The IDHBA Stallion Show 2020

Gortfree Lakeside Lad - Irish Draught Stallion
On Sunday I headed to Mullingar for the inaugural IDHBA Stallion Show. This is something that was badly needed in Ireland, so delighted to see the IDHBA host this and in such a central location too. The turnout was great, they held it in the indoor (definitely necessary with the crap weather we've been having) and they had free tea and coffee (and wine and buns!). They had tiered seating and catalogues with all the stallions on sale, which also included free entry into the raffle. I thought it was superbly run and something that should get bigger and more popular as the years go on. It a fantastic idea and I cannot praise the IDHBA enough for holding it.

I like to see stallions in the flesh before I even consider using them and while the Dublin Horse Show holds stallion parades, it's on too late in the season for breeders. This show was timed perfectly. I like having all the stallions in one place so I could compare them, see how they move, how they behave(!), and go meet the owners afterwards. The show was great as it had thoroughbreds, sport horses, connies and Irish Draughts. I'm not normally a fan of the thoroughbreds but I was sooo impressed with "Jack the Robin", definitely one to watch out for in the future. He's only 5 and he was stunning. Really well put together (I think some of the thoroughbreds are so pointy and lanky looking), moved so freely and covered ground, and was exceptionally well behaved. I was in love. I just need to decide if I want to breed a purebred draught or traditionally bred sport horse now.

Jack the Robin - TB Stallion

A few things I learnt on the day:

  • Breeders - please update your photos! Now, this doesn't really apply for older stallions, obviously, you want to advertise them and use photos from how they looked in their prime (sure don't we all look a little rough as we get older!). But there were a few dodgy photos of the stallions in the catalogue and honestly, had the same photos been used in the stallion book (which most were) I'd never even consider them. However, in-person they were fab! Some really underrated and underutilised stallions out there! Their photos did them no justice at all! It's worth spending a few bob, get a photographer in and get a few good photos of your animals. 

  • What is the story with plaiting horses but leaving their forelocks undone? I think it makes them look a bit ponyish and like they ran out of time grooming. I'm sure there is a good reason, but I just think it doesn't complement the overall look of a well-groomed and polished stallion. 

  • Some of the handlers could have shown the stallions off a bit better. Some of the thoroughbreds were fairly lively(!) and I can understand not wanting to give them too much rein, but then you didn't get to see them trot properly. This was also the case with the draughts, where the handler either couldn't keep up or they trotted around the ring on the wrong rein, so they blocked off the full view of the horse. Such a simple thing to fix and will show off the stallion to its full potential.

  • Previously I would have only really looked at class 1 Irish Draught stallions but Ballylarkin Silver has made me change my mind completely. He is probably the best Irish Draught cob I've seen in a long time. At a guess, I'd say he was given class 2 status because he's built like a cob, more than the traditional draught horse type, but he would compliment the small Irish Draught mares so well, of which there is a huge shortage but high demand for in Ireland. Not everyone wants a big 16.3 horse. Go figure. 

  • It would be lovely to see more colours in the Irish Draught world. I love a good grey but they're everywhere now. It's getting harder to find a non-grey Irish Draught stallion! It was nice to finally see Cloneyhea Paddy in the flesh, I love his colouring!  
DS Ballagh Bouncer - Irish Draught Stallion

While there were a few absentees that were listed in the catalogue, the day was by far a success. It was run superbly and didn't drag on for hours and hours. Everyone had a good amount of time in the ring, given enough time to walk and trot up in hand and stand so people could see their conformation up close. It was all done and dusted in under 4 hours. It really opened my eyes to some of the lesser-known stallions and has even made me think about breeding a traditional sport horse! (however, I really just want one draught filly out of Liath and she's getting on in years). This is one show, that I believe, that will continue to grow and get more successful.

Here are a few snaps from the day

Centennial - TB Stallion

Glen Moss - TB Stallion

Road to Happiness - TB Stallion

Elusive Emir - TB Stallion

Primary - TB Stallion

Democrat - ISH Stallion

3DR Gabha Oir - Connemara Stallion

Sillogue Maximus - Connemara Stallion

Ballylarkin Silver - Irish Draught Stallion

Carrabawn Cross - Irish Draught Stallion

Castleview Inisfree Farmer - Irish Draught Stallion

Cloneyhea Paddy - Irish Draught Stallion

Hollypark Diamond - Irish Draught Stallion

Clondcastle Silver Squire - Irish Draught Stallion

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