Prolific Connemara mare retires to stud after illustrious showing career

  • One of the most successful ridden Connemara mares of all time has been retired to stud at the age of 10.

    Lady Sue Huntingdon’s double Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) winner Slieve Bloom Jill, or Hermione as she is known at home, has made the move to Ireland to stand as a broodmare with breeder and owner of the Brocklodge stud Paddy Kearns, after an illustrious career under saddle.

    “I was introduced to her when she was a four-year-old, by my good friend Mitch Doyle who had just bought and had her on her yard in Suffolk,” said Sue.

    “Mitch found her on a hill in Ireland. She was in poor condition, with dreadlocks and lice, but she just had the most unbelievable movement with an exquisite head. The main thing I noticed, however, was that she never once put her ears back. She has always been such a happy, talkative mare.”

    As a five-year-old, the Brocklodge Buster daughter was produced by Mitch, making her show ring debut in-hand at the East of England Connemara show. Sue added: “It was an amazing day. She won her class, was champion and then took overall supreme of show — even then she just had that ‘look at me’ factor.”

    For the three and half years she was shown under saddle, Hermione was produced by the Berkshire-based Ramsey show team and was ably piloted through the ranks by Hannah Horton.

    “They just have the most amazing bond. I used to love watching them together,” said Sue.

    During their time together, the duo notched up an enviable tally which includes two HOYS Connemara class wins, in 2015 and 2016, 2016 HOYS reserve mountain and moorland (M&M) champion, 2016 Royal International M&M supreme champion, 2016 Royal Windsor M&M champion, multi-Olympia best of breed and two time Hickstead Derby M&M champion — to name just a few.

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    “Her wins are even more significant because she is a mare,” continued Sue. “Native classes are full of stallions, so she has done a lot for the ‘girl power’ movement.” 

    Hermione will soon be put in foal to a stallion of Paddy’s choice, and the aim is to contend some in-hand classes with her as a broodmare and then with her foal at foot.

    “She has done all she can do in the ring, so it’s time for her to do something new,” said Sue.

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