Kirsten McDonald presents The Ledsome Lad Cup to Saintfield Show Chairman Jim Kirk. Also included are from left Vera George, Head of Cups and Trophies, Alistair McDonald, Hilary Gibson, Head of Ridden Hunter, Dr. James McKelvey, Show President, Ngaire McDonald and Wilbert George, Head of Working Hunter.
SAINTFIELD Show Limited have been presented with a new Cup for next year's Show by a young rider whose horse tragically died whilst competing at this year's event in June.
Kirsten McDonald from Crumlin and “Ledsome Lad” had success in various classes before tragedy struck when “Leddy” fell and died as a result during the Working Hunter class and Kirsten was taken to hospital with a broken collar bone.
At a reception at the home of Vera and Wilbert George in Saintfield, Kirsten presented The Ledsome Lad Cup in remembrance of “Leddy” to Show Committee Chairman Jim Kirk.
Speaking during the trophy handover Kirsten said “On few occasions a horse such as 'Ledsome Lad' comes along. It was a great privilege to have owned and ridden him if only for a few short years. It is only fitting that he be remembered by this trophy for many years to come. I hope his memory inspires others. Once again I would like to thank all those who sent me support after Leddy's fatal accident at Saintfield Show earlier this year.”
Show Committee Chairman Jim Kirk said “On behalf of Saintfield Show Limited I would like to thank Kirsten and her family for their generosity and kindness in presenting this magnificent trophy in remembrance of 'Ledsome Lad'. It was a tragic accident following success in various classes throughout the day which left Kirsten nursing a broken collar bone and we are delighted to see that she has made a full recovery. For someone who has been involved in dairy farming all my life and knows how attached one can become to particular animals, I can appreciate the heartache when you lose an animal as special as 'Ledsome Lad'. I hope that in the years to come, while competing for this magnificent trophy, it will bring back happy memories for you and your family.”
The well known “Ledsome Lad” was a US bred 17.1hh gelding. His sire was “Torrential” and dam “Ca Va Tres Bien”. As a yearling he was brought to Ireland by Michael O'Brien. Early in his racing career he had a few wind operations which denied him his breathing to go further on the track. He changed hands to P2P.IE owner, trainer and commentator Richard Pugh. Richard's wife Jennifer successfully rode him on the point to point circuit with his best finish being a second. It was always felt that his wind denied him an elusive win. Richard and Jennifer encouraged his final owner Kirsten McDonald through her Jockey's Licence by letting her school “Ledsome Lad”. After being gifted the horse in 2007, Kirsten raced him for a final season. Out of racing he began to show just how versatile a horse he was by taking to his retraining with great style. He excelled in all his new and very popular Racehorse to Ridinghorse show classes never coming home without a ribbon. This culminated in him finally showing some a clean pair of heels by standing alongside household racing names in Dublin where in 2010 he took a very respectable 5th.
“Ledsome Lad” could also be seen taking ribbons at Eventing Ireland and ridden classes throughout the County Shows with Champion Hunter being awarded to him on several occasions.
His tragic loss has not only been felt by Kirsten and her family but by many others through the organisation Racehorse to Ridinghorse Ireland.
Kirsten McDonald pictured with Ledsome Lad competing at Dublin Horse Show last year.
Thank you to Audrey Gregg for providing the photographs and article for the press.