Two local sisters are celebrating after they were named as top breeders by the Irish Association of the Welsh Pony Cob Society.
Claire Scott and her sister, Sarah Rymer, are the brains behind Golden Grove Ponies outside Borrisokane, and lifted the award because of the success of their progenies.
“The breeders award is based on the performance of your progeny / stock,” said Claire. “It is points-based and everytime a pony with your prefix wins you get points.”
Claire revealed that the wins were not just confined to any one category and their ponies had picked up awards in dressage, showing, eventing, carriage driving and young stock.
The sisters breed around five or six ponies per year and being named top breeders should help increase their profile.
“You would like to hope so,” said Claire. “People are booking foals before they are born, but this may not be down to the award.”
Many of their ponies have gone on to win awards in Britain and Ireland over the years and one pony they sold to Italy is now a top eventing pony there.
Sarah is a former RDS Dublin Horse Show winner and her winning pony went on to breed in Scotland.
However, Claire pointed out that for her and Sarah, the ponies were “just a hobby”.
The sisters got their love of horses from their grandfather, Sean Maher from Golden Grove, Roscrea, and when he died in 2001 they kept on a few ponies. Indeed, their original stallion is still going strong at 23 years of age.
“It wasn’t easy at the start. Our grandfather died just two days after Sarah went off to study in Wales and I had just started working in Dublin,” said Claire.
However, proving that horses are in the blood, Claire said that in 2015, her daughter Anna Rose will progress to first year / first ridden, and Sarah might start her four-year-old daughter on the rein.
“You have to give the next generation a chance,” said Claire.