Loss of eventing great Lenamore

  • 31 January 2023, 09:30
5*-winning Irish Sport Horse Lenamore dies aged 31

Lenamore was one of the great Irish event horses of the last 20 years. Bred by Walshs in Kildare, the grey gelding proved ever popular and successful on the international eventing circuit.

Lenamore had over 30 international starts, 15 top ten international finishes, 12 5* completions and 8 top 10 finishes at 5*. His greatest achievement came in 2012 when he won the prestigious Burghley Horse Trials.

Lenamore, an Irish Sport Horse – Traditional Irish Horse, was by the Irish Draught Sea Crest and out the thoroughbred mare Karinella, by Valiyar (TB). Bred by Co Kildare’s Helen Walsh, her husband racing legend Ted Walsh recalls the story of how Lenamore came about.

“I bought the mare in Goffs and decided I was going to breed a couple of thoroughbred mares to Mary McCann’s stallion Sea Crest. I sent the mares up there and got four or five foals,” Ted said.

“At the time I thought it was a good idea, when they were yearlings, I decided to sell them. We had no young children at the time, so I sold them all.

“That’s how it all came about, there was nothing scientific about it or I definitely didn’t think I was going to breed a horse like Lenamore.”

Two of the horses Ted sold went on to have notable success, one show jumped with Leslie Fitzpatrick and the other was Lenamore.

The Walshs followed Lenamore’s progress closely, at the time their daughter Katie was eventing another homebred, Stonebrook, by Cruising [TIH](ISH), out of Ostend (TB).

Lenamore showed the very best of what Irish Sport Horses are capable of, demonstrating temperament, intelligence and fantastic longevity throughout his career.

Speaking of Lenamore’s success, Ted said:

“He was a great sound horse. He performed brilliantly. He was a marvellous sound horse as well as being a good horse. Eventing is strenuous to do year in year out and still stay sound. He had a great partner in Caroline Powell, she’s a magnificent rider.”

Ridden by New Zealand rider Powell, the combination rose to the top of international eventing in the early 2000s and stayed there for over 12 years. As part of Team New Zealand, Lenamore competed in both the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2012 London Olympics, helping to secure team Bronze in London. His appearance at the London Olympics was his final international competition, aged 20. He was also part of the New Zealand team for the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany in 2006.

Lenamore and Caroline Powell competing in the 2012 London Olympic Games

In a post on social media, Powell – who owned Lenamore with Lexi and Janie MacKinnon – expressed her sadness, saying: “Sadly the day has come… yesterday Lenamore was put to sleep at the age of 31.

“A little horse with an enormous heart, he completed many long format events prior to achieving great success at 5* and amassing an incredible 2321 competing points.

“We made many appearances as part of the New Zealand Eventing team, including at 2006 WEG in Aachen and at 2 Olympics, Beijing in 2008, and London 2012, where we were part of the bronze medal winning team.

“His finest hour was his 5* win at Burghley in 2010, although he recorded many more places at that level, with an incredible seven Badminton completions, not placing lower than 12th, and five Burghley completions, placing not lower than 8th in four of those.

“What a character. What a journey. What an honour.

“A huge thank you to Janie and Lexi for entrusting Ed to me and for the amazing journey he took us on.”