A mare who was returned unsold at a sale in 2014 has gone on to win at an international showjumping class with a jockey who has only ridden for four years.

Seamus Hughes-Kennedy, 15, and Cuffesgrange Cavalidam (“Ash”) won the first FEI pony jumping trophy final at the Jumping Mechelen show in Belgium (26-30 December).

Seamus only started riding four years ago when Ash was still an unbroken broodmare.

His mother Clare Hughes, sister of Olympic showjumper Marion Hughes, bought Ash in November 2014 when she had been returned unsold from Goresbridge Horse Sales.

From Ash’s passport, Clare discovered that her late father Seamus Hughes had bred the mare, whose previous owner lived at a neighbouring farm, and given her to his sister Ita Brennan.

“The mare is by Luidam out of a Cavalier Royale mare and her mother was a sister to Laura Renwick’s MHS Washington – a testament to my aunt and father who only bred from proven mares,” said Clare.

After a successful campaign culminating in a double clear in the Pony Nations Cup at Sentower Park, Opglabbeek, Belgium, (11-14 May) Seamus and Cuffesgrange Cavalidam were selected for the Irish squad for the pony European Championships in Kaposvar, Hungary, (25-30 July, 2017) where the team won gold.

“The pair moulded and grew together and have a connection,” Clare said.

“To win the FEI trophy was just validation of what was obvious to many onlookers who took a keen interest in their development.”

Last summer, with Keatingtown Hunky Dory, Seamus won the 148cm six- and seven-year-old national championship at Dublin Horse show (9-13 August).

This was the first time the same combination had won this class with the horse as a six-year-old and as a seven-year-old.