Top Irish showjumper Shane Breen has been building up his breeding operation over the past decade or so at his Hickstead base in West Sussex. The stud has around 50 horses, from foals and youngstock to mares and stallions, with Shane using his own stallions when he can. He runs the stud alongside his successful showjumping yard with the help of stud manager Greg Le Gear, who oversees the day-to-day running of the breeding operation.
The stable yards
One of the quaint yards at Shane Breen’s stud at the famous venue Hickstead, where he runs a breeding operation alongside his competition horses.
An immaculate tackroom
Everything has its place in one of the very organised tackrooms at Breen Equestrian.
The impressive horsewalker
A huge undercover horsewalker in the middle of the yard, with a useful sand ring at its centre which was, up until last year, used to break the youngsters in — called in jest the “break-on championships” by Greg Le Gear, because of the tally of tumbles each rider kept. Now, Shane sends his young horses over to Ireland to be broken in by Joe Sharkey because of the growing number of horses he now has at Hickstead.
Butter wouldn’t melt
A trio of Shane’s adorable youngsters — the mares, foals, yearlings and youngstock are kept separately from the stallions and showjumping horses, a stone’s throw from Hickstead. Shane and his wife, Chloe, purchased a small farm where the yearlings bed down in one of the large barns, while the two- and three-year-olds are turned out in the extensive acreage.
In the barn
Shane chats to one of the yearlings, all of whom are stabled together in the former cattle barn on fresh, cosy straw.
Shane’s home-bred two- and three-year-olds enjoy the sunshine while turned out in the extensive acreage in West Sussex.
The wash down
Back in the main yard, two of Shane’s showjumpers are tacked up in the “wash-down area” ahead of the morning’s jumping session.
The indoor school
The masterpiece at Breen Equestrian is the impressive and spacious indoor school, where a course of jumps is usually set up and fellow Irish showjumper, David Simpson, often comes for sessions with Shane.
One of the stud’s up-and-coming stallions, Colmar, a nine-year-old by Colestus — ridden above by Shane’s stable jockey Georgia Tame.
A space for the stallions
There are stallion pens located away from the hustle and bustle of the competition yard, where the stallions can enjoy some quiet space to stretch their legs.
Don’t miss part two of our ‘Sport horse breeding special’ including H&H’s visit to Shane Breen’s stud at Hickstead in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound (11 April).