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Top Mare Bred To Irish Draught

Pinon Lilli, shown left ridden by Emily Cureton, continues to win.

How do you build a good breeding program?

Any one successful in breeding knows good mares are most important. That is why the owner of O'Leary's Irish Diamond was thrilled with the contract to breed Grand Prix mare Pinon Lilli. "We're thrilled," said Jim Leary. " I knew Lilli when Irish rider Damian Gardiner rode her to three Grand Prix victories including the $50.000 grand prix at Denver." She also won at Spruce Meadows and Indio. I thought she was one of the classiest mares in the world. " We have been quite selective in which mares we breed to O'Leary's Irish Diamond and have been criticized for denying a contract to some mares." said Leary. "But, when a foal turns out ugly onlookers don't ask the question who is the mare, they always ask who was the stallion." But more important is our goal to put top notch horses on the ground.
It has taken time to earn the respect, by owners of top mares, for O'Leary's Irish Diamond. Leary said he asked the stallion to perform and he has performed. "Why would the owner of a top performance mare want to breed to a stallion that hasn't proven he can perform?" he asked..

The eight year old stallion has certainly proven his performance ability. He first competed successfully through third level Dressage. Leary maintains he is ready to do Prix St. George dressage today. However, Internationally acclaimed jump rider Rob Gage changed Leary's mind six months ago. Gage started jumping O'Leary's Irish Diamond in December. Since then the Irish Draught Stallion by Glidawn Diamond has won open jumper and open modified jumper championships. Not only does he win, he does it in a form that is very impressive. The owner of Pinon Lilli, Judy Cureton, saw Irish compete in Tucson. After learning that the stallion had maybe the best jumping pedigree in Ireland, Cureton decided it was the way to go. She hopes that an attempt to transfer two embryos from the breeding to donor mares is successful. Pinon Lilli is a Dutch Warmblood.

Other Good mares bred to Irish
The next compliment to a stallion owner is when the owner of a good mare likes the offspring and decides to rebreed to the stallion. The practice is sound. For example the grandsire of O'Leary's Irish Diamond, King of Diamonds, produced five very good offspring when bred to the famous Irish Draught Mare Kildalton Countess. The results were also good when King of Diamonds was bred three times to the mare Gowran Betty. Seven approved stallions were the result of these two breed combinations. In fact those seven stallions dominate Ireland's genetic index. O'Leary's Irish Diamond has Kildalton Countess on his Sire's side and Gowran Betty on his dam's side.

In America Sue Holland fell under some criticism when she decided to breed her pure bred Irish Draught Mare Bonnie Bell Supreme to O'Leary's Irish Diamond not once but three times. Her critics advised her she should be for expanding the Irish Draught gene pool. Sue, however, liked the the offspring. She sold her mare to Liz Freeman, who owns the highly regarded Flying Harp Farm. Liz bought Bell when she was in foal by Irish. Freeman liked the third foal, the filly Hermione, and recently bred Bonnie Bell Supreme once again to O'Leary's Irish Diamond.

Numerous repeat breedings to Irish are common. Breeders like Mary Hutchinson of California who has bred her highly regarded Selle Francais approved mare three times. Barbara Baris of Florida has two mares in foal making her total breedings to Irish seven. Mary Dye in Washington will soon have five offspring by Irish. More than ten other breeders have three offspring by America's most popular Irish Draught Stallion.

As a Yearling Hermione displays the characteristics desired in a purebred Irish Draught.

Hermione's older brother the two year old Frankie.
Frankie is a Irish Draught stallion prospect owned by Pam Ferrari.


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