Deep in Co Kilkenny, Michael Hutchinson runs a small stud which houses a veteran powerhouse of Irish eventing breeding.
The grand old man of Ballyquirke Stud is Puissance, the 31-year-old son of the thoroughbred Imperius. His progeny include Sam Watson’s first championship mount Horseware Bushman, Michael Ryan’s perennial top-level campaigner Old Road and Francis Whittington’s successful Sir Percival.
Alongside him, his son also stands at the stud. Imperial Tiger is a full brother to the world team silver medallist Horseware Ardagh Highlight — ridden by Sam Watson — and several other successful eventers.
H&H visited Puissance and Imperial Tiger at home…
Sporting a winter coat to be proud of, Puissance loves to go out in the field each day — and to show off his moves.
Michael believes getting out in open space every day is key to a stallion’s mental wellbeing.
Imperial Tiger enjoys a romp round the field.
Michael and his wife Eva with Imperial Tiger.
Michael shows off Imperial Tiger in all his glory. The horse showjumped with Michael’s son, Michael “Tjossti” Hutchinson, in Belgium before retiring to stand at stud.
Imperial Tiger’s full siblings include not only world silver medallist Horseware Ardagh Highlight, but also Horseware Lukeswell (12th at the 2015 European Championships with Sam Watson), grade A showjumpers Lee Ann and Little Ellie and international event horses GFG Rambo Man, Harthill Percy and Chanterelle II. They are all out of a Kings Servant mare called Gentle Servant and by Puissance.
Pictures by carolinenorris.ie
Don’t miss our full feature on Puissance and Imperial Tiger in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine (dated 14 March), the first part of our 2019 sport horse special. The issue also features a visit to Helgstrand Dressage, information on the most influential sires in sport horse breeding today and an essential guide to how British breeding will be affected by Brexit.