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Wexford couple to feature in new six-part series on RTE

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Margaret Jeffares with the multiple winning gelding Ballykelly Emperor in 2015.

Margaret Jeffares with the multiple winning gelding Ballykelly Emperor in 2015.

Margaret Jeffares with the multiple winning gelding Ballykelly Emperor in 2015.

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A Wexford couple will feature in a new six-part series that tells the stories of people and their horses who make up that world. It’s set in the Covid summer of 2021 when many sport horse events were cancelled, and those that did take place were attended only by the competitors and their close connections.

While that diminished the atmosphere, the competitive passions were always in evidence with every character featured in the new series.

Horse Country tells stories of success, failure, frustration and exhilaration. They are treaded through different programs with many coming together at the Dublin Horse Horse Show at the RDS in the final episode. What each story thread has in common, is the passion and love that Irish people have for their horses.

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This is not a series with formal interviews — nearly all the interviews take place in fields or stables with horses nearly always present. Like humans, horses are complex creatures who sometimes just don’t feel like performing. It’s a tangled relationship with its fair share of trust issues and disappointing outcomes. But hope springs eternal and that often contradictory combination of human and horse expectations provides plenty of drama and unexpected outcomes.

Horse Country follows a group of people and their horses as the humans try to achieve a set of goals.

The programme will feature Margaret and Des Jeffares who have been breeding and selling top class horses alongside their blackcurrant farm in the county. In 2021 they decided to compete themselves with a 4 year-old who made it to the RDS Horse Show finals. It was a bitter-sweet experience.

Other people featured six teenage members of the Kildare Pont Club who qualified for the Three Day Eventing national championship in Tattersalls in County Meath and Finbar and Joanne Mulligan who have a modest breeding operation with one big goal: to breed a full sibling to the star Irish Sport Horse, Kilkenny. They own Kilkenny’s mother but she can no longer deliver a foal. The other problem is that Kilkenny’s father is dead. A fascinating saga of cutting edge veterinary science, frozen semen, surrogacy, embryos from Italy, and high hopes.

Horse Country is directed and produced by Kate O’Callaghan and Patrick Farrelly, award winning documentary film makers (IFTA, Best Documentary; Dublin Film Festival, Best Irish Film; and Emmy Award nomination). Their most recent work for RTE was the critically acclaimed feature documentary, ‘Marian’ about the life of the late Marian Finucane.

Horse Country – A six-part documentary series on RTE 1, begins this Tuesday August 2 at 7pm.

Horse Country is sponsored by Horse Sport Ireland, the governing body for equestrian sport in Ireland, in association with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, as well as Sport Ireland.


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