FHE’s Irish Charm – “The Specialist”
Irish is one of Future Hope Equestrian’s cherished lesson horses. Last year he was nicknamed “The Specialist” by his owner Ann because of his skill with beginner riders and understanding what they needed from him as they learned to ride. This one-of-a-kind horse has a home in the hearts of the many people he has carried upon his back.
Owner/Trainer Ann Riehl Smith acquired the beautiful Polish Arabian mare Bit O’Dora while at Oasis Arabians and was able to breed her to one of the best Straight Egyptian Stallions at Oasis; Vooo Doo.
Irish is the resulting cross-bred Polish/Egyptian Arabian and in a nod to his grandfather “Prince Charming”, Charm was added to his moniker giving us our beloved Irish Charm.
Irish with mother Bit O'Dora Vooo Doo, Irish's father
“Of all the years that I have been involved with horses, Irish Charm has been the absolute best” ~ Ann Smith
<< Ann & Irish as a yearling showing in Scottsdale, AZ.
Irish was born in 1995 and was raised and trained by Ann every step of the way. As an adolescent of 6 or 7, Irish was one of the best Arabians Ann had ever trained. Irish was eager to please and was good at anything Ann asked him to try. She rode and showed him in various disciplines earning a rainbow of ribbons in Hunter, Western and Dressage. It didn’t matter if they were in the practice or show arena, taking a relaxing stroll down a trail or testing their wings soaring over jumps, Irish gave Ann his all.
Ann was able to entrust Irish with beginner riders from a fairly early age and he became a favorite with riders of all ages at the barn, quickly becoming one of her most requested horses to use for lessons. This put Ann [and Irish] at a crossroads of sorts. Ann herself loved riding and showing Irish but also loved the joy riding him gave others.
So, one day while Ann and Irish (a teenager at the time) worked on their flying lead changes, Ann examined her options and her heart. She knew that she could continue riding and showing Irish herself and have a successful career in the arena with him. She also knew that his temperament and personality made for an amazing lesson horse for riders of various ages and abilities.
It was there in that arena, practicing flying lead changes on the back of her Irish Charm, that Ann knew without a doubt that sharing Irish with riders of all ages and skill levels as a lesson horse was more valuable than any ribbon or title they might earn if she kept him for herself.
Believe it or not, Irish will be 26 this year in May. He is still a beloved steed for Ann and is responsible for inciting a bit of ‘horse-craziness’ in the hearts of the many young and first-time riders he teaches to ride. We can’t wait to spoil him with extra scruffs, hugs and treats for his birthday!
“I wish that I had made a list of all the people who learned to ride on him.”
~ Ann Smith
Did you learn to ride on Irish? We would love to hear about your experience with Irish Charm! Leave us a comment or send us an email to let us know how Irish impacted you or your child, if you have a nickname for him or maybe your favorite memory with him!