Mister O’Reilly was born in Ireland in 1992 and is an Irish Sport Horse gelding. When he was four years old, a friend of his current owners saw him in a field in Ireland, fell in love with his adorable little ears and starburst tail and bought him on the spot and brought him over to London. His mom’s family was living in London in the late 90’s and his mom was just about at the point of moving up to a horse from a pony.
She met Mr. O at this friend’s barn (the one who plucked him out of the field in Ireland because of his ears and tail) outside of London and fell in love with him. He had been in formal training for over a year and was ready to start in a program with someone so he became a part of her family. His mom told me that O’Reilly loved London. He was stabled in Richmond Park and was able to go out on trail rides in the beautiful park every week after equitation training. Apparently in his young days he was quite the firecracker and took to galloping off with his mom in the park and giving tourists quite a show!
When the family moved back to the States, of course Mr. O came as well. At this point O’Reilly and his mom started doing the Hunter divisions together. She told me that one day she was sitting on a tightly braided and shining O’Reilly at a Culpepper Horse Show. As O’Reilly fell asleep with his chin on her dad’s shoulder, her dad looked at the jumper ring and said to her, “you would never do that.” She turned to him and said, “I’ll bet you a puppy that I most certainly would do that and get around clear.” He said, “prove it,” and she marched right over to add her name to the order-of-go.
Poor Mister O’Reilly did not know what had hit him! But they marched into that ring, saluted the judge, and completed their first jumper course… clear! She said her horse immediately became known as “Saint O’Reilly.” Thanks to their “proving it” with a clear round they also added a very naughty Jack Russell puppy to the family! After that day, the jumper bug had bitten her, and she and O’Reilly were off on their next set of adventures.
Mister O, as he was known in Florida, really seemed to take to the jumpers as well. They competed in Wellington for two winters. They also competed all up and down the East Coast and O’Reilly never missed a beat, always brought home a ribbon, and according to his mom had the time of his life doing so.
Throughout the years O’Reilly has been through many variations of his name since he joined his family. During his firecracker days in the park in London, he was “Oh, really, O’Reilly;” after the first jumper course at Culpepper he became Saint O’Reilly; and, during his winning days in Florida, he was known as Mr. O.
When his mom moved up to the big jumper divisions and beyond O’Reilly’s scope he then became her little sister’s first horse and took her up the ranks for a couple of years as well. He has been out of work for a couple of years due to a persistent soft tissue injury, and the decision was made to officially retire him last fall. So O’Reilly was off to his next adventure, joining us in retirement at Paradigm Farms!