Pride of Shaunlara
Pride of Shaunlara. 1969 - 1993. Was our Foundation Stallion, a Champion himself and sire of many Champions. Ridden here by Susan Lanigan-O'Keeffe.
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 the right 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-OKeeffes 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 Darraghs eye who wanted to buy him there and then. Come the spring and outdoor shows Prides 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 McGraths 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 childs 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. Prides first season was spent convincing the locals that we hadnt 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 Whips 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.
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 in the Jumping
Derby in the International ring. Her own brother, Sumas
Oscar, a gelding was 5th in the Boomerang Finals, and
also went on to an international career.
From right to left: The Thatcherite, Pride, Murphy, Glenagyle Rebel in the Suma Modern Barn
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 Armys 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), Branigan's Pride, and Suma's
Murphy's Law. Registered
brood mare daughters include: Suma's Disco, Suma's Mega, Suma's
Folkfore, Suma's Keepsake, Suma's Legend, Suma's Saga, Suma's
Light Up, It's an Ology, Bella's Pride, Coral Sea (born Rathdrinagh),
Knockavaher Pride, Pride of Down, Shauna, Thatchers Pride,
and Tara Sky.