‘Equestrian News & Sports Media recently visited Ireland’s RDS, Young Rider Champion Sven Hadley at his 5* training facility in Co Galway.
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Arriving at the yard before lunch on a cold Autumn day, you can see the stables are a hive of activity. Sven, preparing the arena to ride his next horse, greets us with a warm welcome.
When speaking to Sven about his horses, showjumping career and future goals, you can see he really enjoys his job and the various aspects surrounding the sport. Buying and selling horses, competitions, travel, training, sourcing horses for clients, building partnerships. Sven enjoys it all and leaves nothing to chance with his horses. Every horse is treated like a King or Queen with an individual training program.
How did you get involved in showjumping?
”I was first on a horse at 3 years old. Both of my parents rode so it was just natural for me. I was a member of the South County Pony Club from a young age. I took part in a few hunts but showjumping was something i thoroughly enjoyed and wanted to pursue further.”
What is your typical day?
”The girls in the yard start at 7.30am. Feeding, mucking out, and grooming. I’ll come down at 8.00/8.30am and start riding.” Sven rides about 7 or 8 horses per day. Three days per week, a dressage rider, Dorthe Ffrench rides some of the jumpers on the flat. ”She does a great job.” All of the horses get lunch and they might go on the field in the evening. The remaining horses are ridden after lunch. We usually finish about 6.00 or 6.30 pm.
You’ve had a lot of success abroad. Can you tell us a little about your recent tour?
‘Gerard Clarke, Darren Hopkins and myself traveled together. We took part in three shows. One in Dunkerque, France and two shows at Lake Arena in Austria. It took 3 days travelling to and from the shows with two stop overs. One in Germany and One in the United Kingdom.”
The trip was very successful for Sven and his team of horses,gaining the following results at Lake House, Austria:
‘Cassana’ by ‘OBOS Quality’ took home 6th place in the ride and drive on Friday and 4th in the 125 speed on Saturday.
‘Quanbell’ had a 3rd place in the 130 speed, and 9th in a 140 jump off.
‘Carla’ took 5th place in the 130 speed and 6th in a very fast 140 speed.
‘Quanbell’ was 7th in the Big Grand Prix.
‘Realt Na Carraig’ was 2nd in the 140 speed.
‘Carla’ was 5th in the Seven year old Grand Prix.
Dunkerque, France 2**
‘Quanbell’ claimed 9th place in the 140 Grand Prix qualifier and 3rd in the speed class.
‘Cassana’ came 4th in the ride and drive.
‘Carla’ finished 5th in the speed class and 6th in the 140 Grand Prix qualifier
With the extensive travel involved for an Irish based International showjumper, would you ever consider basing yourself abroad?
”I have considered it and its something i might do in a year or two. Belgium or Holland is an ideal base for international competition.’
How many horses have you in work at the moment?
‘We have 12 horses in full work at the moment. We always have between 10 and 12 horses in work all year round.”
With so many horses, you must have a big support team?
”Yes i have a lot of help. Karina Lynott, Chris Coleman and Dorthe Ffrench help me out at home.”
Where is your next show and what horses are you bringing?
‘We are taking 4 horses to Cavan International horse show. Adelgonde Z, Cassana, Quanbell and Castlefield Cassie will compete there. After that, Im going to compete in the Masters at Emerald International. Im hoping to compete at the Mechelan Horse show in Belgium after Christmas.”
Who do you admire in the sport?
” I admire a lot of riders in the sport but Billy Twomey really stands out for me. He has a great style.”
What is your aim/goal for next year?
”I have some very nice young horses for next year. Id like to get them away to one of the Sunshine Tours in Spain and then aim for the Dublin horse show and the Horse Sport Ireland Classes. I’ll also aim the grand prix horses for some of the bigger shows at home and abroad.
Tell us a bit about some of your current horses.
”At the moment, I have some very promising young horses. ‘Carla’ (Canto X Marlo) is a 7 year old and has jumped fantastic this year. She jumped 8 times at 135/140 and was clear seven times. I believe she is one for the top sport.”
”I also have two very exciting 5 year old horses, co owned with Ger O Neill.’Castlefield Capri’ (O.B.O.S. Quality 004 X Political Merger) and ‘Castlefield Cassie’ (Cassidee X Lux Z).”
‘Realt Na Carraig’- I co own this horse with Cian O Connor. He has a huge amount of scope and and ability and has been placed in some very big classes including the 150 class at Hickstead in 2013.”
”Quanbell,’ -‘I bought this horse from Linda Slattery. He has jumped some very big tracks and has been successful.’
‘Cassinitine,’- by (Cheers Cassini) is a very scopey horse. Sven has produced this horse from the very beginning and thinks next year will be a good year for him.
‘Soviet Louvo,’ – Is another one co owned with Cian O Connor. He is a very good horse and is very careful.
‘Cassana’ – Is very fast, scopey and careful. Great against the clock.’
‘Adelgonde Z’ – has won a lot of prize money. She is very consistent and tries her heart out.” His Gold medal winning ride at the Junior European Championships in 2012. Its easy to see Adelgonde is Sven’s favorite horse in the yard!!!
Which horse would you most like to ride in the top sport?
After much thought and consideration, Sven settled on Bertram Allen’s championship mount ”Molly Malone” and was quick to point out the great relationship and bond Bertram has with the mare.
You won the young rider championship in Dublin this year. Can you tell us a bit about that?
”That was a great day. It was a dream come through really. ”Cassana” jumped super.” It was even more special for Sven and his team as he bought ‘Cassana’ from Glen McCullough, a close friend of the family. Cassana’ was also bred in Galway by Alan Horan, another family friend. ”It was great because all of her connections are from Galway and everyone was thrilled.”
Who have you trained with?
‘I trained with Billy Twomey for six months when i was younger. Tom Slattery also gave me a lot of help.’
What training methods do you use? I.E, Lots of flatwork, lunging, hacking, more or less jumping?
”It depends on the horse. They all have different training programs. I like to do grid work and bounces with the young horses. I hack them to keep them fresh and interested. Mostly good flatwork. Some of the horses will get a small jump at home. Others, such as ‘Adelgonde’ and ‘Carla’ would never jump at home.”
Who are your sponsors/Suppliers?
‘Pegus Horse Feed have supported me for a while now. All of my horses do well on their different feeds. Bucas have also come on board and have supplied me with rugs and saddlecloths for competitions.’
‘My parents have always been there for me and are my support system.’
The facilities at ”Hadley Sport Horses” are second to none. An American barn with stabling for 12 horses. Fully equipped with tack room, wash room, feed room and tack up area. All the horses are bedded on shavings and rubber matting.
A large sand arena with fiber and Wexford sand ensuring great footing all year round. A large lunge arena with a fiber mix and a horse walker.
Having visited Sven Hadley at Hadley Sport horses, one can clearly see the hard work, commitment and attention to detail Sven puts into his work. A man who gives great credit to his support team, and involved in all aspects of the equestrian sport, Its fair to say, Sven Hadley is a name heading for the very top of showjumping.
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