Irish Draught Foal

Two years ago our young Irish Draught mare lost her foal at foaling. We decided not to put her back in foal and give her time to recover from the trauma.
Last year a deep breath was taken the mare was covered again and eleven months later this foal was born.


We’re always hoping for filly foals, and as this is the only foal that was due this year we’re more than delighted that it is a filly!


A grey horse is never born grey, the animals coat changes colour over the years until eventually the coat is white (but called grey!) Both the sire and dam of this foal are grey but interestingly I think the foal will stay chesnut in colour. Usually you can see a few grey hairs around the eyes if they are going to change.

Derrynagarra Celeste is a purebred Irish Draught mare. All Draught mares should be inspected to see if they meet the breed standards and Celeste was inspected as a two year old and given the status Registered Irish Draught (RID), her filly foal will just be  Irish Draught (ID) until she in turn goes forward for inspection in a few years time. In the mean time she can enjoy the sunshine at Lough Bishop House alongside her dam.The foal is by the RID stallion Crystal Crest who has since been exported to the USA.

Now we have to think of a name……….





>Bailieborough Show

>It’s an early start on show days, and yesterday, at Bailieborough, was our first show of the season. Shows are a great opportunity to showcase our stock and compare them to others, and of course if a rosette is forthcoming it’s another string in our bow when it comes to promoting and selling our animals.
We are showing Derrynagarra Celeste today who is a 5 year old Registered Irish Draught mare in foal to Crystal Crest (RID), and since we’re only showing the one, Helen is off by herself while I go to the bog to save turf! Click here to read last years post on Turf.

There is quite a lot to do to get a horse ready for showing. There is no point bringing her if she doesn’t look her best, and so by  7am Helen has Celeste shampooed and washed and ready for plaiting!

Starting with tail….
…and finishing the plait by stitching it into place.
Onto the forelock….
….and then onto the mane.
The reason Helen goes to all that trouble is that with the mane neatly held up out of the way, the judges can see the shape of the neck much better, and it makes it much easier to get an overall view of the horse from a judging prospective.
Derrynagarra Celeste plaited up….
…and off to Bailieborough. She’s looking well, now it’s up to the judges.
All the work paid off and Celeste won her class!
The red rosette in it’s prominent position!!
 Home again and with the plaits out…..
…it’s back to the field with the others.

>The Farrier

>The farrier has just left having trimmed the hooves on 3 Irish Draughts of various ages and re shoeing Clorin, who had a loose front shoe. Four years as an apprentice and a lot of practice makes it look very easy!
The farrier would come about every six weeks depending on how fast the hooves grow. It’s particularly important for young stock that their hooves are trimmed regularly.

First of all the old shoe is removed.
Then excess hoof growth is taken off.
We had a query following our post about clipping Clorin, wondering how she stayed warm without her hair. In this photo you can see her in her outdoor rug which is wind proof, water proof and insulated, so no need to worry.
And then smoothed off with a file.
Still holding the hoof between his legs, the new shoe is beaten into shape…..
….. and nailed on. This is why they serve a 4 year apprenticeship!
He then curls over the end of the nail and crimps it down so that it won’t come out.
All that’s left then is to tidy up the front of the hoof….
…. and Bob’s your Uncle!

>Clipping Clorin


We had the first decent frost last night with the temperature dropping to -0.4ºC. The first picture which has nothing to do with clipping, was taken this morning just before sunrise and Christopher thought it was worth including!
So…over to Helen, and Clorin, and clipping:

Early morning mist over Bishop’s Lough with Knock Eyon in the backround.

As autumn progresses the horses all change their summer coats for something more substantial to see them through the winter.
Clorin was starting to get too hot for comfort when we were out, so here she is clean and fully coated ready for a change.

Starting to clip.
The clippers are electric and not too noisy, but some horses are not keen on the whole operation. Clorin, true to her Irish Draught pedigree was calm throughout.

Nearly finished.

Clorin, cool and composed ready for off.

