PAULA and Robert Widger’s home-bred jumping pony Poynstown Dubh was the star of the day at Cavan on Wednesday where he topped the entire sale at an impressive €18,000. Well piloted by the owner’s young son Sam, the six-year-old 148cms gelding was the standout lot in day of good returns. In parts the figures stood up well from the 2020 equivalent, especially the average which closed at €6,237 (€5,596). The smaller catalogue however resulted in a reduced turnover, while the clearance of 63% dipped from 71% last year. Much of the trade was conducted online, as the medium increasingly plays an influential part of the proceedings.


A pre-sales catalogue pick Poynstown Dubh (Lot 27) was attractively bred to perform. A son of the renowned sport horse sire Boherdeal Clover out of the Connemara pony Lisduff Rega (Carraig Thunder), he had clocked up 72 SJI points and had hunted for two seasons. He had also taken part in the Stepping Stones Young Event Pony series earlier in the year, scoring maximum marks in the jumping. Creditably, he achieved all this with young Sam Widger, who celebrated his 12th birthday on the day of sale. The gelding is the produce of one of two in-foal mares that Robert Widger sourced from stallion owner Padraig Goonan, and led him to comment, “This pony has the makings of a very good one, whether as a jumper or an event pony. I had a reserve on him of €20,000 and would have taken him home if I hadn’t got very close to it.”

There was plenty of competition for this well produced individual, who was eventually knocked down to an Irish cash buyer.

Jim Derwin secured Paul McCloskey's grey gelding Ballinvoher Zidane (Lot 90) for €10,200 at Cavan Sales on Wednesday \ Cavan EC


There were notable prices in every sector, leading to a total of five five-figure returns. Among these was Patrick Reidy’s Harlequin Moment (Lot 76), a home-bred five-year-old by the thoroughbred sire Barely A Moment out of Harlequin Charm (Harlequin Du Carel). Home produced and a first foal, this attractive gelding had show jumped, evented at unaffiliated level, and scored sub 30 marks in dressage. He had also taken part in the Young Event Horse Series as a four-year-old, and earlier this month competed in the eventing Discovery showcase at Millstreet.

A smart individual, he looked well bought at €13,750 by Donegal-based customer Robert Smyth, who commented: “We have a yard near Hickstead in England, where my son Ian is based, and this one will be sent there to be produced further and with the event market in mind. He’s a lovely horse. I really like Barely A Moment as a sire, because they are good sorts, with good temperaments and aways give their best.”

Demand was competitve for the older horses with mileage, and especially for those guaranteed quiet. One such example was Keith Wilson’s Kildalton Raisin (Lot 68), a five-year-old by Quantino out of Kildalton Rainbow (Kildalton Gold). Warranted quiet in all repsects, and accompanied by a set of X-rays, he was knocked down to English customer J. Lloyd.

Tiernan Gray snapped up the 12-year-old dun mare, Callen Lady (Lot 9), for €7,400 Cavan Sales \ Cavan EC

Four- and three-year-olds

Both age group sale-toppers were secured by Jim Derwin, who by his standards did not buy in numbers. He was however particularly pleased with both his purchases, especially with Paul McCloskey’s grey gelding Ballinvoher Zidane (Lot 90) which he snapped up for €10,200. This was the fifth and final lot to break the €10,000 mark, and led Derwin to comment: “He was a good colour, he had a nice jump and was a good mover. I bought him off the breeder, as I did the three-year-old, and that is a bonus and rare these days.”

Reflecting on the trade in general, he added: “Overall, I do think things seem to have become a little quieter, which is no bad thing.” By the Dutch-bred sire Zidane, and out of the traditionally bred Ballinvoher Gypsy Girl (Huntingfield Rebel), this gelding had been competed in some working hunter classes, and came with the highest catalogue recommendation.

Just six of the three-year-olds changed hands, with Derwin again signing the docket for the sale-topper, this time at €9,000. The recipient was Trevor McCabe, unnamed gelding (Lot 109) by Singulaer Della Caccia (by Contender) out of Ricardess Tabasco (Tabasco Van Erpekom). Described as either and potential showjumper or eventer, he is the second foal out of the the dam.

John Burke's Manusmore Mel (Lot 16a), a son of I Love You Melody, impressed Carl Dore who paid €12,300 at Cavan Sales \ Cavan EC


The pony trade was the strongest of the day, and top lot aside, another 148cms jumping pony to make headlines was John Burke’s Manusmore Mel (16a), a lightly campaigned Connemara pony with 14 SJI points which sold for €12,300. A five-year-old son of I Love You Melody, he had been campaigned by both Lauren Quinn and by Sinead Burke, a niece of the vendor.

“I had been thinking we might have kept him for Sinead, but we are in the game of buying and selling, and so as the trade has been good we took our chance,” said the Co Clare-based Burke. “We bought this one in as a three-year-old, and he’s a sweet pony who ticks all the boxes.” One who agreed was the successful buyer Carl Dore, who lives not to far from the vendor in Co Limerick. Dore had seen the pony in competition, and speaking to The Irish Field, he commented: “He’s a real blood pony with a great step, and I think we will produce him further with my son Cian.”

Heather Blair’s Thornfield Shadow (Lot 14a) was another of the 148cms height group to impress. At 13-years-old this was an experienced grade A campaigner, with 306 SJI points. Recently partnered in competition by Harrison Blair, he was secured by regular pony trader Tiernan Gray at €10,200.

Conor Sheridan's Ardkyle Ginger Baby (Lot 69), a five-year-old chesnut mare by Luidam (SIEC Livello), found a new home in England when sold for €9,000 at Cavan Sales \ Cavan EC