Ferro is a seven year old bay (2005) mare by Creevagh Ferro out of a Laughton’s Flight (King of Diamonds) mare. I bought her as a four year old in 2009 from Brian Lear, who had already sold me Buddy. I loved her from the first moment I saw her (when I was trying Buddy) but was in the middle of my degree and didn’t have time for another horse, but once I had finished my finals, I took a deep breath and blew a large chunk of my savings on buying here. At the time she had jumped several British Novices and she then jumped several more with me. Ferro is a completely different horse from those I had evented and hunted before. She has a classic warmblood way of going with a big, careful jump, and when I bought her I was concerned that I wouldn’t be accurate enough for such a careful and rather spooky horse. During the winter of 2009 I started training regularly with Shane Breen and along with Brian he has been a huge factor in helping me cement my relationship with Ferro. As a five year old Ferro quickly jumped through Newcomers and jumped a few Foxhunters. She started her six year old career appearing to lack a bit of courage and being super spooky. However, I think that she grew a lot at the beginning of last year, and it took both of us a while to get used to her new huge canter. By the end of her six year old year she was jumping 1.20′s very confidently and had had a trip to France. She was placed equal 1st in the six year old championships at Windsor and jumped double clear in the six year olds at the Hickstead Derby meeting, so in reality she had probably jumped a couple of 1.30′s by the end of the year. She had a three month break and came back into work in December. This year she has been in tremendous form, jumping several 1.30 double clears, winning two Foxhunters and being placed in a 1.30 at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead. Ferro finished the 2012 season with a few quiet rounds in 1.20′s and her first day’s hunting which she thoroughly enjoyed – proving herself to be a very adept hedge-hopper and meaning that there will be a lovely alternative career waiting for her when she finishes jumping.
LITTLE PENNY (Biscuit)
When the outdoor jumping season ends and the horses have a break is an ideal time to start another young horse. I bought Biscuit in September 2011 from Shane Breen. She is a six year old (2006) bright bay mare by Tadmus (Calvados) out of a Hello (Animo) mare who Shane used to jump. Having been very poor when the Breens bought her as a three year old she had only been started and hacked about in Ireland by John Breen (Shane’s father), and her formal education had only just started when I bought her. As she is now six she was under a bit of pressure to progress quite quickly, but she is a very nice and easy mare. Although her flat work could be more established she is pretty good, and she has progressed from doing her first 80cm clear round at the beginning of October, to having several Newcomers placings and having jumped one Foxhunter. She is a really bold, careful and scopey mare who seems to relish jumping in the ring. By the end of the season she was going beautifully and so I am excited to see what she will be like after her winter holiday.
DOONAVEERAGH EMMA (Emma)
Emma is a five year old (2007) dark bay mare by Creevagh Ferro. I bought her from Brian Lear as an unbroken three year old, and have ridden her myself since she was backed. Brian bought both Emma and Ferro from Andrew Gardiner in Ireland, and Emma had qualified for and been placed 4th in the three year old fillies loose jumping at the Royal Dublin Show. Although she is only 15.3hh, Emma is very fiesty, and I will be very lucky if I ever get to sit on such a talented horse again, she has the most exceptional scopey jump and is absolutely fabulous behind. She also appears to be very bold and to really enjoy her work. She qualifed for the four year old championships at Hickstead last summer and jumped beautifully in the main ring, just getting a bit tired towards the end. This summer Emma has jumped 19 Newcomers double clears, winning three times and has now jumped her first two Foxhunters, just having one pole in the jump-off both times. She has finally become really rideable in the ring and qualified for the five year old finals at both the All England Jumping Championships at Hickstead and at Arena UK.
THE AUCTIONEER (Homer)
Homer is a six year old (2006) bay gelding by Harlequin du Carel, one of my favourite Irish sire. I bought him from Shane Breen at the beginning of May. He spent the whole of last winter hunting in Ireland with Shane’s father, so he has quite a lot to learn about flat work. He is the most fabulous jumper and he is now starting to understand that the new flat work and the jumping might be connected. I have called him the Auctioneer in memory of my dad – so he had better live up to the name! He is now jumping Newcomers quite happily and has won a tiny bit of money. I have also had sevearl day’s Autumn Hunting on him, and one day’s proper hunting. What a joy to ride such a civilised horse! He is beautifully behaved and the most fantastic and careful jumper, over timber, hedges, gates and even barbed wire! He is the most delightful horse who is ridden and enjoyed by everybody at home, and so hopefully by the end of the winter he will have found himself a lovely new home.