Beecher: riding centres need to become more security conscious

Show jumper Paul Beecher has urged riding centres to be extra vigilant after €20,000 of his tack was stolen as he filmed a documentary last Monday.

Beecher leapt to prominence in June when winning the famous Hickstead Derby with the home-bred Loughnatousa WB for only the 13th time for Ireland in its 52-year history.

However, he made headlines this week following a brazen lunch-time raid on his yard in Tallow, Co Waterford, that came hours after the theft of tack worth approximately €7,000 from a yard in East Cork.

Yesterday, Paul said riding centres needed to be more conscious of security, with burglaries on the increase.

“I would like to warn equestrian centres to be on their guard that they do not suffer the same fate. It can happen so easily. It’s been a huge blow to me. All my high-performance gear has been taken. It is like Tiger Woods having his clubs stolen.

“I have 35 horses in work here and had special bits for them. It is not just the money involved, it is not just a case of going out to buy them and replace them, all these bits were tried and tested. This stuff has been put together for the past 15 years,” said Paul, as he recalled a similar incident in 1997, when six saddles were stolen.

He also had thanks for the “friends who have rallied around”.

“Tom Busteed, Ian Hannon, David Darragh and Bridget McAuley each sent down saddles. I greatly appreciate that,” said the 29-year-old, who was filming a documentary and showing the crew some stock in the fields when the burglary occurred.

Paul said that anecdotal evidence suggests the tack could have been moved to Britain.

“Some people have told me that, often, tack stolen in Ireland is offered for sale in Britain, and vice-versa, but each day that goes by, it is getting further away.”

Paul, however, is still holding out hope of tracing his tack, which included two Jaguar and two Prestige saddles, and a number of saddles branded with his name.

In particular, he and his father Tim are anxious to get their hands on a saddle used by the latter when he lived in Australia.

“My stock saddle, like those used by cowboys in Australia, was about 150 years old. A man in Australia gave it to me in 1970. He was in his 70s and he got it from his father. The leather was perfect. It has fierce sentimental value,” said Tim.

On Tuesday, a garda spokesperson said they were focussing their investigation on a blue VW Caddy van.

The Beechers are offering a reward for information that would result in the retrieval of the stolen property.

Anyone with information should phone Dungarvan Garda Station: 058-48600.

Meanwhile, the Central Statistics Office will today publish crime data for the second quarter of 2012 that is expected to show the Beechers’ experience is on the increase. Previously, its statistics for the first three months of this year showed that burglaries and related offences were one of the few areas of crime showing an increase, compared to the same period last year. In the 12 months up to the end of March 2011, there were 25,962 burglaries, compared to 28,781 from April to March this year, a rise of 10.9%.

* This weekend’s two-day Newcastle Show in Co Wicklow has been cancelled.

The show was due to hold the second leg of the GAIN/Alltech Autumn Grand Prix League.

Last Sunday’s opener at Cavan saw victory go to Cian O’Connor on Khaled Al Eid’s stallion Vanhoeve.

The Autumn League returns on October 7 at Kernan’s Equestrian Centre.

* Templemartin Hunter Trials, on Sunday, Oct 14, will feature a fastest-time format, replacing the optimum times used in previous years.

A number of events in Cork came together to form a spring league and the winners will receive their prizes at the event.

As a result of the success of the league, Templemartin has again joined forces with Killeady, Muskerry, and South Union to run an autumn league.

Templemartin begins with the U12s, from 11am to midday, and will also include the following classes: Training Pony, Training Horse, Training Pairs, Novice Pony, Novice Horse, Novice Pairs and Open. Further information: 087-2541559.

* United States Equestrian Federation President David O’Connor, a three-time Olympic medallist, is among the speakers at the Horse Sport Ireland National Coaching Conference.

The conference, titled ‘Coaching the Modern Event Horse and Rider’ takes place on November 4 at Citywest Hotel and Conference Centre and Kill International Equestrian Centre.

Other conference speakers include John Killingbeck, British team vet for four Olympic Games, four European Championships and a World Championship; Haydn Price, farrier to the British team and a specialist in equine locomotion; and members of the Irish senior eventing team from London 2012.

Speakers will address the “training, management and preparation of competition horses and riders for optimum performance”, according to HSI, while top-placed Irish Olympic event rider Aoife Clark, will be joined by members of the European silver medal winning young rider team to offer insights into the preparation required to compete successfully.

At Kill International Equestrian Centre, practical demonstrations with O’Connor will see two Olympic riders, two medal-winning young riders and two medal-winning junior riders “exploring effective warm-up techniques and analysis and specific exercises for improvement in each of the three eventing phases”.

Tickets, costing €45 per adult and €30 per student/child, will include lunch and are pre-paid only. Contact Heather Coyle on 087-2269382 or Catherine Farrell on 045-854512 or email cfarrell@horsesportireland.ie for an application form or go to www.horsesportireland.ie to download the form.

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