A FAMILY business can only survive if there is family engagement and intergenerational buy-in and, at Goresbridge Horse Sales, they are already looking to the future, while paying tribute to the past.

“My mother Kitty is a remarkable woman,” said Ed Donohoe who, at the start of this year, took over running the Co Kilkenny company with his wife, Siobhan. “Although she was expecting her 10th child, she began managing the monthly sales and the complex when my father (Ned) died suddenly in 1978 at the age of 45.

“She’s 89 now and still lives in the same house in Goresbridge; she keeps an eye on everything, as she really is interested in the business. She was delighted to hear that I was taking over from Martin and really happy to know that we were keeping the business in the family.”

While he didn’t start working at the Co Kilkenny complex as early as his father, Ed and Siobhan’s son, Ted, has already shown an interest in selling horses and ponies.

“Ted, who’s 16, worked alongside me on the rostrum last year and very much enjoyed the experience,” revealed Ed. “This gave me an added incentive to take over from Martin.”

Ted and his sister, Hannah (14), are both well-known on the show jumping scene. Although he could, and did, still ride ponies last year, Ted mainly competed in Young Rider or young horse classes with Rochell Van T Veer while, since 2022, Hannah has been campaigning 148cm black mare Lady Raven.

Driving their children to shows at weekends has somewhat curtailed Ed and Siobhan’s love of playing golf or attending race meetings, rugby matches and other sporting fixtures. “We knew what it was going to be like,” said Ed, who did a bit of show jumping in his youth and some hunting on the more social occasions.

“I come from a dairy farming background, so nothing was more important than the cows and getting them milked,” revealed Siobhan. “However, I was taught to ride by Robert Dowley, who also taught Ted and Hannah, and I got my first pony when I was nine. I was a member of the Warrington Pony Club and did every activity I could at the time.”