Across the national and international sport horse scene, the Allen family name is synonymous with breeding, raising and competing top quality sport horses and their system of production is second to none.
Ballywalter Farms Ltd was established by Bert Allen Snr, who originally hailed from Co Meath, but moved to Wexford to set up a tillage farm. The highly successful enterprise saw the Allen family become immersed in food production for decades. Set on 1100 acres, the Enniscorthy-based farm has over 100 acres dedicated to horses today. The rest of the extensive farm is now under the watchful eye of Ivan Allen, younger brother to April and Bertram.
April explains the deep family connection with horses. “Bert Snr was always into horses and trained a number of point-to-point winners from his base but in more recent years, it has become a breeding a development farms for the family as we hope to produce nice horses that will competed by either Bertram or Harry on the world stage.”
Bertram and Harry are mainly based at Ballywalter Farms, Hunxe, The Rhineland, Germany where they compete with much success on the European and American international show jumping circuit. Due to their proximity to major show venues throughout Europe, Bertram and Harry are ideally placed to campaign the Ballywalter young horses coming through and also compete on the elite circuit with the top horses in the yard.
Along with Bertram and Harry, April is also very familiar with the European scene as she was previously based with Bertram in Germany for some years before returning to Ireland to handle the mare herd and the production of the youngstock at home.
One of seven children, April is now very much ‘hands on’ on the family’s home farm in Enniscorthy where all of the Allen’s young horses are nurtured and raised. Siblings Grace, Lucy, Ivan and Ruben have little interest in the horses while their mother Geraldine is very much a driving force behind all of the children, whose diverse interests range from farming, horses, and business.
When it comes to feeding their horses, the Allen family trust Connolly’s RED MILLS and Foran Equine, liaising with Connolly’s RED MILLS senior equine nutritionist, Lorraine Fradl, who is a regular visitor to Ballywalter Farms. From soil and forage analysis to choosing the right feed for every key stage of a horse’s growth and development, the team from Connolly’s RED MILLS are available with down to earth advice tailored to individual competition yards, stables, stud farms and racing enterprises. Great care is taken at Ballywalter Farms to assess each horse’s needs according to its age, size, weight, gender and work program and with the expert advice on hand from Connolly’s RED MILLS, no nutritional query or question goes unanswered.
Importantly, Connolly’s RED MILLS feed products are readily available throughout the world so wherever the Ballywalter Farms’ horses are competing, at home or abroad, easy of supply ensures no disruption to the horses’ feeding regime, a vital component in their management, health and wellbeing.
April explains how the sport horse breeding programme at Ballywalter Farms has developed in recent years.
“About four years ago, a unique opportunity came up to buy the breeding stock from a farm in Italy. We bought over 20 breeding mares from the Dellachhia Group, near Burgano. This was really exciting for us as some of these mare have wonderful pedigrees. We had the land back in Ireland and it made good sense to us to purchase. We are starting to see the young stock come through. We have some nice three-year-olds and hopefully they will train on under saddle. Previous to the purchase, we had one or two mares that were retired from competition and we were breeding with them.
“The young stock we also have are very nice. There is some very nice types and we are hopeful. We have used Romonov on some of our mares as we have seen some nice stock out competing in the young horses classes. Romonov is a beautiful stallion and we have stood him with Ger O’Neill (Castlefield Sport Horses) this year and he is very popular. We have also used Emerald, Kashmir, Chacco Blue, Heartbreaker and many other stallions along the way,” said April.
“Daren Hopkins and Lauren Whitehead are very important to our operation. Lauren foals the mares and woks closely with Daren. Daren produces all the young horses and is just a great person, you could say that he is part of the family at this stage,” said April.
Ballywalter Farms has lots of nice horses coming through the ranks now including Nana Della Caccia – a Chacco Blue five-year-old who is qualified for Dublin; Baby Guinness, a five-year-old gelding by Vladimir and Della Caccia, a five-year-old by Veganond.
Seeking expert advice from Connolly’s Red Mills and Foran Equine will pay off with the best results for your horses
“We are very lucky to be able to work so closely with Connolly’s RED MILLS and Foran Equine. They are able to look after the horses wherever in the world they may be and have a nutritionist on call if we have any problems or questions who are always happy to help,’’ says April Allen of Ballywalter Farms.
With rising inflation, it’s actually never been more important to seek expert advice when it comes to feeding your horses. Simply put – make sure you get the most out of the feed you are putting in. Life is busy and everyone’s time is limited. However, if you’re perhaps feeding your horses more by habit than by assessing what they might need or indeed, might be missing from their diet, a call to the team at Connolly’s RED MILLS will guarantee you get the right feeding advice for your horses and help you maximise your feeding value.
Whether you are feeding in-foal mares, foals, young stock, competition horses, leisure animals, or racehorses, Connolly’s RED MILLS and Foran Equine have the right feed and supplements for every horse in your care and their experienced team is readily on hand to assist.
Senior equine nutritionist with Connolly’s RED MILLS, Lorraine Fradl, is a regular visitor to many yards, imparting expert friendly advice that will benefit your yard and ensure the needs of your horses are adequately met when it comes to forage, feed and supplementation.
The Connolly’s RED MILLS range is very comprehensive and allows for correct feeding of horses at every stage of life, be it at stud, foals, youngstock, competition, maintenance, racing or retired.
Undertaking soil analysis and assessing forage quality provides a very useful baseline for identifying possible mineral deficiencies which can then be addressed.
All of RED MILLS and Foran Equine feed and supplements are scientifically formulated and the RED MILLS brand has been tried, tested, and trusted by generations of horse people at home and overseas since it was first founded in 1908.
Foran Equine has an extensive range of products from hoof care to digestive and respiratory aids, with Copper-Max, the popular copper and zinc chelated paste, and Cal-Gro, for in-foal mares, among its best sellers.
Assessing equine body scores and selecting the most suitable feeds in a tailored programme using the key parameters of age, gender, size, work program ensures that all horses are fed correctly at the key stages of their development.
An evenly balanced plane of nutrition is particularly essential to prevent the developmental problems that can easily occur in the growth plates of young horses.
You and your horses deserve the very best. Contact the team at Connolly’s RED MILLS today and let them play a real role in helping your yard get the most out of your feeding regime.