CONGRATULATIONS to Sean Bourke and Catríon Page, whose wedding took place recently. The couple met in Malachy Hassett’s yard, where Catríon worked at the time and Sean had sent a horse to be broken in.

Malachy is obviously a judge of both horse and man and turned into quite the matchmaker between the pair. Eleven years later, the pair celebrated their wedding in Quin over the May Bank Holiday weekend and thoroughly enjoyed a memorable occasion. One special guest was ‘Blackie’, the lifelike horse figure Brian Finan had brought along to the hotel to surprise the couple!

The newly-weds have just recently returned from honeymoon in Croatia to Ballina, where they run their nearby Brookfield Farm, a small breeding and production yard in north Mayo, focussing mainly on jumpers and young rider/amateur horses.

Catríon grew up around horses in the Banner County, where her father Michael always kept two broodmares and some of those Clover Hill, Cougar and French Buffet bloodlines are still seen in their herd of five broodmares and promising younger fillies, whose pedigrees contain Copycat Z, Levisto Z and Flipper D’Elle too.

One of their mares - a Grade A jumping mare by Mermus R - then added to the hectic pre-wedding preparations countdown by producing a filly foal by the young sire Sligo Cavalier Candy. This stunning foal has impressed the couple with her presence, blood and quality.

Sean is also interested in Connemara ponies and from a young age successfully showed Connemara stallions on the circuit and bred Rathlacken Cascade and Rathlacken Finnard. Breaking in the young home-bred horses is Catríon’s responsibility and she produces them at local shows and venues, such as Riverview Equestrian Centre’s spring league. The couple are both involved with a number of local organisations, such as Nephin Riding Club, that runs clinics, events and classes suitable for young horses.

They also volunteer to help out at Ballina, their local agricultural show, in the horse and cattle sections. Sean is involved in organising the cattle classes, which this year has a new champion Simmental cow with calf at foot addition to the schedule. Meanwhile, his new bride helps out Brian Finan, who meticulously runs the showing and loose jumping classes. And who also provides the perfect props for equestrian lovers’ weddings!

Perhaps ‘Blackie’ could make another guest appearance at this year’s show, scheduled for Sunday, July 14th.