HSI Foal Championship Final 2023
- 27 October 2023, 10:46
Horse Sport Ireland were delighted to host the 2023Foal Championship in CoilÓg Equestrian Centre, Co. Kildare on the 25th October. The Championship concluded in CoilÓg after four regional qualifiers nationwide, with 140 entries, and boasted the best of Sport Horse and Sport Pony breeding in Ireland. Horse Sport Ireland awarded over €26,000 across the five categories to the best foals presented over the course of the championship. This fantastic initiative is funded under National Breeding Services by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The HSI Foal Championship aims to identify, evaluate, and reward breeders who have bred a foal that has the potential to be competitive at the highest level in the disciplines of Show Jumping or Eventing. Horse Sport Ireland would like to extend their congratulations to all competitors on their success throughout the competition and to all breeders, owners and connections of the 2023 Foal Championship finalists and Champion foals.
Of the 20 qualified foals, four competitors were presented in each of the following four categories: Pony Show Jumping Foal, Pony Eventing Foal, Horse Show Jumping Foal and Horse Eventing Foal. The top four traditionally bred horse foals, from across the qualifiers, were judged and presented with the top Traditionally bred foal for 2023.
Horse Sport Ireland were delighted to be joined by an expert judging panel across each category. Active breeders Andrew Hughes and Norman Allen assessed the athleticism and potential aptitude of the Show Jumping foals. Eventing foals and Traditional foals were judged, separately, under the expert eyes of Olympians Mairead Ryan and Sam Watson.
Pony Eventing Foals
The final began at 12pm with the pony eventing section. Marjorie Hardiman’s pony colt Creganna Smarty Pants (ISP) took the title with judges commending his loose movement and lightness off the ground. Creganna Smarty Pants (ISP) is by HSF Lucky Boy (ISP) and out of Creganna Gypsy O (ISH) by Road To Happiness (TB). Creganna Smarty Pants qualified for the final at the last qualifier in Tubberbride EC.
Marjorie was delighted to see her foal take the win having bred the Dam herself and had the damline for five generations, and also having bred a half sister to this colt foal. She has plans to keep and produce these ponies with her daughters, making it a family affair.
The reserve for the Pony Eventing Foal category was Barryroe Princess Ceremony (WPB) a filly foal who is by Orielton Top Secret (WPB), out of Dowhills Ceremony (BRP) by Whalton Highwayman (WPB) and owned and bred by Jerry Moloney. Jerry Moloney saw great success with his foals through the qualifier stages having two qualified Eventing foals at the final in CoilÓg.
The winner of best-turned out Eventing Pony Foal went to Eileen Furlong’s colt foal Thistletown Apollo (ISP) by Castlefield Kingston (OS), out of Thistletown Olympia (ISH) who is by Olympic Lux (KWPN).
Pony Showjumping Foals
Having crowned the Pony Eventing Foal Champion, the eventers took a short break and the next class was Pony Showjumping. Connemara Pony colt Ballywildrick Mirah’s Legacy, by Westside Mirah II (CP) out of Ballywildrick Sylvia (CP) by Dark Editon (CP), owned and bred by Diane Weatherup was named the Champion after deliberation by our judges Andrew and Norman. The judges were sure about the winner here and commented on the quality athleteticism of this foal which was seen in his great movements. Diane Weatherup was delighted with the win having bred the Dam herself, and having had both the grand-dam and grand-sire before her.
Pony showjumping reserve went to Jane Ryan’s Killelton Glenwood Girl (ISP) a filly by Glenwood Oak (CP) out of Killelton Snow Queen (ISH) by Tyson (KWPN). Again judges were impressed with the light movement in this filly and her athletic action.
Best turned out Showjumping Pony Foal was Marian Judge’s Waterglades Oh So Handsome (WPB) by Hans (KWPN) out of Waterglades Gemini (WPB) by Village Lad (WPC).
Horse Eventing Foals
The announcement of the Pony Showjumping Champion brought the pony foals sections to a close. The Eventing foals were back up with the horse classes then beginning at 1.30pm. Sam Watson and Mairead Ryan were on double duty judging the Eventing foals and then Traditionally bred foals immediately after this class. Eventing saw tough competition but was won by Centrefire (ISH) a colt by Alicante (HOLST) out of Junderstand (TB) by Champs Elysees (TB) owned and bred by Mark Mayne. Mark qualified in the Kernans EC qualifier and is extremely proud of his foal with his partner on the day Victoria commenting on their decision to use the sire the renowned stallion Alicante, who ‘has a fantastic mix of Holstein bloodlines, while still having 44% thoroughbred blood meaning athleticism and speed is in his genes’.
