SIAN Coleman, who had a delayed start to the 2023 eventing season due to the birth of son Fred in early May, won the final CCI4*-L of the year in Ireland at Ballindenisk last weekend with Kate Jarvey’s home-bred Irish Sport Horse mare, Hush A Bye Baby.

Coleman and the 10-year-old Indocto bay, who the rider says comes into her own in long format competitions, completed on their third-placed dressage score (32.6 penalties) following two foot-perfect rounds of jumping. On their previous outing, just a week earlier in similar company at Blenheim, the Co Cork combination had fallen early on the cross-country course.

The winners were not just the only combination to complete on the flat work score they were awarded by Ireland’s John Lyttle (C) and Faith Ponsonby (M) plus Britain’s Anne-Marie Taylor (E) but, from 11 starters on Sunday (16 for dressage), they recorded the only clear over the Tony Hurley-built show jumping track.

“The mare was super and I’m so delighted that Kate was there to see her win,” said Coleman who, far from resting on her laurels, was going cross-country schooling on Monday morning.

“I have to say, I was very lucky to go cross-country lunchtime on Saturday just before the weather closed in as, when I went out on my five-year-old (Ballyvonare Rascal) later in the day, I could hardly see the fences at all!”

With the mare’s future eventing career always in mind, Coleman has never run Hush A Bye Baby more than necessary and they signed off 2022 with a win in the CCI4*-L at Millstreet in August. Returning to action in the EI115 (Open) at Ballindenisk in mid-June, the combination had three starts, all in international classes, before Blenheim.

A retirement in the CCIO4*-NC-S at Jardy in mid-July was sandwiched between sixth and 17th place finishes in CCI4*-S competitions at Kilguilkey and Lisgarvan.


“Having Fred meant pushing the start of the season out a bit but the mare is getting to know more about her job with every run,” said Coleman

“She was feeling amazing in the lead-up to Blenheim – which we will have to forget – and so I was pretty confident heading to Ballindenisk. I hadn’t ridden over the four-star track here since the redesign by Helen (West) and thought it was brilliant.

“The mare loved the going on the cross-country as she is so blood and could stay all day.

Also, we were held before fence 11 following Joseph Murphy’s fall so she had fresh legs when we got going again.

“On Sunday, she was jumping off the ground like it was a trampoline, she just had so much jump. It was a nice way for the mare to end her season and, now that she has all her qualifications for Badminton and places, we can plan ahead for next year. As for me, I’m heading to Boekelo (next week) with Global Mentor and then, hopefully, to Le Lion – if we’re selected – with Diamond Mistreet and Kilroe Frolic.

“Having Fred has changed my life for the better but it’s tough being the mother of a young child and riding at a high level. I couldn’t do it without the help of my husband Patrick, my groom Amanda and Marion who comes in to look after Fred so I can ride every day.”