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International Showjumper TREVOR BREEN on the Derby, family life and what the future holds for Breen Sport Horses
Trevor Breen has had a great deal of success both competing on the national and international circuit as well as sourcing, producing and selling some top class horses. We caught up with Trevor, at his base in Buckinghamshire.
As if winning the Derby twice wasn’t a big enough achievement, you’re now aiming to make it a 3rd win! How do you rate your chances in this year’s Equestrian.com Derby?
I'm very lucky to have Adventure de Kannan back just for this years 2016 Equestrian.com Derby. He's been with his owner Karen Swann since August 2015 but we made the decision to give it a go again this year. He's only been at our yard since April 2016 so fitness has been our main aim to date, but we are feeling very positive. If it doesn't go to plan he owes me nothing, as he's been an unbelievable horse for me. After the Derby he will go straight back to Karen again.
As for Loughnatousa WB, he also is just being aimed at the Derby! He's had a very long holiday too and I've not really ridden him this year, so again we will start jumping soon and practicing some Derby style fences with both horses. Some people might think it's strange we aren't actively jumping the two horses yet, but they're both far enough into their careers to know their jobs and I fully believe in both of them.
I potentially have a younger horse who might debut this year in his first Hickstead Derby but it's too early at this stage to know whether I will compete him in this class.
How did winning the Derby change things for team Breen?
It was life changing to be honest. I've always been so lucky with owners and opportunities with our horses, but this win opened up so many doors for us. We had coverage from every magazine. I was featured on TV channels such as Horse and Country, SKY TV and articles within the Daily Mail, The Times and The Irish Field. It was unbelievable how it all changed for us after I cleared that final fence.
I've been so privileged with our sponsors supporting me from day one, so this win was great coverage for us all. The win also meant that I got much more interest from investors wanting me to produce their horses, which is mainly what we do now. About 90% of our horses are owned fully or partly with investors. As I said it was life changing and a moment that will be hard to beat.
Image source : courtesy of Hickstead
Juggling running a successful business with family life must be tricky! What’s the secret?
We look at what we do as a lifestyle. Our whole life revolves around our business and horses. Myself and Caroline work together all day either producing the horses, in the office or training clients, then we spend all evening together. As you can imagine we need to have a really good relationship and good level of communication with each other wise it would not work! We are blessed that we have a fantastic support network with our daughter Mia which helps everything move smoothly.
I ride almost all day and train some clients in the afternoon if I am in the UK. Caroline rides in the morning and does most of the in-house client training, then works on my accounts and PR as well as looking after Mia. We are very lucky that Mia loves riding and has a great affinity with horses. She is so happy being with the animals, plus all our staff are super with her!
This summer we will see some of the best horse and rider combinations competing at the Rio Olympics. Who will you be watching?
Steve Guerdat can't be discounted as won the individual gold in London 2012 and always does well at championship events- I am not sure what he will ride though. Same is true for Jeroen Dubbledam with Zenith. Can he do all championships in a row? It is very, very possible and they are a serious combination to watch. However, in my opinion there is one clear contender; Mclain Ward and HH Azur. They're on fire and a brilliant combination. It's been a long time since I've seen a horse quite like this!
With all your success. what does the future now hold for Breen Sport Horses?
We will continue to produce all our super talented young horses until they are ready to be sold, unless we are lucky enough to find a sponsor to keep some of them. As most of our horses are owned by investors we totally look at what we do as a producing and selling business, and therefore we reap the financial benefit of the job.
That said, the showjumper in me would still love a shot at the Olympics. I sold my spot for Rio and my Olympic ride in December 2015 to a foreign rider and I’m delighted to see the partnership already moving up to the very top of the sport. We would love to continue to grow the investment and training side of our business, which is ridiculously busy at present with some incredibly exciting horses in our yard.
I certainly am not going to say no to someone buying or helping me secure my next Olympic ride, but until then we are very content with how our business is growing and we are very excited about what’s around the corner.
Main image source: courtesy of Hickstead