FLYING THE IRISH DRAUGHT FLAG AT HOYS 2010
Thursday, November 11 2010 @ 06:35 PM GMT
The Irish Draught Horse Society (GB) were invited to take part in the Interactive Breed Feature for the first time this year and the public were delighted to be able to meet two pure bred geldings, Guiding Light (Becks) on Wednesday, and Cabra West (Tigger), who had been competing in the HW hunters on Wednesday, spent the rest of the week (Thursday to Sunday) entertaining his adoring public! Literally thousands of people visited the Feature area and were stood 10-deep outside the stables, waiting patiently to touch and see the horses. Many thanks to Val Henshaw and Sam Roche for loaning us their lovely horses; both were a credit to themselves, their owners and to the Breed. All the visitors to the stand were impressed by the large posters of Draughts in different disciplines and were most complimentary.
Tigger had just returned from the Irish Draught Annual Breed Show where he had been the winner of the Blue Chip and IDHS (GB) £2,000 Challenge for the second year running. Both these horses thrive on attention and stole the show in what was a great week for the Irish Draught Horse.
Top rider and producer, Robert Oliver, Vice President of the Society and winner of the HW Hunters in 2009, pulled it out of the bag again when he took the Top Spec Heavyweight Hunter title, for the second year running, on purebred Irish Draught gelding, Loughkeen Dancing Lord. By Registered Irish Draught stallion, Crosstown Dancer ex Loughkeen Lady, this talented eight-year-old, owned by Mrs Bernie White, was foot perfect and was a most popular winner.
In the evening performance, he was crowned Reserve Supreme Champion Hunter of the Year, a step up from his 2009 performance and The Supreme Champion Hunter of the Year title went to Robert Walker, on MW Champion, Pride and Joy. The spectators were delighted to see Robert back in the saddle after his dreadful illness earlier this year.
There were many pure and part-bred Irish Draughts across all three weights and Katie Tyler, Marketing Director of Top Spec Feeds, who sponsor the ridden hunter Championships at HOYS, said :
“Year after year, the Irish Draught influence in the Hunter Classes becomes more and more prevalent. The horses are easily distinguishable, with their superior bone, temperament, presence and obvious desire to please. They truly are a force to be reckoned with.”
On Friday evening, the Champion Cob was Hallmark IX, owned by Rosemary Hetherington, ridden by Jack Cochrane. This beautiful horse is also a Purebred Irish Draught, further highlighting the Breed’s versatility.
Those of us who love the Draught are already aware of their versatility, talent and calm, unruffled temperaments, but this was a great opportunity to bring the Draught to the attention of all the visitors, spectators and other riders at this most prestigious show. Many people were very surprised to learn that Lenamore, winner of Burghley 2010, was 50% Irish Draught (by Sea Crest) and was only 15.1hh. We certainly plan to be back next year.
The breed Feature was closed to the public from 1.00 pm to 2.30 pm everyday, to allow the horses and ponies to have a rest and on Sunday lunchtime we had a visit from a special lady, Gina Holland, from Birmingham. Gina had been a horse enthusiast in her younger days, but now she is debilitated by illness and unable to walk. The stewards asked if she could be wheeled in to see the Irish Draught whilst there were no crowds and Tigger was only too happy to oblige. This gentle creature stayed absolutely still whilst Gina’s daughter lifted her hand to stroke his muzzle. He blew softly on her face and her smile of delight lit up her face and the entire area.
Another welcome visitor was Susan Finnerty, a journalist from Ireland, and her write up appeared in both the Irish Journal and the Irish Field, so thank you, Susan.
Grateful thanks must go to all the helpers on the Breed Stand during the week;
Beth Brown, Norma and David Grubb, Val Henshaw, Rob Beeton and Guiding Light, Jean Marshall, Louise Morton, Mark Reeves, Sam Roche and Cabra West, Lucinda Roche, William Roche, Pam Symonds, Sue Tutcher, Poppy Tutcher and Mary Wilson
Thanks also to the many Members who visited the stand to show their support and to man the fort whilst those of us who were there all day had a break for a cup of tea and a sandwich. It was much appreciated by all.