Foundation Stallions

Pride of Shaunlara

It was never our intention to buy a stallion but we fell for him hook line and sinker when we met him with Dan Downey, a neighbour of Billy Cotter. He was 8 years old and had done 5 seasons in Cork from Dunmanway, and as we thought he would never be sold we had bought Billy Cotters yearling by him ex Enniskeane Countess the day before we happened to be in the right place at theright time & clinched a deal. Billy's colt, subsequently named Enniskeane Pride, went on to top the sale in Goresbridge as a 2 year old and was fully approved as an RID stallion in the UK the following year.

PRIDE travelled up to County Meath in autumn 1977 in a 12 hr epic journey with 2 wives, a son and a daughter. One ‘wife’ was his many times consort, ENNISKEANE COUNTESS with a very young late colt foal at foot squashed in beside mother. This was an old lorry, before herringbone fashion, 2 faced forward and 2 to the rear. The stallion was the last loaded and, as we always said, the Pride went out of Cork. Another foal was Shauna, weaned that day, and never before tied up. She became a multiple winner of I.D. championships owned by Mick Gavin and bred a Grade A jumping mare by Imperious. The colt became the first ever Champion Ridden Hunter at the First National I.D. show held at Ashfield in 1985 and, known to his friends as Britvic, Enniskeane Count was a prolific winner in Cobs, small hunters and Riding Club events of all descriptions.

Arriving at the Lanigan-O’Keeffe’s yard in Tara, we proceeded to break the then coming 9 yr old, riding within 5 days, as, of course he was fully mature and frighteningly intelligent. It has to be said that his ‘mouth’ had been desensitized by 5 years at stud so he went where he was asked more by kindness and curiosity than obedience! Nonetheless Susie brought him to some Indoor shows (just in their infancy then) which he loved. He showed a powerful, careful and stylish jump, enough to attract Paul Darragh’s eye who wanted to buy him there and then. Come the spring and outdoor shows Pride’s attention, never fully concentrated, was on all the beautiful mares in the field so Susie (who had already given up jumping once) called a halt and we moved Pride to Ashfield where we set up Suma Stud. The following winter he went to Joseph McGrath’s yard where Tom Hutchinson was due to compete him for us but that year all the shows were cancelled due to Equine Flu. This was a great pity as by then we knew the horse could have gone a long way as a jumper and he would have been used by many more non purebred breeders to produce show jumpers. Instead he made his reputation on “things on strings” as all his stock inherited his gorgeous head and had great presence. Joe McGrath told us they tried him over 6 foot and it was child’s play to him. Much later in his life when Susie was riding him in our fields he had taken a strong hold and to pull him up she pointed him at a large round bale; needless to say he sailed over it! One thing they noticed was that he always slowed up when asked to jump a white wooden gate and always go the second time. We realised this was because it was exactly like the gate in his own paddock but that had an electric fence just a couple of yards from it and he was no fool!

This being 1978 the Irish Draught was considered by the Authorities to be a dying breed so a massive leap of faith was needed to stand an Irish Draught in Co. Meath, a county noted for its top class T.B. studs. Pride’s first season was spent convincing the locals that we hadn’t brought a carthorse to the area. Anyone who took the trouble to look at him was knocked out by his quality, intelligence and sheer physical presence. We were invited to parade him at the R.D.S. where he picked up more friends. Enniskeane Countess, who had spent the winter at Suma, was the first mare to be covered in the spring and she duly conceived her fourth colt by him, Enniskeane Prince, and Billy Cotter was to be deprived of a filly again. The best young mare he covered in ’78 was afterwards a many times partner, the outstanding Blue Peter mare, Mrs. Thatcher. The result was a lovely colt who became True Blue (known to us as Teddy) and was bought by Sir John Galvin to present to Queen Elizabeth as an excellent representative of the Irish Draught breed. He was later seen in the Trooping of the Colour and was driven by Prince Michael of Kent but, being a bit livelier than some of his comrades he was transferred to the Melton Mowbray remount centre from where he wound up as the First Whip’s ride with the Quorn. They said they could never get to the bottom of him and they were offered a blank cheque for him from the USA but he was still doing his two days a week until his late teens at least.

From right to left: The Thatcherite, Pride, Murphy, Glenagyle Rebel in the Suma Modern Barn

The following year he produced our first ever purebred I.D. filly. We called her after our local townland, Rathdrinagh, and under that name she qualified for the Greenvale Finals in Millstreet. Unplaced as a raw 4 year old mother by the judges she remained till the end of the Millstreet Irish Draught Mare Championship the only horse to have competed in that class and to reappear as Coral Sea in the Jumping Derby in the International ring. Her own brother, Suma’s Oscar, a gelding was 5th in the Boomerang Finals, and also went on to an international career.

