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Obituary – The Irish Connection


The Irish Connection


The Saddle Horse world lost another valuable member of its community when the popular breeding stallion, The Irish Connection, died Monday, April 16, 2007. He was born February 22, 1984.


Consistently in the top 20 on the Saddle Horse Report’s World Champion Sire Rating chart and the number one in hand world champion producer for three years, it is without a doubt The Irish Connection has left his mark on the breed. Bred by Leatherwood Farms, he was one of the last sons of Supreme Sultan and out of the champion-producing mare Miss Blarney.


With impeccable bloodlines to back him up, The Irish Connection began his tutelage under the masterful hand of Harrison Shiflet. Together this duo earned top ribbons in the Carolinas in the three-year-old fine harness classes. A couple of years later and this elegant stallion returned to the show ring with Cash Lovell in the saddle, gaited and under the ownership of Sue Nifong.


For the next six years, this team dominated the Carolina and Kentucky circuit with wins and reserves at such shows as Bonnie Blue, Roanoke Valley, North Carolina State Championships, Lexington Junior League, as well as a reserve world’s championship in the Five-Gaited Stallion Stake in 1993. In 1993, he was also named the People’s Choice Five-Gaited Stallion. All the while, The Irish Connection was bred to a limited number of mares.


In 1995, Nifong retired her stallion from the show ring and brought him into the breeding shed full time. He proved to be just as successful there as he was in the ring. Standing at Silverlin Farm during his second career, The Irish Connection stamped his offspring with his long neck, expressive face and overall elegance. He became known, not only as a performance sire, but also as a lucrative futurity producer. CH Attache’s Irish Wine, Reserve World Champion CH The Irish Sterling, The Kentucky Connection, Tiznow, Reserve World’s Champion Irish Epic, Reserve World’s Champion Guinness, Irish Cappuccino, America’s Lass, Silver Harbor and World’s Champion Golden Market are just a few of his offspring who continue to carry on his name.                                    

During his 23 years of showing and breeding, the effect left by The Irish Connection will not soon be forgotten. This wonderful stallion will continue to live on in all of his champions.


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