EPITOMISING bravery and teaching us all a collective lesson in courage and fortitude, the incredible force that was well-known horsewoman and farmer, Deirdre Bourns, passed away today (Monday).
Married to Richard, and mother to Andrew and Christopher, Deirdre's death was announced in a brief notice on Lisbeg Farm's Facebook page this afternoon - "We lost the best lady today, Deirdre will be so fondly remembered by everyone she met in the farming community."
A flood of tributes poured in beneath the post - many paid tribute to Deirdre's courage and her willingness to share her vast knowledge with others.
Earlier times: The Bourns family of Deirdre (holding Ultimo), Richard with Chris and Andrew
Together, the Bourns family built up Bourns Sport Horses over the years and today, it has bases in Ireland, Belgium and the USA.
Born into a farming family, Deirdre (née Gallery) married Richard in 1979 and was a wonderful farmer herself, teaching many a veterinary student how to lamb over the years on their flagship Lisbeg Farms, Eyrecourt, Co Galway. She got her early education in ponies from the Iveagh Pony Club and producing show ponies for WD Irwin in Portadown.
Throughout her life, Deirdre remained a consummate horsewoman. Despite suffering a serious freak accident in September 2012 that left her with catastrophic injuries that would have understandably defeated many people, Deirdre fought back bravely, proving an enormous inspiration to everyone she came in contact with.
Always hugely involved with the horses and show jumping, Deirdre remained a tireless worker and was centrally involved with planning out the campaigns of the Bourns Sport Horses team of horses and the development of the family's three bases.
Today Lisbeg Ireland produces all of their foals and young horses to the age of four before they go onto their Belgium base at Lommel for training and competition experience while their flagship Lisbeg South is based in Wellington, Florida.
Together the Bourns family have built their system into a world class team that specialises in the production of quality competition horses.
Only on Sunday, Andrew won the $50,000 Griffis Residential Grand Prix CSI2* at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida with Darquito, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding (by D'Inzeo x Contefino 2), bought by his parents as a seven-year-old.
International show jumper Sergio Alvarez Moya with Deirdre Bourns and MHS Attraction \ Courtesy of Bourns Sport Horses
In her last big interview with The Irish Field in March 2019, Deirdre said: "From my perspective, my heart is in Lisbeg Ireland, where we produce our young horses and set them on the way to being top Grand Prix horses."
Deirdre passed away peacefully in the excellent care of the staff in Portiuncula Hospital today. Predeceased by her brother Denis Gallery, she will be dearly missed by her loving husband Richard, her two sons Christopher and Andrew, her daughter-in-law Sarah, her much cherished granddaughter Kate, her sisters Bridie and Patsy and her extended family, friends, horses and dogs.
Due to covid restrictions, the funeral service will be strictly private. Condolences to the family can be made on www.rip.ie
Deirdre Bourns, through her family and life's work, leaves an extraordinary legacy which lives on.
The Irish Field wishes to extend its deepest sympathies to Richard, Andrew and Christopher on their sad loss.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dilís