After meeting the Gorham Family in 1983, Dad and Joe became life-long friends. It was a friendship that we are all sure continues in the afterlife. Dad remembered with great joy the days when Joe took him out in the car showing him his childhood haunts and chatting in ‘the room’ in the barn.They would talk for hours.
After Joe's passing in 2012, our visits to both Annie's and Mal's continued to be rich experiences and still do, sadly without Dad. Bob particularly enjoyed the Brack that Annie always bought for him and in fact, Mary had a phone call from her Mum one day whilst she was in the supermarket, to remind her not to forget the brack for Bob Blackburn and to make sure it had plenty of fruit in it!
Annie has extended her lovely family to include me and further, Paul, which means the absolute world to us both and Dad would be tearful and deeply touched by this.
Visit to Jimmy Jones
We visited Jimmy Jones and his ponies one year. I remember walking down the side of some portacabin-type buildings. One second Mum, Dad and I were walking along and the next, Dad had disappeared down a hole under the side of the cabin with only his head and shoulders still showing. Fortunately Dad wasn’t hurt because Mum and I were besides ourselves laughing. It was truly one of the funniest moments on our adventures in Ireland.
The Flat Cap
Our good friend Fiona McMahon came to stay and groom for us for a couple of weeks.
We were travelling home from the Breed Show, Dad and Fiona were in the Lorry, I was driving Dad’s car.
We pulled into a petrol station and Fiona was absolutely dying laughing. She was laughing so hard she was crying and couldn't stop for quite some time. They had been driving down the motorway, Dad had the driver's window open and all of a sudden a gust caught the cab and Dad’s flat cap flew off his head onto the motorway gone forever! When they stopped at the service station they found that the impossible had happened and the flat cap was happily sat on the sofa in the 'Live-In' . The cap, that clearly didn't want to be lost on the road, had blown out of the driver's window and back in the ‘Live-in’ window!!
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Bob & Margaret Blackburn established Lanburn Stud in 1971. Bob died suddenly and unexpectedly, on his way home from his beloved Ireland on 29 Aug 2014, where he’d been fishing in Lismore and staying with his favourite Mrs Devy at Richmond House following our tripto Clifden and the Show as usual. Margaret pre-deceased him in 1998 after several years' illness. Paul and I miss Dad greatly, we often think of him when working at the yard; very often we can hear exactly what he would say, or him procrastinating as to whether something should be done differently, or him laughing at us struggling with some logistical problem. Dad loved nothing more than to be involved.
Time has moved on and Paul and I have been striving to move forward. We are through two of our biggest problems. In order for the Stud to survive we must open a Caravan Club & Motorhome Certified Location Site which was approved by the Local Planning Authority via a Business Plan, to help fund the everyday running. The site has been approved by CAMC and has been ear-marked as a 'Flag-Ship' site.
Our challenge this year is to try and get a Filly foal out of Lanburn Lismore (aged 22), the last of our Marble blood line. Mum was intrinsic in choosing the bloodlines. She would spend hours at night, in bed, reading the CPBS Stud Books which Joe Gorham snr used to send her every year. Mum was a very quiet lady but she had a very logical, analytical mind. She also had a devilish sense of humour which you rarely saw.
At this point I need to thank Paul parents, Keith & Margaret, for their wonderful support.
I've now included a photo gallery of the FEW photos i have of our first Irish holiday. (Thanks to my estranged sister pinching all the slides and not allowing me access to them!)
I will let Dad explain how the Stud started in his very own words (below). I was there right from day1 of their adventures which is why I MUST continue their work.
The Beginning - by the late Bob Blackburn
We became involved with Connemaras because of a Caravan Holiday in Ireland in 1971 when we stayed on a Farm owned by Peter Lydon on the edge of Lough Corrib. One morning we woke up to the noise of 10 or 15 Connemaras in the field opposite. Peter was very eager to take us to the owner, Jim Lee, the owner of a bar in Moycullen. He and his wife made us very welcome and took us in his car to see some yearlings in a field miles away from anywhere. After taking part of a wall down to let my belated wife, Margaret, into the field, he picked out two yearling fillies for us to see.
Jim Lee’s price was £200 delivered to Dublin and he gave us four weeks to think about it. We were shocked when we found out the cost of transport. Jim said he would give us 'Luck Money' towards half the cost of the transport and so we purchased our first Connemara, Nettina (Marble x Fort Nancy), who died on the 22nd August 2001, ending an era of thirty years.
When she was 4 we put Tina in foal and at the same time registered our Prefix LANBURN. The Foal born was a colt Lanburn Leemoy named after the LEE family at MOYcullen. Leemoy was a very rich Bay who went on to win over twenty championships including:- Champion Mountain and Moorland Stallion at the NPS in 1981, Best opposite sex at the English Connemara Pony Show in 1978, 1979 and 1981. Lanburn Leemoy passed away in March 2006 aged 31 years.
Tina participated in three of John Lassetter's Dressage pantomime's. John, I think, had a special fondness for her cheeky character. Margaret died in 1998 (seen in photo 1989 with myself, the late Graham Tullock and Loobeen Larry). The stud is now managed by myself and my daughter Pam Clingan.
As a Connemara Judge I was honoured to be invited to judge Clifden Show twice, 1994 and the Millennium Show in 2000.
The site has an Archive of Clifden Show, an Archive of CPBS Stallions and Clifden Results. I hope you enjoy your visit to our site.