Death of Show Jumping Champion Coolcorron Cool Diamond

  • 19 October 2013, 09:40

COOLCORRON Cool Diamond, one of Ireland’s top show jumpers for many years, died on Friday October 18th at Coolcorron Stud, Cork.

The Irish Sport Horse stallion competed at home and abroad with Robert Splaine, Irish Show Jumping High Performance Manager, from 1995 until the horse’s retirement in 2007.

“He was great”, said Splaine today (Saturday). “Brave, careful, honest, intelligent – as good a horse as you would ever want to go to war with.”

The big bay and Splaine won innumerable grands prix in Ireland, and were Irish National Champions in 2007, when the stallion was 18.

Overseas, they regularly represented Ireland on Nations’ Cup teams, helping to win many Cups, including Rotterdam, Washington, Toronto, Aachen, Lummen, and St. Gallen.

In St. Gallen in 2003, they won the Grand Prix, and sealed the Nations’ Cup win for Ireland after a dramatic jump-off against Tinka’s Boy and Markus Fuchs.

“Team jumping has always given me the most pleasure,” said Splaine, “and if I were to single out our most satisfying win, it has to be when our team won the Nation’s’ Cup in Aachen. He delivered a clear round in one of the toughest Cups at one of the greatest shows in front of 45,000 spectators. It stands out in my mind and always will.”

He was owned by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, who said today: “I think in this day and age more people should listen. Never were man and animal in such harmony as Robert Splaine and Coolcorron Cool Diamond. They did listen to each other. It was an honour to be part of such greatness.”

At the European Championships in Donaueschingen in Germany in 2003, the pair were on the Nations’ Cup team and contributed to Ireland’s qualification for the 2004 Athens’ Olympics. An injury sustained in that very event kept Coolcorron Cool Diamond out of the reckoning for the Olympic Games the following year.

Coolcorron Cool Diamond, whose stable name was Bobbu, was a hugely sought-after sire. He was of traditional Irish breeding, with King of Diamond and Nordlys lines in his pedigree. He possessed the finest characteristics of the Irish Sport Horse. He passed on his mind and heart to his progeny. He was approved by Horse Sport Ireland and Selle Francais.

Splaine said: “The plan was when he retired he would take up full-time stud duties as there was only a limited amount of time to cover a few mares while he was competing. But for some mysterious reason at a certain stage he seemed to take against the process and wouldn’t complete covering. We were never able to resolve the problem. However, thankfully there is a limited amount of frozen semen still available.”

“In spite of all the challenges the Duchess and I take great pride in the fact that he did produce Mister Cool, with whom Helen Kearney won three Paralympic Medals at London in 2012.”

Coolcorron Cool Diamond spent his retirement in paddocks beside Splaine’s house on his farm in Co Cork

“He was a very independent character,” said Splaine. “Always the boss yet a perfect gentleman as long as you didn’t get between him and the feeding trough!.”

The stallion hadn’t been himself for a while. “He was struggling, and I knew it was time to make the difficult decision.”

“We gave Bobbu the best of everything until the very end,” said Splaine. “He more than earned it. Every time I rode him – even at home – I felt privileged. He certainly got me up in the morning. As a famous statesman once said: ‘when you’re on a great horse, you have the best seat you will ever have’

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