The stock of Pride of Shaunlara that followed are listed below, at least some of them, but there were hundreds more that were born and died with their breeders as they would not be parted from them. They were outstanding hunters, nearly too brave and frequently not with the best of brakes but they were always there at the end of the day and ready to go again as soon as they were asked. Some men used Pride for the liveliness of the foal at birth, one man wanted to breed a top class Dressage horse from him, one actually was third in a point to point, one completed Badminton and represented Ireland. A half Clydesdale mare produced one of the Army’s good jumpers Carlingford Bay, one out of a coloured pony won the Goresbridge Lunging Finals. Another lovely pony bred a 16.1 horse that won endless Riding Club competitions and would undoubtedly have had a jumping career but was never sold.

We ourselves bred a lovely band of purebred and half-bred mares, most of whom won in the show ring and hunted or jumped as well. They were easy to get in foal and excellent brood mares. Many received premiums and all were a joy to go out in the field to look at. One, Connagh Tango, bred 9 foals in 9 years, but she reared 12. Once she took 2 at a time, her own and a foster, and twice after her own was weaned she took on two more.

PRIDE OF SHAUNLARA changed our lives. If we had not found him, we would never have been so involved with Irish Draughts, or developed our stud the way it has. His end was quiet but devastating for us. He had gone down in fertility in 1991 and we retired him mid season although his virility had never quenched. He had never fully approved of living out, after an hour in the field he wanted people around him again. So when one day he was standing back in his box instead of roaring his head off telling all who was boss, we decided the time was here. He was approaching his 25th year. We persuaded our good friend Richard Wright to attend the end as we knew we would be too overcome and we went off to the Hunt meet on foot and stayed a long time in the pub before coming home. Pride was buried alongside his field, the only horse who has ever been accorded this honour and we look at it every day and thank him for the joy he brought, not only to us, but to all who knew him.

Pride of Shaunlara sired many registered sons and daughters who can be traced in our breeding program today. Registered sons include: Silver Hunter, Kilmichael/Gloun Rover(GB), Gloun Pride, Prospect Pride, Pride of Toames, Enniskeane Pride, Finbarr, Townrath Pride, King Elvis, Enniskeane Prince(GB), Pride of Townrath, Darcy Dancer(GB), Pride of Meath, Branigan's Pride,Garryowen of Suma, and Suma's Murphy's Law.

Registered brood mare daughters include: Suma's Disco, Suma's Mega, Suma's Folklore, Suma's Keepsake, Suma's Legend, Suma's Saga, Suma's Light Up, It's an Ology, Bella's Pride, Knockavaher Pride, Pride of Down, Shauna, Thatcher’s Pride, and Tara Sky.

Blue Peter

Blue Peter was our second foundation stallion, obtained to use as an outcross and to try to breed a colt so the line would not be lost. Our biggest regret was that we only had him for 2 and a half seasons as he was 20 when he came to us. When we were looking at Irish Draught mares in the West of Ireland we were continually struck by the type and movement of Blue Peter mares. Unfortunately, as he had stood in Killala since he was a 3 y.o, having gone there to work, he was not covering many mares. Irish draught youngsters by him were impossible to find, especially any young son. So we persuaded Paddy Munnelly to part with his workhorse, guaranteeing him a home for life.

At 20 years young he came up to Suma and became a most influential part of our lives for 3 years. His lively personality was matched by good humour even when his physique started to let him down. He had to live out with a New Zealand rug and would not always be caught when needed. We had to invent a control for when he covered as his own foreplay was of the "wham, bam, thank you ma'am" variety, and this worked so well that we used it to demonstrate to an Indian Maharajah how it worked. The mare we chose, Trinity, was about to pursue a competitive career prior to breeding but went in foal, thus Blue Rajah became one of his two sons who carried on the line. All for the best in the long run

He taught us how to drive both a carriage horse and a workhorse. He excelled at both. His riding was of the go from A to B sort, circles were just for idiots to do! Susie really regretted having got him too late to hunt because, for our Meath country, like his offspring, he would have been brilliant.

One of our lasting memories was a winter's day when the tractor (as usual) gave up the ghost. Pete was duly yoked up in his cart, a flat car, a huge amount of hay bales loaded for our cattle in the top yard, and Sarah Fitzhenry sat on top, to drive. Needless to say the bales were not properly stacked and Pete suffered from itchy ears. Yes, it happened! A yell from Sarah that she had no "winkers" as they came off one side, Help!! Don't worry, Bobby replies, as they set off, he knows where to go. Pete had simply scratched off his bridle, and the whole very unstable lot set off up the avenue at a rattling pace. They did arrive a t the cattle yard and negotiated some turns and obstacles, where he stopped and waited while the cart was safely unloaded. What a character and a joy to own.

