Our family has a long history of working with and breeding horses and my father was a Cavalry officer in World War 1 and the photograph shows him mounted on a warhorse. The film and play brought these animals to the fore on the 100th anniversary of that event.
Unfortunately my father died when I was very young but somehow the love of horses was in my blood and I would work on neighbouring farms as a schoolboy and learn to drive and harness the heavy work horses and use hay truck shifter, tumble paddy, harrows, ploughs etc. I was however drawn to the quality of the thoroughbred and to breed performance horses.
As soon as I was old enough to be able to research pedigrees I formulated a set of guidelines which I felt had sufficiently proved themselves and were of merit and obtained a foundation mare where the speed and stamina lines were proven. The stock at the Stud today are descendants of this one foundation mare. I was fortunate enough to breed from this mare MILLER HILL the Stud’s first Cheltenham Festival winner and Marshell Key who was 3rd at the Festival with his two sisters both of which were good race mares one producing the MIGHTY MOGUL Gr1 Timeform champion ,the other Glen Money. Many Group and Listed winners have emanated from this source and now my son Graham has continued and further developed the pedigrees maintaining the quality of performance.
To the Stud he has also attracted livery clients who appreciate his knowledge and effort to provide a pleasant environment for both horse and owner.
From a very early age Graham had a strong affinity with horses and started riding ponies. On leaving school at 16 years he went to Mrs. Jenny Pitman in England as a pupil assistant but it was not long before he was work riding some of her big strong chasers. The stable at that time housed a number of young horses which were to become household names like Royal Athlete, Garrison Savannah, Willsford, The Illywhacker, Wonder Man etc.
As a young horse Royal Athlete became one of his daily and work rides and during his association was to be in the frame 11 times winning 8 races. Jenny also supplied him with a ride on The Illywhacker to win his novice hurdle on a special day that she trained 7 winners. After some years with Jenny Pitman he was accepted to join Mr. David Nicholson who had the champion jockey Richard Dunwoody riding for him and gained further valuable experience there.
Graham was now ready to come home and take over the Stud. He has spent several years improving the facilities including a circular one and a half furlong all weather gallop, horse walker, jumping areas and ménage etc. for the preparation and pre-training of young horses and then the addition of a livery yard fully utilising them.
He has bred on the Stud some good winning horses such as Simply Wings, Lou’s Coole Girl, Empiracle, Smart Exit, Sin Bin, and Group horses LINE BALL and BALLYNAGOUR his first Cheltenham Festival winner for whom he has received the ITBA award. He has also had the honour for such a small stud of having bred two of his horses to be declared Cheltenham festival favourites in the same year. One has now confirmed that status and he is hoping the other may yet do so on recovering from injury.
All mares are foaled on the stud and their progeny are followed with interest by the family and livery clientele.