IT was the turn of the Cork / Kerry branch of the Irish Draught Horse Breeders Association to host the 2016 IDHBA Awards Banquet and Dinner Dance, which was held in the Celtic Ross Hotel in the picturesque surroundings of Rosscarbery in West Cork on Saturday 12th November.
It was a great social occasion with 180 people from all corners of the island joining in festivities. The annual awards night is one of the highlights of the IDHBA calendar, providing a great chance for members and enthusiasts to catch up with old friends and recognise the achievements of our native breed and the people who make them possible.
The night began with the presentation of the national awards. The Leading Performance Irish Draught of the Year title went to Alicia Devlin Byrne’s King Flagmount (Welcome Flagmount) who won the performance ID championship at the RDS and went on to claim the inaugural Irish Horse Gateway Performance working hunter final at the national breed show in Punchestown.
The award for the young Irish Draught Show Horse of the year went to Padraig Bohan’s Gortfadda Ruby Kingdom (Coolcronan Wood), bred by Sean Scannell from Ballyvourney, who had a great season, culminating in being crowned youngstock champion in Punchestown. The 2016 Irish Draught Broodmare of the Year was John Bracken’s Uibh Fháile Duchess (Ballinrobe Boy), who along with her Scrapman filly foal had a superb showing season in 2016.
This award was presented to her showing partners, Joanne Maguire and Gillian Kinahan. The Young Show Person of the Year went to popular local exhibitor, Sam Kingston junior, who is a well-known handler on the West Cork circuit and beyond. Sam was reserve champion in the H.S.I.-sponsored All Ireland Young Show Person Championship in Dunmanway and went on to win the Young Handlers’ class at the National Show. Jennifer Haverty was presented with an award for her Outstanding Contribution to the IDHBA, having served as treasurer for a number of years and playing an active role in the organisation of the annual breed show. A special presentation was made to honour the achievement of Fort Knox (Gortfree Hero), a purebred Irish Draught who was crowned the Supreme Champion Hunter at the RDS. The award was accepted by Michael Murphy on behalf of Pat Loughlin.
The Cork / Kerry Branch was also delighted to be afforded the opportunity to honour some local champions of the Irish Draught breed by presenting them with branch awards. The recipients of these awards were; Edward O’Driscoll (Lifelong Support of the Irish Draught), Tina Murphy (Commitment to the Performance Irish Draught), James O’Keeffe (Breeder’s Award), Bernard Cummins (Promoting the Irish Draught for the Amateur Rider), and Susan McCarthy (Promotion of the IDHBA and The Irish Draught Breed). Susan’s award had been kept secret by the organising committee and her reaction was one of the highlights of the night. It has been reported that the cheers could be heard in Bandon.
Guest speaker on the night was Pat Corbet, president of the Irish Shows Association, who spoke about the unique nature of the Irish horse and our native breeds. He also highlighted the importance of the local agricultural shows as a showcase for breeders.
A great night of music, dancing, songs and stories ensued and the party continued to the wee hours of the morning. The organising committee wishes to thank all of those who supported the event.