He was the straightest mover we have ever owned and all his stock are like him, with beautiful free action too.! I also remember the late Jack Bamber renowned international rider, horseman and dealer saying " That's the most correctly made horse I've ever seen" Some praise!

Some of his stock include:

Mrs. Thatcher Blue Henry
April Storm Whippy

Moyne Marguerita

Blue Hills, dam of Branigan's Pride and Pride of Meath

Blue Heaven, sister to Blue Henry Blue Rajah


Bred in the purple, Horos has so much "black Type" in his pedigree that his racing record must have been a great disappointment to his breeder, A.B. Hancock. He was a half brother to top racehorse Hawaian Sound, leading N.H. sire Accordion, the St. Leger runner up Sonus, plus his own sister, Rapids, who was Group placed. However, their loss was our gain as he was such a beautiful horse for the Sport Horse Industry.

A gorgeous head, huge length of rein and front legs to die for, he stood over a lot of ground and was a fantastic mover. Not your average T.B. underarm daisycutter this lad could have excelled in dressage. He was marked very highly by Swedish Judge Bo Helander who gave him a 10 for Riding Type when he made him Champion Thoroughbred Stallion at the RDS Dublin.

Horos had raced for four seasons, staying completely sound but only winning one race. He then stood for a year in Scotland before we bought him and as an 8 year old he covered his first Irish mares, which included some lovely ones like the dam of Pirate Lion, Regent Lion being the result. For Bruce Davidson he was a most successful 3 Day Eventer, and subsequent successes in that field came with The Night Hawk, Gorgeous Idea, Robertino, Kiri and many others. His showjumpers included Woodpark, a top speed horse for Conor Swail, Suma's Sky's Ablaze, A Dance in Time, Distant Rose, etc. His show winners were myriad and went from foals to Ridden Champions like The Godfather, Peter Esquire, Suma's Magnum, Silent Partner, Hidden Treasure and so on.

His stock were very late developers. Although he was a sweet and gentle horse himself, who would do anything to oblige (including Susie carrying in a new born lamb while riding him!) some of his stock were very volatile and needed sensitive handling. He is making a brilliant brood mare sire bringing in super quality and scope. He died suddenly aged 23, having successfully covered a mare the day before. We loved him.

GLENSIDE and Glenagyle Rebel

Rebel was the ultimate of Designer Stallions! We bought his father GLENSIDE when in his dotage to try to produce a worthy representative to continue the Prince Henry line. There was none at the time. We had tried to buy him previously when he was with Andrew Hennelly of Corrundalla 2-3 years before when we took that photo of him. He let him loose in the field and what a mover!, what a gallop! What a hunter he would have made! But we had to bide our time. When Glenside arrived with us he didn't settle in our busy yard until we found a lovely donkey gelding for company. He lived with him then, in or out, until he died. To try to encourage breeding to him we stood Glenside for free but only 6 people took advantage of our generosity as he had , wrongly, acquired an "unlucky" reputation. Also he was chestnut, and grey was the order of the day. But about the same time we had BROSNA QUEEN and GLENAGYLE REBEL was the result we dreamed about.

Glenagyle Rebel

From a young foal, born early, he was a boyo! He used to gallop around a spinney of trees for fun, bringing the others with him, even when they wanted to rest. As a foal to a yearling, we had to take him away from the fillies as he had sex on the mind already. But what a beautifully made horse he is, and a super mover like his Dad. We brought him as a two year old to a breeding conference on I.Ds to show him as a near perfect example of what to look for in an Irish Draught. But we also decided if we were to cope with the enthusiasm of this lad he should be broken at two. So Gerry Stack, a racehorse trainer who also loves his hunting and showing, did the job. He loved him for his intelligence, as well as his ride and still asks after him.

At three, because we always intended to pursue a ridden career with him, he covered 10 mares only, after being approved in the spring by the I.H.R., as he was the only male representative of his line. We were afraid of damage being done to his equipment while hunting! He had 100% success and his very first foal was WHIPPY'S son HUNTINGFIELD REBEL. Subsequently taken on first by Tom Vance, then after a gap with an injury, Damien McDermott, he reached Grade A in a very short time . He had tremendous power and scope and was maybe too brave, especially hunting, but when Klaus Balzer saw, then rode him himself for several days, nothing would do but that he had to have him for Zimbabwe. We felt extremely sad to see him go but wanted to send a top representative to Africa, and knew he would do the job well. He has left a huge amount of R.I.Ds. and his gelding sons are highly sought after being easy but fun. His mares are making brilliant mothers and many are successful in the showring, and although he primarily covered Irish Draughts for outcrosses, he had one outstanding son from a T.B. mare who won the prestigious Boomerang Final for James Kernan, Special K.

