‘Rachael shows you can achieve anything you want to’

Melissa ‘grateful’ to spend lockdown on family farm

Melissa Glynn has kept herself busy on the family farm at Crannaghmore in south Roscommon this past year. When not leading online learning, the young primary school teacher has been preparing for foaling season and establishing herself on social media as ‘The Equestrian Groom’.

The 26-year-old lives with her father PJ, mother Majella and brothers Darragh and Lorcan and she says she’s been lucky to spend ‘lockdown’ in the countryside.

“I am grateful to live in the countryside and particularly to live on the farm. Despite lockdown, my lifestyle has not changed much as farming continues regardless. I have spent most of my time on the farm, assisting with the day-to-day feeding and management of stock,” she said.

  Melissa’s love of the great outdoors can be seen in everything from her education to her hobbies. She graduated as a teacher from Mary Immaculate College in 2017, where she specialised in Place Based Education (essentially outdoor education). She also enjoys country music, dancing and hiking in her spare time.

“Agriculture and working with animals is where my heart lies, therefore I have always been involved in farming, alongside my parents PJ and Majella,” she said.

“We have a beef enterprise and an equine enterprise on the farm. Originally farming a suckler herd, we have transitioned into a calf to beef programme, in which we rear suck calves to produce store cattle.

“We are also involved in the equine industry. My parents established ‘Crannaghmore Stables’ in which we breed, produce, show and sell foals, yearlings, two-year-olds and three-year-olds, as show horses and eventers”.

  Some of Melissa’s earliest memories involve supporting her parents at agricultural and horse shows across the country and she has recently established herself as a breeder in her own right.

“Attending and competing at shows is the highlight of the year. Both show season and sales involve plenty of preparation and grooming, which I am responsible for on the farm.

“I was always encouraged by my parents, who have given me wonderful opportunities in the equine industry, from showing alongside my father, to showing and producing my own stock, and they continue to support me to progress every day.

“From a young age, I purchased Connemara foals at the sales in Clifden. In recent years, I established myself as a breeder when I purchased my first Connemara mare in 2017 and in 2018 I purchased my first Irish Sport Horse broodmare, ‘Stuck in a Moment’, after following her showing career as a young horse, winning the T.I.H.A. Limerick Lady Championships in 2017 as a two-year-old,” she said.

Melissa now hopes to follow in the footsteps of her father and brothers, who have claimed 1st place and Reserve Champion prizes at the Royal Dublin Show.

“Among my successful moments were competing and placing in the All-Ireland Senior Handler at the National Ploughing Championships in 2019, competing in the ‘Eventing Performance Foal’ Select Foal Sales with my homebred foal, which was organised by the May Roscommon Breeders Group in 2020, and my involvement with the Irish Young Breeders Programme in conjunction with Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) and Teagasc in 2019 and 2020.

“My proudest moment as a breeder was when I bred ‘Crannaghmore I Am With You’ out of ‘Stuck in a Moment’ and ‘DS Are You With Me’. This foal placed second in the Breeders Select Foal Sales ‘Eventing Performance Foal’ in conjunction with Mayo Roscommon Breeders Group, which was held in Glenamaddy Equestrian Centre last August,” she said.

Through her involvement with Teagasc’s Young Breeders Programme, Melissa also qualified for the selection of teams to represent Ireland at the 2019 International Young Breeders World Championships.

If all of this wasn’t enough, Melissa was also heavily involved with Macra na Feirme and was crowned ‘Reserve Queen of the Land’ in 2017 and competed as Roscommon’s ‘Queen of the Land’ in Sligo in the same year.

She says that jockey Rachael Blackmore’s recent whirlwind success at both Cheltenham and Aintree will encourage other young women to become more involved in the equine industry too and that with dedication and hard work anything is possible.

“Rachael’s success will most certainly have a positive impact on young women’s involvement in the equine industry, she is an outstanding role model, which proves with hard work and dedication you can achieve anything you want to,” she said.

Melissa has taken to social media recently to share her own journey within the industry.

“During lockdown I established an Instagram account (The_Equestrian_Groom) to share much of this. Although equine grooming is not currently in use, due to restrictions, I hope to expand my page and grooming community when the time is right,” she said.

For now though, she is preparing for a busy period at the family farm and stables as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

“This is a busy but rewarding time of year on the farm, as we are currently rearing suck calves and are in the middle of foaling season at ‘Crannaghmore Stables’, with our broodmares commencing foaling in late February. My broodmare ‘Stuck in a Moment’ is due to foal on May 1s so I’m eagerly awaiting that.

“A selection of mares are also going to stud for covering while others are getting AI at home, so we have spent some time with stallion considerations to make the best breeding choice for each mare,” she said.

You can keep up with Melissa and Crannaghmore Stables on Instagram and Facebook.