Duchess & Avril

I figure at some stage somewhere there is someone who will be interested in the little lives of Grand Duchess and Avril Clinton-Forde.

Grand Duchess is a little Chestnut, Irish Sport Horse who I bought in 2007 when she was 6 years old. Bred by the lovely Harold McGackern she is out of Derantus Dimond x Great Marques, she was, in his own words, “a breeding disappointment”. Harold recalled that she was a “dainty little thing” and as a result she was called Duchess. She was bread for jumping but because she was so small she wasn’t deemed to be suitable. However for Avril she was ideal. A little 16hh mare with a chestnut coat and a fiery attitude to match it. Duchess and I have been competing in Dressage since 2009, but have only become serious since the Summer of 2016.

As for Avril, me, I am now an at home mum who also works for herself in Digital Marketing doing bits and bobs for clients and lecturing at night. In 2010 I slipped two disks in my lower back (who hasn’t) that put me very much out of action for some time. In 2014 I had my little boy, Harvey and totally underestimated how difficult getting time to ride would be. However, I think seeing the time flying by has made me more determined to climb the ranks.

Riding non porefessionally in Ireland is hard and even harder when you don’t come from a long line of horsey blood. However over time I have become friends with many people in the industry. My knowladge may not go back 200 years, I might not have grown up on a stud in Kildare and I certainly don’t have the time to study the great riders and breeding lines of the top horses. What is true? I love dressage, my horse and am going to share it with you.


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