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New Blue Ribbon Streak

6/10/01 Fort Collins Colorado.

Irish Diamond Though surrounded by mares from the university reproductive facility O'Leary's Irish Diamond continued his impressive competition streak in Colorado. The seven-year-old Irish Draught Stallion has earned at least one blue ribbon in each of his four competitions in Colorado. His medium score being above 65 percent at 3rd level

"He talked but he still did his business", said observer Jennifer Frisbee. "He looks like such a happy horse", she added. Irish has been competing for the second year at 3rd level. His average score has improved over last year. His rider, former USET team member Grant Schneidman, is avoiding 4th level competition until Irish perfects some of the technical demands of 3rd level. Schneidman worked Irish three days with US Olympic team Chef De Quip Jessica Ransehousen. It was agreed that though he is doing higher level work, it was important that he perfect his work at 3rd level. They agreed he is an international quality horse but he needed some work on his changes and collection before moving into the international competition arena. Schneidman has been working at developing more jump in his canter and therefore more jump in his flying changes. The training seems to be working in that the Irish Draught Stallions medium score has improved more than a percentage point over last year's 64+ percent.

The Irish Draught Stallion has performed in front of judges from all over the US and always seems to impress the judges. Judges on several occasions have admitted a prejudice against the stallion when he first enters the dressage arena. Because he is so big, judges admit they are "surprised" how well he moves. It is not uncommon for the big grey to score 8s on his extended trot. His rythym is super. Those who watch are often amazed with his temperament. "One doesn't really know the true temperament of a horse until one asks him to perform at a high level, that Irish Horse has a great temperament", said one judge.

His success is very impressive when one realizes that in his first three years of competition, his trainer was his owner, Jim Leary a small elderly man. Through first and second level Leary used a catch rider from California, who would arrive a few days before a show tune him up and compete him. The combination worked so Leary sent the horse to his rider for third level training. When, the trainer surprised Leary with information that she had purchased Irish's 1/2 brother from Ireland, Leary decided it was time to take advantage of some offers by acclaimed international riders to train Irish.

Leary contacted Grant Schneidman, a person with a great reputation for not only his riding but his love of the horse. Schneidman acknowledged that he had ridden several Irish Horses when he was competing in Europe. He admitted to liking the breed. Not only was Irish going to be under the training of one of America's most respected riders, he would be close to home. "We expect to see much more of Irish." said Leary. High Prairie is five hours away. California was a two day trip to and from by air.

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