Farm Ireland

Monday 26 February 2018

Spotlight on sport horse foals ahead of the RDS August show

The Rothwells’ home-bred mares Greenhall Wishing Well (PJ Casey) and her full-sister Greenhall Cruising (Mary Rothwell) in the RDS last year
The Rothwells’ home-bred mares Greenhall Wishing Well (PJ Casey) and her full-sister Greenhall Cruising (Mary Rothwell) in the RDS last year

June is traditionally a time for breeders to aim their best foals at Dublin Horse Show qualifiers and many stallion owners are eager to see which horses have made the cut for the RDS in August.

Nick Cousins is particularly delighted to see some progeny of Dignified Van't Zorgvliet set to return with the Rothwell family, having watched one of his fillies finish a close second with them in the Breeders' Championship last summer.

The Rothwells of Tinahely in Co Wicklow are among the best in the business, and this month they have already qualified two of their best mares, with a further two being aimed for this prestigious class in the coming weeks.

At 19 years old, the Cruising mare Millennium Cruise is no stranger to the winners' enclosure and took the title in 2011, while also finishing reserve on several other occasions.

This year she returns with her colt by Dignified Van't Zorgvliet, while stablemate Greenhall Indicator will compete alongside her with her colt by Ars Vivendi.

Given her superb jumping pedigree, the Rothwells say Millennium Cruise is best suited to a stallion with a performance record.

They have been lucky with her in the past, with the US-based Grand Prix show jumper Complete Luck, by Lucky de Blondel, among her progeny.

"For showing we want to produce a correct model, but we also need something with a good step," commented Mary Rothwell. "Sadly there is not enough of a choice with ISH sires so we are happy to use warmbloods that are based here in Ireland."

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Over the years, the Rothwells have tried and tested the market and cater for the customers' requirements. "When looking at our foals they usually want something with jumping bloodlines."

Mary Rothwell says that the advantage of having the qualifiers in June is always welcomed as qualified mares and foals can then be let off until early August before final preparations get underway.

"While they are well handled we try to do the minimum with them and let them be as natural as possible in the ring."

This year Ms Rothwell has observed that some of the foals in the show ring are quite heavy, something that will nearly always come against them later in life.

"We certainly don't believe in over-doing the foals, in that they are not overfed. They will already be getting plenty of protein from the mare as she will be fed anyway."

In addition to their runner-up placing in the Breeders' Championship, last year the Rothwells also scooped the hunter mare title and reserve supreme with the home-bred Greenhall Wishing Well.

Qualifiers for the Breeders' Championship conclude at the West Clare Show in Kilrush this coming Saturday.

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