Brain worms,the ultimate buzz and cash in the bank

Blackhill Inspired,by Colin Diamond. Now showjumping in Sweden.

Gizmo. By Calypso D’Herbier. Now a broodmare in Kilkenny.

Kim,the very first horse I had to sell. By NC Amiro and Now jumping in Scotland.

Outfoxed. Now eventing successfully in Northern Ireland.

Stracomer Sunshine,currently here with me.

Blackhill Border Fox. Eventing successfully in Northern Ireland.

Vector M2S. By Ekstein out of a Calvados mare. Showjumping internationally in Italy.

Fireball Sally,by Overbury. Doing racehorse to riding horse classes.

Cooley Nothing Better B. Homebred by us. Now eventing at 2* level in America.
Published by Eventing Connect 

I love finding and producing young horses. I have a system that serves me well and it’s about as unorthodox as can be. Firstly,I never actually LOOK for horses. They tend to float into view and then drop into my lap. If I’m in a position to investigate further,then I do. Secondly,if I do take a good look at the horse and I can’t stop thinking about it,il probably buy it-especially if it’s a mare. I like looking at them when they are raw and hairy,and really thinking about what they might make into. I get a feeling from the ones I buy,and I just KNOW with every fibre of my being that the horse is going to be good.If the horse becomes a total brainworm,I can’t let it go. I have been right every time so far-apart from that one time,when I learned a really big lesson……

Gizmo was stunning. She was French bred and she was fabulous. I had bought and sold a few with some success,so I was getting a bit big for my boots-so much so that I decided to not ride her. She was an 8 year old and she looked awesome on camera,so I’d  just buy her-sure I knew it all didn’t I? No. No I did not. The first time I sat on her,I knew I had made a terrible mistake. She had been tortured with draw reins and instead of teaching her to shorten her frame,she had been taught to canter like a rabied 12.2-legs akimbo and brain on fire. Horrible. A couple of weeks after this,I found her losing her mind in the stable one night. We treated as for colic,but I had a hunch it was more than that and I had her scanned the next day. She had a massive ovarian tumour and bleeding into the peritoneal cavity. Fucking marvellous. She had surgery and I don’t know what I was expecting,but a reformation it was not. Out of desperation I took her in hand showing (is there anything more tedious??) but she was far too fancy and glamourous for the traditional judges,so we bombed at that as well.In the end I gave her away as a broodmare. Lesson learned and fortunes lost-try buying with your brain……I must have had my head in the microwave that day…..

I like to buy horses that are unbroken-it’s not that I enjoy the underpant-soiling delight of being the first man on board,but I get to do things my way from the start. I absolutely adore watching horses think,and when they join the dots in training  it’s just so satisfying. I prefer to buy mares where possible,and I don’t like spending too much cash on them. I don’t mind splints or scars,but the limb confirmation needs to be as good as can be. Any hint of psychosis is a no,they must have a good eye and an open expression-I have done my time at the whackadoodle coal face.

So there you have it,My recipe for success-about as non scientific as it’s possible to be. Life is short,buy the damn horse……especially if it’s me selling it!


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I am a Sports horse producer based in Ireland. That sounds very grand....the reality is that life here is crazy-trying to fit four horses,200 cattle,a baby and a husband into a day results in tales of the insane and a feeling of lurching through life with no clue what's going on. I have a keen interest in everything from planets to bones to quantum mechanics,and am a perpetual asker of the question 'why?'.

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