Draught Does First Hunter Class
Albuquerque New Mexico, America's most popular Irish Draught Stallion
took another step in proving why he is being considered the most
versatile Irish Draught Stallion in the world. At the encouragement
of one of America's most successful show jumping riders, Rob Gage,
O'Leary's Irish Diamond was entered in the year end hunter jumper
show in Albuquerque NM. Though, he has great dressage gaits, not
preferred for hunter competition, the Irish stallion impressed the
hunter judges with his jumping technique and his famous disposition.
Irish was a late entry after Gage talked the owner of the stallion
to take him to the show for some training over the jump courses.
Gage said the exposure
to the flowers and other colorful obstacles would be good for the stallion,
strictly a dressage competitor for the last three years. Gage was so impressed
during a training session that he lobbied to have Irish entered in a pre
green class. The stallion got a third place ribbon, but more importantly
his jumping style and ease with lead changes impressed judges and unlookers.
Once again the most heard question was "what breed is he?"
Though Irish at six years of age, had won four dressage championships
including the Dressage Association of Southern California 3rd level Championship,
international acclaimed Grand Prix Jump Rider Rob Gage wants him for jumping
"He may do a nice job in dressage, but he is a jumper," said
Gage. Gage says he jumps so correctly and with such power he can do the
big jumps. Gage who has often been ranked in the top five and once number
one as a rider in the US, insists he can win at the grand prix level in
jumping. He acknowledges that the Irish Draught Stallion may be slow in
the jump off phase of a grand prix event. More than 25 times a grand prix
winner, Gage says Irish will have clear rounds and in many competitions
there are few if any clear rounds. He said in preliminary competitions
he may have trouble winning because so many times allot of fast horses
that don't have a big jump have clear rounds. "He would have trouble
beating those horses," said Gage. But those horses never make it
to the Grand Prix competition level.
Because of his extensive dressage training, Gage predicts the seven year
old would be at the Grand Prix level within two years. The problem for
the owner in making the decision is the one of expense. "I have not
figured out a way of affording such a monumental task," said his
owner Jim Leary. "The reward would be great. If he accomplished the
task, no one could dispute the claim he is the best Irish Draught Stallion
in the World," added Leary.
Gage said he is totally impressed with Irish's pedigree. "When you
consider his pedigree it is almost a must that he be jumped."
Above Gage, a former AGA rider of the year and winner of more than 25
grand prix, rode Irish for the first time. Though Irish is very green
to jumping, Gage was impressed and wants him for show jumping.