‘It’s special, romantic even’: what it means to jump a home-bred at a major championship

  • Ireland’s second team rider Trevor Breen produced a smart clear on his championship debut riding his home-bred Highland President at the European Showjumping Championships at the San Siro racecourse in Milan, Italy (30 August-3 September).

    The Sussex-based Irishman described the accomplishment as “very special”.

    The in-form duo put a dramatic slip behind them to post a powerful clear in 80.05sec to keep Ireland in the hunt for a medal.

    “It’s always nice to get underway with a clear so we’re off and running now and hopefully we can keep it up,” said Trevor, who followed pathfinder Michael Duffy’s clear on Cinca 3. “We want to keep in there on the hunt for a medal. So that was a super start.

    “I’d just like to have been a little quicker – I just had a slip turning back to the wall, which obviously lost a bit of time, probably a second. It made me go one extra stride to the water, which wasn’t the plan. So I probably was around a couple of seconds slower than I planned to be.

    “But listen, I’m clear, and the horse feels great so we’ll take that to the next day.”

    From home-bred to European Showjumping Championships

    Highland President is an 11-year-old gelding by Clinton out of a Kannan mare and was bred by the parents of Trevor’s wife Caroline, Heather and Ian Black.

    “We bred him all those years ago so you could say I know him pretty well!” said Trevor, who actually found his team-mate Denis Lynch’s ride Vistogrand for his brother Shane Breen.

    “It’s pretty special, quite romantic even, to get a horse that you’ve bred all the way to the championship. But he’s been a brilliant horse – he is by Clinton, so he can be a little bit strong at times. But you know when he gets to the jump that he is ultra careful and has loads of scope. So it’s a pleasure to ride him.

    “I took him as a nine-year-old to Vilamoura with a view that we’d done all the two-stars in England and I’d tested him up to that level. With Brexit it’s so expensive to travel now. He stepped up the best of all my horses and jumped his first Nations Cup there and he was double clear and we won.

    “I always had high hopes for him and I carefully produced him along the way, but I always had something like this earmarked for him. It’s very special.”

    The pair finished the day in 35th position individually behind leader Jens Fredricson, while the Irish team look formidable in fourth place behind Sweden.

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