Erin Go Bragh Passes Away at 30

Erin Go Bragh, the iconic Connemara Pony stallion, passed away peacefully last month at Hideaway Farm at the age of 30. Arguably one of the most recognizable horses of his time due to his accomplishments being chronicled in a popular children’s video, Go Bragh left a lasting impact on the eventing world and paved the way for other ponies to compete at the upper levels. We’re honored to publish his obituary. Rest in peace, Go Bragh.

Erin Go Bragh and Carol Kozlowski at Morven Park in 1998. Photo by Brant Gamma.

From Hideway Farm:

Hideaway Farm of Geneseo, N.Y., has announced that their top eventing stallion Hideaway’s Erin Go Bragh has died at the age of 30. One of the most well-known Connemara event horses of his time, his career culminated with successes at the Advanced level in 1998 and 1999. His pairing with rider Carol Kozlowski was the subject of the highly acclaimed children’s video “The Little Horse That Could.”

Owned by the late Edward and Jacqueline Harris, Go Bragh flourished as a driving horse before Carol began competing him in 1987. Competing all over the East Coast and in Canada, Go Bragh quickly became a crowd favorite. His diminutive size often made him an underdog, but his triumphs included top placings at events like Ledyard Three-Day, Southern Pines, Groton House Farm and Morven Park.

In 1995, Go Bragh participated in a groundbreaking research trial conducted by renowned equine kinematic expert Dr. Hilary Clayton. Her conclusions from this study on the effects that large amounts of dead weight have on jumping horses led to the 1997 abolishment of the FEI 3-Day eventing rule requiring all horses to carry 165 pounds while competing on the cross-country portion of the event. The study was conducted at Hideaway Farm, and the six horses used made history with the first reliable data collected on the weight requirement.

Go Bragh’s notoriety led to a Breyer model cast in his image in 1998 when he was named Breyer Horse of the Year. He was also included by the Chronicle of the Horse in the Top 100 Horses of the 20th Century.

His talent didn’t go unnoticed by breeders, and he sired more than 225 offspring over the course of his breeding career. Several of his progeny have gone on to compete at the highest levels of eventing. On a few occasions, he met his kids at the same competitions, and Carol would find humor in their mutually competitive desire to beat the younger set.

Determined to preserve Go Bragh’s sterling record, Jacqueline and Carol agreed he should be retired at the top of his game. At the age of 16, an emotional retirement ceremony was held for this champion at the 1999 Genesee Valley Hunt Race Meet, less than a mile from his home. He enjoyed his retirement and loving care at Hideaway Farm, receiving visitors and fans from all over the world.

Carol describes him as one of the very special horses in her riding career. “I’ve ridden horses with more talent but none that tried harder. He came into my world at a perfect time, and the incredible adventures that he took me on were life-changing. I’m just grateful that I had the good fortune to be his partner, and I so appreciate everything the Harrises did for him when he was competing and in his golden years of retirement. Knowing he had such wonderful care and left us peacefully was such a comfort when it came time to say goodbye to him.”

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