Reserve Eventing Champion went to Michael Hanley’s confident colt foal Carrowmac Avos Candy (ISH) by Avos Jordan Z (ZANG) out of Rathlee Candy Lady (ISH) by Sligo Candy Boy (ISH). Judges were impressed with his lovely temperament and correctness.
Best turned out Horse Eventing foal went to Daniela Cardillo Corr and her foal Bawnlusk Constantino (ISH) by Continental Blue (OS) out of Soolmoy Lady (ISH) OBOS Quality (OLD).
In the Traditional Irish Horse section Maria Melvin’s colt foal was a standout claiming the Champion spot. The foal Glenkeeran Dance in Time (ISH)[TIH], is by Crosstown Dancer (ID) out of thoroughbred mare Desert Moon, by Desert Storm (TB). Maria is no stranger to the Foal Championship final having qualified in 2022 with this foal’s full brother. Maria is a great fan of the sire Crosstown Dancer and is delighted to see his progeny doing well. Judges were impressed with Glenkeeran Dance in Time (ISH)[TIH] citing him a ‘very complete foal with lots of presence’.Donal Goland’s colt Ballinglen Next Generation (ISH)[TIH], by Financial Reward (TB) out of Ballinglen Cruise Girl (ISH)[TIH] by Rebel Mountain (ID) was the reserve champion. Judges saw good potential with this foal to award the reserve champion title. Best turned out in the TIH section went to Susan Malee’s filly foal Carrabeg Spirit (ISH)[TIH] by her own stallion Carrabeg The Full Irish (ISH)[TIH] out of Rakish Diamonds, by Rakish Paddy (ID).
Horse Showjumping Foals
The final of the Foal Championship 2023 concluded with the Horse Showjumping foals. Champion of the showjumpers was Pleasure for Sure (ISH), a filly foal by Another Pleasure (KWPN) out of Donogue Cavalier Girl (ISH) by Cavalier Royale (HOSLT), bred and owned by Ciaran Ward. Ciaran explained his choice of stallion on a friend’s recommendation, having assessed the sire’s performance record and deeming it a good pairing with his Cavalier Royale (HOLST) mare, who has previously produced 1.40m and 1.50m progeny. Judges noticed this filly’s good topline and super trot and canter.
Catriona Redmond and her colt foal BLF Ollee by Zirocco Blue VDL (SF), out of Emelee (ISH) by Emerald van’t Ruytershof (BWP) were reserve champions and also took home best turned out.
Of the 2023 Foal Championship, Dr Sonja Egan, Head of Breeding, Innovation and Development, said:
“This initiative is run under National Breeding Services and open to all studbook registered foals – it was fantastic to see the cross-studbook success through the qualifiers and finals and I would encourage all breeders and producers to continue to use these initiatives, which are designed to support their breeding programmes. I would like to congratulate the 2023 champions of our horse and pony eventing sections, show jumping section and our traditional section. In 2023, the pedigree bonus point system was reintroduced in the horse section with a different weighting system, this has worked well and maintains recognition of good breeding decisions and assessment of foal quality on the day. I would like to thank each of our judges, who supported us throughout this initiative and provided valuable space for breeders to discuss their foals and breeding programmes. Additionally, I would like to thank the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for their funding and support of the HSI Foal Championships.
As always, I look forward to a future of supporting these foals through the Horse Sport Ireland breeding initiatives and wish them every success in their future performance.”
HSI would like to thank all of the judges through the qualifiers, Damien Griffen, Andrew Gardiner, Andrew Williams, Emily MacMahon, Jack Doyle, Cathy Cooper and Philip Scott, and the judges at our final, Sam Watson, Mairead Ryan, Norman Allen and Andrew Hughes, for their expert views and knowledge at the 2023 Championship. All four judges at the final commended the high standard and tough competition in the final this year. HSI would also like to express their gratitude to all Arena Party members, vets, host venues and the countless other individuals that help run the Foal Championships each year.
Horse Sport Ireland would like to thank the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine for their continued support of the Foal Championships each year under National Breeding Services. They highlight the importance of identifying and rewarding breeders who have bred a foal that has the potential to be competitive at the highest level in the disciplines of Show Jumping or Eventing. Such evaluation of our young horses and ponies is imperative to the continued success of our Irish bred horses and ponies.
CLICK HERE to watch all of the foals in this year’s Foal Championship Final.
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