elizabeth's thoroughbred Kilpatrick River and her young coloured event horse Codaline, together with the young Dutch Warmblood horse, were ideal candidates to show off the training required at each stage of their education.

The horses were worked on the flat and over fences and I would have liked to see the riders tackle some cross-country fences such as a skinny, which were available in the arena after the working hunter demonstration.

Overall, Equus Live was a roaring success and testimony to the thriving thoroughbred and sport horse industries in Ireland.

The format worked well, visitors got value for their entry fee and the feedback so far would suggest that the organisers should be scouting for a bigger venue for the 2014 show.

Irish Independent

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