“What is it about hunting?” Alastair MacLeod of Patey Hats asked me in a Scottish accent as we sat on the plump sofas of the Grand Salon in the Royal Dublin Society last week, sipping tea and balancing plates of scones on our laps. “Some of the people who buy Pateys hunt every day. What makes it so addictive?”
Go to E-Covertside to read more…
“Badminton Horse Trials ran May 5-10 in Gloucestershire, England, attracting over 250,000 spectators, the second-largest number for any paid-entry sporting event in the world. The lanky William Fox-Pitt won against his old rival Andrew Nicholson, also known as the ‘Silver Fox’, who was leading until the Sunday show jumping. Thrilling…”
Go to E-Coverstide to read more…
In 1673, Sir William Temple traveled round a grassy green Ireland of fields and forests that would still be recognisable today. There was hunting on the hills, horse racing on the strand, and farming done by native working horses, the embodiment of patience. Beside himself with excitement, Sir William wrote home to King Charles II, “Horses in Ireland are a drug”.
He wasn’t the only one talking to his monarch about Irish horses. In the 17th-century Irish horses – and in particular the Irish Hobby Horse, an ancestor of the modern Irish Sport Horse – were imported by most of the crown heads of Europe, becoming foundation bloodstock for many European breeds. Even the modern Thoroughbred is most closely related to the Irish Draught and Connemara Pony (foundation breeds for the Irish Sport Horse), according to DNA testing.
These precious bloodlines are now under threat. I spent the day at the Traditionally Bred Irish Horse Society’s Sale at the historic Scarteen House to find out more… and published the tale in Eventing Nation.
It’s easy to forget how lucky we are to have the Dublin Horse Show, and what a unique and historic event it is. It took me about a week to recover from all the late nights at the show this year! Then I published my impressions in Horsetalk.