ANNA Smith has been producing horses and ponies her whole life. Born into a family whose business was horses, she learned through doing. Although she is still young, the experience she has gained far outweighs her 30 years of age.

Together with her partner Eoin Gaughan, she runs a exciting producing and breeding programme. “I was born and raised just outside Mullingar. My Grandfather John Smith hunted with the Westmeath Foxhounds for over 30 years. My parents, Pat Smith and Lizzie Tuite, had a yard in Strattonstown with a bit of everything – hunters, jumpers,” Anna told The Irish Field.

“I would have done all the ponies growing up and had a lot of different things in and out of the yard. My Dad competed and my Mom would have been more hands on. She had spent time grooming for Eddie Macken when he was based in Kells.

“She was always really particular about turn out and having things done right for the horses, everything was always spick and span.

“I did a good bit of jumping and would have brought many nice ponies through the grades. One of them, a Connemara named Ballyowen Mabel Molly (Monaghanstown Fred) won a European gold medal with Kellie Allen when she was seven years old.

“I had ridden and produced Molly and then when I was out of ponies her owner Anthony McCormack was looking for someone to take over the ride, and I recommended Kellie because she didn’t have a top pony at the time.

“Another one of note which we produced was the extremely successful Strattonstown Nearly Gone (2003 by Birdhill Clover). He was sold as a five-year-old and went on to win a huge amount. He represented Denmark at the Europeans, I think three times. Those two were probably the most well-known, but a lot of very good ponies went through our yard.

“There could have been 10 ponies on the go during the summer, and if you were lucky enough to have them the following summer it was great, but a lot of them were sold on and went on to do really well.”


“When I finished school I was still riding but I went and did a degree in Communications in DCU. My parents thought it would be good to have a back-up plan because they knew how hard the horse business can be. I was still competing but maybe not quite as much during those years.

“After that I was buying and selling myself from home for a while. I then went to work for Padraig Dolan in Munsboro Sport Horses. He sells a lot to the continent and I learned a lot while there. I then moved on to work for Antoinette and Robert Bryan at LFS Showjumpers where I stayed until 2018.

“Eoin was based at my home place in Strattonstown and he was doing the horses from there. We began to buy some horses to produce together and it just really grew from there.

“We mainly have three-year-olds, but also have a good few from foals upwards. We started our breeding programme about four years ago with three mares and we have grown now to about 13.”


Speaking about the aims of the business, Eoin said: “Our goal is to breed and produce a nice commercial type of horse that has a wide customer base. We’ve sold at every age really and to many different markets. One horse I brought on from a three-year-old and sold as a five-year-old was EG Michelangelo. He has competed at the five-star Badminton Horse Trials with Britain’s Rose Nesbitt for the past two years.

“We also sold Jack Sparrows to an American buyer last year. He stayed in Ireland and was ridden at the RDS in the seven and eight-year-old finals by Ethen Ahearne. We sold Katie Perry last year and she’s jumping in the RDS qualifiers this week. We are breeding from her dam’s full-sister.

“We recently sold a mare named Fubalia who is based in Greg Broderick’s and is being ridden by Leah Stack, she should do some National Grand Prix this year.

“We produced Frybalia SMH (VDL Baltic) who Mikey Pender competed for Marion Hughes up to 1.50m, and a pony named Correlli Clover who Lauren Adams is riding.

“At the minute we have 15 in work and six of them are being competed by Anna and Robyn Fagan. We were lucky enough to get a place of our own between Enfield and Kinnegad. We moved in and developed it so now we are set up properly to do a good job with the young horses. We have two sand arenas, a walker, a lunge ring and a barn.”

Anna Smith and Eoin Gaughan's Co Meath yard

Way of thinking

Eoin continued: “We currently have the three-year-old stallion Balou K, owned by Catherine Kenny, by Darragh Kenny’s former mount Balou du Reventon standing here. He looks very exciting. His dam is from the same line as Carthago, she’s Diamant de Semilly out of a Numero Uno mare. He is broken and will be competing from September.

“We switched our way of thinking a bit. We would still be looking for nice youngstock but are concentrating more on the mares we have with good pedigrees and producing from them.

“We now have about 10-12 in each age bracket and we are bringing them along. Some of the mares we would have ridden and have proved themselves, others are ones we bred with good enough dam lines that it would be worth breeding from them.

“We have a broodmare named Gersinaa. She’s an Indoctro x Emillion and she has two full-sisters that are jumping 1.60m. Her oldest offspring is three, a filly by Komme Casall. She looks very nice. A blood athletic type, quick off the ground, everything you’d hope to have coming along. She’s broken at the moment and you couldn’t be anything but happy with her.

“I’ve been working full-time in the office with Show Jumping Ireland for the past year which means riding early in the morning or late in the evening so it’s busy but rewarding,” said Anna.