Kevin Doyle says he's busier now breeding horses on the family farm in Wexford than he ever was playing football.
The former Ireland international last week shelled out €155,000 to buy a half-brother to winning machine Altior, who he hopes to raise to a three-year-old before selling on.
Doyle, who stepped away from football in September 2017 due to ongoing concussion issues, says being able to pursue his other passion, while also maintaining his punditry duties with RTÉ, has made his retirement easier to handle.
“The whole thing about breeding fascinates me,” he said in an interview with Horse Racing Ireland.
“I’ve really enjoyed it and I'm constantly trying to learn, and it’s definitely helped me since I finished football to get over that.
“It’s not like I’m missing football loads and sitting at home – you read stories of players when they retire when they have nothing to do, but horses fascinate me and I get a great kick out of this.
“I’m not really into the gambling or training side of it and I don’t go to too many races - it’s just all facets of the breeding side for me, and it’s definitely made retirement a lot easier.
“I just really enjoy seeing my horses grow and evolve - trying to get one, breed one, see them foal and then sell them to go on and win a race and do well, and then follow them on through their career.”
Doyle now owns five mares and he plans to keep it a small operation.
“My plan is to keep it relatively small and try to have quality rather than quantity, as that’s the key to making it commercially viable and making it pay for itself.
“I want to have it so not every minute of my day is spent trying to keep everything going on the farm, and it’s just more about it being a hobby.
“It can easily get out of hand with mares and foals and they can multiply quickly, and I may even cut back now on one or two and try and keep the quality up and the quantity down.
“But I don't plan to leave the breeding industry any time soon - I’m busier now than I ever was, it’s all stuff that I want to do and so hopefully that will continue.”