HORSE breeding for some is a religion and a selection of devout followers gathered in Dublin Airport at an ungodly hour last Friday morning for the latest Teagasc equine overseas tour. Expertly organised by Wendy Conlon, whose inside knowledge of the Holstein breeders and fluent German proved invaluable, and Crea English, it was a whirlwind tour to the home of the Holsteiner horse.

Timed to coincide with the breed’s annual colt inspections and elite riding horse auction, the first two days was spent by the 24-strong Irish group at the Holstenhallen, an exhibition and concert venue, in Neumünster. This year’s colt candidates had already had a preliminary school in the transformed arena on Wednesday, before limb and movement at walk and trot assessment outdoors the following day.