He died in South Africa having sired some excellent stock in 2007.

Crosstown Dancer

CHESTNUT 1990, IHR 39888. Breed:RID

ONLY STALLION EVER to win the R.I.D. Stallion class and the £1000 IHB 5.y.o. showjumping final at Dublin the following year.


CROSSTOWN DANCER started his show ring career as a foal and won in the RDS under the name of George's Diamond. Known always as "George" he reappeared as a 3 y.o and placed 3rd, giving a foretaste of success to come.

At 4 yrs. he started to compete showjumping and was an instant success with spectators flocking to the ringside to observe his fantastic style, which he never lost. His rhythm and canter were like a warmblood but his power was all Irish Draught. He only made a few appearances to learn what the game was about and then went back to the RDS to win the Stallion Championship. His balance, outstanding trot and excellent conformation were unbeatable.

At 5 yrs. he continued to impress over fences, culminating in winning the prestigious Irish Horse Board 5 y.o. jumping Final with the only double clear and was selected to represent Ireland in the World Young Horse Breeding Champs. In Lanaken, Belgium. Together with his young rider, Damian McDermott, they travelled with the Irish team and after 3 days of competition was one of only 2 Irish to reach the final, where he finished with one fence down only. A fantastic achievement, followed up the following 2 years by wins with Dermott Lennon in the saddle. By this time his stud career was blossoming and although he continued to go to a few shows it was hard to combine the two jobs although A.I. had started to be used. His final fling was with a Suma Stud student who won the Irish Draught Performance Championship with him which included sections for Showing, Dressage, Cross Country and Showjumping. He won by .5 of a second beating his stablemate, HUNTINGFIELD REBEL.

In 1999 with another student, from Germany, he took up Dressage and together they won the Young Rider Silver Spurs for 17-20 yr olds. His first ever test was at Elementary! They competed during the following winter and summer and George finished with 69 points having won at least one Test each time he went out. A truly versatile horse with the temperament and rideability of his breed he gives his all. He recently competed in the Riding Classes of the Irish Draught National Show at Necarne with his owner's son, Stephen, who rides only for fun, and they finished in the money in every class including Reserve Champion Ridden Hunter. Also he returned to his happy hunting ground, the R.D.S., and finished Reserve Champion stallion to a grey horse, Welcome Diamond, not the first time that his colour, a quite beautiful liver chestnut, has maybe gone against him.

Breeding profile

CROSSTOWN DANCER is a grandson of the famous KING OF DIAMONDS on one side and PRIDE OF SHAUNLARA on the other. This recipe is one to produce top-notch horses for the Show ring that go on to compete successfully in any number of disciplines. TARA SKY is the 2nd foal of SOFTEE who was by SKYLARK, himself by ARMADA STAR, and Softee's dam was by the T.B CHEYNE out of a MERRION mare. Cheyne was also the sire of the dam of TOUCHDOWN, the Olympic Sport Horse stallion sire of Liscalgot. TARA SKY, bred at SUMA STUD was always destined for a brood mare but was broken and ridden showing a super rideability, loving the work, but was never competed under saddle though her jump was fantastic. She has also produced SUMA'S SKY'S ABLAZE, a top national jumper who won several classes with different riders and has now retired to stud aged 13.

Suma's Murphy's Law

Full of character, and truly his father's son, Pride of Shaunlara, Murphy has a great life. In winter he hunts or competes in Winter leagues and in summer he runs out with mares. From very few chances he has sired a Champion Show Hunter in Florida, a Grade C jumper, SILLY SEASON, an Amateur Grand Prix winner, RED ALERT and a Champion Show Hunter COOL BAWN in the U.K. who was also 5th at Wembley Horse of the Year Show '01. Also many fun horses with devoted owners. In 2002 he is the sire of Mr. Murphy QC who was the 4.y.o. winner of the Future Event Horse League qualifier at Tattersalls.

One of the only Approved stallions to run with mares.
(subject to certain conditions)

Conditions of Running Out Mare with Murphy

He will not be out until some time in May.
Mares not to have a foal at foot.
No hind shoes (obviously!). Mares must be worm dosed on arrival. Mares must be catchable at all times and wear a well-fitted headcollar at all times.
Mares must have at least one totally clean swab while in season. If the mare does not settle with him or if he does not take to her, she comes out immediately. Sometimes he knows better than us when she is not fit to go in foal and will see her out of the herd.

Mares are ENTIRELY at the owner's risk. We will give first aid if needed but at the owner's cost. It is more likely that Murphy himself gets hurt by possessive mares!

Best prospects for this method of breeding are mature maidens or older barrens...

Postscript 2003 ...Murphy has moved to England where he runs with his own herd of mares.


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