Erin Go Irish is our newest series highlighting the success of Irish-bred horses and ponies in eventing. Michael Doherty of Irish Horse Gateway will be writing each week to discuss what makes Irish horses so competitive in our sport. This week, Michael looks at the year-end British Eventing rankings, which featured Irish horses in five of the top 20 spots.
British Eventing recently published its final rankings for 2013, and five of the top 20 places went to Irish-bred horses. The prolific Andrew Nicholson took the top rider spot with his Irish Sport Horse mount Mr. Cruise Control. As a result Mr. Cruise Control’s owners, Nicholson, Robin E.A. and Nicola Salmon, pick up the Calcutta Light Horse Trophy in recognition of his impressive achievement. Following behind first place Mr Cruise Control, another Andrew Nicholson ride Calico Joe finished sixth; The Deputy took 14th; 17th went to Kilronan; and the Irish-bred, owned and ridden Fenyas Elegance came in at number 19.
Here’s a closer look at the top-placed five:
Mr. Cruise Control has been a consistent and reliable competitor for Nicholson since the gelding made his international debut in 2007. Having represented the Irish Sport Horse Studbook at the World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses in both 2007, placing fourth, and 2008, placing 11th, Mr. Cruise Control went on to claim wins in international events such as Hartpury CIC3* in 2010 and again in 2011. The pair previously placed fourth in Luhmuhlen CCI4* in 2010. This June, however, Nicholson and Mr. Cruise Control went one better and clinched the Luhmuhlen CCI4* ahead of Great Britain’s Zara Philips riding her Olympic mount, another Irish Sport Horse, High Kingdom.
“He’s a big horse that’s taken time but he’s kept improving through all his training, and that means that out of all my four-star wins this one is particularly rewarding,” Nicholson told the FEI following his Luhmühlen victory.
Bred by Jenny McCann of Hartwell Stud in Co. Kildare, Mr. Cruise Control is by the McCann’s resident stallion Cruising. The iconic Irish Sport Horse Stallion Cruising took fifth place in the recently published World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses eventing sire rankings for 2013 thanks to international eventing progeny such as Harbour Pilot, ridden by Hannah Sue Burnett; Electric Cruise, ridden by Joseph Murphy; Mr. Medicott, ridden by Phillip Dutton; and, of course, Mr. Cruise Control. The dam of Mr. Cruise Control, the Irish Sport Horse mare Chia who was also bred by Hartwell Stud, is by the American Thoroughbred stallion Broussard.
A bit of Andrew and Mr. Cruise Control’s winning show jumping round at Luhmühlen:
Both owned and ridden by Andrew Nicholson, Calico Joe is an 11-year-old Irish-bred Thoroughbred who was bred by former Irish international event rider Alfie Buller at his former Scarvagh Stud in County Down. He is by the American Thoroughbred stallion Clerkenwell, who previously stood at Scarvagh Stud, out of Elle’Sheree (IRE), by Beau Sher. Nicholson and Calico Joe recorded impressive international results in 2013 starting with a third placing at Rolex Kentucky CCI4* and picking up $30,000 in prize money.
Watch Calico Joe and Nicholson cross country at Rolex 2013:
“He is a very, very fast horse — normally with him the last two minutes of the course is very fast — it felt like I was slowing up, slowing up — of course I was thinking of the $5,000 for wearing the right gloves, and I knew William had done one second on that, and I knew I had gone too fast so was slowing up, slowing up — but that’s a nice problem to have,” Andrew Nicholson said at Rolex last year.
Most recently, the pair finished Burghley CCI4*in eighth place with Andrew Nicholson also impressively claiming the second and third position.
Check back next week to learn about The Deputy, Kilronan, and Fenyas Elegance.
The Irish Horse Gateway connects buyers to sellers of Irish horses and ponies, promoting the Irish horse and pony around the world through a portal that offers sale horses, information about the breeds and travel to Ireland. All registered sellers on the Irish Horse Gateway have signed a code of conduct which gives prospective buyers increased confidence. The site was launched last year by Horse Sport Ireland, the Emerald Isle’s official equine organization with the mission of uniting the breeding, sport and leisure aspects of the horse sector. Visit www.irishhorsegateway.ie for further details.