Irish Diamond is Modified Open Champion
7, 2002 Albuquerque New Mexico.
The Irish Draught Stallion O'Leary's Irish Diamond continued his
winning ways in show jumping by winning the Sandia Classic Modified
Open Championship. Since starting training in jumping with international
grand prix rider Rob Gage, last December, the stallion has impressed
many with his nearly perfect jumping form. "Irish" won
the first two classes of the competition insuring a championship.
He was the only horse to have clear opening rounds in the first
two classes. By winning the first two classes he was assured of
the championship and did not jump in the third competition.
The Sandia Classic saw competitors from Texas, Colorado, Arizona,
Utah, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The two week show is the largest
show in the Southwest prior to Colorado's summer show. It was the
first time a purebred Irish Draught has competed at the Sandia Classic.
Some observers voiced concern that the stallion with less than six
months jump training has advanced too fast. But his owner Jim Leary
responded that the Stallion competed in dressage for several years.
"Flat work for a jumper is important and his dressage work
was the best kind of flat work a horse could receive," said
Leary. "He goes in a simple snaffle. He is never trains in
draw reins and is totally supple." If Rob senses a problem
he pulls him out of the arena. "We entered him in the "mini
prix" and when he saw the lights and nearly a thousand fans
in the stands he was petrified. Rob knew there would be problems
and left the arena before his confidence could be shaken. That is
why Rob Gage rides him. He is the best. He takes care of Irish."
"Jumping the 4'10" jumps is not a problem. He actually
needs more exposure. However he will now get a couple weeks off
except for meeting the demands of his breeding schedule. We hope
to compete in Colorado next. It is up to Rob," added Leary.
Other Irish Horses also win at Classic
The Irish Sport Horse named Good Guiness was also impressive during
the Sandia Classic. Good Guiness ridden by Colorado rider John McConnel
won the Open Modified Championship in the first week of competition.
McConnel a very respected rider is full of enthusiasm with his Irish
Import and predicts a good career for Good Guiness.
It is obvious because of their names that Good Guiness and O'Leary's
Irish Diamond are Irish Horses. "However there are numerous
Irish Sport Horses in competition at shows like the Classic, but
the fans are not aware of this fact," said Leary. It is great
that O'Leary's Irish Diamond is so easy to recognize, he is a very
good image for the Irish Horse.
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. Earlier this year Irish won an
Open Championship go to story