Mares, special friends
Who hasnt heard of Maggie?? She came into our lives as a 2 y.o. when spotted by the side of the road in Mayo. Her owner was not inclined to sell as he had only bought her as a foal but the huge price (in 1977) of £750 changed his mind. It was him who named her Maggie and being by Blue Peter, her namesake in the UK had just become leader of the Conservatives and it seemed appropriately inappropriate!
The much-used photo of Susie jumping her over a Meath ditch without a bit in her mouth was taken by a local amateur enthusiast who stood in it to get the snap. Maggie had a string of foals by Pride of Shaunlara starting with True Blue who was presented to the Queen as an example of a good Irish Draught, through Yes Minister, The Iron Lady, a multiple winner, Task Force, Backbencher, Oh! Carol, (named after Mrs. T's daughter) also a multiple winner and of course our own Thatcherite who won us more prizes in one season than we could have dreamt. We had to make the difficult decision to sell either Maggie or her young daughter and as she was not overly devoted to us, she left us via Tattersalls and sadly died after foaling to Glenagyle Rebel aged 16.
This lovely mare came to us in her later life from the well-known author Marjorie Quarton, better known for "Breakfast the Night Before" and Abbervail Dream. We had spotted Brosna with her foal when he was being sold at the famous Ballinasloe Fair but it was 6 years later that she became ours. She was in foal to Clover Hill and had a colt which later represented the UK Amateur team jumping in Ireland. But her foal by Glenside was no less than GLENAGYLE REBEL and was everything we dreamed of breeding in a colt. After him she bred 3 to Pride of Shaunlara including a super colt who grew too big for a stallion and has carried a Master for the past 6 years. Rudely known as DONK he has been known to go where no horse has gone before. Brosna had one filly by Pride to keep the line, and a granddaughter Crosstown Jewel who bred no less than Rosetown Annie the 1999 Supreme Champion Irish Draught.
MISS GETHINS & CARLISHEEN MOLLY & CORAL SEA
Carly, (we already had a Molly) who should really have been Corly as the townland was Corlisheen, but a misprint by our revered Bord na gCapall remained uncorrected was also first spotted in Ballinasloe Fair. She was with her mother, a chestnut mare to die for. Only about 15.2 but with a gorgeous head and front, and super movement. Carly on the other hand had a plain head as a then 3 y o. and was only about 15.1 but there was something about her. We bought both and as Miss Gethins was broken and ridden she went straight on to friends of ours who hunted her. She finished the day with only the hunt staff for company and when they asked where she had hunted before we found out that she had only hacked across country. Such is the ability of the Irish Draught. She was also carrying twins (went 10 days Over time) and they were not only reared but grew to 16.1 and 17.hh! When her owner sadly died we bought her back and she had 3 more foals including a lovely filly by Blue Peter called Blue Babylon and the fabulous Suma's Folklore. The latter, together with The Thatcherite and their respective foals both by Glenagyle Rebel also created a record by being the first homebred Champion & Reserve in the Millstreet I.D.Mare Championships with foals by a homebred Stallion. Not bad, eh?!
Meanwhile Carly who was supposed to be broken turned out not to be and we had great discussions with her as to the best way of doing things which was not always her way, to her disgust. But what a jumper! She grew to about 15.3 and after her first foal, Rathdrinagh, later Coral Sea, never missed a year except once intentionally for the next 15 years. Always a fantastic mover put with Pride's generous nature she produced 2 International showjumpers, CORAL SEA and SUMA'S OSCAR and 5 other registered ones, all purebred except her daughter Horlicks by our Horos whom we still have..
Carly grew in her mid years into a lovely mare, real type with this brilliant action that typifies all her family and she was Reserve Champion in Dublin one year with the winning colt, now in Canada as Garryowen. She has progeny in 5 countries and Coral Sea has the distinction of being the only horse ever to appear in the prestigious Greenvale Irish Draught Mare Championship as a 4 y.o with a foal, and some 7 or 8 years later return to the International ring for the Jumping Derby! What a mare!
Although we bought her back when she was advertised aged19 to give her a good retirement, we had hoped she would go in foal, but this was not to be so after a relaxing and grass-filled 2 years we said goodbye and many thanks for what she had done for us.
We have estimated that Softee has at least 500 descendents already! Sadly her days have just ended aged 25, some 22 years since we bought her from Sam Morrison in Portadown as a newly broken 3 y.o. The image of her sire, Skylark R.I.D. her slightly mournful face belied her sweet and gentle disposition. Without doubt if Susie had asked her to jump off O'Connell Bridge, she would have done so as there was no braver hunter ever born. As a five year old she had her first foal to Blue Peter, no less than WHIPPY, and then, every year she alternated between Master's horse or breeding. She loved both equally but the other Master begged Susie to get a gelding!
Two foals by PRIDE followed, one being the dam of Crosstown Dancer, named TARA SKY, then several by GLENAGYLE REBEL including Suma's Harkaway who was exported to Australia.
As a 6 y.o. she joined the I.D.H.S. team with Susie to take part in the World Championships in Dublin, and then competed and won the Utility class at the RDS which consisted of ridden, pulling a log, showing, and driving in a trap. We had great difficulty finding an outfit big enough for her 16.2 frame especially as she was pregnant at the time. Softee, (always bottom of the pecking order in a field) had twelve foals in total, having the unique ability to throw to the stallion Thus, SUMA'S MURPHY'S LAW is very like his father Pride in looks and character and her final foal, by the exciting VDL ARKANSAS is the image of him.
Named CALIFORNIA she will be given every chance to prove herself to have the performance of her sire and the generosity and toughness of SOFTEE. (more Softee photos)
Mega is one mare whose whereabouts we don't know so although she has gone from us she should be around somewhere in Europe, probably now on a Warmblood stud book! Out of our brilliant Whippy (happily still with us) Mega had her first public appearance as an 8 hr foal and was never long out of the news. Her showing career began as a 2 yr. old as up till then she was the original ugly duckling, with her back end preceding her front in height sometimes by as much as 3 inches! Her class came out however and she finished 3rd to her own aunt Suma's Disco, then a yearling, in the All Ireland Irish Draught Fillies Championship in Limerick, having been 5th in the Limerick lady. At 3 she took her first RDS red ribbon in the Young Mare class and at 4 produced her first of 3 foals by Glenagyle Rebel. This was followed over the next 3 years by many Championships but at 6 we decided it was time she was broken. This was a revelation to us as her jumping style and potential was fantastic. In fact, as with Coral Sea she was too good to return to breeding and was sold to Denmark and then on again to Germany. If anyone knows where she is now, PLEASE, let us know. It is rare to get such talent in a mare who is such a good representative of the breed.