Horse Sport Ireland Breeding Feature – The future is bright at Ennisnag Stud

  • 25 March 2020, 19:26

Ennisnag Stud is located in the heart of Kilkenny just off the busy M9 motorway. This family owned stud is managed by brothers Andrew and Niall Hughes and lies on 240 acres of some of the country’s best limestone grassland.

The breeding operation at Ennisnag Stud is home to some of the best pedigrees and bloodlines in the world, as Andrew Hughes outlines this week to Horse Sport Ireland:

“There are 24 broodmares in today, 21 of which are due to foal in 2020. These foals are by some of the best stallions in the world such as Cornet Obolensky (BWP), Zirocco Blue VDL (SF), Stakkato Gold (HANN) and Chacco Blue (MECKL). We have 18 yearlings, 15 two-year-olds, 19 three-year-olds, 11 four-year-olds and 15 other horses between the ages of five and nine.

“We have been working on our breeding plan over a 15-year period. I began to source the top jumping mares in Europe with the aim to improve our Irish Sport Horse heard. We have tried to cover these mares with the top-ranked stallions to produce top class show jumpers. Our next step is to breed top stallions through our breeding programme. We decided to put this plan into action three years ago, and our first batch of Irish bred stallions are now coming of age. We will have 4 four-year-olds which we have kept entire for the ISH Studbook inspection next year. We have 6 two-year colts and 7 yearlings with the same aim, to keep them entire and bring them out for inspection in the Irish Sport Horse inspections.


Lithium V.S pictured following being awarded Preliminary Approved status at the 2020 HSI Stallion inspections

“I’m very excited for next years batch in particular, we have a full brother to Beezie Maddens 12-year-old stallion Darry Lou. This colt is owned by Cian O’Connor and we intend to produce this stallion the same way through the inspection process and then through the Irish Sport Horse Studbook Series.

“Following our recent success at the inspections with our stallion Lithium V.S. (KWPN) (2016 by Etoulon VDL (KWPN) out of Zuidam Lana V.S. (KWPN) by Guidam (SF) bred by H.H de Vries. and owned by Ennisnag Stud, I would like to congratulate Alison Corbally and the breeding department in Horse Sport Ireland for an extremely well organised inspection. The likes of this inspection are on par with any of the inspections we see in other European studbooks.

“It is very disappointing that there are not more spectators present to see the stallions available in this country being put through their paces and that more stallion owners are not all bringing their stallions out for inspection. It is an extremely educational day for any breeders or producers to attend. We are very lucky to have the calibre of judge and rider in this country to judge and educate us. Captain Geoff Curran did an excellent job riding the Sport Horses that passed stage one of the inspections the first day which allowed them to progress to the ridden section in stage two.”

Breeder and producer of young horses Damien Griffin gave an insight into how they prepared for the Horse Sport Ireland Stallion Inspections:

“In order to prepare Lithium for these inspections we broke him in March/April time last year and we let him off to develop. We then brought him back into work in October 2019. Our main objective at this time for this horse was to have him prepared and sufficiently schooled to achieve preliminary approved status at the ISH Stallion inspections. This horse has a great brain, temperament and plenty of scope, our next aim is to produce him through the Irish Sport Horse Studbook Series as a five, six and seven-year-old.

“Then, Denis Lynch, who part owns him will take the ride and hopefully Lithium will begin his international career with Denis. I am a strong supporter of the stallion inspections and I have been attending the inspections for over 20 years with both Irish Draughts and Sport Horse stallions, they are a necessity to ensure quality and show we are growing in the right direction and progressing with our European counter parts.

“If I need to be critical on anything, I find it’s a long day for young stallions to be out and waiting around to progress through each stage of the inspection. However, I was lucky enough to have two stallions out for inspections this year. Along with Lithium, I had Carneyhaugh Trojan, a 2016 stallion by For Pleasure (HANN) out of Carneyhaugh Allegro (ISH) by Don Juan De La Bouverie (SBS). He is bred and owned by Paddy Breen and passed stage one and will complete stage two in next year’s Irish Sport Horse Stallion inspection  – so it’s worth it when your stallions pass stage one and receives preliminary approved status.”

Ennisnag Stud’s stallion herd is growing with the addition of two exciting new stallions to the yard. Ronan Tynan’s, ISH approved stallion, Warrenstown You 2 has just arrived in the yard. This stallion is 22 years of age and has an impressive performance history with Tholm Keane. Good Luck (BWP) has been in the yard for over a month. Andrew said, ‘We are not currently covering external mares with Good Luck as there is a fertility issue and we will just be testing him on our own mares for this breeding season.”

Andrew Hughes finished up by saying he is very optimistic for Ennisnag Stud’s future.

“We are all excited to see our breeding operation growing and coming together after 15 years in the making. Our aim is to have one of the best breeding and production yards in the world and to assist in putting Ireland back on the map as a destination for talented young and International show jumpers.”

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