Talented young showjumper and eventer Nick Ireland has secured sponsorship from the makers of Fibre-Beet, a quick soak conditioning feed for horses.
Nick, 19, first starting riding aged three and started competing in lead rein showing classes with his first pony Merrylegs, an 11.2 Welsh Section A. From there he progressed to Pony Club rallies and local shows with the York and Ainsty South Pony Club, and started competing successfully in junior BS and BE events with his 13.2hh coloured cob Spencer and 14hh Chestnut pony Bubbles.
Having developing a love of eventing with Bubbles, Nick sadly grew too tall for her all too quickly, so needed a horse to accommodate his long legs!
In 2014, Nick attended a clinic with event rider Blyth Tait and rode a five-year-old 16hh horse called Billy Bank that had been brought over from Ireland by family friend Graham Sugden. Despite both being youngsters, the pair hit it off straight way and Nick decided Billy was the horse for him.
In just their first season together, Nick and Billy won the Pony Club Young Event Horse series, gaining points at every event attended. They also represented the York and Ainsty South Branch in all the Area teams, getting placed in every discipline.
2015 continued to go well with the pair taking part in BE and BS competitions alongside intermediate Pony Club team competitions. Billy continued to maintain his unblemished record cross country and 2016 beckoned with the plan to step up from BE100 to Novice before the end of the season. Sadly, this didn’t happen as Nick sustained a knee injury that side-lined him for months, although Billy continued his run of success with a friend taking over the ride for the remainder of the season.
Having recovered from his injury, Nick is now back in the saddle, and 2017 has started amazingly well. The pair have had back-to-back wins in BS competitions – four double clears at British Novice, and qualified for the second rounds in June. As well as recently competing at the Pony Club Winter League Championships at Addington Manor, the plan is to continue preparing for the British Novice second rounds, alongside getting ready for some BE100 eventing, starting in May at Bishop Burton.
Having missed all the Pony Club team competitions last season, Nick is also keen to take part this year to try and qualify for the Pony Club Championships in August.
Nick’s long-term ambition is for him and Billy to qualify for a BE CCI* competition.
Nick said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the Fibre-Beet team. Although Billy is generally quite a laid-back character, he has an edge to him which can turn into spookiness if not managed carefully. Since we’ve been feeding him Fibre-Beet, he’s been behaving impeccably at shows. He’s got all the power without the fizz, and looks in top condition. Fibre-Beet meets all his needs.”
Will I’Anson of British Horse Feeds, makers of Fibre-Beet, said: “Nick is a talented young rider and has already done well with a young horse that he’s produced himself. We are delighted to be supporting him and look forward to sharing his success throughout 2017.”
“Fibre-Beet is an excellent feed for show horses as it provides non-heating, high fibre beet pulp and quality alfalfa, to build condition and deliver essential amino acids. We are currently undertaking exciting research in to the properties of Fibre-Beet which go beyond delivering nutrients for work and maintenance.”