IVOR and I set up Kylemore Stud 25 years ago! Seems a lifetime ago at times and only yesterday. We’ve worked with horses here and abroad - from Suma Stud to VDL Stud - and made great contacts along the way. That has really stood to us in setting up The Stallion Shop, a new one-stop service for breeders’ AI orders for the top global stallions.
We have three children; Chloe, Luke and Joshua. Chloe is studying veterinary medicine and qualifies this year, Luke is a huge help around the yard and Joshua competes successfully in show jumping. Like his mother, he loves his hunting too!
I’m a joint-master of the East Galway Hunt so between hunting, the breeding and competition seasons, it’s a busy life.
We’ve developed a modern facility with a full-time vet here at Kylemore, near Loughrea, to care for our clients’ mares and foals and we have plans for further expansion in this regard.
1. A great year for Kylemore Stud customers and your Heartbreaker stallion Womanizer in the world rankings. Standing stallions, would you do it all over again?
Yes, although you know you are getting old when a customer brings a mare and you remember covering the grand-dam! But, because of this, I think we have been lucky to be able to help breeders improve each generation.
When we started, artificial insemination (AI) was only in its infancy in Ireland, and I spent a lot of time convincing farmers and breeders to trust that it would actually work! I am glad to say that many of the breeders who supported us in those early years are still doing so, and we have made great friends through our stud farm.
2. Proudest moment in the business?
Every time we scan a mare in foal that has broken many hearts before coming to us!
We have had some notable wins internationally and nationally but most recently the home-bred KMS Denver (Dominator Z), our now five-year-old stallion. After he jumped in Mullingar last year, we were inundated with calls from the big names here and abroad to buy him. So hopefully we are getting something right!
3. Galway has produced many famous horses, including most recently, the Connolly family’s James Kann Cruz. What gives the Tribesmen/women their edge?
Irish horses in general, and in the west in particular, are reared outdoors for the greater part of their lives. Because of lack of funding for breeders, there are not the big rearing barns we see on the continent. While we welcome more facilities for breeders, we have found that young horses that live outdoors and have daily turnout are sounder and have less soft tissue issues later in life.
4. How do you think Irish sport horse breeding has changed?
Irish sport horse breeding has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. We are becoming more professional, and market-focused with exceptional damlines coming through. We are breeding as good, if not better, than in Europe and the fact that we see young horses being sold in numbers abroad, shows we are back on the big stage.
I do worry we might lose some horsemanship along the way, however. As with all farming, once it becomes intensive, there are losses for animal welfare and also for genetic diversity. We feel it should be addressed by legislation, in regard to ET and ICSI but this is a time away.
5. Describe your winter regime for mares/youngstock?
Mares live outside all year long. We try to rear everything outside. We only rug mares if they are imported and acclimatising to Irish weather in their first year here or if they are not doing as well as they should. We have an outfarm for wintering, where the land and shelter is excellent. Foals are housed for three months maximum, in small groups and with daily turnout.
6. It takes a team. Who is on yours?
Chloe, Luke and Joshua are all very involved and work here with us during college breaks, after school and on weekends.
Paul Lynch rides all the youngsters; he is super with the young colts. Kaylee Blight and Daragh Gunning share the stallion barn duties between them, along with assisting Paul and with mares during the stud season.
Victoria Lyman helps out too with feeding and stables. Ivor is a genius in the lab and sends out the best quality semen from the stallion range, so he’s probably allowed an extra mention too!
7. If you could have bred any horse in history?
Itot du Chateau because he had the heart of a lion, was so quick and clever, uncomplicated and always wanted to win!
8. Do breeders get enough recognition?
Breeders are so undervalued and it is a real bugbear of ours. We believe that the FEI should allow a very small percentage of prize money go to the breeder on every competition. And this could and should be followed up by the national organisations.
Prefixes should never be changed without permission of the breeder.
9. Best advice you got?
Don’t ask too much too soon from your horses. They will give it when they are ready. Patience is crucial.
10. Do you think there is enough good advice available for breeders?
While there are fantastic young breeders initiatives and interesting webinars etc now through Teagasc, we still feel we can do more.
We seem to have a lot of advisors nowadays but not too many of them have walked the talk. In our opinion, breeders are best served by taking their advice from people who have made a successful business out of horse breeding, including reputable and experienced stallion owners, who have the longterm view in mind.
Without repeat business we can’t grow, so it’s vital that those choices we help you make work and bring success to the breeder, both in his or her pocket, but also in developing a longterm breeding programme.
Also, from those that have bred lots of horses that were successful in sport and breeding. And of course it goes without saying that they will all have learnt a lot of lessons along the way.
You cannot be just a paper breeder. That’s not a longterm plan. Understanding breeding and loving it is a recipe for success!
Ivor Broderick of Kylemore Stud, who has just opened The Stallion Shop, busy at Dublin Horse Show \ Susan Finnerty