Draught Wins Open Jumper Championship
NM, New Mexicans, seeing the first Irish Draught Horse to ever jump
in that state, were impressed when the Irish Draught Stallion O'Leary's
Irish Diamond won the Open Jumper Championship at the New Mexico
State fairgrounds. The King of Diamonds' Grandson won the championship
in great form by competing in four classes winning three. "Irish"
had one rail down in the four day competition. In his first ever
Open competition rider Rob Gage held off the challenge of four horses
in the jump off with a time six seconds faster than the second place
horse. In the final open class, a speed class, Gage again had a
clear round with a time too fast for the other horses in the class.
Above Gage, a former AGA rider of the year and winner of more
than 25 grand prix, jumps clean and wins at Albuquerque. Though
Irish is new to jumping, Gage is impressed and says he enjoys riding
him. Irish is Gage's first Irish Horse.
"He jumped beautifully said Gage. Gage said he felt confident
his mount would do well after giving him a rest after competing
Irish at the Arizona circuit in February. "I felt he would
step up to another level if he got some rest and he did," said
Gage. Though, Gage said Irish is jumping 4'3" jumps there is
no reason to believe he can't jump much bigger jumps. The Irish
Stallion started his jump training in December of 2001. He jumped
very successfully at Tucson. In more than twenty competitions has
never had more than one rail down and never has refused.
to this year, Irish competed in dressage winning four championships
in competition through 3rd level. But, his career changed when Gage,
one of the most highly regarded riders in the United States, asked
to see him jump. Gage was impressed and told owner/groom Jim Leary
that Irish had super jumping talent.
Like at Tucson, the "O'Leary's Irish Diamond fan club"
seemed to grow at Albuquerque. Barbara Baris, who flew in from Florida
to watch him jump, said she thinks he is the best Irish Draught
Horse in the World. Baris, a breeder of Irish Horses, decided to
breed her newly acquired Irish Draught mare to him. Many believe
Baris has the best Irish Draught mare in the United States. Also
a grand daughter of King of Diamonds, Baris consulted with Los Alamos
National Laboratory Genetic expert Amy Potter about the breeding
of a mare so close to O'Leary's Irish Diamond. Potter, who is also
planning a breeding to the stallion, advised Baris such line breeding
should produce an offspring with many of the desired traits of the
famous King of Diamonds.
Many are constantly impressed with his great disposition. Joe Mannikko
also of Florida said he has seen nothing like it. The stallion always
has a heavy breeding schedule but never seems burdened with the
extra load of breeding and competing at the same time. Two days
before going to the show, he bred two mares belonging to Irish Horse
enthusiast Connie Yost of California. Yost who recently imported
two offspring by the stallion Cruising. spent several years in Ireland.
She noted that it is rare to see an Irish Draught possess both talent
for dressage and show jumping