>Derrynagarra Clorin


After eight Irish Draught foals, and about ten years since she was broken, Derrynagarra Clorin is back under saddle. It’s early days yet, but we are both really enjoying it.
I don’t remember it being such a long way down from 17 hands, or indeed up for that matter! And so we have ordered a mounting block, and Christopher has made a start putting riding latchs on some of the gates as you will see later.

We decided not to put either of the mares back in foal this year as the market is so flat, so Clorin and I thought it would be a good chance to get fitter!

not as graceful as I might be!

‘Super Clorin’ surveying the surroundings

Off up the drive

Checking the lambs as we go

the new gate latch makes exit much easier

A blustery saturday afternoon, but we are very happy to be out and about again.

>Irish Draught Horse Breeders Association National Show


Where to start! We had the most fantastic day out, as you can probably guess by the sash sported by Derrynagarra Dash. He was 4th in the mixed two year old colt and gelding class. It is always difficult for a gelding to compete against the colts so we were happy with his placing in a class of 10 animals.

We then took part in the 2 & 3 year old gelding championship.

Derrynagarra Dash Champion Irish Draught Gelding being presented with his sash and cup !

Our yearling filly Derrynagarra Bliss awaiting her turn to trot up in front of the judges.

Trotting away. The yearling filly class had 13 competitors. We finished 4th in the class and were very pleased with that. For anyone who is interested the full results are available on the Association’s website

The end of the day!

>Longford Show


Derrynagarra Patience surveying the scene, before getting out of the trailer.

Patience and Helen waiting for their class.

The small agricultural shows need all the support from exhibitors that they can muster. If the breeders don’t attend the classes will be lost, and young horses won’t have the chance to get the experience they need.
We had a lovely day out, met lots of people we knew and were home in time for tea!

>Trip to Wicklow


Borrowed a Sat Nav and headed off to Ashford with Derrynagarra Dash in tow, last Sunday.

Derrynagarra Dash

Helen & Dash concentrating like mad!
He is a two year old Irish Draught gelding, and he qualified for the gelding championship that is to take place at the national Irish Draught Show in Mullingar on the 31st July.

>Bailieborough Show

>We won our Class at Bailieborough Show yesterday with our yearling filly Derrynagarra Bliss.

Washed, brushed and plaited-up ready for her class.

This was her first show and she took all the new things in her stride – the loudspeakers, the ridden horses, the cattle, the very blustery day.

The judges considering their verdict

Bliss in every sense of the word! Helen and Bliss with their first prize rosette.

>Bad things seem to happen in threes


We wondered whether to include some of the more depressing aspects of farming on this blog, and then decided it would a bit unrealistic not to.

We have had a run of bad luck recently:

We were expecting another foal this year. The mare started to foal, but it soon became apparent that events were not progressing quickly enough and by the time she finally foaled with considerable veterinary assistance her filly foal was born dead.It was the mare’s first foal, and while it took about a week for her to recover from the physical ordeal, she didn’t really know what happened and so did not miss the foal.She has now recovered and is out grazing peacefully with the others.

That same weekend one of our Moiled cows gave birth to a dead calf. Calving progressed normally, and she is a very experienced cow so there was no obvious reason which is frustrating. The calf was full term and born bang on it’s due date.This cow has had a lot of calves, she knew exactly what had happened and would not leave the calf.

Each morning I would open the door of the shed and leave it open all day. She would have one or two mouthfuls of grass and then go back to sit with her calf.On the third morning she got up, had one last look back at her calf, and walked off to join the rest of the herd. She too has recovered and is out grazing peacefully in the sunshine.

The following weekend having hatched 10 chicks…..

….our broody hen and her chicks disappeared. We think the fox must have taken them, but there were no tell tale feathers strewn around, just no hen and no chicks.

There is an expression in farming which says that ‘where you have livestock you will have deadstock’. This sounds a bit callous but it is more a way of pointing that, even with the best will in the world, these things do happen and some things are beyond our control.

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