Updated: Mar 31
Team Jones chalked up their first success for their new Irish Sport Horse (ISH) youngster and ¾ brother to the yard’s top event horse Alfies Clover when UNNAMED, on his second time out, came 5th in the BE100 at Norton Disney in October. He put in a foot perfect performance with a perfect double clear over the poles and the XC jumps with only his dressage score to add.
Richard and Irish Sport Horse youngster at Norton Disney
Photo credit: Action Replay Photography
Will this youngster follow in the hoofs of Alfie?
2022 has been some year for Irish Sport Horses in the World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses rankings. They regained their top position in the eventing studbook and now have a Top-10 result in show jumping. Richard has long been a strong believer in the power of the Irish Sport Horse.
Richard and his top event ride Alfies Clover have been receiving plaudits in Ireland for their strong performances in tough competitions after their Top 10 position in Badminton and 7th at Burghley 5* horse trials, events that have helped to showcase the power and performance of the Irish Sport Horse. Richard joins top event riders around the world including Piggy March, Tom Jackson and Tim and Jonelle Price in believing in the strong credentials of the ISH.
A personal journey
Richard and Alfie have come some way since Richard bought the 3-year-old Irish Sport Horse bred by Co Waterford farmer and breeder James Hickey, from Goresbridge Sales in Ireland.
Very few event horses make the grade to clear all the jumps of an international 5* event course, whether on the XC course or in the show jumping arena. Alfies Clover did it in 2022 at both Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials, two of the world’s toughest 5* events.
The horse is fit, and Team Jones is getting set for their 2023 campaign.
So why is the Irish Sport Horse so suited for eventing?
In the grand scheme of things, the Irish Sport Horse is a relative newcomer. The breed actually dates back to the 1920s as a result of crossing the Irish Draught with the thoroughbred over a period of generations. The objective to maximise its versatility, competitive excellence, performance and stamina – key qualities for today’s event horse.
Of course, it’s not all in the breeding. It’s the care in the education and upbringing, and the cool ride given by top jockeys like Richard. Team Jones is so lucky to have their excellent yard in Rutland with all its schooling and XC facilities and of course, the expertise of top dressage rider Victoria Jones to keep the horse exuberance in check for those all-important dressage paces!