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Thursday 14 December 2017

Lambert's stud farm still breeding BAGS of Bounce

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Watching Jack Lambert spring into the plate on his stallion Killinick Rebel, it's hard to believe that the man is 81 years of age.

It's even harder to believe it when, five minutes later, he's popping the horse over a strand of white tape out in the field and clearing a wide ditch without so much as turning a hair.

The Wexford native has been immersed in horses since he first started hunting at the age of ten and, 70 years later, he still hunts twice a week. Horses are his passion and Irish Draught horses in particular.

The best known of his horses has to be the grey stallion Grange Bouncer, named after Jack's townland on the outskirts of Wexford town. A grade A showjumper and producer of no less than three Class 1 Irish Draught stallion sons, the sire has progeny all over the world, from the United States to Germany, Britain and France.

Sadly, the famous sire by Prospect Pride (ID) out of Grange Heath (ID) was put to sleep last November when the melanomas that so often afflict grey horses started to take a toll on his quality of life.

"In a way I was happy when he died because I hated to see him suffer," recalls Jack. "He never lost condition but he was slow to cover mares in his last season and I knew it was time to let him go."

In his stud career of 16 years, the remarkably athletic Irish Draught sire covered more than 500 mares and was renowned for producing athletic horses with a fantastic temperament.

"He was a pure gentleman," recalls Jack. "A child could ride him."

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In fact, the stallion was often used by Jack as a schoolmaster to introduce local youngsters and visiting guests to the thrill of hunting with the Killinicks.

"In his last season he took five different teenagers to their first meet," he says. "And when I had visitors over from America, they would almost queue up to take him out for the day."

Inheriting such a biddable temperament and the ability to jump, it is little wonder that Grange Bouncer progeny have always been always successful in competition. Horse Sport Ireland awarded the stallion a gold merit for showjumping, as well as a gold star for eventing and a bronze merit for dressage.

He show jumped up to the 1m30 level and competed up to CIC3* level in eventing.

One of his most successful offspring, Brookfield de Bouncer (ISH), has reached CIC3* level in eventing under New Zealand rider Dan Jocelyn, while Dassett Breeze (ISH) and Bounce Along (ISH) are currently competing at CNC1* level in Britain.

In dressage, Baraderry Sting (ISH) has competed successfully at Elementary level, while Born To Bounce (ISH), Bounce Back George (ISH), Gorsehill Maya (ISH) and The Grey Lord (ISH) have all racked up Dressage Ireland points.

Grange Bouncer's last foal to be born on the Lambert's farm is a black filly born less than a month ago. However, this filly is by no means the only horse destined to carry on his legacy. His son, Killinick Bouncer, stands at the farm and is more than happy to continue his father's stud duties.

Ridden by Jack's daughter Clare in competition, the nine-year-old stallion has been awarded a silver merit for his own showjumping performance so far. He is showjumping at 1m30 and also competes in eventing.

Grange Bouncer's other stallion sons include Clew Bay Bouncer, who stands at Drummindoo Stud, Westport, Co Mayo and Moylough Bouncer, who has a gold merit for his own showjumping performance and stands with Liam Lynskey in Swinford, Co Mayo.

Moylough Bouncer has also sired another Class 1 stallion in Darragh Moylough Vision, who was approved at the 2013 stallion inspections.

It turns out that the breeding of Grange Bouncer was not, in fact, an intentional act by Jack Lambert.

"I didn't even want a stallion," he laughs. "I was hoping for a filly!"

"It was the mare's last season breeding – Grange Heather – and I wanted to keep her line going so I was going to keep her last filly," he explains. "She didn't give me what I wanted but as soon as I saw the colt, I knew he would make a stallion."

It took several attempts before Grange Bouncer was approved by the Irish Horse Board, something that Jack was disgruntled about at the time.

"They thought he was too light of bone and wanted me to present him as a sport horse stallion but I wouldn't insult my pure Irish Draught stallion by doing that. I could trace his lineage back for more than three generations of Irish Draught horses."

It was third time lucky in 1998 when Grange Bouncer was finally approved as a six-year-old.

Jack has now officially retired from breeding horses at Grange, having handed over the reins to his daughter Ann in recent years.

Her new stallion, thoroughbred Robin de la Maison (by Robin Des Champs X Allegoric), is firmly aimed at breeders who want to produce event horses.

"He's got a great temperament, which is essential in a thoroughbred sire for eventing, and he's got loads of scope for jumping," she says. The three-year-old stallion was approved by the Horse Sport Ireland stallion inspection panel earlier this year.

He has already covered a host of well-bred mares, including a sister of Master Mexico and a number of mares from well-known event producer Richard Sheane.

One of his first foals on the ground is a colt out of Eileen Dun (by Flagmount King), the dam of Killinick Bouncer. The colt's progress will be watched closely by the Lamberts and other breeders to see what influence Robin de la Maison will have on what is already a proven line of performers.

"They're all looking for thoroughbred stallions these days," says Jack. "A few years ago, it was all Irish Draughts people wanted but the fashions keep changing as the years go on."

To see more about the Lambert family and watch Jack in action on Killinick Rebel, check out www.irishhorse.tv

Irish Independent



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