The Annual Stübben Event at Bohirrl Stables, Mountain Top, Letterkenny saw friends and families all going out for a day to explore stables and learn all about animals.
Drew Blaney opened her private stables on Monday, 31st July, for her and her daughter Jacque to welcome everyone to the successful Stübben showcase, animal awareness and fundraising day.
Demonstrators set up stalls throughout the vast Bohirrl Stables which houses five horses and two donkeys. Children and adults alike enjoyed admiring the animals and many brought their own dogs along for the fun.
A special Stübben pop-up store showcased the premium saddles, bridles, bits, girths and other accessories from the brand. Jacqui O’Neill from Stübben presented the products and demonstrations to young and old horse enthusiasts.
Many animal owners spent the afternoon at the stables enjoying refreshments and browsing the stalls, so it was an ideal setting for the ISPCA and Donegal Donkey Sanctuary to collect donations and promote their work.
Kevin McGinley and Denise McCausland from the ISPCA told people about their work and their responsibilities to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome sick and injured animals. They also were there to answer queries from pet owners.
Denise McCausland explained, “We are promoting the work we are doing and the rehabilitation we do to get animals back on their feet, get them healthy and responsibly rehome them so they have a long term future ahead of them.”
Danny, Sandra and Elsa Curran of the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary showed visitors what they do and checked up on their old friends Molly and Meg. The donkeys were fostered by Drew Blaney and have spent five years living together at the stables.
Danny had advice for people on how to report cruelty to donkeys and guidance on the care of donkeys.
The evening had a great demonstration with two of the beautiful Bohirrl horses – Kate and Bulaí.
Jacqui and Drew told the harrowing story of Bulaí to highlight the necessity of good animal welfare. The mare had a terrible start to life after her mother and grandmother were put to sleep. She was rescued by Drew, and although she was a troublesome horse there was something about her that caught Drew’s heart.
“The place she was in was a concentration camp for horses,” Drew said. She said she met Bulaí when was terrified, starving, covered in whip marks and cuts to her belly and cracks on her feet.
Bulaí was bought at 15 years of age and she is now a 19-year-old strong and beautiful animal. She is Connemara/Thoroughbred/Warmblood X and is bred in the purple in all three. She was in the Show Hunter Ponies Classes at the Balmoral Show this year and was placed fifth in a class of 17. Coming home with a ribbon showed how well she has come on over the years.
Bulaí struggled to trust humans at first and lived in fear of suffering the same fate as her family. Amazingly at the Stübben event this week she was fit, healthy and happy to be petted and pose with parents and children.
Drew has taken in many rescue cases and told Bulaí’s story to show how the work of the ISPCA and the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary can turn around the lives of animals and help them live happy lives in good homes.
Jacque Blaney, who is a fourth generation rider, rode Katie for the demo and put on an impressive display.
The girls rode on Stübben saddles during the display, and showed how the products are geared for performance.
Stübben Jacqui O’Neill described how the new age of Stübben saddles are lighter and adapted to the horses we have nowadays, which are bred lighter.
“We now have foreign bred horses bred in through Irish horses. We have a horse that develops quicker, they are sharper and our bridle range is an effective bridle for the horse’s head,” Jacqui said.
The bridles are comfortable for horses, the steeltec bitting range is soft steel for their mouths, and the reigns are soft touch, she said.
“Everything about Stübben is designed to make it easy for the rider and comfortable for the horse,” said Jacqui.
Jacqui said her favourite saddle, the Zaria Optimum, suits Irish riders because they are so long-lasting. She demonstrated the BIOMEX saddle seat technology, developed by top clinics in Switzerland, which alleviates back pressure for the rider.
The majority of the saddles are handmade in Switzerland and sold in over 50 countries.
John Grosvalds of Stübben UK said, “This is the second event we’ve done here at Drew’s stables which has been very successful. It’s nice to see local people coming and appreciating the product. A lot of people are existing Stübben owners and some have had theirs for 20, 30 and 40 years.”
Stübben representatives Gabrielle Weing and Nora Fitzpatrick also attended the event.
The saddles have been shown to stand the tests of time – just recently exemplified by Great Britain’s Nick Skelton winning gold at the Rio Olympics in a 35-year-old Stübben. “That proves that craftsmanship and quality are the trademarks of Stübben saddles,” said John.
Other demonstrators at the event were Ryan McBride from Gordons Bay Equestrian gordonsbayequestrian.com. He told people all about his stables in Carrigart, where horses owners can bring their animals on holiday and use his cross country course, show jumping arena. The centre runs out onto the beach where there are miles of sand dunes for hacking and country roads.
People travel from all over Ireland to Gordons Bay Equestrian, where Ryan takes care of their horses while they explore the Wild Atlantic Way.
Olive Boreland from Fanad had a Forever Living Aloe Vera stall to share the many benefits of the products. She said aloe vera can help skin problems, stomach problems and bowel problems.
“The products are wonderful for both human and animals. We have dealt with many amazing things for horses,” Olive said.
Glenview Stables, Bernard De Ceuster Farrier, Serendipity Equine and Equestrian Artist Carmel O’Callaghan, Just Craftin Around and Mark McConnell Agricultural Consultant were among the many stalls on the busy day, which only became more lively as the evening went on.
Dressage by Design, an equestrian boutique by Donegal woman Collette Ward was on display showcasing dressage clothing and riding boots. Visit: dressagebydesign.net.
Patricia Warren of the Wild Atlantic Equestrian Centre also visited the event. Patricia and Mary Warren run the stables in Dunlewey, Co. Donegal, and can be contacted at 0871003564.
For more information about Stübben Ireland: visit www.facebook.com/StuebbenUK